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Draft report card: NFC

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Here are my draft grades for the NFC, starting with the NFC East:

Dallas Cowboys
High marks: Cowboys coach Bill Parcells cleaned up on draft day, loading up on two big defensive ends (Marcus Spears and Chris Canty) and two linebackers (DeMarcus Ware and Kevin Burnett) for his 3-4 defense. Ware, Spears and Burnett could be starters immediately. If Canty can get healthy, he could be a late-round steal. Parcells also got quality depth in late rounds at running back (Marion Barber), safety (Justin Beriault) and offensive tackle (Rob Petitti).

Low marks: Cornerback and wide receiver needed depth, but none was more pressing than the need for defensive playmakers in the front seven.

Final grade: A-plus

New York Giants
High marks: Give the Giants credit – for having only four picks and no first-rounder, they improved their team this weekend. All-American cornerback Corey Webster should be able to step in as the nickel cornerback. Defensive end Justin Tuck has first-round talent and was a total steal in the third round. He solidifies the depth at end and should easily get into the rotation for playing time. Defensive end Eric Moore's lack of speed hurt him, but he still was considered a likely third-round pick. The Giants got great value nabbing him in the sixth round.

Low marks: Not enough picks translates into not enough needs met. Safety, defensive tackle and running back arguably were the Giants' top three needs, yet they got no attention.

Final grade: B

Philadelphia Eagles
High marks: Coach Andy Reid was shooting for a ton of depth, and that's exactly what he got. Defensive tackle Mike Patterson and wide receiver Reggie Brown should step right into the playing rotation and contribute immediately. The Eagles also got good project players for the defensive line (DE Trent Cole), offensive line (guard Scott Young and tackle Todd Herremans), linebacking corps (Matt McCoy), secondary (safety Sean Considine) and running game (Ryan Moats). These players should be the backbone of the team in two years.

Low marks: Philadelphia wasn't able to add depth at tight end and an upgrade at nickel cornerback.

Final grade: A

Washington Redskins
High marks: The cornerback need gets filled with Carlos Rogers, who gets penciled in to start opposite Shawn Springs. Even better, the Redskins stole Louisville inside linebacker Robert McCune in the fifth round. McCune should vie for the starting spot left open by Antonio Pierce. Fullback Nehemiah Broughton could be a surprise coming from the seventh round.

Low marks: Auburn's Jason Campbell just doesn't seem to make sense at the 25th overall pick. It's higher than most people had him rated, and he is going to need to develop for a year or two before he sees the field. Coach Joe Gibbs really gave up quite a bit in draft picks for a team that has a lot of immediate needs. Washington walked out of the draft with far too many areas that didn't get addressed; defensive end, defensive tackle and guard all needed help.

Final grade: B-minus


Chicago Bears
High marks: Cross running back (Cedric Benson) and wide receiver (Mark Bradley and Airese Currie) off this team's list of immediate needs. The Bears also got a quarterback (Kyle Orton) that should develop into a good young backup and give them another option if Rex Grossman doesn't pan out. Grossman's weapons really improve with Benson and Bradley, who has the speed and size to be a legitimate No. 2 receiver sooner rather than later. Benson and Bradley could be immediate starters.

Low marks: Because of the lack of picks, a lot of holes didn't get attention. Tight end, guard and outside linebacker really could have used some help from this draft, but the Bears basically did all they could do with their limited resources.

Final grade: B-plus

Detroit Lions
High marks: Mike Williams makes Detroit's offensive weapons scary. And in a stroke of luck, the Lions still were able to fill the pressing need of defensive end (Shaun Cody) in the second round. The Lions stole cornerback Stanley Wilson (third) and defensive end Bill Swancutt (sixth) in the later rounds. Williams and Cody could start right away.

Low marks: Williams' selection means a lot of cap money tied into the wide receiver position. The right offensive tackle spot didn't get a single look, leaving the Lions to pray that Kelly Butler and Victor Rogers suddenly discover the ability to move their feet. Safety and middle linebacker needed some prospects to develop for the future, but those wishes went unfulfilled.

Final grade: B-plus

Green Bay Packers
High marks: Aaron Rodgers was an A-plus pick at 24th overall. He was thought of as a franchise quarterback leading up to the draft, and he's a great centerpiece to groom for long-term success. Center Junius Coston was a minor steal in the fifth round.

Low marks: Drafting Rodgers for value is nice, but the Packers fell apart after that. Second-rounder Nick Collins was a big reach and is going to take a year or two to develop when Green Bay needs defensive help right now. Wide receiver Terrence Murphy is a good value pick that makes almost no sense for a team that doesn't need receivers. Some teams had fourth-round safety Marviel Underwood slotted as a seventh-round pick or an undrafted free agent. The Packers got zero immediate defensive help and possibly not a single 2005 starter in this draft. That's rough with three picks in the top 58.

Final grade: C

Minnesota Vikings
High marks: Minnesota nailed its top three needs with high-quality players. Mississippi's Marcus Johnson can play guard or tackle and should be able to beat out Shannon Snell for a starting guard spot. Troy Williamson can absolutely fly and will give the receiving corps a deep threat immediately. Defensive end Erasmus James has the body and talent to start from Day 1. The Vikings also made three great depth picks with safety Dustin Fox, running back Ciatrick Fason and defensive tackle C.J. Mosely.

Low marks: Not many mistakes here. A kicker later in the draft would have been a nice pickup.

Final grade: A-plus


Atlanta Falcons
High marks: They added a big weapon for Michael Vick in Roddy White and still got a much-needed defensive tackle (Jonathan Babineaux) in the second round. Defensive tackle Darrell Shropshire was a steal in the seventh round and should make the team. Beyond that, lots of depth was added at offensive tackle (Frank Omiyale) and linebacker (Jordan Beck and Michael Boley).

Low marks: An impact safety was really needed, but the Falcons didn't even get a guy to develop. They also took a lot of guys in the middle rounds like Beck, Boley and defensive end Chauncey Davis a lot higher than they were rated.

Final grade: B

Carolina Panthers
High marks: They gained possible help at two need spots – outside linebacker and safety. Thomas Davis could fit at both spots depending on what suits Carolina best. The Panthers also added great running back depth with Eric Shelton, who should develop and thrive in their power attack. Carolina also added much-needed depth at guard (Evan Mathis) and defensive tackle (Atiyyah Ellison) in middle rounds.

Low marks: The Panthers totally whiffed on their No. 1 need at offensive tackle, watching New Orleans trade up and steal Jammal Brown at No. 13. Then they failed to get another offensive option at receiver, which means they have to stay healthy and hope Ricky Proehl and Karl Hankton can give them something from the No. 3 receiver spot.

Final grade: B-minus

New Orleans Saints
High marks: They shored up the offensive line with tackle Jammal Brown and added safety depth with Josh Bullocks. And they got good value in the fourth round with quarterback Adrian McPherson, who could be groomed as the eventual successor for Aaron Brooks.

Low marks: They really needed a big-time player at outside linebacker and had one sitting in their laps in Texas' Derrick Johnson – and passed. Depth at cornerback and defensive tackle were big issues, too, and yet only one was addressed in the sixth round (defensive tackle Jason Jefferson).

Final grade: B

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
High marks: The Buccaneers filled two top needs at running back (Carnell Williams) and wide receiver (Larry Brackins, Paris Warren, J.R. Russell). And the selection of Barrett Ruud at inside linebacker might allow them to shuffle their corps and move someone outside. The Bucs also addressed nearly every team need at some point in the draft – and one non-need with Stanford tight end Alex Smith. Williams and Ruud are both tough players who should be able to step in and start.

Low marks: The third-round pick spent on Smith was a luxury the Bucs don't have. They could have picked up a wide receiver with better credentials than Brackins at that spot or a cornerback to develop behind Ronde Barber.

Final grade: A-minus


Arizona Cardinals
High marks: The Cardinals filled needs all over the place with quality players, addressing voids at cornerback (Eric Green and Antrel Rolle), running back (J.J. Arrington), linebacker (Darryl Blackstock and Lance Mitchell) and guard (Elton Brown). Super Bowl teams are made in the later rounds, and coach Dennis Green got great value with guys like Blackstock, Brown and Mitchell. Even seventh-round wide receiver LeRon McCoy has a good chance to make the team. This was one of the best talent hauls of the draft.

Low marks: They couldn't possibly solve everything, but they still need help at tight end and defensive tackle. It also remains to be seen if they have the young quarterback that they want to groom for the future.

Final grade: A-plus

St. Louis Rams
High marks: The Rams addressed three top needs in offensive tackle (Alex Barron), safety (Oshiomogho Atogwe and Jerome Carter) and guard (Claude Terrell). And while Oklahoma's Jammal Brown may have been the tackle the Rams wanted in the first round, Barron has the tools to be a great player.

Low marks: The choice of Howard's Ronald Bartell with a second-round pick was questionable. That was at least one round higher than most thought the very raw Bartell could go, and St. Louis had other immediate needs it could have filled. Atogwe was a reach that early in the third round, too. Also, after the problems with Kyle Turley, it was surprising to see the Rams draft former Nebraska center Richie Incognito, who has a Turley-like temperament.

Final grade: B-minus

San Francisco 49ers
High marks: They got a franchise quarterback (Alex Smith), a versatile starting center (David Baas) and depth at running back (Frank Gore). Smith has the potential to be a franchise cornerstone. So does Gore, if he can stay healthy and regain his old form. Baas could be a 10-year starter at center or guard. Not bad for your first three picks.

Low marks: The Baas pick was nice, but the 49ers could have had Oklahoma safety Brodney Pool with the first pick in the second round. That was a much bigger need, and Pool was the best pure safety in the draft. It's hard to believe either of their late-round picks at cornerback (Derrick Johnson and Daven Holly) will allow for Mike Rumph to be moved to safety. Also, the 49ers passed up some good receivers in the third round to take Oregon guard Adam Snyder, which really wasn't a pressing need.

Final grade: B-plus

Seattle Seahawks
High marks: The Seahawks filled an immediate need at center (Chris Spencer) with a player that also can jump in at both guard spots. Also, in quarterback David Greene and offensive tackle Ray Willis, they got two players in later rounds who were very successful at major programs and could develop down the road into good NFL players.

Low marks: They had to get some middle linebackers, but they took some major reaches with Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill. The slow-footed Tatupu in the second round made little sense. Some gave Hill a sixth-round grade, and yet Seattle grabbed him in the third. Also, Seattle could have addressed its cornerback need in the second round and failed to do it.

Final grade: B-minus

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