AFC draft report card

More NFL draft: Robinson's NFC draft report card | Wetzel's winners and losers

NEW YORK – Here are my draft grades for each team in the AFC:


Buffalo Bills

High marks – Buffalo planted some defensive seeds for the future. Safety Donte Whitner should be able to step in immediately and start next to Troy Vincent. The Bills can take it slow with Ko Simpson and groom him to take over for Vincent down the line. Ashton Youboty was a very nice pickup in the third round, giving Buffalo a nickel back who can eventually develop into a starting cornerback across from Nate Clements.

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Low marks – The Bills reached with both of their first-round picks. They could have traded back a few spots to accumulate more choices and still drafted Whitner. And while a young defensive tackle was a need, John McCargo was considered a mid-second-round selection. The McCargo pick is curious when you apply it to needs, too. McCargo has the same size issues of Tim Anderson and may not be an every-down type of guy next to Larry Tripplett. Winston Justice would have been a far better choice at that point – even with his character issues.

Final grade: C

Miami Dolphins

High marks – Miami did really well in free agency, so it's hard to argue with a draft that was mostly aimed at adding good young depth. That said, Tennessee's Jason Allen is a risky pick because of long-term concerns about his hip. Still, he gives the Dolphins a Cover 2 corner with the flexibility of being a great safety. That's good value for the 16th overall pick. Trading the second-round choice for Daunte Culpepper is the huge positive from this draft class. Tackle Joe Toledo adds some depth and competition on the line, and defensive tackle Rodrique Wright is a great value selection in the seventh round.


Low marks – Derek Hagan was a so-so choice in the third round considering the Dolphins could have had massive guard Max Jean-Gilles. Hagan's hands are below average and he's going to frustrate Nick Saban with his dropped passes. Solidifying the offensive line should have been a higher priority than adding a wide receiver with a major flaw.

Final grade: B

New England Patriots

High marks – The Patriots got good value from the bulk of this class, which is 10 deep. New England loaded up on offense, getting an eventual replacement for Corey Dillon in Laurence Maroney and stealing Chad Jackson in the second round. Tight end David Thomas can do some long snapping so there is extra value there, and Garrett Mills is a smart, multi-dimensional H-back type who can be used a lot of ways. In other words, he's a perfect fit for the Patriots.


Low marks – The Patriots were working on an "A" until they went five rounds without addressing any defensive needs. A lot of players on that side of the ball are getting long in the tooth – especially the linebacker corps. And the secondary is always rife with injuries, so it would have behooved New England to add a defensive back earlier than the seventh round. It was also a surprise to see the Patriots fail to draft a linebacker with such a strong and deep crop this season.

Final grade: B-plus

New York Jets

High marks – Just from the standpoint of adding 10 warm bodies, the Jets had a robust draft. But there were a lot of very good picks. Yes, the Jets passed on Matt Leinart for D'Brickashaw Ferguson, but with Chad Pennington and Patrick Ramsey on the roster, adding a franchise left tackle made more sense. Lots of New England methodology in this draft. Nick Mangold gives another instant starter on the line. A lot of teams really like the upside of Kellen Clemens, who skyrocketed in personal workouts. Brad Smith has some versatility and might be used in an Antwaan Randle El mold.


Low marks – The Jets reached in the third round for linebacker Anthony Schlegel, but for the most part, their selections made a lot of sense. They tabbed a lot of hard-working, good-character guys. One knock is that they didn't get a player who they can groom to be a No. 1 running back. Leon Washington is solidly built but he's small. He could be an effective third-down back or change-of-pace option. But he's not a realistic replacement for Curtis Martin. You can't solve all of your problems in one offseason.

Final grade: B-plus


Baltimore Ravens

High marks – A class with a good yield of 10 total players. The Ravens only had to move up one spot to get the guy they wanted, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. He should be immediately plugged into the defensive line. Baltimore added a lot of depth at various positions with guys like David Pittman and Demetrius Williams. The Ravens also got the safety they have been looking for in Dawan Landry in the fifth round.


Low marks – Offensive tackle got no attention. Baltimore passed on guys like Eric Winston, Jeremy Trueblood and Charles Spencer for other positions. The quarterback situation didn't improve, either. While Steve McNair and Kerry Collins could still be options, the Ravens could have taken a shot at getting to No. 8 or No. 9 and going after Matt Leinart.

Final grade: B-minus

Cincinnati Bengals

High marks – Johnathan Joseph gives the Bengals a player to eventually replace Tory James. Joseph is a raw athlete who will need to be eased into the defensive game plan. Andrew Whitworth gives the Bengals depth at tackle and another player to compete for the right tackle spot down the line when Willie Anderson retires. Reggie McNeal is an intriguing pick in the sixth round, especially if the Bengals can develop him into a wideout.


Low marks – Tight end was never addressed. And the Bengals took another round of big character risks in Frostee Rucker and A.J. Nicholson. It's become a trend with Marvin Lewis' drafts. Nicholson is a good talent value in the fifth round, but Rucker seems to be a reach in the third. He's a one-move guy who struggles against aggressive offensive linemen. Domata Peko appeared to be another stretch in the fourth round; some teams had him rated as low as the seventh.

Final grade: C

Cleveland Browns

High marks – From a bulk standpoint, the Browns added a lot of depth, with the linebacker corps getting a tremendous shot in the arm. Kamerion Wimbley is the hybrid outside linebacker that Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel have been searching for since the Senior Bowl, and D'Qwell Jackson was widely considered the draft's best inside linebacker. Even Leon Williams brings a good amount of athleticism for his size. Travis Wilson adds some depth at wide receiver, and he could be a find after being downgraded with injury issues.


Low marks – The Browns failed to find an impact defensive end, and nose tackle Babatunde Oshinowo is going to struggle with being undersized at that position in the NFL.

Final grade: B-plus

Pittsburgh Steelers

High marks – The Steelers addressed virtually every need. They paid a steep price to move up seven spots in the first round, but it netted them arguably the draft's best wideout in Santonio Holmes, who, from merely a receiving standpoint, should be able to fill the void of Antwaan Randle El. Willie Reid can pick up some return duties, too. The Steelers got some value in the later rounds by picking up defensive lineman Orien Harris in the fourth round and quarterback Omar Jacobs in the fifth. Harris could be starting at defensive end by opening day. Safety Anthony Smith provides good depth. Center Marvin Philip and guard Willie Colon replenish the interior O-line with young depth.


Low marks – Pittsburgh failed to get a between-the-tackles running back to complement Willie Parker. The Steelers didn't address depth at inside linebacker, either.

Final grade: B-plus


Houston Texans

High marks – Four picks in the top 66 choices were spent on pressing needs, producing a potential stud defensive end in Mario Williams, an extremely productive linebacker in DeMeco Ryans and two offensive linemen who are still getting better – tackle Eric Winston and guard/tackle Charles Spencer. Tight end Owen Daniels was a solid addition in the fourth round. The Texans also added some depth at wide receiver (David Anderson) and running back (Wali Lundy).


Low marks – They passed on Reggie Bush. Williams could be the better choice down the line, but right now, he isn't. Passing on Bush knocks the Texans down a full grade, even though the team addressed so many other needs.

Final grade: B

Indianapolis Colts

High marks – The Colts filled their need for a starting running back with Joseph Addai, who fits the scheme perfectly. He won't be Edgerrin James, but he has better straight-line speed and will be a factor in the passing game. He's adept at pass blocking, too.

Low marks – Cornerback Tim Jennings and linebacker Freddie Keiaho both address needs, but they seemed to be reaches in the second and third rounds, respectively. Keiaho was a sixth-rounder on some boards. Indianapolis failed to address depth issues at guard and outside linebacker.

Final grade: C

Jacksonville Jaguars

High marks – Marcedes Lewis fills a pressing need at tight end and gives Byron Leftwich another receiving option. Clint Ingram can be plugged in at outside linebacker, and the two defensive ends drafted late – Brent Hawkins and James Wyche – could produce the needed pass rusher.

Low marks – Running back Maurice Drew was a serious stretch in the second round. He's a speedy addition, but he has significant size issues and isn't a realistic option as a future starter. The Jaguars failed to address the need for a talented guard to push for a starting job.

Final grade: C-plus

Tennessee Titans

High marks – Nice bulk with 10 total selections. From a hype standpoint, Tennessee's first two choices – QB Vince Young and RB LenDale White – have a massive amount of star power. If the Titans can ease Young into a starting role and get White healthy and keep him motivated, the Titans have the long-term potential to deliver this year's best draft class. Safety Calvin Lowry provides depth at safety and a good special teams addition. Wide receiver Jonathan Orr could be a steal in the sixth round.

Low marks – Offensive line depth needed to be addressed, but didn't get a single look. Middle linebacker was a need, but Stephen Tulloch was a reach in the fourth round. Many teams had him rated in the sixth round.

Final grade: A


Denver Broncos

High marks – The Broncos were one of the draft's big movers and shakers, trading up and snatching Jay Cutler to be Jake Plummer's future replacement. Then they bolstered the receiving corps by sending Green Bay a second-rounder for Javon Walker. Some people will say tight end Tony Scheffler was a reach late in the second round, but he fills a need. And with his athleticism, he should thrive in Denver's offense. Defensive end Elvis Dumervil looks like a great value pick late near the end of the fourth round. Wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Domenik Hixon will create good depth and competition at wide receiver. Guard Chris Kuper and center Greg Eslinger give the Broncos some much-needed youth to groom in the interior line.

Low marks – Defensive tackle depth wasn't addressed.

Final grade: A-minus

Kansas City Chiefs

High marks – Some will call defensive end Tamba Hali a reach at No. 20, but the reality is the Chiefs have a player who will always be a hard worker and a great locker room guy. He's not a lightning-quick pass rusher, but he should be good for eight to 10 sacks each season just based on his motor. Quarterback Brodie Croyle is a good fit for Kansas City's system and gives the Chiefs a player to groom for the eventual retirement of Trent Green. Guard Tre' Stallings gives K.C. depth for the eventual retirement of Will Shields.

Low marks – Two big needs – wide receiver and cornerback – weren't addressed until the fifth and sixth rounds. Safety/outside linebacker Bernard Pollard – who doesn't have a set position and has character issues – was a big reach in the second round.

Final grade: C-plus

Oakland Raiders

High marks – Michael Huff was a top-notch addition at free safety. If he's anything close to the Ed Reed comparisons, he should be a huge complement to all of the young cornerbacks the Raiders have drafted the last few years. The selection of Darnell Bing in the fourth round, and the position switch to outside linebacker, represents a good value pick. Paul McQuistan could be Oakland's future starter at left tackle.

Low marks – Outside linebacker Thomas Howard is fast, but he was a reach at No. 38 overall. Most teams seemed to have him in the late-third to fourth-round range. The Raiders didn't get the blocking tight end they were seeking.

Final grade: C-plus

San Diego Chargers

High marks – The first three selections all have injury concerns, but were solid nonetheless. Antonio Cromartie could be San Diego's top cover corner one year from now. Despite the knee injury last season, Cromartie has all the tools to be a big-time playmaker. Second-round choice Marcus McNeill has back issues, but he's talented and could end up being Roman Oben's replacement. Charlie Whitehurst is a solid pick in the third round, giving San Diego someone who could eventually be a long-term No. 2 quarterback.

Low marks – The depth issue at guard wasn't addressed. Another quality wide receiver in the middle rounds would have been a nice addition – even with the trade for Rashaun Woods before the draft.

Final grade: B-minus