Initial Draft Grade Thoughts

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Prince Amukamara to the Giants at 19,Nick Fairley falls into the lap of the Giants, The Cardinals go Patrick Peterson over Quarterback. It’s time to dole out some draft grades, but in the usual fashion. I’m going to break down my favorite and least favorite picks in the first two rounds.

And then at NFLmocks we’ll be doing a pick by pick and team by team in depth-analysis in a series of 32 teams in 32 da

ys, which will start with the Panthers on Tuesday or Wednesday morning. That will give a grade for each and every pick. Until that though I thought I’d just dole out some initial results thoughts with some of my favorite and least favorite picks,which I’ll keep to the first two rounds, since we’ll be going full on for each team over the next month.

Check back throughout the day as our other writers will be doing a more conventional series of draft grades and much more.

1st round Favorite picks:

#5 Patrick Peterson to the Cardinals. At 5, a cornerback/future safety is the first spot that I think the pick really becomes viable value. Positional value is important. Peterson is a top 5 player in this draft as a consensus and top first on many boards. The Cardinals pass defense doesn’t set the world on fire, Peterson also adds dynamic return ability which the Cardinals were missing last year without Steve Breaston returning punts.

#13 Nick Fairley to the Lions

I never thought he was the best player in this class, but he is one of the best players available and pairing him with Suh is The best possible situation for Fairley. If anyone’s work ethic’s going to rub off on Fairley it’s Suh. Besides that with Suh commanding so much attention it could be easy pickings for Fairley. I’d be drooling if I was a Lions fans who might finally have their own version of the Williams wall.

#14 Robert Quinn to the Rams

Good value here at 14th and have thought he was a better 43 defensive end pass rusher. Also Spags is able to take advantage of pure physical ability with his pass rushers so this is a good fit. Again also pairing him with Chris Long could push him to work hard and succeed. Solid value and gives the aging Rams defensive line some more youth.

#19 Prince Amukamara to the Giants

Love this pick. Amukamara is a top ten player on most boards, I think he was 11th on my initial big board. The point is great value. On top of that, cornerback is as much a need for the Giants as offensive line is, even though that’s not reported much. The Giants had so little depth last year along the defensive line that they refused to get out of their three safety set in almost any occasion. Aaron Ross has been injury prone, or inconsistent and even ineffective. The Giants also gave up too many big plays last year that can change with Amukamara. Best Player available and it happens to be a position of need=Great pick.

#20 Adrian Clayborn to the Buccaneers

I know I said I liked Jordan more than Watt for the Texans, but I like Clayborn here more than Jordan. I think Jordan is a better 34 DE than he is a 43 DE though he could be Justin Tuck in the 43 in time. Still, Clayborn is good all around defensive end in the 43 who will bring a nastiness to the Buccaneers defensive line. On top of that this was a pick that helped me get to 8th on the Huddle Report’s Mock Draft rankings so that should be factored in as well.

#22 Anthony Castanzo to the Colts

I think Castanzo is a perfect fit for the Colts and their offensive system.

#27 Jimmy Smith to the Ravens

A case of a talented, but possibly troubled player going into a locker room that can absorb problems. Super talented at a position of need for the Ravens with a solid locker room influence. I like this pick.

Picks I Question

#7 Aldon Smith to the 49ers

I think Smith is a nice player, but I don’t live him at 7th overall with more talented players, and with Prince Amukamara on the board. I don’t hate the pick even though I do question it. Smith probably wasn’t going to get past the Texans at 11, and definitely wasn’t getting out of the first round so unlike Tyson Alualu pick last year (maybe he would have made it to the second round), if the 49ers believe that Smith is the best pass rusher in the class they should take him.

#11 J.J. Watt to the Texans

Understand it. I think J.J. Watt is a solid player, but at 11 I prefer Cameron Jordan by a mile as a 34 Defensive end. That’s just player preference.

#12 Christian Ponder to the Vikings

Hate this  pick. Some people think Ponder is the best QB in this class (Wes Bunting for one, one of the CBSsports guys who wrote an article is another Pete Prisco, I believe). But Pat Williams is aging and Nick Fairley was sitting there for the taking at #12, instead they let him get to their divisional rivals to pair with Mr. Suh to take on Ponder. At 12 they could have taken Fairley waited awhile and jumped back into the first round to take Ponder. Trading back into round one isn’t always ideal, but when you can get a top five player at 12 it makes more sense.

#15 Mike Pouncey and #18 Corey Liuget to the Dolphins and Chargers respectively

This is not anything against the philosophy of the picks, much like the Texans this is just personal opinions. I thought both were reaches. I’m in the minority on Liuget, but he never leaped off the screen to me, and I would have felt much more comfortable with Liuget late round 1 or early round two and the same with Pouncey. An interior player who may not have the capacity to play center or LT is not worth the 15th pick overall.

#21 Phil Taylor to the Browns

I don’t think Taylor will fail automatically as someone in the 43 defense. He’s a better fit as a 34 nose tackle though. I like that the Browns are being smart and aggressive in the draft and taking some chances on talent. Makes it more interesting as an outside observer.

#23 Danny Watkins to the Eagles

He’ll be 27 years old next year during the season. He also plays interior linemen and I”m not a fan of taking interior linemen in the first round unless they are playing center or could develop into left tackles (like Mike Iupati last year, has tackle ability, like Branden Albert who had tackle ability). Watkins won’t be playing outside, just inside. On top of that the Eagles passed on top talent Jimmy Smith and also Gabe Carimi and Derek Sherrod who could both play tackle and are younger.

#25 James Carpenter to the Seahawks

Over Gabe Carimi? Don’t like the pick.

Round two on the next page.