Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell introduces Mark Barron (Alabama) as the number seven overall pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE
Grading teams on their selections just days after the draft is pointless, frowned upon and potentially a waste of time. So today we're going to do just that. SBN has a video that you should watch along this same subject(found below), but I'll give my own take here.
The NFC South, from my perspective, is one of the toughest divisions in pro football. There's a ton of talent in this region, with even more coming in after the draft.
I've seen multiple grades handed out to the Falcons so far, ranging from a dismal C- all the way to a B+. Since they didn't draft many flashy picks, I expected some critics to disapprove of the route Atlanta went overall.
You can't take draft grades very seriously, though. It's impossible to tell the impact these guys will have years from now. But I'll give it a shot by examining each team and how they fared in general after the jump.
Luke Kuechly was projected all over the place leading up to the draft, but the Panthers grabbed him at No. 9. This was definitely an area of need for Carolina, so it's hard to argue with taking one of the best linebacker prospects out there.
Amini Silatolu will help bolster the O-line. He's a big, nasty guy with plenty of aggression. They reached a bit for Frank Alexander, but Joe Adams was a great pick in Round 4. He'll be someone the Falcons have to worry about on special teams with his incredible punt return skills.
Josh Norman at pick No. 143 was another solid choice, as he has good potential and adds some extra help to the lackluster secondary they have in Carolina. The Panthers get somewhere around a B+ in my book, unfortunately.
Falcons fans won't like it, but the Bucs also came away with a great haul over the weekend. Mel Kiper, Jr. actually game them an A, a tough grade to receive on his charts.
Tampa traded down to No. 7 in Round 1 and selected Mark Barron. They could have taken Morris Claiborne if they had stayed at No. 5, but apparently Barron was their guy (at least they'll try to convince you he was). He's a stud, although safeties aren't as valuable in today's game.
Doug Martin was arguably the second-best RB in the draft, and he will make a good compliment to LeGarratte Blount in their backfield. Lavonte David is a perfect fit at No. 58. Literally every analyst calls him a "tackling machine".
Najee Good has plenty of upside, and Keith Tandy at least addresses their concerns about DB depth. Drafting Michael Smith in Round 7 didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but he's used to playing in a platoon of running backs, so at least he'll be comfortable.
After the first three picks the Bucs were mediocre for the remainder of the rounds. I'll go with a B here, simply because Barron, Martin and David are huge additions for a team that is clearly gearing up to improve upon the embarrassment that was 2011.
The Saints, much to our enjoyment, had draft picks taken away from them this offseason. Even with the selections they retained, there wasn't a whole lot to be impressed with (I'm laughing while writing this).
Akiem Hicks is an enormous man, but he'll be going through a big adjustment phase coming out of Regina (that's in Canada, folks). Maybe we just don't know as much about him since he played in The Great White North, but a lot of scouts didn't think too highly of him in pre-draft rankings.
Nick Toon is a great value pick in the fourth round, though he's been known to have durability issues over the past couple years. His father, Al Toon, was an outstanding receiver for the Jets, but he was forced to retire early after suffering multiple concussions. Does the injury bug run in the family?
The rest of the Saints picks just added depth. SS Corey White out of Samford can hit hard; nothing to write home about really. Overall I give NO a D+, and that might be generous.
How do you guys feel about the draft picks around the division? Did the Falcons do a better job?