NFL post-draft power rankings
1. Saints (13-3) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: The Saints hoped to hit up some defenders this offseason to widen Drew Brees' margin for error. They have done that via free agency (added DEs Alex Brown and Jimmy Wilkerson) and the draft (first-round pick CB Patrick Robinson). And funny thing too, one post-draft rumor had the Saints beating the Vikings again at the end of the first round — with Minnesota trading down out of the first round, also hoping to select Robinson. Take that, Brad Childress!
2. Colts (14-2) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: Not surprisingly, the Colts went defense on six of their eight draft picks. But remember Bill Polian's post-Super Bowl rant about revamping his offensive line? Has he really done that? This offseason he cut starting guard Ryan Lilja, added ex-Ravens tackle Adam Terry and ex-Chiefs guard Andy Alleman. If the Colts are thinking about running the ball more, a sign may be their fourth-round pick, Tennessee guard Jacques McClendon — a noted run blocker who set a school record by benching 645 pounds as a junior. 645 POUNDS?!?! That's almost three Peyton Mannings.
3. Vikings (12-4) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: The Vikings are as close to a complete team in the business. In the draft they replaced their biggest offseason loss, with Heisman Trophy runner-up Toby Gerhart replacing backup RB Chester Taylor (signed with Bears). When they lost out on Robinson to the Saints at No. 32, the Vikes picked the next corner on their board, Chris Cook — who immediately becomes the biggest CB on the team at 6-foot-2. If/when Favre comes back (after training camp, right?), then the Vikes may be the NFC's Super Bowl favorites.
4. Jets (9-7) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: The new Jets are brash and bold in every way, and they show with every offseason move. The draft was no different, as the Jets supplemented their draft haul by cutting guard Alan Faneca and trading RB Leon Washington to the Seahawks. Replacing Faneca is New York's second-round pick, OL Vladimir Ducasse (which sounds more like a cello player than a lineman). The Jets dealt Washington once they traded up to grab USC star RB Joe McKnight in the fourth round. And adding first-round CB Kyle Wilson to Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie could be deadly for opposing QBs.
5. Ravens (9-7) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: After using the beginning of free agency to add actual NFL receivers, the draft was once again a place for GM Ozzie Newsome to shine. This time, the Ravens traded down for the first time ever, coming up with two first-round talents in Round 2 — Texas pass-rushing LB Sergio Kindle and the walking eclipse out of Alabama, DT Terrence Cody. The Ravens also prepped for the post-Todd Heap era by grabbing two tight ends for QB Joe Flacco.
6. Cowboys (11-5) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: We were starting to wonder if the real Jerry Jones got kidnapped. The NFL without a salary cap? Shouldn't have this offseason been a shopping spree for the Cowboys owner? Instead the only pre-draft addition was a CFL wide receiver. But the maverick Jones just couldn't help himself in the draft once enticing WR Dez Bryant starting slipping in the first round. In Bryant, Dallas added a major weapon. But at what expense? Dallas did not address their "Hotel" vacancy left by released OT Flozell Adams.
7. Chargers (13-3) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: Not many 13-3 teams have transition years. Yet here are the Chargers, post L.T., Antonio Cromartie and Jamal Williams. But the Chargers like their replacements, first-round RB Ryan Mathews (the NCAA leader in rush yards per game in 2009), free-agent pickup Nathan Vasher and fifth-round space-eating DT Cam Thomas (6-foot-4, 330 pounds). GM A.J. Smith may need sensitivity training, but he can scout and draft with anyone.
8. Packers (11-5) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: The happiest Packer on draft weekend was QB Aaron Rodgers, who likely chest-bumped someone after Green Bay grabbed stud OT Bryan Bulaga in the first round. But some Cheeseheads are worried that Ted Thompson ignored the void at LB made by Aaron Kampman's free-agency defection, in addition to the aging cornerback corps.
9. Bengals (10-6) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: Many were stunned that the Bengals didn't leap all over troubled, yet talented WR Dez Bryant late in his first-round slide. But that's mainly because Cincy had already signed free-agent former problem child Antonio Bryant. Instead the Bengals focused on giving QB Carson Palmer a nice pass option at tight end by snatching Jermaine Gresham, then adding two other WRs in the third and sixth rounds. And they wouldn't be the Bengals if they didn't draft a kid with a DUI on his resume, second-rounder Carlos Dunlap. Somewhere Roger Goodell cried.
10. Pats (10-6) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: Bill Belichick worked his usual draft mojo, trading his way to 12 picks in a seven-round draft. First-rounder Devin McCourty hopes to become what the Pats lost when Asante Samuel left after the 2007 season, the playmaker in the secondary. The Patriots also restocked what is annually an old-age home at LB, a transition that began last season. A pair of Florida Gators, Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Spikes, should help. Also adding two talented tight ends gives Tom Brady flexibility. And next year, the Pats again have four picks in the first two rounds. Amazing.
11. Falcons (9-7) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: With most of the offense set, Atlanta focused on defense in the draft — zeroing in on a big need by grabbing tackling machine Sean Weatherspoon at linebacker in the first round. The Falcons hope he becomes the heir apparent to Mike Peterson. Still, can this pass rush get to the QB, or will they be rocking the "matador" defense in 2010? Say it with me, "Ole!"
12. Eagles (11-5) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: OK, fine Andy Reid, we won't say the "R" word — you know, what you're really doing in Philly. But here's a hint: It rhymes with "schme-building." Actually some Philly fans wonder if it's just debuilding. With a slew of picks, the Eagles shocked nobody by trading up in the first round, then floored everyone by ignoring stud safety Earl Thomas for pass-rushing star Brandon Graham. Trent Cole's happy to avoid some double-teams. Reid scored his safety high in the second round with Nate Allen. With nine of their 13 picks on defense, Philly hopes to match up with its "Young Guns" offense.
13. Steelers (9-7) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: And now, a break from the Ben Roethlisberger drama. In the draft, the Steelers stuck to their roots by first drafting their next great center, Maurkice Pouncey. Then the team known as Linebackers Inc. drafted not one, not two … but three more LBs to rush passers, tackle dummies and generally raise the opposite of heaven (which is just what this offseason has been in Steeltown).
14. Titans (8-8) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: Out with the old (former Titans DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, who signed with Detroit this offseason, in with the new (first-round pick Derrick Morgan). The Titans are psyched about the future defensive captain Morgan falling into their laps at No. 16, which headlined a draft that went with six defenders in nine picks. Most heads turned with the Day 3 trade of RB LenDale White to Seattle, getting rid of a disgruntled employee. With a full season of VY and CJY2K, the Titans should be A-OK.
15. Dolphins (7-9) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: Coach "Tuna Sparano" attacked the team's defense like a member of the cynical media, going defense on seven of the team's eight picks. They grabbed Miami's first Round 1 D-lineman since 1996, Penn State's Jared Odrick. Second-rounder Koa Misi was the first of four linebackers the Dolphins chose. Too often in 2009, the Dolphins could not get off the field or get the big stop. Let's see if these guys can help put a stop to that.
16. Panthers (8-8) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: It really became an amazing draft for the Panthers, who were not able to trade up for a top-level QB — then still got one at No. 48 in the draft, a passer going as high as No. 4 in some mock drafts. Carolina's clear objective No. 1 was to juice up the passing game, as the Panthers went QB-WR-WR with their first trio of picks. Then for good measure, Carolina scored another headline QB Tony Pike i the sixth round. Maybe they can run some two-QB sets.
17. Texans (9-7) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: Interesting draft for the Texans. They got outsmarted in the first round, missing out on RB Ryan Mathews (picked by Chargers, who traded up to get him at No. 12). They drafted a return man who is listed at 5-foot-5 (or two inches taller than Muggsy Bogues). They grabbed an extremely undersized tight end (Dorin Dickerson, 6-foot-2, 226 pounds). Houston also drafted the nephew of the Rev. Al Sharpton. What does it all mean? Beats me, but I still think the Texans have a great chance at the playoffs next season.
18. Cardinals (10-6) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: Well, maybe Ken Whisenhunt ain't bluffing on Matt Leinart starting in Arizona. Coach Whiz and GM Rod Graves did grab a QB in the fifth round (Fordham's John Skelton), but he's a project. It's Leinart's job to lose. Elsewhere, the Cards worked on their defense up the middle, grabbing big NT Dan Williams in the first and underrated ILB Daryl Williams in the second — one of the fastest LBs in the draft.
19. 49ers (8-8) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: The Niners wanted to get tougher, so why not add 650 pounds of first-round beef to an iffy offensive line? The 49ers wanted No. 11 overall pick Anthony Davis so badly that they traded up two spots to get him, then were excited that guard Mike Iupati was there at No. 17. The biggest name pick, safety Taylor Mays in the second round, will reportedly play close to the line of scrimmage than in the deep secondary in San Francisco.
20. Broncos (8-8) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: Wow, Tim Freaking Tebow. That must have been some 15 minutes of an NFL Combine meeting. That's all it took for Josh McDaniels to be willing to share his Krabby Patty recipe with Tebow, reworked delivery and all. But don't forget the coach's move a few picks earlier in the first round, picking WR Demaryius Thomas instead of Dez Bryant. McDaniels says the pick was purely football-related. RIIIIIIIIIIGHT. This draft will make or break McDaniels in Denver. It should be fascinating to watch.
21. Giants (8-8) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: Will the Giants trade Osi Umenyiora or not? That's he big question after the Giants took DE Jason Pierre-Paul with their top pick at No. 15. GM Jerry Reese denies unequivocably that Osi will be dealt. He also did say "equivocably" (if that's a word) that he did field some calls on the matter during the draft. Regardless, there's a case for keeping everyone to the rebuilt secondary — which also includes third-round safety Chad Jones out of LSU.
22. Seahawks (5-11) – POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: Watch out for the Seahawks, who should contend in a three-team race for the NFC West this season — as long as QB Matt Hasselbeck is upright. Pete Carroll improved his odds there by selecting OT Russell Okung at No. 6 overall, then did cartwheels when Texas safety Earl Thomas fell in his lap at No. 14 in the first round. By later trading for RB LenDale White, Coach Carroll is off to great start in Seattle.
23. Bears (7-9) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: The only team without a first- or second-round pick in the draft, the Bears still helped the sagging secondary with grabbing Major Wright in the third round. Later they grabbed a solid QB project Dan LeFevour, plus a 6-foot-8 OT project in the seventh round, J'Marcus Webb. But frankly, the key to this season — Jay Cutler throwing less picks, and Brian Urlacher staying healthy.
24. Jaguars (7-9) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: Tyson A-Who-Who? The Jaguars own the dubious title of biggest head-scratching pick by going with the Cal DT at No. 10. Now before the hazing from our compassionate commenters, Alualu did record a whopping 17 sacks last season from the interior. That's just silly. But his stock was considered late first-round, which means hindsight mock drafters have gone kookoo over this pick. Regardless, the Jags certainly had a major goal: Fix the defensive line. I'm not sure any team has ever drafted D-linemen on each of their first four picks before. Unfortunately, I'm too lazy to check right now.
25. Browns (5-11) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: New Browns czar Mike Holmgren had a big question entering the draft — pick a QB at No. 7 or help an alarmingly horrendous secondary? When the draft dust settled, he got both. Who knew Texas star Colt McCoy would last until the third round? That just helps justify the correct decision to attack the back end of the defense, picking the best CB in the draft at No. 7, Joe Haden — plus scoring Oregon safety T.J. Ward with the 38th overall pick. Later in the second round, "Holmes" also grabbed his starting RB, Montario Hardesty — a 225-pound drink of water. Good first draft for Holmgren.
26. Bills (6-10) – POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: OK, so where is the franchise QB in Buffalo? Trent Edwards? Ryan Fitzpatrick? Brian Brohm? Jim Kelly? Instead of going for a QB early, the Bills worked on their running game with Mr. Electric C.J. Spiller — who's really a multi-purpose threat who is a highlight waiting to happen. That's wonderful and everything, but with nobody to make holes for him, Spiller could have issues with running room.
27. Raiders (5-11) – POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: How 'bout them Raiders? Give it up for Weird Al, as Oakland enjoyed a solid three days at Radio City. No team improved as much in one three-day weekend as the Raiders. Finally the QB position is not a running joke, with good player and teammate Jason Campbell traded from Washington to stabilize the mess. The Raiders avoided the workout warrior temptation reach in he first round, instead grabbing the best LB in the draft Rolando McClain. Then they got their Combine stud Bruce Campbell in the fourth round, where he belonged. I'm so fired up, I'm wearing an eye patch as I type.
28. Bucs (3-13) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: The Bucs have been looking for the next Warren Sapp for years. So this draft, they spent their first two picks on stellar DTs, figured two guys could hopefully add up to one Warren. They chose wisely, getting no-brainer pick Gerald McCoy at No. 3 overall and UCLA's Brian Price at No. 35. The NFL's worst run defense just took a big step forward.
29. Redskins (4-12) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: In some ways, it was the typical Daniel Snyder-Redskins draft with just one of the top 100 picks — the Redskins' second- and third-round picks having been traded away. But the 'Skins stayed away from a flashy, fantasy-style name at No. 4 overall and filled a huge need, protecting new QB Donovan McNabb's blind side at LT. Trent Williams should be the QB's bodyguard for a few years.
30. Chiefs (4-12) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: The Chiefs still can't rush the passer a lick, but added three pieces of dynamite to their young roster. Safety Eric Berry (No. 5 pick) was the best DB in the draft. RB Dexter McCluster, while small at 5-foot-8, is already listed as a WR on K.C.'s depth chart – highlighting his versatility. Plus, the Chiefs scored the best return man in the draft with Javier Arenas (seven punt return TDs in 2009) at No. 50 overall. Scott Pioli did well in Draft No. 2.
31. Lions (2-14) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: The Lions could have left New York City after making the second pick in the draft, DT Ndamukong Suh. That's how good he is. The rest is just gravy in the long road back to respectability in Detroit. But that day is coming.
32. Rams (1-15) — POST-DRAFT DIAGNOSIS: Despite not showing their poker faces, the Rams still surprised nobody by taking Sam Bradford at No. 1 overall. To help in the rebuilding, GM Billy Devaney also gave his new QB Cincy WR Mardy Gilyard and two solid tight ends. This won't happen overnight, so Bradford, get ready to take a few lumps, kid.