Draft Grades  

 

Broncos find pieces for D; Chargers find pieces for title run


NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks is handing out grades for each team following the 2011 NFL Draft. Check back daily as he breaks down each team, division by division.

Broncos' draft picks
Rd
Sel. #
Player
Pos.
School
1
2
LB
Texas A&M
2
45
FS
UCLA
2
46
OL
Miami (Fla.)
3
67
LB
N.C. State
4
108
DB
Oklahoma
4
129
TE
Portland State
6
189
LB
California
7
204
TE
Nevada
7
247
DL
Oklahoma
» Broncos' pick-by-pick analysis

Denver Broncos: B+

John Elway's first draft as executive vice president of football operations was all about shoring up the Broncos' leaky defense. He grabbed the most explosive pass rusher in the draft in Von Miller. The Texas A&M star will have to make the transition to stand-up linebacker in a 4-3, but his pass-rushing skills will certainly be on display in nickel situations. If Elvis Dumervil returns to form, the Broncos have a dynamic tandem on the edges. Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter will serve in apprentice roles behind Brian Dawkins in the secondary, but they could fortify the team's back end for the future. Nate Irving could allow D.J. Williams to act as the designated playmaker at "Will" linebacker and help the Broncos attack opponents with their speed and athleticism. The Broncos entered with a host of defensive needs and addressed those issues with an outstanding draft that is plentiful in talent.

Key picks:

Round 1 (second overall): Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
Though most expected the team to fortify the interior of their defensive line, the decision to add the best pass rusher in the draft speaks volumes about the importance of getting after the quarterback. Miller gives them a dynamic playmaker with a versatile skill set to impact the passing game off the edge.

Round 2 (45th overall): Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA
Moore should become an immediate contributor in the back end, and the veteran influence of Brian Dawkins should help him reach his potential quickly in Denver. This is a good pick for the Broncos' defense.

Round 2 (46th overall): Orlando Franklin, OL, Miami (Fla.)
Franklin is an aggressive player with a nasty demeanor, capable of playing inside or outside in their scheme. He upgrades their depth and talent along the offensive line, and shores up a problem area for the Broncos.

Chiefs' draft picks
Rd
Sel. #
Player
Pos.
School
1
26
WR
Pittsburgh
2
55
OL
Florida State
3
70
LB
Georgia
3
86
DL
Miami (Fla.)
4
118
DB
Colorado
5
135
QB
Iowa
5
140
LB
Oregon State
6
199
DL
Mississippi
7
223
RB
Yale
» Chiefs' pick-by-pick analysis

Kansas City Chiefs: B-

Scott Pioli and Todd Haley have rebuilt the Chiefs quickly by inserting young players into key roles. The offense took a flyer on Jonathan Baldwin at the bottom of the first round to complement Dwayne Bowe in the passing game. Baldwin has the size, athleticism and potential to blossom into a big-time player under Haley's tutelage. The Chiefs added two sleepers -- Rodney Hudson and Justin Houston -- with the ability to make immediate contributions as first-year starters. The team picked up quality depth in Jalil Brown and Ricky Stanzi. If either develops into a starter, the Chiefs will have made out like bandits when we look back on this draft class.

Key picks:

Round 1 (26th overall): Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
Baldwin has remarkable athleticism and skills, but hasn't been consistent throughout his career. However, his potential is off the charts, and he could become a difference maker in the Chiefs' vertical passing game.

Round 2 (55th overall): Rodney Hudson, OL, Florida State
Hudson brings strength, power and toughness to the interior of their offensive line as a potential guard or center. This should help Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones find plenty of running room between the tackles.

Round 3 (70th overall): Justin Houston, LB, Georgia
Houston is an explosive pass rusher with the initial quickness and burst to consistently pressure the passer off the edges. Though he suffered a dramatic slip on draft day due to some character concerns, he gives them a big-time playmaker along their defensive front.

Raiders' draft picks
Rd
Sel. #
Player
Pos.
School
2
48
OL
Penn State
2
81
DB
Miami (Fla.)
3
92
OL
LSU
4
113
DB
Ohio State
4
125
RB
Eastern Washington
5
148
WR
Tennessee
6
181
TE
Miami (Fla.)
7
241
WR
USC
» Raiders' pick-by-pick analysis

Oakland Raiders: C+

Al Davis will always ensure that the Raiders' roster is full of explosive athletes with speed to burn. He continued that trend with a draft class that features some of the fastest players at each of their respective positions. DeMarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa are blazers in the secondary, and their upside is through the roof. Taiwan Jones and Denarius Moore are potential playmakers capable of producing explosive plays with the ball in their hands. Without a first-round selection, the Raiders were unable to add a blue chip player on the offensive line, but Stefen Wisniewski and Joe Barksdale are intriguing developmental options. While the addition of Richard Seymour via trade (in 2009 for a 2011 first-round pick) certainly adds value to this year's draft class, the impact of this crew will be felt down the road after they grow into their respective roles.

Key picks:

Round 2 (48th overall): Stefen Wisniewski, OL, Penn State
As a tough, hard-nosed blocker with strength and power, Wisniewski gives the team a forceful presence on the interior. His ability to maul defenders will remind some of his uncle (Steve Wisniewski) and help the Raiders maintain their prolific running ways.

Round 3 (81st overall): Demarcus Van Dyke, DB, Miami (Fla.)
Van Dyke was one of the swiftest defensive backs at the NFL Scouting Combine, and he has the potential to develop into a quality backup corner in time.

Round 3 (92nd overall): Joseph Barksdale, OL, LSU
Barksdale has played on both sides of the line but could compete for playing time as a right tackle early in his career. He is the kind of rugged blocker that Hue Jackson prefers along his front line.

Chargers' draft picks
Rd
Sel. #
Player
Pos.
School
1
18
DT
Illinois
2
50
DB
Clemson
2
61
LB
Michigan
3
82
WR
San Diego State
3
89
DB
USC
6
183
RB
Connecticut
6
201
OL
Michigan
7
234
LB
Missouri
» Chargers' pick-by-pick analysis

San Diego Chargers: B-

A.J. Smith has never been afraid to step out on a limb to take a player who fits an assigned role on the roster. This year, he made fortifying the Chargers' special teams a priority after watching them struggle mightily a season ago. Corey Liuget won't contribute much to the kicking game, but his combination of size and athleticism will aide a defense that has been lacking a dominant five-technique. Jonas Mouton and Shareece Wright will provide depth to the unit, but their biggest contributions will come as core members of the special teams. Vincent Brown and Jordan Todman are underrated players with big-time potential. This draft will certainly not draw rave reviews by those looking for star power, but the collection of role players will address the team's kicking woes and give the team another shot to make a run at an elusive Super Bowl title.

Key picks:

Round 1 (18th overall): Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
Liuget has the potential to play multiple positions along the Chargers' front with his outstanding blend of size, strength and power. He is a capable run defender with the potential to be an impact pass rusher as well.

Round 2 (50th overall): Marcus Gilchrist, DB, Clemson
Gilchrist has the ability to play corner or safety in their scheme and adds tremendous depth to their back end. He should be an immediate contributor as a sub-package defender.

Round 3 (82nd overall): Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego State
Brown catches the ball as well as any receiver in the draft but lacks the speed to separate from tight coverage. However, he has the skills to be an effective slot receiver with the potential to be a solid third or fourth receiver in the lineup.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

 

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