After three days of drafting bliss, the 32 teams of the National Football League can now move towards building their rosters for the 2010 season.
Now is the time to reflect upon this year’s draft, and determine the winners and losers.
While I loved Dallas adding Dez Bryant and Sean Lee, the Cowboys didn’t make my list.
Carolina didn’t either, even after adding Jimmy Clausen with pick #48.
Neither did the AFC powerhouses – not the Indianapolis Colts, even after picking up Jerry Hughes and Pat Angerer – or the Patriots either, who as always, manipulated the draft with a plethora of picks.
So who DID make my list? Here’s the countdown of my top ten:
KP’s Top Ten NFL Draft Classes for 2010
10. CHICAGO BEARS
The Bears had to salvage value with the few picks they had in play – and they did that by filling needs, adding Florida’s Major Wright for help at the safety position, plus the supremely talented DE Corey Wootton (Northwestern) – who only fell due to a recent knee injury.
On top of that, Chicago added Dan LeFevour (Central Michigan), who under Mark Martz could develop into a QB of the future.
9. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Philadelphia had a high volume of picks – adding more value and depth to an already successful team. The biggest need was the linebacker position, where the Eagles traded up to get stud OLB Brandon Graham (Michigan), plus added Keenan Clayton (Oklahoma) in the later rounds.
On top of that, Philadelphia added underrated Northwestern QB Mike Kafka and explosive WR Riley Cooper (Florida). Nate Allen also fills a hole at the safety position.
8. CLEVELAND BROWNS
New head man Mike Holmgren had a solid draft in Cleveland, filling needs at the QB, WR and S positions. Joe Haden (Florida) was the first round pick that will add much needed depth to the secondary, and T.J. Ward and Larry Asante both are talented safeties.
The Browns also added talent on offense, getting Carlton Mitchell (South Florida), who has drawn comparisons to Brandon Marshall on the field. Cleveland got QB Colt McCoy (Texas) with the 85th pick – a leader that I do see having success, no matter what his size is (Hey, Drew Brees got it done).
7. DENVER BRONCOS
Many have the Broncos as a bust – but I don’t see it that way at all. While Denver didn’t fill a need in the middle of its defense, they added plenty elsewhere. With the departure of Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler, there was a need at the QB and WR positions.
While the addition of Tim Tebow (Florida) has been trashed by many, I like the move – and here’s an additional description as to why. I love the WR additions of Demaryius Thomas (Georgia Tech) and Eric Decker (Minnesota), plus Jammie Kirlew (DE, Indiana) is a disruptive force and could be a late-round steal.
6. DETROIT LIONS
Many see the Lions as the joke of the NFL, but mark my words – it won’t be that way for long. Detroit continues to make solid decisions – and this draft is another example of it.
Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska) seems like the best bet for sure thing this draft and trading up for Cal RB Jahvid Best was a sneaky-good pick considering some of the injury issues Kevin Smith has had. In addition, Amari Spievey (CB, Iowa) and Jason Fox (OT, Miami) were needs that will bring depth and talent to the Motor City.
5. BALTIMORE RAVENS
It was beginning to become obvious that the Ravens’ once powerful defense was aging and losing a step or two. The need was there to beef up and add some life, and Baltimore did just that – adding supreme talents – and massive bodies, too.
Sergio Kindle (OLB, Texas) fell into the second round due to some knee concerns, but it was a worthwhile risk. Terrence Cody (DT, Alabama) and Arthur Jones (DT, Syracuse) add some size to the defensive front and don’t discount the selection of Dennis Pitta (TE, BYU), who was college football’s top tight end in 2009.
4. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The Chiefs had a lot of needs entering the draft – most glaringly on the offensive line and at the safety position. Eric Berry (S, Tennessee) looks like he’s going to be a star, and has drawn comparisons to Baltimore’s Ed Reed. Jon Asamoah (Illinois) is an underrated guard and Tony Moeaki (TE, Iowa) only dropped in the draft due to injury concerns.
Finally, Kansas City added two explosive weapons in Dexter McCluster (RB, Ole Miss) and special teams machine Javier Arenas (CB, Alabama).
3. ST. LOUIS RAMS
Like the Chiefs, St. Louis entered the draft with needs all over the field – most of which they addressed on draft day. Obviously, top pick Sam Bradford (Oklahoma) has the talent to be a franchise QB for years to come. In addition, the undersized WR Mardy Gilyard (Cincinnati) does nothing but make plays, and I think he’ll eventually be considered a steal for years to come.
Speaking of steals, the Rams added two in the 7th round – George Selvie (DE, South Florida) and former college walk-on Josh Hull (ILB, Penn State). Roger Saffold (Indiana) and Mike Hoomanawanui (TE, Illinois) are two additional Big Ten talents that add extra depth.
2. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
New Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had a great draft day, not only adding quality picks, but also trading for RB LenDale White and RB Leon Washington.
Regarding Seattle’s draft selections, first round picks Russell Okung (OT, Oklahoma State) and Earl Thomas (S, Texas) both seem headed for success. Corner Walter Thurmond adds depth to the secondary and Golden Tate (WR, Notre Dame) looks like he’ll wreak havoc on the football field for years to come.
1. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Many had the 49ers ranked in the middle of the pack – but I have Mike Singletary and company as this year’s NFL Draft winner. San Francisco’s primary need entering the draft was depth on the offensive line, and the 49ers added two via the first round in Anthony Davis (OT, Rutgers) and Mike Iupati (OG, Idaho).
Singletary also added his staple of passion, ferocity and toughness when he added USC safety Taylor Mays (a guy he can push toward greatness) and the talented OLB Navorro Bowman (Penn State).
The 49ers filled all their major needs with value picks – and Mike Singletary should be very happy headed into 2010.