So, after what seemed like an eternity, the 2011 NFL Draft finally happened, and there are plenty of us who are happy, and plenty who are not. What else is new in the Raider Nation, or any fan base, in the days after the draft...?
I'm not sold either way on the draft, either really excited or really bummed, because the usual happened: there is potential for the draft to be very, very good, and the same potential for it to be a lot of nothing.
On to my grades, individually and overall...
C Stefan Wisniewski - A
Not only the highest rated center on many/most draft sites, but also a position of need. I would be fine with his playing at either C or G, but it seems that Hue and Al have already decided that C is the higher priority. (I hope that means that they will be looking at G in FA) How often do you get the top-rated player at any position other than FB in the second round? Will be a starter from Day 1.
CB Demarcus Van Dyke - C
Not necessarily a bad pick, but it seems early, and a bit of a stretch. His 40-time is what got him drafted here; there were a number of higher rated DB's, on almost every draft site, that have started more, played more man, played more physically, and/or have better measurables other than pure speed. Not to knock speed, but there are other aspects to the game as well. This may turn out to be a great pick, but it could also be a missed gamble; either way, it will be a bit before he really sees a lot of the field, IMO, because he needs to get stronger and bigger. Still on the board: DB's Curtis Brown, Davon House, OG John Moffit.
OT Joseph Barksdale - B
Solid pick, a nice player with upside at a position of need. Also, the level of player at the position dropped sharply after Barksdale, so nice timing. I expect that Barksdale will be given every opportunity to start at RT, and that Campbell will be RG. Yes, a potentially dangerous combo, but one with excellent upside. Even as a rookie, Barksdale should be at least as effective as Walker, and see some playing time.
DB Chimdi Chekwa - B
To be honest, I think that Chekwa will be moved to FS, where some sites rated him in expectation of that move. He may also be looked at as DB, but that is my feeling. He shows skills, and may be able to clear out the logjam at FS, which would be a good thing. Even as a DB, I think that he will be able to stick and earn some playing time.
RB Taiwan Jones - B-
A burner, but also one that has had a number of health issues, and has a slender build. There is a real question of how much he will be able to play offense, as opposed to mostly ST. Likely no more than a third down back, which isn't a bad thing, but still a pick based on speed and potential (yes he was productive in college, but there is always a question about guys like this from FBS schools, and the level of competition). More of a ST guy this year, I think. Still on the board: OT Marcus Cannon, RB Jacquizz Rogers
WR Denarius Moore - B+
A nice pick here, BUT... yet another rookie addition to a very young WR corps that still has yet to produce. The bigger problem, in my mind at least, is the lack of improvement that has been shown under Lal. Bringing in another kid is not what I'd like to see, but that is an issue with the coaching, not the player. Could displace Schilens shortly; if he can clean up his routes and show that he can catch the ball (a problem with this position), he will see the field. Still on the board: OG Julian Vandervelde, OT DeMarcus Love, DB Chykie Brown
TE Richard Gordon - C-
The highest I was able to find him rated was 21st, and some didn't even have him on the board. Another pick likely based entirely on speed. Unproven as a receiver, with only 10 catches in 4 years, but he may be able to be developed into something. Still, there were other, more proven TE's available, and Gordon undoubtedly would have been available as a UFA. May make it past the cut, may not. Still on the board: OLB Greg Jones, RB Allen Bradford, TE Virgil Green, OT Derek Newton, FB Stanley Havili
WR David Ausberry - C-
Another pick that clearly could have been taken as a UFA; didn't get much time behind a solid WR corps at USC, but something of a tweener for the NFL. The highest I found him rated was at 68 as a WR, but at #9 as a FB. My guess is that he will be an H-back/TE, but will remain to be seen. Potential, but that's about all I can really say here; might make it on the roster, might not. Still on the board: C Kris O'Dowd, OG Justin Boren, OG Zach Hurd, C Jake Kirkpatrick, OLB Mark Herzlich
Overall grade: B-
Could this go higher? Absolutely, if players are able to step up and produce, as many of last year's rookies did. But, it also has the potential to drop, if some of these picks aren't able to handle to transition and/or turn potential into production. High upsides, which is good, but the flip side is that the team still has not proven itself, and taking so many with less production may turn out to leave current holes in the roster unfilled.
We'll see how it goes...
noontide's note: I tweaked signcut's title to fit the suggested SBN front page format. I would have asked you first signcut, but your email isn't in your profile. The original title was: The 2011 draft - grades, please. I also had to delete the poll. So, signcut if it bothers you let me know, and i'll revert back to your original, but I thought this was an good summary. And you can put your poll back up if you like just with the shorthand version of the explanation for the F grade.