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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Rating the Raiders AFC West Rivals First-Round

Just because the Raiders haven't made a pick yet doesn't mean I can't give out some 2011 NFL Draft grades. So, here we go—AFC West style. Denver: F! Kansas City: F! San Diego: F! They all failed miserably, and they should probably just stop being football teams and become royal wedding planners or something useful like a team of seppuku performers.

Now that I have that out of the way I am going to pretend I am objective. Let's review our frightened rivals first-round activity.


Denver Broncos (2010 record vs. Raiders, 0-2):

No. 2: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M

For weeks it was seen as a lock that the Broncos would take Marcell Dareus. Then in the 24 hours leading up to the draft people started whispering they were taking Miller. Miller is a beast. He is universally regarded as the best pass rusher in the draft.

Miller is coming from a 3-4 system, and it seemed he would be a better fit for that system in the NFL. But this guy is such an amazing athlete I don't think it is going to matter. John Fox had this to say after the selection:

"He’s a big playmaker and a leader who is explosive. It’s crucial in this league to be able to rush the passer and Von adds that dimension to our defense. He’s also able to drop back into pass coverage. There’s no doubt that his versatility is going to make us a better football team."

Miller will likely be used as the Raiders used Kamerion Wimbley. He will be a SAM on first and second downs and a DE on passing third downs, and if Elvis Dumervil returns to 2009 form that is going to be a scary pass rush. Jason Campbell is not a big fan of this pick, but Darren McFadden and Michael Bush are.

While there is no doubting Miller as a player, there is some question about them passing on Dareus. This pick does nothing to bolster their poor run defense, and it does nothing to fill the two huge holes they have at defensive tackle. I'd look for them to go for Marvin Austin with their first pick in the second.

Grade: B+

No. 18. San Diego Chargers (2010 record vs. Raiders, 0-2):

This draft seem to set up perfectly for the Chargers. Cameron Jordan slipped down, and was just sitting there waiting for the Bolts to take him. He iss the perfect fit for their 3-4 end need, and he was also a candidate for best player available. Instead they passed on Jordan and went with Corey Liuget.

Liuget was also a solid value for the 18th pick, but he seems to be a better fit for a 4-3. At 6'2" and 300 pounds he is a little short for a 3-4 end and too light for a nose tackle. He is not going to generate much of a pass rush, but he is going to take up some blockers. He is also going to be a tremendous presence in the run game. He adds an element of toughness that the weak Chargers have lacked. He is strong and he plays with attitude.

Grade: B

No. 21 then 27 and then hurry up, 26: Kansas City Chiefs (2010 record vs. Raiders, 0-2):

The Chiefs picked up an extra third-round selection by dropping six spots. They then picked up an extra spot, because the Bears and Ravens couldn't get their trade done. The Chiefs then hustled up their draft card so they could hurry and take a player no one else was likely to select in the top 50. In fact, on Arrowehead Pride they had selected Jon Baldwin in the second-round of their mock.

Baldwin is 6'4" and 228 pounds. He runs close to a 4.4 40. However, it takes him a bit to get there, and he is not the best route runner. He also has some serious effort and character concerns. I have to admit this move is a head scratcher. Yes, the Chiefs needed another receiver, but he is not the pure stretch the field type many thought they needed.

While they did trade down, they could have dropped a lot further, or moved up in the second if they were worried about him being gone. They are loaded with picks. They now have eight left. Plain and simple, the Chiefs did not maximize their value with this selection. The extra third they did acquire saves them from a F.

Grade: C-