With this draft finally over its nice to look back at previous draft classes.
When talking about the draft, the key thing to remember is that grading it right afterwards isn't smart. Its pointless, you don't know who will succeed and who won't, so really its a potential grade and anybody has the potential to do anything. A class tends to peak after being in the league for three years and now that we're heading into the fourth year, time to look back at our own 2008 Draft.
Why was this one the best out of every other in the league? It just was. The amount of talent and hits is incredible, and the only other class that can compare is Atlanta's and that has more to do with Matt Ryan and Cutis Lofton then anybody else in their draft(Sam Baker their other pick in the first, is the biggest weakness on their line).
Its one of the key reasons for our success so far, and I'm quick to point this out to people when they say our 2010 draft class was the best we've had in a long time. King Carl and Herm Edwards really nailed that last draft, and I at least got to hand it to him. They went out with a Bang
1A) Glenn "The Swamp Thing" Dorsey LSU
With our first pick we grab the star LSU Defensive Lineman, although he isn't what everybody thought he'd be, you still hear the "Trade him away" talk from time-to-time, he's a more then solid player. Our best Defensive Lineman has adjusted nicely to the 3-4 End spot and is a cornerstone of our defense, and one of the many reasons for our great season last year. He's not going to put up the best stats, but will do his job, and do it extremely well.
Grade: B (A good player, but not exactly Top 5 Elite either, but then again DEs in a 3-4 rarely are like that)
1B) Branden Albert OT Virginia
This was a pick that we got for Jared Allen to go to Minnesota, after trading up with Detroit. A LG at Virginia people questioned whether he could handle the transition LT spot. Well he's done so marvelously, and I know people that put him on their top LT lists. He's still growing into the position, but he's a BEAST of a run blocker and is one of the main reasons that our running game was tops of the league last year. Again there is talk of moving him, but I think he's solidly our LT moving forward, though at Guard I think he could go All-Pro.
Grade: A (Great Tackle, Versatile, Run Blocking is amazing, could use some work but this in combination with Charles gives it an A)
2) Brandon "Brightside" Flowers CB Virginia Tech
Homerun hit here, Flowers was rated a first round prospect but fell for a variety of reasons. One he's short at 5'9, two he ran a slow 40 at a cool 4.55(Still fast for normal human standards) even his pro day it was at that speed, three he came from Virginia Tech. So a combination of all those things dropped him off people's boards in the first and he landed right in our laps in the 2nd. What a mistake that was for everyone else(Looks at the Chargers and laughs) Flowers technique and feet are more then sound. His tackling for a corner is a rarity, and is at a Charles Woodson level. Even the shiftiest of RBs can't escape, I get visions of him taking out Darren Sproles on the Monday Night game. What he lacks in the 40 he makes up for in short spaces, his 10 yard split is .01 seconds slower then Jamaal Charles' for pete's sake. He's a top 5-7 Corner in the NFL today, and although he gets injured every now and then and is extremely underrated, at his peak he's a shutdown corner.
Grade: A+++ (Top 5 Corner in the 2nd? Yeah how could I not give this grade, just makes it even better that the Chargers skipped on him)
3A) Jamaal Charles RB Texas
Awww yeaaa, the one the only, Jamaal Charles was drafted here with the 3rd Round pick we got from Minnesota. He came out too early I'm afraid, some thought he could have been a top pick if had stayed another year in school. Stuck on the depth chart his first year behind 2.7, he worked his tail off until he got to the starting position and well you know the story from there. Consistent yardage, ELITE vision, and ELITE speed, and one of the best at catching the football Jamaal is a top 5 back in this league. Nearly breaking the YPC and YAG records, he looks to have a long and fruitful career in the Chiefs two back set, especially if we can get that passing game to open up a bit. All-in-all great picks here, Jared Allen for Albert and Charles? I can definitely dig it.
Grade: A++++ (He had issues with fumbleitis and blocking but his talent cannot be denied, and in the 3rd can I get steal? I've always wondered why we didn't use him more on STs early in his career though.)
3B) Brad Cottam TE Tennessee
First real bad pick of this draft. Looked like a good pick at the time, tall, athletic and sitting behind the GOAT it seemed like he was going to take over and fill in nicely once TG was gone. But that wasn't to be, and in 09 he got a severe neck injury that most likely ended his career. We had a chance to tender him this offseason and we didn't IIRC.
Grade: D (Had his moments but overall was unspectacular, though if he hadn't gotten injured it makes you wonder)
3C) Dajuan Morgan DB NC State
Knew I was forgetting something, another pick we got in the 3rd round, didn't pan out so good. He was a back-up for a while but was cut from the team in 2010.
Grade: F (Wasn't a very good player, and is now out of the league.
4) William Franklin WR Missouri
Local scrub, couldn't make the team in the 2nd year. Bounced around the league for a few years and is now out of it.
Grade: F (No explanation really, though I do have to say that most of the 4th round of this draft was turrible)
5) Brandon Carr CB Grand Valley State
Well lets just say Herm Edwards knows how to scout for DB talent. Reportedly this is the only guy he was targeting with the 5th round pick, and it has paid dividends. Although he came in athletically gifted, he was a raw player. But by the 2nd year he was starting next to Flowers, and put through the ringer because of it. By his 3rd year with brand new DB coach in Emmitt Thomas, his production increased exponentially. He was getting his hand on the ball damn near every game in the latter half of the season and was shutting down WRs(Reggie Wayne comes to mind), and when Brightside was injured he stepped his game up and had an even better overall year then Flowers. FootballOutsiders even had him rated as a Top 10 Corner. Was tendered with a first and I believe his ceiling is very high, before you know it we'll have the best secondary in the league here rather quickly.
Grade: A (Grand Valley State? For all of Herm's faults, I'd love to have him come in and be a DB coach/Scout, a real nice gem here in the 5th)
6) Barry Richardson OT Clemson
Beast of a run blocker, Richardson was stuck on the depth chart till 2010 where Ryan O'Cal was slated to be the starter until a TC injury. From there B-Rich never looked back taking the starting spot and holding onto it all year long. He had his issues, pass blocking being a main one, but when your team is primarily running the football he's a guy to have on the field. Although Chiefs fans had about written him off this season, Pioli seems to trust him enough that they didn't draft any Tackles in the draft to replace him. A year of film can really help him out, and the ferocity he has of holding onto the RT spot is not to be trifled with. Draft profiles said he lacked intensity, and it seems that was a farce indeed.
Grade: B+ (In Run blockng he excels, but I'd like to see him get better at pass blocking especially against speed rushers, but when you're talking about a 6th round RT he's pretty damn good)
7) Brian Johnson DE & Mike Merritt FB/TE
Might as well group them together, nothing noteworthy here. Were off the team rather quickly.
Grade: F (Again no explanation really needed, Johnson was on the Dolphins last I heard)
So all in all this draft gets a resounding A. We found Bookend tackles, a great Defensive lineman, a top 5 RB & Corner and a Top 20 Corner. Getting hits with your first 4 picks is rare, and they went above and beyond expectations. Carr and Richardson are nice additions at the end, especially because finding contributing, starting players late is rare to begin with. 3 years later you can begin to see the ramifications of a good draft class, when even last year it was in doubt and many of these guys were on the Trade Away Bandwagons.
Now if this draft can be anywhere near as successful as this one, we might just have ourselves a football team.