2009 AFC Draft Recap

NFL Combine Overcoming Odds Football
AFC East:

Miami Dolphins:

Grade: B+

Round 1 – Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
Round 2 – Pat White, QB, West Virginia
Round 2B – Sean Smith, CB, Utah
Round 3 – Patrick Turner, WR, USC
Round 4 – Brian Hartline, WR, Ohio St.
Round 5 – John Nalbone, TE, Monmouth
Round 5B – Chris Clemons, FS, Clemson
Round 6 – Andrew Gardner, OT, Georgia Tech
Round 7 – J.D. Folsom, LB, Weber St.

Overview: Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano did a nice job of mixing need in with value. It was clear that their needs coming in were WR and CB, and they addressed those with two picks each early in the draft. Pat White was a good example of drafting for value. I’m sure Sparano has already game planned various ways of integrating him into the offense.

Best Pick: Vontae Davis – Davis is a naturally gifted corner whose only concerns are character and work ethic issues. Parcells’ presence should keep him playing hard, and they’ll get the most out of him.

Sleeper Pick: Patrick Turner – Has tremendous size and hands, which could lead to him developing into a very good redzone threat.

New England Patriots:

Grade: B

Round 2 – Patrick Chung, S, Oregon
Round 2B – Ron Brace, DT, Boston College
Round 2C –Darius Butler, CB, UCONN
Round 2D – Sebastian Vollmer, OL, Houston
Round 3 – Brandon Tate, WR, North Carolina
Round 3B – Tyron McKenzie, OLB, South Florida
Round 4 – Rich Ohrnberger, OG, Penn St.
Round 5 – George Bussey, OL, Louisville
Round 6 – Jake Ingram, LS, Hawaii
Round 6B – Myron Pryor, DT, Kentucky
Round 7 – Julian Edelman, QB, Kent St.
Round 7B – Darryl Richard, DT, Georgia Tech

Overview: The Patriots understand the draft process better than any other team. Instead of paying first round picks big money, they trade back and draft the best players available, and pay them less money. They did a very good job of filling their needs in the defensive backfield, as well as shoring up the depth along the offensive and defensive lines.

Best Pick: Darius Butler – Butler looked outstanding in his workouts, and Belichek is expecting him to start right away after trading Ellis Hobbs.

Sleeper Pick:
Brandon Tate – A devastating knee injury led him to fall in the draft, but he was once projected as a first round pick.

New York Jets:

Grade: C+

Round 1 – Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
Round 3 – Shonn Greene, RB, Iowa
Round 6 – Matt Slauson, OG, Nebraska

Rex Ryan and the Jets feel that they are very close, which led them to trade up a lot to get their franchise pivot. They also traded up to get running back Shonn Greene in the third round. This draft will hinge on whether Mark Sanchez becomes the player the Jets expect him to be.

Best Pick: Mark Sanchez – I really believe this kid is going to be special, and it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure of New York.

Sleeper Pick:
Shonn Greene – Had outstanding production at the college level, and with both Thomas Jones and Leon Washington needing new contracts next year he could be the future at the position.

Buffalo Bills:

Grade: B

Round 1 – Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn St.
Round 1B – Eric Wood, C, Louisville
Round 2 – Jairus Byrd, CB, Oregon
Round 2B – Andy Levitre, OL, Oregon St.
Round 4 – Shawn Nelson, TE, Southern Miss.
Round 5 – Nic Harris, S, Oklahoma
Round 6 – Cary Harris, CB, USC
Round 7 – Ellis Lankster, DB, West Virginia

Overview: The Bills got their man in Aaron Maybin, but he is very raw so it will be interesting to see how he can contribute immediately. After losing left tackle Jason Peters, they failed to find a future starter for that position, but they did get a couple of good linemen.

Best Pick: Aaron Maybin – Once he fills out a little bit, he could become a force off the edge to help a bad Bills pass rush.

Sleeper Pick: Shawn Nelson – The Bills offense needs a tight end and going into Senior Bowl week we knew he could catch the ball, but he also showed a willingness to block.

AFC South:

Tennessee Titans:

Grade: A-

Round 1 – Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
Round 2 – Sen-Derrick Marks, DT, Auburn
Round 3 – Jared Cook, TE, South Carolina
Round 3B – Ryan Mouton, CB, Hawaii
Round 4 – Gerald McRath, LB, Southern Miss.
Round 4B – Troy Kropog, OT, Tulane
Round 5 – Javon Ringer, RB, Michigan St.
Round 6 – Jason McCourty, CB, Rutgers
Round 6B – Dominique Edison, WR, Stephen F Austin
Round 7 –Ryan Durand, OG, Syracuse
Round 7B – Nick Schommer, S, North Dakota St.

The Titans did a great job of filling some holes on offense and defense, and were able to focus on value, with few relative needs. Britt and Cook should be solid in the receiving game, while they hope Marks can help ease the loss of Haynesworth. Ringer and Kropog are outstanding value in the fourth and fifth.

Best Pick:
Jared Cook – this former wide receiver tore up the combine, and his former college coach compared him to Calvin Johnson coming out. Could just be a workout warrior, though.

Sleeper Pick:
Gerald McRath – was the leader of the defense in college, and is a very rangy playmaker. Is undersized, but could wind up as the starter at middle linebacker eventually.

Indianapolis Colts:

Grade: B

Round 1 – Donald Brown, RB, UCONN
Round 2 – Fili Moala, DT, USC
Round 3 – Jerraud Powers, CB, Auburn
Round 4 – Ausin Collie, WR, BYU
Round 5 – Terrance Taylor, DT, Michigan
Round 6 – Curtis Painter, QB, Purdue
Round 7 – Pat McAfee, P, West Virginia
Round 7B – Jamie Thomas, OT, Maryland

Overview: Bill Polian is a notoriously great evaluator of talent, and does a great job of filling all of the holes through the draft. Donald Brown is a workhorse who can carry some of the load in the run game, while Moala is very talented, and should help stop the run. Painter could develop into a quality back up, while Taylor is a run stuffer.

Best Pick: Donald Brown – He put up monstrous numbers in college, and it gives the Colts a nice one-two punch at running back with Addai.

Sleeper Pick: Curtis Painter – He can learn from the game’s best QB while holding the clipboard until Manning retires. He is also better insurance as a back up than Jim Sorgi, and has a lot of talent.

Houston Texans:

Grade: B+

Round 1 – Brian Cushing, LB, USC
Round 2 – Connor Barwin, DE, Cincinnati
Round 3 – Antoine Caldwell, OG, Alabama
Round 4 – Glover Quin, CB, New Mexico
Round 4B – Anthony Hill, TE, N.C. State
Round 5 – James Casey, TE, Rice
Round 6 – Brice McCain, CB, Utah
Round 7 – Troy Nolan, S, Arizona St.

Overview: The Texans used this draft to try and help their defense catch up to their potent offense. Cushing is a very hard worker who will fill the void at OLB, the only question is can he cover. Barwin is a freakish athlete who is capable of playing defensive end, tight end, and potentially linebacker. The Texans will probably use him at defensive end. They also grabbed the underrated Antoine Caldwell and James Casey on day two.

Best Pick: Brian Cushing – Cushing is a prototypical OLB that the Texans defense was missing. He should help out immediately.

Sleeper Pick: James Casey – Although he is already in his mid twenties, this former major league pitching prospect catches everything that comes near him.

Jacksonville Jaguars:

Grade: A-

Round 1 – Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
Round 2 – Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
Round 3 – Terrance Knighton, DT, Temple
Round 3B – Derek Cox, CB, William & Mary
Round 4 – Mike Thomas, WR, Arizona
Round 5 – Jarett Dilliard, WR, Rice
Round 6 – Zach Miller, TE, Nebraska-Omaha
Round 7 – Rashad Jennings, RB, Liberty
Round 7B – Tiquan Underwood, WR, Rutgers

Overview: The Jags use their first two picks on offensive tackles to give themselves plenty of flexibility this season, especially after signing free agent Tra Thomas as well. After whiffing on first round receivers in the past, the Jags elected to try and address that need later in the draft this time around. Thomas and Dilliard are both undersized Wes Welker types who put up massive stats in college, while Jennings tore it up against lesser competition at Liberty.

Best Pick: Eugene Monroe – Monroe is the prototypical left tackle who should start from day one.

Sleeper Pick: Rashad Jennings – He tore it up at a small school, so it will be interesting to see how he does against top competition. Could be a good replacement for Fred Taylor.

AFC North:

Pittsburgh Steelers:

Grade: B

Round 1 – Evander “Ziggy” Hood, DT, Mizzou
Round 3 – Kraig Urbik, OT, Wisconsin
Round 3B – Mike Wallace, WR, Ole Miss.
Round 3C – Keenan Lewis, CB, Oregon St.
Round 5 – Joe Burnett, CB, Central Florida
Round 5B – Frank Summers, RB, UNLV
Round 6 – Ra’Shon Harris, DT, Oregon
Round 7 – A.Q. Shipley, C, Penn St.
Round 7B – David Johnson, TE, Arkansas St.

The Champs drafted some youth for their offensive and defensive line with their first two picks. Hood was an interior pass rusher in college, so the Steelers will probably elect to put him at DE, while Urbik is a classic, blue collar, Big Ten lineman. Wallace should replace Nate Washington as the third or fourth wide receiver, while Shipley should get on the field at some point in the next few years.

Best Pick:
Evander Hood – The Steelers line is aging, so Hood should bring some youth and athleticism and is great value at the end of the first.

Sleeper Pick:
Kraig Urbik – Is a very hard worker, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him starting at some point in his rookie year.

Baltimore Ravens:

Grade: B+

Round 1 – Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss.
Round 2 – Paul Kruger, DE, Utah
Round 3 – Ladarius Webb, CB, Nicholls St.
Round 5 – Jason Phillips, LB, TCU
Round 5B – Davon Drew, TE, East Carolina
Round 6 – Cedric Peerman, RB, Virginia

Overview: The Ravens jumped all over Oher when he fell, and that should pay off for them because it gives them two young, quality starters at the tackle position. Kruger and Phillips are smart, hard workers who will contribute immediately, while Peerman is great value in the sixth.

Best Pick: Michael Oher – This guy was being talked about as a top 25 talent, so to get him at 28 could be a steal, and they didn’t have to give up very much.

Sleeper Pick: Jason Phillips – An injury caused him to slide, but he is a heady player who will start on special teams and potentially get some playing time at linebacker.

Cincinnati Bengals:

Grade: A

Round 1 – Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
Round 2 – Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
Round 3 – Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
Round 3B – Chase Coffman, TE, Mizzou
Round 4 – Jonathan Luigs, C, Arkansas
Round 5 – Kevin Huber, P, Cincinnati
Round 6 – Morgan Trent, CB, Michigan
Round 6B – Bernard Scott, RB, Albeline Christian
Round 7 – Fui Vakapuna, RB, BYU
Round 7B – Clinton McDonald, DE, Memphis
Round 7C – Freddie Brown, WR, Utah

Overview: The Bengals got incredible value with all their picks all the way into the fourth round. Although Andre Smith was scrutinized at the combine, he is still a tremendous player. Maualuga and Johnson are potential steals in the second and third, while Luigs may be a starter from day one. Chase Coffman may just be the outstanding receiving tight end the offense has been missing.

Best Pick: Andre Smith – The Bengals now have their franchise left tackle to protect Carson Palmer.

Sleeper Pick: Chase Coffman – He is another player who fell because of injury, but he might have the best hands of any tight end in the draft.

Cleveland Browns:

Grade: C

Round 1 – Alex Mack, C, Cal
Round 2 – Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio St.
Round 2B – Mohamed Massaquoi
Round 4 – Kaluka Maiava, LB, USC
Round 6 – Don Carey, CB, Norfolk St.
Round 6B – Coye Francies, CB, San Jose St.
Round 6C – James Davis, RB, Clemson

Overview: The Browns traded back three times in round one before finally taking Alex Mack with their first pick. Although Mack is not flashy, he will really help the offensive line, and it saves them some money. Robiskie is a very solid prospect, Francies and Davis are potential steals in the sixth round.

Best Pick: Brian Robiskie – The son of Falcons wide receiver coach Terry Robiskie, he should be a consistent target for whoever is playing QB for the Browns next season.

Sleeper Pick: Coye Francies – Coming out of San Jose St. he was getting some hype, but he has the size and speed to be a starting corner.

AFC West:

San Diego Chargers:

Grade: B

Round 1 – Larry English, DE, Northern Illinois
Round 3 – Louis Vasquez, OG, Texas Tech
Round 4 – Vaughn Martin, DT, Western Ontario (Canada)
Round 4B – Tyronne Green, OG, Auburn
Round 4C – Gartrell Johnson, RB, Colorado St.
Round 5 – Brandon Hughes, CB, Oregon St.
Round 6 – Kevin Ellison, S, USC
Round 7 – Demetrius Byrd, WR, LSU

Overview: The Chargers needed to improve their pass rush after missing Merriman last season. Now not only will they get Merriman back, but English should be a contributor as well. Vasquez fills their void at right guard, while Vaughn Martin will be groomed to replace NT Jamal Williams. Johnson shined at the Senior Bowl, and both Ellison and Byrd are late round sleepers.

Best Pick: Larry English – Plays a lot like the Steelers Lamar Woodley, and like Woodley played defensive end in college.

Sleeper Pick: Gartrell Johnson – If Tomlinson cannot regain form, Johnson and Sproles may be the future of the running back position in San Diego.

Denver Broncos:

Grade: C+

Round 1 – Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
Round 1B – Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
Round 2 – Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest
Round 2B – Darcel McBath, DB, Texas Tech
Round 2C – Richard Quinn, TE, North Carolina
Round 4 – David Bruton, S, Notre Dame
Round 4B – Seth Olsen, OG, Iowa
Round 5 – Kenny McKinley, WR, South Carolina
Round 6 – Tom Brandstater, QB, Fresno St.
Round 7 – Blake Schlueter, C, TCU

The Broncos were wheeling and dealing on draft day, trading up twice in the second round. Moreno was a surprise after their free agent signings, while Ayers should start at defensive end. Alphonso Smith is very good, but is he worth the first rounder they gave up to get him? McBath is a ballhawking safety, and Quinn is one of the top blocking tight ends in the draft, with receiving upside.

Best Pick:
Robert Ayers – Tagged as a one year wonder, Ayers is explosive and has the size to play DE in the 3-4.

Sleeper Pick:
Tom Brandstater – Gives the Broncos a developmental guy that McDaniels can work his magic on, like he did with fellow sixth round pick Tom Brady.

Oakland Raiders:

Grade: D

Round 1 – Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
Round 2 – Mike Mitchell, S, Ohio
Round 3 – Matt Shaughnessy, DE, Wisconsin
Round 4 – Louis Murphy, WR, Florida
Round 4B – Slade Norris, DE, Oregon St.
Round 6 – Stryker Sulak, DE, Mizzou
Round 6B – Brandon Myers, TE, Iowa

Al Davis was up to his usual tricks, selecting players based more on measurables and timed speed, rather than college production. Heyward-Bey is an electrifying player, but has poor hands, and relatively little college production. Mitchell was projected as a seventh rounder, but an outstanding forty was enough for Al Davis to reach for him. Murphy is another speed guy to help out Jamarcus Russell.

Best Pick: Darrius Heyward-Bey – Hopefully for the Raiders, the fact that Maryland was more of a running team was the cause of Heyward-Bey’s low production, not lack of ability.

Sleeper Pick: Stryker Sulak – Great name, and hopefully he can recreate his college success for the Raiders.

Kansas City Chiefs:

Grade: C

Round 1 – Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
Round 3 – Alex Magee, DT, Purdue
Round 4 – Donald Washington, CB, Ohio St.
Round 5 – Colin Brown, OL, Mizzou
Round 6 – Quinten Lawrence, WR, McNeese St.
Round 7 – Javarris Williams, RB, Tennessee St.
Round 7B – Ryan Succop, K, South Carolina

Clearly Scott Pioli has realized the importance of the defensive line from his days in New England. Tyson Jackson will assume the role of Richard Seymour on the Patriots defensive line. Alex Magee is another player who fits into the 3-4.

Best Pick: Tyson Jackson – The Chiefs may have reached for him, but Pioli must be convinced that he will have a huge impact on the defense. After his days of drafting with Belichek in New England I will give Pioli the benefit of the doubt.

Sleeper Pick: Ryan Succop – Special teams was a problem spot for the Chiefs last season, Succop can kick and punt for the Chiefs.

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