2009 NFL Draft Grades: AFC Conference

Last Updated: April 28th, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

Yesterday we released how the NFC teams faired in the NFL Draft and today we take a look at how the AFC teams came away from the most important week of the off-season. Interestingly the AFC did a better job as a Conference with their draft selections as they have been known to do over the last few years. Also the AFC has won 7 of the last 9 Super Bowl Championships and it may be safe to say that performing well every year on Draft weekend could have some benefiting effects for the Conference.

Baltimore Ravens

Michael Oher was the last of the big 4 offensive linemen that received so much praise through the off-season. Oher has as much natural talent as any of them, but people question his work ethic. Paul Kruger will likely be a linebacker at the next level and he is an exciting player to watch who really gets after it. Ladarius Webb at the cornerback position will be a gamble with his size, but the class still comes out to be very solid. Overall Draft Grade: B+

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo is one of those teams that could have taken a better advantage of their drafting selections, but ended up having an average group of athletes. Aaron Maybin is a strong and quick linebacker that could even move up to the defensive end position in certain scenarios. However, Maybin maybe the type player that needs some time to develop. Outside of Maybin, only 3rd round pick Jairus Byrd has the potential to really make an impact which is rather disappointing considering the Bills had two first and second round selections. Overall Draft Grade: C-

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals may not have had the success on the field over the last few seasons, but they have been rather strong on drafting day the past few years. The Bengals picked up Andre Smith at number 6 who would likely been top two pick if he would not have had an awful off the field type issues during the off season. Rey Maualuga should be a solid player at linebacker and 3rd round selection Michael Johnson has tons of potential. Johnson has a lot of upside with a combination of speed and power that could mold him into one of the biggest success stories to come out of the 2009 rookie class. Overall Draft Grade: A

Cleveland Browns
The Browns put together a fairly good looking class. However, the only problem is that there are not any potential playmakers that jump out. Alex Mack was solid choice at center with a lot of strength and power. Brian Robiskie has a lot of question marks after lacking the speed many hoped he would have at the NFL combines. Mohamed Massaquoi has good hands and size that could earn some playing time in a few years time as well. Cleveland landed a lot of guys who will need a lot of work. Overall Draft Grade: C

Denver Broncos

The Broncos made many moves over the off-season to fill their need at running back which made their first round selection for RB Knowshon Moreno rather surprising. However, Moreno has the ability to turn any play into a highlight show with gifted quickness and surprising toughness for his size. The rest of the group has question marks which just add to the biggest question which is did Denver really benefit at all this off-season? Overall Draft Grade: D

Houston Texans

The Texans could have went after a defensive end with the first pick, but they got a solid linebacker in Brian Cushing. Cushing has good awareness and is can adapt to different schemes well. Houston backed up the defensive end need in the 2nd round selecting Connor Barwin. Barwin is one defensive end who has not gotten a lot of attention, but he is extremely athletic and possesses quality speed. Houston did a good job of filling needs on the defensive side of the ball, but some concerns for offensive depth may loom on the horizon. Overall Draft Grade: B

Indianapolis Colts

Donald Brown is just the type of running back that could be effective for the Colts. Brown is a hard runner that could be effective in the Colts offense. Any running back that can be effective for the Colts will be a plus and Brown could be a fitting match. Fili Moala has quick footwork for a defensive tackle, but may need more strength. CB Jerraud Powers is another defensive player that will need time to develop. Also, many experts believe the Colts could have gotten better results from taking a strong defensive lineman with their first selection rather than running back. However, still the Colts put together a good group of guys. Overall draft grade: B

Jacksonville Jaguars

Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton are huge additions along the offensive front. Considering the Jaguars gave up over 42 sacks last year, it is safe to say they addressed a big need. However, selecting WR Mike Thomas most likely will not fill the wide receiver need. Thomas is undersized only standing at 5-8. Jacksonville could be a very solid rushing team in the upcoming years and if they could somehow find a way to land a big time receiver then Jacksonville could be very dangerous offensively. Overall Draft Grade: A-

Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City was the 2nd worse overall defense last year and the Chiefs wasted no time to target the defensive side of the ball with their first 3 picks. Tyson Jackson was a great choice, but not with Aaron Curry still on the board. When two of your top 3 tacklers from last year are secondary players it is safe to say you need some help up front and in the middle. Tyson Jackson and Alex Magee should be able to anchor down the defensive front after some time to develop into quality players. The acquisition of Matt Cassel over the off-season should get the offense in the right direction, but they still need help on that side of the ball. Overall Draft Grade: B

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins got what should be a strong starter in their first selection with cornerback Vontae Davis. Most would agree to expect Davis to be one of the better cornerbacks in the league in a few years. However, the 2nd pick was a big gamble in QB Pat White. White led the West Virginia spread offense mostly by his legs. White will likely turn into a wide receiver that has a lot of speed, but how strong of a wide out he will turn out to be is the big question. Miami did better than most will give them credit for by adding some depth to the secondary and wide receiving groups. Overall Draft Grade: C-

New England Patriots

The Patriots did quite a good job with trading down to obtain two second round picks in 2010. Safety Patrick Chung selected in the first round should develop into a starter, but may take more time that most expect. CB Darius Butler is in similar situation, but expected to find the field. WR Brandon Tate is a big question mark. Tate could very well become a solid target at wide receiver or very well never be heard of again. The Patriots may not have gotten any immediate help, but they did get some talented youth. Overall Draft Grade B+

New York Jets

The Jets gave up their first and 2nd round picks along with other moves to get the number 5 overall selection to draft QB Mark Sanchez. Sanchez will become a starter and hopefully will fair better than the other Trojans quarterbacks over the last few years. Shonn Greene out of Iowa is a running back with a lot of upside and it would not be surprising to see him come on strong in a few years time. The move to get Sanchez was impressive and risky as they gave up some depth. However, the move very well could be worth the risk. Overall Draft Grade B+

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders have been heavily criticized for taking Maryland’s Darius Heyward-Bey over Michael Crabtree. However, Heyward-Bey has excellent speed and could be a down field threat very early in his career. Choosing Heyward-Bey over Crabtree is not nearly the mind boggling choice everyone has made it out to be, but rather a need for explosiveness. Drafting Michael Mitchell was rather shocking at the 2nd round as he probably would have been around for them to pick up later. The other WR drafted by the Raiders was Louis Murphy who could develop into an eventual starter despite being picked up late in the 4th round. Overall Draft Grade: D+

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers selected Evander Hood at DT in the first round. Hood like most of the selections has a considerable amount of concerns. The best selection out of the Steelers’ class could likely end up lying in 3rd round selection Mike Wallace. Wallace had a strong year in helping turnaround The Rebels under Houston Nutt. Wallace averaged 20.1 yards per reception and has lightning quick speed that will make him difficult to defend even against the speedy NFL defensive backs. In an overview, Pittsburgh could have very well sought after some more offensive players especially on the line. After all they already have the best defense in the NFL. Overall Draft Grade: C

San Diego Chargers

The Chargers drafted Larry English with their first round selection. While English is a solid player, San Diego could have done better with their 16th overall pick. The Chargers did go after some depth on the offensive line. Louis Vasquez and Tyronne Green were two offensive tackles who most people have not heard about, but they have some similar characteristics to be hard workers. One of these guys should develop into a starter while both should get playing time in the future. Overall Draft Grade: B-

Tennessee Titans

Tennessee did a great job of filling their needs in search of some talent at the receiver position. Kenny Britt continuously climbed up the draft boards and for good reason. He has solid combination of size and speed that could develop into a quality receiver. 3rd round selection Jared Cook could be another big time player. It is not very often you get a tight end that can touch a 4.4 in the 40 yard dash. Cook is a tall strong guy that presents a lot of mismatches for linebackers to try and pick up. Expect both of these receivers to make quick impacts. Overall Draft Grade: A-

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Posted in NFL Football - Last Updated on Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 @ 8:47 pm (EST)
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