The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft is over and that means one thing, it's time for grading the draft picks. Different people assign different grades to the various picks, but the results of the draft speak for themselves and ultimately, grades won't matter once football starts again in the fall. That assumes, of course, that the lockout and labor issues are resolved and football does actually start again in the fall. We've assembled a couple of report cards grading the results of the NFC West Round 1 draft picks.
Overall, the NFC West earned three "As", four "Bs", and one each "C" and "D". The worst grade assigned to an NFC West team for their first round pick goes to the San Francisco 49ers for their pick of Aldon Smith, DE from Missouri. The Cardinals pick, Patrick Peterson, earned an "A" and a "B+" in the two score cards we checked.
Here's the full grades for the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft for the NFC West.
SB Nation's Brian Galliford gave the following grades:
No.5: Arizona Cardinals: B+
The Cardinals made CB Patrick Peterson - arguably the best prospect available this year - the No. 5 overall pick. They'll team him with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to form one of the league's elite young cornerback tandems.
It should be noted that Galliford has the Cardinals taking Peterson in his final mock draft and yet only gave the pick a B+. What does that mean? Brian explains:
"For me, it was simply a matter of the position he plays that kept it out of an A grade. He's a phenomenal talent, but he's a cornerback. I think he's great value and the best pick they could've made, but cornerbacks - even ones as good as Peterson - are not every-down factors. That's all it was."
No. 7: San Francisco 49ers: B
Pre-draft, I had DE Aldon Smith as my top-rated defensive end. "Defensive end" is the operative term there; I think he'll struggle to stand up and play OLB. He's a good talent and character fit for Jim Harbaugh.
No. 14: St. Louis Rams: B+
DE Robert Quinn was an outstanding value pick with tremendous upside, and he also happens to be a perfect complement to Chris Long. The brain tumor scares me, but otherwise, this was a terrific pick.
No. 25: Seattle Seahawks: C
OT James Carpenter had been mentioned as a sleeper first-round candidate for weeks, and the Seahawks had a big need along the offensive line. Beyond that, it's just tough to get excited about this pick.
The second group of grades for the NFL Draft Round 1 picks from the NFC West comes from CBS Sports Pete Prisco:
No. 5: Cardinals select: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU - GRADE: A
I love Peterson. He is smooth, big and can cover. The Cardinals can pair him with Cromartie to form a heck of a cover combination.
No. 7: 49ers select: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri - GRADE: D
I think this is a risky pick. He is a bit overrated. He is somewhat tentative with contact coming at him. Why not a quarterback?
No. 14: Rams select: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina - GRADE: A
I love this pick. Steve Spagnuolo loves pass rushers and this is the best of the group.
No. 25: Seahawks select: James Carpenter, OT, Alabama - GRADE: B
I like this kid a lot. He was on my Better-than team. He was a left tackle, but will move to right tackle. Along with Russell Okung, they now have a nice pair of tackles.