Perhaps the only thing more impressive about the NFL draft than the amount of time it takes to complete all seven rounds is the amount of grades produced in the aftermath of each selection. The draft’s winners and losers are decided before any pick plays a down of professional football.
For all the immediate evaluation that is done, it is impossible to fairly assess a draft class without data and the gift of time. Starting with 2010, 110 Sports is going back and grading every NFL draft of the past decade on a team-by-team basis.
These grades are based first and foremost on production. Other factors were taken into consideration, but the primary goal is figuring out how successful teams were at identifying talent.
Up first in the 2010 NFL Draft re-grade is the AFC East.
*All stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com and accurate through the end of the 2019 season.
Picks: RB C.J. Spiller (9th overall), DT Torrell Troup (41), DE Alex Carrington (72), WR Marcus Easley (107), OT Ed Wang (140), LB Arthur Moats (178), DE Danny Batten (192), QB Levi Brown (2009), OT Kyle Calloway (216)
Best pick: Arthur Moats
Moats appeared in at least 14 games all eight of his seasons with the Bills and Steelers. He had 54 tackles his last season in Buffalo and four sacks each of his first two years with Pittsburgh. Moats ended his career with 121 games played, 228 total tackles, 16.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. Not too shabby for a sixth-round pick.
Worst pick: Torrell Troup
Troup played in 15 games as a rookie, recording 23 tackles. He was placed on injured reserve in August 2012 and released by the Bills a year later. The Raiders signed him to a reserve/future contract in 2014 but let him go before the season started. Troup appeared in a total of 21 games, all in his first two seasons.
Spiller did accumulate 2,177 rushing yards over a two-year stretch and earn an invitation to the Pro Bowl in 2012. He never rushed for more than 300 yards in a season after 2013 though. Only Spiller, Carrington and Moats played in at least 50 games. Wang, Batten, Brown and Calloway combined for two appearances between them. Finding Moats late and Spiller’s brief time as a high-level running back keep the grade from slipping any lower.
Picks: DE Jared Odrick (28), LB Koa Misi (40), OT John Jerry (73), LB A.J. Edds (119), DB Nolan Carroll (145), DB Reshad Jones (163), DE Chris McCoy (212), LB Austin Spitler (252)
Best pick: Reshad Jones
Since Jones entered the NFL, three defensive backs have more total tackles than he does: Antoine Bethea, Eric Weddle and Malcom Jenkins. Those three players have 12 Pro Bowl appearances among them. Jones, who has spent his entire 10-year career in Miami, has four seasons with at least three interceptions and three seasons with over 100 tackles. He made the Pro Bowl in 2015 and 2017.
Worst pick: A.J. Edds
The other five players the Dolphins took in the first five rounds made an average of 82 starts in their career. Edds never started a game and only played in 17. He tore his ACL during training camp as a rookie and was waived before making a single appearance for the team. Edds bounced around practice squads and active rosters for four seasons. He last played for the Jaguars in 2014.
Miami took five players who made more than 50 starts and played in over 80 games. Everyone except Edds and McCoy appeared in at least 50 games. Jones is a multi-time Pro Bowler and Jerry started all 16 games on five different occasions. They have both started over 100 games in their careers. Odrick and Misi produced 35 sacks between them. It’s hard to ask for anything more from an eight-person draft class without a pick in the top 25.
New England Patriots
Picks: DB Devin McCourty (27), TE Rob Gronkowski (42), LB Jermaine Cunningham (53), LB Brandon Spikes (62), WR Taylor Price (90), TE Aaron Hernandez (113), P Zolton Mesko (150), C/OG Ted Larsen (205), OT Thomas Welch (208), DE Brandon Deaderick (247), DT Kade Weston (248), QB Zac Robinson (250)
Best pick: Rob Gronkowski
Nobody has more touchdown catches in the last 10 seasons than Gronkowski’s 79. Even with his injuries, he finished with more than 500 receiving yards all nine seasons he played. Gronk is a four-time First Team All-Pro with four seasons of over 1,000 receiving yards. He caught at least 10 touchdown passes five times. Gronkowski revolutionized the tight end position and retired before he turned 30. After a year off, he’s back to make this pick look even better, if that’s possible.
Worst pick: Taylor Price
Price was inactive until Week 17 of his rookie season. He played three games for New England in 2011 before the team waived him. The Jaguars claimed him off waivers and he made two appearances for Jacksonville. That was the last time he played in a regular season game. Price ended his career with five receptions for 80 yards.
The tragic unraveling of Hernandez’s life can’t be ignored and absolutely taints the legacy of this draft class. That being said, from a draft pick value standpoint, New England got a future Hall of Famer and another multi-time Pro Bowler after pick 25. Larsen never played for the Patriots but has 88 starts in his 10-year career. Together, these 12 players have appeared in 710 games and made 453 starts.
New York Jets
Picks: DB Kyle Wilson (29), OT/OG Vlad Ducasse (61), RB Joe McKnight (112), FB John Conner (139)
Best pick: Vlad Ducasse
Ducasse lasted three more seasons, played in 15 more games and made 19 more starts than any of the other three players the Jets drafted. He started at least eight games every season from 2015 to 2018, his last year in the NFL. Ducasse was released by the Bills on August 11, 2019.
Worst pick: Kyle Wilson
Members of the Jets coaching staff viewed Wilson as a steal following his performance in minicamp as a rookie. He played in at least 15 games all six years he was in the NFL yet only made more than six starts once. After Wilson’s first three seasons, he started five of the 47 games he appeared in. The gift of time has provided quite a different perspective on Wilson’s career than the one his coaches had heading into his rookie season.
The Jets may have only had four selections, but they were all inside the top 140. They ended up with four players who hung around for a while as depth pieces. Everything about this group screams average: no catastrophic misses, no players that stand out. Any team with two picks in the first two rounds should expect more.
Photo by Marianne O’Leary / Flickr