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 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.
Without further ado, the 2010 NFL Draft re-grade for the AFC North.
*All stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com and accurate through the end of the 2019 season.
Picks: LB Sergio Kindle (43rd overall), DT Terrence Cody (57), TE Ed Dickson (70), TE Dennis Pitta (114), WR David Reed (156), DE Arthur Jones (157), OT Ramon Harewood (194)
Best pick: Dennis Pitta
It’s a toss-up between the two tight ends. Though his career only lasted six seasons, Pitta is right behind the nine-year pro Dickson in career receiving yards (2,098 to Dickson’s 2,128) and receiving touchdowns (13 to Dickson’s 15). Dickson’s best season came in 2011 when he caught 54 passes for 528 yards. Pitta topped that production in both 2012 (61 receptions, 669 yards) and 2016 (86 receptions, 729 yards), which is why he gets the nod.
Worst pick: Sergio Kindle
Kindle registered six solo tackles and 2.5 sacks in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game for Texas and was considered a first-round talent by most analysts. Two drunk driving arrests scared teams away until the Ravens took him 43rd. Kindle fell down two flights of stairs before his first training camp and fractured his skull. As a result, he did not play in an NFL game until Week 4 of the 2011 season. Kindle was on the Ravens’ practice squad by October 2012 and out of the NFL entirely by January 2013. It also doesn’t help that the player selected right before him happened to be Rob Gronkowski.
Dickson was the only player of this draft class to play in more than 70 games and the only one who was still active in 2018. Pitta had two outstanding seasons and that was about it. Kindle and Cody — Baltimore’s top two picks — didn’t last more than five seasons. Even without a first-rounder, four picks in the top 120 should produce better results.
Picks: TE Jermaine Gresham (21), DE Carlos Dunlap (54), WR Jordan Shipley (84), DB Brandon Ghee (96), DT Geno Atkins (120), LB Roddrick Muckelroy (131), OT Otis Hudson (152), WR Demon Briscoe (191), C Reggie Stephens (228)
Best pick: Geno Atkins
The numbers speak for themselves. In his 10 seasons with the Bengals, Atkins has more Pro Bowl selections (8) than games missed (7). He also boasts three seasons with double-digit sacks and was a First Team All-Pro in 2012 and 2015. Atkins’s 75.5 career sacks are the 15th-highest total in the NFL over the last decade and the most of any defensive tackle in that span.
Worst pick: Jordan Shipley
Shipley was the only one of Cincinnati’s first five picks who failed to last more than three seasons. He caught 53 passes as a rookie and played in 15 games. In Week 2 of the 2011 season, Shipley tore his ACL and MCL, causing him to miss the rest of the year. The Bengals waived him during the 2012 preseason and Tampa Bay claimed him three days later. He appeared in nine games with the Buccaneers and Jaguars in 2012 and never played in a regular season game again. Shipley officially retired on Feb. 18, 2014.
The Bengals are the only team that can claim to have drafted two players that rank in the top 15 in sacks in the last 10 seasons. Both players have spent their entire careers with the Bengals; their names are Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. Gresham played nine seasons, ending his career with 3,752 receiving yards, 29 receiving touchdowns and two Pro Bowl appearances. In this draft, the Bengals found three multi-time Pro Bowlers and eight players who lasted at least three seasons. The one notable flaw in the Bengals’ class is the fact that no one reached the 30-game mark in the NFL except Gresham, Dunlap and Atkins.
Picks: DB Joe Haden (7), DB T.J. Ward (38), RB Montario Hardesty (59), QB Colt McCoy (85), OG Shawn Lauvao (92), DB Larry Asante (160), WR Carlton Mitchell (177), DE Clifton Geathers (186)
Best pick: Joe Haden
Of the eight players the Browns drafted in 2010, only Haden and McCoy played in the NFL last season. McCoy served as Washington’s backup quarterback and saw action in one game. Haden started all 16 contests for the Steelers and made his third Pro Bowl. He picked off six passes as a rookie and has recorded at least three interceptions in a season six different times. He never quite lived up to his billing as a top-10 pick, but Haden’s put together an extremely solid 10-year career.
Worst pick: Montario Hardesty
Hardesty tore his ACL in his first preseason game and missed his entire rookie season. He played in 23 games over the next two years, rushing for 537 yards and scoring a single touchdown. In 2013, Hardesty was placed on injured reserve prior to the start of the regular season. The Browns released him just over a month later, marking the end of his NFL career.
Ward made two Pro Bowls and put together two seasons of multiple interceptions and over 100 tackles in his eight-year career. McCoy is a reliable backup about to enter his 11th NFL season who is the sole active quarterback from the 2010 draft class. Lauvao made 90 starts over nine years. Though Cleveland did not find any elite players with its five picks in the first three rounds, the Browns hit on four of the first five guys they took.
Picks: C Maurkice Pouncey (18), DE Jason Worilds (52), WR Emmanuel Sanders (82), DE Thaddeus Gibson (116), OG Chris Scott (151), DB Crezdon Butler (164), LB Stevenson Sylvester (166), RB Jonathan Dwyer (188), WR Antonio Brown (195), DT Doug Worthington (242)
Best pick: Antonio Brown
Is an explanation really necessary? Brown ranks first or second among NFL players in targets (1,283), receptions (841), receiving yards (11,263) and touchdown receptions (75) over the past 10 seasons. He made the Pro Bowl six straight years from 2013 to 2018 and is a four-time First Team All-Pro. To summarize, the Steelers found the NFL’s best receiver in the last decade in the sixth round.
Worst pick: Thaddeus Gibson
Gibson was signed and released by five teams in three years. He appeared in four games, two with the 49ers in 2010 and two with the Bears in 2011. The other eight players Pittsburgh took in the first six rounds played in at least 38 games. Seventh-round pick Worthington saw action in twice as many games (8) as Gibson.
Brown more or less stayed out of trouble for nine seasons before the bizarre series of events that unfolded following the trade to the Raiders. Sanders also ranks in the top 10 in receptions and receiving yards since 2010. Pouncey has made the Pro Bowl every year except 2013, when a torn ACL in Week 1 ended his season. This draft class gets an A+ if Brown’s career doesn’t fall apart in such rapid and terrifying fashion.
To view the 2010 draft grades for other divisions, click here.
Photo by Michael Tipton / Flickr