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.
The NFC West concludes our 2010 NFL Draft re-grade.
*All stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com and accurate through the end of the 2019 season.
Picks: DT Dan Williams (26th overall), LB Daryl Washington (47), WR Andre Roberts (88), DE O’Brien Schofield (130), QB John Skelton (155), DB Jorrick Calvin (155), TE Jim Dray (233)
Best pick: Andre Roberts
Roberts wins out due to his longevity, considering that seventh-round pick Dray had the second-longest NFL career of the group. He caught a career-high 64 passes for 759 yards and five touchdowns for Arizona in 2012. He has since turned into a kick and punt return specialist, making the Pro Bowl the last two seasons. In 2018, Roberts led the NFL with 1,174 kick return yards and was named a First Team All-Pro.
Worst pick: John Skelton
Had Skelton lasted more than three seasons, this would have gone to Williams. Skelton started at least four games for the Cardinals all three years he was with the team. His total quarterback ratings — on a scale of 1 to 100 — from those seasons are as follows: 26.1, 34.9, 18.3. Skelton threw 15 touchdowns and 25 interceptions in 17 starts with Arizona. After the Cardinals released him, he was signed and waived by the Bengals, 49ers and Titans without appearing in a game.
Washington was on his way to becoming one of the best linebackers in the NFL until he got suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy twice and pled guilty to aggravated assault charges in 2014. Williams didn’t live up to his billing as a first-round pick but did appear in 102 games over seven seasons. The Cardinals also deserve credit for taking Dray with their last selection. This would be a different conversation if Washington had stayed out of trouble and continued to perform at an All-Pro level.
Los Angeles Rams (then the St. Louis Rams)
Picks: QB Sam Bradford (1), OT Rodger Saffold (33), DB Jerome Murphy (65), WR Mardy Gilyard (99), TE Michael Hoomanawanui (132), DE Hall Davis (149), TE Fendi Onobun (170), DE Eugene Sims (189), DB Marquis Johnson (211), DE George Selvie (226), LB Josh Hull (254)
Best pick: Rodger Saffold
Over the past four seasons, Saffold has started 62 of a possible 64 regular season games. His four seasons with 16 starts are more than the rest of the Rams’ draft class put together. Saffold is tied for 12th among offensive linemen in starts since 2010 with 127. Of the 11 players the Rams selected, Saffold is the sole player who is still active. Sam Bradford was the only other one to play in a game since 2018.
Worst pick: Jerome Murphy
Murphy played in 14 games as a rookie, recording 30 tackles. He spent the 2011 season in injured reserve and was cut by the Rams on Sept. 1, 2012. Murphy saw action with three other teams over the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Of the 350 snaps he played those two years, 318 of them came on special teams. In 2014, Murphy was one of the Broncos’ final roster cuts at the end of the preseason.
Bradford did throw 103 touchdown passes in his career and led the NFL in completion percentage with the Vikings in 2016. The idea that he was an absolute bust is simply false. Sims, Selvie and Hull — three of the last four players the Rams selected — made 52 starts and appeared in 218 games. Finding three contributors in the final two rounds takes some of the attention away from missing on Murphy and Gilyard, as well as Bradford’s underwhelming career.
San Francisco 49ers
Picks: OT Anthony Davis (11), OG Mike Iupati (17), DB Taylor Mays (49), LB NaVorro Bowman (91), RB Anthony Dixon (173), TE Nate Byham (182), WR Kyle Williams (206), DB Phillip Adams (224)
Best pick: NaVorro Bowman
No player selected in 2010 has more career tackles than Bowman’s 798. He was a First Team All-Pro four times in five years. In 2011, 2013 and 2015, he recorded more than 110 solo tackles and over 140 total tackles, including a league-leading 154 in 2015. Keep in mind he put up these numbers despite missing the entire 2014 season and not having played since 2017. Bowman officially retired on June 4, 2019.
Worst pick: Taylor Mays
The 49ers traded Mays to the Bengals for a 2013 seventh round pick after one season in which he played in every game and made six starts. According to reports, head coach Mike Singletary was solely responsible for selecting Mays. Singletary was fired with one game remaining in the 2010 season and Mays followed him out the door that summer. He played in 64 games over the next five seasons, starting nine times. There is something extremely amusing about San Francisco picking a player no one in the front office wanted in between selecting two perennial Pro Bowlers.
All eight players the 49ers drafted were still in the NFL in 2013 and made multiple starts in their career. Six of them were still active in 2015. Davis made 64 consecutive starts to begin his career. Iupati is a four-time Pro Bowler who has started at least 10 games in nine of his 10 seasons. Aside from Davis, Iupati and Bowman, no one started more than 15 games in their career, which is the biggest flaw of this class, albeit a rather insignificant one.
Picks: OT Russell Okung (6), DB Earl Thomas (14), WR Golden Tate (60), DB Walter Thurmond (111), DE E.J. Wilson (127), DB Kam Chancellor (133), TE Anthony McCoy (185), LB Dexter Davis (236), TE Jameson Konz (245)
Best pick: Kam Chancellor
Thomas has already played two more seasons and made three more Pro Bowls than Chancellor, but he was selected 119 picks earlier. If forced to choose between spending a first-rounder on Thomas and a fifth-rounder on Chancellor, the answer is Chancellor every single time. Receivers changed the way they ran routes when facing Chancellor, which is a rare skill that can’t be quantified.
Worst pick: E.J. Wilson
Wilson was cut by Seattle on Nov. 23, 2010. He played in two games and made one tackle. Wilson was in training camp with the Buccaneers in 2011 but ruptured his Achilles in the team’s second preseason game. That was the end of his NFL career.
Seattle came out of this draft with half the Legion of Boom as well as two other players who are still active with more than 110 starts and a Pro Bowl selection in their career. At that point, it doesn’t matter how the rest of the picks turned out.
To view the 2010 draft grades for other divisions, click here.
Photo by Michael Tipton / Flickr