With the 2011 NFL Draft now in the books, let’s take a look at the teams in the American Football Conference (AFC) and how they did filling their needs, drafting for value or those that struggled to avoid pitfalls. At this point I feel teams can’t be given a letter grade because teams and players have not preformed. So, attached to every team at this point of the progress report will be a Pass or Fail.

I will hand out Report Cards with letter grades at the end of the 2011 season (hopefully) for both teams and a color grade for each player and track player performance for the next three seasons. The team needs are not listed in any order. # denotes underclassmen; + are compensatory picks.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

Team Needs: CB, OLB, WR, RG, OT, QB

The Ravens accomplished drafting a cornerback with Jimmy Smith who has the skill set to develop into a good player, but off-the-field issues will need to be managed. Wide receiver Torrey Smith brings speed and kickoff return skills but concentration drops and body catching habits is a concern. PASS

Round Name Pos College Overall

1 Smith, Jimmy CB Colorado 27

#2 Smith, Torrey WR Maryland 58

3 Reid, Jah T Central Florida 85 from PHILADELPHIA


#4 Doss, Tandon WR Indiana 123

5 Choice to DETROIT through SEATTLE

+5 Brown, Chykie CB Texas 164

+5 McPhee, Pernell DE Mississippi State 165

6 Taylor, Tyrod QB Virginia Tech 180 from ST. LOUIS


7 Allen, Anthony RB Georgia Tech 225 from PHILADELPHIA

7 Choice to ST. LOUIS


Cincinnati Bengals

Team Needs: WR, QB, DT, OT, RB

Seelcting the best receiver in the draft in A.J. Green, coach Marvin Lewis added a much-needed playmaker outside the numbers. With everyone thinking quarterback with the first pick, the Bengals landed a signal-caller in the second round that has the skills to develop into an elite player at his position in Andy Dalton. An outside linebacker in Dontay Moch will bring speed off the edge. PASS

Round Name Pos College Overall

#1 Green, A.J. WR Georgia 4

2 Dalton, Andy QB Texas Christian 35

3 Moch, Dontay LB Nevada 66

4 Boling, Clint G Georgia 101

#5 Sands, Robert S West Virginia 134

6 Whalen, Ryan WR Stanford 167

7 Lindsey, Korey DB Southern Illinois 207

+7 Finley, Jay RB Baylor 246


Cleveland Browns

Team Needs: DE, WR, DT, CB, OT

General manager Tom Heckert cut a blockbuster deal with Atlanta that will help lay the championship foundation by accruing draft picks into the future. The addition of Phil Taylor will help anchor the defensive front, while Jabaal Sheard will apply pressure off the edge. Wide receiver Greg Little adds both size and playmaking ability outside. PASS

Round Name Pos College Overall

1 Choice to ATLANTA

1 Taylor, Phillip DT Baylor 21 from KANSAS CITY

2 Sheard, Jabaal DE Pittsburgh 37

#2 Little, Greg WR North Carolina 59 from ATLANTA

3 Choice to KANSAS CITY

4 Cameron, Jordan TE Southern California 102

4 Marecic, Owen FB Stanford 124 from ATLANTA

5 Skrine, Buster CB Chattanooga 137

5 Pinkston, Jason T Pittsburgh 150 from NEW YORK GIANTS through MINNESOTA

6 Choice to MINNESOTA

7 Choice to DETROIT through SEATTLE

+7 Hagg, Eric S Nebraska 248


Pittsburgh Steelers

Team Needs: OT, OG, CB, NT, WR, TE

The additions of defensive end Cameron Heyward and cornerback Curtis Brown will help in the continuous building of a defense that is always at the top in statistics. Offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert will add protection for Ben Roethlisberger. While this draft is not a blockbuster with big names, it is solid. PASS

Round Name Pos College Overall

1 Heyward, Cameron DE Ohio State 31

2 Gilbert, Marcus T Florida 63

3 Brown, Curtis CB Texas 95

4 Allen, Cortez CB Citadel 128

5 Carter, Chris LB Fresno State 162

6 Williams, Keith G Nebraska 196

7 Batch, Baron RB Texas Tech 232


AFC South

Houston Texans

Team Needs: CB, FS, OLB, DE, NT, SS

The secondary for the Texans was bombarded because of the lack of pass rush. The addition of J.J. Watt (the Wisconsin player’s motor never stops) will add pressure off the edge opposite Pro Bowler Mario Williams. Brooks Reed adds more value as an outside linebacker and will develop into a good core special teams player. After all the tall corners are off the board, teams covet the best short ones. In this year’s draft it was Brandon Harris. PASS

Round Name Pos College Overall

#1 Watt, J.J. DE Wisconsin 11

2 Reed, Brooks LB Arizona 42

#2 Harris, Brandon CB Miami 60 from NEW ENGLAND

3 Choice to NEW ENGLAND

4 Choice to WASHINGTON

4 Carmichael, Rashad CB Virginia Tech 127 from CHICAGO through WASHINGTON

5 Choice to NEW ENGLAND

5 Keo, Shiloh S Idaho 144 from WASHINGTON

5 Yates, T.J. QB North Carolina 152 from INDIANAPOLIS through WASHINGTON

6 Choice to WASHINGTON

7 Newton, Derek T Arkansas State 214

+7 Ozougwu, Cheta LB Rice 254


Indianapolis Colts

Team Needs: OT, OG, DT, CB, SS

Keeping Peyton Manning upright is the key to the future for the Colts. Drafting tackles Anthony Castonzo and Ben Ijalana will help seal the holes in the wall. Running back Delone Carter is a downhill runner with no wasted motion and a low center of gravity; just what Bill and Chris Polian like. PASS

Round Name Pos College Overall

1 Castonzo, Anthony T Boston College 22

2 Ijalana, Ben T Villanova 49 from JACKSONVILLE through WASHINGTON

2 Choice to CHICAGO through WASHINGTON

3 Nevis, Drake DT Louisiana State 87

4 Carter, Delone RB Syracuse 119

5 Choice to HOUSTON through WASHINGTON

6 Rucker, Chris CB Michigan State 188

7 Choice to WASHINGTON


Jacksonville Jaguars

Team Needs: FS, OLB, WR, QB, DE

Drafting quarterback Blaine Gabbert made a statement to the division that a changing of the guard is very near. Small-school player and interior offensive lineman Will Rackley will play immediately. I liked the fact they added a weapon like Cecil Shorts, another small-school player that is highly productive. PASS

Round Name Pos College Overall

#1 Gabbert, Blaine QB Missouri 10 from WASHINGTON

1 Choice to WASHINGTON


3 Rackley, Will G Lehigh 76 from SAN FRANCISCO


4 Shorts, Cecil WR Mount Union 114

4 Prosinski, Chris S Wyoming 121 from NEW ORLEANS

5 Issac, Rod CB Middle Tennessee 147


7 Choice to GREEN BAY through MIAMI


Tennessee Titans

Team Needs: QB, DT, MLB, OG, CB

While I like Jake Locker’s athletic skill set, I still fell he needs time to grow and learn the pro game, and will be better off holding a clip board for a period of time while. He was a slight reach at the eighth overall pick. A slow OLB in Akeem Ayers, despite playing faster than timed might be too slow to develop into a good core special team’s player. Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey might play before all of them. He’s a good interior defensive linemen that is athletic and productive with good football instincts. I like what Colin McCarthy brings to the Titians. He is tough and aggressive and will be a mad man on teams. FAIL

Round Name Pos College Overall

1 Locker, Jake QB Washington 8

#2 Ayers, Akeem LB UCLA 39

#3 Casey, Jurrell DT Southern California 77

4 McCarthy, Colin LB Miami 109

#+4 Harper, Jamie RB Clemson 130

5 Klug, Karl DE Iowa 142

6 Stingily, Byron T Louisville 175

7 Clayton, Zach DT Auburn 212

+7 Campbell, Tommie CB California, Pa. 251


Look for the AFC East and AFC West Tomorrow