Commentary

Packers, Jets get top grades

Originally Published: April 27, 2009
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN.com
It took two days, but the NFL draft is over and now is the fun part, as every team's fans get to see their new players try on the jersey and hopefully report to camp on time. Let's take a look at my grades for each team's draft.

Green Bay Packers: GRADE: A
I love what this team did to solidify its shaky defense in the first two picks alone, with the selection of two excellent players in defensive tackle B.J. Raji and outside linebacker Clay Matthews. Tackle T.J. Lang was a good pickup for the offensive line, while Quinn Johnson could be a bruising lead fullback in the league. Sixth-round pick Brandon Underwood could make this team and give the Packers depth as a backup.

New York Jets: GRADE: A-
The motto of the Jets' draft was quality over quantity. Mark Sanchez's selection made this team's draft because he's a franchise-maker. New coach Rex Ryan likes his defense, so the organization felt it could focus on the offense in his first draft. The Jets picked up Iowa running back Shonn Greene, who will fit into the rotation with Leon Washington and Thomas Jones. Guard Matthew Slauson was an OK pick in the sixth round, but the key to this draft is up top with Greene and Sanchez.

Arizona Cardinals: GRADE: B+
Chris Wells was a major acquisition for the Cardinals in the first round of this draft. He was a bargain for a team that was in dire need of a running back to rotate in with second-year back Tim Hightower. Wells gives this team the home run threat that the running game was sorely lacking last season. In addition to Wells, I liked the Cody Brown pick in the second round because he should be a good 3-4 rushing end in the Cardinals' system. Bringing in LSU offensive lineman Herman Johnson in the fifth round and Illinois defensive end Will Davis in the sixth were good pickups for this organization. While I thought Johnson was a bit overrated, he is huge and will give the line a big presence when he's on the field.

Buffalo Bills: GRADE: B+
Aaron Maybin was the pass-rusher this team needed to anchor the defensive line. On the other side of the line, the selections of center Eric Wood and guard Andrew Levitre in the second round were excellent picks. Wood is a very good center and Levitre very well may be the best guard in this draft. Also, Jairus Byrd's ball skills could help him become a very good nickelback in this league. They got the tight end they needed in Shawn Nelson to give this offense another weapon. The reason this team didn't receive an A is because it didn't get a right or a left tackle, which I thought was a need with the trade of offensive tackle Jason Peters.

Houston Texans: GRADE: B+
This was a very productive draft, as the Texans' first five picks (Brian Cushing, Connor Barwin, Antoine Caldwell, Glover Quin and Anthony Hill) will all contribute quickly. These are solid football players and I really like the Barwin pick. Look for sixth-rounder Brice McCain and seventh-round selection Troy Nolan to also compete for playing time.

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Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst