Commentary

Kiper's 'Grade A' Draft: NFC

After his Round 1 mock, Mel assessess needs and pick options in Rounds 2 and 3

Originally Published: January 26, 2010
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN.com
Getty ImagesThe secret to a good draft is not filling a need by sacrificing value; but it works both ways.

You've already seen my first mock draft. Now it's time to take it further. Every year I hand out grades after the draft, and I even handed out draft grades this year after a full season. What gets you a good grade?

It's a combination of addressing needs and drafting for value. You can do well if you properly address a huge need with a high pick, like Detroit did by taking Matthew Stafford at first overall. But if you address a need with a really bad value pick -- like Kansas City drafting Tyson Jackson last year at No. 3 -- it hurts your grade, particularly when you have multiple needs. If you address needs and get good value, such as Green Bay with B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews Jr., you've nailed it.

So here's a primer, an early look at what could get teams an "A." I have lined up teams, their top needs, their first-round pick and then some possible second- and third-round picks. Again, these will change -- perhaps greatly -- as we get results from the Senior Bowl, the NFL combine and other workouts. Even some needs could change, but let's just say we can build from here and do it all again later. You'll see that some teams will have second- and third-round pick options overlap, as players are slotted there based on current grades.

NFC | AFC


NFC East


Dallas Cowboys
Top needs: LT, WR, FS, LB, CB
First round (27): OT Bruce Campbell
Second-round options (59): S Chad Jones, S DeAndre McDaniel, LB Sean Lee, LB Daryl Washington, WR Mardy Gilyard
Third-round options (90): WR Jordan Shipley, LB Micah Johnson, CB Alterraun Verner, CB Trevard Lindley, S Harry Coleman
Summary: I think any Dallas fan would be happy if the team lands a talented tackle late in the first round, and Campbell could be an exceptional value when it's all said and done, because he continues to improve. I actually think Dallas can upgrade at the WR position, and Gilyard or Shipley could help in the slot. The Cowboys need a free safety, and it'll be interesting to see what they do if, somehow, Taylor Mays were to fall all the way to No. 27. I also think a fourth CB would be good and the crop is unremarkable, but there's some depth. I like Verner better than some and Lindley's been good.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst