Regrading the 2011 NFL draft
49ers and Panthers surge as the grades are scrutinized today
As I look back at the grades I handed out on the final night of the 2011 NFL draft, one thing is clear: Cam Newton was ready. So was Aldon Smith. And so were a lot of other players. In fact, many things are now clear. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't hand out grades after the draft. For one, what fun would that be? And secondly, you absolutely can grade the degree to which teams maximized value while addressing needs based on the knowledge you have at the time.
The key is to be willing to take another look. So, as we did last year, here's a look back at every grade for every team and where I think I was right and where I was clearly wrong. You'll note that it's fair to say "Incomplete" in so many cases. But if we say the Vikings don't yet know what they have in Christian Ponder, it doesn't mean we shouldn't recognize (and fix) the grades for Carolina or Cincinnati, which both did well. So take a look, and as always, feel free to disagree.
For a look at every NFL team and how their grades look nearly a year after the 2011 draft, become an ESPN Insider, where the NFL draft is a year-round passion.
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