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Insider Blog: Comprehensive Draft Grades

Posted Apr 29, 2010

Both Peter King (SI) and Clark Judge (CBS) reference Rick Gosselin's (Dallas Morning News) perfect grade, but what about the rest of the pundits?

Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News was one of the first to turn in his 2010 NFL Draft, team-by-team, grades. If you haven’t heard by now, Gosselin gave the Chiefs his only perfect score of the draft, an A .

Gosselin wrote …

The Chiefs drafted the NFL defensive rookie of the year in Berry – and a slew of other good players. Arenas was the best returner in the draft, and McCluster will give the AFC matchup problems at both running back and receiver.

Yes, Gosselin did cover the Chiefs for the Kansas City Star for a number of years, but he’s no homer. He gave the Chiefs a “D” in 2009, loved the picks in 2008 (as did the rest of the country), threw a “B” at Kansas City in 2007 and tallied a “C” in the Chiefs column for 2006.

In today’s media, the most recognized opinions no longer reside in print journalism, but Gosselin is still one of the more highly-respected external opinions regarding the draft. Don’t take my word for it, though, take Peter King’s…

King writes…

Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, who devotes three months of his life buried in this stuff (and whose charts and notebooks look like something a nuclear physicist would keep), is not an easy grader in his annual post-draft grading. He gave the Chiefs an A for picking the best defensive back in the draft (Eric Berry), a nightmarish matchup problem out of the backfield and slot (Dexter McCluster) and the twin threat of a good corner and best return man Goose rated in the draft (Javier Arenas). He didn't mention this: The top five Chiefs picks were captains of their college teams (Tennessee, Ole Miss, national champ Alabama, Illinois and Iowa) last season. The last one of those, tight end Tony Moeaki, has a little Bavaro in him. Very nice job.

Moeaki’s got some Bavaro in him? Ah, so that’s why Todd Haley and company like the Iowa tight end so much. If you don’t remember, former NFL TE Mark Bavaro served as a training camp coach with the Chiefs last summer.

“He’s one of my favorite players of all time who exemplifies everything that we’re looking for in players,” Haley said last August in River Falls.

To attest to King’s analysis of Gosselin’s draft expertise, the guy really is a machine. I was a first-hand witness of how this man works his way around the NFL Scouting Combine. I’d be willing to wager that there wasn’t single man in the media who talked to more prospects than Gosselin did over that four-day stretch of interview sessions in February.

What’s more amazing about Gosselin was his line of questioning. The guy definitely knows his stuff. Rarely was there an over-asked, generic question, out of his mouth.

“What are you hoping to accomplish this weekend?” wasn’t’ part of Goose’s questioning.

The questions were all much more researched and in depth. Whether it was a stubbed toe in 2007 or a parking ticket in 2009, Gosselin seemed to know about it and he asked about it.

Clark Judge of CBSSports.com also pointed towards Gosselin’s draft opinion in his write-up of the Chiefs 2010 draft.

Judge wrote…

The Kansas City Chiefs didn't just pass the test at this year's NFL draft. They aced it. When Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News graded last weekend's draft he handed out one A , and it was to the Chiefs. Gosselin admired every move the team made, and, frankly, so do I. They found value in every round and accomplished their pre-draft goals of landing solid players, improving team speed and identifying future leaders.

Eric Berry? Captain. Dexter McCluster? Co-captain. Javier Arenas? Captain. Six of their seven draft picks were captains of their teams, with only Troy's Cameron Sheffield keeping the Chiefs from completing the sweep. So what? So they found responsible, productive players who doubled as team leaders, which means they just helped themselves on and off the field. The bottom line is that Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli did in this draft what I thought he failed to do in 2009, which is to nail top-rated players with every choice.

So, Gosselin is one of the more respected draft evaluators out there and he’s high on the Chiefs 2010 draft (he’ll also re-grade each of the 32 teams in January, FYI), but what about the rest of the pundits? Here is an updated list of what others are saying about the Chiefs 2010 draft, separated by grade.

“A” Grades

Gosselin (see above write-up)

Judge (see above write-up)

King (no actual grade given, see above write-up)

“B” Grades

WES BUNTING (NATIONAL FOOTBALL POST) – GRADE: B

The Chiefs added big-time talents with their first two picks, FS Eric Berry and RB Dexter McCluster, as well as potential starters in the mid rounds in TE Tony Moeaki, OL Jon Asamoah and OLB Cameron Sheffield. A real good-looking class for K.C.

CHRIS BURKE (AOLFANHOUSE) – GRADE: B

Only two third day picks and neither is an immediate impact. Safety Eric Berry (number five overall) was an obvious choice, then the Chiefs landed G Jon Asamoah (No. 68) and TE Tony Moeaki (No. 93) to finish Day 2 strong. Taking WR Dexter McCluster (No. 36) and Javier Arenas (No. 50) drags this grade down.

RANDY COVITZ (KANSAS CITY STAR) – GRADE: B-

Berry will make or break this draft with his big-play ability, though the Chiefs didn’t do anything to improve the 31st-ranked rush defense in front of him. McCluster has to produce as a slot receiver and Arenas as a kick returner to justify second-round picks. Moeaki could be a sleeper if he stays healthy. Asamoah can learn from Waters, Lilja and Wiegmann.

MEL KIPER (ESPN) – GRADE: B-

Say this for the Chiefs: They added players you'll notice. Eric Berry is an impact safety and should become a star. Let's make one last Ed Reed comparison before we close the book on this draft. Dexter McCluster early in Round 2 surprised some people -- Jamaal Charles has impressed -- but a lot of people don't realize how versatile McCluster is. Aside from his obvious rush and return skills, he has great hands and can line up in the slot. He diversifies that offense. Still, the Chiefs are no better on either the offensive or defensive line, outside of Jon Asamoah, but I felt he played better as a junior. Javier Arenas is a good little player, but not a starter.

BILL WILLIAMSON (ESPN.COM) – GRADE: B-

The Chiefs did some good things. I love the pick of Tennessee safety Eric Berry at No. 5. He will give this defense an identity. He will instantly make the unit better. Second-round picks Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas give Kansas City speed and playmaking ability on both sides of the ball and in the return game. Guard Jon Asamoah has a real future. I would have liked to have seen Kansas City grab a nose tackle and perhaps trade to get more picks. But this was a solid draft as the Chiefs continue to improve.

“C” Grades

JARRETT BELL (USA TODAY) – GRADE: C

So much for general manager Scott Pioli not believing in picking safeties high. Eric Berry was tabbed at No. 5. It might suggest the Chiefs are happy with their O-line, as they passed on Okung. It might also suggest they view Berry as the next Ronnie Lott. They claimed a big-play weapon in second-round running/slot back Dexter McCluster, a small-fast-tough package.

PETE PRISCO (CBSSPORTS.COM) – GRADE: C-

Best pick: Third-round tight end Tony Moeaki has a ton of talent, but never lived up to it at Iowa. I say he does in the NFL.

Questionable move: Taking a safety fifth overall is always a risk. They did that with Eric Berry. He's good but safety isn't a value position.

Third-day gem: Fifth-round safety Kendrick Lewis is an aggressive player who led Mississippi in tackles for years.

Analysis: I wasn't as thrilled with their draft as some others. I think Berry will be good, but that's high. Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas are questionable moves for second-round picks.

No Grades, Just Commentary

DON BANKS (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED) – NO GRADE

One more team that impressed me with the top of their draft this weekend was Kansas City. Safety Eric Berry in the first round and Mississippi running back/return man Dexter McCluster in the second made for a very strong start. Then the Chiefs picked up Javier Arenas later in the second round, and while the Alabama cornerback is on the shorter side, he also has return-man skills. Lastly, Kansas City picked up one of the better guards in the draft, taking Illinois's Jon Asamoah near the top of the third round.

CHARLEY CASSERLY (CBSSPORTS.COM) – NO GRADE

First pick: Eric Berry

He might have been the best player I saw in this year's draft. He had very good instincts against the run and pass. Tennessee moved him all around the secondary from safety to blitzing safety to corner covering the slot. I also thought he was a good tackler. He was a better prospect than Sean Taylor.

The pick I will watch the most

Dexter McCluster, and how they use him. The Chiefs will probably use him out of the backfield and in the slot. I watched him, I kept trying to compare him to Wes Welker. So when McCluster is in the slot, will he be as good as Welker? That is my question. He doesn't weigh as much as Welker but he certainly is as quick and he is faster.

ADAM SCHEFTER (ESPN) – NO GRADE

“Top 5 draft weekend winners”

#2Kansas City Chiefs

After speaking with roughly a half-dozen teams and asking them who they thought had the best drafts, Kansas City was a team that was continually mentioned. What impressed them was not first-round pick Eric Berry, who was an easy pick. What stood out was the Chiefs' second round: slot receiver Dexter McCluster and cornerback Javier Arenas. Both have speed and talent, and both will help.

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