Well, it didn't take Pete Prisco of CBSSportsline.com to name his NFL Draft first day winners: New England, Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Indianapolis. Prisco reminds us of the all too true NFL motto: free agency is for losers, the Draft is for winners.
If you are building your team solely through free agency, and don't draft well (Redskins, Cowboys) your team is going to suck. If you draft well, you'll win lots of games and be competitive for a Super Bowl.
Now, to be fair, the Cowboys did have a very good draft in the first three rounds. The draft is all Parcells, who is a master. Jerry Jones is a complete yutz, and the only draft he should ever handle is one that's cold and flows from a keg. I've given Draft First Day grades for each of the teams we have covered for SBNation, with a few other teams thrown in because they did something on Draft Day worth noting.
Chicago Bears: B-
The Bears traded their first round pick to Buffalo in exchange for picks #42 and #73. Good move on Chi-town's part.
Cincinnati Bengals: B
Jonathon Joseph is an excellent selection to boost Cincy's bad secondary. Yes, they were bad. I know they had a lot of INTs. INTs don't make a secondary good. Cincy's defense was horrible last year, and Marvin Lewis is stocking up on young defensive talent. Smart move.
Cleveland Browns: B+
Romeo Crennel is having a positive influence on Cleveland. Kamerion Wimbley and D'Qwell Jackson were two excellent selections to boost their 3-4 defense. Both men fit the scheme. Cleveland did their homework.
Dallas Cowboys: B-
Selecting Bobby Carpenter was a no-brainer. His father played for Parcells in New York, and Carpenter fits perfectly into Dallas's defensive system. Drafting a TE in round 2 is a bit odd, but Dallas is running a 2TE offense next year. Translated, that means Parcells is worried about the o-line and is keeping an extra TE in to block.
Detroit Lions: C
I agree with Sean: the Lions should have taken Leinart. I don't care what people say, Leinart was the best QB on the board. Better than Young, better than Cutler. The Lions have a glaring hole at QB. Leinart would have been perfect in Martz's system. Matt Millen is the worst GM in football. Selecting RB Brian Calhoun in the third round is the only thing keeping this from being an F.
New England Patriots: A-
It pains me to give them this score, but Scott Pioli is indeed a great GM. Corey Dillon is done, and selecting Laurence Maroney was outstanding. Maroney will start opening day. Trading up and getting WR Chad Jackson was another great move. Jackson was the best WR in the Draft, period. The Pats are going with offense this year; an interesting decision indeed.
Pittsburgh Steelers: B+
They traded up with the NY Giants to get WR Santonio Holmes as a replacement to Antwain Randle-El. Smart move. Holmes is an excellent WR who can play right now. They also picked up another WR in Willie Reid and a new FS in Anthony Smith.
Indianapolis Colts: B+
I said the Colts would take Addai a month ago. He's perfect for the team and the offensive system. He also has "home run speed," something Edgerrin never had even before his knee surgery. CB Tim Jennings and LB Freddie Keiaho are proto-typical Cover 2 defensive players.
Other teams worth mentioning:
Reggie Bush would have sold more tickets, but Mario Williams will win more games for Houston. They also drafted some good, young talent for the o-line in round 3.
Why, in God's name, does Buffalo trade up in the Draft to get DT John McCargo, a guy NO ONE projected as a first rounder? They also really reached on safety Donte Whitner as well. They obviously wanted Huff, and didn't think Oakland would take him at pick number 7. Buffalo could have moved up and taken Whitner at 26, and taken someone like MATT LEINART at pick number 8. J.P. Losman is terrible, and will never be a pro-level QB. Why pass up a guy like Leinart? Marv Levy was terrible yesterday.
Tom Jackson at ESPN loves every move Denver makes. He's so pathetically homer it's embarrassing. Trading for Javon Walker does not help Denver, a team with no defensive playmakers save Champ Bailey. Gone is Trevor Pryce: their best lineman. They trade up to pick number 11 and get... Jay Cutler. Last I checked, Jake Plummer was the QB, with a lot of money and time invested in him. They pass up DT Haloti Ngata to take yet another QB project. Mike Shannahan = moron.
Now, rounds 3-7 are when teams truly draft well. These are the rounds that separate the winners and losers.