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Len Pasquarelli Rates The Draft

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ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli has posted his team-by-team draft evaluation. He assigned the Lions a grade of "B," which I think is fair. It is the highest grade in the new NFC North, and third highest for the conference.

Here's the skinny on the Lions and their divisional opponents...

Sunday, April 21, 2002

NFC report card:

By Len Pasquarelli

ESPN.com

Grading any team's draft always includes a hint of subjectivity. That was the case again as usual this year and, bet the house, some general manager will phone Monday morning to complain about the assessment of what transpired this weekend.

But with a system steeped in mathematics, one that places a value on players as they stack up on our draft board and where they are chosen in relationship to that, at least some of the subjectivity is removed. Points are also rewarded, to a lesser extent, for creativity and meeting team needs.

Here's a look at the evaluation of each team's draft class:

NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears: Frankly, the second-day selections look more serviceable than the Saturday choices. Offensive tackle Marc Colombo (No. 1) is stiff-looking, cornerback Roosevelt Williams (No. 2) doesn't run well and guard Terrence Metcalf (No. 3) is coming off a spring when his stock really slipped. On the other hand, defensive end Alex Brown was a real value pick in the fourth round, and will probably find an immediate spot as a third-down situational rusher. Two fifth-rounders, Bobby Gray and Bryan Knight, are good football players with some physical liabilities, but guys who will work hard and excel early on special teams. Grade: C-minus.

Detroit Lions: The first-day bonanza fizzled on Sunday, but give the Lions credit for getting their quarterback of the future in Joey Harrington (No. 1), no matter how split the verdict in their war room. It shouldn't take too long for Harrington to win the starting job. In fact, he may be the guy who saves coach Marty Mornhinweg's job. Detroit hopes that undersized Kalimba Edwards (No. 2) pans out like last year's second-rounder, defensive tackle Shaun Rodgers, and he'll at least get snaps in pass-rush situations. If Edwards can hang in against the run a little better, he has a chance to start. For a team with so many needs, the second day was thoroughly uninspiring. Grade: B.

Green Bay Packers: Mike Sherman, who wears both the coach and the general manager hats, paid a steep price to move up eight spots and land wide receiver Javon Walker in the first round. In a draft deep in second-round picks, the Packers sacrificed their No. 2 as part of the ransom to deal up in the first round. So here's hoping Walker, who has had some problems with the cerebral side of the game in the past, is better than 2001 No. 2 wide receiver Robert Ferguson was as a rookie. Personally scouted by Sherman, and mightily endorsed by the head coach, Ferguson played in one game as a rookie and had zero catches. Third-round safety Marques Anderson was a solid, if unspectacular, pick. Defensive end Aaron Kampman was a very nice choice in the fifth round but quarterback Craig Nall was a real stretch in the same stanza. Grade: C-minus.

Minnesota Vikings: Things can't be too bad when you "settle" for a behemoth like offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie (No. 1), but the Vikings still preferred defensive tackle Ryan Sims in the first go-round but lost him in the Dallas-Kansas City trade snafu. Still, McKinnie should be a fixture for the next 10-12 years and keep the Vikes from having to move Pro Bowl center Matt Birk to left tackle. After the McKinnie pick, things were solid but hardly spectacular. One big-time reach was for safety Willie Offord (No. 3), a guy who wasn't even on some draft boards. Grade: C.

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I think the Lions and Vikings both did a great job in drafting Harrington and McKinnie. If Harrington ends up being the franchise quarterback it doesnt matter who else they drafted...it will be an A+ grade.

Sometimes teams just draft for depth, which I think the Lions have done in the last few years. The later round picks actually turned out better than the top pick.(For some the judgement is still out though. The Lions got two starters out of last years draft and could possibly have two more out of this years(Harrington and Edwards). Those are quality drafts.

That said, we still need a cornerback and tight end...bad!

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