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USAToday grades Bengals a 1st and 10 (C?)


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Our take: Draft day's best values, biggest reaches

By Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY

Some teams scored and some teams missed the uprights in the 2005 NFL Draft. A report card of the weekend:

Grading scale

Touchdown: One of the draft's big winners.

Field goal: Filled needs with efficient use of resources.

First-and-10: May take a long drive to see dividends.

Sacked: Thrown for a loss.


Arizona: Another solid effort by Dennis Green & Co., who filled major needs with physical CB Antrell Rolle and 2,000-yard rusher J.J. Arrington. The mid-rounders from Virginia (LB Darryl Blackstock and G Elton Brown) are exceptional value picks.

Dallas: Bill Parcells used his top three picks to stock his new 3-4 defense. Time will tell whether OLB Demarcus Ware was a better choice than Shawne Merriman. The other first-rounder, DE Marcus Spears, and LB Kevin Burnett fill other front-7 slots. RB Marion Barber can support last year's top pick, Julius Jones.

Philadelphia: The Eagles needed to land DT and snagged Mike Patterson, and WR Reggie Brown was projected by some as a first-rounder. LB Matt McCoy was arguably the best player not invited to the combine. RB Ryan Moats can help in a variety of ways.

Field goal

Baltimore: The first-round sweat paid off when game-breaking WR Mark Clayton slid to No. 22, and second-round OT Adam Terry was team's first first-day O-lineman drafted since '96. Second-round DE Dan Cody was rated a late-first rounder by many.

Cleveland: Good start for new GM Phil Savage and coach Romeo Crennel. Will WR Braylon Edwards (No. 3 overall) reduce his drops? S Brodney Pool should start immediately. Third-round QB Charlie Frye (Akron) should be able to handle the elements and with Trent Dilfer aboard won't be rushed into lineup.

Detroit: Matt Millen has nerve, bypassing chance for defensive playmaker for big-play WR Mike Williams (10th overall) in perhaps the biggest first-round surprise. That's three years, three first-round WRs. D-line help added with No. 2 pick Shaun Cody.

Miami: Ricky Williams' replacement is versatile RB Ronnie Brown. The No. 2 pick Nick Saban picked up from Kansas City for CB Patrick Surtain was put to good use on tough DE Matt Roth, and Channing Crowder was considered by some as draft's best ILB.

Minnesota: WR Troy Williamson provides the deep threat lost with trade of Randy Moss, but comes from a rushing offense. Will the other first-rounder, DE Erasmus James, prove durable enough? Second round OT Marcus Williams was good value. RB Ciatrick Fason might have been even better value in the fourth round.

New Orleans: Nice maneuvering, moving up three slots for OT Jammal Brown. S Josh Bullocks helps secondary of last-ranked defense. Fifth-round QB Adrian McPherson might be a steal because of his raw skills.

New York Giants: Made the most of limited picks, filling needs with CB Corey Wesbter, DE/OLB Justin Tuck and RB Brandon Jacobs, a 267-pounder to work in short-yardage situations and spell Tiki Barber.

Oakland: Landed draft's two fastest players in CBs Fabian Washington and Stanford Routt. Can they cover? Productive QB Andrew Walter is a project. DT Antajj Hawthorne might be good value in fourth round.

San Diego: OLB Shawne Merriman brings the speed wanted for their 3-4 defense; second-round NT Juan Castillo adds quickness in the trenches. A backup/returner/third-down back was drafted with 5-7 Darren Sproles.

San Francisco: Starting with QB Alex Smith, drafted No. 1 overall, a lot of help for many needs. Watch RB Frank Gore, out to prove college knee injuries won't prevent him from becoming a star status.


Atlanta: After last year's first-round pick of WR Michael Jenkins produced little impact, WR Roddy White seems to have better chance to be a hit for 30th-ranked pass offense. DT Jonathan Babineaux and ILB Jordan Beck address needs on D.

Carolina: Thomas Davis was the top-rated safety in the draft and the Panthers will switch him to linebacker. That says much for Davis' skills. Fourth-round QB Stefan LeFors can learn from Jake Delhomme.

Chicago: The league's worst offense got better with bruising, workhorse RB Cedric Benson and speed-burning WR Mark Bradley. With only so many picks, the Bears didn't address the O-line. But Purdue's Kyle Orton was a popular pick to develop at QB.

Cincinnati: Georgia Connection reflected with top two picks, LB David Pollack and LB Odell Thurman, brought in to bolster rebuilt defense. Coach Marvin Lewis, a defensive wiz, will find ways to use them.

Denver: Did Mike Shanahan need to use the final pick in the third round on Maurice Clarett? Probably not, considering the RBs in hand. But one thing can't be knocked: Broncos know top rushers when they see them. After toasted by the Colts in the playoffs the past two seasons, the top three picks were used on CBs.

Houston: Despite need for OT, Texans opted for 3-4 run-stuffer in DT Travis Johnson. Added punch with RB Vernard Morency while fast fourth-round WR/returner Jerome Mathis was one of the draft's best second-day picks.

Indianapolis: Few defenses gave up as many big passing plays in 2004. Enter CBs Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden. With a prolific offense virtually intact, six of the Colts' first eight picks went to defense.

Jacksonville: Matt Jones is one of the draft's best athletes (4.4 in the 40), but one of the biggest gambles, converting from QB to WR. OT Khalif Barnes, a second-round choice, was good value to a line in need of help.

Kansas City: Derrick Thomas was once signature player of the Chiefs' defense with his exceptional rush and ability to force turnovers. Now Derrick Johnson brings similar promise as most complete LB in the draft. The Chiefs' much-maligned D needs the help.

New England: Every team needs a feisty lineman like first-round G Logan Mankins. Add third-round G/OT Nick Kaczur to the mix. CB Ellis Hobbs helps secondary that needed to play a WR (Troy Brown) at nickel back, and brings skill as returner.

Pittsburgh: Top-rated TE, Heath Miller and CB Bryant McFadden fill major needs. Sixth-round G Chris Kemoeatu might be a steal if he controls temper.

St. Louis: Some considered Alex Barron the best OT in the draft. Scrappy C Richie Incognito has better skills than third-round status. Second-round CB Ronald Bartell was small-school (Howard) phenom.

Tampa Bay: Jon Gruden has had eye on RB Carnell Williams for some time, envisioning multi-task role. Run-stuffing ILB Barrett Ruud and athletic TE Alex Smith were among top-rated players at their positions.

Tennessee: Early draft tempo set with Adam "Pacman" Jones, the first of three CBs selected within first nine picks. Second-round OT Michael Roos must make leap from Division I-AA. Need for WRs addressed with three mid-round picks, including fourth-rounder Roydell Williams, a big producer at Tulane.

Washington: Joe Gibbs can groom Jason Campbell, chosen 25th with pick from Denver. Top pick CB Carlos Rogers (9th overall) brings immediate impact.


Buffalo: The first-round pick was used last year for QB J.P. Losman. The jury is still out on that move, while WR Roscoe Parrish and TE Kevin Everrett are hardly can't-miss Miami products.

Green Bay: With Brett Favre's clock ticking, new GM Ted Thompson couldn't pass on free-falling QB Aaron Rodgers (24th overall). Perhaps someday the pick will draw comparison's to Miami's 27th overall pick in 1983, a guy named Dan Marino. For now, it prevented choice of immediate impact player.

Seattle: Mike Holmgren knows top pick of top-rated C Chris Spencer isn't sexy. Neither was the 2001 first-round choice of G Steve Hutchinson, now a Pro Bowler. Message sent with drafting of four LBs.

New York Jets: Traded out of the first round for TE Doug Jolley, drafted a kicker, Mike Nugent, in Round 2? Hmmm. Another second-rounder, CB Justin Miller, can also help as returner.

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I wish they would've explained why they thought we were a C. They didn't mention us taking Chirs Henry who has 1st round potential, and I really loved the Giacuic selection. So I don't really think USA Today knows what they're talkin' about.

USAToday rarely knows what they're talking about...and I'm not just talking about sports here...

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