GREAT BLUE NORTH DRAFT REPORT
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2007 DRAFT FIRST-YEAR GRADES

    Top 10 Offensive Rookies

    #
    Player
    Team
    POS
    Round
    School
    1
    Adrian Peterson
    Minnesota
    RB
    1
    Oklahoma
    2
    Joe Thomas
    Cleveland OT
    1
    Wisconsin
    3
    Dwayne Bowe
    Kansas City
    WR
    1
    LSU
    4
    Marshawn Lynch
    Buffalo
    RB
    1
    California
    5
    Tony Ugoh
    Indianapolis
    OT
    2
    Arkansas
    6
    Arron Sears
    Tampa Bay
    OG
    2
    Tennessee
    7
    Trent Edwards
    Buffalo
    QB 3
    Stanford
    8
    Samson Satele
    Mami
    C 2
    Hawaii
    9
    Marshal Yanda
    Baltimore OT
    3 Iowa
    10
    Nick Folk Dallas PK 6
    Arizona
    Honorable mention: Denver RB Selvin Young; Green Bay WR James Jones; Detroit WR Calvin Johnson; Oakland TE Zach Miller; Chicago TE Greg Olsen; Green Bay PK Mason Crosby
     
    Top 10 Defensive Rookies

    #
    Player
    Team
    POS
    Round
    School
    1
    Patrick Willis
    San Francisco
    LB
    1
    Mississippi
    2
    David Harris
    New York Jets LB
    2
    Michigan
    3
    Jon Beason
    Carolina
    LB
    1
    Miami
    4
    Darrelle Revis
    New York Jets
    CB
    1
    Pittsburgh
    5
    Laron Landry
    Washington
    FS
    1
    LSU
    6
    Reggie Nelson
    Jacksonville
    FS
    1
    Florida
    7
    Leon Hall
    Cincinnati
    CB
    1
    Michigan
    8
    Gerald Alexander
    Detroit
    FS
    2
    Boise State
    9
    Tanard Jackson
    Tampa Bay
    FS
    4
    Syracuse
    10
    Fred Bennett
    Houston
    CB
    4
    South Carolina
    Honorable mention: Buffalo LB Paul Posluszny; San Diego DB Eric Weddle; Tampa Bay DE Gaines Adams; New York Giants CB Aaron Ross; Cleveland CB Eric Wright; Houston DT Amobi Okoye; Cincinnati DB Nedu Ndukwe; Tennessee DB Michael Griffin

    Top Undrafted Rookie Free Agents

    #
    Player
    Team
    POS
    School
    1
    Selvin Young
    Denver
    RB
    Texas
    2
    Ed Johnson
    Indianapolis
    DT
    Penn State
    3
    Pierre Thomas
    New Orleans
    RB
    Illinois
    4
    Matt Moore
    Carolina
    QB
    Oregon State
    5
    Daniel Coats
    Cincinnati
    TE
    BYU
    6
    Tyron Brackenridge
    Kansas City
    CB
    Washington State
    7
    Michael Matthews
    New York Giants
    TE
    Georgia Tech
    8
    Jyles Tucker
    San Diego LB
    Wake Forest

    Top Picks by Round

    Rd
    Player
    Team
    POS
    School
    1
    Adrian Peterson
    Minnesota
    RB
    Oklahoma
    2
    David Harris New York Jets LB Michigan
    3
    Trent Edwards
    Buffalo QB Stanford
    4
    Tanard Jackson
    Tampa Bay
    FS
    Syracuse
    5
    Jay Richardson Oakland DE Ohio State
    6
    Nick Folk
    Dallas
    PK
    Arizona
    7
    Nedu Ndukwe Cincinnati DB Notre Dame

    Team-by-team 2007 Draft Grades

    (Ed note: These grades should always be considered with the cautionary note that it can take up to 2-3 years for the real value of a draft to be realized sonot too much should be read into these grades. As well, we have graded only productivity through the first half of the season and really have not factored in future potential.)

    MINNESOTA: Vikings' first-rounder Adrian Peterson wasn't quite as productive in the second half of the season as opposing defense's forced the line of scrimmage, but was still the top rookie in the league this fall. The 7th player selected this past April, Peterson was second in the entire NFL in rushing with over 1,300 yards; Peterson also led all the league's top rushers with a 5.6 yards per carry average. For good measure, Peterson also chipped in another 268 yards on 19 receptions and averaged 25.8 yards on KO returns. Ironically, when Peterson was relieved of primary KO return duties, fellow rookie Aundrae Allsion, a WR taken in the 5th round, did even better, posting a figure of 28.7 yards per return. Meanwhile, 4th round DE Brian Robison was a pleasant surprise posting 4.5 sacks as a situational pass rusher, but like Peterson was more effective in the early part of the season. WR Sidney Rice (#2) and CB Marcus McCauley (#3) also saw extended playing time with Rice catching 31 passes, including 4 for scores, while McCauley rang up 63 tackles and 8 pass breakups, although he also got picked on at times. First-year grade: A

    CLEVELAND: 'We wuz robbed' is the cry in Cleveland where the resurgent Browns were knocked out of the playoffs when Indianapolis chose to pull QB Peyton Manning and most other key starters opening the door for Tennessee to sneak into the AFC's final playoff spot. No one, though, is thinking that the Browns were robbed at the 2007 draft. Indeed, Cleveland made out like bandits with the selection of OT Joe Thomas. The 3rd player selected this year emerged as a superb shut-down young LT who looks like he will anchor the offensive line for the next decade. The Browns also appear to have a couple of keepers in the secondary in CBs Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald, the team's second and fifth round picks respectively, who combined on 100 tackles, 3 interceptions and 21 pass breakups this fall. Meanwhile, QB Brady Quinn, whom the Browns selected with their second of two first-round picks, only got a few snaps all season long, but Cleveland management thinks enough of his potential that they appear willing to shop Derek Anderson who emerged as a more than competent starting NFL QB. First-year: A

    TAMPA BAY: The Buccaneers quietly put together one of the better stories of the season with no small help from their 2007 draft class. Indeed, both DE Gaines Adams and FS Tanard Jackson, the Buc's 1st and 4th round picks, respectively, quielty established themsleves as consistent starters on the league's #1 ranked defense. Gaines, in fact, led all rookies with 6 sacks after a slow starter, while Jackson was all over the field all season, posting 57 tackles, along with 2 interceprions and 13 pass breakups. The Bucs' defense also got an unexpected contribution from DT Greg Peterson, a 5th rounder, who had 1.5 sacks of his own. Meanwhile, OG Arron Sears, the Bucs' second round pick started from day one and solidified the left side of the offensive front. First-year grade: A

    NEW YORK JETS: With only 4 picks overall, just two of whom played this fall, the Jets had one of the league's smallest draft classes. However, the two who did play - CB Darrelle Revis and MLB David Harris, the Jets' 1st and second round picks respectively - played brilliantly. Revis, the 14th player taken this year, for example, was second on the team with 87 tackles whiile he picked off 3 passes and broke up 17 others. Harris, in fact, may have even been better. Indeed, Harris finished 8th in the NFL in tackles this fall with 126; that despite the fact that he didn't start until the 8th week of the schedule. Indeed, Harris had 101 tackles the second half of the season. First-year grade: A

    SAN FRANCISCO: There wasn't much to cheer about in San Francisco this all where the 49ers were supposed to be one of the most improved teams in the league, but never got going and finished 5-11. Worse, the 49ers no longer own what would ahve been the 7th pick overall at the 2008 draft having traded their #1 selection to New England for the right to take OT Joe Staley with a late first round pick last April. The 49ers, though, got some consolation - actually plenty of consolation - from the play of MLB Patrick Willis, the 11th player taken at the 2007 draft, who led the entire NFL - not just rookies - in tackles with 166. Indeed, Willis has been a one-man wrecking crew posting 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles  and 5 pass deflections along with all those tackles. Meanwhile, Staley, who started at RT from day, struggled early at times, but came on as the season progressed. The 49ers , though, didn't get much from the rest of their draft, although DB Dashon Golden, a 4th rounder, had 16 tackles, while 3rd round DE Ray McDonald had a sack. First-year grade: A

    INDIANAPOLIS:
    Defending Super Bowl champions don't usually play a lot of rookies, but the Colts were an exception getting contributions from as many first-year players as any team in the league. LT Tony Ugoh, a second round pick at the 2007 draft, was one of the better offensive rookies in the league this fall as he has locked down QB Peyton Manning's blindside after taking over for long-time mainstay Tarik Glenn who retired after last year's Super Bowl win. On the other hand, WR Anthony Gonzales, the team's #1 pick this year, got off to a slow start, but came on late to finish the year with 37 receptions for almost 600 yards and 3 scores. The Colts also got a most unexpected lift from undrafted rookie free agent DT Ed Johnson, who started from day one and did a nice job clogging the middle of the defensive front. Meanwhile, CB Dante Hughes (#3), DT Quinn Pitcock, LB Clint Session (#4), and DE Keyunta Dawson (#7), along with undrafted rookie free agent DBs Mel Bullitt and Ramon Guzman, all made contributions at one time or another as either in situational packages,
    as injury replacements, or on special teams. First-year grade: A-

    BUFFALO: On balance, the 2007 season was a disappointment for the Bills, however, several of Buffalo's draft picks appear to be key building blocks for the future. RB Marshawn Lynch, the 12th player selected at the 2007 draft, for example, had an excellent rookie year rushing for over 1,100 tough yards. Meanwhile, QB Trent Edwards, a 3rd rounder this year, showed enough in extended playing time to have the Bills thinking he just might be the 'QB of the future.' In a perfect world, the Bills would also have a top contender for defensive rookie of the year laurels, however, second round LB Paul Posluszny was lost for the season with an arm injury after leading all rookie tacklers with 26 stops through the first three weeks of the season. First-year grade: A-

    CAROLINA: The Panthers' 2007 rookie class pretty much started and ended with LB Jon Beason, the team's #1 pick this year. Beason, who was one of the league's top young defenders this fall after posting 140 tackles, though, represents a very good start. Indeed, Beason was second in the league among rookie tacklers and 3rd overall. The Panthers, though, had to be very disappointed that former Southern Cal WR Dwayne Jarrett, the team's second round pick this year, was barely visible this fall, catching a 6 measly passes this season for less than 100 yards. In fact, other than Beason, the only Panthers' pick to have played much so far this year was 4th round WR Ryne Robinson who posted decent numbers as the team's primary kick returner. Meanwhile, the Panthers were forced to start undrafted rookie free agent QB Matt Moore late in the season with mixed results. At least, Moore wasn't noticeably worse than the rest of the cast that the Panthers used to try and fill the gap created when incumbent starter Jake Delhomme was injured. First-year grade: B+

    HOUSTON: The Texans will be hoping that history does in fact repeat itself. Houston took their share of barbs after the 2006 draft where they passed on college superstars Vince Young and Regge Bush to take DE Mario Williams, but got the last laugh when Williams emerged as a force this fall while Young and Bush struggled at times. Undaunted, Houston went back to the defensive line this past April taking DT Amobi Okoye with the 10th overall pick; however, after a great start Okoye virtually disappeared in the second half of the season, although he did finish with 5.5 sacks, second among all rookie pass rushers. On the other hand, while Okoye faded as the season progresses, CB Fred Bennett, the team's 4th round pick, really came on after regular starter Dunta Robinson was injured, posting three picks and 14 pass breakups along with 62 tackles. The Texans' running game also got something of a late season boost from undrafted free agent RB Darius Walker who averaged a respectable 4.6 yards per carry and added 13 receptions, while 3rd round WR Jacoby Jones did a decent job returning punts, but struggled to pick up the regular offense. First-year grade: B+

    NEW YORK GIANTS: It was probably no accident that the Giants often leaky secondary really started to come together when CB Aaron Ross, the 20th player selected this year, was inserted into the starting lineup. Ross provided the Giants' improved defense with a level of physicality andquickness, although he was slowed by a leg injury for a good part of the second half of the campaign. The Giants also got some unexpected contributions from RB Ahmad Bradshaw and safety Michael Johnson, a pair of seventh rounders. Bradshaw didn't play much early after fumbling a couple of times early in the season, but averaged 8.3 yards per carry when he did get some snaps late in the year including an 88-yard TD burst that for all intents and purposes sewed up a playof spot for the Giants. For his part, Johnson held up very well when forced to start severl ganes because of injuries. Same for 5th round TE Kevin Boss who did a nice job filing in for an injured Jeremy Shockey late in the year. Boss combines at TE for the Giants with undrafted free agent TE Michael Matthews who did a steady job as the team's blocking TE all year. Meanwhile, DT Jay Alford (#3) and LB Zak DeOssie (#4) were adequate as the team's PK and P longsnappers respectively, but neither played much in the regular defense. First-year grade: B+

    KANSAS CITY: If there was a silver lining to the Chiefs dismal season it was the emergence of WR Dwayne Bowe, the team's #1 pick at the 2007 draft, as a big-play complimentary receiver to perennial All-Pro TE Tony Gonzales. Bowe, the 23rd player taken this year, led all rookie recivers - by a mile - with 70 receptions as he came up a short hook from a 1,000-yard season. Bowe, though, was the only Chiefs' rookie to make a major impact this fall. RB Kolby Smith, a fourth rounder this year, did a decent job filling in at RB as he gained 407 yards and caugth 22 passes, but averaged only 3.6 yards a carry. On the other hand, neither of defensive linemen Turk McBride and Tank Tyler, the Chiefs' second and third round picks respectively didn't play much combining for just 25 tackles and a sack. In fact, undrafted rookie free agent CB Tyrone Brackenridge was the Chiefs most productive defensive rookie while LB Nate Harris, another undrafted rookie also contributed on special teams.  First-year grade: B+

    JACKSONVILLE: FS Reggie Nelson, the 21st player taken at this year's draft, quietly put together a very productive rookie campaign posting 62 tackles, 5 interceptions, and 11 total pass break-ups, along with a sack and a forced fumble. Meanwhile, MLB Justin Durant, the highest non-D1A player selected when the Jaguars took him in the second round, played little early on, but really came on after being arrested on a DUI charge. P Adam Podlesh, a 4th round pick, was also solid enough averaging a respectable 41.6 yards per kick in his rookie season, while WR John Broussard, a 7th round pick, did have a 56-yard TD reception, but caught only 4 passes on the year. First-year grade: B+

    WASHINGTON: The Redskins didn't get much in the way of quantity from the 2007draft as only two of the Redskins' 5 picks actually made the opening day roster. What the Redskins did get, though, was perhaps the hardest hitter in this year's rookie class in S Laron Landry. Landry, the 6th player taken this past April, was all over the field this fall racking up 95 tackles; he also provided some inspirational leadership in the wake of the loss of fellow safety Sean Taylor. Washington, though, probably would like to see Landry make a few more plays in the future when the ball is in the air as he had just 7 pass breakups and no interceptions. (Ironically, though, Landry had two picks in the Redskins playoff loss in Seattle.) Meanwhile, LB H.B. Blades, a 6th round pick and the only other Redskins' pick to make the roster, played only on special teams, while undrafted rookie free agent OT Stephon Heyer manned the RT during the Redskins late-seaon surge, although he often needed help. First-year grade: B+

    CINCINNATI: There may be just a smidgen of light at the end of the tunnel for the often beleagured Bengals' defense with the emergence of a couple of building blocks in the secondary from the 2007 draft. CB Leon Hall, the Bengals' top pick this year, for example, had five picks this fall to tie for the league-lead among all rookies, although he did get picked on at times especially early in the season. Meanwhile, Cincinnati may have found a real nugget in 7th round DB Nedu Ndukwe who kept making big plays all season including 3 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, 2 sacks and a fumble returned for a TD. On the other hand, it didn't help the cause in Cincinnati when RB Kenny Irons, the Bengals' second round pick this year, was lost for the year with a knee injury in training camp. Indeed, other than Hall and Ndukwe, the Bengals' most productive rookie this fall was undrafted rookie free agent TE Daniel Coats, who had 12 receptions, while 3rd round DB Marvin White had 20 tackles, mostly on special teams. First-year grade: B+

    DETROIT: It was another disappointing season in Detroit including a relatively disappointing performance by the Lions' 2007 rookie class. WR Calvin Johnson, the second player selected at the 2007 draft, for example, did give the offense something of a big-play capacity as he averaged almost 16 yards a catch and scored four TDs, but ultimately caught only 48 total passes, although he was held back at times by a bad ankle. The Lions, though, got more than they bargained for in FS Gerald Alexander, a second round pick who stepped right into the starting lineup from day one and was all over the field all season posting 81 tackles and picking off a couple of passes. The Lions, though, didn't get much else from their rookie class. QB Drew Stanton, the first of Lions' three second round picks went on IR prior to the season, while DE Ikaika Alama-Francis, the other second round pick, seldom played. Meanwhile, the Lions released three of their four second day picks prior to the season. First-year grade: B

    ATLANTA: With 11 picks overall, no team had more picks at the 2007 draft than the Falcons and no team played more rookies this season, although the results in Atlanta were mixed. Both DE Jamaal Anderson, the 8th player selected this year, and second rounders OG Justin Blalock and CB Chris Houston started pretty much all   However, Anderson is still looking for his first career sack, although he did have 30 tackles, while OG Blalock was part of an offensive line that allowed 52 sacks this fall, although Blalock was never the unit's weak link. In fact, CB Houston, who had 52 tackles, may have been the Falcons best overall rookie, although he was picked on at times and is still looking for his first career pick. Meanwhile, WR Laurent Robinson (#3), LB Stephen Nicholas (#4), TE Martrez Milner (#4), and DT Trey Lewis (#6) also all saw extended playing time, although none made many impact plays. First-year grade: B

    GREEN BAY:
    One of the key ingredients of the Packers' resurgence has been the fact that Green Bay has simply had more draft picks than any other team in the league over the past three years. Indeed, the Packers had a total of 34 selections in the past three drafts including 11 in 2007. And it certainly hasn't hurt that the Packers have converted many of those picks into quality players including LB A.J. Hawk, WR Greg Jennings and OG Daryn Colledge with their first three picks in 2006. The 2007 draft hasn't been quite as productive, however, WR James Jones, a 3rd round selection this past April, did give venerable QB Brett Favre yet another reliable target hauling in 47 passes for almost 700 yards, while 3rd round DB Aaron Rouse had 25 tackles and a couple of picks. At the same time, RB DeShawn Wynn, an unheralded 7th rounder, gave the Packers' ground game a boost in the first half of the season, but missed the rest of the year with an injury. Fellow RB Brandon Jackson, a second rounder this year, also got plenty of chances but averaged just 3.6 yards per carry. The Packers also got some unexpected contributions from 6th round FB Korey Hall, who was origianlly selected as a LB, but did a nice job blocking and chipped in 8 pass receptions, as well as playing well on special teams. Meanwhile, PK Mason Crosby, another 6th round pick, was dependable enough hitting on 31 of 39 FG attempts including a 53-yarder. On the other hand, DT Justin Harrell, the Packers' #1 pick this year, didn't play much, finishing the year with just 16 tackles and no impact plays. First-year grade: B

    BALTIMORE: Figure that the Ravens' 2007 draft class represents something of a future investment as Baltimore used two of it's first three picks at the regular draft this year on offensive linemen - OG Ben Grubbs in the first round and G-T Marshal Yanda in the 3rd - and then used a 5th round pick at this summer's supplemental draft to take OT Jared Gaither. Of the three, only Yanda was a regular starter this fall - and the former Iowa star did a nice job solidifying the RT position, however, the Ravens also saw plenty of potential in both Grubbs and Gaither when they did get in the rotation. And the Ravens' run blocking will get even better in the future as FB Le'Ron McClain, a 6th round pick this year, did a more than adequate job as the team's lead blocker and even chipped in 9 pass receptions. Meanwhile, second round WR Yamon Figurs added an element of excitement to the Ravens' return game as he averaged almost 25 yards per KO return and 10.7 on punts; Figurs, though, was also often an adventure fielding the ball. The most intriguing Ravens rookie, though, was former Heisman Trophy winning QB Troy Smith; Smith, the Ravens' 5th round pick this year, started the final two games and showed enough to figure to be in the mix at some point down the road. In particular, Smith took good care of the ball and showed nice mobility, but the team would like to see him be more accurate after he completed just 53% of huis passes. First-year grade: B-

    MIAMI: The 2007 season was pretty much a year to forget for the Dolphins, a theme which extended to Miami's rookie class. At least all 11 of the Dolphins' 2007 draft picks made the roster, but overall didn't do a whole heck of a lot to get excited about for the future. WR Ted Ginn, whom the Dolphins rolled the dice on with 9th pick overall, for example, did catch 34 passes this fall and averaged 22.7 yards per KO and 9.6 on punts, okay numbers, but hardly worth a top ten pick. Meanwhile, QB John Beck, the team's second round pick and putative QB of the future, got some playing time in the second half o the seasons, but left as many questions as answers. Like Ginn, Beck's numbers weren't bad, however, the team simply couldn't score when he was in there. In fact, the Dolphins' best rookie this year was C Samson Satele, a second round pick who has done a nice job of anchoring an improved Dolphins' offensive front, while 6th round FB Reagan Mauia and 7th round P Brandon Fields were solid enough. First-year grade: C+

    ST. LOUIS: It was a miserable year all-round for the Rams who didn't get off to a very good start when the team released 4 of its 8 picks from the 2007 draft prior to the start of the season. At least the Rams have gotten the rookies they did keep some experience. In fact, DTs Adam Carriker and Clifton Ryan, the Rams' 1st and 5th round picks this past April, were the team's starting DT duo. Neither piled up big numbers - they each had 30 tackels and 2 sacks - but represent a couple of decent building blocks or the future. Meanwhile, 2nd round RB Brian Leonard was barely adequate as a replacement for an injured Steven Jackson early in the season rushing for 303 and catching 30 passes, but was never very explosive as he averaged just 3.5 yards per carry and 6.1 on receptions. At the same time, 3rd round CB Jonathan Wade didn't play much until late in the season, while undrafted rookie free agents LB Quinton Culberson and CB Darius Vinnet contributed on special teams. First-year grade: C+

    DENVER: The Broncos only had four picks at the 2007 draft and opted to use three on defensive linemen in the hope of bolstering a leaky front four. For the most part they are still hoping. Indeed, the Broncos, one of the league's most disappointing teams this season, ranked 30th in the NFL in run defense. It certainly didn't help that DE Jarvis Moss, the Broncos' #1 pick this year, was lost for the year in mid-season; in the first six weeks of the campaign, though, Moss had only 12 sacks and one sack. Fellow DE Tim Crowder, the team's second rounder, did get some heat on opposing QBs, posting 4.5 sacks, while 4th rounder Marcus Thomas had 20 tackles, but no sacks. In fact, the Broncos most productive rookie this fall was undrafted free agent RB Selvin Young who ran for over 700 yards and added another 200-plus yards on 35 pass receptions; indeed, Young was one of the better rookies in the league this fall. First-year grade: C+

    DALLAS: The Cowboys put the lie to the old draft day adage 'never draft a kicker.' Indeed, the Cowboys' most productive rookie this year was PK Nick Folk, the team's 6th round pick. Folk has hit on 26 of his 31 FG attempts that included a dramatic last second game winning 53-yarder against Buffalo. Meanwhile, DE Anthony Spencer, the Cowboys' #1 pick this year, got some minutes early in the year and responded with 36 tackles and three sacks, but saw his playing time reduced with the return of incumbent starter Greg Ellis. Another 6th rounder, FB Deon Anderson, has also been a solid contributor on special teams, and chipped in 6 receptions in the regular offense. First-year grade: C+

    TENNESSEE: Just when the schmozzle surrounding the Pacman Jones soap opera threatened to become the signature moment of the Titans' personnel department, up steps DB Michael Griffin, the team's first round pick this past April, to ease some of the pain. Griffin spent much of the first half of the season buried on the Titans' depth chart, but emerged over the latter part of the season as one of the better defensive rookies in the league this fall. Overall, Johnson had 54 tackles this season, with the large majority coming in the past couple of months. For good measure, Griffin also picked off three passes, broke up 7 other passes and forced a fumble. Griffin, though, was the only Titans' rookie to play much this fall. RB Chris Henry, the Titans' second rounder this past April, for example, was suspended a month serving a suspension for taking a medication which is on the NFL's banned substance list, but wasn't all that effective when he did play averaging less than 4 yards per carry. Meanwhile, 4th round WR Chris Davis did a nice job returning punts as he averaged almost 10 yards per try, but seldom played in the regular offense. First-year grade: C+

    SAN DIEGO: Outside of New England, no team was hotter down the stretch that the Chargers. San Diego, though, did it mostly without much help from their 2007 rookie class. S Eric Weddle, the Chargers' second round pick this year, though, did a nice job as the team's nickle back, posting 54 tackles including a sack and an interception. Meanwhile, 7th round LB Brandon Siler also contributed an unexpected 25 tackles. On the other hand, WR Buster Davis, the Chargers' #1 pick, had just 20 catches on which he averaged a meagre 9 yards per catch, while LB Anthony Waters and TE Scott Chandler, the team's 3rd and 4th round picks respectively, barely registered. In fact, it may very well be the best story for the Chargers' rookie class was undrafted free agent LB Jyles Tucker, who may not be a household name at his own home, but rang up three sacks, one of which included a forced fumble which he recovered for a TD in the team's season finale. First-season grade: C

    OAKLAND: For all intents and purposes the future starts next year in Oakland where QB Jamarcus Russell, the #1 player selected at the 2007 draft, remained firmly planted on the bench until the waning weeks of the season. Russell, though, gave the Raiders a peek at what may be a light at the end o the tunnel when he completed 23 of 31 passes for 224 yards in his only start of the year in the team's season-finale. If Russell does win the starting job next fall, he'll have an emerging target TE Zach Miller, the team's second round pick who had 44 receptions this fall, three of which went for scores. Meanwhile, 5th round DT Jay Richardson, who had 33 tackles including a sack and a blocked kick, and 6th round FB Oren O'Neal held up okay in limited minutes, but that was pretty much it from the Raiders' 11-man 2007 draft class this fall. First-year grade: C

    SEATTLE: Without a first-round pick, the Seahawks weren't anticipating getting much of an immediate impact much from their 2007 draft class. In the end, though, Seattle may actually have gotten a little more than they were expecting thanks in large part to DT Brandon Mebane, the team's 3rd round pick this year. Mebane didn't play much early on but eventually worked his way into the starting line-up where he helped shore up Seattle's run defense posting 29 tackles; Mebane also provided some up-field pressure when he registered a couple of sacks. Mebane, though, was pretty much the only Seahawks' rookie to contribute much. CB Josh Wison, DE Baraka Atkins, and DB Will Herring, the team's 2nd, 4th and 5th round picks respectively, for example, combined for just 32 tackles. Wilson, though, did average a healthy 27 yards on KO returns. Mid-season grade: C

    CHICAGO: The Bears hit a major speed bump this fall on the way to what they hoped would be another run at the Super Bowl this season. Along the way, the Bears didn't get a whole lot of help from their 2007 draft. TE Greg Olsen, the team's #1 pick this year, did emerge as a reliable underneath receiver as the former Miami Hurricane caught 39 passes despite missing the first month of the season. Olsen, though, only averaged 10 yards per carry and seldom was able to stretch the field. The rest of the Chicago draft class, though, was relatively quiet. In fact, unheralded 7th round DB Trumaine McBride was the team's only reasonably productive rookie other than Olsen as he posted 41 tackles and broke up 5 passes, mostly in nickle packages. On the other hand, RB Garrett Wolfe, the team's 3rd ound pick, averaged less than 3 yards per carry in limited playing time. First-year grade: C

    PITTSBURGH: It's usually not a good sign when a kicker is a team's top rookie, but that was the case for the Steelers as P Daniel Sepulveda, a 4th round pick this apst April, was solid all year averaging 42.4 yards per punt - with a 37.9 yard net - while putting almost half his kicks down inside opponents 20-yard line. It's probably worse, though, when the rookie kicker is pretty much the team's only first-year player to contribute in any significant way. Indeed, the Steelers didn't get much else from their other 2007 picks, although DE Lamarr Woodley, a second round pick, did have 4 sacks, but had only 14 tackles overall. At the same time, OLB Lawrence Timmons, the  Steelers' first round pick taken 15th overall, was a virtual no-show this fall as he posted just 13 tackles with no impact plays. Meanwhile, 3rd round TE Matt Spaeth, 5th round CB William Gay, and undrafted rookie free agent RB Gary Russell also contributed some minutes. Mid-season grade: C-

    ARIZONA: The 2007 draft didn't start auspiciousply for the Cardinals when only 3 of the Cardinals' 5 picks this year made the roster, although a 4th - TE Ben Patrick (#7) - was later resigned. The other Arizona pick released was LB Buster Davis, a 3rd round pick who was the highest player selected by any team at the 2007 draft to be cut prior to the season. And it didn't get a whole lot better for the Cardinals' rookie class as the season progressed. OT Levi Brown, the 5th player taken this year, really struggled at times manning the right side of the offensive line, while DT Alan Branch, the first player taken in this year's second round, didn't play much registering just 9 tackles on the year. Meanwhile, WR Steve Breaston, the Cardinals' 5th round pick this year, was the team's primary return man, but wasn't much more than average although he did return a punt for a TD.  First-year grade: D+

    NEW ORLEANS: There were plenty of factors to blame, but the Saints got very little production from their 2007 rookie class in what was an overall disappointing season in New Orleans. For starters, the Saints released three of their 7 picks prior to the start of the season, while WR Robert Meachem, the team's #1 pick this year, never played while he rehabbed from a knee injury. In fact, CB Usama Young, a 3rd rounder this past April who played in nickle packages posting 25 tackles, but made few plays while the ball was in the air, was the only Saints ' pick to play much at all. In the end, the Saints top rookie this season was undrafted rookie free agent Pierre Thomas who ran for just over 250 yards, caught 17 passes and averaged 24 yards per try returning kick-offs to help offset the losses of incumbents starters Deuce Mcalsietr and Reggie Bush. First-year grade: D+

    PHILADELPHIA: With no first-round pick of their own, then having used their actual top pick - a second rounder - on a QB who wasn't going to play much this year and having cut three of the 9 picks they did make prior to the season, the Eagles weren't expecting much from the 2007 draft class. And that's pretty much what they got. QB Kevin Kolb, the Eagles' top pick this year, still has yet to throw his first pro pass, while DE Victor Abiamiri, the Eagles' other second rounder, had but three tackles on the season. In fact, the Eagles' most productive rookie was probably 5th round TE Brent Celek, who had 16 receptions, including 1 for a TD, while 3rd round LB Stewart Bradley had 18 tackles including a sack. RB Tony Hunt, another 3rd rounder, though, averaged an anemic 1.6 yards per carry. Undrafted rookie free agents CB Nick Graham and LB Akeem Jordan combined for 32 tackles, mostly on special teams. First-year grade: D-

    Special student:

    NEW ENGLAND: Any other team and the Patriots' 2007 draft would get a failing grade. In fact, only one of New England's 9 picks from this past April was still on the roster at the end of the year. And that one - FS Brandon Meriweather, the Patriots' top pick this year, didn't play a whole lot after the first month of the season.  But this is New England where just about everything turns to gold. Indeed, has any trade ever worked out better than the Patriots acquisition of WR Randy Moss from Oakland for a measly 4th round pick. All the oft-tempermental Moss did was catch 98 passes for almost 1,500 and an almost sick 23 TDs. In fact, if there ever was a better trade than the one for Moss, who doers become a free agent at the end of the year, may have been the Patriots deal for fellow WR Wes Welker for a second round pick from Miami. Walker has emerged as a terrific compliment to Moss catching 112 passes of his own, along with being his usual pesky self returning kicks.  First-year grade: A