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Top 5 Grades for the 2006 NFL Draft


Anyone who knows anything about the NFL Draft knows you cannot fully evaluate the jobs done by various teams until a few years down the road. But the draft is out of the way, training camp doesn't open for nearly three months, and I've got nothing better to do.

When judging each team's selections, I've taken into account the value of the prospects as compared to when they were picked, as well as how well they filled a need.

These five teams grade out best at this premature point!

1. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles continued with a formula that has been successful for them over recent years; drafting lineman early and often. Brodrick Bunkley was a good value in the first round, but OT Winston Justice was a steal slipping all the way into the second round. The knock on him is his inconsistency, but he could turn into an elite tackle.

Guard Max Jean-Gilles adds a huge body to the interior offensive line, and I love the additions of WRs Jason Avant and Jeremy Bloom in the fourth and fifth round.

2. Arizona Cardinals

QB Matt Leinart probably would have been the No. 1 overall pick in 2005, and was thought to be a sure top-5 pick this year. At No. 10, he's a great value and suddenly finds himself in an offense loaded with weapons.

Georgia tight end Leonard Pope, who at one point was ranked as a late first rounder by many, fell to the Cardinals in the third round, giving the team yet another offensive weapon.

DT Gabe Watson in the fourth could be a steal as well if he's properly motivated.

3. Denver Broncos

The Broncos made a decisive move up to get a guy they view as their QB of the future, but their best move of the day wasn't an actual draft selection. It came in the form of a trade for disgruntled Packers receiver Javon Walker, which only cost them a second-round pick.

Tight end Tony Scheffler filled a need in round two, as did defensive end Elvis Dumervil in the fourth round. Dumervil should contribute immediately as a situational pass rusher for a team in desperate need of a pass rush!

4. Houston Texans

Sure, they passed on Reggie Bush for DE Mario Williams, but Williams is a tremendous talent who fills a bigger need with the team moving to a 4-3 defense. He also proved to be more signable.

The Texans also picked up a pretty good linebacker in DeMeco Ryans in the second round, but what put this draft over the top was the upgrading of their offensive line in the third round. Charles Spencer has the versatility to play tackle or guard, and Eric Winston was a great value at No.66 overall.

5. New England Patriots

The Patriots picked up arguably the second-best running back in the draft late in the first round, and arguably the draft's best wide receiver prospect in the second, filling two big needs early on day one. Dave Thomas was also a nice addition at tight end in the third.

Offensive lineman Ryan O'Callaghan, whose run-blocking skills make him a natural for the right side at either guard or tackle, was an absolute steal in the fifth round. And DT Le Kevin Smith could be a big surprise in the sixth.

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