2011 NFL Draft Grades: Mel Kiper Jr. Give Patriots 'C+' For This Year's Draft Class

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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Patriots Earn C+ Average From Experts

One of the best things the guys over at Real Clear Sports do, besides linking to the best sports columns on a daily basis, is compile and average rankings. The most recent example of this is their 2011 NFL Draft Report Card, a look at the draft grades handed out by some of the top media outlets around the web. 

RCS took the grades for all 32 NFL teams from Mel Kiper, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, Sports News, NBC Sports, Yahoo! Sports and USA Today, averaged them together to create a GPA of sorts for each team. 

The Detroit Lions lead the way with a 3.68 average after earning at least an A- from seven of the eight rankings (CBS gave the Lions a B+). At the bottom is the Seattle Seahawks, who scored a 2.05, with two Ds. The Jacksonville Jaguars earn the honor of having the worst grade of any team, getting an F- from SI. 

So how'd the New England Patriots do? Pretty mediocre, really. 

The eight grades for the Pats averaged out to a score of a 2.54, or the equivalent of somewhere between a C+ and a B-. Their grades ranged from an A+ (Sporting News) to a C- (SI). 

Of course, it will be a while until we know just how the Patriots 2011 NFL Draft class pans out but for now, opinions of both experts and fans are mixed.

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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Patriots Score Well On Offense, But Incomplete On Defense

The 2011 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, so how did the New England Patriots' nine selections over the weekend grade out? We offer our thoughts, pick-by-pick. See more on the Patriots and their draft at Pats Pulpit.

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NFL Draft Grades 2011: Patriots Get 'C' In Mocking The Draft's Report Card

Mocking The Draft has released its AFC grades for the 2011 NFL Draft, giving the New England Patriots a 'C' for their selections in this year's draft.

While the Patriots drafted some nice players, MTD believes that Bill Belichick missed out on impact players.

New England PatriotsNate SolderRas-I DowlingShane VereenStevan RidleyRyan MallettMarcus Cannon, Lee Smith, Markell Carter, Malcolm Williams

There are some nice players in this draft class but I think that they miss an opportunity to get real impact players.  Solder has a ton of potential but he needs to work on improving his technique.  Dowling has been injury prone which needs to play into your evaluation.  Both Vereen and Ridley are nice running backs but are similar to the current combo of Woodhead and Green-Ellis.  The Mallett and Cannon may take a little to pay off but were smart selections.

For more on the New England Patriots and their draft, head over to Pats Pulpit. And for all things 2011 NFL Draft related, from the first pick to Mr. Irrelevant and everything in between, check out SB Nation's 2011 NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog, Mocking The Draft.

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Mel Kiper's 2011 Draft Grades: Patriots Earn 'C+' In This Year's Draft

Mel Kiper's 2011 NFL Draft grades are out, and the New England Patriots' draft class this year was slightly better than average according to Kiper, who gave Bill Belichick and the Patriots a 'C+' overall for their efforts.

Here's what Kiper had to say about the Patriots' 2011 draft class.

New England Patriots

Top needs: OLB, WR, DE, RB

Summary: "This was a mixed bag for me, a usual tour de force in terms of adding a mountain of roster spackle with the acquisition of draft picks - the Patriots now have a pair of Round 1 and Round 2 picks to use (and trade) in 2012 - but also with a few puzzlers mixed in with the usual smart picks. The Patriots needed offensive line help in a couple of spots, and they got an athletic guy that can be plugged in immediately with Solder. Dowling is a first-round pick if fully healthy and a guy I've had on the Big Board, but he wasn't healthy in 2010. The Patriots reached on a pair of running backs - though Vereen offers a nice pass-catching option out of the backfield - and then there was the notable selection of Mallett. It's a sensible pick. Value is value, and while Tom Brady's true heir may still be in high school, Mallett is now a commodity worth developing. Look what happened with Matt Cassel.

I like the selection of [Marcus] Cannon, a massive lineman, but there's no real help in the pass rush at either defensive end or outside linebacker, which is pretty surprising. They got so little in terms of a pass rush from a quartet of linebackers last season, and this is a team that passed on Clay Matthews two years ago. Where is the pass rush help? But, as always, the Patriots will have plenty of chances to plug holes again next year. I just think for a team in line for another Super Bowl run, that was a need worth targeting."

For more on the New England Patriots and their draft, head over to Pats Pulpit. And for all things 2011 NFL Draft related, from the first pick to Mr. Irrelevant and everything in between, check out SB Nation's 2011 NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog, Mocking The Draft.

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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Patriots Get 'A+' On Sporting News' Report Card

The opinions vary widely when it comes to the New England Patriots' 2011 NFL Draft picks, with some believing that Bill Belichick drafted solid value while others thinking he missed out on good talent.

Clifton Brown of Sporting News is of the belief that the Patriots had a great draft, giving them an 'A+' for their picks.

Patriots: A+

No pass rusher, but a slew of talented players led by Nate Solder, Ras-I Dowling, Shane Vereen and Ryan Mallett. Plus they have two picks next year in both the first and second rounds.

New England was one of two teams to receive an 'A+' on Sporting News' report card, with the other being the Detroit Lions, who Brown praised for adding Nick Fairley, Titus Young and Mikel Leshoure.

At the other end of the report card, the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks all received a 'D' for their efforts in this year's draft. Better hide that mark from mom and dad.

For more on the New England Patriots and their draft, head over to Pats Pulpit. And for all things 2011 NFL Draft related, from the first pick to Mr. Irrelevant and everything in between, check out SB Nation's 2011 NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog, Mocking The Draft.

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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Breaking Down The AFC East

The 2011 NFL Draft charges onward, with Rounds 4-7 taking place on Saturday afternoon (ESPN/NFL Network). While the teams sort through their late-round picks, let's take a look at some of the NFL Draft grades from SB Nation. Here's a look at the report card for all four AFC East teams.

2011 NFL Draft - AFC East Grades

1. New England Patriots: B+
The Pats are doing their usual thing, picking up draft picks left and right and adding great fits. Their two third-round picks were sufficiently strange to keep this grade out of A range for now.

Picks: OT Nate Solder, CB Ras-I Dowling, RB Shane Vereen, RB Stevan Ridley, QB Ryan Mallett

2. New York Jets: B+
It's sort of unfair that the Jets had two supremely talented (albeit raw) defensive linemen fall right into Rex Ryan's lap. There is a ton of promise with this class so far.

Picks: DT Muhammad Wilkerson, DT Kenrick Ellis

3. Buffalo Bills: B

Owners of the league's worst run defense, the Bills have taken initiative in getting bigger and tougher at all levels of their defense, all the while addressing depth and getting solid talent and value.

Picks: DE Marcell Dareus, CB Aaron Williams, LB Kelvin Sheppard

4. Miami Dolphins: B-

They still don't have a franchise quarterback - they're certainly not alone there - but the Dolphins have addressed their biggest weakness, running the football. Nice commitment with these picks.

Picks: C Mike Pouncey, RB Daniel Thomas

For more on the New England Patriots and their draft, head over to Pats Pulpit. And for all things 2011 NFL Draft related, from the first pick to Mr. Irrelevant and everything in between, check out SB Nation's 2011 NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog, Mocking The Draft.

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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Patriots Earn Another B+ For Day Two

Two days and Round 1-3 of the 2011 NFL Draft are complete, with Rounds 4-7 set for Saturday afternoon. But before we move on to a day for teams to add depth to their rosters and uncover hidden talents (or try to at least), let's see which team is winning the draft so far with some preliminary 2011 NFL Draft Grades

The New England Patriots earned a B+ after the first round, and for the second and third rounds, SB Nation's Brian Galliford has given Bill Belichick and company the same grade: a B+. 

The Pats are doing their usual thing, picking up draft picks left and right and adding great fits. Their two third-round picks were sufficiently strange to keep this grade out of A range for now.

Picks: OT Nate Solder, CB Ras-I Dowling, RB Shane Vereen, RB Stevan Ridley, QB Ryan Mallett

The Patriots continued their value-first mentality during the second day of the draft, taking Dowling with the No. 33 pick and then a pair of running backs before taking Ryan Mallett in the third round. After that, New England traded down, exchanging picks with the Oakland Raiders to add a seventh rounder this year and a second rounder in 2012. 

New England now has four picks on Saturday: two picks in Round 5, a pick in Round 6 and then the No. 219 overall selection in the seventh round. 

For more the New England Patriots and their draft, head over to Pats Pulpit. And for all things 2011 NFL Draft related, from the first pick to Mr. Irrelevant and everything in between, check out SB Nation's 2011 NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog, Mocking The Draft.

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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Patriots Earn High Marks For First Round

With the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft in the books it's time to start handing out NFL draft grades.

The New England Patriots drafted OT Nate Solder (Colorado) with the No. 17 overall pick and then traded away their No. 28 pick in exchange for a second rounder this year and a first-rounder in 2012. Those moves already earned the Pats an A- from Brian Galliford over at SB Nation

Yawn. Ho-hum. Let's just take the highest-upside lineman, OT Nate Solder, and then trade down for a third second-round pick and the Saints' first-round pick in 2012. Everyone outside of Boston hates you, Bill Belichick.

SB Nation's Patriots blog, Pats Pulpit, was not so generous, giving Bill Belichick's decision-making a B+.

Had the team simply selected Wilkerson or Heyward at 28, then waited to move the 33rd pick for a first rounder in 2012, the team could have filled the need at right end while also picking up solid future value. You could simply say, "Well, in hindsight..." But I disagree. With three teams needing defensive line help (Bears, Jets, Steelers), there was no reason to take the risk of losing both of the coveted five techniques by 33. Then again, the Patriots simply might have not valued Wilkerson and Heyward that highly.

For more the New England Patriots and their draft, head over to Pats Pulpit. And for all things 2011 NFL Draft related, from the first pick to Mr. Irrelevant and everything in between, check out SB Nation's 2011 NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog, Mocking The Draft.

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