Each and every year we see a number of varied draft grades come out based on opinions and based on how teams used their picks to become a better team. But when we see draft grades come out we unfortunately never find a consensus for any teams, and this unfortunately makes it tough to really know how teams did in the draft.

While the results are nowhere close to perfect, I have tried to find a way to evaluate draft grades for the first round of the 2011 draft based on two different factors. The first is whether a team addressed a need with their pick(s). This is never an easy to find, but to this I found the top-3 needs based on the rankings of Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, and Walter Cherepinsky (Walterfootball.com). While I don't quite agree with the combine needs, it is the fairest way to grades. If a team isn't able to address one of their three biggest needs with the pick, then the pick is arguably a luxury pick and cannot get the same exact value as a team that improves a need. If a team addressed a need, then I added 10 points to their total, while a non-need was worth 0. At the end I took the average (of the five scores) and that was the team's score.

The second factor I have used is perceived value. I have taken the mock drafts of Kiper, McShay, Cherepinsky, Mike Mayock and finally myself (I am no expert, but my 'differences' add a scientific difference). With these mock drafts I have found where a player went compared to the perceived value location that a person mocked them to go. This is sort of hard to explain, but here is my best attempt:

1) A player that is picked where mocked is worth 20. For instance everyone picked Cam Newton 1st overall and he went 1st so he got a 20 from everyone.

2) For each pick I assessed a value based on where each person mocked them to go. So if you look at the San Fransisco 7th overall pick of Aldon Smith you will see that three people had Smith going 11th to Houston, Todd McShay had him going 5th, and Mayock had him fall to 12th. So McShay perceived his value two picks higher than 7th, while the rest of us had his value four of five picks lower. Each pick difference adds or subtracts points from the 20 original, so a steal is more than 20 while a reach on perceived value is less than 20.

3) At the end I combined the two scores and rank them. You may have the following questions:

A) What about perceived value on trades? I didn't adjust to trades because the people that mocked the players there perceived that the given player was valuable enough to go that high.

B) What does N/A mean? Unfortunately Kiper and Mayock did not have final mock drafts with later rounds, so there was no way for me to value the pick. You will notice that five teams (Seattle, Kansas City, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, NY Jets) have had their grades separated. I took the averages as I could, but had complete data been available the general scores would have been lower. So for the five teams, you must look at their 'grades' as incomplete.


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After looking at the grades you will see why it makes sense that Minnesota and Seattle got very bad 1st round grades. Both teams reached terribly to fill needs, and while they did address the needs, the general value just there. It is interesting when you look at the Arizona and Tampa Bay picks, because both teams had what many considered a good draft, but both team's 1st pick wasn't great given overall value. The Da'Quan Bowers picks though (although not grades) might be the steal of the draft given the perceived value and need factor.

San Diego's grade was interesting as well. In general San Diego reached by taking a 4-3 DT as a 3-4 DE, but they took a guy that many thought would get taken earlier, and they did address a need.