When it comes to 2011 NFL Draft grades, everyone has an opinion. And, as we've seen, those opinions differ from person-to-person, with little consensus on the way. So it comes down to parsing the information in an effort to figure out if a draft was successful, though the real answer won't be known for years to come.
CBS Sports' Rob Rang is one of those trusted sources when it comes to all things NFL Draft. From pre-draft to postmortems, Rang knows the draft as well as anyone. It's why his draft grades paint a good picture and give us a better idea of how the NFC West fared this past weekend.
Rang gave the St. Louis Rams the best grade in the NFC West, calling their draft worthy of a B+. He was happy with Robert Quinn and felt Greg Salas and Austin Pettis will provide Sam Bradford with solid targets in the passing game, something he was missing in 2010. The gem, however, was clearly Quinn, and Rang had high praise for the defensive end from North Carolina.
Quinn, whose 2009 tape showed the type of explosiveness to warrant top five consideration, could emerge as a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate in St. Louis
The Arizona Cardinals picked up the same grade as the Seattle Seahawks, earning a B from Rang. Arizona made solid picks across the board, including Patrick Peterson, who many felt was the best player available in the draft. Ryan Williams joins a crowded backfield, but may end up being an early contributor for the Cardinals.
Peterson, my No. 1-rated player in the 2011 draft, was a steal for the Cardinals at the fifth pick. With shutdown corners on each side, Arizona didn't have to reach for a pass rusher, instead taking advantage of Texas' Sam Acho falling into their lap in the fourth round.
The San Francisco 49ers weren't so lucky. Rang wasn't pleased with the Niners draft at all, giving it a C in his evaluation. Rang felt San Francisco took too many gambles, including making Aldon Smith their first round selection. It's unclear how Smith will fit the defensive scheme head coach Jim Harbaugh plans to implement, and he carries a high bust-factor because of it. One thing the Niners did find was a quarterback in Colin Kaepernick, who could benefit greatly from Harbaugh's magic touch.
He has a rare combination of size, arm strength and mobility for the position and is intelligent and hard-working. His awkward throwing motion has drawn the ire of some, though the 49ers are obviously comfortable with it.
Rang gave the Seahawks a B for their drafting efforts. The analysis of his grades for the home team can be found here.
For even more on the draft, head on over to Field Gulls. Check out the rest of our 2011 NFL Draft grades to get caught up on all the picks. For a look back on the draft that was, check out our 2011 NFL Draft StoryStream. We'll be getting to know each of the Seahawks draft picks in our 2011 NFL Draft results StoryStream.