Love him or hate him, Mel Kiper has the "bully pulpit" when it comes to the NFL draft. His grades for the 2011 draft are out and the Cleveland Browns are near the top of the class. Hopefully that will translate to being at the top of the league in coming years as good picks translate into great players on the field.
Kiper is doing his grades a bit differently this year. He is assigning two grades: one for the extent to which the team addressed its needs and one for the value it got with its picks according to pre-draft rankings. This can be faulted in that not everyone would value the players in the same way but looking at this as a closed system the grades should be good from a relative point of view. Mel has the Detroit Lions at the top of his list with an A- mostly for the value of their picks. The Bengals are next with a good combination of value and meeting needs also at an A- grade. Next are several teams with a B+ which includes the Browns.
The main accomplishment according to Kiper was the value obtained in the trade with the Falcons. He also liked the Browns first three picks (Taylor, Sheard and Little) from a value standpoint and in meeting the team's needs. He docked Cleveland in the needs category for not getting a linebacker or help at right tackle.
Even though Kiper is not the final word in draft excellence, it is good to see the Browns near the top of someone's list for something. Kudos to the Browns draft team for an exciting and productive draft.