Mel Kiper Improves the Browns' 2011 Draft Grade to an A-

ESPN's Mel Kiper regraded the 2011 NFL Draft today (insider article), and while he initially liked what the Browns did after the draft (he gave them a B+), the new grade for Cleveland improved to an A-. Kiper's reasoning is listed after the jump.

Post-draft grade: B+

Summary: Forgive the superlatives, but this draft could be a quiet monster in terms of getting value up and down the board. It's a fair critique to wonder about the value of a rookie class on a top team versus the time rookies can see for a noncontender such as Cleveland. And the Browns still need to get something done on offense if they want to compete, particularly at quarterback. But you at least can say the strength of this team is on defense, and the first two picks were a big part of that. No. 21 overall pick Phil Taylor started all 16 games and proved to be a great fit in this scheme. Jabaal Sheard looks like a future star and piled up 8.5 sacks along with forcing five fumbles. Greg Little needs to become more consistent, but, after missing a year of football, he showed hints of future stardom -- he had seven more catches than Julio Jones. Buster Skrine looks really good in what was already a good secondary, and Jason Pinkston gave the Browns 16 starts after being taken at No. 150. Owen Marecic and Jordan Cameron have potential. The offense couldn't do enough to make this team competitive, but it can't really take the shine off this class for me. Put it this way: If the Browns make the playoffs next season, it won't be because they had to replace any of these picks.

New grade: A-

When you look at the contributions the team's draft picks made this year, I think you'd definitely have to say that the picks received more playing time than the team's picks in the past. There ended up being five full-time starters in the draft class in Taylor, Sheard, Little, Marecic, and Pinkston. The rest of the picks at least saw the field at some point.

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