Which team did best in the first three rounds?

Posted April 29, 2011 @ 11:25 p.m.
Posted By PFW staff

With the first three rounds of the NFL draft in the books, PFW editors make their pick for who has had the best draft thus far:

Senior editor Eric Edholm — Giants

The Giants just sat back and let picks come to them. They didn't panic when a few of their choice players went off the board prior to the 19th pick, and they took a free falling Prince Amukamara. You talk need, I talk talent. Believe me, you can never have enough of the latter. He'll push Aaron Ross for the nickel spot immediately and be a very good player in time. For their second pick, the Giants took the same approach. They waited and trusted their board, allowing DT Marvin Austin to land softly in their laps. That's what Austin needs — a chip on his shoulder and a cast of strong veterans around him. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell could not have believed his luck after this one went through. And for a little gravy, the Giants solved an underrated problem last season — punt returner — and Jerrel Jernigan gained 13.3 yards per return last season at Troy. He's a quality slot receiver, too. All in all, this was a great haul through two days.

Senior editor Mike Wilkening — Texans

The Texans' first three picks in this draft — DE J.J. Watt, OLB Brooks Reed and CB Brandon Harris — all figure to contribute immediately for a revamped defense led by coordinator Wade Phillips. The Texans were awful defensively last season, but they surely will be better in 2011 with Phillips' coaching and more talent, and if their offense continues to be potent … well, here's a sleeper team for you. Yes, I am the millionth person to anoint the Texans a sleeper since they began NFL play; do I get a plaque? Kidding aside, the Texans have really helped themselves early in this draft.

Associate editor Dan Parr — Lions

It could end up being a polarizing draft for the Lions, since they haven't picked based on need and only have a fifth-round pick and a seventh-round pick left to address issues at corner and linebacker. Their biggest weaknesses are still soft spots, but they may have turned a good defensive line into a dominant one with the selection of DT Nick Fairley in the first round. Detroit's two second-round picks — WR Titus Young and RB Mikel Leshoure — will add explosiveness on offense. The Lions didn't reach at all and came away with three good players. Those needs still remaining could be addressed in free agency.

Associate editor Kevin Fishbain — Texans

For the Texans, defense is and has been their biggest Achilles' heel. The pieces are there on offense, and if you are to believe that OLB Brooks Reed is worth the hype, they potentially drafted three defensive players who can start Day One with DE J.J. Watt and CB Brandon Harris, who was projected in the first round for a while.

Associate editor Arthur Arkush — Saints

The Saints added four dynamic playmakers to an already Super Bowl-caliber roster. At No. 24, the club gets a lightning-quick and versatile D-lineman who creates mismatches in Cameron Jordan. While New Orleans gave up a king's ransom to select RB Mark Ingram at No. 28, trading its second-rounder and a first-rounder in 2012, he gives the Saints another talented, rugged option in the backfield. At No. 72 overall, the Saints addressed arguably their greatest need, adding a raw prospect with major upside in LB Martez Wilson. And to top it off, with the 88th overall selection, the Saints selected Johnny Patrick — a well-rounded cornerback whose best football is ahead of him.

Associate editor Eli Kaberon — Saints

Most teams would be happy with one impact player in the draft; after the first two days of the NFL draft, the Saints have three of those guys. With DL Cameron Jordan, RB Mark Ingram and LB Martez Wilson, New Orleans is well positioned on both sides of the ball to continue their run of success. Jordan is a disruptive player who will thrive in the middle of the Saints' line, Ingram is a bruising runner who can be mixed in with the team's current crop of backs and Wilson is a speedster who will help wreak havoc in Gregg Williams' scheme. Add in CB Johnny Patrick, who has the chance to compete for playing time in the secondary, and the Saints have quickly transformed from an aging team to a squad built for the long term.