Daily Archives: April 26, 2009

Second draft thoughts

After sleeping on it, a few more drafts that are shaping up well or curiously:
*The Jaguars bottomed out last year in large part because of widespread injuries on the offensive line. So getting tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton in the first two rounds was a boon. Both were good values too.
*The Eagles needed playmakers and got them in WR Jeremy Maclin (via a small trade up) and RB LeSean McCoy. Given how much Brian Westbrook’s health has determined Philly’s performance over past years, McCoy could be especially valuable right away.
*The Niners came out of the first round with Michael Crabtree and an extra first-rounder in 2010. That’s a good haul, but they still need some defensive help.
*The Texans were looking for defense and got it. LB Brian Cushing is a perfect fit as a starter, and Connor Barwin should contribute immediately too. That’s a nice under-the-radar first day.
*The Bengals got definite ability in OT Andre Smith and LB Rey Maualuga, but both players have at least minor character questions. Third-rounder DE Michael Johnson likewise has a bunch of talent, but he underachieved last year in a big way. These guys echo the kinds of things that have been the problem in Cincy. This is now a classic boom or bust scenario for a team that would have been better served with some safer picks.
*The Falcons and Ravens both preyed on the draft board. (Birds of prey… Get it? That bad pun is in honor of my dad.) Atlanta got good players in DT Peria Jerry and S William Moore, while the Ravens added OT Michael Oher and OLB Paul Kruger. With good coaching like they have in Baltimore, Oher could become an elite player. Ozzie Newsome of Baltimore has long been one of the top draftees in the league, and Thomas Dimitroff of Atlanta is now 2-for-2 on the first days of his initial drafts.
*RB Chris “Beanie” Wells was a nice name to see available for Arizona at 31. It was nice that they took him, because that made my mock draft look a little better after a day full of missing guys by one or two spots. Thank you, Cardinals.
*I’m not sure what to make of Pat White going to Miami. He’ll be just a niche player there, mostly in the Wildcat formation. I would have liked to see him go to a team that wanted him as a quarterback, because I want to believe he can do it.

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First draft thoughts

Here are some first thoughts on the first day of the draft. A more complete wrapup is coming soon…

*The Lions and Rams took advantage of their high drafting position. Detroit rightly picked QB Matthew Stafford and handed him the keys of the franchise. It’s a big challenge, but that’s what Detroit needs to do to move forward. TE Brandon Pettigrew could be a building block as well. In St. Louis they didn’t try to anything fancy, which was smart. Jason Smith will become a franchise keystone at tackle, and James Laurinaitis should do the same at linebacker. That’s exactly the kind of draft start the Rams needed.
*The Browns were the epitome of gutlessness in the first round. They got a small haul to move down from 5 to 17, which makes it look like they just weren’t willing to cut the check for an elite player like Michael Crabtree. Instead, they added only a second-round pick and 5 marginal pieces (two sixth-round picks and 3 players) to move down to 21, where they took a center. The players they got were a decent but not great 30-year-old DE in Kenyon Coleman, a decent but not great safety in Abram Elam, and a third-string QB in Brett Ratliff. None are core players. First-round selection Alex Mack is good but can’t be a franchise player because of his position. Overdrafting WR Brian Robiskie at the top of the second round (in part because he’s a local product) only made things worse. ‘Twas a thud of a draft day for the Dawg Pound.
*I’m not convinced the Chiefs got it right with DE Tyson Jackson. New KC GM Scott Pioli (formerly of New England) had better hope Jackson is an impact player, a la Richard Seymour, and not just a solid starter like Seymour’s Pats teammate Ty Warren, who was a mid first-rounder like Jackson was rated to be. If Jackson is like Warren, then the Chiefs didn’t get the building block they needed.
*The Seahawks and Patriots ended up as the top wheeler-dealers. Seattle first stayed put and took Aaron Curry, then later traded third- and fourth rounders to replace a second-round pick which they dealt for a first-rounder next year. That’s a win. New England, meanwhile, traded out of the first round but ended up with three picks between 34 and 41, and they got three players who should contribute right away. Then on the second day, they traded third-rounders and ended up with two extra 2010 second-round picks(from Jacksonville and Tennessee). That’s how it’s really done, Cleveland. Take note.
*If the Browns were the epitome of gutlessness, the Broncos were the height of arrogance. They took a luxury pick in talented RB Knowshon Moreno at 12 when defense should have been a priority. DE Robert Ayers was good value with the 18th pick (the Jay Cutler pick), but then Denver dealt its 2010 first-rounder for CB Alphonso Smith, a good player who’s probably not more than a nickelback in the NFL. Maybe Josh McDaniels really is that much smarter than the rest of us, but if he’s not, acting like it will ruin the Broncos for the long run.
*The Raiders continue to live in a different world from the rest of us. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey was a fantastic Reed Richards level reach at No. 7. Second-rounder Michael Mitchell appears to be a similar stretch. At least Al Davis didn’t take a kicker in the first round this year.
*The Jets might have paid less to move from 17 up to 5 to get Mark Sanchez than they would have to move to 8 because the Browns were in love with some of their players. But you have to give them credit for being willing to pay the freight for a top-5 pick. They’ll be thankful, because Sanchez sets then up for long-term success.
*I hated the fact that the Panthers dealt next year’s first for the second draft in a row. DE Everette Brown is a good player at a need position, but Carolina is now in a cycle of impatience that’s hard to break (just ask Bobby Beathard). I wonder if the heightened sense of urgency comes out of owner Jerry Richardson’s health problems.

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