Wednesday, May 02, 2007

That Was A Surprise: A TANBR Draft Recap:

JaMarcus had his big day, Berman flubbed some hand motions and contrived CFL references, and Kiper bested everyone all the way down to Mr. Irrelevant. All in all, a typical-to-disappointing NFL draft with less player interviews and more Lindy Slinger. Let's get to the results (by division), graded with Lindies:

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys
Notable Picks: DE Anthony Spencer
Analysis: The Cowboys essentially parlayed their 22nd pick for an expectedly much higher position next season in a seemingly deeper draft. They're surely banking on the Browns being fairly terrible next season, but even with the Browns barely missing the playoffs (near impossible with Art Shell's brother on the sidelines), this swap will work out with a deeper talent pool (and T.O.'s expiring contract). By drafting conservatively-- two OT and one DE in the first four picks-- the Cowboys seem poised to take the up-for-grabs NFC East with their current skill players, for better or worse.
Grade: 6/10 Lindies

New York Giants
Notable Picks: CB Aaron Ross, WR Steve Smith
Analysis: Aaron Ross was a reach at 20, in my opinion, and selecting Robert Meachem to eventually fill in Amani Toomer's second WR role would've been prudent. Actually, as a Saints fan, I'd be completely fine with this first-round switch. Steve Smith addressed this WR need as a reliable possession receiver to complement deep-threat Plaxico Burress nicely. No love for Beason and his crime scene to fill the LB need in the Big Apple, sadly.
Grade: 5/10 Lindies

Philadelphia Eagles
Notable Picks: QB Kevin Kolb, DE Victor Abiamiri
Analysis: It's been en vogue to diss the Kevin Kolb pick, so I'll play devil's advocate here: have you seen Donovan McNabb lately? He's gained about twenty pounds in his face only. It's not like the city of Philadelphia would look the other way if the front office decided to shop this guy around in free agency. So they're forced to sit on their hands and wait out the D.F. McNabb era until an inevitable injury allows a young gunslinger to start his own Campbell's Soup legacy. Fuck it, Kolb was a reach at best at 36-- the whole 'we had to take the best guy available on our board' excuse is looking more and more like someone woke up Andy Reid after Buster Davis was taken at 30. Dwayne Jarrett might have been a good look here.
Grade: 3.5/10 Lindies

Washington Redskins
Notable Picks: S LaRon Landry, LB Dallas Sartz, LB H.B. Blades, QB Jordan Palmer
Analysis: Of course I love LaRon, but I've been likening him to Roy Williams and Sean Taylor since he planted Eli Manning in the ground. It'll be interesting to see how many times Joe Gibbs paces a safety blitz, and how many times Landry and Taylor roll their eyes at one another in deep coverage. I'm liking the notable college players scraped in the fifth rounds and later.
Grade: 5/10 Lindies

AFC East

Buffalo Bills
Notable Picks: RB Marshawn Lynch, OLB Paul Posluszny, QB Trent Edwards, DE C.J. Ah You
Analysis: Definite reach for Lynch at 12, but the Bills weathered the 49ers' inevitable decision to draft ILB Patrick Willis at 11 quite nicely. Any other linebacker at 12 would have been more of a reach, and they ended up with a franchise linebacker with the 34th pick. Perhaps I would've taken Leon Hall in the first instead; however, Marshawn heeds not your "character issues" warnings. Good grab of Trent Edwards with the 92nd pick.
Grade: 7.5/10 Lindies

Miami Dolphins
Notable Picks: WR Ted Ginn, Jr., QB John Beck, RB Lorenzo Booker
Analysis: Ah, the Dolphins. Their future seems to hinge on about six or seven hypotheticals, and that's never a good sign. If Ted Ginn can overcome his foot injury and recover his NFL-ready speed... if the Dolphins can acquire Trent Green... if Brady Quinn's name was his biggest problem... Just go find any Fin-bashing Peter King or Len Pasquarelli column; I can't come up with anything original here. I just remember watching the draft with Tank and saying, "How awesome would it be if they passed on Quinn here?" That's a suggestion so incongruous, we couldn't help but chuckle. Then, when it actually happened, we had no choice but to keel over in laughter, eye Brady Quinn, and thank the sports gods for a new catchphrase and YouTube bookmark. John Beck is 26 years old, and I'm already giddy about seeing his name added to the 'Quarterbacks Since Dan Marino Retired' graphic this November.
Grade: 2/10 Lindies

New England Patriots
Notable Picks/Acquisitions: WR Randy Moss, S Brandon "Hollaman" Meriweather, DT Kareem Brown, OT and Fellow Jesuit Blue Jay Corey Hilliard
Analysis: The Belichick-led Patriots have had success dipping into the Miami talent pool with Vince Wilfork-- also a "character issues" guy-- and no one seems more willing to take on players with off-the-field distractions than The Genius. After reading 'Cane Mutiny, I can see Belichick's viewpoint here-- if players from The U are shown respect and trust, they're second-to-none in diligence off the field and competitive spirit on it. Translation: they need the right type of coach. Moss is the same way, but to a more extreme degree: he knows that this is his last chance. The Patriots are exactly the type of team who would feel no qualms about sitting their high-profile offseason acquisition, especially after tapping WRs Stallworth and Welker this same spring. With Belichick, I have no choice-- everything will work, and it was a great draft. Bring the fuckin' hook back... I'm pissed.
Grade: 7/10 Lindies

New York Jets
Notable Picks: CB Darrelle Revis, WR Chansi Stuckey
Analysis: Mangini apparently had his man Revis circled from the beginning and was more than willing to overtrade for that 14th slot. I don't think I saw a mock draft with Revis going 14 or higher, but it's hard to argue with the Mangenius about his defensive personnel. I'm pulling for Chansi Stuckey to make the team simply for Berman's sake.
Grade: 5/10 Lindies

NFC North

Chicago Bears
Notable Picks: TE/Rapper/Misogynist Greg "G-Reg" Olsen, RB Garrett Wolfe
Analysis: Very conservative draft for the Bears. I think Greg Olsen will be an excellent fit for Grossman's intermediate throws over the middle to complement the current deep threat with Berrian. I think Garrett Wolfe will be an underrated third-down back in five years. I think Lovie Smith believes he can mold one of those last three defensive backfield selections into a legitimate shut-down corner. And if Bear fans weren't making veiled 7th Floor Crew references at Soldier Field last season with Devin "Mudded" Hester, they certainly will be now. Drop my drawers and let them see my third leg isn't necessarily conducive to a chant, though.
Grade: 5.5/10 Lindies

Detroit Lions
Notable Picks: WR Calvin Johnson, QB Drew Stanton, CB Ramzee Robinson
Analysis: Say what you will about Matt Millen, but he's shown he cares little about perception. After having two of his first-round WR selections in the past four years turn into little more than 4th-round-pick trade fodder, Millen went right ahead and drafted Soon-To-Be-Hall Of Famer Calvin Johnson and made it four of five. One of my favorite parts of the draft was when they compared Johnson's draft situation to Charles Rogers'-- situations that are exactly the same, by the way-- and no one could ever articulate exactly what set CJ apart from Rogers. Lions may have gone a little homey with Stanton at 43, but with Beck and Kolb(?) off the board, they must've panicked a little. Ramzee Robinson is my new favorite player.
Grade: 5/10 Lindies

Green Bay Packers
Notable Picks: DT Justin Harrell, WR Jim Jones, S Aaron Rouse, PK Mason Crosby, RB DeShaun Wynn
Analysis: Justin Harrell was probably the biggest reach of the entire first round, as I'm sure you've heard before. Yes, the Packers need run defense. Yes, Harrell is an anchor with a knack for forcing fumbles. But the dude has played three games since 2005. He's undergone countless surgeries on ankles and knees. Other than Harrell, the Packers did quite well-- Rouse at 92 was excellent (even his name sounds like it has staying power in the NFL), Crosby was taken well after everyone projected with the 193rd pick, and there's still a chance that DeShaun Wynn's UF speed could provide a good third-down change-of-pace. Still, though, that Harrell pick...
Grade: 4.5/10 Lindies

Minnesota Vikings
Notable Picks: RB Adrian Peterson, WR Sidney Rice, LB Rufus Alexander
Analysis: Excellent pickup of Peterson at 7. Even with Chester Taylor, selecting Peterson is justified solely on the increasing popularity of two-back rotations. The collarbone won't be an issue; Peterson would've been a top-ten pick two years ago. The Sidney Rice selection at 44 was timely, and he now joins fellow 'Cock Troy Williamson at wideout. Rufus Alexander will eventually become a steal with the 176th selection.
Grade: 7.5/10 Lindies

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens
Notable Picks: OG Ben Grubbs, QB Troy Smith
Analysis: Sometimes the best drafts are the least notable. The Ravens should consider themselves lucky in pacing Ben Grubbs 29th in the first with his steadily rising draft stock and Kiper shoutouts. Lots of linemen and linebackers-- perhaps they could've used a receiver in the third round. Troy Smith should be useful if only as the practice squad dummy to prepare for the Vicks and Vinces of the league.
Grade: 6/10 Lindies

Cincinnati Bengals
Notable Picks: CB Leon Hall, RB Kenny Irons
Analysis: I haven't been shy about my Leon Hall mancrush; I think I had him around seven or eight in my mock draft. So it should be no surprise that Leon Hall at 18 was my favorite selection of the whole draft. The Bengals will need a franchise corner at this already aging position to beat the Patriots or Colts in the playoffs. Kenny Irons-- I'm not talking anymore about Auburn alums-- still has some Reggie-like speed in getting to the corner. I remember him catching the ball pretty well out of the backfield, and he should complement the larger, fellow Plainsman Rudi Johnson quite nicely. Solid draft, but the gaping linebacker need still goes unaided.
Grade: 7/10 Lindies

Cleveland Browns
Notable Picks: OT Joe Thomas, QB Brady Quinn, CB Eric Wright, DE Chase Pittman
Analysis: This has been a popular favorite draft, and I can only echo what everyone else is saying. It's my second-favorite draft; I still can't get over how lucky this recently unfortunate franchise got. Apparently, they started calling teams at 12 to nab Quinn; it turns out they were safe until (possibly) the Kansas City 23rd pick. Now, this faceless franchise ended up with a franchise left tackle, a franchise quarterback (probably the two most important positions in NFL offenses), and a potentially franchise corner. With a few more wins here and there, giving the Cowboys the 15th-20th selection for Quinn next season would look like a total bank robbery.
Grade: 9/10 Lindies

Pittsburgh Steelers
Notable Picks: LB Lawrence Timmons, DE LaMarr Woodley, WR Dallas Baker
Analysis: Even with the release of Joey Porter, Timmons was an inexcusable reach at 15. It's particularly silly to think Timmons is only four spots worse than Patrick Willis. I don't even see how he'll fit the 3-4 very well. LaMarr Woodley was taken earlier than I expected, as well. The Steelers could always use a running back to complement Parker's speed; I would've appreciated Michael Bush in the third round.
Grade: 3/10 Lindies

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals
Notable Picks: OT Levi Brown, DT Alan Branch, LB Buster Davis, WR Steve Breaston
Analysis: Little early for Brown with the 5th pick, but it was clear Ken Whisenhunt wanted to address both lines early in this year's draft. Branch should take up some space in run defense, and Brown will likely be an September starter. Buster Davis is a phenomenal, if undersized, linebacker. I wrote last October that "I can't wait until Buster Davis tackles Buster Davis in the NFL, and Chris Berman explodes as a result." Sadly, they'll only be meeting once every four years.
Grade: 7/10 Lindies

St. Louis Rams
Notable Picks: DE Adam Carriker, FB Brian Leonard, CB Jonathan Wade
Analysis: Didn't really like Carriker at 13-- seemed a little too homey and Grant Wistrom-esque. There's just such a huge dropoff from Gaines Adams to Carriker, I wouldn't have put the Nebraska DE in my top 25. Brian Leonard was tabbed for pass blocking purposes, I'm guessing, because it's not like Stephen Jackson a small, fragile back in need of an effective lead blocker. A ho-hum effort at best by the Rams.
Grade: 4/10 Lindies

San Francisco 49ers
Notable Picks: LB Patrick Willis, OT Joe Staley, WR Jason Hill, DE Ray McDonald, CB Tarell Brown
Analysis: My favorite draft. Two years now that Mike "Steal Stuff" Nolan has impressed me with his solid talent evaluation. Pat Willis is not only a franchise linebacker but a natural defensive leader previously stuck on a team leagues and leagues worse than him. Dipping back into the first round to get Joe Staley at 28 via trades will prove to be an excellent move in the wide-open NFC West. Suddenly, after three excellent drafts in a row, the Niners look poised to take their division for the next two or three seasons. Jason Hill was a solid nab as a 3 receiver on a depth-less team; Ray McDonald will prove just how explosive DEs in the SEC can be; Tarell Brown is the definition of a "character issues" guy (it was particularly amusing to watch The Daily Texan's coverage of his incidents), but I like Nolan to contain him.
Grade: 10/10 Lindies

Seattle Seahawks
Notable Picks: CB Josh Wilson, DE Baraka Atkins, LB Will Herring
Analysis: I'll admit, I know very little about this headliner-free 'Hawk draft. It seems like Seattle might have reached a little for Wilson to fill an immediate need. Remember, they paced the Patriots their first-round selection in the Deion Branch trade, a move I still think the Pats got the better end of. Will Herring was explosive at Auburn-- oops. I'm naming my firstborn Baraka.
Grade: 4/10 Lindies

AFC West

Denver Broncos
Notable Picks: DE Jarvis Moss
Analysis: Only four picks for the Broncos this year, and all were spent on the lines. Two DE, one DT, and one OT. It's hard to argue with such conservative picks; maybe a linebacker or receiver here or there would've been prudent.
Grade: 5/10 Lindies

Kansas City Chiefs
Notable Picks: WR Dwayne Bowe, DT Turk McBride
Analysis: Bowe will only continue to improve with his improved vision-- it's almost like they're getting a receiver with only one year of experience. (Sidenote: how embarrassing does this make LSU, Miles, Saban, and Jimbo look? I mean, people in my Tiger Stadium section were mentioning he probably needed an eye exam during his two dropped touchdowns in the 2005 Auburn game.) Turk McBride should contribute a good body on run defense if he stays healthy; for some reason, these Tennessee defensive linemen seem about 35 years old to me.
Grade: 6.5/10 Lindies

Oakland Raiders
Notable Picks/Acquisitions: QB JaMarcus Russell, TE Zach Miller, DE Quentin Moses, RB Michael Bush, WR Mike Williams
Analysis: Excellent draft. JaMarcus was a no-brainer, and I particularly enjoyed all the media-manufactured "debates" on who the Raiders should take with the first pick. I'm fairly confident the Raiders had pegged JR since his pro day. Zach Miller addressed a need (haven't there already been three or four NFL TEs named Zach Miller?), and Quentin Moses will prove a legitimate pass rusher if healthy. Just a typical well-rounded draft for a team with needs at every position. Michael Bush in the fourth round was a good look.
Grade: 8/10 Lindies

San Diego Chargers
Notable Picks: WR Craig "Buster" Davis, S Eric Weddle, LB Brandon Siler
Analysis: Buster Davis was definitely a surprise at 30, but the Chargers front office showed they put some thought into selecting an intermediate possession receiver over a deep threat like Jarrett. Eric Weddle's an undersized niche safety that was also probably taken a little early at 37. I mean, if you need a safety, and you feel your team is talented enough to win a title, why not roll the dice on Reggie Nelson or Michael Griffin by trading up in the first? Remind me to pace a raw, speedy SEC defender in the sixth or seventh round if I ever become an NFL GM.
Grade: 4.5/10 Lindies

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons
Notable Picks: DE Jamaal Anderson, OG Justin Blaylock, TE Martrez Milner, CB David Irons
Analysis: Jamaal Anderson at 8 is right up there with Ginn at 9, Harrell at 16, and Davis at 30 for the biggest reaches of the first round. I'd seen mock drafts with him in the teens. Blaylock, however, was the opposite-- I'd seen mock drafts with him going 22nd to the Cowboys. The Falcons needed line help, I guess, and addressed those needs accordingly. Also, you kind of need a wide receiver by now. Laurent Robinson from Illinois State's not going to help Vick realize his potential. But another tight end will! Little homey there, Falcons.
Grade: 4/10 Lindies

Carolina Panthers
Notable Picks: LB Jon "Big Beast" Beason, WR Dwayne Jarrett, C Ryan Kalil
Analysis: I've seen this draft picked apart quite a bit, but it actually was one of the more impressive in my opinion. Beason's a good pickup at outside linebacker around the 25th spot and is not trying to catch that die-slow. Dwayne Jarrett will turn into a fruitful deep threat in the next five years, and Ryan Kalil was an absolute steal with the 59th selection. Bust a nut, aim for her mouthpiece...
Grade: 7/10 Lindies

New Orleans Saints
Notable Picks: WR Robert Meachem, RB Antonio Pittman
Analysis: Not the flashiest draft after last year's Bush/Colston hallmark, but I can see Payton's logic here. Obviously, the franchise must've been a little deflated when Revis, Ross, Griffin, and Nelson were off the board by their 27th selection. Taking Weddle at that spot would've been a definite reach, so the front office used their first round pick to fill a WR need with the departure of Joe Horn. Usama Young (Kent) at cornerback might need some work, but Payton has shown a knack for small-school talent in the past. One of the two offensive line selections will hopefully pan out, and Pittman in the fourth should eventually contribute with his four years of experience against nearly-pro defenses. It's so refreshingly foreign to actually trust your team's coach with draft selections.
Grade: 6/10 Lindies

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Notable Picks: DE Gaines Adams, G Aaron Sears
Analysis: Love this Gaines pick, and I can't think of a better situation for him than to learn the position under Simeon Rice's tutelage for a few years. The Bucs had an extraordinary number of picks (10) and used them mostly on line and defensive backfield help. I wish I knew more about their selections. Berman's probably already working on safety Sabby Piscitelli in preparation for September.
Grade: 5.5/10 Lindies

AFC South

Houston Texans
Notable Picks: DT Amobi Okoye
Analysis: Pacing Okoye at 10 was probably a pleasant surprise for their front office. That's three first-round selections in a row devoted to their defensive line; if Houston's not a top-seven or eight defense, you might as well consider them busts. Defensive backfield was addressed in the fourth and fifth rounds after their decision to pass on Revis or Hall in the first.
Grade: 5/10 Lindies

Indianapolis Colts
Notable Picks: WR Anthony Gonzalez, T Tony Ugoh, DT Quinn Pitcock
Analysis: Tony Gonzalez takes his oxygen-depleted tent to the central Indiana area and should fit in quite nicely. They must be eyeing him as a Stokley-like possession slot receiver (really, is there any other kind with white people?). Tony's teammate Quinn Pitcock should be a stalwart on run defense in a few seasons, while Ugoh was a pretty solid grab at 42. A good amount of later selections addressed the defensive backfield; the Colts know they might not be able to keep the Bob Sanders-types around much longer.
Grade: 6.5/10 Lindies

Jacksonville Jaguars
Notable Picks: S Reggie Nelson
Analysis: Love the Nelson selection here, and it was probably the easiest first-round pick to peg other than JaMarcus. He's the Football Chris Paul, just wait and see. Later picks addressed both lines and linebackers; perhaps they should've paced Steve Smith with the 48th selection over LB Justin Durant. Cogs in the defense don't seem to be a problem for Jack Del Rio's system.
Grade: 5.5/10 Lindies

Tennessee Titans
Notable Picks: S Michael Griffin, RB Chris Henry, CB Ryan Smith
Analysis: Unlike most drafts, the Titans concentrated little on line needs and rolled the dice with three WRs, a RB, and safety in their first seven selections. Michael Griffin at 19 was pretty early and left larger needs of WR and LB unaided. Chris Henry's got an unfortunate name-- I think he was subsequently pulled over on his way home-- but should complement the, uh, bruising LenDale White with his speed and pass-catching abilities. Still, though, this franchise is a mess; it'll take about fifteen Vince Young busted play TDs to get eight wins next season.
Grade: 4/10 Lindies

- P.T.

1 comment:

Tank said...

With "Mike 'Steal Stuff' Nolan," you're officially referencing a dude we (sort of) knew in ninth grade, and an alleged episode in which he showed kleptomaniacal tendencies in a Smoothie King. I was suspecting that our allusions were becoming too arcane, and now I'm positive they are. Not that that's a bad thing.

Nicely done piece though. I agree about the 49ers but think you under-rated Minnesota's picks.