Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Early Draft Winners & Losers

As I’ve said before, I think assigning grades to drafts at this point is pretty pointless, but just taking a look at who teams brought in (and when), here are the clubs that I think did well and the ones that well, didn’t. I left the Bucs out because I've already talked at length about their draft. (Note – not every pick for each team is necessarily included.)

Here are 12 teams that I think made the most of their weekend selections.

NY Giants:
(29) Hakeem Nicks, WR (UNC)
(45) Clint Sintim, LB (Virginia)
(60) William Beatty, T (U Conn)
(85) Ramses Barden, WR (Cal-Poly)
(100) Travis Beckum, TE (Wiscosin)
(129) Andre Brown, RB (NC State)
(151) Rhett Bomar, QB (Sam Houston State)

After grabbing Hakeem Nicks in round 1, the Giants came back and picked up Ramses Barden, the small school phenom, with their first pick on day two. I still love the Beatty pick but question Sintim as a 4-3 LB. Andre Brown is a heck of a value at RB and should be a nice addition to Jacobs and Bradshaw. Rhett Bomar has upside and was definitely worth the 5th round pick.

Jacksonville Jaguars:
(8) Eugene Monroe, T (Virginia)
(39) Eben Britton, T (Arizona)
(72) Terrance Knighton, DT (Temple)
(107) Mike Thomas, WR (Arizona)
(144) Jarrett Dillard, WR (Rice)
(250) Rashad Jennings, RB (Liberty)
(253) Tiquan Underwood, WR (Rutgers)

Again, Monroe and Britton were great picks IMO; really solidified those tackle spots. Knighton was a bit of a reach where they got him IMO, but he addresses a need. Mike Thomas is a slot burner, and Jarrett Dillard will be an extremely productive pro. Underwood is another addition to a weak group of receivers behind Torry Holt. They did a good job of addressing the position (right spots, right talent). Rashad Jennings in the 7th is my pick of the draft. Remember his name, and feel free to call me out if he flops. I’m jealous, they got two of my 3 favorite players in the draft (Larry English being the other).

Philadelphia Eagles:
(19) Jeremy Maclin, WR (Missouri)
(53) LeSean McCoy, RB (Pittsburgh)
(137) Jason Phillips, LB (TCU)
(153) Cornelius Ingram, TE (Florida)
(157) Victor Harris, CB, Virginia Tech
(159) Fenuki Tupou, T (Oregon)
(194) Brandon Gibson, WR (Washington State)

Big winners IMO. Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy are still great picks. Donovan McNabb’s got to love the thought of having Maclin and DeSean Jackson on the field at the same time. Talk about your 7 yard passes that go for 80 yd touchdowns. McCoy is a great compliment to Brian Westbrook. He’s a great pass catcher who’s tough to bring down in the open field. Cornelius Ingram and Victor Harris in round 5 are tremendous values and address needs. They do both come with questions but came off the board much later than expected. I like Brandon Gibson too and feel he can be productive when surrounded by some decent talent. Great approach to the draft IMO.

Dallas Cowboys:
(69) Jason Williams, LB (W. Illinois)
(75) Robert Brewster, T (Ball State)
(101) Stephen McGee, QB (Texas A&M)
(110) Victor Strong-Butler, DE/OLB (Oregon State)
(120) Brandon Williams, DE (Texas Tech)
(143) DeAngelo Smith, CB (Cincinnati)
(166) Michael Hamlin, S (Clemson)
(208) John Phillips, TE (Virginia)
(227) Mike Mickens, CB (Cincinnati)
(229) Manuel Johnson, WR (Oklahoma)

With their first pick, the Cowboys grabbed the active and explosive small school linebacker, Jason Williams. He was one of my favorite players in the draft and is someone to definitely keep an eye on. Stephen McGee was a fast rising athletic QB who’s going to a perfect scenario. He needs a lot of coaching/development, but he’s got a good arm and is really mobile. Nice project QB. They also got two pass rushers in Victor Strong-Butler and Brandon Williams. Michael Hamlin and DeAngelo Smith are two experienced DBs who should help out on special teams. Mike Mickens in the 7th round is highway robbery, even if he does spend the year on IR (just my speculation). I don’t like Manuel Johnson, but he’s not bad use of the 229th pick. Not a great draft, but pretty solid given they were without a day one pick.

Cincinnati Bengals:
(6) Andre Smith, T (Alabama)
(38) Rey Maualuga, LB (USC)
(70) Michael Johnson, DE (Georgia Tech)
(98) Chase Coffman, TE (Missouri)
(106) Jonathan Luigs, C (Arkansas)
(179) Morgan Trent, CB (Michigan)
(249) Clinton McDonald, DL (Memphis)
(252) Freddie Brown, WR (Utah)

I really like their first 5 picks. Andre Smith, Rey Maualuga, and Michael Johnson are players with questions but were grabbed in great spots. Maualuga and Johnson were players talked about as first rounders who fell to rounds 2 and 3 respectively. Think Rey wishes he had come out last year? Chase Coffman is a productive pass catching TE, and Jonathan Luigs is an athletic technician.

NY Jets:
(5) Mark Sanchez, QB (USC)
(65) Shonn Green, RB (Iowa)

They only had three picks, but they got their QB. That alone is a winning draft at this point. I really like the fit and think he can lead that team to something special. Love his attitude. I also like the Shonn Greene pick in round 3. He’s not my favorite back, but he’s a pounder that should be a welcome addition to a backfield of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington. They gave up their 3rd, 4th, and 7th to get him (a little steep), but he was the top RB on their board overall. The Jets went for it and scored.

Detroit Lions:
(1) Matthew Stafford, QB (Georgia)
(20) Brandon Pettigrew, TE (Oklahoma State)
(33) Louis Delmas, S (Western Michigan)
(76) Deandre Levy, LB (Wisconsin)
(82) Derrick Williams, WR (Penn State)
(115) Sammie Lee Hill, DT (Stillman)
(228) Lydon Murtha, T (Nebraska)
(235) Zach Follett, LB (California)

Matt Millen has obviously left the building. Their first three picks may not have addressed their biggest needs (LT, MLB, DL), but they aren’t short on talent. Brandon Pettigrew and Louis Delmas should be immediate contributors, but Matthew Stafford will wait behind Culpepper. Derrick Williams will be a better pro than college player IMO, and Sammie Lee Hill was a fast rising defensive lineman. They also grabbed the talented Lydon Murtha (T, Nebraska) and physical Zach Follett (LB, California) in the 7th round; very good values. A first step in the right direction.

Atlanta Falcons:
(24) Peria Jerry, DT (Ole Miss)
(55) William Moore, S (Missouri)
(90) Christopher Owens, CB (San Jose State)
(125) Lawrence Sidbury, DE (Richmond)
(176) Spencer Adkins, LB (Miami)
(210) Vance Walker, DT (Georgia Tech)

Peria Jerry and Lawrence Sidbury add depth to the defensive line, and the productive William Moore fills a need at safety. Sidbury is a pass rusher with upside, and Vance Walker was a fine, no risk addition in round 7.

Baltimore: (only 4 picks)
(23) Michael Oher, T (Mississippi)
(57) Paul Kruger, OLB (Utah)
(88) Lardarius Webb, CB (Nicholls State)
(185) Cedric Peerman, RB (Virginia)

I’d give them a positive grade for the Michael Oher selection alone. He was a huge value pick at #23. Paul Kruger was a 23 year old sophomore who will make the move from 4-3 DE to 3-4 OLB. Lardarius Webb is a sleeper corner with ball skills, and Cedric Peerman, graded R3/4, has a nice all round game and was find in R6.

Pittsburgh Steelers:
(32) Ziggy Hood, DT (Missouri)
(79) Kraig Ubrik, G (Wisconsin)(84) Mike Wallace, WR (Mississippi)
(96) Keenan Lewis, CB (Oregon State)
(168) Joe Burnett, CB (UCF)
(226) AQ Shipley, C (Penn State)

I really liked Ziggy Hood going into the draft and mentioned that he might attract teams as a 3-4 end. Well, he did. I like how he plays tough while maintaining proper technique. He should be an early contributor to their championship defense. Color me shocked. The Steelers spent two picks on offensive linemen. Well, they hit with both of them. Ubrik is a huge right side player with experience at both guard and tackle. He’s nasty, punches well, and is hard to move. Shipley was voted the nation’s top center this past season and is another guy who plays with a nasty attitude and is stout at his position. The last four guys on the list above were all players I mentioned as my Buccaneer preferences. Mike Wallace will replace deep threat Nate Washington and push Limas Sweed. Keenan Lewis should be an early contributor as well. He’s got it between the ears and will excel in an aggressive defense.

Buffalo Bills:
(11) Aaron Maybin, DE (Penn State)
(28) Eric Wood, C (Louisville)
(42) Jarius Byrd, CB (Oregon)
(51) Andy Levitre, G (Oregon State)
(121) Shawn Nelson, TE (Southern Miss)
(147) Nic Harris, LB (Oklahoma)
(183) Cary Harris, CB (USC)

They needed a pass rusher and got a good one in Aaron Maybin. It may take him a year or two to hit his stride, but I like the selection. I had them taking him with the 28th pick. Eric Wood is a hard working middle man who could possibly play guard as well. Maybe they think Levitre addresses their need at tackle. Byrd and Harris are quality (unspectacular) corners, but Shawn Nelson gives them an athletic receiving option at TE. Nic Harris will likely make the move from safety LB.

Chicago Bears:
(68) Jarron Gilbert, DL (San Jose State)
(99) Juaquin Iglesias, WR (Oklahoma)
(105) Henry Melton (DE, Texas)
(119) DJ Moore, CB (Vanderbilt)
(140) Johnny Knox, WR (Abilene Christian)
(154) Marcus Freeman (LB, Ohio State)
(190) Al Afalava, S (Oregon State)

For a team that didn’t pick on Saturday, they came away with a pretty good haul. Jarron Gilbert and Juaquin Iglesias are great values in round three. Gilbert is an explosive tweener with huge upside. Iglesias was an extremely consistent receiver at Oklahoma who gives Jay Cutler a steady target outside; great hands and routes but not much upside. DJ Moore inexplicably fell to round 4, and Marcus Freeman is a tremendous catch in the fifth. He’s had bad ankles but is a tough, reliable tackler when healthy. Johnny Knox is a sleeper with tremendous speed and quickness. He has a slight build but could excel in the slot where misdirection and quick hitters could allow him to turn short catches into long gains.

Teams I thought could have and should have had better drafts (sadly, a much shorter list).

Oakland Raiders:
(7) Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR (Maryland)
(47) Michael Mitchell, S (Ohio)
(71) Matt Shaughnessy, DE (Wisconsin)
(124) Louis Murphy, WR (Florida)
(199) Stryker Sulak, DE (Missouri)

Darrius Heyward-Bey was a reach on everyone’s board, but it wasn’t nearly as “bad” as their next pick; reaching for mid-late prospect Michael Mitchell at #47 overall. Matt Shaughnessy went two rounds early, and I’m not sure Slade Norris is a fit for their defense. I do like the Murphy and Sulak picks though.

Denver Broncos:
(12) Knowshon Moreno, RB (Georgia)
(18) Robert Ayers, DE (Tennessee)
(37) Alphonso Smith, CB (Wake Forest)
(48) Darcel McBath, S (Texas Tech)
(64) Richard Quinn, TE (UNC)
(114) David Bruton, S (Notre Dame)
(141) Kenny McKinley, WR (South Carolina)
(174) Tom Brandstater, QB (Fresno State)

For a team that had 5 first day picks and 11 overall, their haul was unimpressive. Knowshon Moreno brings a dynamic playmaker to an offense that lost its QB, and Robert Ayers seems to be a solid addition to a new defensive unit. I really like Alphonso Smith, but I really don't like trading away future first rounders? The rest of the draft is uninspiring. I think they overloaded at safety with both Darcel McBath and David Bruton especially after signing Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill in free agency. Trading up for a blocking TE at the end of day one, and drafting Seth Olsen at tackle in the 4th were questionable moves. This wasn’t a horrible draft, but they should have done noticeably better.

San Diego Chargers:
(16) Larry English, DE/OLB (Northern Illinois)
(78) Louis Vasquez, G (Texas Tech)
(113) Vaughn Martin, DT (Western Ontario)
(133) Tyronne Green, NT (Auburn)
(134) Gartrell Johnson, RB (Colorado State)
(224) Demetrius Byrd, WR (LSU)

Their draft wreaks of reaches. I of course love the Larry English pick, but Vasquez at #78 and Vaughn Martin at #113 are huge reaches. I like Tyronne Green, but guard wasn’t that bad of a need to spend 2 of your first 4 picks on it. Gartrell Johnson may turn out to be a steal, but at this point it looks like a bad pick given the other talent on the board at the time. Demetrius Byrd was a nice gesture in the 7th.

San Francisco 49ers:
(10) Michael Crabtree, WR (Texas Tech)
(74) Glen Coffee, RB (Alabama)
(146) Scott McKillop, LB (Pitt)
(171) Nate Davis, QB (Ball State)
(184) Bear Pascoe, TE (Fresno State)
(219) Curtis Taylor, S (LSU)
(244) Ricky Jean-Francois, DT (LSU)

Michael Crabtree was a nice find at #10, but Glen Coffee went at least one full round early. Scott McKillop has very limited upside, and Nate Davis will have an uphill climb to make the team. I don’t like Ricky Jean-Francois, but they could have done worse at #244.

Seattle Seahawks:
(4) Aaron Curry, LB (Wake Forest)
(49) Max Unger, OL (Oregon)
(91) Deon Butler, WR (Penn State)
(178) Mike Teel, QB (Rutgers)
(245) Courtney Greene, S (Rutgers)

Day one looked promising with Aaron Curry, the safest player in the draft IMO, and Max Unger. Deon Butler, a guy I like, is a big reach in round 3, and Mike Teel probably could have been grabbed as an undrafted free agent. I do like Courtney Greene from Rutgers in the 7th.

Washington Redskins:
(13) Brian Orakpo, DE (Texas)
(80) Kevin Barnes, CB (Maryland)
(158) Cody Glenn, LB (Nebraska)
(243) Marko Mitchell (Nevada)

They may have only had 6 picks, but they could have done more with them. I like Orakpo, but Kevin Barnes is a question as a round 3 corner. They had a need both inside and out at linebacker, and they could have done better than Cody Glenn and Robert Henson. They also completely ignored the offensive line. Not good.

Miami Dolphins:
(25) Vontae Davis, CB (Illinois)
(44) Pat White, QB (West Virginia)
(61) Sean Smith, CB (Utah)
(87) Patrick Turner, WR (USC)
(108) Brian Hartline, WR (Ohio State
(165) Chris Clemons, S (Clemson)
(181) Andrew Gardner, T (Georgia Tech)

They go from the good list on day one to the bad list on day two. Patrick Turner was a huge reach in the 3rd, and I really question the Brian Hartline pick in the following round. Both should have gone two rounds later than they did. Chris Clemons and Andrew Gardner are good late additions, but they should have come away with more after Saturday’s fine start.


  1. I like your lists. I'm interested in how Green Bay didn't make the grade?

  2. They addressed needs, but I wasn't overwhelmed one way or the other. I hate to give you a short answer like that, but that's basically all it was; a good draft, just not enough for me to get excited about.

  3. I don't know where else to post a general question, so here it went. What did you think about the Alex Smith trade? Evidently Jarramy Stevens will be the #2 guy now. I keep hearing about his freakish talent level, but frankly, he's always looked to me like one of those 'great athlete but not much of a football player' guys. I hope they got at least a 4 and a 5 for Smith, or some sort of conditional.

    Nice job by Raheem of making sure character will not be an issue, huh?


  4. Hey TPE.

    I thought the Bucs were done with the TE position when they brought in Winslow to go with Gilmore and Smith. That said, I wasn’t opposed to the Stevens signing. Hell, in my offseason preview, I suggested that they re-sign Stevens to a fair but cheap deal (as they did), and go back into ’09 with the same guys from ’08. TE was far from their biggest problem last year. Despite his past scumbaggery and struggles with drops in Seattle, Stevens has been productive on the field for the Bucs. He’s been an effective intermediate target and reliable red zone weapon. That should be more apparent in ’09. IMO, he could have been a much bigger part of the offense last season with improved QB play. Having seen last year’s team play in person, it was frustrating to watch receivers (primarily the TEs) on the backside of the play regularly run wide open as Garcia scampered off in a panic.

    When Stevens was re-signed, it gave me a pretty good indication that they’d be interested in moving Smith. The Bucs aren’t deep, but TE and G were the two positions where I thought the Bucs could try and deal from depth. Smith seemed to digress each year with the Bucs, and whether or not it was a doghouse issue with Gruden, he never became the weapon they were hoping for when they made him the seventh player picked in the third round of the ’05 draft (Justin Tuck went three players later to the Giants by the way).

    According to the Tampa Tribune, the Bucs received a 5th round pick in exchange for Smith, which helps make up for the 5th we sent to the Browns in the Winslow deal. When you consider the compensatory picks in rounds 3 and 4 and the likelihood that the Patriots will be picking rather low next year, that 5th rounder is pretty much a 6th. Smith will be going to a good situation. Ben Watson and newly signed Chris Baker are on the wrong side of their career peeks, so Joey Galloway might not be the only former Buc to contribute for the Patriots in ’09.

    PS – I know I haven’t had a post on here in about a week; been taking some time off to decompress from the offseason so far. I’m going to try and get a couple things up here this week. One of them will have to do with the QB position and how the Allen/Gruden regime may have gotten a bad rap for the way they addressed it during their time at the helm. The other topic I’m not so sure about yet.