NEW YORK -- More winners and losers from the 2005 NFL Draft:
1. Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals did nothing to stifle the buzz that they're a team on the rise in 2005. True, they didn't get lucky and have one of the top three running backs fall to them at No. 8. But they didn't panic. They took the cornerback they had rated No. 1 on their board in Miami's Antrel Rolle, and then picked up a runner in the second round -- Cal's J.J. Arrington -- who many had ranked as the draft's fourth-best rusher.
Arizona got itself even more help in the secondary with Virginia Tech cornerback Eric Green in the third round, and then added another play-making presence to its already young and athletic defense in third-round linebacker Darryl Blackstock of Virginia. The Cardinals stayed with the Virginia theme in the fourth round, picking up an outstanding value in Cavaliers guard Elton Brown. Many had Brown rated as the draft's best guard prospect.
2. Miami Dolphins: Not bad for your rookie draft, Nick Saban. The Dolphins' new head coach desperately wanted to trade out of the No. 2 spot and acquire a haul of picks for his rebuilding team, but a deal didn't materialize. So, the Dolphins sat tight and made the best of things. And it all worked out pretty well. Auburn's Ronnie Brown in the first round means the Dolphins' long national nightmare at running back is over.
In the second round, the Dolphins got decent value, picking up Iowa defensive end Matt Roth, who was expected to sneak into the first round's bottom third. Roth gives Miami a better option opposite Jason Taylor than just running veteran Vonnie Holliday out there every down. Much the same scenario existed in the third round, when Miami nabbed Florida linebacker ChanningCrowder, another talent who was mentioned as a potential first-rounder. Crowder gives the Dolphins some youth at a position that is starting to age with Zach Thomas and Junior Seau.
Fourth-round cornerback Travis Daniels has good size for an NFL pass defender, and he knows Saban's system, having played at LSU. In all, Saban went with what he knows, selecting SEC players with three of his top five picks.
3. Baltimore quarterback Kyle Boller: There are no more "if onlys" allowed when it comes to Baltimore's anemic passing game. Boller is entering his third -- and some say make-or-break -- season, and he now has both veteran receiver Derrick Mason and first-round pick Mark Clayton to throw to. When you toss in tight end Todd Heap, who missed most of last year with a bad ankle, and young pass-catchers Clarence Moore and Randy Hymes, the Ravens have the makings of a fine receiving corps.
Now it's up to Boller to get them the ball, and take some of the pressure off Baltimore's always over-burdened running game.
4. Minnesota Vikings: Not to repeat ourselves, but the Vikings had as good a weekend as anyone in the NFL. We've already lauded their first-round choices of receiver Troy Williamson and defensive end Erasmus James, and their boffo offseason defensive overhaul. But the Vikings added to their riches in the second round with the selection of Mississippi offensive lineman Marcus Johnson, who is the natural eventual replacement for veteran right guard DavidDixon.
On Sunday, the Vikings got around to adding another body to their crowded running back situation, trading up in the fourth round to take Florida's Ciatrick Fason, who ran for 1,267 yards with a 5.7 average carry last season. The Vikings seem to take a talented running back every year -- much like Denver -- and have hit on both Onterrio Smith and Mewelde Moore in the mid-rounds in recent drafts. Fason gives them even more reason to continue shopping veteran rusher Michael Bennett.
5. The New York Jets' kicking game: You might recall that the Jets lost at Pittsburgh in the AFC divisional round playoffs because veteran kicker DougBrien missed a pair of field goals late in regulation and in overtime.
Well enough of that. The Jets aren't messing around any more, and the selection of Ohio State kicker Mike Nugent in the second round proved that. Nugent was the Jets' first pick -- 47th overall -- and he's the highest drafted kicker since Oakland took the wacky Sebastian Janikowski in the first round of the 2000 draft.
Nugent's leg is both strong and consistent, and with the swirling winds that prevail in Giants Stadium for most of the season, his talents might make the difference in two or three games a year for New York.