Posted: Tuesday April 26, 2005 12:27PM; Updated: Wednesday April 27, 2005 3:35PM
UAB receiver Roddy White averaged 20.6 yards per catch as a senior.
FALCONS --Jim Mora apologized for seeking stil another wideout -- this time a size-and-speed guy, 6-1, 204-pound Roddy White -- at the top. What he really needed was a defensive lineman to give a little breathing room to his starters, who played themselves into exhaustion every Sunday. OK, he got one in the second round, DT Jonathan Babineax, undersized but active, as most of the Falcons linemen are. I like the passion and intensity of his third-round choice, LB Jordan Beck.
SAINTS -- The best O-lineman on the board, Jammal Brown, backed up by one of the quality free safeties, Josh Bullocks, is a good place to start. But the pick that had all the draft-room diehards screaming on day two was former Florida State QB Adrian McPherson. I guarantee that if he makes it big, Arena League players will see more NFL scouts at their games than they ever dreamed of.
BILLS -- Are you willing to count QB J.P. Losman, who cost the Bills this year's No. 1 on a trade with the Cowboys last season, as part of the draft? If you are, then you have to award Buffalo a decent conditional grade, unless he chokes. Then the grade becomes ... well, still conditional, pending next year's performance. Other than that, the draft features a 168-pound punt returner, (your faithful narrator is a 268-pound pint returner) Roscoe Parrish, who can (for God's sake don't say "flat out") ... who can, uh, fly, and TE Kevin Everett, whom they say has loads of raw ability (does anyone ever have cooked ability?)
BENGALS -- Speed, power, toughness, determination categorize the top-two picks -- DE-LB David Pollack and LB Odell Thurman. The third rounder, 6-4 WR Chris Henry, has ability, but, let's see, benched against Temple, kicked out of the Rutgers game, and all the problems stemmed from the same bad habit, trash talking, taunting opponents as well as, gasp, fans, bird whistles, tweety bird noises, lip synching police sirens, golly this is a dangerous one. Chad Johnson will bring him around.
PACKERS -- And you know why, too. If Rodgers makes it big, around 15 years from now when Brett Favre decides to retire, then the Packers will be everyone's heroes -- it'll be another Shula-Marino deal, for taking him so far down. If he bombs out, which a lot of people must have thought he would, then Green Bay is just the team that wasted a pick. There are 10 more worthies to discuss in this rather swollen 11-man draft. I'll leave that task to Mel Kiper.
JAGUARS -- Of course I could stick a conditional on them, too, but I'm getting kind of tired of this gimmick, aren't you? Who would have thought that Jack Del Rio was possessed of the gambler's instinct, but that's what Matt Jones at a surprisingly high No. 21 was, wasn't it? ("And in the first round the Jacksonville Jaguars select, from the University of Arkansas, Matt Jones, quarterback or wide receiver or tight end or none of the above."). Khalif Barnes in the next round was a solid choice. Alvin Pearman two rounds later was a comfortable choice, but all the action really was at No. 1, involving the 6-6 Jones, who can fat out fly. ("That's one of the weakest puns I've ever heard," says my rugby-ticket broker.)
PATRIOTS -- This says more about me than Scott Pioli or Bill Belichick, but hey, I've never heard of these guys. I mean all of them (well, OK, I know about the top draft, Logan Mankins, because of the department-store name). Yeah, I know, I'm being stupid. Mankins will do a fine job filling in for the departed guard, Joe Andruzzi. They're the same type. And if he won't then Nick Kaczur will. And wait a minute, I saw seventh rounder Matt Cassel, the QB from USC, play. I saw him hand the ball off, in relief of Matt Leinart, when the Trojans were up by about 50. Hey, don't knock him. It's one of only a few times in history that a second stringer was drafted ahead of the all-time career passing yardage leader (Timmy Chang of Hawaii).
SEAHAWKS -- Boy, we sure are stuck in a B- rut, aren't we? I'll give you, in two words, why the 'Hawks were awarded a B-. Lofa Tatupu (wait a minute, that might be three). Their first-round choice, center Chris Spencer, as a back-up to recently re-signed Robbie Tobeck, merits a shrug. But picking Tatupu, the Southern Cal MLB, in the second round, considerably higher than others had projected him, gets a gold star in my book. All the guy does is make great plays. I guarantee you he will have a long and honorable career in the NFL, just as his father, Mosi, did.
STEELERS -- I'm sorry, but only one pick excites me: TE Heath Miller at the top. What's the most balls a Steelers tight end ever caught in a season? Four maybe? Five? OK, spare me the letters, I know that Eric Green snagged 63 one year. Just making a stupid joke. But shall we say that this position has been woefully neglected through the years? Not any more, maybe.
LIONS -- The draftniks in the room were furious. You could hear the angry rumble as soon as the word, "Mike," was out of PaulTagliabue's mouth. We've been double-crossed. There ain't no top defensive guy named Mike. And you should have heard the whistles and boos when Tagliabue followed that up with "Williams, wide receiver," etc. In the weeks leading up to the draft, MattMillen talked about defense. But I have a little notation ... I had to really hunt to find it ... in which he said, "You know, taking Williams and spreading three wideouts across the field, Williams and Rodgers and Roy Williams, would really be fun." But some people felt that the gigantic Williams really wasn't that good -- just a big guy whom they'll cover. We'll see. Meanwhile, DE-T Shaun Cody is a very solid choice in the second round.