Posted: Tuesday April 26, 2005 12:27PM; Updated: Wednesday April 27, 2005 3:35PM
Texas LB Derrick Johnson was one of the most disruptive defenders in college football.
CHIEFS -- Well, they got the top-rated LB, Derrick Johnson, a space guy, a speedster, and how much that'll bring a shaky defense together remains to be seen. I'm looking for more serious help and I'm having trouble finding it. Will one DB pick, Alphonso Hodge in the fifth round, really ignite a moribund secondary?
JETS -- Not a bad draft if you factor in TE Doug Jolley, who cost them their No.1 pick. But why did Jolley go from bright prospect to expendable, with the Raiders? I've heard conflicting reports, mainly that people started covering him. A kicker as the top pick? In New York there was some criticism, but there never was when the Raiders chose Sebastian Janikowski in the first round. The Jets' other second rounder, Justin Miller, is a highly rated corner, but a week before the draft he was in a jail cell. Creating a disturbance was, I believe, the charge. They're hoping he'll create his disturbances on the field, and this one is so weak that I won't even let the Redhead see it.
BEARS -- Yeah, some pretty faces -- Cedric Benson, Mark Bradley (from that great wideout factory, Oklahoma) and QB Kyle Orton. But when you give up 66 sacks, the most in the NFL, you've got to open a new can of linemen, and the Bears didn't. Not in free agency, not in the draft.
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TEXANS -- Johnny One Note, that's me. Same complaint. There were O-linemen available when they drafted, plenty of them. So they took a 305-pound DT, Travis Johnson, to join a bunch of similarly styled gentlemen, and picked a center in the fifth round. David Carr was pounding on the door of their war room, begging for offensive line help, but they slipped him a tenner and told him to go see a movie and come back after the draft.
COLTS -- They needed corners and they needed to get bigger up front, defensively. I would have tried to address both needs. Instead, they dealt with the former (CBs MarlinJackson and Kelvin Hayden on the first two picks), hoping that nutritional supplements and plenty of fries would take care of the latter.
RAMS -- They need an RT to keep that pretty offense running smoothly. Top draft Alex Barron is a finesse guy, an LT, but they have one of those. Fella named Pace. Can Richie Incognito, a third rounder and a former Nebraska roughneck who was advised to seek anger management counseling become the answer? (No joke ... once I had to submit to that. The first thing the guy asked me was, "What are you so mad about, anyway?") Thus the conditional. I'll say this about the Rams, though. Their final selection is my favorite name in the entire draft, North Carolina FB Madison Hedgecock. Sounds like a character from Winnie The Pooh. The Redhead's favorite is the wideout drafted by the Chiefs in the fourth round, Craphonso Thorpe, and I'm not taking this one any farther.
REDSKINS -- They ran Steve Spurrier out with a system that selected his roster by committee. The committee consisted of Spurrier, owner Dan Snyder and Vinnie Cerrato, the GM. No coach in his right mind could put up with a set-up in which he couldn't cut his own squad. That's what Joe Gibbs said when he got the job, and heads soberly nodded in agreement. But Gibbs was not tarnished at that time. Now he is, and the system is creeping back in, like mildew. It's depressing. So what you see are bizarre things such as the Skins paying an outlandish price (third round this time, first and fourth next year) for Denver's 25th pick in the first round, so they can draft QB Jason Campbell for a back-up role. Was this Gibbs' choice alone, perhaps a rebellion against the system, a corporate decision maybe? Sorry, but I don't know. In the meantime, call this a conditional grade.
GIANTS -- Is this fair? You call Losman part of Buffalo's draft, so why isn't Eli Manning considered part of New York's, since it cost them this year's first-round pick? I don't know, maybe it was because other things were involved. This isn't a bad draft, really, just a thin one. Four measly picks. Corner Corey Webster can play. Maybe DE Justin Tuck can supply a bit of a rush. Brandon Jacobs, the 266-pound RB swears that he'll pick up the yard, on fourth and one, that Ron Dayne is still looking for.
BRONCOS -- Explain this to me, please. One of the real inspirational stories of 2004 was Reuben Droughns, who stepped up in an emergency and rushed for 1,240 yards. And he did it the hard way, with guts and fire, running over people. So they got rid of him. OK, I guess they're sold on Tatum Bell, last year's second-round draft. All of a sudden a mob is forming at the position, which is fortified by two problem guys: Dayne, who couldn't run worth a lick in New York, and now Maurice Clarett, who's been a problem everywhere he's ever been, going back to high school, with the exception of his freshman year at Ohio State. Oh yes, the draft. The first three picks went to mid-range-level cornerbacks, who, if they had gone to cooking school, could flat out fry (Is there no end to the torment the poor readers must endure? Yes. It ends right now. For a month).