The pick everyone expected the Niners to make came to pass. Now, they have to get the big passer from the Mountain West Conference to sign on the dotted line ? or the Niners have to make a deal to trade the kid (Vikings, Browns, Bucs?), still a possibility at this point. You know they're listening, because they used every minute before making their choice.
The Dolphins needed a passer, and they could have gone for a big receiver, but they needed nothing more than a good running back. There's not a better one in the draft than the versatile Brown, and nobody knew that more than new coach Nick Saban. The former LSU coach got a first-hand look as the Auburn back sliced and diced his way through the Tigers. The best pick this hurting team could have made.
The best player on a lot of boards and the best wideout in Michigan's storied history was just too good for the Browns to pass up. He'll be a player, some day, but the Browns are way too hurting on offense (let's not even start on defense) for one guy -- especially a non-QB -- to make a big difference. Good pick, a no-brainer, but the Browns need six more of these guys.
A lot of people liked Carnell Williams with this pick, but the Bears at least got the position right. Yeah, it might have been tempting to pair USC WR Mike Williams with free-agent pickup Muhsin Muhammad, but Benson -- a load to tackle -- is the right pick. He was a big-time workhorse for the Longhorns, and you can't knock that. He'll make QB Rex Grossman better and open things up for Muhammad.
Hate to agree with Mel Kiper on this, but even with Cal's Aaron Rodgers available and a trade for No. 1 pick Alex Smith all over the rumor wires, the Bucs are OK as is at quarterback with Brian Griese. And Griese will be even better now with a Cadillac running behind him. Williams is not the biggest back in this draft, but he may be the toughest, and in Auburn's offense last season, he showed an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, too (though not like his mate, second pick Ronnie Brown). A perfect fit and the third RB taken in the Top 5, the first time that's ever happened.
Everyone needs CBs, and Jones -- known as "Pacman" -- was the best on most boards. He's not a big guy, so taller receivers will cause him some trouble. But scouts say he's tough, so he'll give grief to some of those rangy beanpoles that pass as receivers in the NFL. He's a returner, too, which helps. Not a sexy pick, with QB Rodgers and WR Williams still out there, but he's needed after the Titans lost Samari Rolle to free agency.
The Vikings could have gone for defense here and still picked up a good Randy Moss replacement later in the round (at No. 18). But they evidently thought so much of Williamson that they didn't want to wait. He's the fastest receiver in the draft, which will open the Vikes' game up some. But passing up on the other SC's Williams? We'll have to see how this works out. Meanwhile, where the heck is Aaron Rodgers?
Duane Starks left, so the Cards were really thin at CB. This was a big need pick, way over taking the best player available. Rolle -- not Samari's brother -- is a solid pick that will immediately help, jumping right into a starter's spot. At this point in the Draft, there's probably a lot of phone-burning going on for teams trying to trade up to get the QB Rodgers or the WR Williams, two guys who have slipped a lot further than most expected.
War Eagle, man! Three Auburn guys in the Top 9! Maybe the Tigers should've been No. 1, eh? The Redskins were up against it at this point. Letting Rodgers go by must've been painful. But with Champ Bailey long gone, and Fred Smoot a free-agency casualty, Washington had no choice but to fill the need at cornerback. Again, it's lacking on the sexiness scale. It'll draw a yawn in D.C. But Rogers was the right pick.
If Joey Harrington can't find someone to throw to at this point, we're going to have to start to look at him. Williams is not only a good wide receiver, he's great. Tall, strong, great hands. Maybe the Lions didn't need him -- remember, they have Roy Williams and Charles Rogers, two first-round picks, already -- but you better believe they'll use him. The Lions went for best available talent and, in doing so, look to be one exciting offensive team on the rise. If Harrington comes through, that is.
The Cowboys are relying on two old guys at QB (Bledsoe, Testaverde) and the possible emergence of Drew Henson. Still, they didn't seem to give QB Rodgers a look here. Instead, they picked the first defensive lineman of the day, a tallish guy who can probably play inside some but looks more like a standup pass rusher. A need for the Cowboys, and the right pick. But we're all starting to feel sorry for Cal's Rodgers at this point. And he won't go next, either.
This guy is 273 pounds. Wow. The Chargers went from nowhere to 12-4 last year, they've had a good offseason and they have two first-round picks. So they were pretty much set going into the Draft. They opted to take a guy who can jam up the middle and still come off the end on a pass rush. Good pick, but the drama of the Draft right now is how far poor Rodgers will fall. The guys on TV are talking about him dropping all the way into the 20s here. "It's building character, as we speak," he told ESPN. If he gets any more character, Rodgers will go Looney Tunes.
The first trade of the day is consummated, and it's done so the Saints can move up to get the first offensive lineman of the day, a mountainous guy who probably will play right tackle to protect QB Aaron Brooks. The Saints have a lot of talent on offense -- including newly acquired RB Antowain Smith -- but this was a glaring need. Good pick, very solid. What was that QB's name from out west again?
He's a safety! He's a linebacker! He's a defensive back! He's a pursuit guy near the line of scrimmage! The Panthers plan to use him, most likely, as a linebacker, because that's where they need him most. Either way, they'll find someplace for this guy. Panthers' fans might have liked to have seen a replacement for Muhsin Muhammad taken here, but this is a little high for the best WRs left. Not too high, though, for a QB. Say, one from the Pac-10? Oh, yeah. That Jake Delhomme guy is pretty good. Hold on, Aaron, someone's coming for you!