Trying to shore up a defense that ranked last in the AFC in yards allowed last season (377.3 yards per game), the Chiefs are finally looking up, after the trade for CB Patrick Surtain and this pick. Scouts knock Johnson's size, and they say he isn't as strong as he needs to be. But with a defense like K.C. had last season, a double weight paper bag would be an upgrade. So far, the biggest surprise in this draft has been Rodgers' precipitous drop and the selection of Williamson over Williams at WR. Other than that, it's holding pretty much to form. Another minor surprise: Only one OL taken to this point.
Remember when Florida State used to have two or three guys picked by this point of the Draft? Johnson is the first Seminole taken this year, though he is the second Johnson selected, and back-to-back, too. (In the 70 years of the Draft, 231 different Johnsons have been selected, a fact that has nothing to do with this particular Draft, but might be of some interest, nonetheless.) The Texans need run stoppers, and this Johnson was the best available. Wooooo, halfway through and we're already getting slap-happy.
An All-American who was quick off the edge and tough as nails for the Dawgs, this guy will flourish as a pro under Marvin Lewis. The Bengals had to go defense here -- they ranked 11th in the AFC in yards allowed, and 12th in points allowed -- and could have gone cornerback, but instead went for a character guy who plays hard. Cincinnati will love him. And he's the first Pollack taken this year, too. Meanwhile, on the Rodgers Watch: The hard part is not waiting. It's getting hammered by all the analysts on TV who suddenly are picking apart his game and making the poor kid sound more and more like Akili Smith.
The pops you hear are either the champagne bottles in Minnesota or the upcoming crunch of opposing quarterbacks. With Kenechi Udeze and James going after the passer, this is going to be one mean purple machine. The Vikings' defense was hurting last season -- last in the NFC in yards allowed and yards per play -- but this helps, and with Williamson taking over for Moss on the other side of the ball, the Vikes got all they could hope for from their two first-rounders.
Man, the Seminoles are flying off the board now. You have to like the Rams, still one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the NFL, sticking with offense. If you read the scouting reports, Barron will have to refine his pass-blocking techniques, but with Orlando Pace on the other side of the line to teach him a thing or two, and a team that will force him to pass block, he'll be OK. If you'd have bet someone that Barron would be picked before Rodgers ? well, we're just going to sit and wait now and see if Rodgers or Auburn's Jason Campbell goes first.
We know where Bill Parcells stands on defense. With Ware at No. 11, and now Spears, the Cowboys are out to improve a defense that ranked 13th in yards allowed per play last season. Parrcells has pass rushers and run stuffers in getting two of the top four or five defensive linemen in the Draft. The Cowboys (6-10 in 2004) will be improved, no question.
The player that SI.com's Peter King picked as the most intriguing player of this year's Draft, Jones played QB at Arkansas. He is big and strong (Jones, not King) and fast and, for heaven's sake, he can stuff a basketball. He's obviously very talented in a lot of different areas. There's some question if he can play WR -- he may be too big, the thinking is -- but he probably can play tight end, too. Heck, this guy can play anywhere. It should be fun to see how the Jags use him.
Not big, but a solid kid who is tough and showed well at the Senior Bowl. He'll be a nice complement to Derrick Mason and a running game led by Jamal Lewis. That balance will keep the Ravens, 9-7 last year, in the thick of the AFC North battle.
Speed is what Washington's all about, and that's what the Raiders like. They traded up with the Seahawks to get this pick, and he'll fit in fine in Oakland. But the big mystery here is whether Green Bay will pick Rodgers now as the eventual successor to Brett Favre. Oh, the suspense.
We oughta talk about giving the Rolaids Relief Man Award to Rodgers. Finally, eh? It's not a bad situation for Rodgers, of course, going to the Packers, watching Favre work (because, remember, Favre is always working), going to a place that will love him. Well, there's the weather, of course. And the millions of dollars lost. And we have no idea who will be there to help Rodgers once Favre finally steps aside. But, all in all, if I had to choose who would be a consistent winner first -- Rodgers or No. 1 pick Alex Smith in San Francisco -- I'd go with Rodgers in Green Bay.
After getting Auburn CB Rogers with their first pick this round (No. 9), the 'Skins needed another defensive player, probably a lineman. But they traded up with the express purpose of getting Campbell, an extremely accurate passer who flourished in Auburn's system last season. There are questions about Campbell -- he didn't score well on the Wonderlic test -- but there are questions about incumbent starter Patrick Ramsey, too. An interesting pick. And one that Ramsey can't feel too good about.
Spencer becomes only the third offensive lineman taken. His strength is in his versatility. He can play both guards positions and can play center. The Seahawks needed a defensive lineman, and they may regret passing on Oklahoma's Dan Cody. They could have used a wideout, too. But they've been beaten up on the offensive line, so this isn't a bad pick. A little high, maybe, but with their needs, the Seahawks had to do it.
A little disappointed in the lack of Ron Mexico jokes with this pick, but the name "Dan Cody" is pretty darn close. Instead, the Falcons went with a wideout to help out Mike Vick and TE Algie Crumpler and RB Warrick Dunn. If White (nicknamed "Roddy") can do what Peerless Price has not -- be a good target for Vick, who has a heck of an arm -- this could be one of the most dangerous teams in the NFC in 2005. As if Vick isn't dangerous enough.
A positive test for steroids (androstenedione) raised some eyebrows, but everybody likes the big tackle, so the Chargers decided the steroids thing wasn't all that important (alarms should be going off on Capitol Hill). A lot of teams, many places reported, pushed him way down the board for that. But the Chargers, as we said before, can take a few chances, given their suddenly raised standing in the NFL's eyes. Not a bad pick, on balance. And, honestly, we're starting to get to the point where the name guys are pretty much gone.
Tony Dungy, the head coach of the Colts, will like this guy. He's not in the class of Rolle or Pacman Jones, but the high-powered Colts clearly needed him. Jackson is bigger than a lot of those CBs, too. He's the sixth CB taken in the first round.
A perfect pick for the Steelers, the top-rated TE on the board will make a nice target for Big Ben Roethlisberger. There are some anxious moments going on for some college players now as the first round winds up. Is Cody going to be a first-rounder, or will he fall to the second? It may not seem like a big deal, but the difference can work out to be worth a lot of money.
A terrific, and fortuitous, pick for the NFC champs. Patterson is an active guy in the middle -- though maybe not big enough -- who will learn from a veteran defensive line and will, as these things always go, get some playing time when someone gets banged up. Next up, the Super Bowl champion Patriots, who have the final pick of the first round. Cody doesn't seem to fit there, but Bill Belichick could surprise. He's done it before.
Well, surprise surprise. But who's going to argue with the Patriots? If they picked Anthony Munoz here, all the pundits would say "Yeah, might work. He's tough." Heck, if they picked Joe Montana, someone would find a way to deify Belichick. Mankins is a guard, and the Patriots don't have Joe Andruzzi to lean on anymore. So why not keep that Tom Brady/Corey Dillon offense running like it can? Makes perfect sense.