Posted: Tuesday May 2, 2006 12:08PM; Updated: Wednesday May 3, 2006 1:23AM
The Bengals continued to rebuild their defense with speedy cornerback Johnathan Joseph.
Grant Halverson/Getty Images
BUCCANEERS: As a pair, I like choices Nos. 3 and 4 better than Nos. 1 and 2. First choice Davin Joseph is a top-grade guard, but the second pick, T Jeremy Trueblood, is a 6-8 string bean who was tied for sixth weakest among the 44 linemen who participated in the combine's grunt and heave, a.k.a. bench press. Third-round WR Maurice Stovall is a big guy who I predict will really be productive in this offense, and CB Alan Zamaitis (fourth round) is made for MonteKiffin's cover-two defense.
BENGALS: They wanted a Whitner and settled for a Whitworth. Donte Whitner, the safety, was long gone when they drafted. Andrew Whitworth is a second-round tackle. (This lame attempt at humor merely points out how desperately I need the upcoming vacation, which begins next week. Full details of same will be furnished in June.) This Whitworth guy, by the way, is quite a character. Has never missed a practice due to injury. Has 52 straight starts, which the NCAA is claiming as one short of its all-time record. Hey, NCAA! Ever hear of an end named Barney Poole? Made All-America for both Ole Miss and the Blanchard-Davis West Point teams. Had a full career for each school, which you could do, uh, sort of, during the World War II era. I'm almost forgetting the top pick, CB Johnathon Joseph, close to the best on the board, second fastest at the combine at 4.31.
BROWNS: This is going to be interesting. Saturation bombing at the linebacker level. Their top draft pick was edge pass rusher Kamerion Wimbley; second-round choice D'Qwell Jackson, was rated the top guy inside; Leon Williams, still another ILB, in the fourth round. Bill Parcells used to say that you could never have enough linebackers. And guess whom Romeo Crennel coached under when he was learning the professional game?
CHIEFS:Herman Edwards wound up with some really fine people. First-round pick DE Tamba Hali miraculously escaped the horrors of war-torn Liberia. Third-rounder QB Brodie Croyle grew up at his father's ranch for abused children, and still spends a great deal of time there. Second-round choice SS Bernard Pollard is a fine leader and a very tough hitter. Oh yes, they can all play, too.
SEAHAWKS: Very good players at the top. CB Kelly Jennings is a competent man-to-man cover guy. Think of the Packers' Aaron Kampman and you've got a fix on DE Darryl Tapp, who gave D'Brickashaw Ferguson all he could handle last season. Fourth-round choice Rob Sims shot way up on the board after great workouts, and David Kirtman, the first fullback taken, is also a guy who can catch.
TITANS: It's a nebulous, wishy-washy type of grade because they've sent it all in on Vince Young and LenDale White, and they could both either make it big (kindly raise this grade to A over A+ if this happens) or struggle in some way. Sorry, but I can't predict. I leave that to the guys on TV.
EAGLES: Everybody loves Philly's draft more than I do. Top pick Brodrick Bunkley? Fine. No problem there. But the second-round choice, WinstonJustice, simply is not my cup of tea. Workout warrior who plays OK at times, not so OK at other times. Plus he pulled some stuff at USC that, well, they treated fairly lightly because of immaturity or something, whereas if your kid or mine did it, he might be serving time. Third-round choice LB Chris Gocong has great workout numbers, but he'll be learning a new position. Does this sound like a high grade draft? Maybe I'm being too rough, but coming after the problems they had last year ... to go find a new problem child just rubs me slightly wrong.
COWBOYS: I'm real smart, see. When I talked to Bill Parcells and tactfully asked him, "Who are you gonna draft?" and he replied, "You know the kind of guys I like," I knew right away that he loves mammoth LBs, and 256-pound Bobby Carpenter was the biggest one there, so who did I give him? A wideout, naturally. Best available athlete. A pick for value. Add any other cliché that comes to mind. OK, Carpenter gives him that muscle in the middle. The next choice, Notre Dame TE Anthony Fasano, is, hopefully, a Mark Bavaro reincarnation, or something close to it. After that? Not a whole lot that thrills me.
CHARGERS: This is another situation where, if the gamble pays off (CB Antonio Cromartie with only one start, coming in), the grade will be significantly raised. They wanted a tackle and they found a 6-8 work in progress, MarcusMcNeill. Oh yes, they also got veteran Rams end Brandon Manumaleuna. You know something? I think this grade is too low. What the hell, I'll let it ride and see how Cromartie does.
VIKINGS: I hear good and bad things about first round LB Chad Greenway. The scouts who like him say he's very active and productive. The ones who don't say that he misses too many tackles, and one guy told me, "I don't think he sees what's in front of him." Well, for God's sake, don't let him cross any streets by himself. But I do like CB Cedric Griffin better than anyone else does, especially since I saw him make that dazzling interception in the Senior Bowl. They traded up two spots to get QB Tavaris Jackson in the second round, and you never know what riches you can reap at this position.