Winnners and Losers (cont.)
Posted: Saturday April 28, 2007 7:49PM; Updated: Saturday April 28, 2007 7:56PM
New England Patriots -- And the rich get richer. The Pats had two first-round picks, 24 and 28, and they too played the board well, as they usually do. With No. 24 they took Miami safety Brandon Meriweather, who is slated to be Rodney Harrison's eventual replacement.
And then, with the players who were available to them at 28 rated as second-rounders on their board, they parlayed another team's need for one particular player into a 2008 first-rounder that could wind up being far more valuable than this year's 28th pick.
New England sent No. 28 to San Francisco, which was eager to take Central Michigan offensive tackle Joe Staley just ahead of No. 29 Baltimore. The Ravens had Staley in their sights as the answer to their glaring need at tackle. But the Patriots cleaned up, picking up the 49ers fourth-rounder (110th overall) and their first-rounder in 2008. That gives New England four fourth-round picks this year, meaning they have the currency to go after any player they want to in rounds two or three.
Jacksonville Jaguars -- I like the Jags' first-round trade for most of the same reasons that the Panthers and Patriots got it right. They sent their No. 17 pick -- which fell just outside of the clear-cut first-round grades -- to Denver, which selected Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss.
In return, Jacksonville slid down just four spots and took a player they were strongly considering at 17 -- Florida safety Reggie Nelson. But for the courtesy of delaying their pick from 17 to 21, the Jaguars received a third-rounder (86th overall) and a sixth-rounder (198th) from Denver.
Again, in this draft's first round, that's using your chips wisely.
Penn State offensive tackle Levi Brown -- Though he was climbing up draft boards all spring, and began the scouting season as the second highest-rated offensive tackle behind Wisconsin's Joe Thomas, Brown finished with a flourish on Saturday. He went fifth overall to Arizona, which actually had him rated as the better potential pro over the more-celebrated Thomas.
Brown was expected to go in the second half of the top 10, but to crack the first five earned him a significantly bigger rookie contract.
Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson -- Even though some draft analysts had him going as high as No. 3 to Cleveland, Peterson's "tumble'' to the No. 7 Vikings isn't a bad thing from this perspective. With Minnesota, which has 1,200-yard rusher Chester Taylor, Peterson won't have to be a workhorse back from day one, and thus will have the time he needs to get his much-discussed collarbone completely healthy.
That could end up being the break -- as in some much needed time off -- that his NFL career needed in its nascent stages.
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