Winners and Losers (cont.)
Posted: Saturday April 28, 2007 7:49PM; Updated: Saturday April 28, 2007 7:56PM
Detroit Lions -- Don't get me wrong. I'm not ripping the Lions for taking Calvin Johnson -- the draft's best player -- second overall. It was a more than defensible move if Detroit felt like no one was willing to give it enough to make a trade worthwhile.
But from a big-picture standpoint, the Lions' inability to turn Johnson's draft slot into a bevy of picks -- selections that could have addressed some of Detroit's many needs -- can't be viewed as the best-case scenario. The Lions long run of misery would have been closer to ending had they parlayed Johnson into multiple starters in this draft, not just one. No matter how exceptional Johnson might be, receivers generally aren't huge difference makers in the NFL.
In that respect, the Lions were unlucky in the first round once again.
Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn -- I'm going to qualify this one too: As I said, in the long run, Quinn may well end up the winner in this year's most memorable first-round saga. He'll avoid some of the scrutiny that comes with being a top-five quarterback, and he did get selected by the team that he wanted to play for, the Browns.
But there's no denying that Quinn will have to make his truly big money on his second contract, because the difference between what he'll be paid at No. 22 as opposed to No. 3 is whopping. Just for comparison's sake, last year's No. 22 pick, San Francisco linebacker/defensive end Manny Lawson, received a five-year deal worth $8.5 million. The No. 3 pick, Tennessee quarterback Vince Young, got a six-year deal that topped out at $58 million, including $26.5 million guaranteed. The guaranteed money alone is more than three times the size of Lawson's entire deal.
But hey, it's not like Quinn will be taking a second job, so let's all keep it in perspective, shall we?
As for the money he "lost'' by lasting 19 slots later than he was expected to, Quinn had the perfect answer for that supposition. "I had never had the money before, so I didn't lose any money,'' he said. "I have like a dollar in my wallet, and it's still there.''
Michigan defensive tackle Alan Branch -- Once considered one of the favorites to be the first defensive player taken in the draft, Branch fell all the way out of the first round, to Arizona with the first pick of the second round.
The longer scouts mulled Branch over this spring, the worse things looked for a guy who has a reputation for taking too many plays off and not having being sufficiently self-motivated. He also had some lingering injury concerns that center on whether he has either stress fractures or shin splints in his leg.
The Wolverines' big run-stuffer was a falling Branch on Saturday.
Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny -- The results were similar for Posluszny, who seemed a decent bet to go in the first round for most of the spring, but lasted until Buffalo stopped his free fall by taking him second in the second round, 34th overall. The Bills think the Butkus Award winner could be another Shane Conlan, but for a guy who Jack Ham labeled the best Penn State linebacker in that school's illustrious history at the position, a second-round selection rates as a disappointment.
Some scouts feel Posluszny is too slow and not explosive enough to truly dominate to the level he did in college. He's a good fit for blue-collar Buffalo, but his stock slippage in recent weeks was reflected on Saturday.
Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre -- He didn't get the running back the Packers have needed since losing Ahman Green in free agency. Green Bay missed out on both first-round running backs, Adrian Peterson (No. 7 to Minnesota) and Marshawn Lynch (No. 12 to Buffalo). And he didn't get the receiver he needs either. Rather than select Dwayne Bowe or Robert Meachem, the Packers went for well-regarded Tennessee defensive tackle Justin Harrell.
What's a living legend to do? Any chance No. 4 will retire in protest?