Snap Judgments (cont.)
Posted: Sunday April 29, 2007 3:53PM; Updated: Sunday April 29, 2007 6:04PM
Denver's Mike Shanahan is at it again. The Broncos head coach has never been afraid of the player who has non-football issues -- hello, Maurice Clarett. By drafting Florida defensive tackle Marcus Thomas, one of this year's leading character cases, Shanahan showed he hasn't lost his nerve, even with the league focusing like a laser on the player conduct issue. Thomas went in the fourth round, meaning he cost himself plenty of money.
You think maybe Denver thought it could use some help on the defensive line? Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss in the first round. Texas defensive end Tim Crowder in the second. Thomas, a disruptive defensive tackle, in the fourth.
It seems like only five minutes ago we were all writing laudatory things about all those ex-Browns defensive linemen who were playing so well in Denver early last season. Nothing fades quicker than a September and October success story in the NFL.
Darrell Jackson to San Francisco for a fourth-round pick seems like a decent move to me. The 49ers just might be my pick to break Seattle's stranglehold on the NFC West this year. I like San Francisco's Patrick Willis and Joe Staley picks in rounds one and two. Third-round receiver Jason Hill is a prospect who has mid-4.3 speed and could help the 49ers develop a vertical threat, along with newly acquired Ashley Lelie.
After a wholly disappointing 2006 season, the Panthers didn't underachieve again this weekend. The trade down in the first round with the Jets was smart, and I gave the Jon Beason first-round pick a thumbs up. And when you add in USC talents like receiver Dwayne Jarrett and center Ryan Kalil in the second round, with a solid defensive end such as Georgia's Charles Johnson in the third, you've given four segments of your roster a legitimate upgrade.
Maybe it's just a case of rooting for the little guy, but kudos to the Bears for taking local favorite Garrett Wolfe of Northern Illinois. At his size, the diminutive running back has to be used sparingly in the NFL. But between him and Devin Hester, Chicago has some elusive play-makers in its arsenal.
Not much to get excited about this weekend if you're a Cheesehead. No Randy Moss. No Marshawn Lynch. No first-round receiver like Ted Ginn Jr., Dwayne Bowe or Robert Meachem. Not even a first-round cornerback such as Darrelle Revis, Leon Hall or Aaron Ross was in the offing.
When exactly did Green Bay get so stinking boring?
The Patriots apparently meant it when they let it be known that the top of this year's draft held little allure for them. They traded their second first-round pick to San Francisco (28th overall). They traded their second rounder to Miami (60th), their third-rounder to Oakland (91st), and their first of four fourth-rounders to Oakland (110th) in the Randy Moss deal.
No surprise that the Jets liked Michigan inside linebacker David Harris, who many thought might be going to New England in the first round. The Jets took him in the second round, 47th overall. If Bill Belichick saw him as a natural fit in the Patriots' 3-4, he's going to be viewed the same way in Eric Mangini's defense.
Given Donovan McNabb's injury history the past four years, I think it's only smart that Philly is taking out multiple insurance policies on him. Policy No. 1 is Kelly Holcomb. Policy No. 2 is A.J. Feeley. And policy No. 3 is ex-Houston Cougar Kevin Kolb, who the Eagles spent a surprisingly high second-round pick (36th) on Saturday night.
Did the Chargers give up too much for Utah safety Eric Weddle, who they landed after a second-round trade with Washington? Maybe. But when your roster is as talent-laden as San Diego's, and you see a player you really covet sitting there, a player who can walk in and start at strong safety (replacing the departed Terrence Kiel), you can afford to pull that trigger.
The Giants are a great landing spot for Brown linebacker/longsnapper Zak DeOssie. New York took him in the middle of the fourth round, about where most expected him to go. DeOssie's father, Steve, won a Super Bowl with the 1990 Giants, and New York showed the most interest in Zak of any team this spring. That's just nice symmetry.
I'm high on the Falcons' second-round picks: Texas guard Justin Blalock at No. 39 and Arkansas cornerback Chris Houston at No. 41. Blalock is smart, versatile and a proven commodity, and Houston is a cover man with plenty of upside who happens to pattern himself after former Atlanta cornerback Deion Sanders. They were also among those 50 or so prospects every year who get labeled potential first-round picks, even though everyone knows there can only be 32 genuine first-rounders.
I really don't have a good feel on whether Rutgers running back Brian Leonard will have a long and productive NFL career. But if having vocal fans in your corner counts for anything, the guy might be headed for the Hall of Fame. I was so happy when the Rams picked Leonard 52nd overall in the second round Saturday night, just so the pack of Scarlet Knights fans screaming "Brian Leonard, Brian Leonard!!'' would pipe down.
With the Titans having lost running back Travis Henry to Denver in free agency, it makes sense that they would draft Arizona running back Chris Henry in the second round. Saves on team jersey costs, I suppose.
Given the level of hatred that has always existed in the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry, you think there's any chance Washington fans ever mistakenly call their first-round pick -- LSU safety LaRon Landry -- "Coach?''