Draft Day 2 Snap Judgments
Second-day steals, controversial picks and more
Posted: Sunday April 29, 2007 3:53PM; Updated: Sunday April 29, 2007 6:04PM
NEW YORK -- Musings, observations and the occasional insights from the two-day pick-fest still taking place in Radio City Music Hall:
It wasn't pretty this weekend for Troy Smith, but the Heisman Trophy winner from Ohio State could have done a lot worse than getting the chance to learn a little from Steve McNair in Baltimore. The Ravens ended Smith's humbling draft experience by taking him with the final pick of the fifth round (174th overall). You can't really call it a dramatic plummet, since Smith had been projected as a second-day pick for months.
The positives? In McNair, you'd hope that Smith would have a great mentor and role model, although I don't think anybody ever really credited McNair with being overly helpful to all the younger quarterbacks he has worked with in Tennessee and Baltimore. But remind me to ask Billy Volek and Kyle Boller that the next time I see them.
More importantly for Smith, there's future opportunity for him with the Ravens. With McNair pretty much a year-to-year retirement proposition at this point, and backup Boller expected to be moving on as a free agent in early 2008, the strong-armed Smith has a chance to make himself relevant in Baltimore. But he has to show he can overcome deficiencies some expect he'll have to deal with in the NFL (namely, finding enough throwing lanes despite his lack of prototypical quarterback height).
With Oakland taking Louisville running back Michael Bush with the first pick of the draft's second day (100th overall), LaMont Jordan has even more competition for carries than he did after the Raiders signed Dominic Rhodes in free agency. Bush has to get healthy after his broken right leg required a second surgery, but his addition gives Oakland rookie head coach Lane Kiffin another play-making backfield option.
I like BYU quarterback John Beck. I really do. They say he's a gym rat who eats, drinks and sleeps football. But let's face it, if Miami's second-round pick (40th overall) doesn't turn out to be a better NFL quarterback than Brady Quinn, whom the Dolphins passed on at No. 9, Miami fans aren't going to let Cam Cameron and Randy Mueller forget about this one.
Oakland picked up veteran quarterback Josh McCown as a one-year bridge to the JaMarcus Russell era, but I've never thought of McCown as a stop-gap type of passer. I still think Arizona head coach Dennis Green blew it by not giving McCown a full-fledged shot to be the guy with the Cardinals.
McCown couldn't beat out Jon Kitna in Detroit last year, but my hunch is that he'll look like the No. 1 quarterback in Oakland throughout the summer and early Fall. It's tough to look good playing behind the Raiders line, but McCown is somewhat used to the pass rush from his days as a Cardinal.
When will the Raiders turn it over to Russell? Who knows? But he could be on a similar timetable to Vince Young in Tennessee and Matt Leinart in Arizona, and not quite as long as it took for Denver to replace Jake Plummer with Jay Cutler.
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