Draft Report Card (cont.)
Posted: Monday April 30, 2007 9:57AM; Updated: Monday April 30, 2007 1:56PM
COLTS -- B/B+
It seems that they always draft for defense, and it's the offense that keeps getting better. So now they're doing it the other way around, and I have to say that they've added about 50 yards to an offense that has plenty to begin with. I'm talking about Anthony Gonzalez, the superb wideout whose intelligence and quick cutting ability will fit him very neatly into the Brandon Stokley third-wideout role. Here's a sleeper, 230-pound, fifth-round wideout Roy Hall, who could work his way into the H-Back rotation.
PANTHERS -- B
Somehow the Panthers found the line in the supermarket that says Value. They were thinking of LB Jon Beason, who might be their man for the Dan Morgan role, at their 14th spot, but then they traded down and got him anyway. WR Dwayne Jarrett, their second rounder, was projected to be a low first. Lots of catches, limited speed, but that's OK, he'll get his share of grabs in the Carolina system. And Ryan Kalil is a polished and battle-tested center, much better than low in the second, which was where Carolina found him.
BUCCANEERS -- B
The Bucs can't function without a pass rush, which made Gaines Adams, the highest regarded rush-end, a sensible pick for them. Their O-line needed help, which gave logic to the round two choice of Arron Sears, rated the second or third best guard in the draft. Except for him, six of the first seven choices went to defense, and I kind of like the idea of a return to their roots in Tampa Bay. I don't know why, but I'm getting really strong vibes about a couple of defenders with great agility and athleticism, safety Sabby Piscitelli, and LB Quincy Black, who covered the 40 in 4.4.
VIKINGS -- B
If Adrian Peterson's collarbone really is fine, then the seventh spot was a good place for the Vikes to land him. If it isn't, then I'll publish a retraction and a new grade when the time comes. I'm not betting this one either way, but what gives Minnesota its mark is the dedicated upgrade in speed from this draft. WRs Sidney Rice and Aundrae Allison, CB Marcus McCauley, even DE Brian Robison are all athletically gifted speedsters, and that includes Peterson. I'll put this bunch up against anyone in an NFL sprint relay.
STEELERS -- B-
The deal used to be that whomever the Steelers drafted, Billy Cowher's staff would coach 'em up to a championship level. With this staff? Well, we'll see. Mike Tomlin's draft just about told us that his team will be defense-oriented, which translates to LBs, which translates to the first two picks, Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley, who will be like a jolt of electricity in that defense. Just to show how serious they are about ball control, the Steelers actually traded up to get punter Daniel Sepulveda, a two-year Ray Guy Award winner and a left-footer who they say puts weird spin on the ball. What the heck, let's call it a B- for two LBs and a weird spin, why not?
RAVENS -- B-
What I like about the way Ozzie Newsome drafts is that he doesn't try to snow you with this "best available athlete" Olympic Games jazz. They need fortification on the offensive line, so they go high for a pair of guys as earthy as their names -- Grubbs and Yanda. Ben Grubbs is the best guard, Marshal Yanda is a towering figure well schooled in the Iowa system. But man cannot live on grubs alone, so for the exotic section of the menu the Ravens can offer the fastest man at the combine workouts, WR Yamon Figurs (4.30) and one of the more intriguing figures on the board for almost two full days, Troy Smith, the Heisman QB.
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