Draft Report Card (cont.)
Posted: Monday April 30, 2007 9:57AM; Updated: Monday April 30, 2007 1:56PM
DOLPHINS -- B-
They lose their premier return man, Wes Welker, to the Patriots, so they need a returner, and Ted Ginn, Jr.'s application has been accepted. My point is that if they'd have held onto Welker in the first place, they wouldn't have needed a return man, but I'm sure that kind of simplistic logic can be shot full of holes. Yep, Ginn is a wideout of note, too, and second rounder Samson Satele is a nice, agile center. But if what I think could happen actually happens, then this will be a terrific draft, much more serious than its listed grade. I'm looking at a two-word possibility. John Beck. Quarterback. Gym rat, competitor, Jeff Garcia type with a better arm. So if he's so great, why'd he last until a quarter of the way down the second round? Beats me. I predict nothing. I'm just mentioning that you never know, as they say on blind dates.
BILLS -- B-
They're in the recycling business. They had a perfectly fine little running back, Travis Henry, and they recycled him for Willis McGahee. McGahee was doing well, and then they recycled him for the current top draft, Marshawn Lynch. Who knows? Maybe somewhere in some high school in West Virginia there's this big kid just waiting to ... you know. You can keep drafting this way. It's called marking time, and if this were all there was to the Bills' roster, their grade would be down somewhere in half moon land. But the trade-up for LB Paul Posluszny makes some kind of sense, and the third-round choice, strong-armed QB Trent Edwards, is intriguing, although I can't understand what kind of competition they're trying to set up between he and J.P. Losman. And here's the pick that really gets me excited. Seventh round -- TE Derek Schouman, whose workout numbers absolutely blew away the competition at the combine. I just have a feeling about this guy.
GIANTS -- B-
I like teams that address needs, as you might have gathered. Desperate in the secondary, first pick goes to CB Aaron Ross. OK, not a shut-down type, but how many of us really are, I ask you? Good enough. Better than what they had. Ditto for No. 2 draft, WR Steve Smith, who has been highly productive in big time college competition. Jay Alford is a scrappy DT, Kevin Boss will be a better back-up TE for Jeremy Shockey than what they had, and with Shockey's injury history, it's a necessity. And highly publicized fourth rounder Zak DeOssie is about eight seconds faster in the 40 than his dad, Steve, a loyal old Giant, was, and about eight flips better in the agility drills.
LIONS -- B-
No, I don't laugh at the fourth wideout drafted at No. 1 out of the last five Lion choices, not when we're talking about the best player on the board. But Matt Millen, I say this as a friend who cares about you. I don't want to see Calvin Johnson limping through training camp on a bad ankle or hamstring or turf toe. Please have some highly paid agency do a survey to find out why so many Lions have gotten hurt over the last dozen years or so. I'm not kidding. It's freaky. All right, the team had NFL executives hopping up and down like Easter bunnies to keep track of all its draft trades. The Detroit board is like a blur to me now, all except for QB Drew Stanton (second round) -- tough, hard-nosed, absorbs a lot of lumps without complaint. Sound exactly like someone we know. Jon Kitna perhaps?
RAMS -- B-
Top draft Adam Carriker is a 298-pound brute of a DE. Maybe he'll stay around for a while, after the Rams have filled half the rosters in the league with their ex-defensive linemen. Brian Leonard is an interesting second-round choice, half fullback, half running back, well schooled in the fundamentals. How this translates into an NFL lineup, I don't know, but I like the idea of the club taking him this high. Third rounder Jonathan Wade is a cornerback who deserved to have been placed above his station.
CHARGERS -- C+
All the draft analysts kept assuring us that this is a team that doesn't need a single blessed thing, so I guess we should regard these picks as pure gravy. Craig Davis was the second receiver at LSU (big Dwayne Bowe was the first), the clever guy who does all those nifty little things, such as crossing patterns and all that stuff under the zone. I can think of plenty of receivers like that in the league. Safetyman Eric Weddle is a guy who cost them four draft choices on a trade up. Smart, dedicated, gets everyone lined up correctly, they say ... gives them intriguing puzzles to occupy their minds, grades their exam papers. Anthony Waters (third round) is a big ILB who's coming off a knee injury.
PACKERS -- C+
Honest, I heard this byplay on the NFL Network (I was at the draft, but I had a head set), when the Pack took a DT, Justin Harrell, in the first round. "How is this gonna help Brett Favre?" "Well, if it helps the defense, it'll carry over to the offense." Maybe that wasn't the exact wording, but it was very close. So does the shadow of No. 4 hang over the entire operation? Well, the second and third picks should make the TV guys happy because they went directly into the Favre pipeline, RB Brandon Jackson and WR James Jones. The guy who intrigues me, though is David Clowney, a fifth-round flier, and one thing Brett still can do is gun it deep.
SAINTS -- C
We are so sophisticated now that size and speed numbers, such as WR Robert Meachem's 6-2, 215 and 4.39, which would have, at one time, left us positively flabbergasted, are merely taken for granted. "Must be able to shake the coverage," we murmur, and that's what I hear about Meachem, their No. 1 pick. Of further interest is the choice of Ohio State's premier runner, Antonio Pittman, in the fourth round. Productive, but hardly dazzling. And how will he work into the McAllister-Bush rotation?
JAGUARS -- C
I understand that they were locked into the first pick, FS Reggie Nelson, a deep centerfield type, to make up for the loss of Deon Grant, but the rest of their swollen 11-man draft seems to reflect more finesse and less muscle. That's OK, I guess, and I kind of have a soft spot for DT Derek Landri, a hard-driving type who they say dropped so low because his arms are too short. Didn't I see it on eBay just the other day, an ad for arm-enhancement? Or maybe it was something similar.
CHIEFS -- C
I see a real good crack-blocker on the edge here, someone to give Larry Johnson a soft corner, and his name is Dwayne Bowe, the 6-2 1/2, 220-pound WR taken in the first round. "Will hunt up linebackers," is one report I saw on him. Hey, just give me a call. I know where they hang out.
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