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Posted: Sunday April 26, 2009 10:43PM; Updated: Monday April 27, 2009 12:16PM

Crabtree among draft's biggest steals, while Raiders reach ... twice

Story Highlights

The Jaguars filled a need at offensive tackle in selecting Eugene Monroe at No. 9

Oakland's pick of Darrius Heyward-Bey helped Jeremy Maclin fall to the Eagles

Tyson Jackson shot up to No. 3, but he has a large amount of downside risk

By Tony Pauline, Special to SI.com, TFYDraft.com

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Michael-Crabtree-draft.jpg
Starving for receiving talent, the 49ers got it in selecting Michael Crabtree at No. 10.
David Bergman/SI
NFL Draft 2009
 
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Best First-Round Picks, 1999-2008
 

The 2009 NFL draft is now one for the history books as the Kansas City Chiefs made the final selection as night fell over New York City on Sunday. There were several surprises throughout the seven rounds, as one would expect in a sparsely talented draft. Here's a list of the best bargains and reaches from last weekend's event:

Steals

Eugene Monroe/OT/ Jacksonville/8th selection: The Jaguars desperately wanted to come out of this draft with a stud at the tackle position. It was a godsend when Monroe dropped into their laps on the eighth pick.

Michael Crabtree/WR/San Francisco/10th: The inability to work out prior to the draft and off-the-field questions almost kept Crabtree from being a top-10 choice. He is great value for the Niners, a receiver-starved team.

Brian Orakpo/DE/ Washington/13: Orakpo was one of the draft's best athletes and is a terrific football player. He became a bargain once the Buffalo Bills passed him up with the 11th selection.

Jeremy Maclin/WR/ Philadelphia/19th: When the Oakland Raiders took Darrius Heyward-Bey with the seventh pick, the result was Maclin sliding much further into Round 1 than most thought possible. The Eagles made sure to trade up and select this game-breaking receiver and return specialist.

Chris Wells/RB/ Arizona/31st: Teams were concerned about Wells' injury history, plus the fact he's a bit one-dimensional in his game. Arizona still came away with a steal as Wells will be a great fit.

Rey Maualuga/MLB/ Cincinnati /38th: Maualuga came into the draft process physically out of shape and unprepared mentally. Regardless, he is still a dominant middle linebacker when hitting on all cylinders. He was worth a roll of the dice at the top of Round 2.

Everette Brown/DE-OLB/ Carolina/43rd: Brown's Combine measurements of 6-feet-1 and 256 pounds concerned teams that wondered what his true position would be. Carolina, which will hold onto Julius Peppers, saw an opportunity to bookend Brown with their Pro-Bowl defensive end.

Connor Barwin/OLB-DE/ Houston/46th: Barwin is a difference-maker and considered a fringe first-round pick by most. He'll flourish in Houston's defensive system, which will allow Barwin to run loose and chase the quarterback.

Jarron Gilbert/DL/Chicago/3rd round: Gilbert's drop down draft boards is mystifying considering the results of his senior campaign plus his workouts leading up to the draft. He offers starting potential and could turn into the steal of the '09 draft.

Michael Johnson/DE/ Cincinnati/3rd round: Johnson was rated as the top senior prospect coming into the season and offers early first-round athleticism. His consistency on the field leaves much to be desired but he was worth a roll of the dice in the third round.

Shawn Nelson/TE/Buffalo/4th round: Nelson was a legitimate second-round talent but his marginal blocking skills pushed him down draft boards. He's a vertical threat who will see action as a rookie.

Jasper Brinkley/MLB/Minnesota/5th round: Brinkley played well as a senior and posted terrific workouts in the run up to the draft. Concerns about his surgically-repaired knee pushed him two rounds deeper into the draft than his talents warrant. Brinkley offers starting potential should he stay healthy.

Jamon Meredith/OL/Green Bay/5th round: Meredith comes off a tough campaign in which he struggled with injury and position change. Several teams gave him a second-round grade. Meredith will compete for several offensive line spots with the Packers.

Duke Robinson/G/Carolina/5th round: Robinson was rated as the No. 1 guard in the draft for most of the season. His terrible play against Florida in the BCS title game coupled with uninspired performances at the Senior Bowl and combine pushed him down draft boards. Robinson is still a legitimate NFL lineman. Carolina came away with a gem.

Reaches

Tyson Jackson/DL/Kansas City/3rd selection: Jackson made a late charge up draft boards despite some average workouts the past two months. His selection was based largely on the fact he's the best two-gap end in the draft, but Jackson comes with large amount of downside risk.

Darrius Heyward-Bey/WR/Oakland/7th: Al Davis loves speed but his history of drafting players primarily based on combine 40 times has been disastrous. Heyward-Bey was not the best receiver on the board when the Raiders were called to the clock with the seventh pick, never mind being rated well below many of the other players available.

Larry English/DE-OLB/ San Diego/16th: English is the perfect fit for the Chargers 3-4 alignment, yet you cannot help but question using the 16th pick on a prospect who struggled to break 4.8 seconds in the 40 at the combine.

Alex Mack/C/Cleveland/21st: Eric Mangini traded down on three occasions in the first round, then reached for Mack with the 21st pick. Mack is solid on the pivot yet not dominant enough to justify Cleveland bypassing on so many talented players to get him.

Jairus Byrd/CB/Buffalo/2nd Round: Byrd ran pedestrian times in the 4.6 range during his pro-day workout. He's a solid prospect , but there were at least a half dozen higher-rated cornerbacks available to the Bills when they selected him at the top of Round 2.

Michael Mitchell/S/Oakland/2nd Round: Davis and the Raiders continued to draft workout warriors in the second round. Mitchell is a terrific athlete who made a late rise up draft boards after a good pro-day workout. He's a developmental prospect who was selected at least three rounds earlier than his talents warranted.

Richard Quinn/TE/Denver/2nd Round: Quinn was a part-time player in North Carolina's offense. He possesses a good degree of upside potential and was a prospect on the rise, yet Denver left several higher-rated tight ends on the board when they chose him with the final choice of Round 2.

Terrance Knighton/DT/Jacksonville/3rd Round: Knighton, an athletic defensive tackle who struggles with weight issues, was rated as a late-round selection. He has too much downside for a mid-third-round choice.

Derek Cox/CB/Jacksonville/3rd Round: Cox was a nice small-school player with adequate size/speed numbers. He carried a late-round rating and was a reach in the third round.

 
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