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Posted: Saturday April 25, 2009 9:54PM; Updated: Sunday April 26, 2009 7:08PM
Don Banks Don Banks >
INSIDE THE NFL

Draft Snap Judgments

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What were the Raiders thinking in drafting Darrius Heyward-Bey so high?
AP

• Just wondering, but what does Pete Carroll have to say now that his guy Sanchez went fifth overall to the Jets? On the day that Sanchez announced for the NFL, the USC head coach was pretty adamant that the move was a mistake, and that Sanchez wasn't ready for the league.

Guess the league didn't agree.

• I've been meaning all week to get someone to explain to me how Denver head coach Josh McDaniels missed the Broncos private workout with Mark Sanchez due to a migraine? I mean, didn't McDaniels get rid of his worst headache about three weeks ago, when he traded Cutler to Chicago?

• Funny how quickly perceptions can change in the NFL. On Friday I listened as Tony Gonzalez called his trade to Atlanta "a dream come true.'' Not all that long ago, maybe 15 months or so, no one in the NFL would have called joining the Falcons a "dream'' scenario.

In the depths of the Michael Vick/Bobby Petrino debacles of 2007, Atlanta was almost the last place in the NFL anyone wanted to be. Isn't that right, DeAngelo Hall?

• Uh, oh. I think the old SI cover jinx might have gotten USC linebacker Rey Maualuga. Didn't we just feature the Trojans' three star linebackers, proclaiming them all first-round picks? Two out of three ain't bad.

On the bright side, going 38th overall to Cincinnati means Maualuga gets reunited with ex-USC fellow linebacker Keith Rivers, a 2008 first-round pick.

• I love it. Miami, the original Wildcat Formation team, takes West Virginia's Pat White, the best Wildcat prospect in this year's draft. I wonder how Ronnie Brown feels about the competition?

• For a while there on Saturday, it was one heck of a race between Cleveland and New England to see who could actually make it through the entire first two rounds without picking a player. As usual, the Patriots win every contest they put their minds to.

• If you're the Oakland Raiders, it must be so frustrating to know you're the smartest team in the league, but not have your won-loss record show it. Other than having an undeserved superiority complex, how else do you explain taking the less than polished Darrius Heyward-Bey at No. 7, a good 20 spots or so higher than most clubs had him rated?

• Good call, New Orleans. Malcolm Jenkins was the smart move for a team just a couple of defensive improvements away from strong Super Bowl contention. No matter how much they liked Chris "Beanie'' Wells, needing more offense isn't the Saints' issue.

• The Vikings can boast all they want about taking character-risk prospects off their draft board, but the first-round selection of Harvin shoots down any notion that they're sensitive to the player conduct issue that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has made the centerpiece of his tenure.

Harvin was a win-now at all costs type of pick, and the folks in Minnesota's front office know it.

• The jury may still be a long way out on Stafford, but the Lions just got a whole lot better with Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew and Western Michigan safety Louis Delmas coming on board with Detroit's picks at No. 20 and 33. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz has told anyone who will listen that his team needs to get bigger and more physical. Pettigrew and Delmas are great steps in that direction.

• I like Missouri's Jeremy Maclin, but wasn't it a bit of a redundant move for the Eagles to take the receiver-return man, after drafting receiver-return man DeSean Jackson out of Cal in the second round last year?

• Wow, two first-round centers taken in Cal's Alex Mack (No. 21 by Cleveland) and Louisville's Eric Wood (No. 28 by Buffalo). Anyone see that coming? The one team I thought would take a center, No. 32 Pittsburgh, didn't.

• Baltimore loved both Maualuga and Rutgers receiver Kenny Britt, but given the chance to land the draft's fourth-best offensive tackle (Mississippi's Michael Oher) at No. 23, it understandably pounced on the opportunity to trade up three spots. The pick should be one of the steals of the first round.

• Some might have been surprised to see Connecticut running back Donald Brown taken ahead of the more publicized Wells, but I wasn't. Early on this draft season, one veteran personnel man told me that Brown would end up being the second highest running back taken, behind only Georgia's Knowshon Moreno.

Moreno went 12th to Denver. Brown went 27th to Indianapolis, a great spot for him in that he'll be sharing work with Joseph Addai. And Wells went 31st to the Arizona, where I had him in my final mock draft.

• The Patriots picking Oregon safety Patrick Chung with the second selection of the second round probably slams the door once and for all on any shot that Rodney Harrison returns to New England. Shed no tears for Rodney. He got every ounce of longevity out of his body and his career.

 
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