Non-grading the draft (cont.)
You're Gonna Do What?
Oakland Raiders: I would pay money to get a copy of the Raiders draft board. Seriously. First-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey is fast but has trouble catching the ball at times, which is kind of a problem when you are trying to make your living as an NFL receiver. Mike Mitchell had a good pro day, which, of course, makes him a second-round pick. Then the Raiders reached (what else is new) for Wisconsin defensive end Matt Shaughnessy. Sorry, Raiders fans, but it does not look like there is any light at the end of the black tunnel.
New York Jets: Everyone else loves what the Jets did. Not me. It is hard for me to imagine USC quarterback Mark Sanchez being better as a rookie than fourth-year vet Kellen Clemens. The move had as much to do with sparking excitement among the fanbase and making a big splash as it did with football. The pressure on Sanchez will be huge for a team whose roster is ready to win now. Drafting only three players means the team is looking to get into the postseason. Having one of them be a quarterback makes that unlikely, despite what Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan did last year. Moving up to get Iowa running back Shonn Greene gives the Jets some insurance in case Thomas Jones continues to hold out, but where is the receiver that they so desperately need opposite Jerricho Cotchery?
Need More Information
Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks elected to pass on a quarterback and a left tackle in order to take the best defensive player and quite possibly the best overall player in the draft in Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry. He will be a difference maker immediately. Versatile offensive lineman Max Unger from Oregon and former walk-on turned all-time leading receiver Deon Butler from Penn State should have roles to fill as well for new head coach Jim Mora.
Chicago Bears: If quarterback Jay Cutler lives up to expectations, the rest of this draft is meaningless for Chicago. Still, Jerry Angelo gathered up several solid players that will help the Bears in 2009. San Jose State defensive end Jarron Gilbert can jump out of a pool -- even though I have no idea what that means in terms of football. Ohio State linebacker Marcus Freeman and Vanderbilt defensive back D.J. Moore are solid players from power conferences who could see the field early. The Bears still need a receiver who can help them this year.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills batted .500 in this draft, which is good in baseball but bad in football. They needed a pass rusher and a left tackle in this draft but got only one by taking the player with the best first step in this year's class, Penn State's Aaron Maybin. Maybin will be a situational pass rusher as a rookie and give Buffalo an option opposite Aaron Schobel. Louisville's Eric Wood and Oregon State's Andy Levitre were two of the top rated interior offensive linemen available and can help fortify the inside, but it remains to be seen whether veterans Kirk Chambers, Langston Walker and Demetrius Bell can protect Trent Edwards on the flanks in some combination. Southern Mississippi tight end Shawn Nelson gives them the speed threat at tight end they were sorely lacking.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Jack Del Rio was tired of drafting guys who didn't pan out. That, and he wanted to get back to his meat and potatoes philosophy. That meant getting more physical up front. The Jags got amazing value in picking offensive tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton much lower than most people anticipated. Terrance Knighton is the big body that was needed next to John Henderson, and Jacksonville waited until later to get receivers like Mike Thomas and Jarrett Dillard after their negative experiences with Matt Jones and Reggie Williams early in previous drafts.
Denver Broncos: The Broncos defense was horrible last year, so, of course, their first pick would be a ... running back? Fortunately for Josh McDaniels, they rallied with the next two picks of Tennessee defensive end Robert Ayers and Wake Forest cornerback Alphonso Smith, both of whom will play as rookies. Then the Broncos took Texas Tech defensive back Darcel McBath and North Carolina tight end Richard Quinn way earlier than most people would have anticipated, so it was back to the head-scratching for the new regime.
New York Giants: The G-men got a lot of value in players like Virginia's Clint Sintim and UConn's William Beatty, but if they lose in the playoffs again because Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden aren't able to contribute as rookies this will be a draft that is forever known as the trade that didn't happen. You can't tell me Nicks and Barden will be better than Anquan Boldin or Braylon Edwards the next two years. By the time the rookies develop, the window on the Giants' title hopes might be closed.
Detroit Lions: This draft will always hinge on whether Matthew Stafford earns the exorbitant money he is receiving. To his credit, he has handled the process fantastically up to this point. Now he just needs to play well. Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew and Western Michigan safety Louis Delmas are the most physical players at their position and fit what Jim Schwartz is trying to do in the Motor City.
NFL Truth & Rumors