New York Giants. Great story by Ralph Vacchiano in Sunday's New York Daily News about the desire of top pick Jason Pierre-Paul, echoing the drive I've heard he has. He is quick and a great athlete. Question: How did he only get six sacks in 2010? Another question: Worried about the fact he's played only one year of college football at a high level after being at two JCs?
The pick I like: middle linebacker Phillip Dillard. When they lost the chance to take Rolando McClain at 15, the Giants had to scan down their board for a plugger type of linebacker. Dillard's no athlete, but he's a tackling fool. He'll contend to play first and second downs early.
New York Jets. Kyle Wilson fell to them and is Antonio Cromartie insurance for the future. Vlad Ducasse fell to them and could be the opening-day starting left guard, replacing the fired Alan Faneca. I like turning Leon Washington, essentially, into Joe McKnight, a healthy and fresh version of Washington. The Jets got better, albeit with their usual low number of picks.
By the way, I got an email from GM Mike Tannenbaum during the week. Remember last week's column, when I ran the quote from National Football Post's Mike Lombardi about no one in the organization taking responsibility for the drafting of Vernon Gholston? Tannenbaum said, essentially, that he's never hidden from the Gholston pick, takes full responsibility and if there's some blame to take, give it to him. Big of him.
Oakland. Draft brains! Hooray for the Raiders! No one's sure if Rolando McClain's a three-down linebacker (several teams don't think he's fluid enough to cover backs and tight ends), but everyone knows he's a fabulous leader and sideline-to-sideline playmaker. Great pick at eight. And to get a fabulous athlete like Bruce Campbell with the 106th pick -- that's the right place to take a boom-or-bust pick. Good weekend for the Raiders.
Philadelphia. An OK draft some in the league thought should have been better. I knew one team with draft-managers who cursed loudly when the Eagles traded up and took Brandon Graham at 13 -- instead of Earl Thomas -- because these personnel guys thought Graham was by far the best pass-rusher in the draft. That's what Philly needs, a bookend to Trent Cole. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim is the best defensive end in University of Washington history and should enter the Eagle rotation quickly, and Clay Harbor (125nd overall) will be good alternative to Brent Celek, also quickly. But a few personnel types I spoke with over the weekend though Philly overpicked in a few spots, especially safety Nate Allen of South Florida at 37.
Pittsburgh. Much love out there in the scouting world for Virginia Tech's Jason Worilds, the next in (the Steelers hope) a line of great outside linebackers in Dick LeBeau's 3-4 mold. The Steelers always like a new one of these every year to run through the pipeline. As I said the other day, center Maurkice Pouncey might be the surest thing in this draft, a lock starter with good technique at guard or center, likely from Day 1.
St. Louis. If you can get a franchise quarterback and right tackle for 10 years in a draft, you've had a great one. And in turning down tepid offers (now that shocked me) for the first pick of the second round, the Rams followed the pick of Sam Bradford with a solid athletic tackle, Rodger Saffold, who was liked by about five teams early in the second. There'll be pressure on fourth-rounder Mardy Gilyard to breathe life into a lousy passing game.
San Diego. I thought A.J. Smith paid too much (two picks in the top 40) for a productive but not explosive running back, Ryan Mathews. We'll see. He's not the kind of make-you-miss back that you pay that much for in a top draft. The biggest break for San Diego would be if 330-pound house Cam Thomas, drafted in the fifth round, could be at least a part-time nose in Ron Rivera's defensive-line rotation.
San Francisco. One of the surprises of the first round was San Francisco moving up two spots to take Rutgers tackle Anthony Davis when he appeared to have little chance of going 11 or 12. He'll need Singletary's occasional boot to the rear to keep improving his game. He thought at Rutgers he was great when he arrived and had a little prima donna in him.
By drafting Davis and Mike Iupati, the Niners accomplished what they wanted to do as much as anything in this draft -- get two of the best five or six linemen in this draft to protect Alex Smith and pave the way for a running game that stalled too often last year.
Seattle. Check my thoughts above.
Tampa Bay. Bucs discussion in my Tuesday column. Sorry for the delay.
Tennessee. Teams like Miami, Denver and Jacksonville chilled on top pick Derrick Morgan, as did trading-up Philadelphia, but I thought he was great value as a mid-round pick -- assuming he can make plays behind the line as consistently as he did in college. Scouts love the third-round linebacker Rennie Curran, even though he's 5-11. "Form tackler and explosive,'' one personnel guy told me. The Titans need to add youth at linebacker.
Washington. Trent Williams, the left tackle, in the first round, and Donovan McNabb in the second. Not very complicated. If either one of those guys fail, the Redskins will struggle to be a .500 team.
Now for my normal 10th Thing I Think.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. The New England Locker Room Luncheon, benefiting the Matt Light Foundation (www.mattlight72.com) and the Greater Boston Food Bank (www.gbfb.org) will happen on Tuesday, May 11, and we've got some tickets remaining. You'll hear Light, the Patriots' left tackle, and Patriots wideout Julian Edelman talking about their lives and their team, and you'll hear me and Patriots beat man Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com grill them (good-naturedly, the plan is) over lunch at Davio's in Foxboro from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Autographs, photos ... it's all good. Looking forward to seeing you on the 11th in a cozy room at Davio's.
b. We've also had some help from our good friends at charity-conscious Tonic.com, who wrote a feature story on the event on their site, so please support them too. The link is here.
c. The best TV on TV right now is when Andrew Bernard and Dwight Schrute face off.
d. I've got to get to that Dirk Hayhurst book, The Bullpen Gospels, on my night table. Heard it's a great narrative of trying to make it -- by a real human playing baseball.
e. Coffeenerdness: Bus Stop Espresso, in Seattle's Green Lake neighborhood, might be the funkiest espresso bar I've been in. Recommended. Good stuff. You'll need to ask for it hot, but it's a very good plain latte.
f. Thanks for dinner, Gary Wright. Great catching up with you. Great town you've got out there in Seattle.
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