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4/28/2007 09:09:00 PM

Five Unpopular Opinions

Field
Ted Ginn Jr. was an exciting playmaker at Ohio State, but he wasn't fully healthy for pre-draft workouts.
John Biever/SI

Enough of this feel-good, let's-agree-on-everything chatter. I've already had issues with several things I've heard here at Radio City today. Here are five items that I imagine some of you will take exception to:

1. Ted Ginn Jr. will prove to be a smart pick for Miami
Starting with the Dolphins fans, everyone seems to hate this pick. Maybe I'm trusting what I saw in college too much. I thought Ginn was playing at a different level, like Devin Hester. Speed wins Super Bowls, and the 'Fins probably knew they'd get the QB they wanted in the second round.

2. Someone missed on Brady Quinn
I heard very few voices questioning the Vikings, Bills, Rams, Panthers and Jaguars decision to pass on the Notre Dame quarterback. Reminds me of the free pass the Raiders, Bills and Lions got last year for not taking Matt Leinart. Quinn isn't a perfect prospect, but sometimes you have to take a risk at the most important position on the field.

3. Stop praising the Redskins
Everyone loves that the 'Skins didn't mortgage their future. And everyone also says LaRon Landry is a slam-dunk. He might be very good, but I worry about Washington's offense in 2007.

4. Kevin Kolb was a smart pick for the Eagles
Several writers I spoke to were shocked Philly took the Houston quarterback with the 36th pick. I wrote earlier this week that Kolb had convinced teams he wasn't just a product of his college offense. And he seems like a good fit for Andy Reid's offense. The Jaguars probably would have jumped on Kolb in the second round if Philly hadn't grab him.

5. Amobi Okoye's going to have a rough rookie year
I think teams got nervous about Okoye's age, and for good reason. The 19-year-old will be on his second contract before he really starts to produce. And the Texans face some very good offenses this year.

Anyone care to disagree?
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4/28/2007 05:59:00 PM

Ready to award Rookie of the Year?

As the first round comes to an end, I'm going to kick off the first Rookie of the Year debate on the Web:

OFFENSE

1. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions (No. 2) -- This one's easy. Johnson and the Lions will rack up yards and points, but they won't stop anyone in 2007.

2. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Bills (No. 12) -- I thought Willis McGahee should have run for a lot more yards in Buffalo. The speedy Lynch will thrive in this system. And he faces the Jets' rush defense twice.

3. Brian Leonard, RB, Not Picked Yet -- I realize this is a bit of a stretch, but I think whoever takes Leonard will use him often as a receiver and put him in around goal lines. Although he won't have the rushing yards, the touchdowns and catches will get him ROY votes.

DEFENSE

1. Jarvis Moss, DE, Broncos (No. 17) -- I can't get the image of the former Florida Gator terrorizing the Buckeyes in the National Championship Game out of my head. Defensive ends can be productive as rookies, and Moss will be part of a pretty good defense.

2. Jon Beason, LB, Panthers (No. 25) -- I have little faith in concussion-prone Carolina linebacker Dan Morgan's comeback, but I do have faith in anyone other than Morgan who played in the back seven of the Miami Hurricanes' defense.

3. Reggie Nelson, S, Jaguars (No. 19) -- Nelson, another Gator, is a playmaker and he's in the perfect spot to have lots of opportunities. Nelson's not quite Ed Reed, but he'll have a similar impact as Reed does with the Ravens.

Let me know who you like to win rookie honors this year.
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4/28/2007 04:33:00 PM

Browns go for it

The Browns are going for broke, and who can blame them. Romeo Crennel knows he has a year to turn it around and that QBs Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson weren't going to get it done.

Now for the bad news -- Quinn will have problems here if he starts from the get-go. Cleveland plays Baltimore and Pittsburgh twice, which is enough to shake the confidence of a veteran quarterback.

I can't see Cleveland winning more than six games in 2007. If they look at the big picture, this was a great day. But unfortunately for Crennel, he may not be there to witness a mature Quinn leading the Browns back to the postseason.

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4/28/2007 04:05:00 PM

Top Five Surprises of Day 1

Brady Quinn's drop has been the story of the draft, but there have been other picks that have made jaws drop here at Radio City. Here are my top five so far:

1. Ted Ginn Jr. to the Dolphins over Brady Quinn: Miami must be confident it can get the quarterback it really wants later in the draft. The 'Fins might have had Trent Edwards or John Beck rated higher than Quinn.

2. Lions not trading the rights to Calvin Johnson: Detroit got offers, but apparently none were even close to good enough. But another receiver for the Lions? Matt Millen immediately sent his scouts down to Austin, Texas, to look at stud wideout Limas Sweed, who Detroit will eye at No. 3 next year.

3. Packers taking DT Justin Harrell: Everyone expected Green Bay to give Brett Favre another weapon to play with. And it was surprising Harrell went ahead of Michigan DT Alan Branch. I wonder if teams were concerned about Branch's health and work ethic.

4. Browns passing on QB, RB to take OT Joe Thomas: As the draft approached, I heard differing opinions on Thomas. The offensive tackle appeared to be losing his "slam-dunk" status. But they may have been scared by Adrian Peterson's health and Quinn's potential to be an embarrassing bust.

5. Bills take RB Marshawn Lynch: This move makes perfect sense, but there had been some negative buzz about Lynch, so few had him slotted in the top 12. But you can't argue with his college production.

Which picks have surprised you?
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4/28/2007 02:18:00 PM

Quinn's tumble

If I was a top pick, I would be like Joe Thomas and go fishing. I would hate to be Brady Quinn and have all this attention on my flaws as I sit around Radio City. NFL officials just hid him from view here at Radio City, but he still has to be on many teams' minds.

All of a sudden, we're hearing whispers about how other quarterbacks like Trent Edwards, Kevin Kolb and John Beck are just as good as Quinn. And this is a guy who yesterday looked like a real option to go to the Raiders at No. 1.

Picks 11 through 22 look grim for Quinn, barring a potential trade. I would love to see a team with a solid quarterback under contract take the Notre Dame QB just to shake things up. Think about these scenarios:

No. 13: Marc Bulger still puts up great numbers, but he just turned 30 and has had health issues in the past.

No. 14: The Panthers may be hitting themselves for acquiring David Carr. Why not take a risk and add Quinn into the QB mix with Carr and Jake Delhomme?

No. 16: Quinn could compete with Aaron Rodgers for the heir to Brett Favre's throne in Green Bay. Unfortunately, the Packers need to win now and have too many other needs.

No. 17: Quinn actually makes sense here, but the Jags seem to be convinced Byron Leftwich or David Garrard can get the job done.

No. 22: Ya, I know about the Tony Romo lovefest. But once teams saw film on Romo, his production fell off. I think Jerry Jones will be tempted if somehow Quinn falls this low.

My best guess, Carolina pulls the trigger at No. 14. What do you think?
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4/28/2007 01:54:00 PM

Lions sticking with Johnson

I love Calvin Johnson. I think he's going to be an All-Pro. I just don't think he's going to help the Lions win games.

SI.com's Peter King reported the Lions will hold on to Johnson since no team could get close on a trade offer.

I'm sure offensive coordinator Mike Martz sold Matt Millen and the Lions management team on the idea of using Johnson all over the field. But I have a few problems:

1. Receivers taken in the top three picks usually don't help teams win.
2. Jon Kitna is the quarterback. He threw 21 touchdowns and 22 interceptions last year.
3. Martz' offenses in St. Louis featured great receivers, but they were dangerous because defenses couldn't totally focus on them. The Rams threw all sorts of weapons at defenses and they had a great line. Detroit doesn't have that talent around Johnson.
4. The Lions' biggest problem is clearly defense. They ranked 28th in the NFL last year and have no reason to believe they're going to get much better.
I think Millen was thinking short term with this pick. He needs to win fast and he'll have a chance with a relatively light schedule. But in the long run, I can't see Detroit reaching the playoffs any time soon.

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4/28/2007 01:03:00 PM

How far will Quinn fall?

Will Brady Quinn be this year's Aaron Rodgers?

I wouldn't be shocked if a team in the top eight picked Quinn and traded him. I think teams are wary of letting potential franchise quarterbacks fail and having to pay huge money at positions they don't necessarily want to invest in.

The teams in the middle part of the top 10 don't seem interested in the Notre Dame star. The Redskins want to move down and get multiple first-day picks for their No. 6 selection.

The Vikings make sense and they may very well take Quinn, since they need a QB. But we've heard a lot of buzz that they don't want to go in that direction. The Falcons, for better or worse, have Michael Vick. That leaves the Dolphins, who would likely jump on Quinn if he's there.

Quinn seems in good spirits. If I were him, I'd be thrilled that the Raiders, Lions and Browns didn't take me, because those teams aren't winning this year. He would be very popular in South Beach if he falls to No. 9.

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4/28/2007 12:09:00 PM

Trade winds getting stronger

The floor at Radio City Music Hall is buzzing with rumors of trade talk. It seems inevitable the Lions will pick Calvin Johnson at No. 2 and try do deal him. The question is, who will make the best offer?

The Redskins, Falcons, Bucs and Dolphins seem to be the teams in the best position to tempt Detroit. But consider the Niners, who own the No. 11 pick. The Lions love Patrick Willis and might be able to get the Ole Miss linebacker there.

Teams really don’t want to draft receivers at the top of the draft, but Johnson might be an exception. Johnson may be the only Hall of Famer in the top five of this draft. Can you really see JaMarcus Russell or Brady Quinn making a speech in Canton 18 years from now?

Let me know what you think will happen as the day unfolds.
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4/28/2007 09:51:00 AM

Russell looks like the No. 1

With the draft less than two hours away, the emerging consensus is that the Raiders will take JaMarcus Russell, the Lions will draft Calvin Johnson and the Browns are torn between Brady Quinn, Adrian Peterson and Joe Thomas.

If Oakland had been able to move Randy Moss yesterday, then maybe Johnson would make more sense for the Raiders. But their efforts to get a high second-round pick for their disgruntled receiver reportedly fell short.

Detroit will likely listen to offers for Johnson, but the Lions have to consider themselves in a position of power, because if the right trade doesn’t come along, they’re stuck with the most talented player in the draft, who happens to fill a position of need.

The Browns must be having a stressful morning, because you hear different parties within the organization like different players. Coach Romeo Crennel needs to win this year to keep his job, which complicates their decision even more. My hunch is Quinn, because when in doubt, you have to go with the quarterback. Peterson has that looming collarbone issue and there are some who don’t even think Thomas is the best tackle in the draft.

I’ll be checking in all day from the draft in New York and thing should change rapidly. And this is your chance to share your draft thoughts with the world, so get in there and comment.

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