Day One of the NFL Draft: Top Five Value Picks

Chris DiLeoCorrespondent IApril 26, 2009

LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 8:  Rey Maualuga #58 of the USC Trojans lines up against the California Bears on November 8, 2008 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  USC won 17-3.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)

Now that the first day of the draft is over, here is what I believe to be the best five value picks of the day.

Without further ado, here we go.


5. Running back LeSean McCoy at pick No. 53.

If there was ever a player who reminded me of Brian Westbrook, it would be McCoy. 

The Eagles made a great pick here and have the heir to the running back position, without having to change the offensive system.

McCoy is a well-balanced runner with great vision.  He is very elusive and has breakaway speed.  He rushed for over 2,800 yards and scored 21 touchdowns the past two years for Pittsburgh.

To top it off, he has great hands and route running ability.

The Eagles hit a home run with this pick.


4.  Defensive end Brian Orakpo at pick No. 13.

The Redskins had only one pick on day one, but it was a very good one.

It was almost unanimous that Orakpo would not make it out of the top five picks.  Perhaps durability concerns allowed him to fall down the draft board, but he is definitely an elite talent.

He has great awareness and plays disciplined football.  He is excellent at rushing the passer, and is good at shedding blockers to fill the hole against the run.

Although he was advertised as a hybrid defensive end, the Redskins will likely use him opposite Andre Carter in their 4-3 defensive scheme.

That is just fine for Orakpo.  In an interview with Sirius NFL Radio after he was selected, he said he preferred to play with his fingers in the turf.


3.  Linebacker James Laurinaitis at pick No. 35.

Laurinaitis is a great tackler with good lateral speed and strength.  He is also a smart player who is quick to read and react.

He is good enough to contribute immediately, and I am sure the Rams would like to see him starting on day one.

The Rams really got a great bargain, as they filled a glaring need at inside linebacker. 


2. Offensive tackle Michael Oher at pick No. 23.

The Ravens always seem to make great selections with their draft picks.  Once again, they have amazed me.

As Oher was slipping and slipping down the draft board, I was wondering who would be the lucky team. 

For the life of me, I do not understand how the Lions passed on him at pick No. 20.  But that is a story for another article.

Since the draft was deep at the tackle position, Oher slipped through the cracks.  I really believe Oher has a chance to be the best of the class.

He uses his 6-foot-5 and 315-pound frame, and long arms to adeptly hold off pass rushers. He is also very strong and has good lateral movement. 

Some have criticized his run blocking, and that may be a fair point. 

However, having only three years experience playing left tackle, Oher has steadily improved in this area each year.

The Ravens are the perfect fit for Oher, as they are good at grooming offensive lineman.  

Oher will one day be considered among the many great picks of the Baltimore Ravens.


1. Linebacker Rey Maualuga at pick No. 38.

An outstanding selection for the Cincinnati Bengals. 

Maualuga is an aggressive player with great range.  He reads a play well, and is  explosive in his pursuit and tackling.

He was almost certainly considered a first-round selection. 

The Bengals really struck gold with this pick, especially considering how badly they need a replacement for Dhani Jones at middle linebacker.

Maualuga appears to be the first-day steal of the NFL Draft.


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