2009 NFL Draft: First-Round Recap, Notes, and Observations
Detroit and Oakland surprise no one, the Saints get it right for once, and some good value slips to the latter half of the first round. Here is your recap of the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft:
1. Lions - Matthew Stafford (QB) Georgia
No surprises here. The night before, the Lions signed the 21-year-old Stafford to a six-year deal with $41.7 million in guarantees. The franchise now has a much-needed face to distract fans from that horrible new logo.
2. St. Louis - Jason Smith (OT) Baylor
Kind of a no-brainer after getting rid of Orlando Pace. Though still lacking at receiver, the offensive line and backfield has been structured to cater to Steven Jackson. No doubt it's his team now.
3. Kansas City - Tyson Jackson (DE) LSU
Jackson will be rejoining former first round picks and LSU teammates Dwayne Bowe & Glenn Dorsey. I felt this pick was quite a stretch since Jackson wasn't even the best defensive end on the board. The Chiefs could have traded down for Jackson if they really wanted him.
4. Seattle - Aaron Curry (OLB) Wake Forest
I'm sure Seattle was seriously considering taking Mark Sanchez here, but Curry is more of a sure thing. He fills a void left by Julian Peterson. Curry should come in right away and make an impact.
5. New York (J) (from Browns) - Mark Sanchez (QB) USC
The Jets would have rather traded to a spot closer to No. 10 since the teams picking after No. 5 weren't in the market for a quarterback. But as this was likely the only spot in the top ten into which they could move, they had to do it to get Sanchez.
6. Cincinnati - Andre Smith (OT) Alabama
The Bengals land themselves another player with issues, albeit of the "character" variety and not the "law-breaking" variety. Smith is still probably the best offensive linemen in the draft but has to grow up in a hurry if the Bengals expect him to protect their franchise, Carson Palmer.
7. Oakland - Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR) Maryland
Total head scratcher here. Heyward-Bey isn't even the third or fourth best receiver in the draft. Nor will he sell nearly as many tickets as Michael Crabtree. Bey's 40 time at the combine? 4.33. Crabtree's 40 time at the combine? None, broken foot. The other teams in the AFC West should be thanking Al Davis.
8. Jacksonville - Eugene Monroe (OT) Virginia
A very safe, but smart pick. The Jags were devastated by injuries amongst their offensive linemen. Monroe will make his presence felt immediately.
9. Green Bay - B.J. Raji (DT) BC
The Packers added the most important puzzle piece missing from their new 3-4 defensive scheme: Nose Tackle. Raji is huge but athletic, the Packers get good value with this pick.
10. San Francisco - Michael Crabtree (WR) Texas Tech
The best player in the draft slipped all the way to the 49ers at No. 10. If they can solve their quarterback problems, San Francisco could have a very dangerous offense. Oakland will have to watch what they could have had from right across the bay. Tsk, tsk.
11. Buffalo - Aaron Maybin (DE) Penn State
I would have gone with Orakpo here, but the Bills obviously saw something in him that they liked. Orakpo is probably the sexier pick, but Maybin should fit in well.
12. Denver - Knowshon Moreno (RB) Georgia
The Broncos already had a crowded backfield, but the best way to help Kyle Orton is to establish a running game. Look for LaMont Jordan to be thunder to Moreno's lightning, with Correll Buckhalter filling a Darren Sproles type of role.
13. Washington - Brian Orakpo (DE) Texas
Really surprising to see arguably the best defensive end fall this far. Did you notice how fast Washington turned in the pick? They couldn't believe they were getting such great value either.
14. New Orleans - Malcolm Jenkins (CB) Ohio State
The Saints did the right thing by taking Jenkins over Beanie Wells. They get depth and a player that can be consistently rotated around the secondary. I would have liked to see Brian Cushing in the black and gold but Saints fan can't complain.
15. Houston - Brian Cushing (OLB) USC
The key to winning the AFC South is stopping Peyton Manning, as Tennessee showed last year. Houston continues to improve their defense and are chomping at the bit to make some noise in the division.
16. San Diego - Larry English (DE) N. Illinois
Another hybrid defender for their 3-4 scheme, not a bad move. Plus I think the Chargers are looking for a little insurance in case Shawn Merriman doesn't hold up this year.
17. Tampa Bay (from Jets through Browns) - Josh Freeman (QB) Kansas St.
Worried that the Broncos could snatch up the best remaining quarterback, The Buccaneers jumped up two spots to land Freeman. The Bucs picked up Byron Leftwich in the offseason but the competition will be healthy for both of them.
18. Denver - Robert Ayers (DE) Tennessee
I thought the Broncos should have taken Orakpo at No. 12. But Ayers isn't too much of a dropoff from him and they still get Moreno. Good picks for the Broncos in the first round.
19. Philadelphia (from Bucs through Browns) - Jeremy Maclin (WR) Missouri
He's not Anquan Boldin, but he'll do. Pairing Maclin with DeSean Jackson also gives the Eagles a scary return game too.
20. Detroit - Brandon Pettigrew (TE) Oklahoma St.
The Lions did maybe the smartest thing they could have by getting Stafford a security blanket. Pettigrew is a complete tight end and will help Stafford mature as a quarterback throughout the season.
21. Cleveland (from Eagles) - Alex Mack (C) California
After trading down three times in the first round, Cleveland lays an egg by drafting a center, albeit the best one on the board. Mack can play guard too, but there were better players available that could produce faster and better results.
22. Minnesota - Percy Harvin (WR) Florida
After clearing out the garbage from the "party boat" incident, the Vikes draft another potential liability. However, considering he fell this far, getting Harvin here is terrific value. It will be interesting to see how he an Peterson will co-exist.
23. Baltimore (from Patriots) - Michael Oher (OT) Ole Miss
It's all about protecting the franchise (Joe Flacco) now in Baltimore. Another great value this late in the first round.
24. Atlanta - Peria Jerry (DT) Ole Miss
The Falcons needed help after losing Keith Brooking and Michael Boley. Any talent they can get on the defensive front is much-needed.
25. Miami - Vontae Davis (CB) Illinois
Davis fits the profile of a Parcells-esque DB: He hits hard, lots of upper body strength, and good overall and recovery speed.
26. Green Bay (from Ravens through Patriots) - Clay Matthews (OLB) USC
Lightning strikes twice for the Pack with this one. First B.J. Raji, and now a stud LB in Clay Matthews. Watch out for the Packers on defense this year. They'll be headhunting.
27. Indianapolis - Donald Brown (RB) UConn
I'm not sure what the Colts were thinking. There were several players taken after Brown—even in the second round—that were better than him. Either the Colts are playing copycat by trying to stockpile the backfield or they're worried about Joseph Addai's durability.
28. Buffalo (from Eagles) - Eric Wood (C) Louisville
After going defense earlier, the Bills needed to go offensive line after dealing Jason Peters to the Eagles. This was the best value given their needs.
29. New York (G) - Hakeem Nicks (WR) UNC
Nicks replaces law-breaking WR Plaxico Burress. Even though Nicks won't have the impact or garner the attention that Burress does on Sundays, this is a safe and reliable pick.
30. Tennessee - Kenny Britt (WR) Rutgers
The Titans get help at a position they've been trying to improve for a while (or have they?). I find it interesting that they didn't try harder to draft a No. 1 wideout until Kerry Collins took over at quarterback. Hmmmm...
31. Arizona - Chris Wells (RB) Ohio St.
Quite a shock to see one of the best running backs in the draft fall to the bottom of the first round. Maybe there is something more to his foot injury that we don't know. This all but ends Edgerrin James's career in Arizona, but it is still an improvement for the Cards.
32. Pittsburgh - Evander Hood (DT) Missouri
The Steelers could have went any direction with the last pick, and naturally they go defense. Hood is great pick this late. He'll fit in fine.
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