NFL Draft Recap: The Winners and The Raiders

Dan SmithCorrespondent IApril 28, 2009

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 24: Quarterback Matthew Stafford #7 of the Georgia Bulldogs rushes for a second quarter touchdown during the game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on November 24, 2007 at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field in Atlanta, Georgia.  Georgia defeated Georgia Tech 31-17.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

The NFL Draft is a renowned inexact science; therefore, any article recapping it will be doubly inexact.  Any math major will tell you that two negatives will equal a positive as well as the sum of 41.7 million is a large guarantee.  So, having said all of that, let's take a look at the 2009 draft.

The Lions were off and running by signing Matthew (don't call him Matt) Stafford before Saturday's main event.  With his enormous amount of guaranteed money, the league really needs to look into a rookie salary scale. 

With the amount of cash being guaranteed increasing every year, financial responsibility must show its head sooner rather than later or we might see bad teams literally go bankrupt when saddled with the first pick of the draft.

The Lions picked up the best tight end of the draft in Brandon Pettigrew with the 20th pick.  If the Lions do this thing right, which is not their style (sorry to all ten of you Lions fans that are still out there) then Pettigrew will be an outlet receiver for Culpepper this year as Stafford sits on the sidelines, holds a clipboard and thinks about what he can spend all of his cash on.

Word to the wise, Matthew, don't invest it in the stock market.  The rest of their draft filled needs on defense and they couldn't resist drafting another receiver but at least they waited until the third round.

The Lions might have drafted another disaster but for right now, I am going to call them a winner.

The Eagles were again close enough to the Super Bowl last season to make their loss in the NFC title game (to the Cardinals—it still looks funny) all the more heart breaking.  They addressed their offensive shortfalls with their first three picks, highlighted by Jeremy Maclin. 

By adding LeSean McCoy they hope to have a back who will take carries away from Westbrook.  Cornelius Ingram is a big tight end that gives McNabb another option. 

It would have been nice to see them draft a safety to replace Brian Dawkins but they did pick up a couple of offensive linemen. The Eagles are close to getting back to the Super Bowl and this winner of a draft helps them.

The Jets are another team that is close and they might have picked up a franchise QB in Mark Sanchez.  With their two other picks, they stayed on the offensive side of the ball so that tells me that Coach Rex Ryan is pretty happy with his defense and this winner of a draft should keep them as a playoff contender.

I am a homer as a Browns fan and I liked what they did with their picks.  They traded non-stop in the first round to pick up more picks and even a few players that Coach Mangini liked from the Jets. 

They are a team full of needs and they were able to address offensive line needs with Alex Mack and defensive needs with David Veikune and Kaluka Maiava.  They didn't create a need by trading away Braylon Edwards either and did strengthen their offensive skill positions in their winner of a draft.

The Packers struggled last year with their defense as they lost many close games to go 6-10.  They addressed that with their picks of BJ Raji and Clay Matthews so they should be back to drafting late in the first round with thier winner of a draft.

The Seahawks were beset with injuries last year but shored up their defense by getting what many believed was the best player in the draft in Aaron Curry.  They should be meeting the Packers in the playoffs next year and it will look strange without Favre or Holmgren around.

I love the Dolphins pick of Pat White in the second round but am skeptical of their first round pick of Vontae Davis.  Pat White fits the wildcat offense they run so well and he might end up being an elite QB in a few years.  He might allow them to move Chad Henne so they can make more questionable first round picks in the future and stop drafting QB's in the second round.

Teams like the Colts, the Steelers, the Giants, the Titans, the Chargers and the Panthers all seem to be drafting in the back of the first round every season so you have to think they found another core of winners to keep their organizations ahead of the curve.

The Buccaneers made the most interesting pick when they traded up to get Josh Freeman. I put them square in the middle between the winners and the Raiders because this guy might be the best QB in the draft. 

He might end up being a career back-up and not worth a first round pick as well.  Josh Freeman is essentially what makes the draft an inexact science.

The Bengals did draft some talent, especially Andre Smith with the sixth pick, but they should look into character more and Nick Saban vouching for you is not a credible endorsement.  They might have figured it out and not Raidered their draft all up but for right now, their tiger stripes are looking silver and black to me.

The Cowboys star took a silver and black tinge as well just by drafting a kicker alone.  Without any first or second round picks, they might have done well by themselves by adding depth to a talented roster.  Or they might have Raidered it all up and drafted a bunch of special teamers (including a kicker—I might have already mentioned that).

The Bills seemed to have reached on their first round pick of Aaron Maybin but there have been undersized players who have excelled in the NFL after only one solid season of college. 

The team that Raidered the draft the most is (everyone please make sure you are sitting down) the Raiders.  One year they picked a kicker in the first round so they did better than that this season. 

They will soon rue the day they passed on Michael Crabtree for Darrius Hayward-Bey and they are in luck since they will be able to track his career from right across the bay.  Their second round pick, Mike Mitchell, wasn't even invited to the combine. 

The Raider brass did come out to defend their picks but what else were they going to do?  Tell everyone that they are horrible, have been horrible and always will be horrible?

Of the teams I didn't mention, I think the Texans are close to making their first playoff run and they did help themselves.  The Ravens will be solid again and have added good depth and maybe even a starter or two. 

The Broncos and Cardinals both picked up stud running backs. The Falcons picked up Tony Gonzalez before the draft to help their offense.  The Vikings picked up Percy Harvin but who is going to throw the ball to him? 

Teams like the Chiefs and Rams are having trouble competing in bad divisions so they can only go up.  The 49ers still need a QB so maybe the kid out of Ball State will be throwing the ball to Crabtree, I mean, would anyone even notice if it was Nate Davis, Shaun Hill or the former number one overall pick Alex Smith at this point?

The Saints helped their defense so look for them to rebound and make a playoff run.  The Redskins seem to be stuck in mud and didn't get a new QB so, are they now happy with Campbell? 

The Jags were injured last season so the draft might add depth to their roster when they get their pieces back, Eugene Monroe might be one of those pieces though as he could start right away for that banged up offensive line.

I think I mentioned all 32 of the NFL teams now but if I missed one I have this to fall back on: this is an inexact article about an inexact science.

Now that the draft is over, other than the NFL replays on Sundays, there is no new NFL news until Brett Favre gets his itch in two to three months.  After that, the season will be starting and that can't get here soon enough.


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