What to Expect from the 2009 NFL Rookies
The question pops up every April: Who was the big bust, who was the biggest cash pick? Stafford, J Smith, Jackson, Curry, Sanchez, A Smith, Heywerd-Bey, Monroe, Raji, and Crabtree.
The top 10, who will be the next Manning, Freeney, Joe Thomas, James Harrison, Fitzgerald, or Hampton? What team stretched for a player, what player fell too far? Who will be the Tom Brady of the fifth round?
The Lions were on the clock with No. 1, being the first 0-16 team. They did what every team should do when they go 0-16, taking the quarterback, Matthew Stafford.
What are their plans for him? What about the big fall, Michael Crabtree? Or the early choice, Tyson Jackson? Check it out!
Matthew Stafford, another first selection quarterback.
Stafford is not expected to start his first year, which is good. Daunte Culpepper has experience and is smart, the only thing that's missing is some of the skill set, which Staford has.
Sitting for a season or so, and learning from a veteran, is always best for a young player, especially a quarterback. Stafford, no doubt, has an NFL arm, an NFL mind, and an NFL attitude. He is the future for the Lions; going 0-16 requires that you clean out the house, starting with the head coach.
That was done, so now you need an on-the-field leader. Stafford will be that guy. Let Culpepper play this season and Stafford takes the field when he's ready.
For the second straight season, the St. Louis Rams are selecting second overall. Last year, they took Chris Long, and this year they know what they need; they have a lot of horsepower in Steven Jackson, but he has no room to gallop.
Smith will be a solid offensive lineman for many years to come. Smith will probably take the place of Orlando Pace, who is getting a lot older. Offensive linemen names aren't heard very often, and Smith is not going to have a big name either, but he will most definitely impact the Rams running attack, and probably make time for Bulger to make some more plays.
This year's draft class consisted of a lot of "hybrid" outside linebacker/defensive ends. Tyson Jackson is not one of those players.
Jackson is a 3-4 defensive end that can stunt different ways and clog holes for running backs.
Playing in a division with LT, he can come in handy. Jackson was definitely a stretch at No. 3 overall, but he fit the Chiefs role perfectly.
Jackson will fit in extremely well and will grow into becoming an excellent defensive end and will be a big name before you know it (particularly if he can get some extra speed on him, and become a better edge pass rusher, along with that run-clogging, strong type player.
Aaron Curry was arguably the best player in this year's draft. Curry is one of the best linebackers coming into the draft in years.
Curry is a 4-3 outside linebacker, or a 3-4 inside linebacker. By drafting Curry, the Seahawks are already making their defense their emphasis this season. Jim Mora now can turn to the offensive side of the ball and build them up.
Lofa Tatupu and Aaron Curry on the same field can be dangerous. Look for the Seahawks and Aaron Curry to be a much better team. I do not expect them to draft in the top 10 again next year, or even the year after.
Curry was a perfect choice for Seattle.
Mark Sanchez was one of the most popular players coming into this year's draft. The reason Sanchez is getting a little more buzz than Stafford is because Sanchez is filling the shoes of Brett Favre, and he is expected to start on Day One.
What really jumps out about Mark Sanchez when you speak to him is his leadership skills. His leadership is undeniable. His arm is also very impressive: He can make the NFL throws, although Stafford has a stronger arm.
New York trading up was a beautiful move; Sanchez is a good fit. The only thing that is concerning about Sanchez is his lack of experience.
Andre Smith is one of the riskier picks, especially for a tackle. When you turn on his game tape at Alabama, you are amazed, and you know that he is NFL ready and can give Carson some time.
What makes him so risky is off-the-field stuff. The Bengals took him, what a surprise.
Smith's offseason was horrible. Coming off the regular season, he was unbelievably highly ranked. He then got in trouble and couldn't play in the bowl game.
Then, he did not tell anyone, and just left at the combine—the biggest job audition of your life and you leave.
Then everyone was banking on him having a good pro day, and he ran a 5.19 and benched 19 reps. That is terrible.
Smith is great on the field, but his work ethic is sour.
The typical Al Davis pick. Al Davis loves speed, and he loves size. Heyward-Bey ran the fastest time at the combine running a 4.30. A lot of people expected Crabtree or Maclin at this pick, but instead, Davis takes the Maryland speedster, Heyward-Bey.
Darrius was absolutely a stretch at No. 7 overall. But I have to hand it to Davis, he really put together some speed and some skill in the last three years with JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden, and now Heyward-Bey.
If that talent can get together, look for Heyward-Bey and the Raiders to roll out of the top 10 picks in the draft next season.
If they can stay healthy, I look for them to have a big season (if the defense can play to their potential).
Monroe was one of the safest prospects coming out of this year's draft. Coming out of college, he was a shaky prospect and his college tape says he is a mid-to-late first rounder.
What sold me on Eugene Monroe was his combine drills. Watching him shuffle is like watching beauty. He is the most highly regarded pass protector, and probably the overall most polished OT.
Maurice Jones-Drew is sitting somewhere at his house singing praise that they brought in this oaf, he weighs in at 6'5" and 309 pounds.
The Jaguars really scored having Monroe fall this far. I expect him to be a long-time Pro Bowler in J-ville.
Everyone's favorite, the big boy.
BJ Raji, the No. 9 overall pick to the Green Bay Packers, is a good fit. I expect to see Raji turn into a solid run clogger and become a nightmare for centers and guards alike.
The Packers could have selected Michael Crabtree and given Aaron Rodgers another weapon, for they have selected defense a lot recently. Raji coming out of the 2008-2009 season was a mid first rounder, until he astounded people at the combine by pounding out 33 reps.
Raji pounded people in his career at Boston College, and will grow into a good NFL defensive tackle.
When a team gets a push from the middle, the pocket does not form for a quarterback on passing downs; that is what Raji is capable of doing.
Raji fits the Cheeseheads' defense very well. Look for Green Bay's defense to be solid contenders.
Arguably the most skilled player in this year's draft, Prime U attendee, Michael Crabtree. One of the big surprises of this draft was how far he fell.
Crabtree could have gone anywhere from four to 10, seven and eight being a serious prospect.
Crabtree is still coming off his foot surgery, but the surgery should not affect his career in San Fransisco.
Crabtree being selected after Heyward-Bey gives him even more of an inspiration and motivation to be a beast, like he was at Texas Tech. In college, Crabtree snatched the ball, and did not let it hit his chest.
Is he going to be the next Jerry Rice? No, probably not, but he will definitely be a strong attribute to Alex Smith, or Shaun Hill.
Crabtree will most definitely be the QB's favorite target. He has an uncanny ability to get open and when the ball is in the air, it's over. This was really a steal for the Niners at No. 10.