What Are the Best Stories from the NFL Draft, Plus Best and Worsts of Round 1
1. Miami Dolphins - Jake Long - OT - Michigan
Bill Parcells puts his first stamp on the Miami Dolphins by selecting perhaps the safest pick in this year's draft class. Jake Long is an outstanding, consistent talent who only gave up one sack during his entire collegiate career. He is a better run-blocker than pass-blocker, but plays with great form and a legit mean streak. Long was brought in to solidify a shaky offensive line, and block for Ronnie Brown, who, before his ACL injury, was having a great season. Great pick at number one because of the fact he is the least likely recruit to be a bust.
2. St. Louis Rams - Chris Long - DE - Virginia
I would have thought that the Rams would have selected Glenn Dorsey here, because they had him higher on their board. However, with the move of Adam Carriker, their first round pick from last year, to defensive tackle, it was common sense to pair him with the relentless motor of Chris Long. While his value is more of a pass-rusher than a run-stopper, his motor and leadership will help them improve in that category.
Although Dorsey was another option here, the Falcons needed a face for their franchise for years to come, especially with the whole Michael Vick tragedy. The consensus top choice for quarterbacks this year, Ryan provides the Falcons with much needed leadership and a flawless character. He could either start right away, or take a few weeks behind DJ Shockley or Chris Redmond. Unfortunately, for Ryan, his chances to succeed as a successful NFL QB were reduced greatly when he landed in a situation like the current one in Atlanta.
If you know anything about Al Davis, you know that he likes big, explosive athletes. McFadden is the epitome of explosiveness. He will be added to an already crowded backfield in Oakland, who recently re-signed Justin Fargas to a new deal. However, he will provide second year quarterback JaMarcus Russell with a much needed home run threat, which will open up the field for him to succeed as a passer. The other option here was Vernon Gholston from OSU, but McFadden is the safer pick and better player.
5. KC Chiefs - Glenn Dorsey - DT - LSU
This is the steal of the draft, even at the fifth pick. Dorsey was atop most analysts' draft boards. He is a force on defense and plays with great intensity and a great motor. Perhaps injury concerns made him drop this far, but he has shown that he can play hurt, and play at a very, very high level hurt. He will replace Jared Allen as the dominant force on the KC defensive line.
6. NY Jets - VernonGholston - DE/OLB - Ohio State
Gholston separated himself from every other prospect at the NFL Scouting Combine with his awesome display of speed, strength, and explosiveness. However, he disappeared for too many plays in college. Gholston will definitely be a boom or bust type of prospect at the professional level.
7. New Orleans Saints – Sedrick Ellis – DT – USC
A draft day trade that everyone predicted helped the Saints fill a gaping hole in their defense with a great talent. Ellis was graded very close to Dorsey, making him a sure bet to make an impact immediately in the NFL. Ellis dominated at the college level while playing against the best competition at USC.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars – Derrick Harvey – DE – Florida
We officially have our first huge reach of the draft. I do not understand why Jacksonville would trade so much for Harveywhen they could have possibly traded for a proven difference-maker like Jason Taylor from Miami. I guess you cannot blame Jacksonville for going after their guy no matter what the cost. They paired Harvey with another raw pass rusher in round two when they selected Quinton Groves
9. Cincinnati Bengals – Keith Rivers – LB – USC
Rivers will be the type of consistent linebacker that the Bengals’ defense needed desperately. His ceiling is not as high as Jerod Mayo is, for example, but he is athletic and plays with great instincts. Most of all, he is a player with absolutely no character issues, which is necessary for the Bengals at this point.
Maybe a reach here for the Patriots, but with no cornerbacks worthy of this pick, they address another key weakness in their defense. Mayo is a vicious hitter with elite athletic skills who plays from sideline to sideline. The best possible scenario here for the Patriots was to add youth and athletic skills to their aging linebacker core, and they did that with this pick.
17. DetroitLions – Gosder Cherilus – OT – Boston College
Another great call by Matt Millen here…with the departure of Kevin Jones, their leading rusher last year, the Lions do NOT choose to fill that hole with one of the great running backs still on the board at this point, like Mendenhall or Stewart. Instead, they reach for an average athlete at OT. Cherilus will provide them with some stability on that line, but they could have done better at this pick by choosing a great running back.
18. BaltimoreRavens – Joe Flacco – QB – Delaware
The Ravens may have reached a little here to get Flacco, but after they saw Matt Ryan go to the Falcons at pick three, they needed to ensure they picked their guy. Flacco possesses great height, deceptive speed, and a live arm. The Ravens’ defense is aging, so they need to win now. Flacco might have to start from the very beginning if Kyle Boller or Troy Smith cannot provide a temporary solution to their sometime anemic offense.
24. Tennessee Titans – Chris Johnson – RB – East Carolina
Does anyone wonder if Tennessee blatantly tries to stack the deck against Vince Young? With every receiver still on the board, the Titans pick an undersized running back with the 24th pick. This also shows that they have conceded that LenDale White or Chris Henry is not the answer at running back. To me, this was a pretty poor pick considering the amount of talent still on the board. The addition of Alge Crumpler was not enough to provide Vince Young with the weapons he will need to be successful as a passer in the NFL.
Other Thoughts about This Year’s Draft
1. Matt Millen, I applaud you for selecting Caleb Campbell in the seventh round of the draft. By doing this, you prevent the safety from Army from going overseas to fight in the war in Iraq. Seeing all the fans chant “U.S.A” and his name in unison in the balcony of Radio City Music Hall was a sight that I will not soon forget. Thanks, Matt Millen, for giving this young man the chance he deserves, and thank you, Caleb Campbell for having the courage to serve our country.
2. The Colts got a steal in the late 6th round when they selected Mike Hart from Michigan. Great value pick here not only because of his toughness and competitiveness, but he provides a great change of pace to Joseph Addai, especially with the recent legal troubles Kenton Keith has been having. Hart is a true grinder and competitor, and the Colts will never have to worry about him putting the ball on the ground.
3. Did the Redskins have the best round of any team in this year’s draft in round two? They selected Devin Thomas, who was the top rated receiver on many draft boards, Fred Davis, the extremely athletic tight end from USC, and Malcolm Kelly, the receiver from Okalahoma who was the subject of a recent column I wrote. Tennessee should take notes on how Washington gave their young, developing quarterback the necessary weapons.
4. ESPN again featured their cameramen showing the journey of two tortured quarterbacks in Chad Henne and Brian Brohm. Both of them went much later than they were projected, and their faces told that story. Speaking of which, how comfortable does Aaron Rodgers feel now that he not only has the threat of Brett Favre coming back, but also the heralded Brian Brohm breathing down his back. Just when he thought it was finally his team to lead, the Packers get an excellent value in the second round. Same situation for John Beck in Miami—does he sleep well now that he has Chad Henne, a strong-armed quarterback who seems to fit the description of the ideal “Parcells Guy”
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