Traditionally, the NFL invites eight players to attend the draft and act as reality stars in the NFL's media extravaganza. Whether the league will ever admit it or not, they privately hope for a player to slip from his projected spot and the drama to build. Unfortunately, for the players involved, this inevitably happens.
This year the league has invited eighteen players, including three or four who are not projected as first rounders, to the three day draft. Two players, quarterbacks Tim Tebow of Florida and Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame, declined the invites.
The rest of the players are listed below.
Selection #1. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford Quarterback Oklahoma
Bradford is an excellent decision maker, 86 TDs with only 16 INTs in two years as a starter, and he dazzled scouts at his workout with his precision and velocity. He is extremely accurate but operated out of the spread and will have to learn how to work under center and read defenses. Rams get a franchise quarterback unless the Browns trade for the pick.
Selection #2. Detroit Lions: Russell Okung Offensive Tackle Oklahoma State
The Lions get protection for Matthew Stafford's blind side. Prototypical size with long arms and big hands; Okung is a great athlete with great balance, quick feet, good body control, and idurability. He is tough and nasty on the field with plenty of experience against upper level opposition. Detroit is rumored to be looking at Haynesworth and may draft Okung anyway. Backus moves to the right side and solidfies the line or is traded.
Selection #3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ndamukong Suh Defensive Tackle Nebraska
Almost universally considered the most complete defensive player in the draft. Suh has ideal height and bulk and is extremely strong and athletic. Despite his size, he is very agile, has a non-stop motor, and is an outstanding bull rusher. A reliable tackler, he is tough, competitive, and a hard worker. The Buccaneers are thrilled that the Lions decide to go for Okung and Suh drops to them.
Selection #4. Washington Redskins: Trent Williams Offensive Tackle Oklahoma
An extremely athletic tackle. At 6'4", 315 lbs, he ran a 4.88 40 with a 34 inch vertical leap. He has good balance and great strength and gets a good push in the run game. He understands positioning and excels at sealing off defenders, but he does not overpower defenders. Shanahan will get offensive line help for Mcnabb.
Selection #5. Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Berry Safety Tennessee
The rumors are flying that Kansas City is trying to trade this pick and are using the potential availability of Eric Berry as bait. Berry is considered the most complete defensive back in the draft. Whether sniffing out a screen, baiting a quarterback, or supporting the run, he excels in all phases. He has elite speed, fluid hips, and great hands. He makes interceptions where others would just knock the ball down. He had 14 career interceptions.
Selection #6. Seattle Seahawks: Bryan Bulaga Offensive Tackle Iowa
Bulaga is an athletic left tackle who is experienced and has good size at 6'6", 315 lbs. He has prototypical height and bulk with terrific balance and agility. Iowa has a reputation for instilling outstanding fundamentals in their offensive line prospects and Bulaga is a perfect example. He is physical and aggressive and is a leader along the line. He does have a thyroid condition that may need to be managed, but with this pick the Seahawks dramatically upgrade their line.
Selection #8. Oakland Raiders: Gerald McCoy Defensive Tackle Oklahoma
The Raiders are doing imaginary shots of tequila at the prospect of McCoy actually sliding this far. He is a three year starter with tremendous athleticism. McCoy is an excellent pass rusher with a quick first step and good anticipation. He is a better pass rusher than run defender, and he could add a little upper body strength after a disappointing combine showing.
Selection #10. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Morgan Defensive End Georgia Tech
The jaguars take yet another swing at landing an effective pass rusher. Morgan is the best all around defensive end in the draft. He had 19 tackles for a loss and 12.5 sacks in 2009. He's an ideal edge rusher with quick initial burst and is very disciplined, takes good angles, and instinctive. He is an underrated run defender, but he can be a bit streaky and only had two years of elite production.
Selection #13. San Francisco 49ers: Joe Haden Cornerback Florida
Haden was considered the best cornerback in the draft until a poor 40 time at the combine. He rectified that with a 4.43 40 at his pro day on a slick surface. He is a tremendous all-around athlete who is a natural in man coverage. Aggressive in run support, he can play man or zone coverage. The 49ers desperately needed help in their secondary and Haden will provide a huge boost.
Selection #14. Seattle Seahawks: C.J. Spiller Running Back Clemson
Spiller is the most dynamic playmaker in the draft. He is an excellent receiver, returner, and runner. He has breakaway speed and great burst, however he only had two games with 20 or more carries and may be best suited for a two back system. Spiller gives new coach Pete Carroll a Reggie Bush clone to utilize in his USC schemes.
Selection #15. New York Giants: Dan Williams Defensive Tackle Tennessee
Strictly a best player available pick. The Giants don't have too many pressing needs and they go with Williams, an excellent tackle out of Tennessee. He forces a double team on every play, is a solid tackler, and anchors well against the run. Williams plays with a high motor and could play nose tackle if needed. He is strictly a two down DT, and has limited pass rush ability.
Selection #16 Tennessee Titans: Jared Odrick Defensive Tackle
Odrick is a tremendous athlete with a sculpted frame. Projected as a defensive end in the 3-4, Odrick has a tremendous motor with decent pass rush ability. He had seven sacks in 2009. With good acceleration and burst, Odrick is a better pass rusher than a run stuffer. The Titans will use him as a replacement for Jevan Kearse.
Selection #37 Washington Redskins: Jahvid Best Running Back Cal
Shanahan needs a runner for his zone blocking system. Best has elite acceleration and burst and is a decent inside runner for his size. He is a good receiver and route runner but had multiple concussions make him a medical risk and he is a poor blocker, though Clinton Portis looks like he may be on his way out.
Selection #43 Denver Broncos: Demaryius Thomas Wide Receiver Georgia Tech
Thomas has tremendous size and has good ball skills and hands. He is a good blocker and has good upside. He had a broken foot so he has not worked out for teams prior to the draft and he is a product of Georgia Tech's triple option offense which means he is not a polished route runner. The Broncos add another a big receiver to offset the loss of Brandon Marshall.
Selection #61 New York Jets: Lamarr Houston Defensive Tackle Texas
Lamarr has a very quick first step and gets upfield fast. He shoots the gap effectively and disrupts the play. He can collapse the pocket and gets a good push on the blocker. Lamarr is a better pass rusher than run defender. Houston has experience as a defensive end as well as defensive tackle. He was utilized as a lead blocker in short yardage situations, and with him Rex Ryan adds a big versatile lineman to his potent defense.
Selection #87 Philadelphia Eagles: Brandon Ghee Cornerback Wake Forest
Ghee has a combination of size and speed. He is a good athlete who is a solid tackler and can play man or zone. He has good athleticism and tools and has above average coverage awareness. He has poor ball skills, only one interception in three seasons, but he gives Philadelphia depth following the Sheldon Brown trade.
When all is said and done, cornerback Brandon Ghee has my sympathy. I don't know how the draft is going to handle the players that don't get chosen on Thursday. Do they bring them back on Friday for their celebratory handshake and Kodak moment? If they do, what happens if, and the football gods forbid, they aren't picked on Friday? Do you humiliate these young men who are looking forward to one of the best days of their lives?
One can say that Lamarr Houston and Brandon Ghee should have been more cognizant of their potential draft positions and therefore, they deserve what they get. I say the league should never have invited players who weren't considered first round locks.
Ratings at the sake of damaging a young man's psyche is unconscionable. Maybe they don't care that they will be sitting by themselves, nervously texting their mom, but I bet in the pit of their stomach they do.
Article update at end of first round: Boy did I do lousy, only 3 correct with partial credit on Demaryius Thomas to right team, wrong round do to trade, trades ripped apart the first round but I also tried to buck the natural flow by putting Okung with the Lions and that led to disaster for my draft, I hope yours went better! I still feel for Ghee and Houston and their families.