Saturday's NFL draft was watched by a ton of people. A ton of people that weren't watching the NBA or NHL Playoffs. A ton of people that weren't watching the Yankees and Red Sox annual grudge match. The NFL is far and away the most successful and popular professional sports league in America.
Here's the most notable picks and draft classes of the weekend.
NY Jets – The Jets only picked three players, yet they had by far the best draft of any team. Mark Sanchez will be this year’s Matt Ryan. Ryan came into a system that already had the pieces in place, but needed a decent-enough QB to not mess it up. The Jets are in the same position.
Then to get Shonn Greene with the first pick of the third round was an ingenious move. Greene only fell from the first round because of his 40-time.
Greene could have easily been the fourth best RB in this draft. The teams that passed on him because of a few-hundredth’s of a second will be kicking themselves in three years or less.
Philadelphia Eagles– Having Jeremy Maclin fall into their laps was a stroke of luck. But when you throw in LeSean McCoy at 56 it should be considered a coup. The Eagles strengthened that offense and should be considered a threat this year in the NFC East.
Other teams that made out like a villain:
Atlanta Falcons– I cannot separate the pre-draft trade that Atlanta pulled off to get Tony Gonzalez. This was a remarkable deal for the Falcons.
First-rounder Peria Jerry will turn out to be great pick for these guys. His game translates well to the pros. The Falcons definitely strengthened the defense with plenty of young talent in this draft. No one knows how prospects will eventually turn out, but strengthening defensive depth with young, talented potential is always a good thing.
Indianapolis Colts – The Colts surprised everyone with its first round pick of RB Donald Brown from UConn. It was a needed move considering Addai’s injuries and inconsistency. The fact that Fili Moala was available at No. 56 overall is beyond me. Thankfully the Colts snatched him up and also added DT Terrance Taylor from Michigan later in the draft.
Fourth rounder—Austin Collie is a perfect fit at WR for the Colts. He’ll remind a lot of people of Brandon Stokley. He will line up in the slot and will become one of Peyton’s premier go-to guys underneath.
I still wonder why the Colts did not take an LB in this draft.
Other teams that did well:
Pittsburgh Steelers – The defending Super Bowl champs took the best available player with their first round pick. Ziggy Hood is a premier defensive player and should have a great pro career.
All the “experts” were shocked when the Steelers didn’t take C Max Unger with that first pick. They did address that aging O-Line with third round pick of G Kraig Urbik and seventh round pick of C A.Q. Shipley. It was an overall a decent draft for Mike Tomlin and crew.
Detroit Lions – Matthew Stafford will not earn his No. 1 pick status in 2009. However, 2010 and beyond will be bright in Detroit. I do not buy for one minute all the talk that Stafford is overrated and that the Lions made a mistake in taking him.
Mark Sanchez has stepped into an ideal opportunity. Matthew Stafford has not. Sanchez will be better in year one. But Stafford has the brightest future of the two as being a top NFL QB. Once Detroit puts more pieces in place the sky is the limit for the former Bulldog.
Later in the first round Detroit took TE Brandon Pettigrew making their first round a great one. The third round pick of WR Derrick Williams should further help this offense. Too bad they needed more on defense than they picked.
Other teams that didn’t wow anyone, but did just enough:
K.C. Chiefs – How do you pass on LB Aaron Curry? He was as close to a “sure thing” in this draft as anyone. While Tyson Jackson is no slouch, the Chiefs should have taken the Linebacker with the third overall pick, and should have gone after one of the many quality D-Linemen available with its third-round pick.
A Whole New Level of Bad
Oakland Raiders – Heyward-Bey would have been available in the second round. This guy caught five TD passes last season. He was selected because of speed and speed only. Al Davis is a fool and is going to pay this guy at least five-million per season more than he had too.
Unfortunately for Raiders fan the madness did not stop there. The Raiders took S Michael Mitchell from Ohio with its second round pick. Michael Mitchell wasn’t even invited to the combine in March! Mitchell was a seventh-round pick and the Raiders wasted a top-fifteen second round pick on him!
The Raiders will continue to pick in the top 10 as long as Al Davis is running the show.
Other useless information from the draft…and various Colts notes:
- How do you measure the success and popularity of the NFL? When you consider that the NFL Draft drew more viewers than the NBA Playoffs, the NHL Playoffs, and the rivalry series between the Red Sox and Yankees…combined!
- Is it just me or did Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, Don Banks, and Peter King all miss badly on their mock drafts? Quit predicting and just tell us who the best prospects are guys. Seriously.
- I am proud of myself for picking Austin Collie to go to the Colts in the fourth round. Of course he was picked with their second pick of the fourth instead of the first, which I thought, but I deserve some credit don’t I? Collie is a Colt. He looks like a Colt and has all the characteristics of a Colts WR. Perfect fit.
- Word has it Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt created new cuss words to express his displeasure over the Colts beating him to RB Donald Brown. Arizona had apparently coveted Brown for weeks. Bill Polian is still the master.
- I understand needing a third-string QB behind Peyton, and Jim Sorgi. But did the Colts really have to draft Purdue QB Curtis Painter in the sixth round? I don’t think so. I’d rather see LSU, LB, Darry Beckwith selected there. Then again Beckwith was not picked by anyone. So maybe the Colts know something I do not.
- As I stated above, Fili Moala, is a heckuva pick-up late in the second half. When Polian and Co. realized he was still available they traded up five slots to take him.
This is why the Colts were able to go with a RB in the first round rather than taking Ziggy Hood. Hood is a tad quicker than Moala. But Moala is bigger, and that’s what Indy needed.