Ahh, the NFL Draft. A time for hope: Where a team can rebuild after an embarrassing season and get the best players from college football. Some will argue, "is the draft a science, or an art form?" For Al Davis, it's all about the measurables. Let's take a look at the 1st round of the 2007 Draft and see how the prospects have fared.
1. Oakland Raiders- JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU
Can you believe the Raiders drafted a defensive lineman who can throw the ball 80 yards? There are only two words to describe Russell: Epic Bust. He was benched in favor of Bruce Gradkowski. His passer rating was about the same as his body fat percentage. Maybe he can resurrect his career and be a defensive lineman.
2. Detroit Lions- Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
Really? The Detroit Lions took another WR? Fortunately, they hit on this one. When healthy, Calvin Johnson is one of the most electric receivers in the game. He has everything you want. Stafford and he should develop quite a rapport.
3. Cleveland Browns- Joe Thomas, OT, Cleveland
Thomas had a phenomenal rookie season and made the Pro Bowl. Cleveland just missed the playoffs. The last two years have been decent for Thomas, despite the Browns' poor play. He is still an excellent, young player.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
It's a real shame. Adams never turned into a dominant force in Tampa Bay and was traded to Chicago in 2009 for a second-round pick. Adams tragically passed away because of an enlarged heart. Adams had the potential, but it was never tapped.
5. Arizona Cardinals- Levi Brown, OT, Penn State
Brown has been a solid starter for the Cardinals since his arrival. He has shown good tenacity in the run game but has struggled against the pass. With the retirement of Kurt Warner, expect the Cardinals to go to a power-running game, which better fits Brown's strength.
6. Washington Redskins- LaRon Landry, FS, LSU
The Redskins thought that a Landry-Taylor tandem would intimidate the hell out of teams. It did—until Taylor was shot and passed away in 2007. Landry has been a very good player. He has shown that he can make big plays but can also blow coverages. He has all the tools but needs to be consistent.
7. Minnesota Vikings- Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
Peterson exploded onto the scene as a rookie and has been a force in the league. He has been brilliant in his 3 years with nearly 4,500 yards rushing and 40 touchdowns. Fumbling has been a huge concern—20 so far—and his durability will always be because of how tall he is and his up-right running style. However, you can't deny his talent.
8. Atlanta Falcons- Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas
Anderson has struggled ever since his arrival. It took him almost a season and a half of starting to record a sack. He has slid inside to defensive tackle and has struggled. The Falcons really need him to be productive.
9. Miami Dolphins- Ted Ginn, Jr., WR, Ohio State
Nobody is going to deny Ginn's speed or his return ability. His inability to develop into a consistent, go-to receiver is what is frustrating Dolphin fans. However, he seems to have developed a good rapport with QB Chad Henne, who has a big arm.
10. Houston Texans- Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville
Houston was slotted at No. 8 originally but moved to No. 10 after the Matt Schaub trade with Atlanta. Okoye was a consistent player at Louisville who entered the league at age 20. He played well at the Senior Bowl and saw his stock rise. He has been a very solid player in the middle for the Texans, who have a good and young defense.
11. San Francisco 49ers- Patrick Willis, ILB, Ole Miss
Many saw Willis as a late first-rounder after a productive career at Ole Miss. Then, Willis turned it loose at the Senior Bowl and blew up the Combine and his Pro Day and made his way to the top 15. Of course, working with defensive coordinator and all-time great LB Mike Singletary didn't hurt. He's the best LB in football.
Grade: A+ (Steal of the draft, 1a)
12. Buffalo Bills- Marshawn Lynch, RB, California
On the field, he has been really solid. Off the field, that's a different story. He has had many run-ins with the law and was suspended at the beginning of the 2009 season. He may be traded after Fred Jackson rushed for over 1,000 yards last year.
13. St. Louis Rams- Adam Carriker, DT, Nebraska
Carriker had a great collegiate career, recording 20 sacks in four years. However, Carriker really opened eyes after blowing up the NFL Combine. He put up some insane numbers and shot up draft boards. However, it's been a different story. Inconsistency and injuries have plagued his career so far.
14. New York Jets- Darelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh
When the Jets traded up 11 spots to grab Revis, little did they know that they were grabbing one of the top corners in the league. Of course, after a phenomenal 2009 campaign, no one wants to travel to Revis Island. There's a list of great WRs that got stuck there.
Grade: A+ (Steal of the draft, 1b)
15. Pittsburgh Steelers- Lawrence Timmons, LB, Florida State
There was so much hype surrounding Timmons—until the Combine, when he measured in 3 inches shorter than expected. However, Timmons has developed into a good player. After a slow start as a rookie, Timmons has put up some really good numbers for a strong Pittsburgh defense.
16. Green Bay Packers- Justin Harrell, DT, Tennessee
Harrell has been bitten by the injury bug—hard. He has struggled to stay on the field also because of the talent on the d-line and the switch to a base 3-4 defense.
17. Denver Broncos- Jarvis Moss, DE, Florida
Moss was a highly-touted recruit and had a great career at Florida. However, things just never worked out in Denver. He broke his shin his rookie year and struggled his second year. He was contemplating retirement at the beginning of the 2009 season, but he decided to come back. He saw limited action after being moved to outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme.
18. Cincinatti Bengals- Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
Hall was in the conversation with Revis as the top CB in the draft. His long-speed was questioned by scouts. But he silenced many of them at the Combine by running a 4.38 in the 40. Hall has been a consistent player, but he really stepped up his game this year. In 2009, he and Jonathon Joseph made up one of the best corner-duos in the game and helped Cincy win the AFC North title.
19. Tennessee Titans- Michael Griffin, S, Texas
Griffin was an accomplished player for Texas and carried a lot of hype into Tennessee. Griffin made the Pro Bowl in 2008 on a Titans team that won 13 games. However, in 2009, Griffin had a set back and struggled—along with the entire Titans' defense. He still has a ton of talent.
20. New York Giants- Aaron Ross, CB, Texas
Ross came into a starting role and was part of the Giants' Super Bowl run. He had another productive year in 2008, but then he had a hamstring injury that bothered him in 2009. He's still a great, young player.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars- Reggie Nelson, S, Florida
Nelson was another player who rode the National Championship wave into the NFL Draft. He had a strong rookie year, intercepting five passes. He missed three games in 2008 with a knee injury and saw his stats decline. Nelson had a high number of tackles but no INTs in 2009.
22. Cleveland Browns- Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
There were rumors that Quinn could have gone #3 to the Browns. However, getting him at No. 22 is a good bargain—or so they thought. They gave up their first-round pick in '08 to Dallas, Derek Anderson had a Pro-Bowl year, and it's been a "quarterback disaster" ever since. Quinn hasn't had the opportunity or the talent to succeed, so it will be interesting to see how his fourth year pans out.
23. Kansas City Chiefs- Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU
Bowe started right away and was successful in K.C. However, he really took a hit when he was suspended in 2009 for violating the league's substance-abuse policy for taking a diuretic used for masking steroids. It also didn't help when he got into new head coach Todd Haley's dog house and had a hard time seeing the field. Despite his talent, he could end up on a new team.
24. New England Patriots- Brandon Merriweather, S, Miami
Merriweather entered the NFL with high character concerns and didn't see the starting lineup his rookie season. However, the last two years have been very valuable to Merriweather. He put up great number and was named to the 2010 Pro Bowl as an injury replacement.
25. Carolina Panthers- Jon Beason, LB, Miami
Beason was a holdout for part of his rookie training camp, but it didn't show. Beason started as a rookie and finished behind Patrick Willis for DROY honors. He has been a Pro Bowler the last two years and a second-team All-Pro selection.
26. Dallas Cowboys- Anthony Spencer, 3-4 LB, Purdue
Spencer was decent in his first two seasons, but he only started six games and recorded 4.5 sacks. He started to come into his own in 2009 and showed that he can provide a pass rush opposite superstar DeMarcus Ware. He had 67 tackles and six sacks last year and is an improving player.
27. New Orleans Saints- Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee
Meachem blew up the Combine with his long speed. However, he came to training camp out of shape and ended up having knee surgery. Meachem broke out in his third year, providing a deep threat for Drew Brees and the Super Bowl Champion Saints. He has still not developed into a reliable No. 2.
28. San Francisco 49ers- Joe Staley, OT, Central Michigan
Staley was a fast riser because of his athleticism and started at right tackle as a rookie. He played at left tackle in 2008 and stayed there this year. He is signed through 2017 and is a great building block for a young offense.
29. Baltimore Ravens- Ben Grubbs, OG, Auburn
Grubbs was labeled as a great guard, and the Ravens pulled the trigger on him in the first round. Grubbs has been a starter ever since and is one of the top young guards in the league. He was a Pro Bowl alternate.
30. San Diego Chargers- Craig Davis, WR, LSU
Davis had a hard time cracking the starting lineup in San Diego, mainly because of the development of Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd, along with the presence of Antonio Gates. Davis finally saw action in the last game of 2009: a meaningless one against Washington.
31. Chicago Bears- Greg Olsen, TE, Miami
Olsen has been a very solid weapon for Chicago. People expected him to break out in 2009 with the addition of Jay Cutler, but without a No. 1 receiver, teams targeted him more often. He still has all the physical tools to be a big-time target for Cutler.
32. Indianapolis Colts- Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Ohio State
Gonzalez put up some good numbers in his first and second year. Many people thought of him to be the go-to-guy in 2009 with the departure of Marvin Harrison and teams paying attention to Reggie Wayne. He hurt his knee and played in Week 1 of 2009.
So, to recap, the best picks
1a. Patrick Willis (Pick 11)
1b. Darelle Revis (Pick 14)
2. Jon Beason (Pick 25)
And, the worst
1. JaMarcus Russell (Pick 1)
2. Jarvis Moss (Pick 17)
3. Buster Davis (Pick 30)
Thanks for reading, and check back on more of my work for the post-Combine mock draft. Until then, stay classy and keep reading!