1.28 (28) Jared Odrick (DT-Penn State) 6'5"-304
2.8 (40) Koa Misi (DE-Utah) 6'3"-251
3.9 (73) John Jerry (OT-Mississippi) 6'5"-328
4.21 (119) A.J. Edds (LB-Iowa) 6'4"-246
5.14 (145) Nolan Carroll (CB-Maryland) 5'11"-204
5.32 (163) Reshad Jones (SS-Georgia) 6'1"-214
7.5 (212) Chris McCoy (DL-Middle Tennessee State) 6'4"-244
7.45 (252) Austin Spitler (LB-Ohio State) 6'3"-234
Odrick was a perfect fit of need meets value: he was considered the best 3-4 defensive end in the draft and was projected to go in the early-to-mid twenties. After trading down with the Chargers, Miami was fortunate to get a player like Odrick at the end of the first. Miami lost Joey Porter and Jason Taylor in the off-season, and had an obvious need at outside linebacker: Misi may have been a reach at #40, but he could be an immediate starter as a 3-4 OLB for the Dolphins. He's a pass rusher with solid coverage skills, although he didn't rack up big sack totals at Utah. Jerry was an All-SEC first team and uses his huge frame to punish defenders in the running game. Jerry was a four-year starter at guard and tackle, and is a natural fit for a power running team like the Dolphins. His brother, Peria, was the Falcons first round pick in 2009. Edds was a strong pick in the 4th round; he was considered by some as the top strongside linebacker in the draft. He'll likely play SILB across from Karlos Dansby (WILB) in Miami's 3-4 defense. He could develop into one of the faster and better coverage 3-4 inside linebackers in the league. Jones was one of the better safeties in the draft; he came out as a junior and performed well at the combine. He surprisingly slid to the fifth, and might start immediately for Miami after they cut last year's starting free safety, Gibril Wilson.
2.2 (34) Chris Cook (CB-Virginia) 6'2"-212
2.19 (51) Toby Gerhart (RB-Stanford) 6'0"-231
4.2 (100) Everson Griffen (DE-Southern Cal) 6'3"-273
5.30 (161) Chris Degeare (OT-Wake Forest) 6'4"-325
5.36 (167) Nathan Triplett (LB-Minnesota) 6'3"-250
6.30 (199) Joe Webb (WR-UAB) 6'3"-223
7.7 (214) Mickey Shuler (TE-Penn State) 6'4"-251
7.30 (237) Ryan D'Imperio (LB-Rutgers) 6'2"-230
The Vikings surprised everyone by not "pulling an Aaron Rodgers" and drafting the heir apparent for Brett Favre: Jimmy Clausen seemed like a steal for Minnesota at 34, but the Vikings went in another direction with Chris Cook. With the Saints, Packers and Cowboys loaded at wide receiver -- Minnesota's three biggest competitors -- you can understand the need for more cornerbacks. Cook elevated his stock at the combine after running a 4.43; cornerbacks with his height and speed aren't easy to find, even if Cook's play wasn't always elite with the Cavaliers. If Minnesota surprised people by not taking Clausen, they shocked people by drafting Gerhart. But with Chestor Taylor now in Chicago, Gerhart makes sense for Minnesota. In some ways, Peterson is going to replace Taylor and Gerhart will replace Peterson; before, Taylor was the third-down back but now that should be Peterson. As a result, the Vikings may give him more breathers on earlier downs and short-yardage situations, which is where Gerhart excels. For fantasy football players, Adrian Peterson owners won't like that Minnesota just drafted a guy who scored 27 touchdowns last season. But he should extend Peterson's career and give the Vikings another option if ADP develops another case of the fumbles. Griffen was viewed by some as a first round pick, and his slide in the draft was one of the more intriguing topics. He has elite talent as a pass rusher but was plagued by inconsistency and a reputation for taking plays off; with Ray Edwards and Jared Allen in front of him, Griffen is a high upside luxury pick the Vikings could afford. He may also replace Pat Williams on passing downs to improve the Vikings' interior pass rush. Joe Webb was one of the intriguing prospects in this year's class; the former QB at UAB will play receiver in the NFL. He's got great size and played well at the Senior Bowl after the position switch; he'll probably see some time as a Wildcat QB, as well. In his only game of his career against the Vikings, Mickey Shuler caught three passes for 80 yards and a touchdown in 1982; in the 7th round, the Vikings selected his son, Mickey Shuler, Jr. The younger Shuler followed his father at Penn State, and is mostly a blocking tight end.
For Vikings fans longing for a QB of the future, Minnesota may have addressed that situation after the draft with the signing of Ryan Perrilloux. For those unfamiliar with his background, Perriloux was the all-world recruit who came to LSU as the heir apparent to JaMarcus Russell. Perrilloux was named the 2004 USA Today High School Player of the Year and won the 2004 Hall Trophy, the Heisman Trophy award for High School players (Adrian Peterson had won the award in 2003). Perrilloux's career in Baton Rouge was roughly comparable to Russell's career... in Oakland. But as Cecil Lammey notes, after resurrecting his career at Jacksonville State, Perriloux still has the enormous potential that college scouts fell in love with. He'll have to compete with Tarvaris Jackson to make the roster, another quarterback from an FCS school in Alabama.
New England Patriots
1.27 (27) Devin McCourty (CB-Rutgers) 5'11"-193
2.10 (42) Rob Gronkowski (TE-Arizona) 6'6"-264
2.21 (53) Jermaine Cunningham (DE-Florida) 6'3"-266
2.30 (62) Brandon Spikes (LB-Florida) 6'3"-249
3.26 (90) Taylor Price (WR-Ohio) 6'0"-204
4.15 (113) Aaron Hernandez (TE-Florida) 6'2"-245
5.19 (150) Zoltan Mesko (P-Michigan) 6'4"-240
6.36 (205) Ted Larsen (OL-North Carolina State) 6'2"-304
7.1 (208) Thomas Welch (OL-Vanderbilt) 6'6"-307
7.40 (247) Brandon Deaderick (DE-Alabama) 6'4"-314
7.41 (248) Kade Weston (DT-Georgia) 6'5"-317
7.43 (250) Zac Robinson (QB-Oklahoma State) 6'2"-214
In just about every way, this was a typical Patriots draft. New England traded down and acquired a bunch of picks, including high ones in future drafts. And they got "Patriots guys" that fit their system, consensus draft grades be damned. McCourty will help right away at cornerback and on special teams; the Pats will find out twice a year if taking him over Kyle Wilson (Jets) was the right move. McCourty's draft stock rose after an impressive week at the Senior Bowl and a blistering 40-time in Indy. Ben Watson signed with the Browns in the off-season and Chris Baker moved to Seattle, leaving the Pats with little at the tight end position; they signed Alge Crumpler last month and then attacked the position in the draft. Gronkowski has all the tools to be a great tight end -- he's a strong blocker, has good hands and runs good routes. He's a powerful player, but he missed all of 2009 with a back injury. New England backed up that pick with Aaron Hernandez, the last of three players they selected from Florida, a college Belichick loves to scout because of his close relationship with Urban Meyer. Hernandez is more of an H-Back than a tight end, but he's probably the best receiver at the position in this class. In some ways, the Gators used Hernandez the way the Pats used Wes Welker; he might help fill that same role in New England while Welker recovers from surgery. The Pats remaining second round picks were also from Florida. Cunningham played across from Dunlap at defensive end for Florida but will be a rush OLB for New England. The Patriots desperately needed youth at that position after never really finding a replacement for Mike Vrabel; drafting Cunningham also enabled the Pats to cut ties with Adalius Thomas, released yeterday. At inside linebacker, the Pats hadn't found an adequate replacement for Tedy Bruschi, either; Jerod Mayo mans the middle linebacker spot when New England plays a 4-3, but they needed another inside guy for their 3-4 fronts. Enter Spikes, one of the best college players in the country in 2009. His snail-like 5.03 40-time at Florida's Pro Day was thought to sink his value, but Belichick clearly thinks Spikes' insticts and size/strength combination will overcome a lack of top-end speed.
Price played in a run heavy offense at Ohio, but he's a fast player with a high ceiling. A fast 40-time with good height and a 37" vertical ensured that someone would draft him. Don't forget, New England took UNC's Brandon Tate in the third round last season, and he essentially was a medical redshirt as a rookie. Price and Tate are high upside picks for the Patriots future, and should ensure that Tom Brady always has enough weapons in his arsenal. With so many picks, New England could afford to be the first team to take a punter off the board. Mesko was one of the nation's best punters in 2009 and figures to take over for Chris Hanson this season. New England may have struck gold with another 7th round quarterback in Zach Robinson. Robinson played in a spread offense with the OSU Cowboys and is one of the more athletic quarterbacks in the draft; he put up very good numbers in college and then performed well at the Senior Bowl. Like they did with Matt Cassel (and San Diego did with Charlie Whitehurst), the Patriots might one day be able to get a much higher draft pick in return for the 250th overall pick in the 2010 draft.
New Orleans Saints
1.32 (32) Patrick Robinson (CB-Florida State) 5'11"-190
2.32 (64) Charles Brown (OT-Southern Cal) 6'5"-303
3.31 (95) Jimmy Graham (TE-Miami) 6'6"-260
4.25 (123) Al Woods (DT-LSU) 6'4"-309
5.27 (158) Matt Tennant (C-Boston College) 6'5"-300
7.32 (239) Sean Canfield (QB-Oregon State) 6'4"-223
Robinson is the last domino to fall in an evolving secondary; In '08, the Saints drafted Tracy Porter in the second round and last year they signed their other starting corner, Jabari Greer, from Buffalo. With their first round pick in '09, New Orleans drafted CB/S Malcolm Jenkins. He played nickel corner last season but most thought he'd be a better fit at safety; now that the Saints released 2009 hero Darren Sharper and drafted Robinson, they can keep their nickel package strong and move Jenkins back to safety. Robinson is an excellent athlete (4.38 40, 39" vertical leap), but was part of the worst Florida State defense in Bobby Bowden history. Robinson was one of the Seminoles' better players but he wasn't blameless in a secondary that got shredded on a weekly basis. Brown has the typical USC profile: he was an All-Pac 10 first-team selection and did well at the Combine (over 300 pounds, long arms, good strength and athleticism). He was a steal at the end of round two. Graham is another former basketball star turned tight end. He only played football at The U for one season, but has the athleticism and the size/speed combination to be an elite pass catching tight end. In a sentence I never thought I'd write, he might find a good mentor in fellow Hurricane Jeremy Shockey.
The Saints didn't bring back Mark Brunell, leaving a hole on the depth chart behind Drew Brees. Canfield had nice numbers his senior year but disappointed at the Combine and is unlikely to be the answer; the same goes for A.J. McKenna, an UDFA out of Albany State. It looks like former Missouri star Chase Daniel will be the QB2, a scary notion for Saints fans. Also after the draft, the Saints grabbed crazy Brandon Carter out of Texas Tech, who seems like a natural fit for the Bayou and is used to playing in a pass happy offense.
New York Giants
1.15 (15) Jason Pierre-Paul (DE-South Florida) 6'5"-270
2.14 (46) Linval Joseph (DT-East Carolina) 6'4"-328
3.12 (76) Chad Jones (FS-LSU) 6'2"-221
4.17 (115) Phillip Dillard (LB-Nebraska) 6'0"-245
5.16 (147) Mitch Petrus (OG-Arkansas) 6'3"-310
6.15 (184) Adrian Tracy (DE-William & Mary) 6'3"-248
7.14 (221) Matt Dodge (P-East Carolina) 6'1"-224
What Jon Gruden is to quarterbacks, Tom Coughlin is to pass rushers. With Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka and Osi Umenyiora already on the team, the Giants took another freakishly athletic defensive end in Pierre-Paul. Umenyiora isn't happy, but the Giants (for now) plan to keep keep him in 2010. In obvious passing situations, the Giants could conceivably play all four defensive ends (Tuck at defensive tackle, Umenyiora and Pierre-Paul at DE and Kiwanuka lined up outside one of the ends), creating a nightmare for opposing offensive lines. The Giants didn't address certain needs, but they have more athletes at defensive end than some divisions do, let alone any other NFL team. Last year's defensive tackle rotation of Barry Cofield, Fred Robbins, Chris Canty, and Rocky Bernard looked better on paper than it did in reality, as injuries and ineffectiveness made the position an area of weakness after Jay Alford went down for the season in the pre-season. Taking Joseph in the 2nd round was another attempt to fix that position. Joseph ran an insane 4.93 40-time at his pro day, benched 225 lbs 39 times at the combine and had a 31.5" vertical leap. He should immediately improve the run defense. Chad Jones has good size but is a bit raw; he'll provide depth behind newly signed Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips, the Giants first round pick in 2008 who missed nearly all of last season with a left knee.
New York finally chose to fill the huge gap at middle linebacker they created by releasing Antonio Pierce in the off-season; Phillip Dillard lived a middle linebacker's dream at Nebraska playing behind elite defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Jared Crick (himself a first-team All-Conference pick by the Big 12 coaches and a potential first round pick in 2011). Dillard had 83 tackles and 10.5 tackles for loss for the Cornhuskers, and is a speedy linebacker who should do well behind a stacked defensive line in New York. The Giants took another athletic freak in the fifth round: Petrus repped 225 pounds an incredible 45 times at the Combine, and will provide depth to a Giants line that suffered with injuries in 2009. Tracy is another pass rushing defensive end; he was an FCS All-American pick in 2009; he had ten tackles in W&M's upset win over Virginia in the season opener. With New York's last pick, they selected a punter to replace the 43-year-old Jeff Feagles.
New York Jets
1.29 (29) Kyle Wilson (CB-Boise State) 5'10"-194
2.29 (61) Vlad Ducasse (OT-Massachusetts) 6'4"-332
4.14 (112) Joe McKnight (RB-Southern Cal) 5'11"-198
5.8 (139) John Conner (RB-Kentucky) 5'11"-246
The Jets had the fewest draft selections (4) of any team in the NFL. That's because they traded all of their picks in rounds 3 through 7, for two draft picks and some players:
-- New York traded Chansi Stuckey, Jason Trusnik and their 2010 3rd and 5th rounders to Cleveland for Braylon Edwards.
-- They traded their 2010 4th round pick last season, too, in the deal for Lito Sheppard. They sent an '09 5th rounder and a 2010 4th rounder for Sheppard and a '10 5th rounder. It was the Eagles 5th round pick in this draft that the Jets sent to Pittsburgh for Santonio Holmes (which the Steelers sent to the Cardinals in the McFadden deal, which the Cardinals used to take John Skelton).
-- They sent their 6th round pick and the 124th pick to the Panthers for the 112th pick, to trade up for McKnight. They had received the 124th pick from the Cardinals in exchange for Kerry Rhodes last month.
-- They traded their 7th round pick and Leon Washington for the Seahawks 5th round pick, which they used to grab John Connor.
Without many picks, the Jets couldn't afford to waste any of them. I don't think they did, as each pick looks to fit into the master plan for the off-season:
The Jets lost in the AFC Championship Game when Peyton Manning abused the Jets secondary; not only were the Jets depleted by injury but their lack of depth couldn't hold up against the Colts three and four receiver sets. The Jets had -- by far -- the best pass defense in the NFL last season, but they were lighter at cornerback than they liked. So they got rid of Sheppard and traded for Antonio Cromartie; still, against the Patriots and Colts -- the two teams the Jets will need to beat -- they knew they'd be in nickel packages for most of the game. Thus, the Wilson pick. With Revis, Cromartie and Wilson, the Jets should have the best secondary in the league and are better prepared against the high powered, spread offenses they'll have to go through to get to the Super Bowl. Wilson is a classic cover corner and is the physical, tough sort of defensive back that Rex Ryan admires.
The Ducasse pick in the second round foreshadowed the release of LG Alan Faneca. Despite still being an above average run blocker, Faneca's performance as a pass blocker had declined in 2009. With RT Damien Woody capable of sliding over to guard, the Jets needed either a tackle or a guard to replace Faneca. New York drafted G Matt Slauson last year out of Nebraska, who went on to play for his college coach Bill Callahan, now offensive line coach of the Jets. Ducasse appears to be a project pick, although he may be an above average run blocker immediately. But the Jets knew they needed to get younger at guard, and Ducasse had more upside at the position than anyone else available. It will be up to Callahan to get something immediately out of Ducasse and Slauson, otherwise the Jets will need to sign a veteran starter later in the off-season.
The Jets fell in love with Joe McKnight, and after moving up to draft him were able to trade Leon Washington to Seattle. Here's a great recap of McKnight's college career from Dr. Saturday; in 2007, the top three high school prospects in the country were Jimmy Clausen, Joe McKnight and Eric Berry. That year, the Trojans had an absurd six five-star recruits, and McKnight was the biggest star of them all. Because of his running style and his commitment to USC, he was labeled by everyone as the next Reggie Bush (and now, Dillon Baxter, 2010 freshman for the Trojans, has been dubbed the next Reggie Bush). McKnight obviously failed to live up to the Bush hype and even admitted that Bush's shadow at times played with his head. But he ran a 4.47 40-yard dash at the combine at 198 pounds and performed well at the other drills. McKnight wasn't unproductive at USC -- he had a career 6.4 yards per carry average, caught over 20 passes each of his last three seasons, and topped the 1,000 yard mark in 2009 -- he just wasn't Bush. No one doubts his athletic potential, and the Jets saw enough in him to think he can replace Leon Washington. It will be an easier task than what McKnight faced when he went to Southern Cal.
The Jets last pick was a trade up to grab a fullback, always a perplexing move. But Rex Ryan wants to ground opponents into submission, and a lead fullback (especially when the starting tight end is more receiver than blocker) is a vital part of that plan. Tony Richardson turns 39 in December, and the Jets obviously can't count on him for much longer. So they drafted John Connor, who in addition to being the best blocking fullback in the draft, is the leader of the human resistance against the machines in the post-apocalyptic future.
The most intriguing name the Jets added after the draft was Donovan Warren, cornerback from Michigan. He was a freshman All-American in '07 and continued to play well for the Wolverines. When he declared for the draft, Mel Kiper, Jr. said he would have been the first or second corner in the class of 2011 but wasn't a "sure-fire second-round pick." An ugly 4.62 at his pro day left him undrafted, but he's the sort of physical player Rex Ryan loves.
1.8 (8) Rolando McClain (LB-Alabama) 6'3"-254
2.12 (44) Lamarr Houston (DT-Texas) 6'3"-305
3.5 (69) Jared Veldheer (OT-Hillsdale) 6'8"-312
4.8 (106) Bruce Campbell (OT-Maryland) 6'6"-314
4.10 (108) Jacoby Ford (WR-Clemson) 5'9"-186
5.7 (138) Walter McFadden (DB-Auburn) 6'0"-175
6.21 (190) Travis Goethel (LB-Arizona State) 6'2"-240
7.8 (215) Jeremy Ware (DB-Michigan State) 5'10"-188
7.44 (251) Stevie Brown (DB-Michigan) 6'0"-210
For the first time in years, draftniks loved what the Raiders did on draft weekend. McClain was one of the best college players around last season, and is the sort of intelligent, instinctual, productive player scouts claim the Raiders never draft. He looks like a high floor pick at a position of need for Oakland, and drafting him allowed the Raiders to send Kirk Morrison to Jacksonville. Oakland ranked in the bottom four in rushing yards allowed, rushing yards per carry allowed, and rushing touchdowns allowed in 2009, and had that in mind when they drafted McClain and Houston. With Gerrard Warren now in New England, Houston should slide into the other starting defensive tackle role next to Tommy Kelly and play at end if the Raiders move to a 3-4 front. Houston is stout against the run and was a main factor in the Longhorns' ridiculous run defensive rankings in 2009. Oakland then took a couple of offensive tackle prospects in the middle rounds: Veldheer is 6'8 and athletic, but he's raw coming from a small school; then the Raiders took Bruce Campbell, like so many mocks had... mocked. Campbell was the workout warrior of the combine: he measured 6'6, 314 with 36 1/4 inch arms, bench pressed 225 34 times, and ran a 4.85 40, easily earning him superfreak athlete status. Some speculated that the Raiders, always in love with athletes, would take the incredibly raw player who looked mediocre on game film with the 8th overall pick. The joke was on the fans this time, though, as Campbell became solid value by the 4th round. Oakland continued its love affair with speed by selecting Jacoby Ford, owner of the fastest 40 time at the Combine. Ford is essentially a track guy that plays football; he's not even a good receiver although he can be a solid returner. With Heyward-Bey, Johnnie Lee Higgins and Louis Murphy, though, this pick didn't make a lot of sense (except that it was the Raiders taking a speedy receiver).
The move that might pay the most immediate dividends for Oakland came when the Raiders traded a 2012 4th round pick for Redskins QB Jason Campbell, who became expendable after Washington traded for Donovan McNabb. As Bill Williamson notes, Oakland offensive coordinator Hue Jackson will be Campbell’s eighth coordinator in ten years (including college). The Raiders, after trading for Campbell, quickly extended his contract for an extra year. The Raiders already had JaMarcus Russell, Bruce Gradkowski, Charlie Frye and newly signed Kyle Boller, so at least two of those players should be gone. The early rumors suggest that one of them will be Russell, bringing an end to an utterly forgettable era. Oakland also signed BYU Fullback Manase Tonga, a punishing run blocker and local kid from San Mateo, California.
1.13 (13) Brandon Graham (DE-Michigan) 6'1"-268
2.5 (37) Nathaniel Allen (FS-South Florida) 6'0"-207
3.22 (86) Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (DE-Washington) 6'3"-263
4.7 (105) Trevard Lindley (CB-Kentucky) 5'11"-183
4.23 (121) Keenan Clayton (LB-Oklahoma) 6'1"-229
4.24 (122) Mike Kafka (QB-Northwestern) 6'3"-225
4.27 (125) Clay Harbor (TE-Missouri State) 6'3"-252
5.3 (134) Ricky Sapp (DE-Clemson) 6'4"-252
5.28 (159) Riley Cooper (WR-Florida) 6'3"-222
6.31 (200) Charles Scott (RB-LSU) 5'11"-238
7.13 (220) Jamar Chaney (LB-Mississippi State) 6'1"-242
7.36 (243) Jeff Owens (DT-Georgia) 6'1"-304
7.37 (244) Kurt Coleman (SS-Ohio State) 5'10"-192
Andy Reid used an incredible ten picks in the fourth through seventh rounds to re-tool his team. Philadelphia has been looking for a long-term replacement across from Pro Bowler Trent Cole: Juqua Thomas had 8 sacks last season, but Philadelphia traded a fourth round pick to Seattle to get DE Darryl Tapp in March and then moved up into the top 15 on draft day to take Brandon Graham. The former Wolverine is a high-motor guy that the city of Philadelphia will love; he'll be an instant playmaker for the Eagles. Allen was a highly productive player at USF for three seasons; he's got NFL size and speed and was a good example of value meeting need at the top of the 2nd round: he should start at free safety right away. Te'o-Nesheim had 17.5 sacks in his last two seasons at Washington, no easy task when your team is usually trailing. He then had good combine numbers (6'4, 267; 4.72; 29 reps, 37" leap) which vaulted him into the third round. Along with Tapp and Graham, the Eagles got some much needed depth at defensive end. Also watch out for Ricky Sapp, an intriguing prospect out of Clemson. Sapp was a star in 2007, but tore his ACL in 2008 and is just starting to get his speed back; he'll probably fill in as a rush linebacker on passing downs for the Eagles. The Eagles didn't get Tim Tebow but they got his main receiver, Riley Cooper. Cooper is a hard-nosed receiver with strong hands and great size. He's instantly their biggest receiver, and he brings a different skill-set to the table than the thin and speedy starting combo of Jackson and Maclin. Last year, the Eagles drafted LeSean McCoy in the second round as the eventual replacement for Brian Westbrook. McCoy has great speed and good hands, but with Westbrook gone, Philadelphia needed to find another back to spell McCoy. They signed Mike Bell from New Orleans and then drafted Charles Scott, who defines the word "complement to McCoy." He runs with great power and is a strong interior runner; he doesn't have a second gear and won't make big plays, but he's the short-yardage back the Eagles needed. Philadelphia also drafted their new backup QB of the future, Mike Kafka out of Northwestern. He put up solid numbers for the Wildcats but his future with the Eagles looks hopeless complex.
1.18 (18) Maurkice Pouncey (C-Florida) 6'4"-304
2.20 (52) Jason Worilds (DE-Virginia Tech) 6'1"-254
3.18 (82) Emmanuel Sanders (WR-Southern Methodist) 5'11"-186
4.18 (116) Thaddeus Gibson (DE-Ohio State) 6'2"-243
5.20 (151) Chris Scott (OT-Tennessee) 6'4"-319
5.33 (164) Crezdon Butler (CB-Clemson) 6'0"-191
5.35 (166) Stevenson Sylvester (LB-Utah) 6'2"-231
6.19 (188) Jonathan Dwyer (RB-Georgia Tech) 5'11"-229
6.26 (195) Antonio Brown (WR-Central Michigan) 5'10"-186
7.35 (242) Doug Worthington (DT-Ohio State) 6'5"-292
The Steelers have a storied history at center. started every game in the middle from 1966 to 1975; then Mike Webster manned the middle from 1976 to 1988. From 1989 to 2000, Dermontti Dawson was the Steelers center, and Jeff Hartings did an admirable job replacing him from '01 to '06; Sean Mahan ('07) and Jeff Hartwig ('08, '09) have handled snaps since Hartings, but Pouncey could be the next great Pittsburgh center. Pittsburgh spent its next pick on a player unlikely to see the field anytime soon. Worilds, like Joey Porter, Clark Haggans, LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison, was a college defensive end who will play 3-4 OLB for the Steelers. Pittsburgh let all of those players sit on the bench behind established stars as they made the position switch; with Woodley and Harrison in the primes of their careers, Worilds will have great mentors and no expectation of immediate production. Pittsburgh took a sleeper receiver from Junes Jones' spread style offense. Sanders is a great deep threat with good ability after the catch; he's been compared to DeSean Jackson because of his big play ability. Gibson is another star athlete who will be converted to OLB in the NFL; like the Giants, the Steelers now have four athletic pass rushers but holes at other positions. Pittsburgh got one of the biggest sliders in the draft in the sixth round; Dwyer is a tough, physical runner in the classic Steelers mold. With Rashard Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore, Pittsburgh once again has three running backs with complementary skill sets. Dwyer has perhaps the best size/speed combination in the draft, but will have to adjust after playing fullback in Georgia Tech's triple option offense. The Steelers best move of the draft might have been trading for ex-Steelers CB Bryant McFadden; Pittsburgh traded down from 155 to 195 with the Cardinals to reacquire McFadden, who should return to the starting lineup immediately.
San Diego Chargers
1.12 (12) Ryan Mathews (RB-Fresno State) 6'0"-218
3.15 (79) Donald Butler (LB-Washington) 6'1"-245
4.12 (110) Darrell Stuckey (FS-Kansas) 5'11"-205
5.15 (146) Cam Thomas (DT-North Carolina) 6'4"-330
5.37 (168) Jonathan Crompton (QB-Tennessee) 6'3"-222
7.28 (235) Dedrick Epps (TE-Miami) 6'3"-250
The Chargers paid a big price to ensure that they got their man; Mathews fills a huge hole for the Chargers and will start right away. San Diego made life easy for all fantasy football players when Norv Turner announced that Mathews should get about 250 carries and have 40 receptions. San Diego's RILB spot has been a revolving door for the past three seasons across from Stephen Cooper; Butler could be the man the Chargers have been looking for to fill that spot (especially after trading RILB Tim Dobbins to move up in the Mathews trade). Washington benched 225 more times than any other linebacker at the combine; he led Washington with 94 tackles and 15.5 tackles for a loss in '09. He's fast and strong, and should help out the special teams, at a minimum, in 2010. Stuckey is a well-rounded safety who will battle Kevin Ellison for a starting free safety spot. The Chargers' biggest pre-draft need was either at running back or nose tackle; San Diego didn't address the latter until the fifth round, but were lucky to still see Cam Thomas there with the 146th pick. Some pegged Thomas as a second round pick; 6'4, 328 pound nose tackles that dominate opposing running games aren't easy to find. He had a reputation for taking plays off and may have effort issues, but at a minimum he gives San Diego some much needed beef on the line. After trading Charlie Whitehurst to Seattle, and with Billy Volek's contract up at the end of the season, San Diego needed to add another quarterback in the draft. Crompton was a polarizing figure among college football fans and draftniks, after he had a breakout year playing under Lane Kiffin in 2009. He's got one of the strongest arms in the draft and can make all the throws; sitting behind Rivers can only help him transition at the next level. After Brandon Manumaleuna followed his old coach to Chicago, Epps was a natural fit to replace him. He's a solid blocker and will be the third tight end behind Antonio Gates and Kris Wilson.
The Chargers added three interesting skill players after the draft in Jeremy Williams (Tulane), Seyi Ajirotutu (Fresno State) and Shawnbrey McNeal (SMU). Ajirotutu has great physical tools but did not post big numbers in the run heavy Bulldogs offense that made Ryan Mathews a first round pick. At leat Ajirotutu will see a friendly face in camp. Williams is a big play receiver who caught 84 passes for the Green Wave in '09. McNeal is a great athlete -- he transferred from Miami -- who went undrafted because he only played for one season at SMU. He's a dangerous open-field runner and has outstanding hands for a running back. His upside is blocked with Mathews there, but he seems like the inevitable replacement for Darren Sproles.
San Francisco 49ers
1.11 (11) Anthony Davis (OT-Rutgers) 6'5"-323
1.17 (17) Mike Iupati (OG-Idaho) 6'5"-331
2.17 (49) Taylor Mays (FS-Southern Cal) 6'3"-230
3.27 (91) Navorro Bowman (LB-Penn State) 6'0"-242
6.4 (173) Anthony Dixon (RB-Mississippi State) 6'1"-233
6.13 (182) Nate Byham (TE-Pittsburgh) 6'4"-268
6.37 (206) Kyle Williams (WR-Arizona State) 5'10"-188
7.17 (224) Phillip Adams (DB-South Carolina State) 5'10"-192
Frank Gore was the biggest winner in the draft, as he now has two more first round talents in front of him. The 49ers will sport three first round offensive lineman -- Joe Staley at LT, Iupati at LG and Davis at RT -- with a couple of top 40 picks (David Bass and Chilo Rachal) fighting at the other guard spot and former #6 pick Vernon Davis at tight end. The addition of Davis and Iupati should help Singletary move away from the shotgun spread offense that the 49ers began running late in 2009. With one of the best defenses in the league, and now all the pieces in place for a power running game, the 49ers may be the favorites to win the NFC West. San Francisco added two big time playmakers to an already strong defense in rounds two and three: Taylor Mays, one of, if not the best athletes in the draft, was a steal with the 49th pick. He'll be particularly amped up for his two games a season against ex-coach Pete Carroll, whom Mays had harsh words for after his draft day fall. As Dr. Saturday points out, Mays has legitimate reasons to rip Carroll. Mays may be more athlete than football player, but Mike Singletary should fine a way to get production out of one of the fastest, strongest defensive backs in the NFL. Some thought Mays would have been a top 10 pick in the 2009 draft, and he's got one of the highest ceilings of any member of the 2010 class. Bowman will upgrade the 49ers lackluster pass rush, and could ultimately replace Manny Lawson, who is in the last year of his contract. Dixon isn't a special back, but he was productive at MSU and gives the 49ers another tough, inside runner. Drafting Dixon may be a sign that the team regrets drafting Glen Coffee last year. San Francisco signed West Virginia QB Jarrett Brown after the draft; Brown's an interesting prospect, but the 49ers seem set at QB with Alex Smith, David Carr and 2009 draft pick Nate Davis.
1.6 (6) Russell Okung (OT-Oklahoma State) 6'5"-307
1.14 (14) Earl Thomas (SS-Texas) 5'10"-208
2.28 (60) Golden Tate (WR-Notre Dame) 5'10"-199
4.13 (111) Walter Thurmond (CB-Oregon) 5'11"-189
4.29 (127) E.J. Wilson (DE-North Carolina) 6'4"-286
5.2 (133) Kam Chancellor (FS-Virginia Tech) 6'3"-231
6.16 (185) Anthony McCoy (TE-Southern Cal) 6'4"-259
7.29 (236) Dexter Davis (DE-Arizona State) 6'1"-244
7.38 (245) Jameson Konz (WR-Kent State) 6'3"-227
Pete Carroll and the Seahawks have been praised by nearly everyone for their fantastic draft. Seattle didn't have much on their roster when Carroll arrived, but added a lot of pieces over the three days. Okung, the 6th pick in the draft, was the best LT prospect in the draft, and will attempt to fill the big shoes of the 6th pick in the 1997 draft, Walter Jones. Carroll then addressed another area of need for the team at safety. He bypassed former Trojan Taylor Mays and grabbed CB/S hybrid Earl Thomas. With Deon Grant now in New York, Seattle needed help at safety; expect Thomas to one of the safety spots with either Jordan Babineaux or 5th round pick Kam Chancellor lining up next to him. Okung and Thomas were two of the safest picks in the draft, and Seattle found instant starters at positions of need on the draft's first day. Seattle took advantage of a draft day slide for Golden Tate, who has fantastic run after the catch ability and made a ton of clutch catches at Notre Dame. He'll fight with Deon Branch to be the other starter opposite T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Thurmond was a very productive player at Oregon and a four-year starter before tearing his ACL, MCL and PCL; he's expected to be ready for training camp, and if he regains his old form, he'll be a steal in the 4th round.
Seattle also improved its running back stable via trade. They traded the 104th and 176th picks for #s 111 and 185 and picked up LenDale White and defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson from Tennessee. They also moved down from 139 to 236 in a trade with the Jets to grab Leon Washington, an explosive player coming back from a broken tibia and fibula. If he can regain his old form, he'll give the Seahawks a solid 1-2-3 punch with White and incument Justin Forsett. He also reunites with ex-Jets tight end Chris Baker, recently signed by the Seahawks. Seattle is suddenly very deep at tight end, as Baker joins starter John Carlson and sixth round pick Anthony McCoy. McCoy was a sixth round steal and gets to play with his old coach: he's a powerful tight end that can do it all. On a team that lacks elite players at RB and WR, being able to run multiple tight end sets should make the offense more productive. The Seahawks also signed three UDFAs from USC (OG Jeff Byer, DB Josh Pinkard and FS Will Harris).
St. Louis Rams
1.1 (1) Sam Bradford (QB-Oklahoma) 6'4"-236
2.1 (33) Rodger Saffold (OT-Indiana) 6'4"-316
3.1 (65) Jerome Murphy (CB-South Florida) 6'0"-196
4.1 (99) Mardy Gilyard (WR-Cincinnati) 6'0"-187
5.1 (132) Michael Hoomanawanui (TE-Illinois) 6'4"-264
5.18 (149) Hall Davis (DE-Louisiana-Lafayette) 6'4"-271
6.1 (170) Fendi Onobun (TE-Arizona) 6'6"-252
6.20 (189) Eugene Sims (DE-West Texas AM) 6'6"-235
7.4 (211) Marquis Johnson (DB-Alabama) 5'11"-192
7.19 (226) George Selvie (DE-South Florida) 6'3"-252
7.47 (254) Josh Hull (LB-Penn State) 6'3"-237
The Rams passed on Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez to take Chris Long and Jason Smith; St. Louis wasn't going to take another lineman over an elite quarterback prospect again. Bradford should give the Rams their QB of the future, but they have many more holes in the starting lineup to fill. Drafting Saffold was a good start: if all goes well, Saffold and Smith could give the Rams bookend tackles for the next decade. The Rams were 31st in the league in net yards per attempt allowed in '09; Murphy filled an obvious need for St. Louis although he may have been a reach at the top of the third round. The Rams had an even more pressing need at wide receiver, and Gilyard was a nice pick in the 4th round. He was a big playmaker for Brian Kelly at Cincinnati and had one of the most dominating performances of the college season in the de facto Big East championship game against Pittsburgh; he had 381 all-purpose yards and the back-to-back touchdowns that started the big Bearcats comeback. The Rams added seven more players in the last three rounds of the draft, and on a team as devoid of talent as St. Louis, some of those players could see significant playing time in 2010. Of those players, Selvie is the most intriguing: for much of 2010, Selvie, and not Pierre-Paul, was the most highly regarded defensive end on the Bulls. Selvie had 14 sacks as a sophomore in '07, but struggled the past two years after facing constant double teams. Playing opposite Chris Long could be the key to resuscitating his career.
With Bradford in town, no other QB has much of a chance, but I liked what I saw out of Thaddeus Lewis (Duke) last season; he was signed by the Rams after the draft.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1.3 (3) Gerald McCoy (DT-Oklahoma) 6'4"-295
2.3 (35) Brian Price (DT-UCLA) 6'1"-303
2.7 (39) Arrelious Benn (WR-Illinois) 6'1"-219
3.3 (67) Myron Lewis (CB-Vanderbilt) 6'2"-203
4.3 (101) Mike Williams (WR-Syracuse) 6'1"-221
6.3 (172) Brent Bowden (P-Virginia Tech) 6'2"-202
7.3 (210) Cody Grimm (LB-Virginia Tech) 6'1"-203
7.10 (217) Dekoda Watson (LB-Florida State) 6'1"-240
7.46 (253) Erik Lorig (DE-Stanford) 6'3"-281
The Bucs doubled up on defensive tackle at the top of the first and second rounds, and both players look like strong prospects. McCoy was universally considered a top-three player in the draft, and Price was a first-round pick in a lot of mocks. The Bucs ranked last in the league in rushing yards allowed and rushing yards per carry allowed; interior linemen like Chris Hovan and Ryan Sims were pushed around all season long. Well, Hovan was released on Monday and Sims may not last much longer; McCoy and Price should be opening day starters at defensive tackle with last year's third round pick, Roy Miller from Texas, also in the rotation. The Bucs also doubled up at wide receiver, where they were just as desperate for help as they were at defensive tackle. Last year's leading receiver, Antonio Bryant, went to Cincinnati. The Bucs signed Reggie Brown, but have among the weakest set of receivers in the league. Enter Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams, two of the most athletic and high upside receivers in the draft. Benn had 1,055 yards as a sophomore in '08 and has the NFL body and speed (4.40 40-yard dash at his pro day) to be a difference maker at the next level. His stock dropped after he was saddled by injuries as a junior and the stats-killing tandem of Juice Williams and Ron Zook, but I think his upside is well worth the possible risk. Mike Williams is a similarly athletic player but has a much lower floor than Benn. Williams is a big character risk -- he got caught in a cheating scandal at school, later quit football altogether, and didn't interview well at the combine -- but he's got a similar physical profile to Benn but has softer hands. Against Northwestern and South Florida this season, Williams had a combined 24 catches for 395 yards and four touchdowns. And that was with Greg Paulus at quarterback. If Benn and Williams are the Bucs starting wide receivers in 2012, then the odds are these picks were home runs. Lewis has safety size but the Bucs will play him at cornerback; they're hoping to groom him as the eventual replacement for Ronde Barber.
The biggest surprise about the Bucs rookies? That Jevan Snead is one of them. Yes, *that* Jevan Snead, who at one point was thought to be the #1 pick in the entire draft. Instead, Snead had a brutal junior season and made the regrettable decision to declare for the draft. He still has the athleticism and big arm to make it in the NFL, but going to the Bucs was a curious move. With Josh Freeman ahead of him, Snead's path to a starting gig seems permanently blocked. Tampa Bay also signed Longhorns placekicker Hunter Lawrence, star of the Big 12 championship game (at least on the Texas side); he could steal Connor Barth's job.
1.16 (16) Derrick Morgan (DE-Georgia Tech) 6'3"-266
3.13 (77) Damian Williams (WR-Southern Cal) 6'1"-197
3.33 (97) Rennie Curran (LB-Georgia) 5'11"-235
4.6 (104) Alterraun Verner (CB-UCLA) 5'10"-189
5.17 (148) Robert Johnson (DB-Utah) 6'2"-200
6.7 (176) Rusty Smith (QB-Florida Atlantic) 6'5"-230
6.38 (207) Myron Rolle (SS-Florida State) 6'2"-215
7.15 (222) Marc Mariani (WR-Montana) 6'0"-185
7.34 (241) David Howard (DT-Brown) 6'3"-298
The Titans were rumored to love Jason Pierre-Paul, but settled for Morgan after the Giants took Paul with the previous pick. With Kyle Vanden Bosch now in Detroit, the Titans had a huge hole at defensive end; Morgan was the top 4-3 end prospect in the draft according to a majority of scouts. Tennessee was without a 2nd round pick after sending it to New England to draft TE Jared Cook in 2009, but they got a second round talent with Williams in the third round. Williams is one of the best route runners in the class, and he combines that with very good hands solid measureables (38" vertical, 4.53 speed). Bringing in Williams, after spending a first rounder last year on Kenny Britt, should give Vince Young the necessary players to develop as a passer. Curran started as a true freshman for the Bulldogs, and made the Freshman All-America team; as a junior in '09, he led the SEC in tackles. Verner wasn't a highly regarded prospect as doesn't have elite speed for a smaller player. So why did Tennessee take him in the 4th? Because he is a tough, physical player that Jeff Fisher craves, and impressed the Titans by earning a 4.0 GPA in applied mathematics. If nothing else, the Titans drafted the smartest secondary in the league: they picked up strong safety and Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle, who slipped to the sixth round after running a 4.68 40 in Indy.
The Titans Traded LenDale White to Seattle during the draft, and appear ready to make 2009 draft pick Javon Ringer the backup to Chris Johnson. But the Titans signed two running backs after the draft that should push Ringer. Stafon Johnson will be remembered at USC not for his great production but for a greusome neck injury he suffered when a barbell crashed on his neck during a bench press. When healthy, Stafon's an explosive player and a natural funner, and he has the athleticism to be a running back in the NFL. The other signee had an equally forgettable 2009: Oregon's LeGarrette Blount will always be remembered more for punching Boise State's Byron Hunt than for anything he did on the field. Blount is a plodder -- at 240 pounds, he lacks top end speed, but his power running stlye could work well as a complement to what Chris Johnson brings to the table.
1.4 (4) Trent Williams (OT-Oklahoma) 6'5"-315
4.5 (103) Perry Riley (LB-LSU) 6'1"-239
6.5 (174) Dennis Morris (TE-Louisiana Tech) 6'2"-265
7.12 (219) Terrence Austin (WR-UCLA) 5'11"-172
7.22 (229) Erik Cook (C-New Mexico) 6'6"-318
7.24 (231) Selvish Capers (OT-West Virginia) 6'4"-308
The Redskins took left tackle Chris Samuels with the third pick in the 2000 draft. Samuels solidified the position for a decade, but retired in March due to spinal stenosis. The Redskins hope they found his replacement on the blind side with Williams, an elite prospect with the athleticism to become a top notch left tackle. The Redskins only had one more pick in the first five rounds, a tall task for a team transition to a 3-4 defense. Riley could be the eventual replacement for London Fletcher in the middle of the defense, and he should rotate with Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh, who will move inside in the new defense. Of course, Washington traded their 2nd round pick for QB Donovan McNabb, and along with Williams, his production will determine whether or not this off-season was a success. Washington also sent a 5th round pick to St. Louis for Adam Carriker, who could revive his career as a 3-4 defensive end.
After the draft, Washington signed Penn State QB Daryll Clark, who like McNabb, posted good numbers but always seemed to frustrate Pennsylvanians in the biggest of games. He'll compete with Colt Brennan for the #3 QB spot behind McNabb and Rex Grossman.
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