2010 NFL Draft Wrap-up
Before I give my thoughts on this year's draft, here's a look at what I thought of last year. Hits and misses in bold (note the playoff sleeper and the final line).
Mockery of Mock Drafts
The media has become so large, relentless and ridiculous that every year the pre-draft process gets more and more exposed. And I think this was the year the teams knew it. Despite millions of reports, every player visit counted, every pro day scrutinized (what teams, coaches, GMs were there), the bottom line on Thursday night was that we were ALL in the dark. They liked him, they would've taken him, bla bla bla. Peter King, who I assume has some decent sources, predicted the Eagles to move up and draft a DE. Sure enough - they did. But they took Brandon Graham, not Derrick Morgan. Rick Gosselin, one of the best mock drafters out there - got a faulty tip about the Redskins pick and mocked Okung to them. No one is even coming close to tipping their hand anymore. And this is just the beginning. The Redskins frantically tried to smokescreen (first about a QB, second about Berry) so that someone would move up to #4. Pioli's comments about taking a safety high were examined thoroughly. And when he had the chance to take the best LT in the draft - he took the safety that high. On day two, the Panthers wanted people to know they were targeting Colt McCoy. They took Jimmy Clausen. Gotta love it.
I hate the term reach. There's no such thing as a reach. I hope Alualu is a great player for the Jags and applaud Gene Smith for not caring about perception or media rankings. But here's what I don't understand: Unless there was a team in the top 20 considering selecting Alualu, the Jags have to trade down. Well they couldn't you say. But why? #11, #12, and #13 were ALL traded. Was being in the top ten really that scary for all the other teams (the money at #10 is not THAT much more than #11)? Or did the Jaguars not buzz up the pick the way the other teams did? You have to wonder... Here's what I think - and it's tough for me to really think a team could have been so ill-prepared on the biggest night of the year for a staff - but I think they wanted one of two players: Rolando McClain or C.J. Spiller. I think they were going to be ecstatic to land either of them at pick #10. I think they panicked. I think they were not prepared for the scenario that played out - and they did not have the presentation the teams at 11, 12 and 13 had for potential trading partners (driving up interest in the pick by saying other teams are interested, etc.). I think they looked at their board and saw a few players rated above Alualu, but took the guy at a position of great need. And to embellish on the above point - JPP was often linked to the Jags and he was clearly never seriously considered. It's sad because regardless of what happens to Alualu, if Tebow OR Clausen are successful, the Jags will remember this draft for the wrong reasons. I hope I'm wrong about what happened in that war room for the sake of the Jaguars franchise.
4-2-5 and 3-3-5
People often talk about getting starters in the first and second round. During the last few years it's been proven that you need at least three RBs and you can never have enough pass rushers. This year something else became clear - you need three "starting" quality cornerbacks. The Jets were as strong as anyone on defense and came into the draft with two extremely gifted cover guys on the outside (Resus Christ and Travis Henry 2.0). They needed OL depth, DL help, a pass rusher and perhaps another S. But even with their "starting" CBs in tact, they opted for another in Kyle Wilson. Why? The Colts. And the Saints. And everyone with three WRs. So everyone. The Colts base offense is one RB, one TE who eats LBs in coverage, and three very good WRs. The Jets are now more prepared to deal with that than they were last year. Same goes for the Browns (Haden), Saints (Robinson), Patriots (McCourty), and Vikings (Cook) - all teams who seemlingly had greater "needs" than CB. Think about the final four from last year: Wayne, Garcon, Gonzalez, Collie, Clark/Colston, Meachem, Henderson, Moore, Shockey/Rice, Berrian, Harvin, Shiancoe/Edwards, Cotchery, Holmes, Keller.
Best Moment of the Draft
The old dude walked up to the podium to announce Mr. Irrelevant. He was greeted by a chorus of boos coming from an audience comprised of probably no more than 60 fans. Of them, I would guess that 10% were fully committed to making this old man struggle as much as they possibly could. Finally, he got over the boos and announced Tim Toone to the Lions, which prompted the fans to (correctly) chant "O-VER-RATED". Clearly, these fans knew how overrated Toone was. The poor old man then hilariously struggled to explain... ...something over the chorus of screaming (I heard "NO ONE CARES!" at least once). Finally, he finished off saying "the #1 pick will not be invited", which undoubtedly hurt Sam Bradford immensely, as the most awkward pick (Toone) and pick "speech" in the history of the NFL concluded.
On to the grades...
Nothing crazy here. They filled a huge need with Williams early and got a possible replacement for Dansby with Washington. The RT and TE spots remain a bit weak but we all know the season depends on the left arm of Matty Ballroom.
I have a hard time with the Weatherspoon pick for two reasons. 1 - OLB in a 4-3 is not an overly important position (at #19 especially). 2 - they passed on Dez Bryant, who was a PERFECT fit for them. I'm sure Spoon will be fine and the + is for Mike Johnson and Franks - two great values and potential impact contributors. I just don't know how they'll fare once Roddy is keyed on and Turner and Gonzo lose a step.
Everyone is loving this draft but I just don't see it. I always thought Kindle was one of the more overrated and one-dimensional prospects in this draft. Perhaps in that scheme his inconsistency will be masked by the good players around him. They didn't add any corners and both TEs could be contributors but neither seem like much of an upgrade over Heap. I do like Art Jones in the 6th a lot though.
People are knocking them because they didn't draft a QB. I don't care. Clearly they didn't like any QBs in this draft and they very well could be proven they were right to pass on them. Just because you need a QB doesn't mean you take a future bust to appease the fan base or the media. C.J. Spiller was the best player on their board and they took him without any hesitation because he was probably the best offensive playmaker in the draft. I am a huge Spiller fan, so obviously I love the pick and I see nothing wrong with it at all. Fred Jackson is an OK 1B RB and although they failed to trade Lynch, you just don't pass on Spiller there. Great pick. As for them ignoring the OL until Wang, I think there may be a Flozell in their future. Obviously they weren't too high on any of the mid-round OTs and took Charles Brown off their board due to injury. Troup and Carrington should help a DL transition to a 3-4. Remember, they had a pretty good pass defense last year already. I liked the players they got and wouldn't be surprised if Levi Brown gets some snaps this season OR they end up with Jake Locker next year. Either way they'll be in decent shape right?
Clearly teams were turned off of Clausen. I just don't see how a talent like that can fall that far. With their running backs, he may look more NFL ready than he actually is this year. I hate LaFell and think they'll be looking for a #2 WR again next year, but love Edwards (not the price, but the player), and Hardy/Norwood both have the tools to contribute.
Ho-hum draft. They obviously needed to help out the secondary. Don't see much in terms of improvement or long-term studs but the key to this draft is Cutler obviously.
For the second straight year I absolutely loved the Bengals draft. Gresham vs. Bryant is an argument, but for the short-term it definitely makes more sense to add the TE. Palmer will love him right away. Shipley could be the #2 of the future or an upgrade over Caldwell as the slot and Briscoe and Atkins were steals. Dunlap clearly has potential and Ghee may end up as a starting safety sometime in the future for the Bengals. Great value at every spot.
Awkward draft. Asante was a good pick and Ward, although a good football player no doubt, may be best suited as a special teamer. It hinges on McCoy, whose NFL potential may best be projected by how far he fell. Even the guy who believed in him passed on him three times. Ouch.
Dez Bryant was an absolute steal and should be a playmaker from day one in Dallas. He's not Randy Moss by any stretch but could still develop into a #1 WR in the mold of Eric Moulds. AOA could be the free safety as early as this year and Sean Lee was a bit underrated. They are the Niners of this draft even though Crabtree is better.
Only reason it's not an F is because of I love Decker Cox, and the OL guys. They lost Cutler and Brandon Marshall and now replace them with D. Thomas (who apparently reminds McD of... Marshall... wtf?) and Tebow. There is no reason to take Thomas over Dez and he won't be a #1 WR anytime soon because he's too green in the route-running department. I'm wary of WRs who simply don't catch the ball that much but I do recognize his immense potential. Tebow looked terrible in the Senior Bowl (as a pure QB AND athletically - wasn't fast or fluid) and is now changing his throwing motion. I don't see how you can take him over Clausen but Josh McD did it anyway.
They got Tim Toone.
Getting Bulaga that late was a good move and Starks looks like a steal. Burnett was also a guy I felt fell a little too far. I just don't know about adding 0 CBs with the age they have there and Mike Neal was probably not a good pick that high.
I love Kareem Jackson and think he'll be a starting CB for them on day one. Nothing else stands out and I'm not sure Ben Tate isn't the same type of player as someone you can find in the 5th.
Jerry Hughes was one of the beastliest (making up a word) players in the draft. Getting him at 31 was a huge steal and I believe a direct result of the Jets being unable to pass on Kyle Wilson. Angerer could be the heir apparent to Brackett and Kevin Thomas is another nice DB who could look great with that defense. They don't need to draft a million crazy players to make an impact and Hughes will be heard from early and often this season.
It's hard to argue with a guy who got four probable starters last year but I think Gene Smith struck out this year. Only time will tell but there could be a LOT of players Jaguars fans may be saying "we could have had" down the road.
I hate when teams make bad picks because of "needs". The Chiefs looked at the board and made great picks at each spot. Jamal Charles was great last year, but who knows if that can last and Thomas Jones is on his last legs. McCluster can play wildcat QB, slot WR, returner, or RB so he'll find the field and help out Matt Cassel. Arenas was a weird choice but I always thought a bit underrated as a pure CB. Small doesn't mean anything. Asamoah was a steal and how about this nugget: The Chiefs took 5 team captains in their first 5 picks. I thought Pioli did terrible last year but I'm loving this class.
Apparently Randy Starks is moving to NT which makes the Odrick pick make more sense. Still, they are incredibly weak at free safety and I'm not sure Reshad Jones would be the best guy to play centerfield. I do like Jerry and this draft is easily an A when you consider they added a top-5 talent at WR for two 2nds.
I'm not a huge Gerhart guy and I don't know how that helps them in the third-down short passing game replacing Chester Taylor. Cook also seemed like an overrated guy based on his rise after a good senior bowl despite not doing much in real games. I like Griffen's potential to be a huge steal but I don't think Webb is anywhere near the prospect Edwards is for Carolina. They could still be a very good team again but I wasn't feeling this group of guys.
Well they have two firsts and two seconds for next year so that was a great job. I knew they were going to target Gronkowski and if he stays healthy he will be a top five TE in the NFL by his second year. McCourty gives them special teams help, where games can be won and lost but I just don't see this as a draft for a team that needed to rebuild a bit. This looks like a draft for one of the old Patriot teams needing only depth. I love Spikes, Hernandez, and would never mess with the Zoltan, but I just don't think their pass rush or DL is good enough to warrant spending all these picks on TEs and special teamers.
The Champs strictly went with the highest player on their board at every spot. Can't fault them for that. Sure they could use some athleticism at LB and DE, but this team is already stacked. Looks like Jenkins will move to FS.
I didn't hate it. From what I'm hearing, JPP has work ethic and motor, and when you combine that with some time to learn on the bench and great coaching/mentors + his insane physical prowess, I predict big things for everyone's favorite bust. Again, Reese stayed true to his board and didn't reach for a Spoon who may have been a liability against the run at Mike - the last thing the Giants needed. The pick I don't get is Chad Jones. They got Deon Grant and Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips comes back from injury. Perhaps he was just too good an athlete to pass up.
Solid B for them. Wilson was a great pick, Ducasse could start right away and the two RB/FB are impact/starter-quality players. After last year's coup and what they did via trades, this draft was just icing on the cake.
We make fun of Al Davis but he's probably swung and missed as much as any other GM (Russell, Huff, DHB come to mind). The fact is, this guy did draft guys like Nnamdi and Zach Miller. And this year I think we saw good Al. McClain will be a pro bowler in no time, Lamarr Houston fell too much, one of the OTs will be good, McFadden has potential to contribute, and Ford is a sneaky good pick because he was underrated as a receiver and immediately brings insane speed to the return game.
I don't really understand how they physically made 13 picks (no way 13 players are making that roster) but I like most of the guys. They didn't get an elite talent for the secondary but I was always a huge proponent of Nate Allen and think he'll start right away. And you can't argue with Brandon Graham. Also, Lindley will be a 3rd or 4th CB soon and one of those LBs will crack the starting lineup at some point next year.
"She said no! She said no!" I like the move for McFadden even though I don't see the secondary improving much this season. Clearly the line got better. I guess Sylvester will move inside because I don't understand the need for three OLBs. Dwyer fell very, very far but I wonder why and I think it's possible Antonio Brown ends up better than Emmanuel Sanders.
They got literally no offensive lineman which was a head-scratcher but effectively replaced LT and filled three other spots at ILB, S, and NT with good prospects. Still, Rivers could use another weapon in the passing game and you have to wonder if Matthews will excel considering how bad the interior line was last year at run blocking. RB is also the easiest position to find, but I guess with such a good team you can afford to lose a second.
Clearly they helped the offensive line but you've got to wonder if this was the year they could have found the QB of the future. Regardless, with Gore, Crab, an VD, Smith has everything he needs (including an easy division) to get this team to the playoffs. Mays probably won't ever be a great safety but I like Bowman a lot and Dixon should be an upgrade over Coffee.
They didn't add much in terms of LBs or DL (maybe Davis is a gem) but they got good value with Saffold, Murphy, and Gilyard. Bradford will be a star. Size and accuracy are two things you can't teach and the latter is the #1 trait a pro QB needs (see Aaron Rodgers). It's an A because of the addition of a franchise QB (most important position in the game) but the "-" because their defense wasn't helped that much, they don't have any Gresham-like weapons with size for SB, and they still don't have a decent backup/future heir for S-Jax.
Every year the Bucs select Florida State LBs. The Price pick was a head-scratcher at first but he'll play NT so the best case scenario is that he'll start next to McCoy. They are bound to hit with at least one of the WRs and Lewis is a good DB with size and potential who fits the scheme.
Every pick was good value and Morgan should have never fallen that far. He'll be a starter right away and I wouldn't be surprised to see Curran, Verner, and Johnson make an impact this season either. Britt-Williams could be the WR duo for VY for years to come as well.
I think they could be good this year. However, they screwed this up. Okung is the better player - he just isn't as fast. Otherwise they added a reserve linebacker, a FB prospect and practice squad candidates. I think McNabb could lead them to the playoffs but I did not like this draft at all.
The Golden Tate Warriors AKA SEA: A
This is not me being a homer. I gave them a C+ last year and knocked most of their picks (only reason it was a + was because of the trade for a 2010 first). This year, however, they did everything right. No need to go too far in depth because everyone in the media is already gushing about the class but quickly they got the best tackle in the draft, a ballhawking free safety (I do acknowledge he has bust risk), and Steve Smith-lite in the first two rounds. My personal favorite move was the trade of basically nothing for Leon Washington, who Jets fans know is an extremely underrated football player. IF he comes back from the leg injury as the same player (big if) he will immediately improve the Seahawks offense and special teams. Dexter Davis was undervalued as a productive, athletic pass rusher, and of course they also added Konzie. Ayyyyyyyy.
Good write up, both this year and last year. I'm loving the Cinci grades obviously too :)
I just want to say, I'm right with you on BPA picks and reaches. I think that the Chiefs followed their board and will pay off big time in both the short and long term. And while Alualu wasn't ranked that high by the media, you have to believe the Jags saw something that no one else did or heard a rumor that he was gone soon.
Good and fair grades to all teams imo.
Give more credit to Fred Jackson. The only things not to like about him is that he's not a long-term option and that he doesn't have the one-play gamebreak ability that Spiller does. He was our offense last year and plays like a legit #1.
I don't really think you can say we're in (will be in) good shape with what we have at LT or QB. If not QB this year, then you really wanted to set up for a foundation for maybe a Locker next year. I know Spiller can be a damn good player, but RB and OG are really all we have on offense.
We'll see how the DL transition goes. I'm still not even sure who starts where at this point or how long they try to make the guys from the previous scheme work.
Something is wrong here if you don't think the Steelers secondary won't improve with Troy healthy and Bryan McFadden walking in as a starter on day one. This is the exact same Secondary that won the Super Bowl.
Steelers draft Linebackers to make up for lack of CB picks (which everyone mocks to them every single year getting it wrong). Linebackers are their strength, and they continue to play it. It's working.
I feel like a broken record pointing this out, but lowering the Bears' grade simply for lack of picks is getting annoying. Look at what they did with the picks they had and grade from there.
That said, Major Wright might not be the greatest pick in the world, but he was the best player at the top position of need available with the pick, and very well may start from day 1 given the other garbage at the position...Who would you have preferred that the Bears take there? No one has had a good answer for me yet, yet people bithc about the pick.
And Wootton was a steal....and despite the addition of Peppers, there's very little else of proven worse on the d-line. I love Israel Idonije as much as the next guy, but there's no way he should be a starting 4-3 DE in the NFL. Anderson, blah...Melton, unproven...Gilbert unproven...Harris not the player he once was...the NTs, meh... Pretty decent 4th rounder. All I heard leading up to the draft was stuff like "Oh, Wootton, he would have been a 1st round if not for the injury!!" We get him in the 4th round and....suddenly the luster he had was gone. What would you have preferred us to do here?
After that, I really don't care since they're all depth picks...it would have been unrealistic to expect to find impact guys that late. Maybe some work out, who knows, but I don't detract from draft grades based on picks in the 5th round or later.
I think people wrongly assume things about the chargers OL. The only reason our interior OL was so bad was because Hardwick was out the entire year basically and we were playing with a rook RG who came out of a spread system who is just learning alot of the run blocking technique stuff.
With a year under their belt of a healthy OL, we should be near dominate. We didn't need any OL help. Mathews should be fine this year.
I am not a fan of Colt McCoy or his being picked by my Browns, but really? Mike Holmgren, Tom Heckert, and Eric Mangini don't really believe in him because they passed on him 3 times aka they had a 1st round pick and 2 2nd round picks they used on other players. Apparently, they should have spent 7th pick on McCoy to show just how much they believed in him as a player.
Come on, you're better than that.
Why didn't you knock the Titans for the LenDale/Vickerson trade? You're a Seattle fan, so I figured you'd have loved that for ya'll. I think it was mutually beneficial though. LenDale and Vickerson were in the last years of their contract, and only Vickerson had a chance of re-signing. LenDale wanted to be traded, and he wasn't needed with the emergence of Chris Johnson as an elite RB and Javon Ringer was drafted in the 5th last year. Vickerson was the #5 DT, and only came in on goalline/short yardage situations. Meanwhile, reuniting LenDale with Carroll and giving them a big bodied DT would have helped Seattle. So the Titans were able to send them there, and use them to swap picks in the 4th, allowing them to take their top CB on their board in Alterraun Verner (Shortly after taking him, another team called them to congratulate them and that they were going to take him with their pick - I think it was Andy Reid and Philly, who took a CB with the next pick), and also in the 6th RD where they took QB Rusty Smith.
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