The focus so far has been the 4 QBs taken in the Top 12 picks, but what jumps out at me is the amount of Linemen selected in the first round of the Draft Friday. 20 of the 32 players taken are will be either attacking or protecting the QB. A lot of teams reached for needs, which allowed a lot of other teams to get great value in their position.
The Cleveland Browns – The Browns have potential to be the biggest winner in the draft here, as they traded their #6 overall pick to Atlanta for the #27 along with this years 2nd and 4th rounds picks, and next year’s 1st and 4th round picks. Now I wasn’t crazy about them jumping back up later in the first from 27 to 21. They selected Phil Taylor, a DT from Baylor which isn’t a bad pick, but I’m not convinced they couldn’t have stayed put and still gotten him with the 27. We’ll have to see what else Holmgren does in the next few rounds, but so far you gotta be happy in Cleveland.
The Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jags had to trade up to get him, but with the 10th pick they got a Top 5 Projected QB in Blaine Gabbert. I’ve never been a Garrard fan, so to me this is a great value for them, even if they did lose a pick to jump up from 16 to 10, they got their guy. And while Gabbert can’t be happy falling to 10, this seems like a good fit to me.
The Detroit Lions – My beloved Lions. After years of ineptitude by the Millen Regime they seem to finally know what they are doing. DT Nick Fairley out of Auburn was projected as a Top 3 pick a month ago, but fell out of favor because of work ethic questions, much like Ex-Lion Shaun Rodgers. The difference here is, this Lion’s team has guys like Vanden Bosch and Suh, leaders on the D who will push those around them. The first organized player workouts in the NFL, after the lockout started, were those put together by Vanden Bosch. This is a great value at #13 and I think we have the guys to motivate Fairley into becoming a star. The Lions should now have the best D-Line in football.
The New York Giants – Another great value pick was Prince Amukamara dropping to #19, where he was promptly scooped up by the Giants. Amukamara was the 2nd highest rated DB in the draft behind Patrick Peterson (#5 to Arizona) and was projected Top 10. For him to fall to 19, and play behind one of the better pass rushes in the NFL, along with the chip that will undoubtedly be on his shoulder, this pick should work out great for the Giants.
The Baltimore Ravens – Jimmy Smith, the corner out of Colorado was talked about quite a bit in Detroit and expected to be taken in the early teens, so for him to fall to #27 because of his ‘Character Issues’, it’s a steal for the Ravens. And if Ray Lewis can’t keep him in line, then who can? Great Value this late.
The Green Bay Packers – The Packers addressed one of their biggest issues from last year: Offensive Line. Injuries last season forced them to do quite a bit of shuffling on the line, and thier pick now of Tackle Derek Sherrod helps solidify this line. Should be a very productive pick for the end of the round…
The Atlanta Falcons – This is probably where I’ll catch some flack. Atlanta is close to contention, and a playmaker oppisite of Roddy White could put them over the top, so I understand the move. However, being from Detroit, I know the risk involved on putting your hope into the hands of a Rookie Wide-Out (Charles Rogers, Mike Williams, Roy Williams). Julio Jones may well be the piece that puts the Falcons over the top, but the risk is just really high.
They gave up 5 picks (2 First Rounds, a 2nd Round, 2 Fourth Rounds) to move up 21 spots and take a WR…did they consult Matt Millen?
The San Francisco 49ers – Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against Aldon Smith, and I think he will help the Niners, but this is a team that needs some leadership at QB and Blaine Gabbert would’ve been a good fit. Not a terrible pick, and if they grab Ryan Mallett or somebody else in the 2nd round they’ll come off this list entirely. So now it’s a waiting game…
The Tennessee Titans – Jake Locker is a bit of a reach at 8, especially when Gabbert was still on the board. This reminds me of Oakland taking Heyward-Bey over Crabtree a couple years back. Locker was awesome as a Junior, but his Senior year didn’t really merit a Top 10 pick…
The Minnesota Vikings – The departure (and utter failure) of Brett Favre left the Vikings in need of a Quarterback. This is an example of a reach as they took Flordia State’s Christian Ponder. If they wanted him, they probably still could’ve had him next round. This isn’t to say I think he’ll be terrible, but I don’t see this as a good value pick for the Viks…
The Seattle Seahawks – Here is a 7-9 team that embarrassingly made the playoffs and as a result now picks near the bottom of the first round. This is a team that needs help and I don’t know how much of it they got drafting an interior lineman. Much like with the Vikings, it’s not that I think James Carpenter is bad, but he’s not a good value here, and there is a good chance he would’ve still been available next round.
Da’Quan Bowers – Here is a kid who was a one point projected Top 3, is without a doubt one of the most talented players in the draft, and is considered to have excellent character. However concerns about his knee have pushed him entirely out of the first round. This is another guy who the Lions has discussed and I was scared of because of the injury factor, but whoever grabs him in the 2nd round – it’ll be a steal.