We’re about 14 minutes away from the kickoff of the NFL’s annual Spring Super Bowl, otherwise known as the NFL Draft. We’ll be checking in periodically with updates from all the zaniness in New York this afternoon, blow by blow, pick by pick. The Oakland Raiders are on the clock.
1. Oakland Raiders – JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU: My god, that was one cheeseball “draft room” dramatization from ESPN, wasn’t it? This thing gets more and more overblown every year. Mel Kiper says Calvin Johnson is the number one guy on most teams draftboard, but that “JaMarcus Russell has to be the Raiders pick.” Al Davis and the Raiders agreed, and go with the hulking QB from LSU with the first overall choice. This is one big boy–yep, he loves to eat. Russell probably won’t start the season behind center, but this team isn’t going anywhere and we fully expect Russell to take over the starting job by midseason. If Moss is still around, Russell’s cannon arm is well suited to Moss’ love for the deep ball.
2. Detroit Lions – Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech: Please, ESPN, get the Lions’ recent first-round pick history off the screen! It’s a nightmare! No trade (yet), the Lions’ take their fourth stab at fortifying their receiving corps with a top-10 pick at the wideout spot. Lots of speculation that Johnson will still be traded, but as a Lions fan, unless they’re being offered a pirate’s ransom for Johnson, let’s just hold onto him at his point. This guy is going to be Pro Bowler by his second year. Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson on the field at the same time? SICK. SICK. SICK. This isn’t a sure thing yet though… trade is still a very real possibility. They could have drafted Brady Quinn.
From MLive just now: “Mike Martz has bene pushing for the Lions to draft Calvin Johnson for some time. He’s even been leaving sticky notes around Rod Marinelli’s office, pretending to be Johnson, with phrases like “Coach, I like you a lot, please draft me. Calvin.” Today, he got his man, saying in the press conference explaining the pick: “He’s the best (WR prospect) I’ve ever seen.”
3. Cleveland Browns – Joe Thomas, LT, Wisconsin: A bit of a surprise pick here for the Browns, as most of ESPN’s talking heads had Brady Quinn pegged as the pick. Berman says “Thomas has one of the highest grades of any offensive lineman in the past few years. Higher than D’Brickashaw Ferguson.” We’ll see. You have to like this pick, though, as we’re just not convinced that Brady Quinn is a sure thing to succeed at the professional level. Of course, you might hear differently from Andrew if Quinn slides to his Vikings at #7. At any rate, solid, smart pick here for Cleveland. Thomas should be a starter for the next 12 years in the Dawg Pound.
4. Tampa Bay Bucs – Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson: The reasoning behind passing on Brady Quinn is that Phil Simms and Jeff Garcia are already on the roster. So what? Garcia is a just a great backup at this point in his career and Simms just isn’t a franchise QB. For my money, Quinn was the pick here. That said, going defense also makes sense with this pick. Monte Kiffin is a terrific defensive coordinator who gets a lot out of players that are just above average, but he needs some horses. The Bucs have five defensive starters in their 30s going into the 2007 season. Gaines Adams projects to be a premier pass rusher that should fit in very well in Tampa’s D. He’s certainly the best defensive player in this draft and could be an impact player right away. Adams is compares favorably to last year’s number one overall pick Mario Williams. He’s consistent, athletic, quick on the edges and will be giving opposing QBs nightmares for years to come. He’ll be a great player, I just think Tampa Bay will regret passing on Quinn in the coming years.
5. Arizona Cardinals – Levi Brown, OT, Penn State: There really weren’t any picks that make perfect sense for the Cardinals here. With Edgerin James and Matt Leinert signed to big contracts, the two best players on the board, Peterson and Quinn, had to be ruled out. But offensive line was a major need for the Cards and Levi Brown will be a fine player. He’s a physical, nasty and extremely strong. He’ll help, and he may have been the right pick, but he probably didn’t warrant a 5th overall selection. Nobody else fit their needs though. Brown will protect their franchise player, Matt Leinert, and improve Edge’s putrid YPC from 2006. The Brady Quinn saga continues, and the smart money has him landing in Minnesota.
6. Washington Redskins – LaRon Landry, S, LSU: As their only first-day pick, this had to count for the Skins. Trading down and for a second or third round pick makes sense; this team has only drafted 42 collegiate players since 2000, the fewest in the league. But ESPN just panned to Landry at home, and judging by his reaction, it looks like he’s tipped the ‘Skins’ hat. Andrew says “he and Sean Taylor are going to be blowing people up. Nasty.” This guy looks mean. MEAN. Redskins opponents are going to have fuuuuuuun going over the middle for the next 5 – 6 years. Brady Quinn.
7. Minnesota Vikings – Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma: Vikings fans: get used to Tarvaris Jackson. Learn to love him. For better or worse, he is your franchise QB. The Minnesota front offense surprised many by passing on Brady Quinn and landed Peterson, who will become their franchise offensive player. This pick will likely define the Brad Childress era in Minnesota. Adrian Peterson is going to be a great player, but an injury history has to make any team nervous. Maybe that’s a blessing in disguise for the Viqueens though, because AD’s elite talent would certainly have made him a top-three selection otherwise. He also looks to have a low running style that shouldn’t make him injury prone in general, assuming his previous maladies don’t come back to haunt him. The other knock on this pick is that the Vikings signed Chester Taylor to a four-year contract going into last season. Having two solid RBs isn’t a bad problem to have though, and he could take a lot of pressure off of Jackson. Brady Quinn made a ton of sense here, but Peterson is explosive, he’s a workhorse and tremendous athlete, and he’ll be a great blocker.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Jamaal Anderson – DE, Arkansas: With Landry and Brown both off the board, and a failure to trade up and get Calvin Johnson, the Falcons didn’t really have much choice but to turn to Anderson, a classic “upside” guy that’s very talented, but somewhat of a question mark. Honestly, not a very sexy pick here for the Falcons, and you can’t help but feel that, maybe, this is one of those guys that doesn’t overwhelm for at least a few years. And, for the time being, the Falcons still don’t have a legitimate threat at wideout for Ron Mexico. Brady Quinn. They better be focused on the top-rated talent at WR in the second round. The next pick should be a no-brainer for Miami; c’mon, don’t take up the whole 15 minutes.
The Falcons made no secret about their infatuation with CJ. From MLive just now:
According to a source close to the situation, the Atlanta Falcons could’ve had Calvin Johnson for a swap of first-round picks and also their two second-rounders and a third rounder. At the time, the Falcons believed it was too costly.
However, Atlanta’s gamble backfired because they believed that their second option — safety LaRon Landry — could be there at No. 8. When that fizzled (to no one else’s surprise), the Falcons were sitting on the outside of the small group of elite players that went in the first seven picks. Atlanta had to settle for Jamaal Anderson, who was not highly rated on a lot of boards. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of a receiver — if any — the Falcons can get with one of their two second-round picks.
9. Miami Dolphins – Ted Gunn, Jr., WR, Ohio State: What a shocker. This would have been the best scenario for Quinn, and Ginn is a major reach here. Brady Quinn looks sick to his stomach and his girlfriend isn’t too pleased either. But Mel Kiper may be the most upset, he’s taking this as a personal insult. Ginn is a smaller WR at 5’11″, but he is a home run hitter. He has tremendous speed and game-breaking capability, and he’ll be returning kicks right away. But he isn’t as polished as you’d like to see in a 9th overall pick at WR and lacks route running skills. A Joey Galloway type who won’t thrive in the middle of the field, I just can’t see this pick making sense with Quinn still on the board.
10. Houston Texans – Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville: “One of the most compelling stories we’ve ever had in the draft,” says Chris Berman. The young, 300-pound, 19-year-old kid will be paired with Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, and Dunta Robinson to give the Texans a (potentially) explosive defense anchored by four guys all under 25 years old. There really wasn’t anyone on offense that made sense for the Texans at this spot, but look for them to take a long look at running backs in round two or three. Brady Quinn.
Read the rest of this article »