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NFL Draft, Day One

Well, the first day of the NFL draft is finally over. It was the longest first round in history, the longest first day in history. I'm exhausted just from watching it.

It's impossible to evaluate a draft until three years after it's finished, but that doesn't stop anyone from trying. Including me.

My two teams took completely different approaches this year.

The Jets were very aggressive. They traded up in the first round to get the top corner in the draft, giving up one of their two second round picks to move up eleven slots or so. Then they traded up again in the second round, this time surrendering their third rounder to snag a highly-rated linebacker who'd slid down significantly. That left them without a third rounder. Today's swaps and some previous moves also left them without a fourth or a fifth, so the Jets won't be drafting again until round six, and maybe not until round seven. They are going to end up with a very small draft class, probably no more than four players. On the other hand, the two guys they got today are prime, and both of them should make an immediate impact on the team.

The Giants, on the other hand, were totally passive. With trades flying around like bullets and teams moving up and down and sideways and hopping over one another, the G-Men just sat there and picked when their turns came. One, two, three. Tomorrow, I expect, they will go four, five, six, and seven. The first two of the three players they got today were solid, I think. The first round cornerback will be of help to our aging secondary, and the second round wide receiver (Steve Smith -- I was actually hoping the Carolina Panthers would draft him a couple pick earlier, so they could start Steve Smith and Steve Smith as their wideouts) looks be pretty decent as well (however, if Amani Toomer comes back and Sinorice Moss finally plays some, the Giants won't really need another wide receiver). The third round pick seemed like a real reach -- all the draft magazines had him rated as a sixth or seventh rounder. The biggest problem is, the Giants did nothing to address their most pressing need -- a left tackle to replace Luke Pettigout and fortify the offensive line. Last season, when Eli faded down the stretch, I was screaming for the Hefty Lefty. Well, I have a feeling that I may get to see him this year. Unless the Giants do something to fix that line, Eli is going to bloody well get killed back there.

All in all, I thought the Jets had a much better day than the Giants did.

Of course, when watching the draft, a true fan not only wants his own teams to do well, he wants their archrivals to do poorly. That worked out better for me, I think. The Eagles traded away their first round pick, and then took a quarterback with their first pick of the day, in the early second round. That won't please Donovan McNabb at all, and certainly did nothing to strengthen the team. He wasn't even an especially great prospect, according to most of the commentators. I think Andy Reid shot himself in the foot.

Even at that, he did better than the Miami Dolphins, who shot themselves in the head. When Detroit, Cleveland, and then Minnesota passed on Brady Quinn, I was screaming and cursing, because that meant he would fall into the lap of the Dolphins, and finally solve their long-standing quarterback problem. I visualized myself cursing his name for the next fifteen years, as he led the Dolphins to victories over the Jets just like Danny Marino just to do. But then the Dolphins punted their brains, and passed on Quinn to pick a speedy wideout / kick returner coming off an injured foot. No one in Radio City Music Hall could believe it, and neither could I. I think the Miami fans will remember this day with as much fondness as Jets fans remember the day we passed on Marino to select Ken O'Brien... the day we passed on Emmitt Smith to take Blair Thomas... the day we passed on Warren Sapp to pick Kyle Brady...

And it's great that it someone else's turn to be really, really stupid.

As for the other great rival of the Jets, the Pats of New England... well, there I am less sanguine. The Patriots wheeled and dealed and traded down and down again, and wound up with only one pick today... but they have stockppiled something like forty-seven for tomorrow, and Scott Pioli and The Vile Belichick have a satanic skill at the finding gems in the later rounds. The Patriots draft doesn't look like much right now, but I have the feeling that by the end of training camp, they'll have the usual hatful of talented young players.

And Dallas, well... to tell the truth, they moved around so much I don't have any sense of what the hell they were doing. They traded up, they traded down, they did this and that, and who the hell knows? The big thing is actually next year. The Cleveland Browns gave up their first round pick in next year's draft so they could go up and pick Brady Quinn... which means I have to root for the Browns to do well next year, since I don't want the despised Cowboys to get a primo choice. Go, Brownies, go!

Brady Quinn's fall was the big story of the day. From where I sit, it wasn't warranted. I think Al Davis made a mistake. In the long run, Brady Quinn will have a better pro career than Jamarcus Russell. Yes, yes, Russell has a "cannon for an arm," as I heard fifty times today. I've seen a lot of cannon-armed quarterbacks come and go in the years that I've been watching football. Bert Jones had a cannon for an arm. Richard Todd. Roman Gabriel. Jeff George. Kerry Collins. I'd rather have a Joe Montana or a Phil Simms. The fact that Russell can fling the ball eighty years off his back foot is only likely to be relevant if the Raiders sign Quicksilver and The Flash as wideouts.

We'll know for sure in ten years or so, I guess. And have a clue in three.

That's why they play the games.

Meanwhile, there's another day of draft tomorrow.



( 67 comments — Leave a comment )
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Apr. 29th, 2007 05:14 am (UTC)
You need a Brett Favre and the Packers needs a better team *sigh*
Apr. 29th, 2007 05:15 am (UTC)
Pitt fan checking in here...Revis was a great pick. The first time I saw him play as a freshman I knew he was going to be the real thing.

Quinn puzzles me. I loathe ND football, so I admit that colors my perception, but I'm not sure he doesn't have some Eli in him attitude-wise. He just hides it better. Skillwise, his accuracy drops off down field and his alleged ability to stand in the pocket against pressure is going to be severely tested when he has to face the ungodly fast pass rushers in the NFL. So, as a life-long Browns fan, I'm not dancing in the street tonight.

I still can't believe the Browns signed Jamal Lewis.

One pick that's going to make a big immediate impact, in my mind, is Gonzalez to the Colts. He's an odd guy, but he's a unique talent. And he's the kind of receiver Peyton is just going to love.

Apr. 29th, 2007 05:20 am (UTC)
Nice draft for the Jets. I think they may have pulled the trigger a bit quick on getting Revis when Leon Hall lasted until 18. But then again when you have a chance to get the player you want, you get him. I think the David Harris pick was better and they got him right where most expected him to go until he shot up the draft boards in the past two weeks. He is an excellent ILB for a 3-4 and a much better fit than Vilma for the run-stuffer ILB, and it should allow Vilma to take the role of the cover ILB. Now if they can only get Robertson to do better at the NT spot...

As for the Giants, I am sure they were hoping that Hall would drop to them but what can you do. After that, meh...

I will say this much: The Patriots absolutely hated this draft. You sit there waiting for 6 hours for your team to make their second pick and they trade out of the round. Oh well, 2 #1's and 2 #3's for next year.

I was telling my wife about the irony of which team you cheer for when you get their pick in the next year's draft. Last season I was rooting for the 49ers to beat out the Seahawks because the Pats had the Seahawks' pick. Now I am rooting for the Seahawks to beat the 49ers because the Pats have the 49ers' pick. I wonder if the Pats are trying to work their way through the NFC West. Next year we trade a 1st rounder to the Rams and then the Cardinals the 2009.
Apr. 29th, 2007 05:42 am (UTC)
Because when you think football, think Italian!
Bucs take SS Sabby Piscitelli late in the 2nd round.

The what and the who?
Apr. 29th, 2007 06:48 am (UTC)
Re: Because when you think football, think Italian!
He's Richie Cunningham's best pal. Or a guy that Tony Soprano wacked the other day.

(seriously, as a Pac-10 fan, he's a good pick. He'll do well. I'm surprised that he lasted that long given Carolina's need for a safety)

Apr. 29th, 2007 08:12 am (UTC)
I still think Bert Jones could have been one of the best ever, if he hadn't got injured. He had a couple of really stellar years just before.
Apr. 29th, 2007 08:24 am (UTC)
I don't get to see much football out here (we get a game on maybe once a week on one of the sports channels), and definitely no draft coverage, but I had just read up a bit on it yesterday and was quite curious to see if the Dolphins would pick up Quinn, since they were supposed to be on the lookout for a QB.

And ... they didn't take him? Well.

Sports Illustrated (which came into my hands by strange coincidence, because we usually don't get that out here, either) had an article on JaMarcus Russell, with a comparison to Quinn. There was an intersting graph showing their changing fortunes, and the end result is that it makes you realize how much voodoo is involved in the process of divining who's a high-level draft pick. Quinn had "too many" starts, so the witchdoctors could analyze him to death (even though a high number of college starts is one of the key indicators of future NFL performance for a QB, according to SI), while Russell didn't have that many and really only had a run of good games towards the end.

Russell's size and strength really seems to have impressed folks, I guess. It will be interesting to follow their careers and see how they do.
Apr. 29th, 2007 11:28 am (UTC)
We never know. In ten years, one or both of these quarterbacks could have gone the way of Ryan Leaf, and we'll look back on this day and laugh.

I suspect Jamarcus Russell will not start from Day 1, regardless. They should probably throw the new McCown kid they picked up into the meat grinder until he's completely useless. At least have a season. If Russell becomes a rookie starter, I suspect he'll have a David Carr-like career and not a Vince Young-like one.

I also never feel sorry for a quarterback who slips from the top 5 to a later part of the round. In most cases, this usually means you go to a team that made or just missed the playoffs and has a much better offensive line to protect him. I was pushing for him to replace Trent Green at Kansas City. Unfortunately for him, the Cleveland Clowns swooped back into the first round to grab him. So, he'll be on a team that was bad enough for a top 5 pick, but getting paid as if he were on a team that can protect him much better.

The Miami pick was the same thing the Raiders did with their first pick last year. They had Matt Leinart still on the board, and instead they reached down for a safety, Michael Huff. In all regards, Huff is looking like he's going to go to the Pro Bowl several times in his career, given his good rookie season, but the Raiders had to come back this year and get a quarterback anyway. Personally, I think Leinart was/still is a better talent/prospect at quarterback than this year's entire quarterback class. As for Miami, it just means they're already in the running for next year's #1 pick.

The Giants did the same thing my Steelers do every year. They traded up once in the first round, that I can remember, and got S Troy Polamalu, so it was definitely worth it. They never trade away subsequent years' picks for one this year, like I've seen Baltimore and now Cleveland do. The Giants' pick was at least discussed with a bit of intrigue. The Steelers' pick was telegraphed in 2 months ago by all draft speculators, so except for the pick-by-pick analysis ESPN had, it wasn't even discussed. I figured Coughlin would show more initiative, though, and do something risky to keep him job, like Romeo Crennel did in Cleveland. If you suspect this is your last year as head coach if you don't succeed, why not gamble off someone else's future for a higher chance of success this year.
May. 9th, 2007 05:19 pm (UTC)
"I suspect he'll have a David Carr-like career and not a Vince Young-like one."

Interesting comment considering that Vince Young hasn't had a career as yet.

I think Vince Young will be similar to Michael Vick - The greatest thing since sliced bread and now looking more like toast.
Apr. 29th, 2007 11:36 am (UTC)
The fact that Russell can fling the ball eighty years off his back foot is only likely to be relevant if the Raiders sign Quicksilver and The Flash as wideouts.

Now, see, if people would make this kind of reference more often in football I bet I'd find it a lot more interesting. :)
Apr. 29th, 2007 12:13 pm (UTC)
I suspect, sadly, you're right about the tackle problem. A lot of the mock drafts I saw had the Giants picking a Tackle in the first round, or the second.

Eli is having too many problems as it is. If he has to play "duck the blitzer" every down, he'll never improve and the Giants won't even get 8 wins.

Apr. 29th, 2007 12:47 pm (UTC)
Agreed. Eli needs to remember how to throw a ball.
Apr. 29th, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC)
And Dallas, well... to tell the truth, they moved around so much I don't have any sense of what the hell they were doing. They traded up, they traded down, they did this and that, and who the hell knows? The big thing is actually next year. The Cleveland Browns gave up their first round pick in next year's draft so they could go up and pick Brady Quinn... which means I have to root for the Browns to do well next year, since I don't want the despised Cowboys to get a primo choice. Go, Brownies, go!

You want to know the sad part? Me, the native Texan (and Fort Worthian...if that's the correct word) AGREES. We have no clue what's wrong with them. Then again, we have no idea what's wrong with half our teams right now. Only the Mavericks are showing chances of MAYBE winning anything this year, but no doubt they will blow it as well. I guess we're spoiled. We have had too many wins out of our teams and now the fans are growing restless and bitter.

Personally though, I have a soft spot for KC Chiefs because of my mom. Huge KC fan.
Apr. 29th, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC)
The pain
You know it's funny, the draft so often brings more pain than pleasure. I mean, your team drafts a few really good guys and you expect them to do well for a few years and they do and you don't much celebrate that. But the MISTAKES!! Oh my do we remember those. I'm a Seahawks fan and I wince at the mention of Brian Bosworth or Rick Mirer. Ew.

I thought the Jets, Browns, and Patriots (sorry) did well yesterday.
Apr. 29th, 2007 02:20 pm (UTC)
The raiders may not have the flash and quicksilver, but they have Jerry Porter and, for now, Randy Moss, which is the next best thing. Jamarcus will be allright, and Quinn will prove to be the second coming of Charlie Frye. The Browns took one step forward with Thomas and one step back.

I thought the Niners had the best draft, and Miami, after a gaffe in the first round, had a pretty good day. The whole NFC east was weak. The Eagles second round pick was insane. The Cowboys blew their day by trading the thirty-sixth pick to get a player they could have gotten at 36.

Gonzales was a good pick for the colts, but the curse of the gators is on him. 42-14 still rings in his brain.
Apr. 29th, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC)
That was really fucking retarded that Brady Quinn had to wait that long to get picked. So many teams passed on him to get other, semi-talented, players that DONT HELP THE TEAM. I agree with you about Russell. Quinn will have a much better career than him. A lot of QBs have had shining moments for a few short years & help the team before they are a useless one-man force on the team. bai!
Apr. 29th, 2007 03:06 pm (UTC)
George, you should be sitting up their with Kiper and the rest for your commentary. I was surprised by the second round pick, I thought Brian Leonard was perfect for the G-men.
Apr. 29th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
of all the kids yesterday who could have benefitted from a piece of green room humble pie, quinn would have been last on my list of those who needed it.

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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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