Ladies and Gentlemen, we are doing it live. Ok, so maybe you cannot read it in real time as I type it, but that is more a fault of our technology than commitment. Keep up todate as we do out live draft recap. We will try to update it with every pick, but regardless, we will be there bringing the news and the noise for the 1st round tonight.
ON THE CLOCK: New Orleans Saints
1. St. Louis Rams- Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Few surprises here as the Rams have been eyeing Bradford for months now, but it became official tonight. I like the pick, but do not love it as they still do not have anyone to protect him up front and really do not have anything around him once he gets there. Think of it like this: The Rams just purchased a skyscraper that will bring a lot of good to the city, but have no roads leading from it and nowhere near enough businessmen to fill it up and give it some real use. The skyscraper can definitely be built around and in the NFL, every team needs this “skyscraper” but he will not blossom without some help in the STL. I still like the pick more or less if only because franchise QBs are impossible to find, but if he is one it will be worth it a million times over. Of course, high picks at QB are a mixed bag (Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell and Akili Smith come to mind) so he is hardly a sure bet, especially with that shoulder, but it is worth the risk for the Rams I think. The Offensive line is not the unmitigated disaster it has been in the past, but it is not quite what a rookie needs. The roads are being built to and from the skyscraper, but they are not nearly complete yet. Steven Jackson should be his best friend, at least, for taking some pressure off a guy who will probably start from Day One. Hard to really mess up the #1 pick on draft day, but it is easily done in the coming year. That, however remains to be seen, but the Bradford pick is not one that can be too heavily criticized.
2. Detroit Lions- Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
Many have him as the highest rated player on the board and it is little surprise to see him go 2nd overall. He is a beast, a game changer, and any other awesome noun you would like to use. He will help that horrendous defense from day one, and good for the Lions from avoiding a WR here. I know it has been a while since they did that, but that joke never gets old. As Ford keeps pumping out cars, expect Suh to keep pumping out production just like he did at Nebraska. Why waste more time on other things we already know. Suh at 2. Anything is an improvement for that defense, so even if he is a bust, which he will absolutely not be, he will help that defense.
A brief side note: the whole “guys on phone” thing is killing the suspense. Just before the pick he smiles into the phone and says “I’m looking forward to it”. No suspense, but good stuff.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
He is 1A to Suh’s #1 as far as best DTs in this draft and he should be fantastic. He is seen as a better pass rusher than Suh, but they are both fantastic overall and will both be successful in the NFL regardless of situation. That is not something you can say with too much certainty about anyone. He does not have Monte Kiffin calling the defense like most Buccs of the past have, but expect McCoy to bolster a pretty mediocre defense in Tampa Bay. Like Suh, why bother going over the obvious stuff, he has NFL quality written all over him. He MIGHT remind Buccaneers fans of Warren Sapp (gasp) when he was with the Buccaneers, but will not be AS good. Good pick.
Also, the phone ruins the suspense again. Not a big deal this early when we already knew the high picks, but will factor in later on. Consider it a theme. I think I like the tears of joy too, nice to see those guys instead of the “I’m getting paid” guys. Not that someone cannot be both.
4. Washington Redskins- Trent “Silverback” Williams, OT, Oklahoma
It was between him and Russell Okung for the Skins and they went with the more athletically talented, but less work-ethic oriented option. If Mike Shanahan can keep him motivated and hungry, he can be a beast, but if not he could turn into that enigmatic guy who is great one series and costly the next. He is good (obviously) but we will see if he plays up to being as good as he can be. I also love the nickname Silverback, makes me think of a Silverback Gorilla mauling defensive linemen.
The Big 12 rolls on. Sweeping the first 4 picks at this point.
5. Kansas City Chiefs- Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
Many had them pegged for Eric Berry here, and those many would be right. The phone again spoiled the suspense, but it is clearly a good pick once again. He has all the physical skills, but also has football skills it takes to be a star in the NFL. I think he can be the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and is a safe pick even at 5. I do not care about the whole “never take a safety that high” argument. When a guy can flat out play, he can play, do not move him down the board for nothing. Eric Berry is going to be a star, and I would put a lot of money on that.
Not sure if I agree with Steve Young’s statement that “Great defenses have great safeties”. Actually, I outright disagree, the Jets come to mind as a notable exception just to name one off the cuff.
6. Seattle Seahawks- Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
The Seahawks needed someone to fill in Walter Jones’ considerable (and aging) shoes and they think they have him in Okung. Many had him at #4 to the Redskins, but regardless, he is a solid pick who should be solid at the next level. I am not sold he is quite as good as #6, but I did not get to see enough of him during the season last year. Still, the Seahawks really needed a tackle, and here he is. I will not pretend to be extremely knowledgeable on Okung, but if Kiper had him as the best tackle, I guess I do too. Evidently a good character guy too. Not too much argument about correctness of pick so far, but Oakland picks at 8, so stay on the edge of your seats.
7. Cleveland Browns- Joe Haden, CB, Florida
The Mike Holmgren draft era is underway with Joe Haden. No one has pulled a surprise pick yet, but wait one more pick to get that. They need plenty so it is hard to argue against the pick, but Haden did not impress at the combine clocking a much slower time than they though the tape means much more than the times. They just showed Haden in the green room and he looks a little funny (he looks like JaVale McGee if you know who that is), but he should still be a good addition to a bad squad.
8. Oakland Raiders- Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama
A VERY big part of me was hoping they would pick Taylor Mays, the physical freak out of USC who struggled with inconsistency on the field. It would fit the M.O. of the Raiders over the past few years and it would serve as the first real surprise of the draft so far. Going into the pick no one knew what was going to happen, and after the pick, perhaps the most shocking thing of all happened: the Oakland Raiders just made a good pick. It is not really a need, but at the very least they have a good pick in McClain who has the leadership they sorely need. Kiper makes some fair points that they had far greater needs, but McClain is a definite upgrade for Al Davis as far as quality of pick. Kirk Morrison has been good, and should continue to be, but I like this pick from a talent standpoint, although perhaps other positions were needed.
Jon Gruden was also far too nice to Al Davis when appraising the Raiders. They did show some hope last year, but come on, it is the Raiders. They are one of the most dysfunctional franchises EVER (over the past decade-plus), not just of recent memory.
9. Buffalo Bills- CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson
No. Not at 9. I understand the “explosive player” kinf of pick, but it represents all things wrong with picking guys like this. They are set at running back with Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch, and needed so many other things (QB, OL, TE, etc.) but went for the flashy options. He is good, but this is the wrong pick for the Bills. They are buying the diamond before they buy the ring with this pick. You cannot wear a diamond without that ring and the Bills will not be successful with this pick. Jimmy Clausen would have been a far better option, along with just about any big guy.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars- Tyson Alualu, DT, California
The clairvoyant Adam Schefter called this seconds before on Twitter, and it was a bit surprising. I don’t really like the pick, though you cannot argue with hair that flowing. I am not sure who exactly I would have picked instead (probably McClain or Spiller if they were there) but I am not sold on this pick, perhaps more out of not knowing anything about the guy. They did need someone on the line, and they reached, but it could definitely be worse.
11. San Francisco 49ers (from DEN)- Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
The 49ers moved up a couple picks here and it was probably the right move. Denver and Miami both could have snatched Davis, and the 49ers swooped and grabbed their man. He should really bolster that line and give Frank Gore even more to run behind. I sort of expect them to go with Clausen now at 17 if he is still there so he has the protection he needs and the arm to get it to Ginn deep down the field. They have plenty of options at #17 and may force another trade if someone wants to go and get Brian Bulaga in a hurry. Mixed opinions on TV from this pick, but I like it.
12. San Diego Chargers (From MIA)- Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State
Lots of people had them getting him, but many also had him going before #28 when they pick. San Diego put all that to rest jumping up and grabbing the underrated Fresno State back to help out Darren Sproles to keep wear and tear on the sparkplug. Dan Williams (DT, Tennessee) would ahve been very good as well, but evidently not good enough. Realistically, I think Jacksonville should have grabbed Williams, but Matthews is still a decent pick. He fills a need, is from the west coast, and should fit in in San Diego well.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (from DEN, from SF)- Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
Adam Schefter is killing everyone. He has been right on just about every pick and is killing all vibes for guys trying to project (unless they agree with him). The crowd breaks into “EAGLES SUCK” as the Eagles look to bolster their pass rush with Graham. He has a motor that does not stop and should look great in Jim Johnson’s system (RIP). He fits the model of an Eagles rusher too, a little undersized, fast, and a big hitter. Donovan McNabb and he might get to know each other well. Earl Thomas would have been good too.
Jimmy Clausen, Brian Bulaga, Derrick Morgan, Earl Thomas, Dez Bryant and others remain.
14. Seattle Seahawks- Earl Thomas, S, Texas
Yeah. He fits a need, adds more youth to a solid core in Seattle, and puts Pete Carroll off to a pretty nice start so far. There are a lot of directions Carroll could have gone, but it is hard to argue over their picks so far by filling a couple needs and getting upside guys. Derrick Morgan would have been very good as well, but it is hard to argue against it as he is an outstanding corner, safety, ball-hawk, and football player in general. A lot is going to be asked of him, but I think he is ready. Good pick Seattle. Some say he looks like Bob Sanders, but Thomas is far better in coverage than Sanders ever was.
15. New York Giants- Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
Cell-Phone-Cam strikes again. It was between him and Derrick Morgan here for the defensively-struggled Giants and they went with JPP. I like him, but I like Morgan a little more at this point. Steve Young thinks he is Jevon Kearse. Pshh. Decent pick. Necessary pick. Moving on.
16.Tennessee Titans- Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
Solid pick. They needed to replace VandenBosch and they seem to have done so with Morgan. Most people had him going a lot higher, but I do like this pick, especially in a division where you have to face Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub 4 times a year.
17. San Francisco 49ers- Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
Frank Gore, your hard work is being paid off. The 49ers are giving the offense every reason to be successful with Ginn, Gore, and improvements across the board on the offensive line. Mike Singletary is definitely running this team with this pick. You gotta like the name too.
You still gotta wonder about Alex Smith though with Jimmy Clausen on the board. We will see.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers- Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida
The Steelers really need a line that can give Big Ben some time (no pun intended) and Pouncey should do that. He can play guard too, and will be a solid guy for a long time. I like it. Not much negative info on this guy either, which is rare with a process as extensive as the NFL Draft process. Good, good pick.
19. Atlanta Falcons- Sean Witherspoon, LB, Mizzou
Ok, sure. They needed help on defense and this certainly qualifies. Dan Williams would have been good as well, but this works. Not too many complaints in and around Atlanta I assume.
I realize that the posts are getting shorter, but it is not worth wasting 200 words on a guy who is not worth forming huge opinions on. It is a solid pick, so moving on.
20. Houston Texans- Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama
I liked Kyle Wilson more, but hard to argue against a CB from Bama. He should be good pressing the Colts receivers when they face them which might have played into the decision. I prefer Wilson, but there is certainly an argument to be made for Jackson.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
I was salivating about Jermaine Gresham here for the Bengals. He is a freak athlete and can take some pressure off Ochocinco and the newly-acquired Antonio Bryant. Think of him as being Antonio Gates as far as an athlete, but without the route running at this point. Injuries could be an issue, but I like him. Make that another Sooner picked sooner than the 2nd round. good pick.
22. Deenver Broncos (from NE)- Demarius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech
They went WR, but not the troubled WR in Bryant. Thomas is not quite as good as Bryant but is less of a headache and can be a good possession guy for Otron/Quinn. Boring pick frankly. A WR from a option attack? We will see. Not sure why they moved up to get him, though.
23. Green Bay Packers- Brian Bulaga, OT, Iowa
Cheesehead nation rejoice! You have someone to protect your outstanding QB in Brian Bulaga, a guy who many had in the top 10 or 15. Fairly near by in Iowa, and a guy who is going to really help Rodgers stay on his feet. Good pick.
I have been writing good pick way too often, can someone mess up their pick, PLEASE?
24. Dallas Cowboys (from NE, from DEN, from PHI)- Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
No surprise as far as Jerry Jones going after a big personality. Also, another regional stud for the Cowboys, which is a quiet theme to watch with the Cowboys marketing dept. I am not sure how much I love the pick, but the Cowboys did not really have a huge need anywhere else and he makes them instantly more dangerous. Good pick, despite the personality issues. If I was being kind of mean, I would infer that Deion Sanders paid him to go there, but that isn’t the case so I will leave it alone. If ever there was an atmosphere to keep an ego happy, it was Dallas.
25. Denver Broncos (from BAL)- Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
PHONE CAM! PHONE CAM! PHONE CAM! I called it as a theme, and there it went. Tebow on the phone, and in a hat and the Denver Broncos have three QBs who are not quite there. I get all the intangibles and I will not get into the whole thing as it has been beaten like a horse (a bronco dare i say?) on ESPN. With Jimmy Clausen still out there, I do not get it, but hard to root against him and he is definitely a winner.
That being said, bad pick. Jimmy Clausen is still there and still pro-ready. Bad pick. Bad pick. Could be brilliant. Bad pick.
NOT a bad player and NOT going to be a complete flop in the NFL. Just a bad pick at this point. Take him in the 2nd round.
26. Arizona Cardinals- Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
I really like this kid and think he is a decent fit in Arizona. Not going to blow anyone away, but strong, athletic, and a good fit in Arizona. I am surprised he did not go higher, frankly. He should help solidify what should be a good defense in the desert.
27. New England Patriots (from DAL)- Devin McCourty, DB, Rutgers
Not bad at all for the Pats. As a Colts fan, I was hoping that they would pick Bryant, but the Pats needed help on defense so this makes a lot of sense. I still like Kyle Wilson for them, but Belichick evidently did not. Kyle Wilson would have been better, Sergio Kindle and Jerry Hughes would have been a little better, but you cannot say that the Pats did not address a need here.
28. Miami Dolphins (from SD)- Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State
Not a bad pick, though definitely not where I would have gone. I like Jerry Hughes a ton here or Sergio Kindle off the edge in Miami’s 3-4 with Joey Porter here. Actually, given the talents of those two players, I am calling this a bad pick. Now the Jets are going to get Jerry Hughes and he is going to scare the living daylights out of everyone in the AFC. They had better hope Hughes does not go to New York in that division.
29. New York Jets- Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
I like it. He plays really hard, and now they have Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson on the edges. Good luck doing anything against this defense. He hits too, so he is not just a guy who can be run at. He should have gone much sooner, but he dropped to the Jets and few can be angry about that in New York. I like Hughes still, but Wilson is a really good pick too. Scary times for offenses facing the Jets.
30. Detroit Lions (from MIN)- Jahvid Best, RB, California
Minnesota had some interesting options and opted not to make a choice. Jimmy Clausen as the heir to Favre? Taylor Mays in the secondary? Jahvid Best to help Adrian Peterson? Nope, trade. Instead the Lions made the Best choice they could with Jahvid Best. They needed help in the running game, especially in terms of explosiveness, and Best does that in bunches. I like the pick and he makes the Lions more interesting immediately.
31. Indianapolis Colts- Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great pick. I could see them going with a offensive tackle too, but I love the pick. Also protects Freeney’s injuries. Love it, love it, love it.
32. New Orleans Saints- Patrick Robinson, DB, Florida State
I liked Sergio Kindle here, but you cannot say the Saints didn’t have a need in the secondary. They got lit up through the air like a tiki torch and needed the help badly, so not a bad pick. Decent in coverage, not a great hitter.
18 defensive players. Wow. More analysis as the draft rolls on tomorrow.