April 26, 2010

NFL draft wrap-up

by Dan Bilicki In: Football

With the NFL’s draft in our rear-view mirror and some ridiculous contracts soon to be doled out onto those coveted first-rounders, why not take a quick look at how some teams stand after that three-day marathon of picks.

After grabbing two offensive linemen in the first round, San Francisco could find themselves with the best line in pro football in a couple of seasons. Teaming up Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati with former first-rounder Joe Staley and that gives you one great backbone for your offence. With some protection, even Alex Smith will have a decent chance to shine back there.

I’m still bewildered by the two trade-ups into the early teens to grab some guys that weren’t necessarily rated that high. When the Chargers moved up from 28 to 12 to grab RB Ryan Mathews, I wasn’t so sure that he wasn’t going to be there when they were originally slated to pick. After all, in my mock, Mathews was still around in the later part of the round. They must have really liked this kid, now all he has to do is fill LaDainian Tomlinson’s shoes.

The Eagles also moved up to grab a guy that could have fallen a few slots too, but ultimately, it was questionable why they didn’t take safety Earl Thomas. Thomas was more highly rated than Brandon Graham, the Eagles actual pick, and both spots on the field were needs for Philly. At least the Eagles were able to grab Nate Allen in the second round, even if Thomas has a much higher ceiling.

Apparently Bryan Bulaga wasn’t as highly thought of as we thought.  Other than a certain QB, there was no one that fell as sharply as the Iowa tackle.

I’m sure that Maurkice Puncey will be a great fit for the Steelers and a superb centre for seasons to come, but how many oohs and aahs would there have been if Pittsburgh had taken Jimmy Clausen at 17? Radio City Music Hall would have exploded.

Considering the question marks around Tim Tebow’s ability to be an actual QB at the next level, how murky is the pivot depth chart in Denver for this season? The rookie will be competing with the equally incompetent Brady Quinn and Kyle Orton, while none of them will be able to benefit from Brandon Marshall’s receiving skills.

Needs, schmeeds. While in the market for both a safety and tackle, the Cowboys got bold and took the highest rated receiver in the draft, Dez Bryant. Teaming him with Miles Austin will give opposing defences fits. Also, thankfully, Roy Williams will be seeing the field less now.

There was nothing quite like the tumbles that two QBs and their egos took in this draft. With Jimmy Clausen going at 43 to Carolina and Colt McCoy making it into the middle of the third round, where Cleveland took him at 85. While Clausen’s freefall surprised everyone, I’m still not sold on McCoy’s ability to play as a pro. He had a lot of talent around him at Texas and, even after Drew Brees’ rise to superstardom, I’m not sold on QBs that are six-feet and under.

As for RTP’s mock draft, we got a total of six picks dead on, plus two picks to the right teams, but in different slots. Those two were Mathews to SD at 12 instead of 28 and Davis to SF at 11 instead of 17. Also, if you want to count it, Bruce Campbell went to Oakland in round four, instead of pick number seven, like we predicted.

Finally, congratulations to Tim Toone, the wide receiver out of Weber State. Toone became this year’s Mr. Irrelevant, going 255 overall – the last pick in the draft. The saddest thing is, that with how poor the Lions are, Toone could actually make the team, instead of being an afterthought.

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