Monday, April 26, 2010

NFL Draft 2010 - First Round

So we're going to split this into several posts. The first one (this one) will be about the players selected and trades made in the first round of the NFL draft, last Thursday night. It won't include any selections by the Washington Redskins, which I'll cover in a Redskin-specific post in the near future.

First things first, the St. Louis Rams took Sam Bradford as the number one pick in the 2010 NFL draft. A lot of people like Sam Bradford, and I'm one of them. I think he's going to be a good pro quarterback. But for the Rams, I think grabbing one of the premier defensive tackles would've been a better move. Last week's pre-draft post goes over most of the logic behind taking someone else, but just for the record, I'll let you know that this quote was mine:
"First off, I acknowledge the importance of a quarterback. It's extremely rare that a single player at any other position takes their team to the playoffs; you're talking about Barry Sanders and Warren Sapp in those instances, a couple of all-time greats. But I'm going with Ndamukong Suh, and here's why. First, he's probably the safest bet for long-term production, with the potential to in fact be one of those amazing players who can put a team on their backs. More importantly, I don't know that Sam Bradford is the best quarterback in the draft, and I'd be loathe to take Bradford and have Jimmy Clausen blossom into a top-tier signal-caller. Suh saves me from that possibility."
Seeing how the draft ended up playing out only makes me more certain that a defensive tackle was the way to go. Clausen being available at the Rams' second round pick means that they could have still likely acquired the #2 quarterback on every reasonable person's draft board, but been able to draft a potentially franchise-changing defensive player like Suh or Gerald McCoy.

I think Eric Berry was skilled enough to go #1 overall, as I really think he'll have that kind of long-term impact, but I get that teams are more willing to invest in quarterbacks and defensive linemen. Still, I think he'll help Kansas City in a big way, and wouldn't have been mad if Washington had elected to take him instead of an offensive lineman.

I've heard some talk about the Raiders' selection of Rolando McClain being surprising and a reach, but he was creeping up draft boards all week. It's obvious he's perceived to be a potentially great player, so I'm not going to say Al Davis made a bad move here. Now, Darrius Heyward-Bey last year over Michael Crabtree was just silly.

The San Francisco 49ers grabbed potentially the top tackle and the top guard in the draft, giving them a completely rejuvenated offensive line. Mike Singletary clearly is putting his stamp on this team, and you have to think his hard-nosed mentality can rub off on these guys. If it does, they could both be stars.

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers got Maurkice Pouncey at 18, and the Green Bay Packers nabbed Brian Bulaga at 23. Apparently everyone else though that it was important to give a couple of very solid teams the chance to dramatically improve their offensive lines. Well done, NFL teams.

Picks 24 and 25 couldn't be more different. Dallas took Dez Bryant at 24; he's a kid with character questions but a world of talent. Meanwhile, Denver traded up to the 25 slot and acquired Tim Tebow, a god-fearing, hard-working project of a quarterback. I hate the idea of taking a quarterback like Tebow in the first round, when his skills don't really scream quarterback. Tarvaris Jackson was a project in 2006 when the Vikings took him in the second round, and he's still a work in progress...hopefully. Still, Tebow could end up being very productive, and certainly his work ethic screams leadership.

I think the Colts did great to acquire Jerry Hughes with the 31st overall pick. His size doesn't wow you, but everything else about him does. The Colts just know how to do business.

Well, that's the first round for you. Next, I'll look at the happenings in the remainder of the draft, including some of the notable trades that took place. See you soon.

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