The biggest winner at the draft: the fans! I’m proud of the fans in New York for booing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell!
As I’ve wrote before, he is nothing but a voicebox for the owners, and he is a big part of why there may not be football this year. The NFL commissioner is a big reason why there might not be an NFL season. There is something seriously wrong with that statement.
Let me make this clear, if you haven’t been paying attention: the players want to play; the owners and their puppet commissioner want to stop them. The owners think they’re above the law. For taking sides and actively working to damage the league, I would have booed Goodell too!
After the break: a few comments on the first round picks!
1. Carolina Panthers – QB Cam Newton This is a serious reach by the Panthers. Newton may turn out to be a useful player, but I think his ceiling is low and it’s more likely he’s the next JaMarcus Russell. Check out Newton’s interview with Jon Gruden (linked on his name). He just seems like a goof to me, at best another Tim Tebow. Not the kind of guy I would want QBing my team.
2. Denver Broncos – LB Von Miller I had figured the Broncos would go for a defensive lineman, but seeing them draft ANYBODY on defense is a great change from the wasted McDaniels years. I figured their linebackers were pretty solid–Elvis Dumervil will return, Mario Haggan looked great after they changed his role and moved him outside, Jason Hunter had a great year on the inside, and where will they play D.J. Williams now?–and they are supposedly switching back to a 4-3. I want to trust John Fox to know what he’s doing here, but now they have 5 very good linebackers and a shaky line.
3. Buffalo Bills – DT Marcell Dareus and 5. Arizona Cardinals – CB Patrick Peterson Kind of sad to see two exciting defenders going to lousy teams where we will never get to actually watch them play. The Bills are quietly building a good looking defensive line though. Have you heard of their nose tackle Kyle Williams? He’s been one of the best at his position the last two years. If he and Dareus can disrupt opposing offenses enough, there might not be enough spare bodies left to block linebacker Paul Posluszny as well.
6. Atlanta Falcons – WR Julio Jones The Falcons paid a steep price to trade up for Jones, steep enough that they probably could have traded up to #4 to take A.J. Green instead. While the thought of another elite receiver playing across from Roddy White should scare the rest of the NFC South, the Falcons had better be right that Jones is that elite receiver.
8. Tennessee Titans – QB Jake Locker I understand that Locker played in an offense identical to the one Mike Shanahan runs in D.C. I guess that the Redskins expected Locker to fall to them at #10. When he didn’t, they made a smart move trading down and adding an extra second round pick (#49). Locker is a curious fit for the Titans, but then so was Vince Young.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Blaine Gabbert Perhaps a reach, but at least they have a couple of good years of David Garrard left while Gabbert learns the NFL game. Watch Gabbert’s interview with Jon Gruden: Gruden’s observation about Peyton Manning running the stretch is awesome.
12. Minnesota Vikings – QB Christian Ponder Really?
13. Detroit Lions – DT Nick Fairley I’m not sure what Jim Schwartz plans to do with his D-Line, since Ndamkung Suh is already the best in the game (now they have two relentless and oft-penalized DTs) and Corey Williams is solid, but I trust Schwartz to know what he’s doing. They play in a tough division, but look for them to contend for the playoffs in 2011 and 2012 and 2013…
16. Washington Redskins – DE Ryan Kerrigan I’ve never heard of the guy. I agree they could use a pass rusher on the defensive line, so I hope they know what they’re doing here. Trading down from #10 to add a second second-rounder was a smart move, though I wonder if they shouldn’t have picked the guy who went of the board next…
17. New England Patriots – OT Nate Soldier Good to see a local Colorado guy getting some first round respect! And to a team that doesn’t often miss with their first round picks.
19. New York Giants – CB Prince Amuckamara Not looking forward to seeing the Redskins play against this guy twice a year. The Giants have used their first pick on defenders six out of the last seven years, and I’m afraid it’s paying off.
27. Baltimore Ravens – CB Jimmy Smith It’s surprising to see two CU grads getting picked in the first round, considering how awful they have been the last few years. But cornerback is a huge position of need for the Ravens, and I trust them to find guys who fit their scheme. It may be exciting to watch the Jimmy Smith vs. A.J. Green battles twice a year for the next few years.
28. New Orleans Saints – RB Mark Ingram Interesting pick–we all know running back is the most fungible position in the NFL–but Ingram is likely the type of player who can excel in the right situation. He’s not going to replace Reggie Bush, but is he really better than Pierre Thomas?