Still, the NFL Draft was much more fluid this year and actually rolled like a finely tuned machine. Jake Long was introduced immediately. The St. Louis FC did dally with its second pick, but for the most part, everything flew.
Now, before we get into the draft, there was a time when everybody would race to give draft grades. Then there were guys like Don Banks (and forgive me if he's not the guy I'm thinking of because it could have been Dr. Z) who started this whole "you can't really grade a draft until five years from now."
And really, no (expletive), genius. But that's like doing a fantasy football draft after the season already has been completed. Why don't you just cram it?
What you can measure is how well a team addressed its needs and if the pick is causing some excitement to the fan base. Hate to say this, but you know Raiders fans are geeked over Darren McFadden. And to be honest, he will likely be a good pick for them. He's already a criminal, so they have that going for them. The Raiders also had bigger needs, but you look at what a guy like Adrian Peterson did for the Vikings and you can't blame the Raiders for doing that. Drafting McFadden makes much more sense than throwing all of that money at Javon Walker, right?
McFadden was a good pick. And it sucks when idiots like Banks indiscriminately rip the Raiders no matter what they do. That only discredits the rest of us Raiders Haters with legitimate beefs. There's plenty to rip the Raiders about without having to make stuff up (which Banks certainly does). Stop making my job so hard.
Here are three teams that probably helped themselves in the draft this weekend.
- The Cardinals did a pretty good job getting Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (yes, he's related to the Chargers Pro Bowler) and defensive end Calais Campbell. Receiver Early Doucet also was a good value in the third round. But there is always this lingering fear that the Birds didn't get the right guy.
- The Chiefs are another one of those teams that just can't seem to grab the right guys in the draft. Glenn Dorsey falling to them at No. 5 was a huge gift. And he should be a good one. But if Dorsey lives up to his billing, how dominant would the Chiefs defense had been with him and Jared Allen? The Chiefs certainly have a lot of needs, but jettisoning a player who is only 26 seemed like a panic move in a way. The team is getting universal praise for its draft, but remember the St. Louis draft in 1996? The St. Louis FC drafted Lawrence Philips, Eddie Kennison and Tony Banks with its top three picks, drawing applause from everybody. So take that with a grain of salt.
- Carolina needed to upgrade their running back situation and improve on the offensive line. They did that with two picks in the first round. Some might believe that the Panthers overpaid to get back into the first round to grab Jeff Otah, but sometimes you have to make a move. Of course the Panthers will get ripped like the 49ers were this season if Jake Delhomme doesn't come back from his injury and the team struggles.
Here are some teams that you have to question.
- The Titans are getting ripped because they didn't get a receiver, instead going for running back Chris Johnson. Seems dumb at first glance, but Johnson compares to Reggie Bush. Johnson is the kind of running back that you can split out wide and give him the ball in space. In other words, he would seem like the perfect compliment to LenDale White. Too bad they fired Norm Chow. But this pick doesn't look so bad now, as he is the type of guy you need with a quarterback like Young. Lord knows, if you gave Young a receiver, he'd never get the ball to the guy.
- The Chargers gave up a lot to get Jacob Hester. A second-round draft pick next year to New England for a white running back? Seems shaky.
- Rashard Mendenhall to the Steelers? They didn't replace Alan Faneca, and this smacks of a Steve Hutchinson-like defection for the Steelers. Running backs are useless unless you have somebody to block for them.
- The Jets seemed stuck with Vernon Gholston. Like the NFL forced the first six teams to draft all of the guys in the green room so they didn't have an "Anne Frank" Quinn type of moment this year.
HEADLINES THREE YEARS FROM NOW
We tried this feature last year, after ripping it off from FOX Sports Radio. And do you remember what our top "beef" was last season? The Chargers passing on Dwayne Jarrett. That's right. But there is two more years for Jarrett to make me look smart, but nobody is holding their breath.
Teams regret passing on Kevin Smith. For all of your fantasy geeks, make sure you pick up Smith this season. He will be the Lions starting running back. He will be the Curtis Martin of this draft. (Guess who is the Sherman Williams.)
Falcons to draft a quarterback. Sorry, but Matt Ryan just screams of NFL bust. There is no real evidence why this is true, just trust me.
New Raiders Coach Rick Neuheisel has plans for Russell, McFadden. Three years from now, the Bruins should be on probation and Rick will be finally get an NFL gig. But how many coaches will the Raiders have gone through by then?
Woodson named starting quarterback for Giants. Just kidding. Eli can do pretty much whatever he wants, which is kind of what he does now. This Giants pick, however, shows that there are still some doubts with Eli.
Woodson is a risky pick for the Giants. Especially if his wonderlic score is any indication. Turns out that former USC and current Vikings quarterback John David Booty is a huge dope, too. That is not shocking.