Audibles at the Line
Unfiltered in-game observations by Football Outsiders staff

Audibles at the NFL Draft

compiled by Vince Verhei

Each weekend of the regular season, the FO staff sends around e-mails to each other, both during and after the games. It lets us share ideas for columns and comments, and get an idea of how teams that we can't watch are playing. This weekend, we're doing the same during the draft. Be aware that the material in this roundtable might seem a bit disjointed and un-edited. It also might still show up later in the week in other columns, or in comments in PFP 2008.

Before the Draft

The night before the draft, Dallas trades linebacker Akin Ayodele and tight end Anthony Fasano to the Miami Dolphins for a fourth-round draft pick.

Aaron Schatz: Can someone explain the point of this from Dallas's point of view? Particularly the Fasano part?

Sean McCormick: That's a great move by Miami. My only explanation would be that the Cowboys already have Jason Witten as their starter at tight end and that they are looking to add receivers and go to more of a spread look for Tony Romo, in which case they don't need an additional pass-catching tight end. It's still a fleecing.

Bill Barnwell: Like I said in my Xtra Point, it's gotta be to open up a spot at linebacker for Zach Thomas or Bobby Carpenter. Ayodele was very much just a guy on a great defense. Fasano's no great shakes, but he's worth more than this.

Michael Tanier: With Ireland and Sporano in Miami, the only guy in Dallas who understands Fasano's value is Garrett, who may either want to go 3-WR more often or just got overruled. Ayodele is nothing special. I guess "Fasano for fourth-rounder" isn't crazy, but he's better than any TE/H-back you are going to get in the fourth round.

Bill Barnwell: I just watched the Giants-Cowboys game and Fasano had a miserable game. Absolutely awful. It might be bad feelings related to that.

Before the draft begins, the Miami Dolphins announce that Jake Long will be the first overall choice.

Sean McCormick: We might as well start with the pick we know, and that's Miami taking Jake Long. I was expecting Parcells to go defense, but I think he made the proper pick. The two top defensive options were Chris Long and Vernon Gholston, and both have to be projected into their positions in an NFL 3-4. Gholston is perhaps the easier projection of the two, but he's also the lesser prospect and I wouldn't touch him with the first overall selection. The most important thing, particularly in a draft that is rather flat at the top, is not to blow the pick, and Jake Long is probably the safest pick in the draft. He has the measurables that suggest he can play left tackle, but even if he struggles there, he should be a terrific right tackle, and you can always fall back and put him at guard if he proves to be another Robert Gallery, so there's a built-in safety net. But in addition to being a safe pick, Long also represents a rarer commodity than the other players at the top of the draft. It's easier to find pass-rushing prospects than it is to find elite left tackles. The Giants have four top pass rushers on their roster and they didn't take any of them before the end of the first round.

Michael Tanier: The Dolphins O-line could get good quickly with Long and Samson Satele. Really, it was one of the team's better units last year. Turn your decent unit into a strength first, then you know that your skill position guys won't be wasting their time.

Ben Riley: I've got a question about Brandon Albert, who has rocketed up the draft board on the assumption he can play left tackle. I understand the argument that he moved to guard because of D'Brickshaw Ferguson, but why didn't he play right tackle? Is there some reason Virginia needed him to stay on the left side of the line?

Sean McCormick: Maybe they simply wanted to take advantage of his ability to pull and block on the move. He's fantastic when he gets out in space.

Michael Tanier: Who was at left tackle for the Cavs last year? If they groomed a guy, and Albert was all-conference at guard, maybe they just resisted change.

Stuart Fraser: About the only thing you can really seriously question about Miami's pick is why the five-year contract; though if taking a year off was the only way to get the guy signed before the draft, fair enough.

Round 1

The Rams select Chris Long.

Ben Riley: I'm looking forward to watching Walter Jones pancake Chris Long for eight quarters in 2008. SEAHAWKS!

(Sorry, I was channeling my inner Jets-fan-at-the-draft persona.)

(And I may have started drinking.)

Sean McCormick: I thought Chris Long would actually be a better player in a 3-4 or in a 4-3 across from an edge rusher. Supposedly the Rams are looking to give different looks and Long should be an excellent at moving around. He's my favorite player in the draft, but I think the Carriker/Dorsey combination would have been more effective than a Long/Carriker combination, especially if the Rams had found an edge rusher later in the draft. Safe pick, but I'm not sure it's the best match of team and talent.

The Falcons select Matt Ryan.

Sean McCormick: In a draft where there are three quality second-round quarterback prospects and Atlanta has three second-round picks to work with, this is a really dubious selection.

Ben Riley: I go the other way on that. They have a boatload of picks, and they need a quarterback, so take the best quarterback and build the line up in the second round.

Suzy Kolber to Matt Ryan: "When I say Atlanta, what's the first thing that comes to mind?"

I find it troubling that my internal response was "dog rape."

Sean McCormick: If Matt Ryan had Chad Henne's statistical profile, I might agree with you. But he doesn't. His starts are low, his completion percentage is a little low, and his skill-set is marginal. That doesn't mean he won't work out, but I think his ceiling is fairly low. I'd have taken the best player in Dorsey and looked at Henne or Joe Flacco at the back of the first round.

Ben Riley: Anyone watching NFL Network covering the Raiders draft table? Apparently Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens works for Al Davis.

Stuart Fraser: Aaaand Matt Ryan goes to Atlanta. Well, I wouldn't have picked him there. The identity of the best quarterback in this draft is far from clear cut, and it may be that none of them are really good starters. Certainly far too much of a risk with the No. 3 pick.

Michael Tanier: Sounds like I like Ryan better than some of you guys.

Ned Macey: I agree with Tanier if only because I hate the strategy of the early second-round quarterback. They work out rarely, while early second-rounders are your best value pick. If you get a mediocre linebacker, you can still play him and he's cost-effective at that spot. If you have a mediocre QB, your team is sunk.

Sean McCormick: I can understand that, but normally there is a difference between the physical ability of the guys at the top of the first and the guys at the top of the second. But Joe Flacco has No. 1 overall skills, while Matt Ryan has marginal physical skills. It's not a normal situation where you're passing up the 6-foot-5 rocket-armed guy for a 6-1 project.

Sean McCormick: I go back and forth on Matt Ryan, but there's no question that his Lewin Forecast suggests he's a major risk as a top-three pick. He looks like a Peyton Manning or a Philip Rivers, but his starts/completion percentage numbers are those of a late first/early second guy like Rex Grossman or Patrick Ramsey or Kellen Clemens. He has a high floor due to his work ethic, but Ryan isn't close to the third best player in the draft.

The Raiders select Darren McFadden.

Sean McCormick: The Jets are really close to getting squeezed. If Kansas City takes Glenn Dorsey (which they should), then the Jets will take Vernon Gholston and go on about their business. But if the Chiefs take Gholston or trade out, the Jets are stuck with the best player in the draft, only they can't take him. Ugh.

Ben Riley: Well, so much for my plans to order a Justin Fargas Fathead.

Al Davis is that one random guy in your fantasy football league who refuses to abide by conventional wisdom and takes, like, three quarterbacks in the first three rounds. Only, instead of being a fantasy team, Davis runs one of the NFL's most storied franchises.

Stuart Fraser: Oh, Oakland. We all knew you'd do that, but it doesn't make watching you do it any easier.

Lane Kiffin said publically (also correctly), pretty much, that he thought Oakland was set at running back and McFadden would be surplus to requirements. Al Davis drafts him anyway. I am left wondering if he did it just to wind Kiffin up.

What is it about the AFC West that makes coaches and GMs/owners not get on. Is Kansas City next?

On a wider issue, I'm wondering how often a running back is worth a first-round pick, especially a high one. Adrian Peterson was, or at least, if he keeps up current production, clearly will be. After him, who? None of the highly-touted first-rounders from 2005 looks that special now; the best of them is Joseph Addai, and the Colts offense barely missed a beat when Kenton Keith replaced him due to injury. It seems the only running backs who are really worth it in round one are the truly rare talents who only come along maybe once a decade (so the one before Peterson was probably Barry Sanders).

But they come along once a decade, and if there was one last year, it makes me skeptical that McFadden is really everything he's advertised to be. Especially since the year before Peterson we were told how special Reggie Bush was, and I'm sure the year before that there was a running back who was a one-in-a-generation talent as well.

Sean McCormick: I would have taken Dorsey, but you can make an argument that McFadden was the best player on the board. I think as a rule you would prefer to avoid the position in the top five, but you don't necessarily pass over a guy for a lower rated prospect. The positive is that a running back is likely to contribute immediately and to play out all of his rookie deal, so as long as you're willing to take that production and then be careful about a second contract, you can make an argument for taking someone like McFadden.

Ned Macey:I think LdT worked out alright between Sanders and Peterson. And Marshall Faulk, Edgerrin James, and Fred Taylor aren't exactly chopped liver. Still, I agree, a stupid pick for the Raiders based on what they have.

Michael Tanier: I think Davis' brother, who really belongs at that table in Godfather 1 where Don Vito and the five families discuss the drug trade, is undead.

Sean McCormick: The Raiders are going to seriously regret passing on both Glenn Dorsey and Sedrick Ellis when their run defense is caving in every week. They had a chance to match BPA with their biggest weakness with Dorsey, but they optedfor McFadden, who is worthy of the pick, but not nearly as good a fit with their needs.

The Chiefs select Glenn Dorsey.

Will Carroll: My issue with Dorsey isn't his play or the injury, but that everyone I spoke to said "Booger McFarland" in reference to him. OK, big DT, speedy, from LSU ... I get it, but if that's what you think he is, THAT'S worth a top-five pick? Would any sane human being, knowing what his career looks like, draft Booger McFarland in the first round? Is there anything like a similarity score for football players?

Bill Barnwell: SEC defensive tackles are pretty much sure things, guys-addicted-to-cheeseburgers aside.

Sean McCormick: Kansas City got a great player, but I'm not sure I could have passed up the package that New Orleans was supposedly dangling. I'd rather have two ones and an extra two than any player in this draft.

Ned Macey: I'm pretty sure Booger McFarland would still be a first-round pick. Guy was great for a number of years once Warren Sapp started declining.

The Jets select Vernon Gholston.

Sean McCormick: Gholston is a concern. I just watched the OSU-Illinois game with my eye on Gholston every snap and was stunned by just how little effort he gave. He provides no backside pursuit, he jogs after the ball carrier on his own side of the field, and for the most part he stepped into the blocker and just stayed there. Off that performance, I couldn't believe that he was a first-round pick, much less a top-six guy. That said, he looked much more dangerous when standing up, he dropped fluidly, and I can buy the argument that OSU's read-and-react scheme was significantly hindering his play. There really was nowhere else for the Jets to go with the pick, but I would be very, very concerned about Gholston's ability to consistently impact a game.

The Jaguars trade up for the Ravens' spot at No. 8.

Sean McCormick: Well, the Ravens will be taking Chad Henne, but who are the Jaguars coming up for?

William Carroll: I've been trying to figure out the "catch" with Flacco. Is it just that he's a QB? A guy with all the physical skills, no off-field issues, and the intangibles would normally be someone flying up the board. But he's not. He's a second-rounder and he's not budging off that while Chad Henne is going in the top ten. Is it just the small college?

Bill Barnwell: Does he really have the intangibles? Is he really that accurate? I mean, the book from what I've seen is that he's a guy with a big arm.

William Carroll: I heard one guy say he's got great makeup, so I'd assume they'd have mentioned the intangibles otherwise. NFL scouts are much quicker to tell you why they don't like the guy than why they like them, I've found. The why they like them seems very "me too." That and the disturbing physical references...

Ben Riley: Yeah, Bill is right. Beware the small school, big armed quarterback.

Sean McCormick: I think the idea is that Flacco is a project due to the combination of the small school and the fact that his footwork isn't NFL-ready. You can't take Flacco and play him this year, which basically nixes him for most teams in the first round. I think he'll go to either Miami or maybe to the Jets and have a chance to develop behind John Beck or the Pennington/Clemens monster. Flacco's upside is ridiculous. If you put on tape of him and Ryan side-by-side and didn't know anything about either player, it would never occur to you that Matt Ryan would be the top-three pick.

William Carroll: I always worry about transfers. I mean, why didn't he beat out some college guy? (Yes, I understand, Tom Brady...)

The Jaguars select Derrick Harvey.

Bill Barnwell: Well, this is the first real reach of the draft. They couldn't have grabbed Harvey at 12 or 14?

William Carroll: Does Harvey have local ties? Someone told me that with the JAX to LA rumors that they'd have a bias towards local players to try to stave that off.

Stuart Fraser: Well, it's possible that the Bengals might have taken Harvey, but I was going to call that a reach if they did. I am generally expecting the Bengals to reach as the guy they obviously wanted (Sedrick Ellis) is gone.

Cincinnati is really in their nightmare scenario where all the best players available are cornerbacks and offensive tackles, and the team that wanted to trade up just did.

Ben Riley: In my ESPN Magazine piece I wrote that, after Green Bay, Jacksonville was one of the teams most likely to trade down to stockpile midround picks, and praised them for the wisdom of this approach. So much for that. That move makes absolutely no sense to me.

The Bengals select Keith Rivers.

Stuart Fraser: I think Rivers is a bit of a reach, but there are some people who had him graded that high. I'd also like to note I called that one.

The Patriots select Jerod Mayo.

Stuart Fraser: OK, that wasn't who I expected New England to pick (I was expecting Leodis McKelvin). I get the impression they wanted Rivers, except that if I can figure Cincinnati will pick Rivers in that situation, I'm sure Pioli can...

Ben Riley: Right now, Doug Farrar is starting to salivate in a Seattle bar at the prospect of one of the elite tackles falling to the Hawks.

Doug Farrar: Heh. I'm in my home office, juggling a few things. Did a Washington Post webcast spot in which I talked about how the Redskins perhaps wouldn't have to trade up as much as they thought for a Clady or Albert. I knew about Long, Long and Ryan at the time, assumed McFadden and guessed Gholston. As I write this, the Pats just took Jerod Mayo at 10, and I'm starting to wonder if Walter Jones' successor might not actually be there at 25.

The Broncos select Ryan Clady.

Doug Farrar: I love Ryan Clady to Denver. He might be the most versatile of all the linemen this year -- the best able to run- and pass-block.

The Panthers select Jonathan Stewart.

Ben Riley: Great pick by Carolina. Get ready for the next fantasy football stud in Stewart.

Doug Farrar: Jonathan Stewart goes to the Panthers, leaving the Pacific Northwest
in a state of mourning. Weird pick. I thought they'd be better taking a lineman here and getting Kevin Smith or Matt Forte later on. Think he'll be a wonderful player, but I don't see this as need OR BPA.

Stuart Fraser: OK, Carolina, you draft DeAngelo Williams in the first round, let him have 265 carries over two seasons, see him average 4.6 yards per carry ... and then draft his replacement in the first round two years later.

Um, why?

Still, not complaining. Every pick that goes by without an offensive lineman being selected makes it more likely that Branden Albert makes it to 23...

Branden Albert does not make it to 23; he is picked by the Chiefs.

Stuart Fraser: Booooooooooo. Hissssssssss.

Yeah, this is a smart pick by the Chiefs. The line seriously needs rebuilding, and starting with a mobile guard might not be a bad idea given this is Herm "forward pass, what's that?" Edwards' team.

Boooooo.

Bill Barnwell: Chris Long said Albert was the best player in the draft. Granted, he played against the guy, but he said Albert was better than any offensive lineman he went up against and it wasn't even close.

Albert and Dorsey? That's a hell of a start to your rebuilding plan.

Aaron Schatz: Build from the lines out, baby. Build from the lines out. I like Kansas City's draft.

Ben Riley: Wow, Bill Belichick is rocking the Regis Philbin electric pink monotone tie-and-shirt suit look. Truly amazing.

Brian Billick: "Bill, people talk about the emotional letdown coming off a Super Bowl loss..."

Belichick: "You didn't hear me bringing it up Brian."

The Lions trade up for the Chiefs' spot at 17, originally acquired by Kansas City in the Jared Allen trade.

Sean McCormick: Assuming Detroit takes Rashard Mendenhall here, this is going to be yet another draft where Matt Millen superficially seems to be doing a good job of maneuvering and getting the best player on the board.

And we all know that this spells doom for Rashard Mendenhall.

The Lions select Gosder Cherilus.

Sean McCormick: !!!!!

Ben Riley: The ESPN "Fan Grade" for the Cherilus pick: F. Every single other fan grade I've seen has been an A. Riots in the Motor City.

Stuart Fraser: OK, so what does the NFL have against Jeff Otah? I don't think anybody had Cherilus ahead of him. Of course, this is Matt Millen we're talking about.

Doug Farrar: The Lions just drafted a right tackle halfway through the first round. This, of course, makes complete sense.

Michael Tanier: Haven't been reading these. Just wanna interject: Lions ... duhhhhhhh.

The Ravens select Joe Flacco.

Sean McCormick: Baltimore just made out like bandits. As someone noted, if you reprogrammed the Terminator to play football, he'd throw the ball like Joe Flacco. And the Ravens got to pick up a bunch of picks in the process.

Bill Barnwell: How far can Joe Flacco throw the ball on his knees?

... and, literally as I type that, they show the shot of Flacco throwing the ball for distance. God.

Here's the list of Division I-AA quarterbacks drafted in the early rounds:

  • Phil Simms
  • Neil Lomax
  • Bubby Brister
  • Steve McNair
  • Jonathan Quinn
  • Giovanni Carmazzi
  • Josh McCown
  • Tavaris Jackson

Not as bad as I might have though. Of course, I still think Flacco is more Brister and less McNair, but we'll see.

Sean McCormick: Flacco's tools are better than any of those guys. It's not even close.

Ben Riley: I'm sure that playing against colleges called "Towson" and "Monmouth" is a good way to show off one's "tools."

Sean McCormick: Tell it to Jerry Rice.

Anyway, the interesting thing is where Baltimore had to go to make the pick. My guess is that they thought Tampa Bay would take Flacco at 20.

Stuart Fraser: Quarterbacks are more than an arm. Flacco is not tremendously mobile -- yeah,
I know, Ben Roethlisberger ran a horribly slow 50 too, but Roethlisberger is such an exceptional (in the literal sense) talent that he's probably best not used as a comparator for anyone. Flacco's pocket presence will be severely examined whilst he's trying to wait for one of Baltimore's recievers to come open.

Sean McCormick: Flacco's footwork isn't ideal, but he has quick feet. I would normally be concerned about a guy who was 6-6 because they have trouble getting back and setting up before the rush gets to them, but Flacco has the foot speed to get back quickly. If you watch him on tape, he's actually pretty mobile. I mean, Delaware ran the option with him from time to time.

Mike Tanier: I had a little pucker session over at Deadspin when Flacco got drafted. But I stand by every word about how thrilled I am for him. I'm not going to pretend to offer unbiased scouting on him, but I think he can grow into a heck of a QB.

Doug Farrar: The Seahawks took time with Henne, Flacco and Brohm. Not a real big surprise. If the Seahawks trade down in the first to go up in the second (as has been rumored), I thought it might be to get a quarterback in the second round.

Ben Riley: The Seahawks might draft a quarterback, just not Flacco. Ruskell doesn't do small-school guys in the early rounds. Like, ever.

The Panthers trade up to acquire the Eagles' pick, then select Jeff Otah.

Ben Riley: That scream you just hear was Doug Farrar watching the best left tackle still on the board going to Carolina. Panthers are singlehandedly ruining Seattle's draft.

Doug Farrar: Nah. I don't like Otah for Seattle at all. They already have too many hybrid tackle/guard guys. Better not to try and make him into the agile tackle he most certainly isn't.

Bill Barnwell: Oh yeah. A 1, a 2, and a 4 for the Eagles' 1 is nice.

Ben Riley: Mayock on the NFL Network said that they were worried about St. Louis or Seattle. Which is absurd, of course.

Doug Farrar: The Otah pick is interesting. The Panthers now have a great right tackle who can't really play on the left side (Jordan Gross), a left tackle that the team wants to move inside to left guard (Travelle Wharton) and a rookie left tackle with serious issues against speed rushers. That's one big, powerful
logjam. How effective it will be, well, we'll see.

The Buccaneers select Aqib Talib.

Sean McCormick: It's a good thing you can't get any weed in Tampa. Wait a minute...

Russell Levine: Well, Gruden has never been a big character guy, so I'm not shocked by the pick of Talib. I don't like it, but truth be told this is about the spot -- 20 -- where the risk factor of taking a dubious character starts to make it reasonable. I do know that Talib is hugely talented and fits a need.

The Cowboys select Felix Jones.

Stuart Fraser: Ooh, all the "Jerry Jones hasn't picked a Razorback since 1970" people will have to find a new tag now.

I have a horrible premonition that the Steelers are going to pick Rashard Mendenhall. Please, Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, don't. Yes, there are no sensible offensive linemen left to pick. Still, you are thin at outside linebacker. You are thin at cornerback and one of your starters is 32. You could do with another wide receiver because Nate Washington really isn't the right guy to replace Hines Ward. You have five running backs on the roster currently and between them they must be capable of doing as well as might plausibly be expected given how bad your offensive line is.

The Steelers select Rashard Mendenhall.

Sean McCormick: Mendenhall was the best player on the board. It's tough to argue with the pick considering the value of the player, even if it doesn't help them right away.

Ben Riley: Unbelievable value pick for the Steelers.

Seahawks nation warily turns its eyes toward Kentwan Balmer...

The Titans select Chris Johnson.

Sean McCormick: Dangerous player, and there was rumbling that several teams gave Johnson a first-round grade. He's arguably more of an impact player than any of the receivers who were options at this point. Interesting pick. Looks like receivers a-plenty in the second round.

The Cowboys select Mike Jenkins. The Texans follow by selecting Duane Brown.

Sean McCormick: Well, it's safe to say that this draft didn't work out for Houston at all.

Stuart Fraser: Um, that may be just a teensy bit premature.

I am still moping about Pittsburgh taking a running back. Still, I guess Houston's first-round experience was probably worse.

It seems that nobody at all wants a wide reciever in the first round. Is it really that horrible a draft for them?

Sean McCormick: Pretty much.

Actually, I would expect about five guys to go in the next ten picks.

Ben Riley: Actually, Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News thinks this is one of the deepest WR classes in recent years. It's just that no one is a Calvin Johnson/Larry Fitzgerald-like standout.

Background music for Seahawks picks: Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Pearl Jam's "Evenflow." In Seattle, it's always 1992.

Stuart Fraser: My favorite ever bit of background music was when the NFL Fieldpass radio feed faded back from a commercial just prior to the Jets' pick in 2006 with the Kaiser Chiefs' "I Predict A Riot." I always wondered who they thought the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS were going to pick.

The Seahawks select Lawrence Jackson.

Ben Riley: Ruskell is nothing if not consistent. In the first round, he's taking a defensive player from a major program. It's just that simple.

The 49ers select Kentwan Balmer.

Bill Barnwell: Hey! Another guy with a somewhat questionable work ethic. Fortunately, the 49ers locker room is so strong as to pull Balmer in line ... oh. Oh well.

The Jets trade up for the Packers' pick and select Kentwan Balmer.

Sean McCormick: Aside from being a harsh condemnation of the wide receivers, it's a pick that makes a lot of sense for teams with the Jets quarterbacks. With a smaller quarterback like Clemens, or a weak-armed guy like Pennington, you absolutely need a quality target at tight end who can open up the middle of the field. The Jets have been absolutely hamstrung by their lack of a third target in the passing game after Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery. There were a number of ways to go about addressing the issue, but this one works best with their quarterbacks.

Mike Tanier: Chris Baker and Bubba Franks and now Keller? I guess there's a role for all three. I guess drafting Keller makes more sense than signing Franks, but it's still a reach in my book.

Sean McCormick: Franks is there to block, and he's hardly at a point in his career where he's a reason to avoid drafting someone. Baker is a good player but is threatening to hold out if he doesn't get a new deal. Now he's not getting a new deal. Expect to see him shipped out -- maybe even Sunday.

Mike Tanier: Overall, I give the new 10-minute format five trillion thumbs up, though those of us who try to do pick-by-pick stuff on the Internet may have to rethink how it is done.

Round 2

The Rams select Donnie Avery.

Bill Barnwell: Donnie Avery?

Sean McCormick: Donnie Avery.

Stuart Fraser: Given that most of the people who were evaluating wide receivers thought one or more of them would be picked in the first round, I'm not terribly worried by the fact that the first one who went isn't one of the ones that was supposed to be the best.

Or, "if in doubt, assume the NFL teams know more than we do,"

Sean McCormick: Atlanta's decision to take Ryan looks even worse based on how the board shook out. Brohm and Henne are both still on the board, and the board doesn't match up especially well with their needs. Don't like it at all.

The Saints select Tracy Porter.

Doug Farrar: Tracy Porter is an absolutely perfect pick for the Saints. He's ridiculously quick in man coverage, and that will have New Orleans ignoring the fact that he's not a great tackler. Good news is that he can out-cover Hole in Zone, who has been told that he'll be playing nickel from now on. Disgruntled, HiZ has demanded a trade to the Bengals.

The Bills select James Hardy.

Will Carroll: I talked yesterday in Buffalo about Hardy vs. Devin Thomas in the first. Now they get Hardy in the second? I realize I'm the least expert guy here, but this seems like such a steal.

Sean McCormick: Well, the Bills certainly got a big receiver. I'm not sure he's a huge steal, though. Clearly the receivers were badly overvalued. Hardy is a nice red-zone threat, but he doesn't run very crisp routes and he doesn't really pull away when he gets the ball on short passes. I also worry about these really big receivers in the NFL, as they usually take a while to learn how to beat press coverage. Often they're better once they've moved on to their second teams.

Ned Macey: As an Indy native living in Ann Arbor, awfully strange to see two IU guys go before the second Michigan guy. Baltimore definitely smoke-screened Peter King on Henne, but if they did like him (just not as much as Flacco), I wonder if they're upset they didn't just sit and take him with their second-rounder.

When are the Eagles going to pick? Next week sometime?

The Minnesota Vikings are on the clock.

Sean McCormick: Is our long national nightmare of Tavaris Jackson coming to an end?

The Vikings select Tyrell Johnson.

Sean McCormick: I guess the answer would be no. We'll have to settle for our long national nightmare of Rex Grossman coming to an end.

The Bears select Matt Forte.

Sean McCormick: No! The NFC North quarterback blight rages unabated.

Ned Macey: I agree with Steve Young on this one. Do the Bears really think Grossman is better than Benson? When the O-line played well in 2006, Benson was fine. I guess with two sort-of-equal players (Brohm and Henne), it is sort of hard to pull the trigger on the first one. Nobody I guess is likely to take one before Tampa Bay, so maybe one of these teams can trade back in after the first one goes.

The Bengals select Jerome Simpson.

Stuart Fraser: Good to see Cincinnati drafting a receiver. The Bengals obviously still have problems along the defensive line, but in many ways I think WR was the biggest problem. Something I'm going to talk about a bit in PFP 2008 is how the Bengals ought to be asking themselves "What Would Polian Do?" given that they seem to be trying to build a team somewhat similar to his sort of roster.

One of his hallmarks is to address any problem with your area of strength (i.e., offense in general and passing offense in particular) before trying to improve your weakness. So the crucial thing for Cincy to do was pick a wide receiver as soon as reasonably practicable -- and not even Matt Millen wanted any part of this lot in the first round, so R2 it is.

Looking at the list of teams remaining to pick, is it possible that neither Henne nor Brohm will even go on the first day? Is this a new record for the player named in the 0-4 wins category in PFP?

The Redskins select Malcolm Kelly, then the Jaguars select Quentin Groves.

Sean McCormick: Interesting to see teams loading up at certain positions. Washington is flooding their receiving corp and now the Jaguars have taken two consecutive edge rushers, and in both cases the teams got terrific value with their second selections.

The Packers select Brian Brohm.

Sean McCormick: And the NFC North quarterback blight is over! (And to think it was the team with arguably the best quarterback in the division that had to take Brohm.)

The Steelers select Limas Sweed.

Stuart Fraser: I hope 6-foot-4 is tall enough for you, Ben. So, Pittsburgh upgraded a position where the starter was below average (also a Pro Bowler, but um, no, he's really not that good) and a position where the starter was above average but into an age-related decline. I should probably be happier with this than I actually am.

It does seem rather unfair to Najeh Davenport, who outclassed Parker in terms of production last year and is now probably going to get cut, given that there are probably only three roster spots for running backs and the franchise more or less has to give two of them to Mendenhall and Moore (or else look *really* stupid). I can't see Parker being cut, even though... well, I think we need a table here:

Player DPAR Rank DVOA Rank Runs Yards TD Suc% Rank
Najeh Davenport 17.5 18 20.4% 8 107 500 5 52% 9
Willie Parker 4.1 38 -11.3% 44 321 1317 2 42% 42

Maybe they will keep all four backs, which doesn't say anything encouraging for the Steelers run/pass ratio in '08.

Maybe the offensive line is better than we all think and it's just Willie Parker is a terrible back. Najeh Davenport's statistics kind of suggest that. On the other hand...

The EIC Returns

Aaron Schatz: Hmm. I guess I should not have expected to come home from a barbecue at 8 p.m. and hop right into Audibles... but hey, Jason the cartoonist was in town from Denver and I don't get to see him often. We watched some of the draft and got to make fun of Leodis McKelvin's name together. We also noted that Tampa Bay now leads the league in players whose first and last names both end in "ib."

Ned doesn't like the "early second-round quarterback" strategy? I wasn't aware that was a specific strategy. Drew Brees worked out, but what other early second-round quarterbacks can people remember prior to last year? None, for a good reason. From 1998-2006, the only quarterbacks chosen between picks 30 and 50 were Brees and Patrick Ramsey (technically the last pick of the first round).

Ned Macey: Aaron raises a good point about the strategy I don't like, so I'll rename it the second-tier quarterback strategy. Between picks 18-60 (to cover Flacco-Henne) in the same 98-06 time period, we get (in rough order of quality) Brees, Pennington, Campbell, Grossman, Shaun King, Boller, Batch, Losman, Quincy Carter, Ramsey, Tuiasosopo, with an incomplete for Clemens and Rodgers.

My theory is that quarterbacks necessarily get pushed too high, so the second-tier guys are players with very real flaws. They seem like either marginal starters or good back-ups.

Now, obviously, some disastrous busts are in the top 17, but there have also been about eight or nine very good to great quarterbacks taken in this same period. I believe top-17 picks in this period make six of this year's top 14 in DPAR, compared with one of the other group (two with Favre if we expand the time period). I realize that a bust hurts more with a high pick and understand why you would stay away from Ryan, but I don't think the strategy for finding a guy is to take from the second tier.

Will Carroll: How much of this was that they fell and fell, but when they went, it was in a grouping of about four or five teams that might have taken them if they passed? Might the teams have perceived this as "we have to take him now" rather than as the actual value of the pick?

Sean McCormick: But I think that ignores recent history, as teams are increasingly wary of investing high first-round picks in quarterbacks and are looking to go the other way. It's not a coincidence that in the last three drafts you've gotten Tavaris Jackson, Kellen Clemens, John Beck, Kevin Kolb, Drew Stanton, Brian Brohm and Chad Henne after years of there being very few second-round selections (and I would count Trent Edwards and Brodie Croyle, who both went high-third, as part of the trend). You're also seeing the second first-round quarterback drop past where he was expected to go -- huge drops in the case of Rodgers and Quinn, a smaller but still significant drop for Leinart. Whatever the drafting trends were in 1999 that created that
bloated quarterback class, they're very much going the other way now.

Aaron Schatz: I'm sure Jonathan Stewart is a good running back, but is John Fox allergic to DeAngelo Williams or something? That team had a number of other holes. They needed a running back in the first round, instead of letting Williams start? Now we get into one of the huge problems with doing the projections in PFP, trying to read Fox's mind as to how he'll split the carries between two backs.

Both Baltimore and New England made out like bandits. There's nothing like trading down and getting extra picks so you can take the player you wanted anyway and pay him a lower salary.

I think we're stuck with Cincinnati not solving the Chad Johnson issue before we have to write the Bengals chapter and send the book to press. We're going to be stuck with a chapter that talks about "what if Johnson isn't back," the way the BP guys had to go to press waiting for Minnesota to finally pull the trigger on a Johan Santana trade.

Tennessee: The Detroit of running backs.

Brohm to Green Bay and Henne to Miami is pretty funny. Talk about your quarterback controversies. It's one thing to argue about the young prospect versus the veteran, but now you have two fanbases who get to debate the virtues of one young prospect versus another slightly older prospect.

Stuart Fraser: Aaron Rodgers has, I think, a better chance than John Beck, who to me clearly looks like "some guy the old coach/GM drafted and is clearly just a placeholder until the new management's passer gets up to speed."

Rodgers probably has the more formidable competitor; that said, Holmgren has been quoted as saying it takes quarterbacks three years to understand his version of the WCO, meaning that Rodgers has a substantial head start. In Miami, the offense is new to everyone. Heck, in Miami having an offense will be new to everyone.

Mike Tanier: I am not listening to any Eagles talk radio this weekend. But I do agree with the angry fans: it's not like there was no place on this team for, say, Kenny Philips.

Sean McCormick: Several teams had what look to be very strong drafts. As I indicated, I thought Miami made the proper choice at the top of the draft, and they did a good job by eschewing Henne at the top of the second for Merling, as they correctly determined that there was no one else really in the market and that they could afford to wait. I also liked their predraft trade with Dallas, so you're talking about a very productive 48 hours.

Kansas City had a tremendous first three picks. Everyone had the Chiefs pegged as a team likely to reach badly for an offensive lineman, but instead they turned the fifth pick into the top player in the draft, added arguably the second-best line prospect in Branden Albert, and then took a corner in Brandon Flowers who most people agreed was the best-looking secondary player in the draft when you turn on the film. Flowers didn't run well and that hurt his stock, but in Herm Edwards' defense, he won't be asked to play a lot of man coverage, and his ability to support the run and to deliver punishment will be maximized. Really nice drafting.

Washington and Jacksonville took different routes but had the same rough idea; the Redskins traded down and flooded their receiving corp with fresh blood, while the Jaguars traded up twice to flood their defense with edge rushers.

I very much liked the two players the Ravens took in Joe Flacco and Ray Rice, and I liked the spots in the draft where they took them even better. I'm sure some people will question the decision to trade back up to 18 to land Flacco, but supposedly the Jets were trying to package picks with Flacco as the target, so the Ravens didn't want to miss out. If you consider Flacco and Henne to be equivalent prospects, then it doesn't look so good. But if you consider Flacco and Matt Ryan to be equivalent prospects -- and I do -- then Baltimore's maneuvering looks great.

Bill Barnwell: I'm not upset with the Eagles. They didn't have a position of obvious need and got blown away with an offer (basically, trade this year's 1 for a likely similar 1 and pick up a 2 and a 4 in the process). That's almost always a good trade to take.

Mike Tanier: The Eagles need some developmental offensive linemen. They need a safety. Could use a linebacker with some real blitz ability. Depth at CB assuming Lito moves. They need receivers, though they did get one, and really there was no great option in this draft.

I just wanted them to follow up the Samuel signing with some other bold move. "Hey. we got Philips, check out our secondary!" "Hey, we got Mendenhall or Felix, watch us run teams over." Nope. Meh.

Bill Barnwell: I'm very interested in why the Patriots think Mayo works as opposed to any other linebackers who have come out the past few years.

The most interesting thing for me about this draft is how the wide receivers went. There was a perception as to how that whole group of players would break down and it went almost entirely differently than how anyone predicted, with teams reaching for players lower on most mock draft boards than the well-known group of players at the top of the list (Kelly, Thomas, Jackson, etc.). Any ideas as to why that is? Has there been a shift in how receivers are perceived, or is it just that there can be significant amounts of variance in a relatively middling crop of players?

Some thoughts on second-round picks:

  • Terrence Wheatley is pretty much your ideal Patriots defensive back -- talented, able to play on special teams, and oft-injured. He basically plays and feels like Randall Gay redux, which is something that's useful.
  • Martellus Bennett (DAL) seems like a poor replacement for Anthony Fasano. The Cowboys don't need a tight end who can get downfield, they need one who can block well on the interior and take over Fasano's role. Essentially, they went for best athlete available, and I just don't see Bennett having the right kind of impact on this team.
  • Mike Pollak (IND) is one of those players where, after you look at his selection and the team that chose him, simply makes perfect sense. Pollak's undersized, but he's smart and swift. There's also something I've been looking at in offensive line selections where the first center chosen is almost always a starter two or three years into his career for a good chunk of time. Pollak would be that guy in this year's draft.
  • I don't get Miami picking Henne. In the first round, you're passing on Ryan with the idea that not having players around him will prevent him from being a star. In the second round, drafting Henne means that you're putting him into a marginally better situation -- as good as I think Jake Long is, he's not going to change things overnight. You're also basically locking yourself into having Henne or Beck as your starter for the next four years; otherwise, you're going to have to make a significant free agent outlay on a quarterback or spend a first-round pick on one, which is just repeating the same mistakes you've made before, spending pick after pick to try and improve a position but never going out and really comitting to bringing in an elite player.
  • I'm very conflicted. I've said such nice things about the Ravens' drafting abilities before, but I hated their draft today. I apologize to Mike, but Flacco seems like Kyle Boller redux to me, and Rice is the one running back amongst the top guys that the adjusted 40 time score hated. Essentially, to succeed on the pro level, he's going to need to be an elite-level receiver out of the backfield and superb blocker, because he's simply not going to have the running ability to make it worth anyone's while.
  • It's interesting to see the Jaguars basically employ the Broncos drafting plan from last year in 2008, considering how relatively ineffective it was.
  • In the FO Mock Draft, I picked Malcolm Kelly for the Redskins in the first round. Kelly ended up going to them in the second round. I can't emphasize how highly I think of this move. Kelly's the perfect fit for what that offense needed, a possession receiver who runs smart routes and has reliable hands. He's a great foil for Moss and allows Randle El to return to the slot. This will probably come back to haunt me, but I think Kelly ends up being a Rookie of the Year candidate. It's just such a good fit. I don't know if I can say the same about Devin Thomas, since Thomas' route-running isn't up to Kelly's caliber. Either way, Jason Campbell should have plenty of options this year.
  • On the other hand, Eddie Royal has a 5-catch, 27-yard season to look forward to as the Broncos' fifth wideout.

One more first-round comment: Felix Jones was the other running back who the adjusted 40-time score saw as below-average (103.98). With all the talk that he's such an explosive big-play back, that simply didn't come out in the combine numbers.

Sean McCormick: I think the receivers came off the way they did for a pretty simple reason: The guys who were thought of as the top group weren't fast enough. The two guys who came off the board first -- Keller (who was drafted for his receiving chops) and Avery -- placed 1-2 in the short shuttle at the combine. I think the fear is that the bigger receivers didn't have the necessary quickness to get in and out of their breaks or to get cleanly off the line.

Mike Tanier: Without one or two guaranteed guys, it makes sense that the wide receivers would be hard to predict. Take the top 2 or 3 prospects away from any position and there's a lot of guesswork. It all came down to system and specific need when each team picked. The Bills needed size. The Eagles needed quickness/return ability. The Redskins needed bodies. While I usually hate their draft strategy (let's take Saturday off), I like the idea of getting two pretty good prospects from this class and letting them compete.

Russell Levine: As a Michigan/Bucs fan I'd just like to express my gratitude to Gruden for drafting Dexter Jackson of Appalachian State. The guy ruined my entire fall and now I get to watch him become Jacquez Green 2.0 in Tampa.

Stuart Fraser:It is interesting to compare how the Bengals look now and how they might look had they accepted Washington's offer for Chad Johnson. The Bengals took Keith Rivers and Jerome Simpson, the latter of which I would regard as a reach if I had any confidence that draftnik groupthink had evaluated this year's wide receiver class halfway competently. This leaves them with a big hole along the defensive line and a smaller one at safety (and still some questions in their multiple-receiver packages). If they'd accepted the Redskins' approach for Chad Johnson, who I'm becoming more and more convinced will not return at anything like his previous form if he returns at all, they could have grabbed someone like Kentwan Balmer or Phillip Merling with that pick (they could have traded down again and still grabbed one of them, actually).

Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make proud. And embroil them in a ridiculous dispute with a praise-motivated wide receiver represented by Drew Rosenhaus.

Doug Farrar: I never understood why the Redskins were so hot on making the Johnson deal in the first place. But yeah, the Bengals get the booby prize. If you're offered up to two first-round picks for a 30-year-old disgruntled wide receiver that is spending his entire off-season bemoaning his presence on your team, the only potential drawback is that you might injure yourself getting to the phone quickly enough to agree to the deal. So the Redskins kept their picks and had a very solid first day. Jim Zorn's offense doesn't require a Hall of Fame receiver; it needs three receivers who are consistently good. Zorn sees Randle El as his new Bobby Engram and Santana Moss as his Deion Branch. He needed a big receiver who would require a defense's focus, and he got two of them in Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly. The Chiefs and Dolphins were Saturday's big winners, but the Redskins were the ultimate beneficiaries of the fact that sometimes, the draft doesn't go the way you want it to, and you wind up thanking random deities that it didn't.

As far as the Seattle picks, I was doing these mock drafts for Seahawks.NET, and I kept circling around USC's Lawrence Jackson thinking how obvious it would be if they went with him. Then I would think, "Well, you want the mocks to be interesting, so bring up a player like Tyrell Johnson who people maybe haven't heard of." But Tim Ruskell doesn't like "interesting." He doesn't like projects, and he doesn't like surprises. He wants his day one draft picks to be as NFL-ready as possible, and that's what he got in Jackson and John Carlson. Jackson started 51 games for NFL U, and though he was kind of the forgotten man among first-round defensive ends, he may be the most versatile. He's played all over the line, rushed the passer from inside and out (Justin Tuck?) and has even had some success in coverage. Carlson's that same type of versatile but unspectacular player. He can do everything required of the more traditional tight end position, and he can do it now, at a level that will allow him to compete for serious starting time right away.

Aaron Schatz: And unlike last year's tight end, he is not yet old enough to run for President.

Doug Farrar: My big "HUH???" of the day had to be Detroit. Gosder Cherilus strikes me as a guy who just stands there and mauls people -- not a lot of technique or facility at the left tackle position. The Lions apparently see him as a right tackle out of the box, which is fine, but why do you go with him that early? I've read that they desperately wanted Derrick Harvey (good move, Jacksonville) or Jerod Mayo, but I don't get Cherilus being third on the board of any team with a mid-first round pick. Oh, and by trading down two picks, they effectively passed on Branden Albert. Ouch.

Mike Tanier: I'm the kind of guy who says "Geez, we shouldn't pile on the Lions cuz it gets old". But my God, everything they do is just awful.

Finally, a Few Thoughts on Day Two

Stuart Fraser: I'd just like to point out that pick 71 is listed as Ravens (from Ravens through Bills and Jaguars). Is everybody managing to follow all these trades?

Bill Barnwell: I'd like to place a bet on "Bryan Smith appearing in the bottom half of the FO Top 25 Prospects in 2009".

The Patriots chose a quarterback in the third round? That must mean he's twice as good as Tom Brady!

Stuart Fraser: I wonder what odds you could get on Pittsburgh going the first three rounds without drafting a lineman on either side of the ball (Bruce Davis is an outside linebacker in Pittsburgh's 3-4). I'm left wondering if they think that either Chris Keomeatu or Sean Mahan is a plausible starter at left guard, on the grounds that fourth-round picks aren't normally considered likely opening day starters.

Doug Farrar: I'm really enjoying Charley Casserly's analysis on the NFL Network, especially his takes on Demetrius Rodgers-Cromartie and Mario Manningway. Turns out the NFL Network won't miss Bryant Gumbel after all.

Bill Barnwell: I love Baltimore grabbing Oniel Cousins at the end of the third round. He's a project, but he's in the right place to be developed into a starter.

Stuart Fraser: According to the NFL.com draft tracker, Tennessee fourth-round pick William Hayes is 0'0" tall, which might make him a bit undersized to succeed at this level.

Doug Farrar: Undersized, yes, but many intangibles. He came in under everybody's radar, for sure.

Comments

216 comments, Last at 04 May 2008, 9:41pm

1 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

First!

I don't get the Broncos' pick of Royal...sure they needed a return guy, but they just picked up Colbert, Parker, and Jackson...WR wasn't a need, and the Broncos have so many--like ILB.

2 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

A couple points:

1. re: Albert, Virginia has Eugene Monroe at LT, who'll be a first round pick next year.

2. It's a little ironic that all the talk recently was about Shockey moving, but Chris Baker is the TE who won't be long for New York. Echoes of Kendall/Strahan last year.

3. In defense of Rice, he really runs with a head full of steam, playing like a much larger player. Baltimore didn't really have a good backup in place.

3 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Does Bill Barnwell really think Bobby Carpenter is ahead of Kevin Burnett on the depth chart?

4 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I would be mad at the Eagles if I found out they didn't take that offer to trade out of the first. I like moving down as far as they did to get Jackson too.

5 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Does anyone really think that Matt Ryan is so much more likely to be a good NFL QB than Chad Henne that is justifies the very large gap in where these two were drafted?

It is interesting to look at what the Jags gave up to get a de who has never played in the league, versus what the Vikings gave up for a 26 year old guy who has performed at an elite level in the league. I think the drinking issues are a worthwhile risk. Now, of course, we'll see Allen pull a Koren Robinson.

6 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Matt Ryan is GOING to be an average starting QB at worst (Think Jake Delhomme) and a good WB(not great) at best (think Matt Hasselback)

Chad Henne has the same ceiling as matt ryan, but he could also be a terrible pro

7 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I like the Vikings choice of Booty in the fith round, as much as one care about such things. He's used to a pro style offense, and was held back by a broken finger last year. It seems to be a decent pick.

8 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I had no problem with the Ryan pick. OK, that's not exactly true - I wanted Dorsey. I REAAAAALLY wanted Dorsey. But I think Ryan's the best QB prospect in the draft by a *significant* margin, and they needed to make that step to commit to a young QB at some point anyway. Thomas Dimitroff, an incredibly bright football man, said his April 5th meeting with Ryan was the most impressive whiteboard display he's ever seen. Ryan has Peyton and Brady-type study skills and football smarts, not to mention his excellent mechanics (best in this year's class) and his ferocious work ethic. I'm ready to buy into him, to hell with the Lewin projection.

10 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

And Ryan had BY FAR the worst supporting cast arround him this year compared to Brohm or Henne so i dont think that the lewin projection system took that into account. Ok Joe Flacco had worse, but he was facing worse competition. I dont think Ryan was the #3 prospect, but the gap between him and Flacco and Hene and Brohm was certainly warranted

11 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

The 49ers select Kentwan Balmer.

Bill Barnwell: Hey! Another guy with a somewhat questionable work ethic. Fortunately, the 49ers locker room is so strong as to pull Balmer in line … oh. Oh well.

The Jets trade up for the Packers’ pick and select Kentwan Balmer.

There is something wrong there. Keller perhaps?

12 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Jets didnt move up to sign kentwan balmer, otherwise a good read

13 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

No Bears commentary, but hardly suprising considering how bland their draft has been so far. If you look closely though you'll notice they're picking a lot of SEC guys, not that I know what that means however.

As for the picks themselves, I don't think anyone can really argue with taking Williams. As far as value and need goes, my unsolicited opinion is that it was the right pick, and altough he wasn't a big riser, one report I read says he allowed two sacks in 1558 offensive snaps...IN THE SEC.

As for forte, taking a RB who can put up yards like that will never get old, but unles I'm mistaken they probably could have traded down for him and received a late third or an early fourth for their troubles. Considering how many WRs and CBs there were sitting there I can only assume some team must have been willing to trade up, like Ten. for Sweed or something.

As a final note, losing out on Brohm hurts more than any team save possibly Baltimore can imagine, and the sting of seeing him in "turf and mustard" for the forseeable future leaves a foul taste in my mouth.

At least we didn't take Boller's clone, LOL Jesus with practically the same pick too.

pps: if angelo doesn't take a flyer on woodson with one of those 7's I'm going to be one sad bears fan....err....panda.

14 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

re: 6

There was never much doubt among the wirters that ryan was "probably" a better prospect than brohm and henne. That's what we have scouts for. The argument was he was going to get Brady/Peyton money without playing a snap and without being a "much' better than Henne/Brohm, especially according to the Lewin forecast.

I also have doubts his floor is Jake Delhomme. I think his floor is a guy Atlanta already has on it's roster. Joey Harrington.

15 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

The picks the Jags gave up were "worth" about the 12th or 14th pick (on either chart, I think) and they got to keep their 2nd-round pick. Points-wise, they absolutely did not give up too much to move to #8. And to get to 12 or 14 requires a team who wants to trade with Jacksonville at 12 or 14 -- and like you said, if Cincy picks him, then the Jags' pick of him is defensible (assuming he is the player they think he is, of course).

They got an every-downs defensive end who is NOT a turd and who they are pretty sure is a future star. If he slips up, he's not suspended for a year or longer. And they don't have to pay him Dwight Freeney money.

16 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

re:7

I agree, his strengths match what the Vikings offense is trying to do, and it's not like they invested a significant pick in him. I think I read somewhere Ron Wolf used to draft Qbs like that a lot and ended up with Hassleback, Warner, Brunell, etc.. Worked for a few teams as i recall....New England took that route if i remember correctly.

17 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Re: QBs

Comment 9 is dead on about the quality of players around each QB. Boston College had a shit running game (3.2 and 3.4 ypc the past two seasons) and has no WRs of any quality. Matt Ryan is the BC offense. I agree with the FO writer who wrote that he doesn't think Ryan is the 3rd best player in the draft, but I think he's clearly the best QB prospect.

I don't get the Henne hype (unless you believe he was never coached at Michigan). Was he substantially better from his freshman to senior years? He still tends to miss wide open guys despite having great talent around him. He's got the long stride and average release. Other than having a real NFL arm (he can throw that deep out extremely well), what else does he bring to the table?

Does anybody watch FCS (I-AA) football? Flacco was actually on TV for the national title game versus Appalachian State. He looked pretty average to me, but then again Appalachian State might be one of the top 50 teams regardless of division in the nation.

18 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Yeah, I'm not saying Henne is a better prospect, or even tied with Ryan. I'm just doubtful that there is a 54-pick difference between the two. When you have a bad footbal team, it doesn't seem sensible to use such a high pick on a qb unless you have reason to think he is of Peyton Manning or Troy Aikman quality, or something along those lines. I just don't think Ryan comes close to that standard as a qb prospect. Better for the Falcons to go with some muscle types who can knock people on their ass.

19 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Sam, until a guy does it, you just don't know what a guy will be. I'll take the guy who has done it, drinking and all.

20 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I wonder if the Packers took Brohm largely to keep the Vikes, Bears, and Lions from doing so when they remembered that they don't actually have quarterbacks.

21 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Fun read. I'm utterly ignorant of college football, so I don't have too much to say about Miami's picks thus far. What I will say is that the still have a void where most NFL teams have a secondary, (Will Allen excepted), and that Tom Brady and Randy Moss might put up a mile-and-a-half of passing yards against them next season.

I'm also a little suprised that Jason Taylor is still a Dolphin.

22 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

"When you have a bad footbal team, it doesn’t seem sensible to use such a high pick on a qb unless you have reason to think he is of Peyton Manning or Troy Aikman quality, or something along those lines. I just don’t think Ryan comes close to that standard as a qb prospect."

Yeah, but I think Tom Dimitroff does believe he's a prospect along those lines.

The thing is, this is just kind of the price you pay when you have such a gaping hole at QB - you miss out on blue chippers like Dorsey, who I thought was the best player in the draft, because you're spending your top pick on a QB who might not even be one of the ten best players in the draft. I'll still take this over what Ned was calling the 'second-tier QB' strategy, where you target almost-as-good second rounders with an eye on making value-appropriate picks. I feel like you're kinda cheating yourself in that case, because you're not committing to the best possible prospect at the most important position, you're just hedging your bets. You HAVE to invest more resources in QBs than you do in other positions, and that includes 'reaching' for a top prospect, even if he is only marginally better than some of his peers (tho i think the gap between ryan and the rest of em is bigger than ppl are saying)

23 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Harvey is far from a reach IMO. The guy is half the reason J.Moss was drafted that high last year(Other half is Jevon Kearse), and still got production while losing Thomas and Moss.

Chris Johnson a great pick ? Chris Henry anyone ? Who is VY going to throw to..

And I don't want to be a homer, but EAgles Day 1 was just fantastic. The 2 guys they got could havebeen picked with their round 1 and 2 picks without anyone really complaining, not only they did that, but they also added a 1st next year(!) and a 4th. Amazing first day.

24 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

The Bears said that Earl Bennett, who they drafted in the 3rd round was the #1 receiver on their board. So someone was terribly wrong on their evaluation of this years receivers.

25 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Not only did Booger Mcfarland have a good career in Tampa, he was just recently traded away for a 2nd round pick with his age/tread on his tires.

Let me go down by saying that the Raiders made a HUGE mistake by taking Darren Mcfadden. The comparisons to AD are laughable, just like the Reggie Bush/ Gale Sayers comparisons were.

I was very pleased with the Giants thus far parlaying that wonderful draft from last year.

Phillips
Thomas
Manningham

Phillips addresses an Obvious need, Thomas and Manningham improve CB and WR. The Giants are already set at the ever important QB, DE positions and just move on down to address the other super important positions even with Steve Smith, Sinorice Moss, Aaron Ross fresh off the draft press in the past years.

How much do you guys love Mel Kiper and Mike Mayock ?

26 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I think the difference between what the Vikings did and the Jaguars did is the Vikings paid about $13M for the proven performance of Jared Allen ($31M guaranteed minus $15 guaranteed for #8 pick last year - also a DE - plus some inflation). The cap space is a resource just like the picks; if the Jags were even interested in Allen they may not have been willing or able to devote the cap to him that they were to Harvey. The Vikings had the cap room and were willing to take on the risk of tying it up on a proven player with a history of drinking. The Jags went with less money on an unproven player with no trouble that I know of in his past.

27 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Chad Hennes release is too damn slow. I see flashes of Drew Bledsoe - Parcells 2nd to last QB.

I am glad Mike Hart fell way down the draft board and I am glad Mel Kiper was calling him a "backup" despite everybody else speaking of his "heart" and character. Kiper talked about Ray Rice and his 4.5 Running behind Michigans line averaging much more than Hart and his 4.7.

Darren Mcfadden = Willie Parker. Decent player but not worth the 4th pick.

Gled Dorsey is the best DT prospect to come out in years. It isn't just about penetration or tackles, this guy has the initial punch and then can control his gap. He won't get pushed around inside and is a key cog to develop a strong run defense ( ala Pat Williams).

I think your Patriots had a good pick with Crable, I also like Avril to be a solid and underrated pro for Detroit.

I am glad the Giants got Manningham at the end of rd 3. At one point in time he was projected as the best receiver in the draft before a slow combine and "drug" off field issues. The slow 40 doesn't bother me because he plays fast, and the drug stuff doesn't bother me either because 25% of the league smokes. ( Just don't get caught).

28 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Mel Kiper hates Todd McShay, it's so funny/awkward to watch them go at it.

29 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I don't understand how Andre Woodson gets drafted a round after Josh Johnson. Woodson beat LSU and was a preseason guy to watch while Josh Johnson was basically playing High School football. Sure his stats were great, but there are probably some college intramural teams at big colleges like Ohio State with more talent than some of the teams he played against. Woodson was throwing passes with the Glen Dorseys of the world in his face.

30 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I'm surprised more people don't compare Flacco to Jamarcus Russell. Both are super toosly, huge but not overly fast, and had a mid-sixties completion %. Each didn't start many games either, giving scouts a limited opportunity to do judge them.

Of course, the level of competition they faced was slightly different (only slightly).

The Boller comps to me don't make sense, Boller never proved he was an accurate passer in college (even though he's become reasonably accurate), and completion % is an important stat when translating college performance into the pros (or so I'm told).

31 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I look at what the Bengals did this offseasons and then the Saints. Both teams have elite QB's and should have top 10 offenses at worst. The Saints are literally doing everything in their power to bring in a talented Vilma, Sedrick Ellis, draft other defense etc. Then I look at the Bengals. They spend 2 top picks on WRs because of their premadonna Receiver, their Pothead receiver, etc. The Bengals were picking guys up off the street to play LB last year, and that front 7 losses their best player etc. The Bengals did not address their front 7 like they needed to while the Saints did.

32 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

The Seahawks drafted a long snapper.
You don't have to be real quite to hear the seahawk fans cry. Again.

33 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Re #7
"[John David Booty is] used to a pro style offense, and was held back by a broken finger last year, a marked tendency to throw the ball to the other team, and questionable ability to throw the ball downfield. It seems to be a decent wasted pick."

Fixed.

34 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

John David Booty won the rose bowl against Chad Henne two years ago because of his much quicker release. The talented Michigan defense couldn't get there quite in time, where as Henne kept getting sacked over and over because of holding onto the ball longer and releaseing it slower. I don't know much about Flacco besides he is tall, has a strong arm, and played at a smaller school, but Booty is not a wasted pick.

35 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

How about the D-III love late in the 6th round--Wheaton and Mount Union. Good to see.

36 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Brohm I think reeks of Drew Brees. NFLN had the best criticism of him for negatives "Good, not great". So his biggest fault was that he was good at everything.

Yet Matt Ryan's biggest fault was "Throws too many INTs". That seems like a really awful fault for a QB to have. That's like a WR whose fault is "struggles catching the ball".

Also, I think Philly really had to take that trade. They probably wanted Kenny Phillips, but that offer was just too good to pass up.

Either way about the QBs, Brohm outperforms Ryan in every statistical category. Is being the best QB on a top college team really enough for people to think Ryan is better than Brohm?

37 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

A stray thought on Green Bay's drafting of Brian Brohm, graded by some as the most pro-ready of the plethora of QBs available - protection for Aaron Rodgers or protection from Brett's "maybe I will, if they need me."

I can just hear Mike McCarthy now - "We got it covered Brett, really..."

38 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

MRH, the way the Vikings manage the cap, the extra 13 milion in guaranteed cash won't have much impact in future years. It's true, however, that the Jags may not have had the fexibility.

Unless the Vikings pull the trigger on another big trade, requiring more guaranteed money, or Tavaris Jackson has a huge year (yes, I've been drinking) I suspect they'll go into next year thirty or forty milion under the cap again.

39 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Uh, news to Tom, there is a reason that Booty is a fifth round pick. Show me a qb picked that late that couldn't be described as "wasted" based upon a perceived major weakness. If they didn't have such a major weakness, they would be picked sooner.

40 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Y'know, a really good long snapper who is also fast enough to run downfield and occasionally make a tackle on a punt just might be worth a 7th round pick. Mike Morris had a 14 year NFL career because of that skill combination.

41 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

#32, maybe, but sometimes the reasons are illogical. I mean, Brohm was a 2nd-round pick mostly because Louisville couldn't play defense last year.

42 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

World of difference between dropping to the 2nd round, and dropping to the 5th, dave. Nobody drops to the fifth, especially from a BCS conference, unless major weaknesses are seen on film.

43 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Brian Brohm will be better than Chad Henne. I would rather have Brohm in round 2 than Henne, and I would rather have Booty in round 5 when at the same time you could have drafted say Dan Connor or Mike Pollack and rebuilt the line or D.

#35, I love how people are still making fun of Brett Favre. Everybody loves to kick guys on their way out but wait until the Aaron Rodgers era opens and this team is 3-8 wins worse depending on Rodgers. Will you still be making fun of Bretty Favre? Most of the anti-Favre crowd dissapeared after last year but you still have to come out and bash the guy.

44 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I am honestly not that hot on this QB crop in general. I am not that high on Ryan, I liked what I saw out of Brohm, Henne has huge bust potential, Josh Johnson??????? JDB in round 5 from a risk reward perspective doesn't bother me at all. I would MUCH rather have JDB in round 5, than Tavaras Jackson in round 2. Booty actually played college FB too.

45 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

and how the heck do the Ravens draft Flacco. He has a big arm?????? So what, doesn't Kyle Bollier? A big unproven guy with a big arm, they are a dime a dozen in the NFL. Bollier was the youngest starter in the league a couple of years ago, and you might as well see what he can do after benching it for a couple of years. Mcnair wasn't great, and Bollier was similar last year, but they weren't trying to score 42 pts. per game. Just see how KB works out and build the rest of that team up.

46 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

re: 29

Ryan's INTs are pretty deceptive, and I think in general you can't use production stats as the base of your evaluation wrt college QBs. it's a piece of the puzzle, but you still have to look at the film and look at the individual plays where the picks happened - were they bad throws, was he playing in a trailing situation, etc. Ryan's understanding of the game appears to be more advanced than that of any other prospect, his mechanics are top-notch, he has good accuracy and strength, good size, an incredible work ethic and a passion for football. He's just a more complete package than Brohm, and I really don't think that scouts are punishing BB for being on a Louisville team that struggled.

47 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Re 29

Brett Favre threw too many ints, but he had a solid career

48 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

So...just how many teams have spent 1/3rd of their draft picks on centers?

Maybe Polian is establishing himself as Millen's evil twin.

49 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I agree that Ryan has the release, mechanics, intelligence, and I don't even hold that 19 picks against him with that conference. My point is that being a top notch QB is no joke. I don't see him as a Carson or Peyton but I could certainly be wrong. I'd even agree that he is a better bet than BB, but BB has a better chance than Henne, Flacco etc. I am starting to think that a quarterbacks release is highly underrated, where as most people on this site would agree that Mobility is highly overrated.

45- That is all you have to say for Favre, A solid career? He is still in the top 3rd of QBs in the league with a beard full of grey hair, he has started 10 straight years worth of games and has a freaking ring on his finger.

50 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I think the major hangup on Jared Allen for Jacksonville was not, "he's a risk to be suspended", as much as, "he would be the highest paid defender and he's gotten DUIs, which is bad for team unity". The Jags have had alot of problems with player arrests, and I think keeping locker room harmony is really a big goal - Stroud reportedly was unhappy and got his wish to be traded. JAX isn't Dallas - the Jags are low on stars, and play in a very conservative area of the country . Allen was not someone you go out on a limb for.

51 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Either way about the QBs, Brohm outperforms Ryan in every statistical category. Is being the best QB on a top college team really enough for people to think Ryan is better than Brohm?

Well, let's see:

Ryan Leaf, Washington State (10-2), 2nd overall pick.

Brian Griese, Michigan (12-0), 91st overall pick.

Matt Hasselbeck, Boston College (4-7), 187th overall pick.

No, I think it's just that Ryan Leaf and Brian Griese are better than Matt Hasselbeck.

52 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

The Jaguars are in no way salary cap restricted, but they are a small market team. They have $13M in salary cap room but they may not have had $13M REAL dollars that they wanted to spend on a guy with major off the field issues. As a fan I would have preferred that the Jags stay put at 26, pick Merling, and still have two 3rds to add depth. I just can't see the real difference between Merling and Groves vs Harvey and Groves.

53 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Regarding the Vikings vs the Jaguars moves to acquire a pass rush DE. The Vikings spent roughly 200 pts more in the current draft chart to land Allen. 200 pts is the value of a mid 3rd round pick I believe.

Allen had 15.5 sacks and 55 tackles in the NFL.

Derrick Harvey had 4.5 sacks and 32 tackles in the NCAA.

I think the Vikings made a far better gamble. College DE's drafted in the first round are a huge risk.

54 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Barnwell's penultimate comment above wins just about every Audibles thread. Ever. And beyond.

55 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

37

Yeah, but Brett Favre's strength was "throws too many TDs", so it kind of balances out.

56 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Jared Allen single handidly took over games last year. Jax took the shotgun approach with two young horses. My instinct is that those guys won't be as good as Allen, but how much longer is allen going to play?

I think a guy like Paul Spicer isn't bad, but you do ideally want a premier pass rusher. Maybe mixing in the two young horses will keep everyone fresher and better with nobody really being elite. I think if the Jags can stay healthy, they aren't from from a dominant defense that can bringing them deep in the playoffs even without an offense.

57 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I posted some thoughts on the Giants draft as I think Jerry Reese did an excellent job two years in a row stocking this team with young talent at multiple positions. The Giants were picking at the end of every round, but 5 years from now they will have selected better players than half the league.

58 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Didn't Seattle have a revolving door at LS? If the guy is good, he could contribute for a while.

59 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Also re: Sean's "And to think it was the team with arguably the best quarterback in the division that had to take Brohm."

I don't get why anybody thinks Aaron Rodgers is going to be any good (apparently the Packers aren't quite sure of that fact). He had one good half in a game against an okay pass defense playing with a big lead. And based on the current stats, he gets hurt roughly once every 35 attempts.

Yes, T-Jack's raw, Kitna's old, and Rexy/Neckbeard isn't headed to the HOF any time soon. But what has A-Rodg done to deserve any accolades over the above motley lot?

60 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

There's at least a possiblity he might not suck, which is a huge upgrade over Rex and Jackson, and he's not old and mediocre, which makes him an upgrade over Kitna if he's just young and mediocre.

61 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I may be the only person in the whole wide word of the internet who actually likes the Gosder Cherilus pick for the Detroit Lions. Click my name to link to my blog which puts forth my position more fully. The quick hits: 1) he has a ton of game tape which means that if he is graded as a first round prospect he likely belongs there, 2) his pass protection problems are likely overstated due to the pass happy nature of the Boston College offense, 3) the right tackle situation has been astoundingly mismanaged in the Millen-era, so selecting a player who can solidify that position with a low floor makes sense.

I do not understand the Branden Albert love. You may get a good left tackle out of him, but in all likelihood you just have a guard, which is less valuable than a good right tackle.

Lest I am branded as a Lions-slappy/Millen defender (do they exist?) I would also add that the rest of Matt Millen's draft was godawful.

62 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Maybe the first team in the NFC North to get a franchise QB gets the division for the next four or five years.

Bears with a QB, look like a pretty good team. Ditto for Vikings and Packers. Then there is the Lions, and I am still waiting to be convinced by Marinelli and will never be convinced by Millen. If they were the only team in the division with a bona fide QB they might look like favourites. He would certainly have WRs to throw to.

63 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

59- Just a guard? Look at all of the man love that Steve Hutchinson and Alan Fanaeca got as free agents. How about the money that Lenoard Davis and Derrick Dockery got. It isn't that Albert is going to be a guard, he should be an elite guard for a team with Larry Johnson who was elite when he had Roaf and All pro Brian Waters. Sure, a guard might not be worth the same as a LT, but if you can snag a dominant guard you do it. Especially when he is athletic enough to pull and run people over.

Look, I am not Jon Kitna fan, but to just dismiss him because he is "old" is foolish. The guy takes more hits than ANY quarterback and a lot of it isn't even close to being his fault. Imagine every down being 3rd and 10 and the opposing team just knows you aren't going to run the ball and B) you don't have the blockers to block for you anyway. I saw Kitna take more punishment like a Man than pretty much any QB last year. Is he going to be there in 5 years? Probably not, that is an eternity in the NFL, but then again, are Tavaras Jackson, Rex Grossman, or Aaron Rodgers going to be in Green Bay? I'd say no to all 3, but maybe 1 of them turns it around and makes it 5 years. People are just too damn impatient with the QB position at all the wrong times. Kitna isn't the reason they were losing.

64 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

What I meant was do you think any of those NFC north QBs will be there in 5 years? How about 3 years? There is a strong possibility that only 1 of the 3 ( Rodgers, Grossman, Jackson) is starting for his team after next year.

Kitna was also passing almost every single down last year which put him at a major disadvantage. Look at the difference between the offense he ran and then say Jason Campbell handing it off, throwing these short passes and the play action. Kitna was dropping back and getting tee-ed off on for almost every offensive play ( minus the 212 carries the Lions had). Kitna was put into an impossible situation and wasn't terrible.

65 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I just want to say that with 3OL and 3DL, this is the first Miami draft that I have been happy about in quite a while.

66 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I really had more respect for J.Moss and a ton more for Javon Kearse than for Harvey. I agree that Harvey was good, but based on his college play I would have predicted he go between 15 and 45. Without J.Moss on the other side he seemed to disappear from most games I saw. Maybe opponents just schemed differently since he was the only real threat for the Gator D-Line last year.

I would have preferred Atlanta to take Dorsey (and QB in second round), but Matt Ryan is a much better choice for QB image than Vick was. Hopefully, the fans will get behind the team. Hopefully, Atlanta will be patient enough to give him the necessary time to learn the NFL ropes (1-2 years on the bench is best, IMO).

I think Miami had a good draft and a great trade with Dallas.

I really like KC's draft (inside-out to rebuild a team). On the other hand, I thought NE could have traded down more for their ILB, but maybe they know something I do not.

I actually like the Redskins draft... who would have known they could draft? The Cowboys could have done better, IMO. The Pacman trade sounds like a high risk, high gain and the other TE situation does not sound like an improvement for "win now".

I think GB taking a QB is a fine choice (especially for value). They could sit him on the bench for 3 years like they did Rodgers or get a little competition or have a decent backup in a year or two.

67 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Pete,

The Gators were so thin at Defensive Tackle they had a true freshman Offensive Lineman playing DT along with a walk-on utility-lineman kind of guy in at least one game. I would say that YES, teams were able to scheme Derrick Harvey out of some games - I mean there are 5 OL and 4 DL to start with, and when you only have 2 good players in your front 7, those 2 don't always get noticed.

68 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

You know, in the past, there always seemed to be someone early in a Millen draft that made me drink the Kool-Aid. Might live up to his potential, might turn it around, might be the right guy for the offense, and so on.

This year, there really isn't anyone like that. Certainly, it's extremely difficult to evaluate a draft immediately afterward with anything other than a nod, a shrug, or a shake of the head, but I certainly can't nod at this draft, and you'd like to think that a GM with his job on the line would get you a draft worth more than a shrug.

Oh yeah, that's right, his job's not on the line. Heck, if some of these later picks make the team and bring payroll down, he might get another extension.

At least there are three other playoff-caliber teams in the city. I'm not sure what I'd do if my only team were a storied franchise ruined by an incompetent GM and a clueless owner.

69 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

The Eagles need some developmental offensive linemen. They need a safety. Could use a linebacker with some real blitz ability. Depth at CB assuming Lito moves. They need receivers,

No. Just... no. Please, Mike, don't get caught by the silly hype in the media.

The Eagles offense struggled in the red zone last year, right? Well, clearly, if they're struggling in the red zone, it can't be quarterback, because, well, McNabb, it can't be running back, because Westbrook is awesome and they have a big back now (ignore the fact that they didn't use him, this is the media we're talking about), it can't be the offensive line because the offensive line is one of the best in football, so it's got to be the receivers, right? It's always been the receivers, right?

Wait, what do you mean there's another spot on offense? Tight end? Never heard of it, apparently.

The Eagles starting receivers last year had 1800 yards receiving and 10 TDs. This is not bad. This is actually above average.

The Eagles' receiving corps last year in production was pretty similar to the Seattle Seahawks (in yards, TDs, and DPAR). Are Seattle fans crowing for a wide receiver in the draft?

The Eagles problems in the red zone, and on offense in general, were all about tight end, not receiver. Combined, their tight ends produced about 500 yards receiving, 3 TDs, and 3.4 DPAR. 3.4 DPAR!

The Eagles don't need a receiver. Adding a top receiver to that team won't improve them nearly as much as having a decent tight end. Maybe it's LJ Smith, recovering after injury. Maybe it's Brent Celek, developing. It's certainly not Schobel, which means they could've easily fit another TE in.

70 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Beh, the Seahawks comparison was a bit much - the Seahawks fared a bit amount better in production from WRs - about 10 DPAR, 300 yards, and a handful of TDs - I dropped Hackett from their stats (Then again, given that Hackett's no longer there, maybe that's not so bad).

The point's still the same. Eagles fans have been crowing about a WR for years, but the situation at WR now is "could be better, but not a weakness." This is so violently unlike 2003 that it's not even funny. The situation at TE is much worse unless LJ Smith comes back strong and a late-round pick continues producing - and even in that case, if LJ does come back strong, then they still have to keep him, since he's on a one-year contract.

A decent TE would've made a lot of sense as a decent high draft pick for the offense.

71 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I like the Vikings choice of Booty in the fith round, as much as one care about such things. He’s used to a pro style offense, and was held back by a broken finger last year. It seems to be a decent pick.

Yeah, although they really should've taken a QB in the first two rounds. Still, Booty played well for the most part over the last couple years, had a high completion%, low interception% (Stanford game notwithstanding), faced a fairly high level of competition, etc.

More importantly, he only started 23 games. That's a red flag for a QB in the first two rounds (hence lower projection in Lewin's system), but it's a good thing for a late round QB. After all, if he were really great, and he started lots of games, he would've been taken quickly. The successful QBs that slip to later rounds are almost never 3-4 year starters in college, because lack of game film to analyze is the only way NFL scouts miss them. Brady started 25 games, Hasselbeck 21, Bulger 30, Warner 12, Brunell 16, Trent Green 32. The only one I could find who started more than 35 was Jake Delhomme, who started at least 43 from what I've read (but then, Delhomme isn't that great, and he played for Louisiana-Lafayette, a fairly low-profile team). Anyway, point is, late round QBs with fewer starts are more likely to become good pros.

Also, given that Booty only waited on the bench so long because of Matt Leinart, there's no reason to think his low number of starts is indicative of low talent (like it might be for, say, Joe Flacco).

I think Booty has a good chance at being better than Tavaris Jackson, so taking him should improve the Vikings. Unfortunately, that says more about Jackson and the Vikings than it does about Booty.

Of course, the Vikings did more to address their QB situation than the Bears, who managed to take 12 players (12!) without addressing the single most obvious and glaring need on their team.

72 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I'm surprised by the FO love of the Redskins strategy in Round 2. Yes, it is great and all that they could trade down and still get their guy (presumably Devin Thomas), but then picking up a pass-catching TE (when they have a good one of those) and then another WR seems like a huge waste on a team that doesn't lack for other holes to fill.

I do think WR was a weakness of theirs, but that's also a result of their lights out WR scouting skills on ARE and especially Brandon Lloyd and David Patten (not to mention Taylor Jacobs, Rd 2, 2003; Cliff Russell, Rd 3 2002; Rod Gardner, Rd 1, 2001... and further not to mention that they thought Chad Johnson is worth potentially two #1s).

The WaPo reports that the decision makers in the war room were Cerrato and the Danny.

73 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Heh, if the Eagles could use a TE that much, maybe the Saints should have given the Giants what they wanted for Shockey and then traded him straight to the Eagles for what they gave the Giants + a late round draft choice.

There's no way the Giants would trade him directly to the Eagles, but it would be fun if he found his way there. That would add a bit of interest to that NFC East rivalry.

74 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

The best thing I can say about the Redskins' draft is that I like each pick in isolation. The problem is that none of it makes sense when taken together in context of the team.

Snyder and Cerrato are explaining this as pure BPA--trading and picking according to their draft charts, etc. The problem is that, to my mind, BPA only makes sense if a team's very good or very bad, when a team needs so many or so few players that you can gauge some measure of raw value without figuring in the use he'll be to your team.

The Redskins aren't in such a position. You could make the case after last year, like Cerrato did, that the team didn't need a lot of starters. That's what going to the playoffs means. But the team had needs, most glaringly (IMO) somebody who can step in and start in the middle of the OL in August if Rabach, Thomas or Kendall go down (at 30, 32 and 35 this has to be considered a very real possibility). Chad Rinehart's got the mobility they needed in a young guard, but hasn't played center before, meaning they're exactly where they were a week ago, with absolutely no backup at that position. And I just don't get it. This is not, of course, the Skins' only need, just their most inarguable.

Particularly because Zorn had to have watched his Seahawks beat the Redskins in the playoffs. He has to have seen Patrick Kerney setting up camp in the Redskins' backfield. And if the lesson he came away from that experience with was "boy they'd be a dangerous team if they had more receivers", the man's insane, and arguably less fit to coach than any man who would walk into a (modestly) successful franchise to install a notoriously complicated offense that's ill-suited to the personnel on the team.

I don't think anybody ever predicted the Skins would win it all next year. But I think every front office has to have a plan about when that's going to be possible. What year do Snyder, Cerrato and Zorn think the Skins will be a serious contender, and what does this draft do to get them there? Unless they're banking heavily on the uncapped year where elite teams will be handicapped in free agency, this just doesn't make any sense.

75 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I do think that the Eagles need a big possession receiver for the red zone (although a TE would be good too). Currently we have exactly no one that McNabb can throw a fade to. And I love Westbrook to death, but he's really not a goal-line back.

76 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Mathematical take on Eagles - Panthers trade. All pick values are from the pick value chart at NFL Draft Countdown.

The 19th pick was worth 875 points, the current year picks (43 and 109) were worth 546. If Carolina wins the Super Bowl next year, their #1 is worth 590. So the Eagles have swapped a net of 329 "points" in this year's draft for 590 in next year's draft. This is an 81% APR. If, as seems more likely, Carolina finishes as a low playoff seed, their pick will be worth 740-800, for APR's from 127% to 145%.

Any way you slice it, the Eagles just had to take the plunge.

On the same note, the pundits seem to think that anybody who makes a lot of draft day trades had a "good" draft, and anybody that stood pat had at best an "average" one. It seems to me that Carolina automatically had a "bad" draft based on the arithmetic above. They effectively traded a #1 next year for pick #57, or Chad Henne.

The teams that had "good" drafts, it seems to me, are teams that let the draft come to them. Teams like Pittsburgh (they refused to panic and draft Duane Brown to fill their O-line need). Instead they make great "value" picks like Mendenhall and Sweed, then pick up a 4th round OT with good athleticism who is coming off an injury (Tony Hills) at a point where he's a "good value."

It seems to me that New England and Baltimore are the two teams that have figured out how to move in and out of the draft while they're on the clock. Even so, who really knows (a) if New England really had their eyes on Mayo at 7 and just saved some money while banking an extra pick, or (b) if there was really anybody trying to move in between 18 and 28 to pick Flacco?

And all that's really wrong with Houston's draft is that they forgot to say, "We had a mid first-round grade for Duane Brown and thought we could get him later, so we had to make the deal." After all, Otah is a right tackle and Sam Baker was a major reach, so what did they really give up to take a shot at Duane Brown as their LT and grab a couple of extra picks? Do that a few times, and pretty soon you're as smart as Scott Pioli!

77 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Re 76:

"It seems to me that Carolina automatically had a “bad” draft based on the arithmetic above."

No, it means next years draft will probably be bad. No matter how many picks from next year's draft they traded, it doesn't affect how this one should be looked at and graded. We're just looking at the players they got and guessing if they will work out, and fill needs.

78 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Chad Henne has the same ceiling as matt ryan, but he could also be a terrible pro

Given that Henne had 47 starts in college and completed about 60% of his passes, I think there's very little chance of him being terrible. Scouts almost never miss on QBs when they have 40+ starts and a decent completion%. Henne's easily the safest bet in the draft to be neither great nor terrible. His floor is mediocre, his ceiling is very good.

I'd say Ryan's ceiling is higher, but his chance of reaching it is slightly lower. I'd take him before Henne, but it's close.

you still have to look at the film and look at the individual plays where the picks happened - were they bad throws, was he playing in a trailing situation, etc.

True, but remember that Brohm was playing in a trailing situation much more often than Ryan (because his defense sucked), and Brohm didn't have tons of interceptions. Maybe some of Ryan's picks were the fault of his receivers, but still, I don't think the talent gap between Brohm's receivers and Ryan's is enough to explain the difference in interceptions. Ryan just isn't as careful with his throws.

And completion% is another big difference. Ryan's is good, but Brohm's is great. And Lewin's projection system shows that NFL scouts don't correctly account for completion% in their evaluations of top QB prospects, so there's good reason to believe they overrated Ryan wrt Brohm.

All that said, I don't doubt that Ryan will be a good QB. He'll almost certainly be an upgrade over what they have now, so it's not like it was a terrible pick. But I seriously doubt he's going to be better than Brohm.

Brett Favre threw too many ints, but he had a solid career

Actually, contrary to popular belief, Favre's interception% was below league average in 10 of his 16 seasons as a starter. He only has the career interception record because he threw more pass attempts than anyone in NFL history. If he'd retired after 10 years, with 5441 pass attempts (9th most in NFL history), he'd have had 172 interceptions, which would have left him at 39th on the all-time career interception list.

I do think that the Eagles need a big possession receiver for the red zone (although a TE would be good too).

You know, 2007 was the first year since 1999 that the Eagles offense has been below average in the red zone. I'm thinking that has more to do with lack of production from TEs and McNabb still recovering from an ACL tear than it does to the WRs. I mean, look at 2006: the offense was stellar, game in, game out, all season. No problems in the red zone. Hell, they were better in the red zone than they were in the rest of the field. What's changed? Well, Stallworth left and Curtis arrived, LJ Smith and McNabb got injured, and...? You think losing Stallworth was such a big deal? Even after picking up Curtis? Otherwise, it's just a matter of LJ Smith getting/staying healthy and McNabb completing his recovery.

79 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

76: You can't ignore time value in draft picks, which the simplified trade chart does. If next year's first were worth this year's, teams wouldn't need to add first-day picks to make the trade happen.

I don't think Carolina had a bad draft because of the trade value; I think Carolina had a bad draft because they've ignored the way that NFL offenses have changed over the last 4 years. DJ Hackett was a great signing (a good player at a great price to fill a real need), but based on the draft, John Fox still thinks he can make it back to the Super Bowl with 2WR sets and a power running game. And that's just bizarre.

80 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Re 78:

scouts almost never miss on QBs when they have 40+ starts and a decent completion%.

Except the scouts weren't very high on Henne, and let him go late in the 2nd round.

Actually, contrary to popular belief, Favre’s interception% was below league average in 10 of his 16 seasons as a starter.

But that is because most quarterbacks in the league suck, Favre threw a lot of picks for an above average QB, much less the best QB in the league title that he held for a few years.

81 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Except the scouts weren’t very high on Henne, and let him go late in the 2nd round.

Scouts were perfectly high on Henne. He had a low-first, high-second round grade from most. He ended up going late in the 2nd, but where a player is graded and where he ends up are two totally different things. Where he ends up depends on the order of the teams picking, which has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the player.

Given that there are seven rounds in the draft, a player who has a late first/high second round draft is thought of very highly by the scouts.

82 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Except the scouts weren’t very high on Henne, and let him go late in the 2nd round.

Sure, they're not that high on him, but if they thought he was going to be bad, they would have let him drop to the second day, or out of the draft entirely. You don't spend a 2nd round pick on a player if you don't think he's going to be at least decent. They obviously don't think he's going to be great, but they also don't think he's going to be terrible. And since they've had 47 games to evaluate him, their evaluation is almost certainly very accurate. The fact that he lasted until the second round just means he's probably not going to be a Pro Bowler.

Look at it this way: if they take him in the second round, and he turns out to be terrible, then would you say they accurately evaluated his abilities? Is a terrible QB a good value in the second round? Of course not. If you think a QB is going to be terrible, you don't draft him at all, and certainly not with a first day pick.

But that is because most quarterbacks in the league suck,

I'm not getting what you mean here. Half of the QBs in the league are average or better (and therefore don't suck), so I don't see how your math is working there.

Favre threw a lot of picks for an above average QB, much less the best QB in the league title that he held for a few years.

No, he threw about as many picks as you'd expect from an above average QB. He threw more interceptions than most elite QBs, sure. But if Favre were as good in every other area as he was with interceptions, he would've been an average/slightly above average QB. So, relative to the rest of his skill set, interceptions were a weakness. But he wasn't bad in that area. He just wasn't particularly good there.

If someone is pointing out a fault of a QB, that should be something that, all else being equal, would make them a below average player. That's not the case with Favre and interceptions.

83 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Chad Hennes release is too damn slow. I see flashes of Drew Bledsoe - Parcells 2nd to last QB.

If Chad Henne has a career like Drew Bledsoe's, he'd be well worth a late second round pick. I think Miami fans would kill to have a QB who's "only" as good as Bledsoe was.

84 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Will Allen, that's exactly the first thing I thought when I saw the trade.
Why would you trade as much for an unproven player vs for Allen ?
The salary I think.
And the fact they can now play some 3-4, the Peytonite as some think.
With Harvey and Groves manning the Pass-rusher Backer role, Spicer, Landry and Hayward as DEs, Henderson and Meier as NT and Smith, Durant, Ingram and Petterson filling the remaining 3 backers roles.
They have some flexibility in their front seven, just as with their secondary.

I'd add :
You're an OL or a DT and went undrafted ?
Jax is the place you want to go to compete for a roster spot !

85 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

74- The skins are a modestly successful franchise? That's funny, they have won 1 playoff game in 15 years, spend more money than anyone else, and have had a revolving door at head coach since their owner took over.

86 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

83- I was talking 2006 Bledsoe and not 1996 Bledsoe.

I was also one of the few people last year saying that no LJ Smith was devastating for Mcnabb and the Eagles. An athletic TE like that in the wco could have meant winning 2-3 more games ( remember the eagles lost a lot of close ones). Washington 1 comes to mind where the Eagles were faced with a hobbled Mcnabb and man coverage and were terrible in the red zone.

87 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

How many years before Matt Ryan is better than Joey Harrington? Glen Dorsey could step in right now and contribute. Ryan might be on the bench and might have growing pains for years. If you are Atlanta, are you committed to picking high in the draft for a few years?

88 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

:: lobolafcadio — 4/28/2008 @ 5:29 am
.
I heard some team in P'burgh is looking for guys in the trenches too.

89 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Did I see that right? A comparison of Adrian Peterson and LdT along with Marshall Faulk, Edgerrin James and Fred Taylor, to BARRY SANDERS?

Show me numbers on that one. How do you make any sort of rational comparison? Barry Sanders wasn't a once-in-a-decade player. He's a legend.

90 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I was pleased with the Packers draft. I thought the Nelson pick was inspired because this removes Woodson as return man which is a huge positive. And as shown in the injuries that attacked the D-line last season there is no such thing as "too much depth" at a position.

The Brohm pick has been discussed. Due to Rodgers' uncanny "ability" to get hurt in limited action I suspect BB will be starting six games into the season and will likely keep the job. Folks dismissed his arm strength but somehow he averaged 8.5 YPA last season. He's Drew Brees, The Sequel.

I like the Texas TE pick. I stumbled across Texas games twice last season and thought the guy was a real player. I also was glad to see Ted grabbing some O-linemen. The guards need a good swift kick in the *ss and hopefully this sends them that message.

I appreciate Thompson's inclusion as intelligence as a determining factor in drafting a player. He mentioned it repeatedly in interviews and he clearly means it.

This is a 180 degree difference from Mike Sherman who was fascinated by "physical tools" at the expense of basic thinking skills. Sherman was convinced that football was completely instinctive and that intelligence wasn't that important.

Which is why GB had a series of wasted picks under Sherman primarily due to guys being incapable of learning their assignments. Guys looked great in the uniform. But repeatedly blew their responsibilities.

Anyway, solid draft.

91 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Something to note with the Allen/Harvey issue - it's misleading to consider it an either/or choice for Jax. At the time the FO made the decision not to bid on Allen, it wasn't expected that Harvey would fall within Jax's reach. In one of his post-pick pressers Del Rio said the team doubted it had the "ammunition" to move up far enough to take him.

That they were able to was the result of events early in the first - after Ryan was taken by Atlanta, Baltimore abruptly wanted to move well back, and they were willing to trade the 8th for picks equivalent to the 13th... which put Harvey in play as a realistic option for the first time.

Now, obviously Jax wouldn't have - literally couldn't have - taken Harvey if they had traded for Allen. But that's a very different thing from saying Jax made any kind of choice between them; the decision not to pay the price for Allen simply meant that the need for DE was deferred to the draft.

92 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

45- That is all you have to say for Favre, A solid career?

I believe his intent was to make an obvious understatement.

and how the heck do the Ravens draft Flacco. He has a big arm?????? So what, doesn’t Kyle Bollier? A big unproven guy with a big arm, they are a dime a dozen in the NFL.

Agreed about Flacco, but I'd like to point out that there's no I in team, and there's also no i in Kyle Boller.

Yes, T-Jack’s raw, Kitna’s old, and Rexy/Neckbeard isn’t headed to the HOF any time soon. But what has A-Rodg done to deserve any accolades over the above motley lot?

Well, he has a decent projection, and so far he hasn't done anything to make us think it's wrong. So, that gives him an advantage over Jackson, who had a bad projection, and has spent his first two years confirming it. And while Grossman had an average projection, he's spent several years showing how much of an outlier he is (in a bad way). We can be pretty sure that Orton sucks by this point. Kitna's played fairly well, but he's getting old enough that his performance is likely to decline soon. That leaves Rodgers, who's likely to improve and was probably about as good as Kitna already.

Maybe Kitna will be the best QB in the division, but it's not obvious at this point. And since it is obvious that Grossman and Orton won't be the best in the division, that leaves Rodgers as Kitna's only real competition for the dubious honor. That doesn't mean Rodgers is the best QB in the NFCN, but there's an argument to be made for it.

93 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I'm glad to see Washington picked up Brennan after coveting Josh Johnson in the later rounds. I think Brennan could really turn out to be a decent #2 QB in a WCO. Not too keen on some other picks, I think 2 WRs (and a TE) in the 2nd round is a waste when they really need DEs and DTs, and then they waited too long to snag a DE (rd 7).

I'm surprised Brohm "fell" as much as he did, but that seemed to be the trend in the entire draft. The Brohm pick makes sense I suppose for GB, but then they took Matt Flynn in the 6th as well? I don't see the point to acquiring two rookie QBs to back up a guy with no starting experience. I'm also surprised that so many running backs went in Rds 1 & 2.

94 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Speaking of taking intelligent players late, Chiefs took Barry Richardson, OT out of Clemson. There are some knocks on his "passion" for the game, but a player who was All-ACC two years running and started for almost all four years is probably a decent 6th round choice. Then there's this nugget from NFLDraftScout via nfl.com:
A highly intelligent athlete, he graduated from high school after only three years and then took just a little over three years to earn his degree at Clemson.

95 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

I'll repeat my crazy suggestion that the Vikings should be willing to trade draft picks to get Jason Taylor out of Miami, assuming they can handle the 16 million in salary owed. If they are committed to young unproven qbs and Gus Ferrotte, then they should go for broke and get ridiculously strong at the 2nd most important position, especialy since they aren't especially young elsewhere. They are seeking stadium subsides which could easily add 2 billion or more to the owner's net worth, and nothing would do more to pull that off than a championship in the next two years. If Parcells will part with Taylor for next years 2nd rounder and another pick, or even next year's first by itself, they should pull the trigger, and try to go into next season with a tremendously deep and dominant defensive line. Another factor would be which sides Allen and Taylor would play one, and whther that would be compatible to them, but assuming that's not a deal killer, they should do it.

96 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Will:

Personally, I look forward to seeing Brad Childress bringing back the single wing offense to the NFL.

I welcome our new "Direct Snap to AP OverLord".

97 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Regarding Aaron Rogers what were his college stats (pct comp and starts)? His very high sack rate would worry me if I were a GB fan.

I was kind of hoping the Vikings would take Brohm. I don't think Jackson's as bad as the FO staff think but Brohm is a poster child for the Lewin system which certainly has an excellent track record projecting QB success. AS a Viking fan I am very concerned that the guy running GB seems to be very smart. I think he knows Rogers isn't the answer.

But my concerns for the Vikings this year were far more about the defense than the offence so perhaps the safety was the best pick.

98 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Will - Interesting thought re: Taylor. I'm really high on Edwards, who I think will benefit hugely from the addition of Allen.

Edwards is just 23 this year. He had 5.5 sacks in 12 games last year and next to K. Williams he was the guy most teams seemed to worry about in pass protection. This year he will be in one on one's quite often.

99 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

"On a wider issue, I’m wondering how often a running back is worth a first-round pick, especially a high one. Adrian Peterson was, or at least, if he keeps up current production, clearly will be. After him, who?
"It seems the only running backs who are really worth it in round one are the truly rare talents who only come along maybe once a decade (so the one before Peterson was probably Barry Sanders).
"But they come along once a decade, and if there was one last year, it makes me skeptical that McFadden is really everything he’s advertised to be."

Umm, not to nitpick or anything, but....LaDainian Tomlinson anyone? Seems like you forgot a pretty big first round RB, which is surprising, since he's just a tad high-profile (sorry, I get worked up when the Chargers are so blatantly overlooked)

100 Re: Audibles at the NFL Draft

Everyone is being entirely to tough on Joe Flacco. This whole "small school" thing is crap. The University of Delaware has an excellent football program and has sent a number of players to the pros. It is far better then McNeese State, where McNair played. UD would beat half of the D1 schools, head to head. Flacco looked great in a losing effort in the championship game last year (to a team that beat Michigan, mind you) and all through the playoffs. Stop with the big-school bias.