Here is part two of the Frank-ly sports draft recap. The NFC was just as productive, if not more so. Slowly but surely the NFC tightens the gap team by team to the AFC. Sorry this is awfully late, things get really busy when the weather gets nice.
Dallas Cowboys: Grade A: Jerry Jones was wheelin’ and dealin’ this draft day baby. He loaded up on young talent. Felix Jones from Arkansas will be instant impact as Marion Barber’s back up. He’ll be that quick change of pace that every NFL team needs. In addition to that, he’s pretty electrifying as a kick returner, so he’ll have plenty of chances to touch the football. Staying on the same tip, I love the TashardChoice pick. Even though the backfield will be crowded, I watched a lot of Choice in college and he has NFL written all over him. He as speed and quickness, but is as physical as they come. He could probablybe a starter in the league someday. Next is Mike Jenkins out of South Florida. He was probably one of the top 5 CB’s in the draft, and Dallas was able to get him and Jones in round one. He should see playing time early. The Cowboys were also able to add some nice depth with Boise State corner Orlando Scandrick. He won’t have to play early, but can learn the system and play in the nickel. Tight End Martellus Bennett is another nice athletic target, and will be a great compliment to the Boys’ offense. The rich get richer this year.
New York Giants: Grade B+: The G-men’s class was solid from top to bottom. They got the best safety in the draft in Miami’s Kenny Phillips, that will allow for yet another blitzer and playmaker to use on an already stout defense. USC corner Terrell Thomas wasn’t a great pick, considering PSU’s Dan Connor was still on the board, but it added some nice depth. USC guys are typically pretty “NFL ready” with the system that Pete Carroll runs in LA. I think the steal for the Giants was Mario Manningham. Manningham was by far the best WRin the Big 10(11), and easily one of the most dangerous in the country. Although he was injured from time to time, Manningham will create some great mismatches for Eli Manning and the Giants offense. With Steve Smith emerging, Amani Toomer, David Tyree, Plaxico Burress, DJ Hall and Sinorice Moss, it might be tough to get balls thrown his way. Toomer is getting older, and Moss gets bit by the injury bug every year, so maybe it won’t be that bad…Unless Jeremy Shockey has something to say about it.
Philadelphia Eagles: Grade B: The Iggles covered all their needs this year. Most importantly at Wide Receiver. Cal’s DeSean Jackson will give McNabb a lightning target to go to. Jackson can make big plays on special teams as well. My favorite pick for Philly was, yes you guest it, Notre Dame’s Trevor Laws. Laws can play inside and out, and was probably the number 3 DT in the draft. Dorsey and Ellis being one and two. Laws has a great motor that the fans in Philly will love. He led the ND defense last year with over 100 tackles. He’ll be a solid pro, and has a great nose for the ball. He uses his hands well, and runs good enough for a man his size.
Washington Redskins: Grade B-: The Skins’ neglected to get a good defensive linemen, which they are in need of. However, weapons were the name of the game for them, and they got three good ones. Wide Receivers Devin Thomas and Malcom Kelly can fly. They both have big play ability and can make an impact quickly with Randle-El hurt. This will give the Redskins some nice targets when the entire group is together(Santana Moss, Randle-El, Kelly, Thomas, and Thrash). Pair them up with Clinton Portis and you might reallyhave something there. Tight End Fred Davis is probably the most talented TE in the draft, so more weapons for Jason Campbell. The pick I hate is Colt Brennan. Sorry Colt, your a product of the system like Timmy Chang. You didn’t play well in the Senior Bowl or its practices, you played in a less then desireable conference with weak competition, you got owned by Georgia in your biggest test of the year, and you don’t really have a strong arm. Good luck in the AFL, that is much more your style anyway.
Chicago Bears: Grade C: Quick public service announcement to the Chicago Bears: You should have picked Brian Brohm when you had the chance. The grade is that low because they didn’t address their most glaring need, the quarterback position. I like Rex Grossman, I always have and I always will, but he’s not the guy. Sorry. Marcus Monk is an interesting pick, he has the big play potential that they need in Chicago, but there is no guarantee that the QB will get him the football. Tulane’s Matt Forte has an interesting position right now. He could be the opening day starter if he protects the football and doesn’t get beat down by anyone. This will be a running back by comitte early, as the Bears continue to look for an offensive identity. Vanderbilt Tackle Chris Williams is a nice pick, and will be a starter in this league for a long time. If he learns to play with better leverage, he will be an All-Pro.
Detroit Lions: Grade D: What a mess, the Lions really needed Jerod Mayo or one of the other top LB’s to come their way, or they needed Jonathon Stewart to fall into their lap. Neither happened. The Lions best pick of the day was the University of Central Florida’s Kevin Smith. Smith is a workhorse back, coming only 61 yards shy of Barry Sanders record of 2,628 yards in a season. He should get every opportunity to push the other Detroit RB’s.
Green Bay Packers: Grade B-: This class has depth, but most importantly it contains the heir to the QB thrown in Green Bay with Brian Brohm. Brohm is a gifted passer that can throw it into tight windows. He is a good leader, and can even make plays when the chips are down. Brohmand late rounder Matt Flynn will push Aaron Rodgersall of camp. He’ll either be the starter, or carry the clip board. After some limited time last year, Rodgers looks ready. We’ll see. WR Jordy Nelso was an unneccessary pick, but is a Green Bay Style player. Hard nosed, likes contact and can play all day.
Minnesota Vikings: Grade B: I’m counting newly acquired DE Jared Allen in this draft as well. He’ll upgrade this defense once again. Arkansas State DB Tyrell Johnson might get beat up a little bit due to the competition that he played against in college. However, he’ll get a shot to be the nickel back for the Vikings early, as pass defense was a problem spot for them. I like the John David Booty pick. As I’ve said before, he’s NFL ready, and has a stronger arm then people think. At USC, he played in a west coast offense and didn’t really have to throw the ball down field that much. He’ll make the plays and command the huddle. Besides, even if he’s a bust, he’ll look great handing the ball off to AP.
Atlanta Falcons: Grade B: Some experts graded the Falcons out lower because the failed to get one of the top defensive linemen. Hey, you gotta replace Mike Vick man. Matt Ryan is a solid guy with intangibles. He can make the throws, and will certainly stay out of trouble. OL Sam Baker and LB Curtis Lofton can make an impact quickly. Filling the vacancy left by DeAngelo Hall will be LSU’s Chevis Jackson. The DB is tall, talented, and can make plays. Too bad he can’t return punts like Hall did.
Carolina Panthers: Grade A: Oregon RB Jonathon Stewart will infuse some life into the backfield, and he could be the opening day starter. OL Jeff Otah should move right into the tackle spot and help the offense immediately. The steal of the day one came with Penn State’s Dan Connor. No doubt about it, Connor has a nose for the football. Connor can play inside or out, and is versitale enough to cover tight ends and RB’s. John Fox will love him.
New Orleans Saints: Grade B: Sedrick Ellis will make plays all day. He dominated in the Senior Bowl practices as well as the game. He’ll fit nicely into the Saints defense that desperately need some inside presence. He made an already good defense, better. North Carolina State DT DeMario Pressley will be another nice young player for New Orleans. He has a reputation for being a little inconsistent, but if he stays on the field they’ll have a great pair of young DT’s. A sleeper pick is the other Michigan wide out, Adrian Arrington. He probably could have gone higher if he didn’t have so many off the field altercations with ex-girlfriends etc. Arringtonis tall and rangy and can make plays. You could probably call him a poor mans James Hardy. With the pass happy Saints offense, Arrington could be a nice compliment to make plays in the redzone.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:Grade C+: The only big name they got was Aquib Taleb. Taleb is talented, but he has character issues. He can make plays though, with his high risk, high reward style. Appalachian State WR Dexter Jackson is a burner. He’s a bit undersized, but he’ll fit nicely in John Gruden’s west coast offense. He’ll even help in special teams. Jackson played in small time competition, but played big in the biggest game of them all, Michigan. South Carolina RB Cory Boyd is a nice pick, and could see time mid-season with the oft-injured Cadillac Williams(remind me not to draft him this year in fantasy football!). San Diego QB Josh Johnson is interesting. He’s got a nice skill set, and can make plays with his feet. Perhaps with some work, Gruden can make a nice starter out of him. He’s definitely a project, but has a ton of upside.
Arizona Cardinals:Grade B: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is an explosive DB and should be a starter for Arizona. Cromartie and Antrel Rolle give the Cardinals two nice shut down corners that can run and tackle. Clemson’s Calais Campbell is a nice player that will compete early in the season. LSU wide receiver Early Doucet needs sometime to get used to NFL play, but he runs pretty good routes. Fitzgerald and Boldin will be his biggest issue, not his ability. Arizona also acquired LSU linebacker Ali Highsmith. Highsmith was a disappointment in his pro day work out, but if his speed improves, he could turn out to be a nice outside rush player. In an NFL that is big on specialists, I could see Highsmith doing some nice things there.
St. Louis Rams: Grade D: Chis Long can play. He’ll make his old man proud. The Virginia DE staked his claim as the number two impact player in the draft on the defensive side of the ball at the NFL combine. There was even a month when experts thought that he’d be the Long that ended up in Miami. Aside from him, there isn’t a lot to write home about for Rams fans.
San Francisco 49ers: Grade D: Wow, two D’s in a row. The 49ers only had six picks this year, but that didn’t stop them from making zero impact on their team. The only real bright spot is Oklahoma Safety Reggie Smith. He was a little overrated in the draft, but will hit you in the mouth. Don’t believe me, here watch this:
Seattle Seahawks:Grade C: The Seahawks really needed wide receiver help this year or they needed to at least get younger at the position. They failed there. However, they did get a nice TE in John Carlson, who is a gamer with great hands. Carlson is also a pretty good blocker and will fit the Holgren offense really well. The other decent pick comes in the form of a full back. West Virginia Owen Schmitt is as intense a player as you’ll ever see. He is the type of FB that loves to hit you, carry the ball and catch it out of the back field. He has deceptive speed, and is capable of getting 10-15 carries a game. Cal’s Justin Forsett is looking to get playing time early with Shaun Alexander on his way out one way or the other. Forsett is a bit small, but could be an OK fit with the lateral running in the west coast offense.