2010 NFL Draft Roundup

The 2010 NFL Draft featured few surprises at the top, but plenty to last us through the next 6½ rounds, starting with Jacksonville's selection of Tyson Alualu 10th overall. This year's draft also saw a flurry of trades, including every pick from 11-14 going to a team other than the one originally slotted for it. Here are my choices for the best, worst, and most puzzling of this year's draft.

2010 Draft Winners

* Seattle Seahawks — Russell Okung fell into their laps at sixth overall, a no-brainer selection as both the best player available and fitting a critical need. Earl Thomas is a play-making safety, and although Golden Tate is undersized for an NFL wide receiver, so is Wes Welker. Tate had a fine college career and should be able to contribute at any level. The Seahawks also added Leon Washington and LenDale White over the weekend.

* Cincinnati Bengals — They've had a nice offseason. Jermaine Gresham was the consensus top TE in the draft, and Jordan Shipley was a nice value in the third round. Brandon Ghee is an intriguing prospect who won't be rushed into action too soon.

* Cleveland Browns — If the Bengals have had a nice offseason, the Browns have had a fantastic one. They've got Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, and Colt McCoy to compete at QB, which is a huge upgrade from the last two seasons. Delhomme is a known quantity, Wallace came shockingly cheap, and McCoy was a great value late in the third round. Florida cornerback Joe Haden was a solid pick at seventh overall, an important addition for a defense that ranked 31st last season.

* University of Oklahoma — Three Sooners were chosen in the first four overall picks. That's got to be unprecedented. A fourth Sooner was chosen later in the first round, making Oklahoma the clear standout in this year's draft, following several years of dominance by USC.

* The Big 12 — Home to the first four selections in the draft. No one outside the Big 12 or the SEC was chosen until the ninth pick.

* New England Patriots — Traded down twice to turn their first-round pick (22nd overall) into a one, a three, and a four. They also turned their second-round pick (47th overall) into a second-rounder this year (62nd), a second-rounder next year, and a fifth-rounder this year. They made five picks in the first 90 and stockpiled extra picks for 2011. The Pats are in a league of their own with this kind of thing.

* Detroit Lions — There's something you should know. I'm not a Lions fan, but I mistakenly named them draft winners during the Matt Millen years, not once but several times. My evaluations of Detroit's draft classes have been horrid. With that disclaimer out of the way, I really liked their draft. I love Ndamukong Suh. I like Jahvid Best, though I don't think he was a need pick, and trading up to take him probably wasn't a good idea. DB Amari Spievey was a very good pick in the third. This draft immediately makes the Lions better.

* Tim Tebow — After months of speculation regarding his draft position, Tebow landed in the first round and was the second quarterback chosen. Gator lovers everywhere have to be pretty gratified by that. Part of me wonders where someone like Eric Crouch might fit in today's NFL.

* Denver Broncos — Traded up, down, and all around. I don't like some of the moves (Tony Scheffler, Tebow), but Josh McDaniels is building the team with a clear vision of what he wants. I like the attention Denver paid to its offensive line this weekend, particularly Utah's Zane Beadles in the second round. If Beadles is any good, he'll make a few Pro Bowls just on a memorable name. You think I'm kidding.

* Defensive Linemen — Two of the top three picks. Six of the first 16. Nine first-rounders altogether. Teams are concentrating on the defensive line like never before.

* Green Bay Packers — Drafted for need. Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga was exactly the right pick in the first round, and second-rounder Mike Neal should contribute as a DE in Green Bay's 3-4 alignment. Nothing flashy, just good, solid picks that make the team better. The late-round picks on players with big upsides were gambles.

* Miami Dolphins — Can you tell Bill Parcells is running this team? Jared Odrick and Koa Misi are natural fits for the 3-4 defense, and third rounder John Jerry fills a need on the offensive line. Brandon Marshall was a helluva value for a pair of second-rounders. That's an elite wide receiver this team added. What is about Parcells and talented diva receivers? Terry Glenn, Keyshawn Johnson, Terrell Owens, now Marshall ... they hurt him, but he loves them and always comes back.

* Indianapolis Colts — The most consistent team of the last decade used the draft to plug the few obvious holes in its roster. Jerry Hughes takes over for Raheem Brock in the short term, and presumably for Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis a few years down the line. Fifth-round choice Brody Eldridge is a high-level blocking TE who should have immediate impact on the running game. I would have liked to see the Colts do a little more about their offensive line, but that's nitpicking.

2010 Draft Losers

* Buffalo Bills — I don't understand the C.J. Spiller pick. He was great at Clemson, but he's small enough that I have concerns about his impact at the pro level. This isn't Maurice Jones-Drew small. MJD is short, but he's built like a truck. Spiller is tall and light (listed at 5'11", 196 lbs, 27.3 BMI). Even if Spiller is a great pro, the pick doesn't fill an obvious need for a team with both Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch. Torell Troup may have been a reach in the second round.

* Atlanta Falcons — I don't have a problem with first-round pick Sean Weatherspoon, but I hate the rest of their draft. The Falcons rolled the dice on too many prospects and re-fortified positions at which they're already strong. This is a good team, and it should have chosen players who could contribute immediately.

* Jimmy Clausen — No matter where you had him graded, I don't think anyone expected Clausen to last until the middle of the second round. Some analysts expected him to go in the top 10.

* Philadelphia Eagles — They traded up, they traded down, they traded Donovan McNabb. Lots of action, but I don't see the payoff. Brandon Graham needs to become a special player to justify what the Eagles gave up to get him, and I think the team dealt Sheldon Brown and Chris Gocong at much too cheap a price. Not a good month in Philadelphia.

* San Diego Chargers — It's one thing to go after the guys you really want. It's another to agree, over and over, to highway robbery. The Chargers got the guys they wanted: Ryan Mathews in the first round, Donald Butler in the third, Cam Thomas in the fifth. But those three picks cost them their second- and sixth-rounders, plus a four and five in next year's draft, as well as LB Tim Dobbins. I'm not as down on the trade to go after Mathews as some other people, but the team gave away fourth- and sixth-round choices to move up 12 spots for Butler in the third. That's excessive. Later, San Diego traded two fifth rounders — one this year and one in 2011 — for the one fifth-round choice used to select Thomas. I do think Thomas was a good value in the fifth, but there's got to be a better way to get there. Someone in the GM's office needs to get better at bargaining.

* Chicago Bears — I don't care what they did with the late-round choices, any team with no picks in the first two rounds is a draft loser. If Jay Cutler doesn't turn into Kurt Warner pretty fast, last year's trade could go down as one of the worst in NFL history. I think most people see Corey Wootton as a good value in the fourth round. The question is his health.


* Jacksonville Jaguars — Nearly everyone agrees that Alualu probably would have been available later. Trading down in the first round usually yields at least a fourth-round pick, and at that point in the draft, just a few spots lower can save millions of dollars on a rookie contract. I liked the trade for middle linebacker Kirk Morrison. Jacksonville used each of its first four selections on a defensive lineman.

* Baltimore Ravens — Can you say, "Best player available?" The Ravens had a clear philosophy in this draft, and they got some good value, but totally neglected to address their secondary. Cornerback was Baltimore's biggest need in the draft, and the team never chose one. The Ravens picked up some good players, and made a nice trade out of the first round, but as far as 2010 goes, I don't know if this team is actually any better than it was a week ago.

* New York Jets — I don't think they're clear winners or losers, but the Jets have certainly been active this offseason. I liked the trade for Santonio Holmes, didn't like getting rid of Leon Washington, and was caught totally off-guard by the release of Alan Faneca. I might have liked to see the Jets do a little more with their offense, but there's every reason to believe this team is going to be very competitive in 2010.

* St. Louis Rams — Passed on Suh to select Sam Bradford, and chose Rodger Saffold rather than trading down at the top of the second. If Suh is a star or Bradford a bust, people will question that selection for a long time. The Rams have a lot of holes, so Saffold needs to be awfully good to justify not turning that selection into two or three picks a little lower down.

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