2007 NFL Draft Recap

Five Quick Hits

* It was interesting to listen to Keyshawn Johnson on ESPN's draft coverage. I especially liked when he said that after Jake Delhomme's injury last season, "We were left with nothing." Somewhere, Chris Weinke is crying.

* It's starting to seem like character problems run in the Vick family. Everyone knows that Marcus Vick is poison, but Michael has the Ron Mexico incident, the marijuana water bottle problem at the airport, flipping off his own fans last year, and now, apparent involvement in the cruel and disgusting practice of dog fighting.

* What is up with everyone mortgaging next year's draft? It seems like half the league traded away their 2008 first-round picks.

* Steve Young really, really, really likes Brady Quinn.

* Right now, let's end the heinous tradition of booing anyone actually present at the draft. I know Brady Quinn got an ovation when he was finally picked, but we shouldn't be booing kids just for showing up, and seeing Donovan McNabb's smile falter when he was showered with boos on draft day is one of the saddest things I've ever seen in football.


With the first day of the NFL's annual college draft in the books by this writing, winners and losers have already emerged. The first three rounds are where teams make their most significant draft picks, and every year, some teams do better than others.

First-Day Winners

* Detroit Lions — I'm a sucker for the Lions. I'm not a Detroit fan, and the Matt Millen Era has been an unqualified disaster, but almost every year they make my list of draft-day winners.

This season, they worked four trades on the first day of the draft, bringing in four impact players. First, they selected Calvin Johnson with the second overall pick. Johnson was the consensus top talent in the draft, and while wide receiver wasn't a need for Detroit, Johnson can help any team. Some people will mock the Lions for taking a first-round receiver for the fourth time in five years, but that doesn't change Johnson's value.

After Johnson, Detroit parlayed its second- and third-round picks into three second-rounders, selecting Drew Stanton, Ikaika Alama-Francis, and Gerald Alexander. The Lions started by trading down nine spots, getting Stanton and adding Buffalo's third-round choice. The additions of Johnson and Stanton made wide receiver Mike Williams expendable, and gave the team depth at quarterback, so Detroit traded Williams and backup QB Luke McCown to the Raiders for an early fourth-round pick.

Late in the second round, the Lions traded their own third-rounder and a fifth-round selection to New Orleans, moving up to take Alama-Francis, a pass-rusher from Hawaii. Finally, Detroit packaged the 74th pick overall (obtained in the trade with Buffalo) and a fourth-round choice and traded them to Baltimore for another second-rounder, which it used to add Alexander, a Boise State DB who can help fill the hole created by Dre' Bly's offseason departure.

On Saturday, the Lions grabbed a once-in-a-generation talent at wideout, drafted their QB of the future, added a pass-rusher who should compete for playing time right away, and replaced their most significant offseason loss. It doesn't get much better than that.

* Atlanta Falcons — In this year's draft, Atlanta started to reap the benefits of the Matt Schaub trade. The trade sent Atlanta's promising backup QB to the Texans, bringing a two-spot rise in the first round, Houston's second-rounder, and the Texans' second-round pick in 2008.

The Falcons started with DE Jamaal Anderson, whom most analysts rated as the second-best pass rusher in this year's draft. In the second round, they got Justin Blalock, who will probably start at left guard right away, and Chris Houston, a talented cornerback who dropped further than expected. Pairing Houston with DeAngelo Hall will give Atlanta a pair of good, young corners for years to come. Finally, the Falcons added Laurent Robinson to help address their long-standing wide receiver problem.

* Louisiana State University — The Tigers had more first-round picks (4) than anyone else, and were the only school with multiple top-10 selections. JaMarcus Russell went first overall, LaRon Landry went sixth, and wide receivers Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis were taken later in the first round.

* Buffalo Bills — I'm not crazy about their first-round choice, Marshawn Lynch, but they needed someone to replace Willis McGahee. What I really liked were Buffalo's second- and third-round choices. The Bills traded up to get Penn State LB Paul Posluszny, then got Stanford QB Trent Edwards, whom many projected at the top of the second round, in the middle of the third. Posluszny will fill London Fletcher's place in the lineup, and Edwards gives the Bills insurance in case J.P. Losman regresses or gets hurt.

* Green Bay Packers — I don't think they did quite as well as Detroit or Atlanta, but the Packers addressed all their most urgent needs on the draft's first day. They got the draft's second DT (Justin Harrell) and added safety Aaron Rouse in the third round, filling key holes on a defense that tied for 25th last season in points allowed. On offense, the Packers picked up RB Brandon Marshall to replace another Nebraska running back, Ahman Green. They also added a wide receiver to bolster a receiving corps that, after Donald Driver, is decidedly mediocre. Green Bay may have reached on several of its first-day selections, but there are no obvious errors here, and the team filled a lot of holes. That makes the Packers a draft-day winner in my book.

* Adrian Peterson — If any of the players invited to New York for the draft fell out of the top 10, I expected it to be Peterson, not Brady Quinn. The Vikings obviously felt that Peterson's potential outweighed the injury risk, but Peterson was not a slam-dunk, and I think he has to be pleased at seventh overall.

* New England Patriots — They only made one addition on the draft's first day, picking up Miami safety Brandon Meriweather to fortify their oft-injured secondary. But they also got an early fourth-round selection and San Francisco's 2008 first-round pick, plus Wes Welker, who was obtained in a trade with Miami last month.

* Carolina Panthers — The first team to trade down on draft day, the Panthers still picked up their guy, linebacker Jon Beason, who should immediately step into a starting spot to replace Chris Draft. Carolina used its second pick on USC receiver Dwayne Jarrett, who will likely be the third receiver this season, behind Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson, before moving into the starting lineup next year to replace Keyshawn. The Panthers also stole Ryan Kalil, another former Trojan, near the bottom of the second round, with the pick obtained in their trade with the Jets. Many analysts expected to Kalil to go in the early second round, or maybe even the bottom of the first.

First-Day Losers

* Washington — They would have loved to get Gaines Adams, but I have no problem with LaRon Landry. The reason Washington is here is because they had no other draft picks. This team needs a general manager.

* Brady Quinn — When the draft began, he was a strong possibility for third overall, and it wouldn't have been shocking if he'd gone first or second. Ninth, to Miami, seemed like the farthest he might fall. Instead, Quinn dropped to 22nd. That will lower his signing bonus by millions of dollars, but what really hurt was the wait Quinn endured in Radio City Music Hall.

* Miami Dolphins — I actually think it was kind of inspired to pass on Quinn and take John Beck in the second round. Beck won't have to deal with the same kind of pressure Quinn would have, and the Dan Marino successor stuff. But Ted Ginn, Jr., was a mighty reach at ninth overall, and the Dolphins should have traded down if that's who they wanted.

* Chicago Bears — I don't understand their draft. They start with a tight end, Greg Olsen, who was a good value at 31st overall, but doesn't really fit on a team that already has Desmond Clark. They used their second pick on a pass rusher, Dan Bazuin. This team already has Alex Brown, Adewale Ogunleye, and Mark Anderson. How are they going to get Bazuin on the field?

* Philadelphia Eagles — I kind of like their second and fourth choices, but I really don't like what Philadelphia did with its first pick. The Eagles traded out of the first round, which isn't a sin on its own, but they used the picks they got in return on QB Kevin Kolb and LB Stewart Bradley. I'm skeptical that Bradley will be an impact player at the pro level, but Kolb is the real head-scratcher here.

When you take a player 36th overall, you expect him to be a starter by his second season, if not sooner. The Eagles already have a starting quarterback, Donovan McNabb, who is among the league's best and is still fairly young. McNabb has struggled with injuries, but Philadelphia already had veteran backups behind him, and the Kolb selection seems to indicate a real lack of faith in McNabb's ability to stay healthy. It seems premature to give up on McNabb, and it's the wrong message to send to your franchise player.


* Cleveland Browns — This year's Cleveland draft is the tweener to end all other tweeners. The Browns got both Joe Thomas and Brady Quinn, which was a coup. Winners. But they gave up a ton — probably too much — to get Quinn: the 36th pick overall, plus next year's first-rounder. Losers. In the second round, the Browns picked up Eric Wright, a first-round talent at cornerback who dropped because of character issuses. If he's a solid citizen, that's a win. If he's Pac-Man Jones, the Browns wasted a pick.

* Denver Broncos — I really like that the Broncos addressed needs — offensive and defensive line — on the first day of the draft, but they really didn't need to move up to take Jarvis Moss.

* San Diego Chargers — Another team that took the right players, but may have given up too much to get them. San Diego used its first pick on a wide receiver, which was clearly a need position, but Craig Davis probably could've been chosen in the second round, and wasn't a great value in the first. Safety Eric Weddle was a great choice, but the Chargers gave up a ton to get him. Even early in the second round, you're sacrificing a lot by giving up your own second -round choice, plus third- and fifth-round selections, and next year's third-rounder. I know the Chargers already have some depth and don't need a ton of picks, but Weddle has to become a star to justify what San Diego gave up to select him.

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