Some Post-Draft Thoughts

by Tommy Lawlor  –

Sorry for the quiet week.  I went out of town after the draft and that delayed things.   Over the next couple of months I’ll be reviewing each team’s draft picks. I don’t like to post some simple grades. I prefer to take an in-depth look. For now, I’m posting some general thoughts. The 1st round has pretty well been covered so I’m going to skip that. The 2nd round is where things tend to get really interesting anyway.

* QB Colin Kaepernick to the Niners was interesting. Jim Harbaugh developed Josh Johnson into a good QB at San Diego. He then did great things with Andrew Luck at Stanford. Both were good athletes, but not in the same class as Kaepernick. Now the test is whether Harbaugh can develop an athletic, talented QB at the NFL level. Big challenge for Harbaugh and Kaepernick.

* The Texans got lucky when Brooks Reed fell to their pick in the 2nd round. I think he can be a good 3-4 OLB. He’s not special athletically, but knows how to rush the passer and has a great motor. They’ll be in a Nickel look almost half the time so he can rush from DE in those situations. Should be a real good fit for Wade Phillips’ scheme.

* It was interesting to see John Fox take OL Orlando Franklin in the 2nd round. Franklin isn’t an ideal pass blocker, but he can be a great run blocker. Fox got great impact at Carolina when he spent a 1st round pick on Jeff Otah. The rookie instantly boosted the O-line and running game. I don’t know that Franklin will have that same kind of impact for Denver, but he’ll be a good fit for Fox’s run-heavy offense.

* I was shocked to see Cal RB Shane Vereen go before Mikel Leshoure. I was a big fan of Vereen’s, but didn’t think he had a shot to get taken ahead of Leshoure. Cal puts out good RBs and Vereen is a darn good player. He can run and catch and will be a good fit for the Pats attack.

* Leshoure went to the Lions, who moved up to get him. I like that move a lot. Jahvid Best showed big time potential last year, but also missed time. Jim Schwartz saw the importance of multiple RBs during his time in Tennessee. He’s now got a good combo of speed back (Best) and big back (Leshoure). They still need a LT for Matt Stafford, but they are giving him some good weapons.

* No surprise to see the Jags go for Lehigh OL Will Rackley. GM Gene Smith isn’t the least bit afraid of adding players from small schools. Rackley is a good fit for the Jags. They love tough, physical run blockers. Rackley can play C or G down there.

* Both the Eagles and Falcons made “win now” moves. The Falcons traded up to get WR Julio Jones. That was a move made to help get the Falcons over the top. Their offense was great when the running game clicked, but the passing game needed an extra boost. I know Matt Ryan has to be thrilled with the addition of a great WR like Jones.

The Eagles drafted a guy who will turn 27 during the upcoming season with their 1st round pick. Why do that? So that OG Danny Watkins could help protect Mike Vick. Both teams made moves to help their star QBs. Vick needed better blocking. Ryan needed another weapon. I like the aggressiveness of the moves. Now it will be interesting to see if either or both pan out.

* Washington and Jacksonville made big picture moves. The Jags moved up and took QB Blaine Gabbert. He does little to help them this year, but gives them a potential franchise QB for the future.

Mike Shanahan traded back throughout the draft and added picks. He ended up with a total of 12 picks. Half of them came in the 6th and 7th rounds so this isn’t the same thing as Bill Belichick has done or Jimmy Johnson used to do so masterfully. They loaded up on mid-rounders, where you can really find some quality players. Still, it is a good sign that Shanahan understood that he needed quantity in this draft. He’s made some highly questionable personnel moves in his year plus running the Skins. If he gets rid of McNabb and Haynesworth quickly that will be another sign that he’s really on the right track.

* I loved seeing OT Jah Reid go to the Ravens in the 3rd round. Great fit for that team and offense. He’ll be right at home when they are playing smashmouth football vs the Steelers. Reid might take a year or two to adjust to pass blocking in the NFL, but I think he’ll be a good starting RT when he gets on the field.

* What is up with the Broncos and Safeties? They overpaid for Brian Dawkins a few years back. They spent picks on Darcel McBath and David Bruton. This year they added Rahim Moore and then Quinton Carter. I hope somebody finally pans out the way they want.

* I liked seeing Hawaii WR Kealoha Pilares get picked. He was the first pick of the 5th round. That did surprise me. Could be a real good role player. Tough, but still athletic.

* How many people would have bet Oregon State DE Gabe Miller would be picked before OSU star Jacquizz Rodgers? Miller will be a 3-4 OLB for the Chiefs. Real good athlete. I like him better as a LB than DE. Rodgers fell farther than expected, but landed with a good team. He’s going to help back up Michael Turner in Atlanta.

* Shocking to see that Appalachian State had 3 players drafted while Michigan only had 2. Don’t laugh too hard Buckeye fans. ASU linebacker D.J. Smith went off the board before either LB Brian Rolle or Ross Homan. That is mind-blowing to me.

* How weird was it to see 3 straight USC players go late in the draft? FB Stanley Havili, WR David Ausberry, and LB Malcolm Smith were picks 240, 241, and 242. All 3 have NFL size/speed/skill. Being from USC just doesn’t mean what it used to. Smith is the younger brother of Giants WR Steve Smith and is my favorite of the trio.

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