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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Draft '06 review

The 2006 NFL Draft-A Final Review of day 1


Now that the draft is over, we can begin to look at which teams picked who and why.
Most teams are faced with the challenge each year of needing to go beyond selecting the best player available at each position. This was never more obvious then in this year's draft where the Jets used both their first round choices on offensive linemen. But what about teams that make picks that has you scratching your head saying, "Why did they get him for?"

The Packers had many holes to fill, and traded the talented receiver Javon Walker for a #2 pick to Denver, yet they choose LB A.J. Hawk with their #1 selection, the 5th overall. It's quite clear that Green Bay felt they needed more help on the defensive side of the ball, and had been zeroed in on Hawk for over a month. Many considered Hawk the best defensive player in this draft and were it not for Mario Williams' stock rising so fast, could have been a top 3 pick instead of #5. Are two spots a big deal? It’s only worth a few million dollars.

With the two Bay area teams selecting 5 and 6, I'd have loved to have a copy of the Chronicle from Sunday morning to read the rants of Raiders fans griping about the selection of Michael Huff. While Mr. Huff is a fine talent and the top rated DB in this draft class, he went a bit too high at #7. Same for Donte Whitner to the Bills with the next pick, and Ernie Simms to Detroit following at #9.

Rounding out the top 10 was the second major surprise of the draft. Matt Leinart was not the happiest person in Radio city music hall that early afternoon. When he wasn’t selected #3
by the Titans, we knew he would fall. We didn’t think he'd get past the Raiders at #7, but we knew all along that Oakland owner Al Davis never picks QB’s in the first round. The Cardinals are one happy team however, because they got someone who now has something to prove to the 9 teams that passed him up.

The steal of the first round could be Jay Cutler at #11 to Denver. While he played at Vanderbilt, Cutler has a rep as a hard worker who makes things happen. People have begun to make comparisons to Tommy Maddox, who was drafted in John Elway‘s 9th season, as Cutler has been drafted in current Qb Jake Plummer’s 9th season. I can assure you that Cutler is no Maddox.

Others who reaped the benefits of a twisted draft board in the first round:
Dallas obtained OLB Bobby Carpenter with the 18th selection. His bloodline speaks for itself.
New England selected RB Laurence Maroney with the 21st pick. After Bush, Maroney was in a three-way tie as the next best back in this draft.
After the Steelers traded with the Giants to move up seven spots, they selected wide receiver Santonio Holmes. This was the first year in some time that the wide outs didn’t rise up higher in round one. The other two RB’s considered to be in the top of the draft class were also selected late in round one. DeAngelo Williams went to Carolina at #27, and then Joseph Addai became an Indianapolis Colt at #30.
Round two saw 3 receivers and one "slash"type go to teams that all needed to add speed the position. Chad Jackson was considered to be the best wide out in this draft by many.
So much for that train of thought. He went #36(4th in round 2) to New England.
Eight picks later at #44 the Giants obtained Sinorice Moss, the younger brother of Santana Moss, also a Miami Hurricane wide out. Sinorice told us in a telephone press conference last week how happy he was to be coming to a team that wanted him. There was even talk of him being the Giants first pick after the trade down with the Steelers.
Others who did well the rest of day one: The Jets got what could be a steal in Oregon QB Kellen Clemens, who has incredible zip on his passes according to several insiders. Dallas got Notre Dame TE Anthony Fasano. The Ravens selected OC Chris Chester from Oklahoma. Tampa Bay got Jeremy Trueblood, the OT from Boston College.

Finally, some round three selections that made sense: The Cardinals selection of TE Leonard Pope of Georgia, who was thought of as a round one talent. Miami taking Derek Hagan, the Arizona State wide out. San Diego's selection of QB Charlie Whitehurst of Clemson, and Tampa Bay choosing Notre Dame Receiver Maurice Stovall. The Texans tried to get big at the beginning of the 3rd round with back-to-back Offensive Linemen, Charles Spencer of Pitt, and Eric Winston of Miami.

Next: Day two Gems

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