First nine picks in the book; only one big surprise

So, this pretty much has been the most boring first eight picks in a while; no trades and no controversy, as not even Matt Millen could screw up the second pick. Then ... the shocker. Here's my take on the first nine from a casual outsider's perspective. Bear in mind, I'm no Mel Kiper Jr.

  1. OAKLAND RAIDERS: JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU -- The Raiders really had no choice here, but count me among those that aren't sold on Russell's ability to be a franchise quarterback. Yes, he has all the measurables, including arm strength that makes scouts drool. But how many of the top QBs in the NFL have what we would classify as "superior" arm strength? Skill from the head up (a la Matt Leinart) is more important to me -- especially when the quarterback is going to a franchise that's been positively horrific at developing QBs. They say he has the best arm strength of anyone in the NFL the day he steps on a field; that's what they said about Jeff George, too.
  2. DETROIT LIONS: Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech -- Best player in the draft, hands down. The guy is a flat-out freak, and Matt Millen might not have screwed up for once. Yes, this pick seems odd because it's the fourth time in five years the Lions have selected a WR in the first round, but this was the right pick. This guy is a once-in-a-generation talent at WR -- he's that good. The Raiders could have had him had they not screwed up last year by not taking Matt Leinart. I'm a little surprised they didn't consider taking Brady Quinn here, but Johnson is too good to pass up.
  3. CLEVELAND BROWNS: Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin -- Bryce Fisher made an interesting point on the radio this morning: When was the last time you can remember a highly touted Wisconsin offensive lineman living up to his billing? They pretty much fall into the same category as Oregon quarterbacks these days. The Browns needed offensive line help, and decided to pass up Quinn and Adrian Peterson in the process. Pretty baffling, if you ask me. I know O-line is important, but this is a team pretty devoid of offensive skill players. Reuben Droughns spent much of last year injured, and Jerome Harrison -- as much as I love the former Coug -- is never going to be an every down back. Curious choice to me for a team with a ton of holes.
  4. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: Gaines Adamas, DE, Clemson -- I can just see the scowl on Jon Gruden's face now. No Calvin Johnson, no Joe Thomas ... no offensive player for the Bucs. Chucky has to be losing his mind. Fortunately for him, I think they got the second-best player in the draft. Adams fits perfectly into Tampa's speed-oriented system on defense, and I'd look for him to be in the Pro Bowl sooner rather than later.
  5. ARIZONA CARDINALS: Levi Brown, OT, Penn State -- First pick that's generally considered a reach, but I don't see how the Cardinals had a choice. They had to get O-line help, and there really wasn't a groundswell of teams trying to trade up, given that each had pretty specific needs that didn't really overlap. Solid pick for the Cardinals, even if they'll have to overpay for his talent to get him into camp because he's a No. 5 pick.
  6. WASHINGTON REDSKINS: LaRon Landry, S, LSU -- Their defense was horrific last year. They don't need a running back, and, if they think Jason Campbell is going to be a good one, they don't need a quarterback. So the best defensive back on the board makes sense.
  7. MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma -- The Vikings have to be doing backflips that this guy fell into their lap. He immediately becomes their best offensive player the day he steps into camp. Chester Taylor was a nice player for them last year, but made it pretty obvious he wasn't ready to be an every-down back after spending his first four seasons as a backup. Peterson gives them an instant playmaker who should experience success right away behind a pretty darn good offensive line. They could have gone with Quinn here, but I think Peterson was too good of a talent to pass up.
  8. ATLANTA FALCONS: Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas -- Another good fit pick. Falcons lost Patrick Kerney to the Seahawks; Falcons get strong replacement in the draft. The thing that struck me was some of the video they showed of him after the pick. I know they only pick the best plays, but man, he made some offensive lineman look baaaaaad. Brady Quinn still on the board.
  9. MIAMI DOLPHINS: Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Ohio State -- The first shocker of the draft. And when we say shocker, we mean it in the most extreme sense of the word. A lot of people had Ginn going as late as the end of the first round. While his speed is unbelievable, there are questions about his durability and his ability to do more than run fast in a straight line. What will make this even more interesting is whether this prompts some of the trading that is the trademark of the NFL Draft. Will a team that needs a young quarterback suddenly try to angle for Quinn, who the Dolphins inexplicably passed on?
All right, that's it for now. I'll check back in periodically, as the annual QB-sliding-down-the-draft-board watch continues. Still no new news on D-Jack. We've got our eyes and ears peeled ...


DrPezz said...

What was Miami thinking???

Nuss said...

Maybe they figure they can get Trent Green, or that Daunte Culpepper will be healthy enough to play.

Maybe they feel like it's more imporant to get themselves a game-breaker, thinking a special teams upgrade -- a la Devin Hester -- is the quickest way to add a win or two next year.

Maybe the don't feel like Quinn's that good, and that there's only a marginal difference between Quinn and Beck or Edwards.

Who knows. Seems weird.