Because the Padres are currently in first place in the N.L. West, the NFL Draft took on a little more meaning for me this year. I found it interesting that the NFL changed its draft schedule to exclusively broadcasting only the first round on primetime Thursday. This was done to try and stir up more viewers for the draft, but really how many people does the NFL think will want to listen to old men try and determine how well a college player will be in the NFL? Anyone off the street can make guesses about who will be better: Suh or Bradford. It doesn’t take much to take a stab at evaluating prospects.
I love the draft. It’s just so funny to watch teams pick players who they shouldn’t and don’t need. Days, and even months before the draft, players are ranked and mocked drafts are created to determine where they will go. Then on draft day, the mock drafts are basically useless. Teams trade up to take players that they could have gotten if they just stood still. It is a type of chaos that is just fascinating to watch. This year’s draft did not disappoint.
The funny thing about St. Louis drafting Sam Bradford over Suh or Gerald McCoy, or whomever, is that it really did not matter who they’d pick because they are probably going to be picking in the top three next year. Bradford is on a bad team that could make him the next Tim Couch, JaMarcus Russell, or even, dare I say, Ryan Leaf? No, Bradford will be better than all those, but the question is how much better? My advice to Bradford is to hand it off to Steven Jackson as much as possible.
The biggest winner of the draft has to be the horrible Detroit Lions. They picked up, arguably, the best player in the entire draft in Ndamukong Suh with the second pick. They then traded down to get a great, somewhat injury-prone (a guy gets hurt one year and NFL people write him off. Man I’m tired of that crap.) running back named Jahvid Best. The Lions then did what other teams usually don’t do and filled one of their needs. They got a corner in the third round who can make contributions right away. Nice job, Lions; even maxing out at five wins is making progress away from the Matt Millen era.
The biggest move in the first round of the draft belongs to… drum roll… the Oakland Raiders. Yes, I am aware of Tim Teabow going to Denver at pick 25, but the Raiders made an intelligent pick! I think that Al Davis’s mind is so far gone that he is actually making choices that he would never make and these decisions are the right ones. Instead of drafting a player with amazing workout times and no real past success (Darrius Heward-Bey), the Raiders got a tremendous player in Rolando McClain. This pick works because with the trade for Jason Campbell, the Raiders will never – and I mean ever – have to say that Russell is their guy.
Back to the delightful Mr. Tebow. I have no clue why Denver’s Josh McDaniels traded up for Tebow. He would have fallen to the second round. No one else would have taken the Tebow gamble on such a high pick. With Brady Quinn and Kyle Orton as QB’s, I don’t think Tebow will be used, other than in a wildcat or goaline package. Swing and a miss, Denver.
Finally, I’d like to make a shout-out to the Chargers for going with Ryan Mathews. You guys got the best player to come out of my hometown college since David Carr. Just joking. Although I hate Fresno State head coach Pat Hill with all my guts, he did do a good job showcasing Mathews’ talents. Mathews will not be the next LT, but he will be pretty damn good.
Now that the draft is officially over, we fans can watch as these rookies, who have never played one down in the NFL, hold out for bigger and bigger contracts and damage their relationship with their new team. Who will be the next Michael Crabtree?