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Shock And Awe: The Winners and Losers for Day 1 of the 2009 NFL Draft

It’s a little bit folly to try and really declare winners and losers for a draft that isn’t even finished, much less a day old. Players haven’t even stepped on a NFL field yet, and some may not pay off for several years to come, forget this season.

Still, by the end of Saturday, it’s a worthwhile endeavor to examine some teams who have ended up looking smart and others….

Well, not so much.

So with the realization in mind that we still don’t know everything – here are the teams who made our jaws drop, though not always for good reasons.

The Shock

Oakland Raiders
Maybe Al Davis and his Raiders will prove us all wrong, but right now their draft can be summed up in an exchange I saw between Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times (where the Raiders once resided) and Raiders beat writer Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee (which is close to Oakland i suppose).

Farmer: Why were the Raiders reaching like that in the second?

Jones: They reach because that’s what they do.

They weren’t going to go offensive tackle, despite the need, because that’s not really the Raiders way.

And I knew they weren’t going to grab Crabtree, whether or not he was the best wide receiver on the board at the time. Crabtree’s lack of timed 40 speed made it impossible because Davis is crazy for speed like the bird in that cereal commercial is coo-coo for cocoa puffs.

But I never thought he would bypass Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin, who had the speed and a more developed game. I’m a little nonplussed.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish Heyward-Bey a failed career and he will probably turn out ok. But picking him up at 7, when they could have traded back and picked him later?

That’s just not achieving maximum value.

Worse, the team manages to follow it up with an even bigger reach in choosing Ohio Safety Michael Mitchell, a guy most people didn’t even have ranked in their drafts much less the second round.

Mitchell also may develop into a solid player, but right now he looks like a workout warrior and a huge reach as the third safety off the board behind Patrick Chung of Oregon and Louis Delmas of Western Michigan.

It’s one thing to fall in love with a player. It’s another to waste a pick five rounds early.

The Raiders have five picks on Sunday, two in the fourth round. They can recover, given the tremendous value still on the board, but if they keep picking like this, they might as well throw darts at a list on the wall.

Dallas Cowboys
How can I say it’s a bad draft when they didn’t draft anyone?

Bad enough the Cowboys didn’t have a pick for the first round due to last year’s wheeling and dealing, but they then traded out of the second.

Meanwhile, value continued to tumble by them in the form of solid safeties, wide receivers and defensive ends.

Maybe it’s not bad in the sense the Raiders draft was on Saturday but it’s shocking to watch the usually wheeling Cowboys nuetered and missing out on the value on the board.

Cleveland Browns
The Browns made a big move back when the Jets traded for the fifth pick and Mark Sanchez (more on that in a minute) and were poised to grab some great value all day long.

Instead, they kept moving backwards accumulating more and more picks. And when they did spend them, it’s questionable whether they took the best value on the board.

I can’t argue with the selection of Alex Mack. The center from Cal is a versatile lineman who can work at almost any position along the line. And Brian Robiskie is a polished, fast receiver who runs a solid route tree and will contribute early, especially if Braylon Edwards is traded on day two.

But the Browns can’t rush the passer and need a linebacker or top flight defensive lineman.

I say need because while Mack is a great center, USC linebackers Clay Matthews and Rey Maualuga as well as Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitus were on the board still.

Maualuga was in fact still on the board when Robiskie was picked. While offensive line and wide receiver were needs, the pass rush was a bigger one and with several very good linebackers on the board, the Browns chose to fill less important needs.

They also bypassed shoring up their need at cornerback by letting Vontae Davis and Alphonso Smith sneak away as well.

And as much as I think Hawaii defensive end/linebacker convert David Veikune will be a good upside pick, wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi was a luxury, especially behind the Robiskie pick.

Massaquoi may become a good possession receiver down the road, but they could have grabbed a corner, safety or even replace Winslow at tight end.

For a team with so many holes who is rebuilding, it seems like they filled few of them with four picks in the first two rounds.

The Browns have four more picks on Sunday – one in the fourth and three in the six. Lots of defensive talent remains on the board and I hope they can recover from a lackluster day one.

The Awe

New York Jets
Jet Nation is a tad split over the selection of USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, especially given the talent that slid out of the first round and through the second. But when you look at the price they paid, it’s more than reasonable for a possible franchise quarterback.

Defensive end Kenyon Coleman, quarterback Brett Ratliff and safety Abram Elam were players who in all likelihood would get cut before camp or in Ratliff’s case, clearly hadn’t impressed the new regime all that much.

Aside from that, adding the second rounder to a swap that spanned twelve spots between first rounders is a marginal price to pay.

The Jets have put themselves in a position where they cannot make many mistakes on day two though. They have four more picks on Sunday spread across four of the five rounds.

As I said with the Browns, there are many value picks to be had but the Jets have to be conservative to a great extent. They already rolled their dice once and that’s as much as they can risk.

Detroit Lions
I will openly admit – and it’s a shock to nobody who has read my work the last few months – that I do not agree with the Stafford pick. It’s not an awful pick – just not one I believe had to happen this year.

Yet, Stafford could develop into a nice franchise quarterback and he is far from awful. While I may not agree with the strategy to rebuild the franchise, it’s a solid pick.

On the surface, Brandon Pettigrew at 20 made me wince as well. But, like Stafford, Pettigrew is considered the top at his position and on top of it, he’s a tremendous blocker.

He’s no offensive tackle but he will be able to stay in and protect Stafford. A pick that is more shrewd than i gave it credit for at first. As Stafford and the oline get better, Pettigrew can release and become more of a pass catching tight end.

Finally, hard hitting cornerback Louis Delmas. Again, top at his position. And Delmas is the type of hard nosed player who could help give this defense a personality – something it greatly lacks.

The Lions are looking to become more physical on the defensive side of the ball and Delmas will bring that in spades. They also need some help in the secondary and this fills that hole.

Three picks. Three players arguably at the top of their class. They may not have filled all their needs but the ones they did fill were given top talent.

With five picks on day two, including the first in round three and another later the same round, the Lions stand to pick up some very good value. They could easily pull someone like Jarron Gilbert or Michael Johnson to help fill the defensive line hole, pick up the top guard on the board in Duke Robinson or even a decent tackle like South Carolina’s Jamon Meredith.

New England Patriots
The rich get richer. And richer. And richer.

How the organization ended up with the same amount of picks they started with, but also an embarrassment of riches in players is beyond me, but that’s how they end up being the great team they are every year.

Four picks in the second and every one a value.

Patrick Chung, second best safety in the class brings some thump to the secondary and will make receivers pay dearly.

Defensive tackle Ron Brace got overlooked a bit with BJ raji getting the love at Boston College, but will stuff the run as good as anyone in the draft class and is likely to take over for Vince Wilfork at the nose tackle.

Darius Butler, one of the top corners in the draft, probably won’t start this coming season but will take over in the aging secondary within the next year or two.

And while Sebastian Vollmer is a project for the offensive line, he will develop into a nice right tackle and used to play tight end, so he has the versatility to move around for trick plays if need be.

And, oh by the way – they have seven more picks. By the end of the draft they may have multiple picks for next years draft as well.

Before I let you go, dear reader, here are a few teams I am on the fence about. Tomorrow could be pivotal for them.

San Francisco 49ers: One pick, but what value. But you better build on Crabtree use your remaining six picks wisely.

Houston Texans: Methodically took care of two key needs with picks of USC LB Clay Matthews and DE Connor Barwin. Six more picks to shore up the corners and get a back to compliment Steve Slaton.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Almost made the Awe list, but as much as I loved watching them grab two very good offensive tackles in Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton, passing on Crabtree and Maclin and then a host of good defensive line prospects makes me wonder if last season’s Oline injury woes didn’t get in their head too much.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Did you really need to leap up and pay the price you did to move a few spots? Especially since nobody in front of you was likely to grab your choice of Josh Freeman? Six picks on day two and like the Jets you’d beter make them count. Unlike the Jets though, your new franchise quarterback is a far bigger project and has more question marks.

Teams lining up to say they DON’T want Owens

Day 1 of a nation held hostage as we await a TO signing. I really do think this guy will be signed and sooner than later but I am seeing teams coming out saying they have no interest in Owens.

The Ravens (who he was once traded to and then had that trade reversed), the Browns, and the Redskins have expressed disinterest and will not be pursuing TO. I’ve heard no official ‘no thanks’ from the Vikings, but have heard rumors they will also pass.

It will be interesting the see where the NFL divide ends up. We know he’ll go somewhere – but the teams NOT interested might be just as telling and more interesting than those who are.

Brady Quinn shut down, Anderson to start again

Well folks, football giveth, football taketh away.

When I joked this morning that any trip to Dr. James Andrews was ominous, I apparently was right.

Apparently Quinn’s finger was so bad, they were concerned the the tendon would detach from the bone and cause serious damage. So he is shut down.

Anderson will resume starting duties. I don’t know how effective he will be, as he wasn’t all that great prior to being benched. It reduces Winslow a tick and maybe ups Edwards a little, if he could catch.

More tomorrow during the Stampede. But it ain’t getting better in Cleveland, that’s for sure.

Broncos vs Browns Breakdown – part the second

So when we last left our intrepid Blurb, Denver was all broken down. Now, we’ll take a look at Cleveland and see what is worth starting – if anything – tonight.

Passing –
If you were going to stick a first time QB into a game, this is a matchup you’d think about. In fact, you have to wonder if Crennel was just biding his time until this game to give Quinn a shot at survival. Well, maybe and maybe not. The Donkey bring the heat – they are ranked 9th in the league in sacks with 20, though the Browns have been stingy giving up sacks, only allowing 11 so far. Still, the Denver pass rush is pretty solid. That said, not much else is. Champ Bailey is hurt and he was about the best they had in a shaky secondary. The Doncos average a hefty 243 yards allowed per game, have given 12 TDs up and only picked off 3 passes. That’s bad, maybe even worse than bad. This is a good matchup for the Cleveland passing offense, but as you will see, they have their own question marks.

Brady Quinn – Come all without, come all within – You’ll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn. With apoligies to Manfred Mann (and my readership) I HAVE seen something like the Mighty Brady Quinn before, just not in the Pros. Quinn played well in college though he did turn the ball over more than his fair share. He has decent arm stength, though won’t be hitting anyone from his own goal line in the opposing end zone anytime soon. The fact is, we have no idea what Quinn can do at this level. Add to it the shaky state of the Browns offense – fragile Stallworth, cement-hands Edwards and occasionally angry and staph infected Kellen Winslow – and who knows what he can do. If you were caught with your pants down due to Schaub, Orton and Anderson and are desperate for a start Quinn is a guy with a good matchup and lots of question marks. You can start him in a desperate pinch but I would rather not. Then again, Buffalo in Week 11 is pretty grim too. Could be a long year for the Mighty Quinn.

Braylon Edwards – Edwards was far and away the most targeted guy in the offense through the first 9 weeks. Too bad that a) he is catching a horrific 40% of his targets and b) with Quinn in there, all past history is out the window. It isn’t going to help Edwards’ confidence to have a first time signal caller starting. Still, I think this is a game where Edwads can suceed. The Broncos secondary is pretty bad and he should get the seperation he needs to break a few big plays. While Edwards is no better than a #2 or 3 most weeks, he has a fair chance to play better than average this week.

Kellen Winslow – Really, the only other threat in the pass game, Winslow has been angry and bitter since his staph infection. But with a new QB, Winslow may have a shot to do some damage. Question is, does he care? There are multiple TEs I like better than Winslow – Clark, Gonzo, Gates, Daniels – but as bad as many other TEs have been, unless you have those guys, Winslow’s upside and ability make him a guy you can start.

The Broncos rush D isn’t much better than the pass D, giving up 144 yards a game on the ground and 10 Tds. In the last two games (bracketing the bye) they have allowed 300 yards. That would be…. not good. Good matchup for the Browns though.

Jamal Lewis – Lewis has been busting his tail every game this year and really showing me that he has some gas left in the tank. He may be old, but I think he still looks pretty good. The offensive line however has not been very helpful. Most of his points have been coming from dogged determination on Lewis’ part. The Broncos are giving up a bunch of points week to week to fantasy running backs and Lewis’ hard work should pay off this week. I think he;s a solid RB2 with upside and the only big question is – will Quinn be effective enough to keep 8 men out of a box. I think he will be just good enough to keep things clear for Lewis. Hopefully the Browns D will keep things close enough so that Lewis gets touches. I think Lewis is a solid start though and would encourage you to do so, depending upon who else you have in your stable.

That’s it for now – see you tonight on the Drive Block and tomorrow for the afternoon Fantasy Show!

Extra News and Notes

Hey guys – a few notes I didn’t get to during the Thundering Blurb News Stampede but wanted to touch on here:

Bye Weeks: Cleveland Browns, NY Jets, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams

Cleveland Browns
Romeo Crennel has said he nearly yanked Derek Anderson during the third quarter against the Bengals. Anderson probably bought himself a little more time – at least until after the bye – but just know that if you have Anderson as your guy, the clock is not just ticking. Sounds like it’s about to strike midnight for DA.

New England Patriots
The Boston Globe is reporting that Kevin O’Connell could get some playing time in Week 5 – or beyond. It’s not like Cassell is playing all that well, so it’s not a shock. I doubt many people are using Cassell as anything more than an emergency QB, but something to keep an eye on especially as it affects the rest of the the fantasy players on the team. Cassell does seem to be clicking more with Moss and Welker. More of a change now could throw that off.

Cincinnati Bengals
There is some speculation coming from the Cincinnati Enquirer that Carson Palmer’s elbow injury could be worse than the fatigue or mild inflammation we have thought it is. There are completely uncomfirmed reports via ProFootballTalk that it’s potentially surgery-requiring but until I hear that from someone else, all I will say is that this is something to watch out for. Without Palmer there, the fantasy value of this team dips even lower.

That’s all for now – catch you later with more news and injury updates!

Jamal Lewis Active

According to, Jamal Lewis is active and will start the game against the Cowboys. Lewis has good team around him and will be facing a defense that will make the run game important by trying to shut Edwards and Winslow down. You can start him, though I have some concerns. He should play well.