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NFL Draft in Primetime

The NFL Draft is is headed to primetime

The NFL Draft is is headed to primetime

Two years after tinkering with the draft format Roger Goodell is at it again.  Goodell notified teams that the draft will be spread out over three days instead of two.

The first round will be held on Thursday in primetime at 7:30 p.m.  The second on tthird rounds will follow on Friday on Friday night starting at 6:30p.m.  The draft will conclude on Saturday with rounds four through seven which is slated to start at 10:00 a.m.

The draft had been on Saturday and Sunday since 1995.

Recently the draft has become bigger and bigger and last year 39 million people watched.  The draft has now become the marquee event on the NFL off-season.

Also the internet has blown up with draft talk.  There are now tons of websites dedicated solely to the NFL Draft and update all year round.  Everyone is trying to become the next Mel Kiper who ESPN has turned into a star.

Continue reading

Jets Draft Review

New York Jets
Picks: QB Mark Sanchez, RB Shonn Greene, G Matt Slauson

The Jets were having a great 2008 season standing at 8-3 fresh off beating the undefeated Titans.  Then Brett Favre struggled and the wheels fell off as the Jets went 1-4 down the stretch and missed the playoffs.  Head coach Eric Mangini was fired and replaced by ex Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan.  With Brett Favre retiring that left a huge hole at the quarterback position and with the 17th overall pick the Jets weren’t in position to land one of the top 2 quarterbacks.  General Manger Mike Tannenbaum is known to be aggressive and trade up on draft day, pulled the first big move of the day when he traded with former coach Mangini and the Browns to move up to the 5th pick.  The Jets didn’t have to give much to move up only costing them their first and second round pick, and three lower level players who were Mangini favorites.  With the 5th pick the Jets selected Southern California quarterback Mark Sanchez.  The Jets hope Sanchez can be their franchise quarterback and also the face of the franchise.  Sanchez will come to New York with a lot of pressure to succeed but has the attitude needed to survive playing in New York.  Sanchez will push Kellen Clemens to start right away and Ryan isn’t afraid of starting a rookie quarterback as he was one of Joe Flacco’s biggest supporters last year in Baltimore.  In the third round the Jets traded up once again and this time took Iowa running back Shonn Greene.  Thomas Jones will be 31 when this season starts and is currently skipping off season workouts over a contract dispute.  Greene is a big, powerful back and will provide insurance behind Jones this year and eventually will team with Leon Washington giving the Jets two running backs that compliment each other.  The Jets next pick wasn’t until the sixth round where they took guard Matt Slauson who should add depth to the Jets offensive line.  The Jets went with quality over quantity and in doing so landed their backfield of the future in Sanchez and Greene but their lack of picks will hurt their depth.
Grade: B+

Patriots Draft Review

New England Patriots
Picks: S Patrick Chung, DT Ron Brace, CB Darius Butler, OT Sebastian Vollmer, WR Brandon Tate, LB Tyrone McKenzie, G Rich Ohrnberger, C George Bussey, DT Myron Pryor, LS Jacob Ingram, WR Julian Edelman, DT Darryl Richard

The Patriots finished 2008 with an 11-5 record but failed to make the playoffs and in doing so became the first team since 1985 to finish with an 11-5 record and not make the playoffs.  The Pats did this all without star quarterback Tom Brady who is set to come back from injury this season.  The Pats continued their tricks of trading down and traded out the first round and ending up with four second round picks and six picks in the top 100.  With their first pick the Pats took safety Patrick Chung.  Chung is more of a run stuffer and will replace the loss of Rodney Harrison at safety.  With their next pick the Oats took defensive tackle Ron Brace.  Brace was one of the few potential 3-4 nose tackles in the draft and gives the Pats depth and insurance behind Vince Wilfork who is in the final year of his contract.  The Pats got a steal when they selected cornerback Darius Butler later in the second round.  Butler is one of the top cover corners in the draft and there were rumors the Pats were going to take him with their first round pick and to get him here was a steal.  Sebastian Vollmer was a bit of a reach in the second round but the Patriots did have a need at right tackle and he will be given time to develop.  The selection of Brandon Tate was a bit out of character for the Pats.  Tate is coming off a major knee injury and has character concerns but there is no denying his talent.  The Pats finally took a linebacker at the end of round three with Tyrone McKenzie who will play inside linebacker for the Pats.  The Pats also added two second round picks in next year’s draft with the trades the made on draft day.  The Pats had a great draft selecting players who fit their system and also got value for their picks and even picked up extra picks for next years draft.
Grade: A-

Bills Draft Review

Buffalo Bills
Picks: LB Aaron Maybin, C Eric Wood, CB Jairus Byrd, OL Andy Levitre, TE Shawn Nelson, S Nic Harris, CB Cary Harris, DB Ellis Lankster

The Bills got off to a great start in 2008 with a 5-1 record but floundered after that and finished 7-9.  Head coach Dick Jauron kept his job but this a make or break season for him.  With their first pick the Bills took defensive end Aaron Maybin.  Maybin is a raw prospect and will take some time to develop likely only contributing as a nickel pass rusher this season.  Perhaps Brian Orakpo, who is more experienced and ready to play now, would have been a better pick.  With their other first round pick, which was acquired in the Jason Peters trade, the Bills took center Eric Wood.  Wood is a slight reach here but should be a starter on the Bills offensive line right away.  In the second round the Bills took Jarius Byrd.  Byrd is a playmaker intercepting 17 passes in three years at Oregon and will likely switch to free safety in Buffalo.  Andy Levitre was a good pick in the second round and should help improve the running game.  The Bills made a nice selection in the fourth round with Shawn Nelson.  Nelson was projected to go higher but fell to the Bills and is a great receiving tight end and can start right away.  Nick Harris was a good college safety but will likely move to outside linebacker in Buffalo and could be a nice backup if he can make the transition.  The Bills put together a nice class but they failed to take a left tackle to help replace Jason Peters and Maybin over Orakpo wasn’t the smartest move for a team and coaching staff that needs to win now.
Grade: B

Dolphins Draft Review

Miami Dolphins
Picks: CB Vontae Davis, QB Pat White, CB Sean Smith, WR Patrick Turner, WR Brian Hartline, TE John Nalbone, S Chris Clemons, OT Andrew Gardner, LB J.D. Folsom

The Dolphins were one of the best stories in 2008 going from 1-15 in 2007 to 11-5 and winning the AFC East behind new head coach Tony Sparano and a rejuvenated Chad Pennington.  Their first pick was cornerback Vontae Davis.  Davis has the talent to be an elite player but has work ethic issues and was actually benched for a portion of last season.  The Dolphins created a lot of buzz with their selection of Pat White in the second round.  White was a college quarterback but is also looked at to be a receiver in the pros as well.  White should play predominantly as the quarterback of the Dolphins Wildcat formation, which they used to great success in 2008.  Their other second round pick was cornerback Sean Smith.  Smith is a big corner at 6’4 and a great athlete and could be better than Davis.  Wide receiver Patrick Turner was a big reach in the third round.  He is the big receiver the Dolphins needed but there were better ones available at the time.  They took another receiver in the fourth in Brian Hartline.  Hartline was a slight reach here but could be a nice possession receiver in time.  The Dolphins went after their receiver and corner needs early and often but had some reaches in there and Davis and White are boom or bust prospects.
Grade: C

Ravens Draft Review

Baltimore Ravens
Picks: OT Michael Oher, DE/LB Paul Kruger, CB Lardarius Webb, LB Jason Phillips, TE Davon Drew, RB Cedric Peerman

The Ravens behind rookie quarterback Joe Flacco had an 11-5 record and made it all the way to the AFC Championship Game losing to eventual champions Pittsburgh.  With their fist pick and 23rd overall the Raven took offensive tackle Michael Oher.  Oher was rated right up with their other top tackles and the Ravens were very lucky to get him here.  Oher can play either left or right tackle but will likely place right in Baltimore.  They made another good pick in the second round with Paul Kruger.  Kruger will likely make the switch from college defensive end to outside linebacker to play in the Ravens 3-4 defense.  Kruger is a good against the run but will have to work on his pass rush in the pros.  Third round pick Lardarius Webb is a developmental prospect coming out of small school Nicholls State.  Webb’s role early on will be in the return game while he tries to bulk up form his current weight (178 lbs).  Jason Phillips was a nice fifth round pick that would have gone higher if not for a pre draft injury.  Cedric Peerman was a good value pick in the sixth round but will have a hard time making the Ravens with their crowded backfield.  The Ravens selected some good players and had some nice value picks but they failed to address the wide receiver position.
Grade: B

Bengals Draft Review

Cincinnati Bengals
Picks: OT Andre Smith, LB Rey Maualuga, DE Michael Johnson, TE Chase Coffman, C Jonathan Luigs, P Kevin Huber, CB Morgan Trent, RB Bernard Scott, RB Fui Vakapuna, DT Clinton McDonald, WR Freddie Brown

The Bengals had another disappointing year in 2008.  From the drama with Chad Ocho Cinco, to the injuries of Carson Palmer and their defense the Bengals had a rough year all around.  With the 6th overall pick the Bengals selected Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith.  Smith was considered a top pick in the draft but his stock took a hit in the off season when he left the combine abruptly without telling anyone and concerns about his character arose.  There is no doubting his talent though and he certainly has the potential to be a pro bowl player.  In the second round the Bengals got a potential steal in Rey Maualuga.  Maualuga could have gone in the first round and will be reunited with ex teammate Keith Rivers in Cincinnati. Michael Johnson, who they took in the third round, also has questions about his character and work ethic but has flashed talent at times in college but never put it all together.  Chase Coffman should give them a good receiving option at tight end that they haven’t had in awhile.  Jonathan Luigs was a nice pick in the fourth round and could start right away at center.  The selection of Bernard Scott was an odd one.  They needed a running back but Scott has been arrested five times and been to four different colleges.  Not the smartest pick for a team that has had so much trouble with their players getting in trouble.  The Bengals selected good players but don’t seem to factor in character at all when making draft selections and Smith and Johnson are boom or bust prospects.
Grade: B-