Tuesday, May 01, 2007

1st-Round Grades: …continued

Let’s continue with picks 17 to 32, closing out the 1st Round of the 2007 NFL Draft…due to popular demand!!!

…by the way, I’m nixing direct trade-talk and focusing on the picks themselves…

17. Denver Broncos select Jarvis Moss [DE, Florida]
Analysis - While some felt his late-season run, specifically a suffocating performance during the BCS National Championship game, vaulted him up a round too high…I wasn’t part of that crowd. I rated Moss almost a half-dozen slots higher than Spencer (overall, not as DE) and he seemed a much better value pick than any of the available linebackers.
Should’ve Taken – Jarvis Moss [DE, Florida]
Grade: B+ [The team is in desperate need of a revamp at linebacker and could target offensive line and secondary help in later rounds.]

18. Cincinnati Bengals select Leon Hall [CB, Michigan]
Analysis – Finding an instant-impact starter is difficult to do in the secondary. Hall, rated as high as the 10th pick on most mocks, was a relative steal for the Bengals.
Should’ve Taken – Leon Hall [CB, Michigan]
Grade: A- [Despite a pressing need for LB and DE depth, Hall was too good of a talent to pass up.]

19. Tennessee Titans select Michael Griffin [S, Texas]
Analysis – If safety was the route taken, why not Florida’s athletic, ball-hawking playmaker Reggie Nelson? The Titans needed to use this pick to acquire a replacement, and future weapon for their QB, for departed wideout Drew Bennett. Case closed.
Should’ve Taken – Robert Meachum [WR, Tennessee]
Grade: D+ [Even with Pacman potentially gone for the season, this was a wasted opportunity to help a relatively weak offense.]

20. New York Giants select Aaron Ross [CB, Texas]
Analysis – The offensive line and the secondary were the two positions the Giants obviously had to address early on during day one of the draft. While their second-round pick was puzzling, this was one of the better moves of the 1st round. While I would’ve preferred targeting Joe Staley, there’s no reason Ross can’t step in Day One and start at cornerback for this team.
Should’ve Taken – Joe Staley [OT, Central Michigan]
Grade: B [It was a need that they filled. It’s something Giant fans can finally not complain about.]

21. Jacksonville Jaguars select Reggie Nelson [S, Florida]
Analysis – It’s about time they addressed the defense in the 1st round. With Moss gone and Spencer obviously not rated higher than Nelson on their board, the Jags got a future replacement for Donovan Darius.
Should’ve Taken – Anthony Spencer [DE, Purdue]
Grade: B+ [I like Nelson a lot and he fits a definite need here; just not as much as a bookend would’ve potentially done.]

22. Cleveland Browns select Brady Quinn [QB, Notre Dame]
Analysis – Trading back up, right before an interesting KC-decision, the Browns gave up their 2nd round pick this year and their 1st next year (which always seems to be top 8) for their QB of their future. While it’s a gamble, it was a pretty solid 1st-round performance for GM Phil Savage to walk away with a franchise LT and a franchise QB. This could one day be one of the better steals in recent draft memory.
Should’ve Taken – Brady Quinn [QB, Notre Dame]
Grade: A- [Only a minus, for now, because next year’s first-rounder could be so lethal potentially.]

23. Kansas City Chiefs select Dwayne Bowe [WR, LSU]
Analysis – KC needed to tab a wideout…obviously. Yet, I didn’t have Bowe rated as highly as most. I see a little too much Josh Reed and burned-out Michael Clayton in him (if not just the on his LSU helmet).
Should’ve Taken – Robert Meachum [WR, Tennessee]
Grade: B- [Taking a wide receiver is good enough to earn a B. Yet, was this the right guy for them? I don’t know just yet if there weren’t two or three better options at the wideout position for KC to consider.]

24. New England Patriots select Brandon Meriweather [S, Miami]
Analysis – The Pats get slack because of their past history, which seems deserved. The guy regressed last season, but is still an immense talent. Yet, the Patriots aren’t just reloading to reload. They learned last season that their old tricks and their coaching couldn’t overcome a drop-off in talent. For the first time, the Pats are taking risks they normally wouldn’t.
Should’ve Taken – Jon Beason [LB, Miami]
Grade: B+ [They need secondary help badly, but that critical inside linebacker position is going to drop-off very soon.]

25. Carolina Panthers select Jon Beason [LB, Miami]
Analysis – With Dan Morgan never healthy, LB had to be addressed by the Panthers. Interestingly enough, Beason’s size may become an issue with the bruising backs in this division.
Should’ve Taken – Greg Olsen [TE, Miami]
Grade: B [Steve Smith can’t do it all. In the end, either one of the Hurricanes would’ve been welcomed as a 1st-round pick in Carolina.]

26. Dallas Cowboys select Anthony Spencer [DE, Purdue]
Analysis – The most telling take I walked away from their playoff game was their complete lack of a pass rush. Spencer, who they traded with the Eagles of all people to land, will be the new favorite toy for head coach Wade Phillips.
Should’ve Taken – Anthony Spencer [DE, Purdue]
Grade: A- [As much fun as a new slot wideout would’ve been, the talent was far too good too pass up for the Cowboys.]

27. New Orleans Saints select Robert Meachum [WR, Tennessee]
Analysis – Finally, he went. While I felt they undervalued a need at CB and at TE, the Saints still picked up a ton of speed to add to their receiving corps.
Should’ve Taken – Greg Olsen [TE, Miami]
Grade: B [Brees can work wonders with tight ends, even if Olsen doesn’t play like Gates. Fortunately, Meachum’s speed makes this team deadlier than ever on turf.]

28. San Francisco 49ers select Joe Staley [OT, Central Michigan]
Analysis – This pick may be costly, but not nearly as much as some might believe, as the 49ers are an ever-improving team. With a young QB and RB, the team needed an anchor on the O-Line and should’ve found one in Staley.
Should’ve Taken – Joe Staley [OT, Central Michigan]
Grade: B+ [While nabbing Branch to replace Young was my guess after the trade, the impending acquisition of DJ made this an even easier move to go ahead and make to help their offense. Still, not having a first-rounder next year puts this entire grade into jeopardy.]

29. Baltimore Ravens select Ben Grubbs [OG, Auburn]
Analysis – A very safe, sensible pick. This is a team that saw its pocket collapse far too often against the Colts in the playoffs last season. Not to mention, Steve McNair is a year older. Anytime you can find a quality lineman, the top-rated guard in fact, this late in the 1st-round…you make the move.
Should’ve Taken – David Harris [LB, Michigan]
Grade: B [I won’t do a back-flip over this pick. I like it. Maybe even a lot. But he won’t help them get to the Super Bowl. I only said Harris, so Suggs could continue to be a madman solely on the outside.]

30. San Diego Chargers select Craig Davis [WR, LSU]
Analysis – Hmmm. With Vincent Jackson progressing, I see why a guy like Dwayne Jarrett isn’t the selection. Yet, was this really the best move for the Chargers? The departure of Donnie Edwards could’ve been helped with plenty of available LBs. Not to mention, there were better wideout prospects to fit their offense still lingering on the big board. Seems to me that Steve Smith or Sidney Rice was a much better fit.
Should’ve Taken – David Harris [LB, Michigan]
Grade: C- [Surprising that with the LBs and CBs on the board, they reached a bit with a #2 college and at-best #3 NFL wideout.]

31. Chicago Bears select Greg Olsen [TE, Miami]
Analysis – Even with Desmond Clark in tow, the Bears knew this playmaker was too good to pass up. While Jarrett would’ve been enticing, he isn’t the slot receive I think they envision for them in cold-weather. A replacement for Lance Briggs could wait until the second round.
Should’ve Taken – Alan Branch [DT, Michigan]
Grade: B [The offense needs help; yet, Branch would’ve supplied incredible depth, at a relative bargain, to a position that was ravaged by the loss of Tommie Harris last season.]

32. Indianapolis Colts select Anthony Gonzalez [WR, Indianapolis]
Analysis – Honestly, I hated the pick. While he seems a new-Stokley, it just isn’t what they need. Instead of nabbing a third wideout, why not grab a run-stuffing DT (Branch), a playmaking LB (Harris or Posluszny) or one of the countless CBs available? A mistake by the usually-poised Colts.
Should’ve Taken – Alan Branch [DT, Michigan]
Grade: D

So there you have it. Not too many As and no Fs. Being a teacher, I suppose there’s good and bad in those statements.

While true grades will take years to decipher, it’s still too much fun to pass up trying to grade the selections right now.

Until next time

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