The first round of the 2010 NFL Draft did not disappoint. There were a lot of terrific football players drafted. Plenty of trades were made, and there were more than a few highly questionable moves and picks which led to a far more interesting bottom of the first round than usual.
While it usually takes 2-3 years for the final results of a draft to shake out, there are always first impressions as to which teams did their homework and seemingly found gold and which teams seem to prefer the NFL dart board to help make their selections year after year after year.
Here are some of the highlights and lowlights of last night's action:
Detroit: The Lions had just a tremendous first round. If Stafford turns out to be the real thing the Lions have got themselves three terrific football players. Suh is going to be a monster in the NFL. 33 reps at 225 already puts him in the category of a beast in the NFL. Shu will be a starter in Week 1 and will be a Pro Bowler for years to come if he stays healthy. In Cal RB Javhrid Best the Lions got a RB they so desperately needed. With the Colts poised to take him at #31 Detroit leap frogged Indy and traded for the #30 pick with Minnesota to draft Best and did so without blowing up their draft board. Detroit was easily the clear cut winner of the 1st round.
Seattle: If not for Detroit's tremendous first round the Seahawks would have been the clear cut winner. Merely by staying put, Seattle picked up the best T in the draft, solidifying their OL, and the DB that many think will in two or three years become perhaps the best in the entire draft. Texas S Earl Thomas was projected to be a little behind Eric Berry in the draft because Berry is a little bit more ready to play at a high level now. In time Thomas has Ed Reed-Troy Polamalu type skill set as a safety and just needs a little polish. The Seahawks had themselves a very good first round.
Teams that could have done better in the first round:
Buffalo: The Bills got a good RB, but they already had a good RB in Fred Jackson. With multiple needs, taking a player already in a position of strength on your roster is not the smartest move they could've made. Taking either of the QB's (Claussen or McCoy) would go a long way towards redeeming the questionable move of taking a RB when you have so many other needs. The early word is Buffalo prefers McCoy over Claussen.
Miami: The Dolphins got a good football player,\ and left a lot of better football players on the board when they moved down 16 spots for a 2nd and 4th rd pick. Yes, this is a deep draft, but there were some unique talents still on the board in areas of need for Miami that they passed just to reaquire the 2nd round pick they sent to the Broncos for Brandon Marshall. Miami isn't rebuilding. They just need a few top notch defensive players get themselves right back into the discussion in the AFCE, and the best way to get there is to go get the best guys you can. Odrick is a good player, he's wasn't close to being the best player Miami could've taken.
Cleveland: This is another team with a lot of needs. Brownie fans can't like taking a CB slated to go in the middle of the first round with the 7th overall pick. The Clevelend war room was said to be split between taking either CB Haden or CB Kyle Wilson, and GM Holmgren broke the tie. Haden would still have been there in the middle of the first round and Wilson went to the Jets at #29. Haden is a good football player, but he was not a value pick a #7 overall.
NY Giants: USF DE Jason Pierre-Paul may become a top flight NFL DE, but he's raw with a capital R. The Giants have actual an actual need at LB, and they draft a player who plays a position where they are hip deep ? This kid has played exactly one year of Division I football and right now is at best a situational pass rusher. Don't the Giants have a situational pass rushers right now in Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka? The Giants passed on Derrick Morgan who is right now a far more complete player.
San Diego: A 16 spot charge up the draft board to take RB Ryan Mathews when Cal RB Jahvid Best was still on the board at #30? The only break the Chargers got was in not having to pay more to make the move. If you're going to make that kind of a move, why not go up just a little further and take Spiller, a much better RB prospect taken just three spots earlier?
New Orleans: The Saints got a good player, but again this is another example of their being a lot of better players on the board when they took CB Patrick Robinson.
Teams that got good players and good value:
Arizona: The Cardinals benifitted from so many teams passing on DT Dan Williams. While not in the class of a Suh or a McCoy ,Williams is a good DT who was slated to go possibly as high as #12. Arizona got good value and a real good football player.
Tennessee: The screwups in the top half of the draft allowed the Titans to grab the highest rated DE in the draft in Derrick Morgan. A polished player with a non stop motor, Morgan in most other years would've been a top ten pick so Tennessee, thanks to some boneheaded moves by some teams in front of them, wound up with a gift. Better to be lucky sometimes than good.
NY Jets: You knew Rex Ryan would most likely take a DB. What you didn't know was who?. Boise St. CB Kyle Wilson was depending on who you talked to either the 1A or 1B top cover CB in the draft, and his skills on special teams will increase his value even more. The Browns draft room was said to be split down the middle between the CB's Wilson and their eventual pick Haden. By playing the patience card the Jets got a real good player and premium value.
Boom or bust:
Cincinnati: No position has a higher ratio of bust to boom in the first round of the NFL draft then the TE position. Cincinnati just might have gotten themselves the biggest boom or bust prospect of the first round when they took Okla. TE Jermaine Gresham. Carson Palmer does need a TE and Gresham was the highest rated TE in the draft but he is by no means a sure thing.
St Louis: Taking Sam Bradford with the 1st overall pick was a move the Rams had to make after passing on QB's like Stafford, Sanchez, Flacco and Matt Ryan in the last two drafts. All four of those QB's have something Bradford does not have, a completely clean bill of health. Bradford twice separated his shoulder last year, making his long term health somewhat questionable. Taking a QB at the top of any draft is always a boom or bust proposition but taking one with shoulder problems in the past makes a shaky proposition an even more boom or bust prospect especially when the Rams may tie up as much as $50M in Bradford.
San Francisco: By drafting Rutgers LT Anthony Davis and Idaho OG Mike Iupati less then one hour apart in the first round could go a long way towards rebuilding the 49'ers offensive line, but both players are problematic. Davis is a man child who will have to get much stronger and mature as a player and a person while G Iupati was weak as a pass blocker and was said to be a holding machine against weak defensive players. Both are quintessential boom or bust picks.
Denver: Despite picking up a plethora of picks for moving back in the draft three times the Broncos took chances with both of their first round selections. WR Demaryius Thomas was taken to replace departed Brandon Marshall. Marshall was a terrific WR for Denver. He played hurt and was a physical WR who could make every play NFL WR's are asked to make. Thomas is a player with unique gifts for a WR in terms of size and speed, but he is not the kind of player Marshall was. QB Tim Tebow has intangibles that are as off the charts as any player drafted in the last ten years, but his ability to play QB at the NFL level remains highly questionable. Tebow is a hard worker and appears to be willing to make the necessary changes in his game to be an NFL QB, but making those changes will not be done overnight. Tebow looks to be a 2-3 year project who will earn his keep in the meantime as an option QB in multiple formations while he tweaks his mechanics.
This year's second round offers some very different changes than in previous years. Teams will have 24 hours to reassess their draft board and as a result you can expect more trades than usual to be made as teams no longer have just ten minutes to re-think their positions.
The Jets' second round pick will be their last pick of the day. Their next pick won't come until some 70 odd players have some off the board so there won't be any such thing as a reach. If the Jets see a player they like there is no need to consider the value of the pick because of the long wait in between picks. Knowing Rex Ryan's love of DB's and given the Jets lack of a large, big hitting play making S in the Ed Reed-Troy Palomalu mold it shouldn't come as a big surprise if the Jets make a move up the second round draft board to draft a safety like USC Taylor Mays, USF S Nate Allen or maybe even Division II Indiana DB Akwasi Owusu-Anash. Owsus-Anash is a big (6'-1/2" 210lb) fast (4.33 40) DB with the capability to develop into the big play WR killing safety the Jet defense still lacks.
Whoever the Jets take, they are in a position to either draft a need or to take the best player regardless of position just as they did last year when they moved to the top of the 3rd round to take RB Shonn Greene despite having two Pro Bowl RB's already on their roster. Their off season moves have allowed a flexibility in the draft that the Jets have not had in many years.