NFL Draft winners and losers

1. Roger Goodell — The commish had quite a week. The league released a new and improved schedule Tuesday; Goodell recieved widespread praise for his decision to suspend Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger on Wednesday; and his three-day draft was such a success that he’s considering taking it nationwide soon. Goodell presided over the event with his usual aplomb and clearly connected with the players (did Paul Tagliabue ever get bear hugs from the rookies?). And kudos to Goodell for looking after the players; when CB Brandon Ghee, invited to New York by the NFL, didn’t get taken until the end of Round 3, Goodell (who’d relinquished pick-calling duties by that point) ensured he was back on the dais to announce Ghee’s selection, whispered words of encouragement to him when he emerged from the green room and posed for pictures with the youngster.

Read More: [url]

2. ESPN/NFL Network — The prime-time format was clearly a hit, and the ratings spiked. And the draft itself was run crisply, no interminable waits between picks allowing viewers to wander … sometimes, less is more. The added nuances were nice, too — Texas coach Mack Brown announcing former Longhorns QB Colt McCoy’s selection, Saints QB Drew Brees revealing New Orleans’ choice, and Make-A-Wish recipient Zachary Hatfield doing the job for the Steelers in Round 1.
3. The Big 12 — Though the conference has received some heat for only winning two national titles since 1998, it continues to churn out blue-chip talent. Five of the first six picks hailed from the conference, including No. 1 overall selection Sam Bradford. Nine Big 12 alums overall came off the board in Round 1, all of them in the first 24 selections.
4. Jason Campbell — Trust us, this is a great guy who deserved a fresh start and opportunity to prove himself. Though going to Oakland may seem like no great reward, Campbell just wanted to start somewhere, and his dedication and quiet leadership will be quite a change of pace in a Raiders locker room that was tired of JaMarcus Russell, one of the draft’s biggest losers as his job appears to be gone.
5. Raiders — In addition to acquiring Campbell, they had a really nice draft, not something they’ve been known for in recent years. MLB Rolando McClain and DT Lamarr Houston should seriously upgrade the run defense; Ts Jared Veldheer and Bruce Campbell (wisely taken in Round 4) will need time to develop but could be the future bookends; and WR Jacoby Ford offers the speed Al Davis loves and should get playing time.
6. Tim Tebow — His unquestioned intangibles and determination to improve his throwing motion did, in fact, ultimately earn him a first-round contract. Assuming football is played, Tebow could very well be the man in Denver by 2011 as the guy Josh McDaniels seems willing to bet the franchise on.
7. Seahawks — New coach Pete Carroll got T Russell Okung an
Pete Carroll traded for Leon Washington and LenDale White during his first draft as Seahawks head coach.
By Otto Greule Jr, Getty Images
d S Earl Thomas, two perceived elite players, in Round 1 and promising WR Golden Tate in Round 2. Mix in Saturday’s pickups of RBs LenDale White and Leon Washington in trades — they could revive the Hawks’ long-dormant ground game — and Seattle had quite a weekend and could return to its once-accustomed perch atop the NFC West sooner than many folks expected.

8. Patriots — Business as usual for Bill Belichick and Co. New England’s 12-man class seems stocked with talent and potential from top to bottom. Not only that, Belichick extracted Carolina’s 2011 second-round pick for a third-rounder (N0. 89) he deemed extraneous.
9. Rams/Lions/Bucs — The first three teams atop the 2010 draft board went a long way toward ensuring they won’t be in the same position in 2011. The Rams got a long-needed franchise QB in Bradford (a big winner himself with the approximate $50 million he’ll put into his bank account) while addressing several other areas of need. With DT Ndamukong Suh and RB Jahvid Best, the Lions added crucial impact players in Round 1. The Buccaneers may have found half a dozen potential starters, and DTs Gerald McCoy and Brian Price and WR Arrelious Benn are good bets to crack the starting lineup by Week 1.
10. AFC North — All four teams seem to have hauled in excellent prospects. The reigning division champion Bengals got the draft’s best tight end (Jermaine Gresham) and several other players who look ready to contribute in 2010 and likely start as soon as 2011. The Browns added two likely starters to their secondary (CB Joe Haden and S T.J. Ward), perhaps their starting tailback (Montario Hardesty) and still found time to land the possible QB of the future in Colt McCoy. Despite lacking a first-rounder, the Ravens’ first three picks look like they could be starting in a year, and the Steelers got a plug-and-play performer in OL Maurkice Pouncey and talents like LB Thaddeus Gibson (4th round) and RB Jonathan Dwyer (6th) who represent nice value given where they were drafted.

1. Survivor, 30 Rock, The Office, et al. — Popular Thursday night network TV shows suddenly weren’t just fighting amongst themselves for eyeballs as the draft soared in its prime-time debut. ABC had the good sense to run a Grey’s Anatomy re-run (or so our girlfriends tell us).
2. Jimmy Clausen and Matt Moore — Not a great draft for the new Panthers teammates. Most experts figured Clausen as a first-rounder after his three-season hitch in Notre Dame’s pro-style offense and years of positional tutorials in high school, but he lasted until midway through Round 2. Moore, who looked like the starter after Carolina cut Jake Delhomme, now has to beat out the highly touted Golden Domer and, even if he does, likely listen to fans chant Clausen’s name at every mistake. Did we mention sixth-rounder Tony Pike — who got drafted later than he wanted, too, and now has to compete with the more highly regarded guys — had a tough weekend also?
3. Fans of NFL Network’s Mike Mayock — Mayock is NFLN’s knowledgeable, opinionated draft expert … and, we like to think, a friend of The Huddle and USA TODAY. Sadly, Mayock suffered a third-degree tear of the vocal cords (or something) and had to come off the field after just a few snaps in Round 4. He gutted it out as his voicebox faded Friday night but couldn’t answer the TV bell yesterday. Nice job hammering away on all day Saturday, Mike, but they’re gonna find an up-and-coming, plug-and-play prospect with looser hips and bigger ball radius to replace you … okay, not likely. Get well.
4. Jevan Snead — The Ole Miss QB was regarded as a first-rounder a year ago. He turned out to be a n0-rounder. But the Buccaneers did scoop him up as a free agent, so maybe he will get a shot to quietly develop behind Josh Freeman.
5. Former Pac-10 stars — Snead wasn’t the only one to plummet. Some analysts mentioned USC S Taylor Mays as a possible No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 draft last summer; he went 49th instead and seemed to feel like Carroll let him down developmentally and by not bringing him to Seattle in Round 1. Carroll did rescue former Trojans TE Anthony McCoy in the sixth round, but a failed drug test at the combine probably prevented him from getting picked Friday. Ex-Oregon RB LeGarrette Blount, infamous for the punch he threw after the Ducks’ loss at Boise State last September, got a job with the 49ers but only after being bypassed in the draft.
6. Mock drafts — About as accurate and useful as they always are, which is to say not very. But at least Sean Leahy and I were 4-for-4 after four picks before it went south. But we held up as well as almost every other draft “guru”.
7. Myron Rolle — We hate to classify Rolle in the “loser” category because we think the guy’s the definition of a winner and the loftiest example of a student athlete. Just too bad the time in Oxford cost him so much money and draft position. And he’ll have a devil of a time earning playing time in front of Titans Ss Michael Griffin and Chris Hope.
8. Mark Cuban — We like Mark, he always answers our e-mails. But he didn’t come off too well complaining about the prime-time draft format, which sports fans seemed to eat up. How’d the Mavericks do this weekend, anyway? Seriously, we have no idea.
9. Redskins — Kudos to Mike Shanahan for finding a new job for QB Jason Campbell and nice work getting Oklahoma T Trent Williams with the No. 4 pick, surely a move approved by new QB Donovan McNabb. But Washington didn’t get much else in its quest to catch up in the NFC East. Of the ‘Skins’ six picks, five were after Round 3, and three of those in Round 7. Meanwhile, the Cowboys, Giants and Eagles all seem to have gotten a lot stronger since Thursday.
10. Bills — So maybe RB C.J. Spiller was the best player available with the ninth pick. But Buffalo didn’t begin to attempt fixing its offensive line, receiver and quarterback problems until Round 4 … so Spiller’s going to have a whale of a time ending the Bills’ decade-long playoff drought in 2010.
— Nate Davis

Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

Leave a Reply

Loading cart ...