National Football League
April 25, 2009
Draft King Analysis
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
Reader feedback is always welcomed here. Send your thoughts to Draft King at LouPickney@gmail.com.
Running Commentary on the 2009 NFL Draft
Lou (1:07 p.m. CT): There are less than two hours to go before the 2009 NFL Draft. Georgia QB Matthew Stafford is going #1 to Detroit. The Rams at #2 will likely go with either Baylor OT Jason Smith (the most likely scenario) or possibly Virginia OT Eugene Monroe, barring a surprise like Wake Forest OLB Aaron Curry. I still like Curry going to Kansas City at #3, though the late talk is that Kansas City might stretch to take LSU DE Tyson Jackson. Seattle at #4 remains a mystery.
Right now Erin Andrews is talking with Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree in a taped segment on ESPN; is it foreshadowing that Crabtree is wearing a Cincinnati Reds hat?
Lou (1:19 p.m. CT): If you haven't heard of Shawn Zobel yet, then I strongly recommend that you read this article. He's a 19-year-old man in Minnesota who runs a website called DraftHeadquarters.com. Zobel has gained attention for his mock draft from last year in which he outperformed many experts (and he picked more first-round selections correctly than I did). More impressive to me is the comprehensive draft report that he puts together. He sacrifices his Spring Break to do that, which is impressive to me.
Lou (1:34 p.m. CT): It's just me this year on the running commentary. It was great fun in 2004 doing the running commentary thing with my friend Scott, but he works at a TV station in Seattle now, which is considerably further from where I live than he was in 2004 (when he was in Clearwater and I was across the bay in the Ybor City section of Tampa).
Lou (1:37 p.m. CT): In an interesting note, my old boss Bubba the Love Sponge ® will be the Grand Marshal today for the 2009 Aaron's 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at in Talladega, AL. Six years ago on the Saturday of the NFL Draft I was at Livestock 13 in Zephyrhills, FL with Bubba and the guys from his show on Bubba's luxury bus. That was a blast; the backstage area at that show was unreal.
Lou (1:50 p.m. CT): Pete Carroll wrote this on his Twitter: "we're gonna announce the draft picks on the big screen at the coli, so come on out... it'll be the biggest draft party we know of!" I'm not sure what "the coli" is, but it sounds like a fun time for USC fans.
Lou (1:59 p.m. CT): I have been watching mostly ESPN's pre-draft show early, but now I'm also switching between that and the NFL Network and even ESPN News (interesting that ESPN has two pre-draft shows going on now). I'm also keeping an eye on the Hornets/Nuggets game. I like the NBA, but to answer a question that I get more than you might think, I don't have any plans to branch out and cover the drafts of any other sports. It's enough for me to follow the draft possibilities of one sport. Never say never, but I don't plan anything but football for this site. If I do another draft, it would probably be for the UFL if it ends up turning into a bona fide contender as a major professional league.
Hahahaha in the Hornets/Nuggets game, Hornets coach Baron Scott looks like he wants to punch referee Bennett Salvatore. Salvatore is one of Bill Simmons' favorite referees to criticize. Okay, that's it for the NBA talk, I promise.
Lou (2:04 p.m. CT): Bill Belichick is being interviewed live on the NFL Network right now... by a group including Jon Gruden. I love the idea of Gruden as a studio guy, sneering at the camera but coming up well-prepared and intelligent. As it is, I expect Belichick to reveal nothing in this interview of any substance. I'd be inclined to go on lockdown if I was in his position right now, lest I inadvertantly reveal something about the upcoming draft.
Lou (2:07 p.m. CT): Marshall Faulk is underrated as a television talent. And now Gruden is sneering at Faulk in a response even though he's agreeing with Faulk on the topic. I'm not sure how long Gruden will be able to keep himself away from coaching, but I'm going to enjoy his time with the NFL Network. With the exception of Warren Sapp (who is a colossal prick) I've been impressed by the NFL Network's hiring of studio guys. The fact that ESPN stole away Adam Schefter (a former writer for the Denver Post) should be further proof of that. It's too bad that the NFL Network has put Schefter on ice ahead of the expiration of his contract in August.
Lou (2:12 p.m. CT): Maybe I've being too stubborn about thinking that the Washington Redskins won't try to trade up for Mark Sanchez, as I asserted on at least one of my radio interviews earlier this week (I don't recall which one). Remember all those rumors about the Redskins wanting to sign Albert Haynesworth before the start of free agency? It happened, and it's a fact that Washington tried to trade for Jay Cutler. The Redskins have a leak or two, which doesn't mean that the team wouldn't try to intentionally leak false information, but I tend to believe Redskin rumors these days.
Lou (2:18 p.m. CT): Chris Mortensen just said on ESPN that B.J. Raji failed a drug test for marijuana while at Boston College. Mortensen started the story by mentioning that Raji did NOT fail a drug test at the combine (as SI.com and at least one NFL Draft site errantly reported as true), but this is a case where the false story brought up something (the BC failed drug test) that may or may not have been mentioned otherwise. As a journalist Mortensen was right to mention that, but this is proof of how the false report has repercussions even after being refuted.
Lou (2:22 p.m. CT): The crowd at the draft is chanting "Harry Kalas" in honor of the late voice of NFL Films. If you've ever seen Inside the NFL, you've heard Kalas' voice. He was a great broadcaster.
Lou (2:24 p.m. CT): It is interesting to hear NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the same set at the same time right now. Smith used the term "extra game scenario" when they were talking about the issue of expanding the season. I don't want to see that happen, but I don't get a vote -- it seems that the NFL is moving toward either a 17 or an 18 game regular season schedule.
Lou (2:29 p.m. CT): Apparently the NFL Network has the exclusive with Matthew Stafford, while ESPN has the exclusives on some other players. I love that there is competition in draft coverage in that both sides push each other to be better.
Lou (2:30 p.m. CT): Did I just hear Keyshawn Johnson compare Missouri WR Jeremy Maclin to free agent WR Eddie Kennison? I'm not sure I'd be happy about that if I was Maclin. No disrespect to Kennison, but he has never had more than 1,102 yards receiving in a season.
Lou (2:34 p.m. CT): Mel Kiper just projected Michael Crabtree going #8 to Jacksonville. Would Al Davis really pass on Crabtree?!?
Lou (2:40 p.m. CT): With so many teams moving toward a 3-4 defensive scheme in the NFL, just imagine where Alabama NT Terrence Cody (6'5" 365 pounds) will end up going in the 2010 Draft.
Lou (2:44 p.m. CT): My thanks go out to Jared Gruber, who wrote me and pointed out that my 2010 Mock Draft had Kansas City drafting a quarterback. I quickly fixed that mistake. I put that list together some time ago, and somehow that slipped through the last revision. Kansas City traded a 2009 second-round pick to get Patriots QB Matt Cassel (with LB Mike Vrabel), and it's highly unlikely that the Chiefs would turn around and take a first-round QB in 2010.
Lou (2:46 p.m. CT): Herm Edwards on ESPN just compared the draft process (and the information out there about the prospects) to baking an apple pie and apples having bruises on them. That was unexpected.
Lou (2:55 p.m. CT): In 2001, my friend and Phi Kappa Tau fraternity brother Brad Ott got married on draft day. That was before I owned a cell phone, and before the days of cell phone internet technology being available to seemingly everyone. I only found out about Ole Miss RB Deuce McAllister falling in the 2001 Draft to New Orleans well after the first round was over. Open note to my non-married friends: please don't get married on NFL Draft weekend, especially if you want me to attend. Luckily for Brad, his wedding happened in the pre-Draft King era.
Lou (2:59 p.m. CT): NFLN just showed Jason Smith talking on the phone to someone. Hmmm. Rich Eisen is speculating that it might be the Rams calling to tell him that they plan to draft him. The Rams would be wise to have negotiated a contract ahead of time (with Smith or whomever), as a change in NFL Draft rules now allows the #2 team to sign a player before drafting him, something that wasn't allowed last year when the Rams also held the second selection in the draft. Maybe I just missed it, but I haven't heard ESPN or the NFL Network mention this rule change.
Lou (3:02 p.m. CT): The NFLN bottom line has a report that the Jets are looking to trade up with the Jaguars at #8 if "the player they want" (Mark Sanchez perhaps?) is on the board at that time. Funny enough I speculated about that this past Tuesday. Though, at this time of the year, I tend to be dismissive of rumors since there is so much deception being intentionally spread out there by all sorts of people.
Lou (3:03 p.m. CT): Commissioner Roger Goodell is at the podium. He has a great presence about himself. I haven't agreed with him on everything, but I respect him tremendously. He is underrated in my opinion. Goddell followed Paul Tagliabue and the late Pete Rozelle, two great commissioners, and he is a great leader for the league.
Lou (3:04 p.m. CT): The fans in New York are booing Matthew Stafford mercilessly and now are chanting "overrated" at him. New York sports fans are a special breed, and I mean that in a good way. Passion and unabashed honesty.
Lou (3:09 p.m. CT): The music on ESPN played when showing highlights of players who have just been drafted is classic. Great stuff.
Lou (3:14 p.m. CT): Mike Mayock of the NFL Network just predicted that a team might intentionally allow its time clock to lapse to intentionally pick lower, implied that it would be for financial reasons. That would surprise me.
Lou (3:15 p.m. CT): Note to the NFL Network: It kills the drama when you show a split-screen of two prospects and one of them has their family celebrating like they just won the million on Deal or No Deal *before* the trade has been announced. That just happened with Baylor OT Jason Smith at #2, who was shown on a split-screen with Virginia OT Eugene Monroe. The jubilant group of people celebrating around Smith before the pick was announced killed the mystery.
Lou (3:21 p.m. CT): Interesting hearing Herm Edwards on ESPN talk about who the Chiefs should take at #3 since he was just there a few months ago as head coach. By the way, Herm (and the aforementioned Eddie Kennison) telling Dwayne Bowe to go get some donuts on the 2007 edition of Hard Knocks on HBO remains one of the funniest scenes in reality show history. Herm from 2007: "You drive by that Krispy Kreme and you see that sign say hot, you pull your car in there and you get me a dozen glazed donuts. You make sure they are on my desk Saturday morning. I don't care about anything else. And the sign's gotta say, and the sign's gotta say HOT! Gotta say hot, gotta say hot. Make sure when you get them donuts, make sure you ain't eating any of them donuts. You leave them donuts alone!" Between that and Gunther Cunningham's vulgar disdain for Family Fun Night, the 2007 season of Hard Knocks is an all-time classic in my book.
Lou (3:25 p.m. CT): Mel Kiper must have known something, as LSU DE Tyson Jackson just went at #3 to the Chiefs. It was Kiper changing his mock abruptly yesterday to show Jackson going to Kansas City that sent a ripple across various mock drafts. I didn't follow the trend, and obviously I should have made the change. This is the sort of move that is fitting since, in its own way, it illustrates the higher difficulty level that I've had in projecting the draft this year versus the past few years.
Lou (3:29 p.m. CT): My brother's bulldog Titus just heard a noise outside and ran out of my room, barking at something. Titus loves to stretch out and relax, which makes him a good companion for watching the draft.
Lou (3:31 p.m. CT): Good point by Steve Young in noting that the Seahawks drafting USC QB Mark Sanchez would not be a slight to current starting QB Matt Hasselbeck. The idea would be more to get a quarterback to step in on down the line. It's worth noting that Hasselbeck turns 34 in September.
Lou (3:32 p.m. CT): The Seahawks have drafted Aaron Curry. Great pickup there. Curry could have been a good 3-4 linebacker, but he will thrive in a 4-3. The risk that Seattle took in trading Julian Peterson paid off with Curry sliding to them at #4.
Lou (3:36 p.m. CT): Cleveland is on the clock. Michael Crabtree and B.J. Raji are both on the board. Chris Mortensen is talking about this being a trade spot (presumably for USC QB Mark Sanchez).
Lou (3:38 p.m. CT): Cleveland trades down and the New York Jets have jumped up to #5! There is a buzz in the live audience in New York.
Lou (3:41 p.m. CT): Sanchez is being shown celebrating on TV. Looks like the New York Jets have themselves a new quarterback. What did Cleveland get in return? It has to be a steep price to pay to move up from #17 to #5. Sanchez is wearing a Jets hat on TV ahead of the pick being announced. The crowd is going bonkers.
Lou (3:44 p.m. CT): It looks like Eric Mangini picked up some players he liked from his days coaching the Jets as part of the trade. Good news Jets fans, you get to keep your 2010 first rounder. It wasn't too steep to jump up there after all: for the #5 pick, Cleveland receives DE Kenyon Coleman, QB Brett Ratliff, SS Abram Elam, and the Jets' first and second-round selections in 2009, the #17 and #52 picks.
Lou (3:49 p.m. CT): I have found that NFL Draft trade information is available quickest on Wikipedia.
Lou (3:54 p.m. CT): The Bengals bypassed Virginia OT Eugene Monroe to take talented OT Andre Smith. Smith was suspended for the Sugar Bowl, then decided not to run at the combine and had that embarrassing shirtless 40 yard dash run at Alabama's pro day.
Lou (3:56 p.m. CT): The Raiders took Darrius Heyward-Bey -- I called it! Over time I've learned a few things about Al Davis. But I definitely wouldn't have called it if I had thought Michael Crabtree would also be on the board there. This is great for Jacksonville to have Crabtree and Monroe fall to them at #8. Surely they'll go for one of those two.
Lou (4:02 p.m. CT): Wow, Mark Sanchez looks *very* happy right now in an interview and understandably so. He's a top five pick and he'll be playing in New York, a market where if he succeeds he could get all kinds of endorsements. He has good reason to smile.
Lou (4:06 p.m. CT): Eugene Monroe has gone to the Jaguars. Crabtree is falling quite unexpectedly. If Green Bay passes on him, I'd think for sure the 49ers would love to have him. I could see Crabtree having a great career in San Francisco.
Lou (4:13 p.m. CT): In hindsight, I didn't give enough consideration to the possibility of the Packers (moving from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense) drafting nose tackle B.J. Raji. The team drafted a defensive tackle in the first round two years ago (Justin Harrell) but Harrell is not a nose tackle, and the NT is an important component of any 3-4 defense. What happens to Harrell now?
Lou (4:20 p.m. CT): And it's Michael Crabtree going to the 49ers. Both my friends Dustin and Scott responded to me the same way with this question: Who will throw the ball to him?
Lou (4:28 p.m. CT): Buffalo landed the speed defensive end it needed by drafting Penn State DE Aaron Maybin.
Lou (4:32 p.m. CT): In a surprising move, the Denver Broncos snagged Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno. Keep in mind that the Broncos already have Selvin Young and Andre Hall and Peyton Hillis and free agent signings J.J. Arrington and Correll Buckhalter and they still chose to draft Moreno. Very interesting.
Lou (4:38 p.m. CT): You'd figure that Denver has to go defense with the #18 overall pick (the one they landed from Chicago).
Lou (4:42 p.m. CT): My projection of the Saints drafting Ohio State CB Malcolm Jenkins held true. New Orleans landed a great talent who also fits a team need.
Lou (4:46 p.m. CT): Apparently signing two free agent OLBs (Cato June from the Buccaneers and Buster Davis from Indianapolis) wasn't enough, as USC OLB Brian Cushing was just too tempting for Houston to pass up. A linebacking corps with both Cushing and DeMeco Ryans sounds good to me.
Lou (4:51 p.m. CT): A player who I had on my first round draft board until late has gone to the Chargers: Northern Illinois DE/OLB Larry English. Apparently the Chargers decided that a speed 3-4 OLB was what they needed, and English is someone who had a ton of sacks in college but not much media exposure.
Lou (4:55 p.m. CT): With both networks in commercials, now would be a good time to give praise to ESPN's Brian Kenny, who I heard doing radio on Thursday night on 106.7 the Fan in Nashville. I only heard one segment, but I was impressed with his storytelling, his delivery, and his ability to make it relevant to a sports talk show. I checked and he's only had his radio show since January 2009 (though he has done it in the past).
I'm hardly an ESPN apologist: Mike & Mike are too vanilla for me, and I've had disdain for Colin Cowherd since his call to action DNS attack two years ago on TheBigLead.com, a site that Draft King is affiliated with via Fantasy Sports Ventures. Perhaps someday ESPN will give Kenny a major national timeslot (afternoon drive?), though he is also good as an anchor so either way ESPN wins.
Lou (4:57 p.m. CT): Cleveland keeps on moving down, making what at least right now look like some great moves to make some needed changes; the Bucs now have the #17 pick. Surely they traded up to take Josh Freeman, right?
Lou (4:59 p.m. CT): The Browns were willing to trade down again, sliding back two spots for just a 6th round pick in return. Now ESPN is showing Freeman talking on a cell phone and smiling. I had Freeman going #17 in the draft, though that was two teams ago (Jets to Browns to Buccaneers). Does it count in those draft pick accuracy contests if you got the spot right even though the pick was twice traded?
Lou (5:02 p.m. CT): Freeman is going to Tampa Bay. There's a trend here: new regime, new high-profile QB. True for Detroit, true for Kansas City, true for Denver... and now true for Tampa Bay. GMs on the hot seat generally don't draft players (particularly QBs) who need time to develop.
Lou (5:04 p.m. CT): I'm digging Jon Gruden talking about Freeman going to the Bucs over on the NFL Network. Nice info from him there. Also, nice work by Deion Sanders doing the live interviews. He's a natural at that. Now Mike Mayock is projecting Rey Maualuga to the Broncos at #18, which would work out well for me since that's what I projected.
Lou (5:06 p.m. CT): A guy that, in hindsight, I terribly under-discussed on here is Tennessee DE Robert Ayers (perhaps me being hyper-sensitive to not seem biased based on my geographic location), and the Broncos landed him at #18.
Lou (5:08 p.m. CT): Cleveland traded down two more spots (from #19) with Philadelphia in exchange for Philly's #21 pick, again just for a sixth-round pick. And you know what? I really like it. The Browns need help at many positions, and they could get some good young depth this way. I wonder if Philly traded up to get Oklahoma State tight ened Brandon Pettigrew?
Lou (5:08 p.m. CT): Forget Pettigrew, the Eagles drafted Missouri WR Jeremy Maclin. Him paired with DeSean Jackson is scary with both of them being so fast. His return game skills should be an added bonus. Looks like BPA (Best Player Available) to me. Trey Wingo on ESPN seems aghast in saying that the Eagles would not trade a first-round pick for Anquan Boldin but they would use one on Maclin. The difference is that Boldin would have cost considerably more money per year than Maclin would.
Lou (5:18 p.m. CT): I'd love to see the Lions draft USC ILB Rey Maualuga here. He would be a great leader to add there, fresh blood and leadership. Or maybe they'd look at Ole Miss OT Michael Oher.
Lou (5:19 p.m. CT): Very interesting with Detroit drafting Oklahoma State TE Brandon Pettigrew. Will the Lions go defense with pick #33?
Lou (5:25 p.m. CT): Commissioner Goodell is great. "The Cleveland Browns have made a pick!" he announced to the crowd before the Browns (who had traded down three times) selected Cal center Alex Mack. Mack is a talented center and he should be a good addition to the Browns.
Lou (5:27 p.m. CT): For what it's worth, I enjoy the draft more with 10 minutes max between picks instead of 15 minutes. Percy Harvin to the Vikings makes sense; I projected them taking a wide receiver at that spot.
Lou (5:36 p.m. CT): Nice move by Baltimore to trade up to get Ole Miss OT Michael Oher as a great value selection at #23. I wonder if Baltimore gave up more than the sixth round pick that Cleveland was receiving to move down two spots higher in the draft?
Lou (5:42 p.m. CT): Nice mix of talent value and need with Peria Jerry going to the Falcons at #24. That fills a spot that the team really needed to upgrade, though I thought OLB might have been more likely for them here.
Lou (5:45 p.m. CT): Looks like Vontae Davis is going to Miami at #25. He's a great athlete, and he gives a strong boost to the Dolphins' secondary.
Lou (5:55 p.m. CT): It appears that the Packers believe that Clay Matthews can find a good role in their new a 3-4 defense. Between Raji and Matthews, the Packers have improved their defensive front seven.
Lou (6:00 p.m. CT): The Colts took UConn RB Donald Brown with Chris Wells still on the board at #27. Arizona shouldn't think twice before drafting Wells if he falls to #31.
Lou (6:03 p.m. CT): Louisville center Eric Wood somewhat surprisingly went in the draft above Max Unger, going to Buffalo at #28. Might the Titans end up with a shot at drafting USC MLB Rey Maualuga?
Lou (6:09 p.m. CT): The Giants went for a need spot by taking North Carolina Hakeem Nicks. Good pick for a team that had to find a replacement for Plaxico Burress.
Lou (6:17 p.m. CT): The Titans finally take a first round wide receiver! Kenny Britt from Rutgers could end up being a great pickup for Tennessee here, and it fills a need for the Titans.
Lou (6:23 p.m. CT): Called it -- Ohio State RB Chris Wells going to Arizona. Great pick from a good value player at a major need spot.
Lou (6:23 p.m. CT): Final pick of round one, Pittsburgh takes Missouri DT Ziggy Hood. It's not a deep year at defensive tackle. I'm shocked that Rey Maualuga fell out of round one!
Enjoy the rest of the draft, everyone.