Random thoughts from the weekend.
I watched almost the entire draft. It's harder to watch the draft buzzer to buzzer than it is not to. I really liked the 10 minute clock switch this year. More than in years past, I felt like I had an idea when a team was scrambling to make a trade, come to a consensus on one guy, or when they knew exactly who they wanted.
On that note, Denver got their man at pick 12. You had to feel good that Denver was able to pick their top guy of everyone that they could have hoped would be available. Clady, Williams, Albert, Stewart, and Mendenhall were all available at 12. Denver did their homework on this pick, and they seemed to pick fairly quickly, which tells me that they had no second thoughts about Ryan Clady. Anytime Coach Shanahan tells the media he's starting a rookie offensive lineman the same day he drafted him and guaranteed him $11 Million dollars, it's obvious that this is the most confident he's been about a #1 pick for a very long time.
In round 2, I'd be lying if I said that I thought we'd take Royal over DeSean Jackson. I think that Royal is less of a risk than Jackson and can contribute as a slot WR more immediately than Jackson. However, Jackson was absolutely electric at Cal, although he wasn't the best WR on the Cal roster, just the best return man. Jackson's slight build is so unattractive from an injury and getting a clean release perspective. From what I've read, Royal was the best WR in the draft at getting off of the jam at the line. He's a very strong guy, and it seems to me that getting a clean release is a huge deal for Denver, especially considering that it's not Brandon Marshall's strength.
I thought there were some huge gambles in day 1, too. The Rams passing up Dorsey and trade offers from Atlanta were nuts. Dorsey was #1 on thier board. They took Long, even though Dorsey was available. What? Why did they even have a board? Color me clueless on that one. They also needed to take a quarterback. Not only did they pass on Henne, but they should have take a flier on John David Booty, who fits their system. Had to be disappointing for their fans.
I thought the whole "Brandon Albert flying up draft charts" thing would have scared me off. I'd never take a guy who was relatively unknown to most fans outside of UVA and then shot up draft boards after a great combine.
If Denver takes DeSean Jackson, local and national media gives them an A for day one. They took Royal, and I think most would give Denver a B or C. It's pathetic that if an NFL team takes big name college guys, their draft is considered a success: ie the Chiefs.
Todd McShay is a tool. He actually said "War: Me" at one point. I though I hated Kiper until I saw McShay argue with Kiper. They are like two kids battling for affection. Both are ridiculous.
Detroit traded way too much for Kevin Smith. I loved Kevin Smith, but Detroit basically took him with the last pick in the 2nd round. Matt Millen continues to kill me. I thought they could have gotten him later in Round 3, but who knows, maybe someone else wnated him just as bad. I guess I subscribe to taking RB's later in the draft.
Jerry Jones is crazy. Parcells built a team around grit and guts. Jones is turning into Al Davis. He's a sucker for flashy ability. He could (should) have taken Mendenhall. He said that their deal breaker was that, as a backup, Mendenhall's work ethic suffered and he didn't 'flip the switch' until he became a starter. Obviously Felix Jones performed well as a backup, so he was their guy. How can you draft a BACKUP Runningback with your first pick!? Horrible logic. That shows me that he thinks Dallas wasn't any players away from a Super Bowl. This is me disagreeing.
The Jets don't like Kellen Clemens or Chad Pennington. Neither do I.
The Pats reached on multiple picks. Aside from Mayo from Tennessee, I thought their draft was below average.
The Colts didn't get anyone who's going to make an impact for at least a year or two. If I'm a Colts fan, I'm disappointed they didn't get a kick returner or DE who can bring some speed and depth behind Freeney to the turf there.
The Chargers waited too long to address their RT needs. They took a guy in the 7th round, but they're an injury away from reshuffling their team's biggest strength.
The Browns had a great 'under the radar' draft. Did anyone notice that they traded in front of the Broncos in the 4th round and nabbed the player that Denver wanted? In round 4, Cleveland got Oakland to trade with them 4 picks in front of Denver and took Beau Bell. My guess is that Cleveland knew (or thought they knew) that Denver had him in their sights. It happened again later in the 4th round. I thought Denver was eyeing Dre Moore, and then suddenly 4 picks before Denver's pick, Philly traded their pick to Tampa. I knew they'd take Moore, and sure enough, they did. Denver had a good 4th round, but I don't think it was what they thought it would be.
I loved Denver's 7th round. For what it's worth, Kiper had Joshua Barrett listed as the #3 safety in the draft and Hillis as the #2 Fullback in the draft. They're both a steal in round 7. If Barrett (big if) can stay healthy, he could be a great player and future defensive star in Denver.
Spencer Larsen seems like a guy the Pats would take. He's versatile, the leader of the defense, and willing to do anything to make a play. He was all Pac 10 and I'm shocked that he wasn't drafted higher. I saw that he might get some reps at fullback. Sound like Mike Vrabel 2.0 to me.
Do you think that Denver finally realized that they needed a power back to get red-zone yards? I think so. Denver took one of the best 'between the tackes' runners in the draft with Ryan Torain. He's a Jamal Lewis/Mike Anderson type. He doesn't do anything pretty and I think that'll work great in the red-zone.
Denver will have better depth when Tom Nalen retires or Hamilton has to hang 'em up, now they are two-deep behind him with Lichtensteiger and Casey Weigmann. It looks like they can each play gurad too. Smart move by Denver.
I don't know a ton about Carlton Powell, but from what I've seen and read, it looks like he's a great run stopper and plays with a great mean streak. He's not a Warren Sapp/get to the QB type, but he's a tough guy who can hold his ground and gobble up a Center and a Guard on any given play. He's much needed depth with tons of experience at DT. He started (38 games) at V-Tech for close to his entire career there. That's more experience than just about any other DT on the market.
Jack Williams is a Darrent Williams clone. He has good experience and a very competitive streak. He's a burner. He can return kicks too. I think he's an eventual starter. It sound like if he was 2 inches taller, he'd have been a 1st day pick. He could potentially be a 1st year player in specialty secondary packages.
All in all, I'm very happy with Denver's draft. At every need position, they filled their need with upside, versatility, and potential. They aren't gonna hit .1000 on everyone they took, but if 5 or 6 of the players Denver selected in this draft end up starting inside 2 years, which I think is probable, Denver has done a great job being conservative and looking for versatile talent.
immediate playing time: Clady (starter), Royal (returner), Torain (short yardage, special teams), WIlliams (dime, special teams)