So I'm fairly new to the website, but I've been on ESPN for the last four+ years. So I'll give a little background:
The draft is quite literally my Christmas Day. I start following most of the kids that were drafted today when they were juniors.........in high school. In addition, I've just completed my business degree at the University of Arizona and plan on attending Law School shortly with an eye toward sports mangament.
Therefore, I look at the value of the players when they were picked, them as prospects and are more geared toward a FO evaluation of the players. Its up to coaches to coach them up and determine in 2 or 3 years whom is a bust or not. Basically, FO gives the coaches the mold to work with and the coaches determine boom or bust in my opinion.
Enough about me, lets get to the fun:
Team - Player (Value/Reach)
1) Lions - Matthew Stafford (Reach) Should have been OL in Detroit, since their's is not very good. Jeff Backus is an average LT who would be great at LG. I understand the rationale, but do not agree. Stafford is NOT Jay Cutler-esque. Poor accuracy, including the deep ball. Mechanics break down far too often. WRs, especially AJ Green's ability to go up and catch the ball, and the RB made his life easier. Needs to sit a year. Doubt he will.
2) Rams - Jason Smith (Value) Best football is ahead of him. Good feet and good athleticism. Reminds me of a less talented Clady, i.e. good feet, good length and good size, just not quite as good as Clady's. Better run blocker than Clady though.
3) Chiefs - Tyson Jackson (Reach) Trade down if you want Jackson. Complimentary player only. Not a playmaker and not a player you build a defense around. Will anchor versus run, but couldn't dominate college RTs rushing the passer and now he has NFL RGs & RTs to take on. Good luck. Will be solid, but not #3 solid. Paying top-3 money for a Ty Warren, Louis Castillo or Igor Olshansky type.
4) Seahawks - Aaron Curry (Value) Just a solid football player. Ignore the questions. Will get it done versus the run, in pass coverage or rushing the passer. Not going to be a big time play making LB ala LT but unlike Jackson, is solid or better in every aspect of the game.
5) Jets - Mark Sanchez (Value) Best QB in the Draft. Good mechanics. Accurate. Can make any and all throws. Watch him square his shoulders when rolling out, awesome to see from a college QB. Intangibles are what set him apart. Smart. Good decision maker. Poised. Great leader who take over the locker room. Oozes charisma.
6) Bengals - Andre Smith (Value) A possible reach if you're overly concerned about his maturity issues which arose from his poor Pre-Draft decision making. Tough, roadgrader type blocker. His feet will hurt him against speed rushers, but his long arms and strength will make up for it.
7) Raiders - Darius Hayward-Bay (Biggest Reach) Mayock called it. HWS specimen. Can really only run the fly route. Not great hands. What can you say Al does it again. Raiders pick Top-7 next offseason.
8) Jaguars - Eugene Monroe (Value) Great pass blocker (best in draft). Needs to work on run blocking. Held off Brandon Albert for 2 years. Good feet, better quickness. Needs to add strength.
9) Packer - BJ Raji (Value) Despite character questions, he is still a good football player. Definitely a better fit at 3-4 NT. Plays with great natural leverage and strength. Needs to work on hand technique, but should be able to draw and keep double teams.
10) Niners - Michael Crabtree (Huge Value) Best WR in draft. Great route runner. Good coming out of his cuts. Great hands. Strong. Fights for the ball. Niners finally replace Rice.
11) Bills - Aaron Maybin (Reach) Speed & that's it. Lacks strength. One productive year, yet, if Maurice Evans hadn't been suspended you'd have never heard his name this year. A project. If he develops he could be great, but that's a big "if". Thought he was fit better at 3-4 OLB.
12) Broncos - Knowshon Moreno (Value) Best RB in the draft. Top-7 talent. First thing a willing and great blocker. Great hands out of the backfield. Excellent vision and cut back ability. Tough player who seeks contact. This caused his durability concerns, not college injuries. Speed is a concern, but TD wasn't very fast either. See Clinton Portis with less speed if you wanna get an idea of what he's going to do. Takes pressure off the QB. Hands combined with Hillis' make this a deadly combo in McDaniels scheme that loves to use backs as receivers.
13) Redskins - Brian Orakpo (Value) Best 4-3 end in the draft. A pass rusher with good strength who can play the run, decently, from that 4-3 end, but I don't like him in space. Fat Albert is going to help a ton against the run. More solid than Maybin.
14) Saints - Malcom Jenkins (Value) Another Top-7 talent who illogically fell due to his 40 time. Asomougha didn't have a fast 40. Rhonde Barber ran a 4.74. Excellent strength, experience and anticipation. Best in zone, but strength allows him to play bump man.
15) Texans - Brian Cushing. (Reach) 3rd best of USC LBs. Solid all-around, but just not a playmaker type. DeMeco Ryans & DL will free him up to chase the ball carrier like Rey Rey did. Great fit at SOLB where he can cover TEs and use his size to take on OL in the run game.
16) Chargers - Larry English (Value) That might surprise people, but he has the pass rushing skills, speed and strength to make a big impact off the edge opposite Merriman. He's quick and strong. Has the athleticism to play OLB. Wonder what this means about the teams thoughts on Merriman? Play with or replacement?
17) Buccaneers - Josh Freeman (Reach) Boom or bust, nothing else. Great size, great arm strength. Not so good mechanics, feet, decision making or accuracy. Yikes. Too early for that big of a risk.
18) Broncos - Robert Ayers (Value) Great athleticism for his size. Can play standing up or with a hand on the ground. Biggest strength is his excellent technique, ie. use of hands, leverage, play recognition. His strength should allow him to anchor vs. the run on the outside from the OLB spot. Lack of college production scares me, but I can't help but think of Adalius Thomas when I watch him.
19) Eagles - Jeremy Maclin (Value) With DeSean Jackson on the outside the Eagles should really be able to fly. Great playmaking potential. Route running, cuts and hands need to improve. Great gamble on his potential cause he can, at least, help in the return game. Electrifying. Great fit with the Eagles due to screen preference.
20) Lions - Brandon Pettigrew (Value) A nice middle of the field weapon. Great blocker and good receiver, ala Dan Graham. Help OL w/ blocking skills. Big target combined with Calvin Johnson will help inaccurate Stafford.
21) Browns - Alex Mack (Value) Right where he needed to go pick wise. Mack was pushed around by Raji & now has casey Hampton and Haloti Ngata twice a year. Good blocker. Great technician. Needs to add strength. Very smart player which is excellent for a center.
22) Vikings - Percy Harvin (Reach) Durability and inexperience at WR drops him. Good hands, great speed and explosiveness and excellent strength. Playmaker & good compliment to the deep threat Berrian. Just has to learn to play WR.
23) Ravens - Michael Oher (Value) Great pick. He's a good pass rusher and a better run blocker. Very experienced. Great replacement for Ogden. Would have been a value at 11 to the Bills. Tremendous value here.
24) Falcons - Peria Jerry (Value) Great quickness and ability to get into the backfield. Needs to learn to play with leverage and add strength, especially in the lower body. Not an anchor vs. the run. Fantastic fit as a inside pass rusher in the 4-3.
25) Dolphins - Vontae Davis (Value) If 5 picks early he's a reach. Great athleticism and strength. Character is a huge concern. More athlete than football player. Great place for him to develop and learn discipline though.
26) Packers - Clay Matthews (Value) 2nd best USC LB. Close to best though. Good pass rusher and a smart player. Great pedigree. Question his coverage ability but I like him versus the run and rushing the passer.
27) Colts - Donald Brown (Value) 2nd best back in the draft. Top-15 talent. Tough runner who again is a willing and good blocker. Good receiver. This is what separates Knowshon and Donald from Beanie. They do so much more than just tote the rock. More durable than Addai. Colts O can once again control the clock.
28) Bills - Eric Wood (Value) My second favorite center. Strong, mauler in the run game and good in pass protection. Another really smart center. Obviously improves their line & I like Woods chances versus Wilfork & Jenkins than Macks vs. Ngata & Hampton due to Woods better strength.
29) Giants - Hakeem Nicks (Value) Best hands in the draft. Good route runner. 2nd best WR. Great YAC potential and gets it by running over people as Marshall did his first year, despite smaller size. A cross of Anquan Boldins hands and Marshalls YAC.
30) Titans - Kenny Britt (Value) Best route runner in the draft. Good size. 3rd best WR. If his hands were better he'd have been #2. Good deep threat despite slower speed, this is due entirely to his routes.
31) Cardinals - Chris "Beanie" Wells (Reach) Yes a reach. Great combination of size and speed. BUT, only a runner. Poor blocker. Poor receiver. Lacks toughness for a player his size. Shies away from contact which is embarrassing for a big man. And to top it off he has legitimate durability concerns. Finds holes well and has great explosiveness, but his questions are too much. Maybe spread helps him due to openings in defense.
32) Steelers - Evander Hood (Value) Great fit in the Steelers 1-gap scheme. Better pass rusher than run defender. A great chance to develop as a 3-4 end.
Team - Player (Value/Reach)
33) Lions - Louis Delmas (Value) Best safety in the draft. Good versus the run, a thumper and a ballhawk. Vocal too. His size and willingness to sacrifice his body bring up durability concerns. Most complete safety.
34) Patriots - Patrick Chung (Reach) Only a little though. Great compliment to Brandon Merriweather. Great intangibles. Leader of the Ducks defense. Strong all around but better versus the run, though he can play center field thanks to great experience. Strong and fast.
35) Rams - James Laurinaitis (Value) Best 4-3 MLB. Very experienced, solid and tough MLB. Not necessarily a playmaker but can make tackles from sideline-to-sideline.
36) Browns - Brian Robiskie (Value) Another WR I had higher than Heyward-Bay. Good route runner with good hands. Dad, Terry is a WR coach so Robiskie understands the position very well overall.
37) Broncos - Alphonso Smith (Value) Playmaker. Not great measurable's, but is a very, very intelligent corner who has great anticipation, toughness and quickness (very important in the zone) 21 INTs in college. Good versus the run and as a very willing tackler despite small size. If he had been two inches taller, he'd have been the first corner off the board. A smart, tough football player.
38) Bengals - Rey Maualuga (Value) Good football player. Ignore workout numbers. Don't like him in the 4-3 as much because it requires a North to South player to move laterally. Explosive and strong. Needs to wrap up better, but has great leadership and intensity. In the 3-4 he's an awesome ILB who dominates the run and can blow up guards when rushing the passer, and still get there. In the 4-3 if they let him play downhill and keep blockers off him, he'll live in the backfield.
39) Jaguars - Eben Britton (Value) Fellow Arizona alum. Definitely prefer him at RT. Similar to Ryan Harris in that he's better in pass protection rather than the traditional RT mauler. Not great athleticism or length but a solid technician with good experience.
40) Patriots - Ron Brace (Value) He's the one who took on the double teams at BC. Solid production at BC, not great. Strong anchor versus the run. Not a pass rusher and not real quick off the ball, which could hurt him at NT. If he can get quicker his strength will help vs. doubles.
41) Patriots - Darius Butler (Value) A very athletic and smart player. Comes from a program who's coach produces strong all around player. A Pats type player.
42) Bills - Jarius Byrd (Reach) Prefer DJ Moore, but Byrd has good size and has a great pedigree with a father who taught him to recognize routes. His father was a CB also. Good ball skills.
43) Panthers - Everrette Brown (Value) Better fit as a 3-4 OLB. Don't like his ability vs. the run in the 4-3, but is a strong pass rusher with good quickness and an excellent and quick first step.
44) Dolphins - Pat White (Reach) I consider him a QB. The Dolphins however will use him in the Wildcat and a receiver and that's what makes him a reach since he's never played WR. As a QB he'd have been a value. Throws a great ball and has good mobility.
45) Giants - Clint Sintim (Value) Versatile. A good pass rusher and strong overall LB. Can play strongside or middle in 4-3 or 3-4 though I like him in the middle of the 4-3.
46) Texans - Connor Barwin (Value) One of my favorite players. Very versatile. Can play LB on 1st and 2nd down and then put a hand down on 3rd and rush the passer. Great first step and quickness. Can also catch a pass in the red zone as a big TE. Still developing as a pass rusher but could be very good.
47) Raiders - Michael Mitchell (Reach) Only saw him once, but he was instrumental in giving OSU's offense problems when they barely beat Ohio. Played the run better than the pass. All over the field in that game.
48) Broncos - Darcel McBath (Reach) A ballhawk type safety who can push Josh Barrett closer to the line of scrimmage. Not big enough to play in the box, but is a good tackler as the last line of defense. Takes good angles. Great versus the pass where he displays good instincts, hands and leaping ability.. Another leader type personality. Tremendously productive in college.
49) Seahawks - Max Unger (Value) The last of the elite centers. Fairly tall for a center and has experience all over the line including tackle early in his career. His lack of lateral quickness hurts him outside. Needs to add strength as he was mauled very badly by Raji at the Senior Bowl.
50) Browns - Mohamed Massaquoi (Value) Vastly improved his hands from his first two years, but I still worry about them since he's shown inconsistent hands more than consistent hands. Strong run blocker. Good route runner with decent speed.
51) Bills - Andy Levitre (Value) Versatile. Can play guard or tackle. Great leverage, strength and athleticism. Just a good solid blocker.
52) Browns - David Veikune (Reach) Don't know much about, but looks like an excellent 3-4 OLB prospect due to high grades in instinct, pass rush and run skills.
53) Eagles - LeSean McCoy (Value) A great fit for the Eagles. Athletic, good hands with quick moves. Fits with the screening strength and is a lot like Brian Westbrook.
54) Vikings - Phil Loadholt (Value) Load is an understatement. Plays with poor leverage and isn't quick enough to handle pass rushers. But the Vikings didn't draft him to pass block. A mauler in the running game who can dominate and engulf his man.
55) Falcons - William Moore (Value) Dropped because of poor production, which, likely was a result of a weaker Mizzou defense this year. Strong all-around. Better versus the run than the pass despite big INT numbers. Recognition needs to improve to improve vs. the pass.
56) Colts - Fili Moala (Value) Just what the Colts needed. A strong DT who doesn't mind doing the dirty work. Anchors well versus the run and should open up Freeney and Mathis. Quick like Colts D-linemen.
57) Ravens - Paul Kruger (Value) A strong pass rusher who was very productive in college. Could play OLB but also big enough to put his hand down. Versatile and aggressive. Mature prospect. Great fit with the Ravens.
58) Patriots - Sebastian Vollmer (Reach) Don't know much about him other than huge and I trust the Pats OL coach who's one of the best in the business.
59) Panthers - Sherrod Harris (Value) Big, athletic corner with good ball skills.
60) Giants - William Beatty (Great Value) Should have gone higher. Great height. Can add strength and weight. Good athleticism. Needs technique improvement but his development is entirely dependent on the coaching he receives.
61) Dolphins - Sean Smith (Value) Great hands and height. Not sure he can play corner, big corners have difficulty staying with the quickness of NFL WRs. Better fit as a ballhawk safety cause he has the ability to go sideline-to-sideline, with the ability to go up and get the ball.
62) Titans - Sen'Derrick Marks (Value) More of a quick pass rusher than an anchor vs. the run.
63) Cardinals - Cody Brown (Value) Has strong potential as a 3-4 OLB. Needs time to develop which he'll get behind Berry and Okeafor. He's not an anchor vs. the run, nor is explosive like first round OLBs. But he has a plethora of pass rushing moves and that will help him.
64) Broncos - Richard Quinn (Reach) Great blocker. Very underrated receiver. Isn't going to stretch the field like Scheffler, but has soft hands and is very good at recognizing openings in the zone. Very much like Dan Graham, which, may allow us to unload his large contract next year. He won't outrun safeties, but his size and strength should allow him to box them out. Good and strong enough blocker to take on college DEs one on one. Quick off the ball and is not afraid of the middle of the field. If he polishes up his routes he could be a tremendous asset at the goal line and in the short passing game with his blocking skills, size and soft hands.
So how do I think the Broncos did?
For the first day of the draft the Denver Broncos receive a B for the quality of the prospects they brought in.
Knowshon Moreno is a football player whom I fell in love with during his freshman year. He is a complete back and his durability concerns are only because he's not big, yet, loves to hit people. Great vision and cut back. Every time I've watched him I've seen shades of Clinton Portis and wondered what he would do in the ZBS. No I get the chance to see. A great running back prospect. A+
Robert Ayers is a strong DE with good hand technique and play recognition. He won't run around people but he has tremendous athleticism to go with solid size. Again I bring up Adalius Thomas when you look at him. Lacked college production, but he can play OLB in the 3-4, DE in the 3-4 and DE in the 4-3. Has the ability to add weight and strength while maintaining athleticism. Much more playmaking potential than Tyson Jackson. A-
Alphonso Smith is an Antoine Winefield type corner. People who dismiss him due to his size are in for a rude awakening. He is a fantastic all around corner who has great quickness which is excellent in zone coverage. Very, very intelligent and now has a great opportunity to learn from Champ and Dawkins. A+
Darcel McBath. A ballhawk who will likely replace Renaldo Hill. His recognition will improve with experience but he's already a good route jumper. A leader at Texas Tech. He's also a good tackler, though he sometimes goes for a big hit. A great prospect as the last line of defense. B
Richard Quinn. Great blocker who's an underrated receiver. People act like he can't catch, but he has great hands. Sure he's not fast, but most TEs aren't. Especially in the Pats scheme. He improves his route running and his size and strength will make him a tremendous asset in the short passing game and red zone. Additionally, he allows us to replace Dan Graham. This in turn saves us a ton of money which can go toward resigning Brandon Marshall, Ryan Harris, Marcus Thomas, Ryan Clady, etc. B-
On the first day of the draft the Broncos showed their new philosophy. Smart and tough players who excel as all-around prospects and are not just one dimensional. This means they are more likely to develop into solid NFL players since its easier to take solid or slightly below average skills and bring it up, than one great skill (such as pass rushing) and poor skills (such as blocking, run defense, etc.) Every prospect that was drafted today by Denver is at least solid in all aspects of the game, but more importantly all play their positions very intelligently.
Sorry about the length, but like I said, its Christmas for me so I get a little excited. I don't tend to do this on the second day, due to the sheer volume. However, I will for the Broncos prospects.
I can honestly say I am more excited about the Broncos next season. With the addition of a great RB, its arguable that Kyle Orton has the most talented offense in the NFL around him. This draft class along with improved defensive coaching is going to make for a fun season.