|By Tony Moss, NFL Editor|
|Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - |
The National Football League looked a little more discombobulated than usual in the past week, what with the botched then delayed schedule announcement, as well as the odd juxtaposition of the Ben Roethlisberger suspension so close to the marquee event that is the NFL Draft.
But our faith in the league that usually runs like a well-oiled Acela train was restored on Thursday night, when the NFL's initial effort at a first-round held in primetime went down a storm.
The drama was significant, with some high-profile surprises (C.J. Spiller to the Bills, Ryan Mathews to the Chargers, Tim Tebow to the Broncos), a flurry of trades (the 49ers, Chargers, and Eagles all moved up in the first-half of the round), and yet another Notre Dame quarterback (Jimmy Clausen) enduring a free- fall. To the surprise of nearly everyone, Clausen was not selected in the first-round.
The pace was quick, with the viewing public's attention being maintained during a round that was completed by 11:04pm ET.
In short, the whole thing worked, and left viewers hungry for the resumption of this particular "selection meeting" on Friday night.
So who were the winners and losers on the first Thursday night in NFL Draft history, from both a team and individual standpoint? Let's find out.
|Sam Bradford was taken first overall by the Rams. |
A look at the entire 2010 first-round:
1 - St. Louis Rams - Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma (6-4, 236) - No big surprise here, as Bradford was the most NFL-ready quarterback in this Draft. He's not going to have a lot of fun throwing to Danny Amendola and Keenan Burton, though.
2 - Detroit Lions - Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska (6-4, 307) - The Lions went chalk as well, taking the most dominant player in the college ranks in 2010. The Lions are getting closer to Jim Schwartz's vision on defense, but still need LB help.
3 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma (6-4, 295) - In a Greg Oden/Kevin Durant scenario, the Bucs were ready to take the best of the two high-profile DTs still on the board after the Lions' selection. Their guy was McCoy, but can this cash-strapped team sign him anytime soon?
4 - Washington Redskins - Trent Williams, T, Oklahoma (6-5, 315) - After all the ruminations about Eric Berry and Jimmy Clausen, the Skins filled their most obvious, glaring need. Williams will protect Donovan McNabb's blind side.
5 - Kansas City Chiefs - Eric Berry, FS, Tennessee (6-0, 211) - Scott Pioli's talk about not liking to take safeties early was just bluster, as the Chiefs GM added a bona fide playmaker to a roster that needed one.
6 - Seattle Seahawks - Russell Okung, T, Oklahoma State (6-5, 307) - The Hawks had to be ecstatic to get Okung, who was pegged as a top five pick by many, and will step immediately into the void left by the retiring (we think) Walter Jones.
7 - Cleveland Browns - Joe Haden, CB, Florida (5-11, 193) - Haden was linked with the Browns before the team dealt for Sheldon Brown, after which it was thought they had bigger needs. But Cleveland still pulled the trigger on Haden, whose slow 40 time at the combine raised some questions.
8 - Oakland Raiders - Rolando McClain, MLB, Alabama (6-3, 254) - The Raiders were thought to be in the market for a left tackle, but a team that hasn't stopped the run in years did OK with this selection as well.
9 - Buffalo Bills - C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson (5-11, 196) - Like Oakland, Buffalo really needed a left tackle, and some had them targeting a quarterback like Jimmy Clausen too. Instead, new GM Buddy Nix (curiously) selected Spiller, putting Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson on notice.
10 - Jacksonville Jaguars - Tyson Alualu, DT, California (6-2, 295) - The first truly head-scratching moment of the first-round came here, when the Jaguars took a player that most had projected as a second-rounder at best. Alualu might help on the field, but he won't sell season tickets.
11 - San Francisco 49ers (from Denver) - Anthony Davis, T, Rutgers (6-5, 323) - Davis seemingly hurt his stock with a rough combine, but the 49ers liked the Rutgers standout enough to trade up two spots and take him. With Davis and former first-rounder Joe Staley as bookends, Alex Smith should be well- protected.
12 - San Diego Chargers (from Miami) - Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State (6-0, 218) - The Chargers were widely believed to be in the market for a running back, but their desperation to get one was underlined when they traded up 16 spots to select Mathews. He'll be a starter from day one.
13 - Philadelphia (from Denver) - Brandon Graham, DE/OLB, Michigan (6-1, 268) - When the Eagles traded up from No. 24, it was assumed they were doing so in order to select safety Earl Thomas. But the Birds pulled a switcharoo, taking a player in Graham who may have to bulk up to get on the field in their 4-3.
14 - Seattle Seahawks (from Denver) - Earl Thomas, FS, Texas (5-10, 208) - Seattle had to be relieved when the Eagles passed on Thomas, as a Seahawks club that has long lacked secondary playmakers selected a legitimate one. The Hawks will hope this pick works out better than their last first-round defensive back, Kelly Jennings (2006).
15 - New York Giants - Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida (6-5, 270) - It was speculated that the Giants were targeting Pierre-Paul to help bolster a declining pass rush, though Big Blue fans were (and are) worried about a player who may or may not be a combine wonder.
16 - Tennessee Titans - Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech (6-3, 266) - A quiet pick that could end up being one of the best in the first-round when all is said and done. Tennessee needed a pass rusher, and if Morgan bulks up a bit, he has the goods to become an elite one.
17 - San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina) - Mike Iupati, G, Idaho (6-5, 331) - San Francisco fans probably weren't inspired to see their team take a pair of offensive linemen in a seven-pick span, but if they envision an offense that can succeed with Frank Gore running the ball, an interior lineman like Iupati was a prudent selection.
18 - Pittsburgh Steelers - Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida (6-4, 304) - Finally, the Steelers take the first-round o-lineman they've needed for years. Pouncey can play guard, but don't be surprised to see him unseat Justin Hartwig and start at center immediately.
19 - Atlanta Falcons - Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri (6-0, 239) - Hardly a surprising selection for Atlanta, as Mike Smith was looking to upgrade the front seven. Weatherspoon can play MLB, but will probably begin his career on the outside.
20 - Houston Texans - Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama (5-10, 196) - That the Texans took a corner was not a surprise, but they passed up more highly-rated players like Kyle Wilson, Patrick Robinson, and Devin McCourty in order to take Jackson. Wait and see on this one.
21 - Cincinnati Bengals - Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma (6-5, 261) - The Bengals proved that they want to throw the football this season when they signed Antonio Bryant in free agency, and reinforced that viewpoint by taking Gresham, the consensus No. 1 tight end in this Draft.
22 - Denver Broncos (from New England) - Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech (6-3, 230) - Josh McDaniels gushed about Dez Bryant after the wideout's visit last week, traded up with New England to get into position to take him, then defied convention by selecting the bigger Thomas. Thomas is an athletic specimen, but might take some time to develop.
23 - Green Bay Packers - Bryan Bulaga, T, Iowa (6-5, 314) - One of the worst- kept secrets in this Draft was that the Packers were looking for a tackle to push the aging Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher, and Green Bay got a steal with a player that was projected by some as a Top 10 guy.
24 - Dallas Cowboys (from New England) - Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State (6-2, 225) - Perhaps fearing that the Ravens or Cardinals would jump on him, Jerry Jones moved up three spots to take Bryant, the consensus No. 1 wideout in this Draft who saw his stock drop due to much-debated "character issues."
25 - Denver Broncos (from Baltimore) - Tim Tebow, QB, Florida (6-3, 236) - Give credit to McDaniels for going "all in" with two highly risky developmental players, a couple of guys who are going to struggle to get on the field for a team that needs to win in 2010. Tebow's progression will be worth watching, but how much will he contribute as a rookie?
26 - Arizona Cardinals - Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee (6-2, 327) - Williams had seen his stock vault into the Top 10 in the past few days, but it seems that the original projections of him as a late first-rounder were more on the mark. Williams will step immediately into the nose tackle role for Arizona.
27 - New England Patriots (from Dallas) - Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers (5-11, 193) - The Patriots were thought to be in the market for edge pass rushers, and Texas' Sergio Kindle might have seemed like a steal for them at No. 27. But Bill Belichick instead sought to close a revolving door at cornerback by selecting McCourty.
28 - Miami Dolphins (from San Diego) - Jared Odrick, DL, Penn State (6-5, 304) - The Dolphins had been widely linked to Kindle at No. 12, so once he fell to No. 28, they would surely jump on him, right? Uh, nope. Bill Parcells loves big, strong players, and targeted Odrick in order to make his team tougher in the trenches.
29 - New York Jets - Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State (5-10, 186) - The Jets got an absolute steal in Wilson, a technically sound player and local product (from nearby Piscataway, NJ) who is going to look great opposite Darrelle Revis.
30 - Detroit Lions (from Minnesota) - Jahvid Best, RB, California (5-10, 199) - That the Lions traded up to get a running back was not a surprise, but the fact that Detroit would take the fragile Best (concussions) after the fate that befell former early picks Kevin Jones and Kevin Smith was questionable.
31 - Indianapolis Colts - Jerry Hughes, OLB, TCU (6-2, 257) - Hughes was regarded as a late first-round pick by most scouts, but a player seen as a 3-4 outside linebacker didn't seem like a natural selection for the 4-3 Colts. It will be interesting to see what Indy has planned for Hughes.
32 - New Orleans Saints - Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State (5-11, 190) - The Saints were expected by most to bolster their defense, but after taking CB Malcolm Jenkins in the first-round last season, the defending champs' selection of another corner was a mild surprise.
BEST PLAYERS STILL WAITING
Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame (6-3, 222)
Sergio Kindle, DE/OLB, Texas (6-4, 255)
Bruce Campbell, T, Maryland (6-6, 314)
Taylor Mays, S, USC (6-3, 230)
Everson Griffen, DE, USC (6-3, 273)
Terrence Cody, DT, Alabama (6-4, 370)
Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame (5-10, 199)
Brian Price, DT, UCLA (6-1, 303)
Nate Allen, S, South Florida (6-1, 205)
Rodger Saffold, T, Indiana (6-5, 316)
Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida (6-6, 277)
Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech (5-11, 235)
Vladimir Ducasse, OL, Massachusetts (6-4, 332)
Colt McCoy, QB, Texas (6-1, 216)
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Arizona (6-6, 264)