Saturday, April 28, 2007

NFL Draft 2007

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I haven't been at my most prolific today -- blogging-wise, that is -- but that's because I spent much of the day paying attention to the NFL draft.

Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn's high-profile fall from the top of the draft to #22 was the big drama of the day, though he ended up on a good team for him (if not a good team yet), his close-to-hometown Cleveland Browns, who were awfully lucky that he fell so far -- and that Miami didn't grab him at #9, instead reaching for Ohio State's Ted Ginn Jr. and finding their QB of the future in BYU's John Beck in the early second round.

My close-to-hometown Buffalo Bills did extremely well, I thought, picking up California's Marshawn Lynch, likely the second-best RB in the draft, at #12 to replace the departed (and overrated) Willis McGahee; Penn State's celebrated LB Paul Posluszny in the second round to replace the departed London Fletcher, a steal given that prior to being injured last year he was projected to go much higher; and Stanford QB Trent Edwards in the third round, a QB of the future if the J.P. Losman experiment doesn't work out.

But of course my attention was focused on my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers, who going into the draft needed to bolster their secondary, find a replacement for departed LB Joey Porter, consider a possible replacement for Pro-Bowler Alan Faneca at G, and maybe even locate a #3 WR to support Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes. And they did well, I think, to pick the raw but extremely athletic Florida State LB Lawrence Timmons at #15 and Michigan DE LaMarr Woodley in the second round, both of whom could turn out to be next-generation stars for the Steel Curtain, whether they end up switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 or not. New coach Mike Tomlin evidently knows what he's doing. My concern is that they haven't yet -- and there is obviously much more of the draft to go -- found a possible upgrade for the secondary, which was why, before the Timmons pick, I was hoping they'd be able to get Pittsburgh CB Darrelle Revis (the Jets traded up to take him at #14). And I also wonder about their third-round pick, Minnesota TE Matt Spaeth. Why a TE? And why someone projected to go much lower? Anyway, holes remain to be filled, but that's what the second day of the draft is for.

As for the rest, check out SI's draft analysis for the first two rounds. Most teams seemed to do well with their first-round picks, but there were notable exceptions, like Green Bay and possibly San Diego, as well as Miami (for passing on Quinn, but still getting a solid QB). For the winners and losers of Day One, see here.

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