Thoughts and comments from an uneducated Canadian who just wasn't that fired up for the draft this year...
* While I think your Minnesota Vikings overpaid in trade for Chefs DE Jared Allen, giving up their first rounder (17 overall) and two thirds, they did get a 26 year old impact pass rusher in his prime. It's a big risk, also considering that every player in the past five years who led the league in sacks had less the following year, but in this "win-now" culture we're in, getting Allen on the field will make them much better for 2008 than any of the three picks they gave up would have made them. And I could care less about how much they're paying him. NFL contracts are fairy tales, absolute shams. They're basically year-to-year, and while he's getting a bunch of money guaranteed, Minnesota can still get out of it if needed down the road. I like that Ziggy is willing to pay big to help them win.
* Hated the 2nd round pick of safety Tyrell Johnson of Arkansas State at first. Safety? This is the biggest need on the team? With GLARING holes at WR and QB, and needing depth and perhaps a starter on the OL, they take a SAFETY? Jer talked me off the ledge, saying it was a solid pick in a spot where they'll need to replace Darren Sharper soon. I then read today that SI's Peter King loved the pick, saying Johnson was the draft's best safety and should have gone in the first round. So good value there I guess. But my draft man-crush, Texas WR Limas Sweed, was still on the board, and I still think would have been a better pick.
* On the other hand, I LOVE the JD Booty pick in the 5th round. Love it. He's the opposite of T-Jack, which I think is great. While Jackson is all arm and athleticism and untapped potential, Booty is accurate, poised, and ready-made for the West Coast Offense. It's not that I want Jackson to fail- I don't- but Booty is the perfect guy to bring in behind him if he fails.
* Not that I know anything about anything, but I know next to nothing about the Vikes late round picks. However, from everything I've heard and read Florida State defensive tackle Letroy Guion, Notre Dame center John Sullivan and Jackson State receiver Jaymar Johnson were all good late round gambles, especially Sullivan, who was the top rated center entering the season, but his stock slipped because Notre Dame sucked. Could be Birk's replacement down the line.
* Can we stop worrying about the egos of current players and how they're going to handle their teams drafting of players in the top rounds at their position? I'm sorry, is this the NFL, or Jerry Springer? If your team drafts a kid in the first or second round at your position, instead of whining and crying about it to the media like NY Jets TE Chris Baker (to which you're probably saying "who?" My thoughts exactly), why not FIGHT FOR YOUR FREAKING JOB?!?!? It's not just Baker, and seems to happen every year. Get over yourself.
It's especially true of quarterbacks, and I'm becoming more and more convinced that if you've got a young QB who's not performing, draft one high to light a fire under his ass. Worked in San Diego when Drew Brees was awful for his first three seasons. The Chargers then took Phil Rivers fourth, and Brees suddenly got it and turned into a Pro Bowl player (of course the Charge made the wrong choice and should have kept Brees but that's not the point). Last year, Cleveland had a glut of underwhelming QB options, so they gave up a king's ransom to nab Notre Dame starlet Brady Quinn. What happens? Derek Anderson, a 6th round pick on his second team, morphs into a Pro Bowl QB. So to those who were "shocked" at the Packers taking Louisville pivot Brian Brohm in the second round because they're worried about the mental and emotional stability of Aaron Rodgers I say to you: shut the front door. Brohm, who would have been a top 10 pick last year had he come out as a junior, returned to school, performed well, but his team stunk so therefore his stock dropped. So the Pack took a wise gamble on a guy (can't call him a kid. He and Matt Ryan both look like they're at least 30. They make Greg Oden look young) who could very well end up being the best QB of this draft, and sooner rather than later. If it fires up Aaron Rodgers and turns him into a Pro Bowl QB, then having a promising understudy in Brohm is either great insurance or great trade bait, but a nice problem to have. If Rodgers wilts, then now you know he was never The Guy and Brohm has a chance to step in. Apparently this makes way too much sense to some people.
* Other than that, I just wasn't real fired up for this draft. No superstars, no big names, especially at the top, and with the Vikes having no first rounder, it made it harder for me to be excited. Will say, for what it's worth, I liked the Fins taking Michigan OT Jake Long #1 overall. Tackles are always the safest bet high in a draft. Yes, there's always the possibility of a Tony Mandarich, but the flameout rate with O tackles is much, much, MUCH lower than any other position. And in a draft where there was no clear cut top player, it made even more sense.
* Finally, I'm not going to link to it because it's Insider content, but ESPN.com's Scouts Inc. guys analyzed all the picks, and I was just floored but how negative they were about EVERYBODY. Seriously, every analysis started with what said player COULDN'T do. He's not fast enough, he's not fluid, he's not explosive, he doesn't throw the deep ball well. And then towards the end would be the "However..." and they'd mention that hey maybe he's not the worst player to ever be drafted. Maybe. Maybe it's me, but if I'm evaluating players for a team, I want to tell my boss what guys CAN do. Look at the f'ing coaches tape and tell me what the guy CAN do. Who the hell goes into an interview and assesses what they CAN'T do?!?!? This is my biggest peeve about the whole draft process is players get poked and prodded and overanalyzed so much that when draft day comes all we can talk about is what they're not. They take the prototypical player for the position (who doesn't exist) and then downgrade from there. Why not look at a player's body of work ON THE FREAKING FIELD (don't even get me started about the combine. What a complete waste of time that is) and go with what he did well and from that decide if he can help you or not? I also love when they say "well he didn't play against very good competition." Really genius? IT"S COLLEGE FOOTBALL! It's all he had to go up against. What's going to be a better barometer of how good a guy's going to be? His college football career, or how he does at the combine running wind sprints and lifting weights? Drives me freaking nuts!
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