Steals and Reaches on Day One
By: Mark Solway
Category: Washington Redskins News
Ryan Kalil was the best center available in the draft, and may end up being one of the best offensive lineman in this year's crop. He was touted as a possible first round pick despite the fact that centers aren't typically taken that high, but he fell all the way to number 59. The Carolina Panthers took Kalil, and got one of the very best values of all first day selections. Carolina also got wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett fourteen picks earlier at the number 45 pick for pretty good value as well.
The Arizona Cardinals made a deal with the Oakland Raiders to grab the first pick of the second round, and selected Alan Branch. Branch was the top defensive tackle prospect on a lot of draft boards back when college teams were still playing football. Branch had a very average workout at the NFL Combine, and apparently it drastically affected his draft stock. Early mock drafts actually had branch going to the Cardinals at the number five overall pick, so the Cards had to be ecstatic to pick him up in the second round.
Before Saturday, many mock drafts had Brady Quinn going to the Cleveland Browns in the number three slot. The Browns opted not to draft Quinn at three, and instead drafted stud left tackle Joe Thomas. Pick after pick went by until Quinn was the only one left in the green room; it was painful watching the young man sit and wait. When the number twenty-two pick came up for the Cowboys, the Browns swung a deal with Dallas and selected Quinn. Cleveland gave up their first round pick in 2008 to get the Notre Dame quarterback, but landing the best offensive lineman in the draft and one of the two best quarterbacks is still a pretty good haul. Not only will Quinn get a chance to play for the team he grew up a fan of (he's from Dublin, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, Ohio), he'll have a stud protecting his blind-side from the get-go. The only reason it wasn't the absolute steal of the draft was because Cleveland paid pretty heavily to move up. Regardless, Quinn was a steal at number 22.
Ray McDonald was one of THN's top five defensive tackles and he did not get drafted until pick number 97 of the third round. McDonald definitely needs to work on a few things to compete at the NFL level, but he's a really solid prospect and the San Francisco 49ers got a great deal with their compensatory pick.
So those are some of the steals, how about some of the squeals. Every year there are some head-scratchers; some picks that make people wonder what on earth the respective teams were thinking. Here are a few from day one:
The Miami Dolphins have question marks at quarterback (with the health of Daunte Culpepper), and with Quinn available at the number nine pick, they selected wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn may end up being a good wide receiver one day, and will undoubtedly make a mark on special teams, but a top ten pick? Miami could end up shelling out an awful lot of cap money for an occasional splashy return. The Dolphins and Dolphin fans better hope that Culpepper can return because Ginn can't throw passes.
The Philadelphia Eagles traded their first round pick to the Cowboys and dropped back ten spots into the second round. With their selection, they took quarterback Kevin Kolb. Kolb is and will be a decent quarterback but the fourth pick of the second round is just too high. Eagles fans were so impressed with the decision that they immediately started filing out of Radio City Music Hall upon announcement. Then again, they're the same fan base that booed the decision to select Donovan McNabb.
It's a good thing that the Cards grabbed Branch in the second round, because their first round pick was a bit of a reach. Levi Brown is a good tackle prospect, and categorically the second best tackle prospect in the draft, but number five overall seems a little high. The Cards obviously got caught up in grabbing an OT thinking they would get Thomas and in the end, settled for Brown.
The Browns are another team making the grade in both the good and the bad. Despite their first round cornucopia, Cleveland's selection of Eric Wright in the second round at number 53 was a stretch on it's own, but to trade up to do it? Wright has all the skills to succeed at the next level, but his off-field issues make him a major question mark. Even if he ends up keeping his nose clean, and becoming a good NFL corner, trading up to get him was unnecessary. He would have probably been available for the Browns fourteen picks later at number 67 when they picked (third round), and Cleveland gave up their fourth round pick as well to move up those fourteen spots.
The NFL draft continues on Sunday with rounds four through seven. There are fewer and fewer 'steals and reaches' when the draft has progressed this far. Sunday is more about finding 'diamonds in the rough'.
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