The first three rounds of the NFL Draft are in the books, and they definitely lived up to the hype. The new prime-time schedule seems to have been a success and there is certainly plenty of buzz around the draft. Here are some of the picks that stood out to me:
- Sam Bradford – Bradford was selected first overall as most people expected, but I still do not like the pick. This year’s draft to me did not have the next Peyton Manning or Tom Brady (who actually was a 6th round pick). Bradford’s durability is a major concern to me and I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes the path of his new division rival- Alex Smith. In other-words, I think he will be a bust initially, but he may have an chance down the road to redeem himself similar to Smith now.
- C.J. Spiller – The Bills selected Spiller with the 9th overall pick. Despite the Bills offensive line troubles, they went with the best rated RB in the draft. I like the pick because of the talent that Spiller has, but without an o-line (which they have yet to draft), even Spiller’s upside is limited. One thing is for certain, bye bye Lynch.
- Seattle’s first round – The Seahawks addressed two of their biggest needs in the first round by picking Russell Okung (OT) and Earl Thomas (SS) with the 6th and 14th picks respectively. The left tackle was clearly the biggest need and Okung will be a solid replacement for Pro-Bowler Walter Jones. Overall, the Seahawks have had one of the best drafts so far.
- 49er’s entire draft – When you talk about a team that understands its priorities, the 49ers will certainly come to mind. The offensive line has been horrible over the past three seasons and the secondary was constantly exposed last year. The Niners went out and addressed all those areas by drafting Anthony Davis (OT) with the 11th pick, Mike Iupati (OG) with the 17th pick, Taylor Mays (FS) with the 49th pick and Navorro Bowman (LB) with the 91st pick. Davis and Iupati will fit perfectly with the smash mouth running game that Singletary likes to use. Gore should be in store for a monster season which will in turn take some pressure off Smith. Mays was an absolute steal at 49, many people easily projected him to be a mid to late first round pick. I expect him to be a stud in the near future.
- Dez Bryant – The Cowboys selected Bryant with the 24th pick in the draft. You can’t deny Bryant’s talent, but his off-field concerns are certainly valid and the Cowboys don’t have the track record of being able to turn players around (Terrell Owens and Pacman Jones come to mind). He could be the next best thing in the NFL or he could be out of the league in 5 years.
- Tim Tebow – The Broncos took a gamble and selected Tebow with the 25th pick. This was one of the biggest surprises in the draft, especially since Clausen was still on the bored. With Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn already in Denver, Tebow should have some time to adjust to the pro game and he most likely will not be thrown into the NFL to quickly. I don’t think he will be a top 5 QB, but with his work ethic I can’t see him being a bust.
- Kyle Wilson – The Jets just keep getting better and better. Wilson will be an excellent addition to a loaded secondary (Revis and Cromartie), and there will not be the pressure of a first round pick thrust upon him. A great talent in a great situation, the rest of the AFC better watch out.
- Jimmy Clausen – The Panthers selected Clausen with the 48th pick in the draft. Clausen’s camp was probably the most disappointed in the entire draft, he took a nose dive from some people’s projected top 10 pick to middle of the second round. The situation in Carolina may be set-up for Clausen to make an immediate impact (although Matt Moore as shown he can play at a high level). I am not sold on Clausen – leadership and personality issues are a big concern and Notre Dame hasn’t had the best reputation with QBs despite their pro-style offense (hmm… Brady Quinn).
- Terrence Cody – The Ravens selected Mt. Cody with the 25th pick in the second round (57 overall). The 6’4″ 354lb. defensive tackle paired with Haloti Ngata should give the Ravens one of the best interior defensive lines in the NFL.
- Brandon Spikes – The Patriots selected the former Gator with the 62nd pick in the draft. One of the more underrated players in the draft due to a slow 40 time. I think Spikes will be a solid player that the Patriots can use to start rebuilding their linebacker corps. In 5 years, I can see this pick being talked about as one of the steals of the draft – that is how much potential Spikes has.
- Colt McCoy – The Browns selected McCoy in the 3rd round with the 85th pick overall. Many people were surprised that the Browns passed on McCoy twice in the second round, but their risk paid off as they were able to get him in the 3rd round. I like McCoy in Cleveland, the system is set-up for him to have success and honestly in 15 years I can see him having had a better career than Bradford.
It will certainly be interesting to see the rest of the draft unfold. Is the next Tom Brady (6th round pick) or Tony Romo (undrafted) in this draft class? Who do you think has the best chance from the 4th through 7th rounds to be a star in the NFL?