So the First Round of the 2009 NFL Draft has concluded, so lets see how I evaluate the decisions the NFL franchises made.
On the Clock....
ROUND 1, PICK 1. DETROIT SELECT QB MATTHEW STAFFORD
Stafford instantly gives the Detroit Lions fans some hope, and a face of the franchise, but was it the right pick? Stafford brings a strong arm, and decent pocket presence, but his accuracy leaves something to be desired. Although this pick was essentially made before the Draft commenced, I believe it was the direction the Lions were always going to go.
Better Fit Options still available: Irrelevant, was signed before Draft
ROUND 1, PICK 2. ST LOUIS SELECT OT JASON SMITH
It was nearly a given that the Rams would take an OT with this pick, and I believe it was the right choice. Smith brings a physical presence to the O-Line, and is equally adept at both pass blocking and run blocking. With Orlando Pace departed, this was really a no brainer. He will be a mainstay on the line from day one.
Better Fit Options still available: Could make a case for Aaron Curry, but I believe this was the right choice
ROUND 1, PICK 3. KANSAS CITY SELECT DE TYSON JACKSON
Although the rumour of Tyson going at number 3 was already in the air, I really didnt think he would actually soar up to the Chiefs. Although I like Tyson as a player, he has great size and a perfect fit in my mind, for a 3-4 DE, this puts a lot of pressure on Glenn Dorsey to be a dominant NT for the Chiefs, otherwise Jackson is going to have a hard time making plays in the 3-4 set.
Better Fit Options still available: Aaron Curry, Eugene Monroe would have both been good fits for the Chiefs, although I dont disagree with the pick.
ROUND 1, PICK 4. SEATTLE SELECT LB AARON CURRY
I didnt buy into the people saying that Sanchez would be the pick, and I believe that Seattle got probably the most NFL ready player in the entire draft. He fell into their hands at number 4, and gives their LB core a very solid group for the future in Leroy Hill, Lofa Tatupu and now the additon of Curry. This was a no brainer once Curry fell to Number 4, especially with the departure of Julian Peterson to Detroit.
Better Fit Options still available: None, great pick.
ROUND 1, PICK 5. JETS (FROM BROWNS) SELECT QB MARK SANCHEZ
Hmmm. I liked Sanchez as a Quarterback more than I liked Stafford, but the Jets have suddenly put a whole lot of eggs into one basket for this guy, paying a very steep price in my opinion. Sanchez is a smart player, and seems to have all the right things to say, and seems like a real stand up kind of guy. And he performed very well at College in a West Coast variant, which will help in the pros. I just cant help thinking that this was a major reach for him, good arm, average height. Will have eyes watching him from every direction.
Better Fit Options still available: Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin. Really though the Jets were going to sit tight and pick a receiver.
ROUND 1, PICK 6. CINCINATTI SELECT OT ANDRE SMITH
No surprises that the Bengals once again took a guy with character issues. But if we look past that for a moment, you see a guy who really shouldve been the first Offensive Lineman taken in the draft if not for the strange series of events at the Combine and his Alabama pro day. You cant argue with his collegiate career. The Bengals are stuck in a division where they play the D-Lines of the Steelers and Ravens, so they had to go with the nastiest, biggest OT in the draft. I like the pick, but i really think it could backfire.
Better Fit Options still available: Eugene Monroe, still a very solid OT without the character concerns. Michael Crabtree.
ROUND 1, PICK 7. OAKLAND SELECT WR DARIUS HEYWARD-BEY
Haha, who saw this one coming? I thought I was going out on a limb thinking that Al Davis would select Maclin ahead of Crabtree, but Heyward-Bey ahead of both of them? I'm not sold. Of course Al Davis thinks he knows football better than anybody else in the world, but this was a monster reach. Heyward-Bey has outstanding speed and size, so he has the upside, but for a team that hasnt won anything in ages, this was not the right pick. The Raiders continue to be a laughing stock.
Better Fit Options still available: Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, nearly any WR that was taken in the first round! Eugene Monroe! Wake up Al Davis!
ROUND 1, PICK 8. JACKSONVILLE SELECT OT EUGENE MONROE
Jacksonville I believe had BJ Raji pencilled in at this point, until Monroe slid to them at number 8. For a team who wants to run the ball with MJD, and pass with Garrard, this is a great pick and fit for the Jaguars. I personally believed Monroe was the better OT in this draft. And the Jaguars were very wise to take him when he fell right into their laps.
Better Fit Options still available: Possibly Raji, but this was the right move in my eyes
ROUND 1, PICK 9. GREEN BAY SELECT DT/NT BJ RAJI
Green Bay are switching to the 3-4 defense, and I think BJ Raji will be a very capable NT in the new package. Seemingly capable of occupying double teams, he is a dominating force up the middle. He impressed scouts with his ability and work ethic at both the combine and his pro day, and he should be a large help to the revamped Packer D.
Better Fit Options still available: None, I believe this was the perfect fit.
ROUND 1, PICK 10. SAN FRANCISCO SELECT WR MICHAEL CRABTREE
Crabtree fell to number 10 and San Fran pounced. Michael Crabtree electrified the collegiate ranks as a Red Raider, and despite the recent surgery, he was one of the most gifted players available in the draft. Crabtree isnt the fastest receiver in the draft, but he has great hands, and strong footwork, and gives the 49ers a real receiver which they have lacked for so long.
Better Fit Options still available: None, although you could argue a pass rusher such as Orakpo couldve been a good fit too.
ROUND 1, PICK 11. BUFFALO SELECT DE AARON MAYBIN
Maybin was all over in terms of peoples mock drafts, although I had him at this spot in the only mock I did. Bills lack major pass rush, although I'm not convinced that Maybin is the guy. A little undersized I think for a DE, I saw him more as a hybrid, but we will see how it goes. In terms of drafting for need, the Bills desperately need a motor on the line, with Kelsay being below par, and Scobel coming off injuries
Better Fit Options still available: Could argue a CB like Jenkins or a OLB like Cushing would have been good picks, but Maybin was a solid pick.
ROUND 1, PICK 12. DENVER SELECT RB KNOWSHON MORENO
The controversy in Denver continues. With a roster stacked with solid yound RBs, as well as the additions of Buckhalter and Arrington, did the Broncos really need to draft a RB with their first pick? I believe this was a massive mistake by the Broncos. Knowshon was in my opinion the most talented runner in the draft, but i dont think the Broncos needed tro address RB in the first round.
Better Fit Options still available: DE/OLB Orakpo wouldve been a great fit for the new Denver 3-4 D, or even Malcolm Jenkins as a new CB
ROUND 1, PICK 13. WASHINGTON SELECT DE/OLB BRIAN ORAKPO
Although Orakpo was seen as a hybrid defender fit for a 3-4 scheme, he will be a edge rusher in the Washington Redskins 4-3 set. Orakpo gives an injection of youth to the 'Skins D-Line, and will benefit from having Haynesworth playing inside him. I really liked Orakpo as a player, and I am thoroughly impressed by his skill set.
Better Fit Options still available: Jeremy Maclin couldve been a good pick for the Redskins Offense, but i like the pick.
ROUND 1, PICK 14. NEW ORLEANS SELECT CB MALCOLM JENKINS
You never know the mindset of Sean Payton, who is an offensive guru, who many thought was leaning towards Chris Wells, but I believe the Saints made the right choice selecting Malcolm Jenkins. Not the most gifted person in terms of height, he more than makes up for it with his coverage ability and instincts as a defender. He is a much needed boost to a secondary that struggled at key times last season.
Better Fit Options still available: Possibly a power RB, but i like the pick.
ROUND 1, PICK 15. HOUSTON SELECT OLB BRIAN CUSHING
Brian Cushing brings a reliable, hard working nature to the Texans defense, and will work well in the defensive set alongside Demeco Ryans. Has the ability to drop in coverage, stuff the run and blitz the QB, he was the reason that Maualuga was allowed to play as carefree as he did at USC. Cushing is the better player, and the more NFL ready prospect, and I believe he was a real gem of a pick.
Better Fit Options still available: Peria Jerry, couldve been a nice option, but I believe Cushing was a great pick.
ROUND 1, PICK 16. SAN DIEGO SELECT DE/OLB LARRY ENGLISH
Personally thought this was a big reach by the Chargers, but they wanted this guy. After Merriman was lost for the season, the lack of depth saw the Chargers pass rush struggle mightily, so here is their insurance. English will be a good outside pass rusher for Riveras 3-4 scheme in San Diego. Pass rushers were in high demand in this draft, so the Chargers obviously felt to make a slight reach was the better option rather than trading down and risking not getting one at all.
Better Fit Options still available: No glaringly obvious ones
ROUND 1, PICK 17. TAMPA BAY (FROM JETS FROM BROWNS) SELECT QB JOSH FREEMAN
Freeman has all the intagibles of a quarterback that make him worth the pick, but he hasnt had the numbers or production at college that make me feel so confident in him in this situation. A rocket arm, large frame and decent mobility, he has all the tools, but does he know how to use them. I was hoping the addition of Leftwich would sway the Bucs from making Freeman their draft choice, but obviously not. A work in progress, i would be very surprised to see him start at any point next season.
Better Fit Options still available: A WR like Maclin was still available who could have complimented Bryant very well, DT prospects Hood and Jerry were still available too
ROUND 1, PICK 18. DENVER (FROM BEARS) SELECT DE/OLB ROBERT AYERS
After surprisingly shying away from defense with their first pick, Denver finally addressed the defense with the number 18 pick acquired from the Cutler trade. Ayers is a very good pass rusher from the edge in dime situations or from the OLB position from a base 3-4 set. Denver gets the hybrid it needed for its new 3-4 set, but I still cant fathom why they passed on Orakpo earlier. It all seemingly worked out well, although im still scratching my head over the Moreno selection.
Better Fit Options still available: If they had taken Orakpo, they couldve used this on a CB, or vice versa, taken a CB with the #12 and then this pick of Ayers would have been good. Solid pick, but interesting draft strategy.
ROUND 1, PICK 19. PHILADELPHIA (FROM BUCS FROM BROWNS) SELECT WR JEREMY MACLIN
After slipping down the draft order, mainly due to the incredibly surprising selection of Heyward-Bey at #7, Jeremy Maclin's situation improved, being picked by the playoff hopeful Eagles. McNabb gets his wish by getting some much needed firepower that he requested, but where Maclin fits in the Eagles muddled WR group is yet to be seen. I think the Eagles wouldve had their eyes on Moreno at first, but Maclin proved to be a strong competitor at college.
Better Fit Options still available: Maybe a RB like Beanie Wells or TE Brandon Pettigrew, even OT Michael Oher would have possibly been equally as good selections
ROUND 1, PICK 20. DETROIT (FROM DALLAS) SELECT TE BRANDON PETTIGREW
After selecting Matt Stafford with the number one overall pick, the Lions opted to try and get him some fresh new offensive cogs to make his transition to the NFL ranks easier. By adding TE Pettigrew, they give him a very solid all-round Tight End, who seems equally capable of blocking and receiving. He has good athleticism for his size, and holds down blocks well. Not in the same class of TE as past 1st round TE's have been, but should be a solid contributor nonetheless.
Better Fit Options still available: Michael Oher. This shouldve been the pick IMO as he was still available. More important to protect your brand new QB dont you think?
ROUND 1, PICK 21. CLEVELAND (FROM PHILLY) SELECT C ALEX MACK
After trading their way further and further down the draft order, Cleveland finally stopped at #21 to select C Alex Mack of California. I think they were assuming that the Vikings at #22 were a strong candidate to draft Mack, or just thought that Mack was their guy and was no longer a reach at this position. Alex Mack brings great strength and leadership qualities to the Brownies O-Line, and should be able to be a mainstay for years to come.
Better Fit Options still available: Michael Oher, a strong OT who couldve anchored the RT spot on the otherside from Joe Thomas wouldve been a nice option
ROUND 1, PICK 22. MINNESOTA SELECT WR PERCY HARVIN
Despite mock drafts indicating that Harvin could fall to the very bottom or even the 2nd round, the Vikings took the playmaker they needed at the WR position. Harvins addition now gives the Vikings some more firepower on the offensive side of the ball, to go along with Peterson and Berrian. Harvins speed on one side will take less attention away from burner Berrian on the other side, and he also has the ability to run wild on reverses and other gadget plays.
Better Fit Options still available: I think this was a solid choice, although it could have easily been WR Britt or Nicks, or even C Wood
ROUND 1, PICK 23. BALTIMORE (FROM NEW ENGLAND) SELECT OT MICHAEL OHER
Oher finally stopped falling when the Ravens traded up to select the big man. He add all us Steeler fans excited when a number of possible suitors passed on the big tackle, but the Ravens were wise to trade up and nab him. He has a good combo of size and athleticism. He has the versatility and ability to play either Guard or Tackle. It would be smart to ease Oher into the starting lineup, as he will go toe to toe with players like Shaun Rogers, Casey Hampton and Tank Johnson in the AFC North.
Better Fit Options still available: Nicks or Britt at WR may have been tempting for a team that wanted to get Flacco a receiving target, but Oher was just too good a pick that low in the first round to pass up.
ROUND 1, PICK 24. ATLANTA SELECTS DT PERIA JERRY
Atlanta needed help on the D-Line and they addressed it by drafting Peria Jerry. Mike Smith loved having aggressive style defensive tackles in Jacksonville, and with the addition of Jerry, he is bringing that aggression into Atlanta. Jerry will aim to cause some havoc up the middle with his above average mobility for a DT, and this can help Abraham get loose on the outside, and offensive lines now have to put some focus on the interior.
Better Fit Options still available: None that majorly standout
ROUND 1, PICK 25. MIAMI SELECTS CB VONTAE DAVIS
With a big need for either WR or CB, the Dolphins decided that Vontae Davis was just too good at #25 to pass up for either Kenny Britt or Hakeem Nicks. Vontae Davis has good size for a corner and can matchup well in zone or man coverage. In terms of comparing him to Jenkins, he lacks a bit of mental instincts and play recognition. However he is a talented corner and should help bring respectability to the Dolphins secondary.
Better Fit Options still available: You could argue for either 1st round WR stil available, but i think this was the right choice.
ROUND 1, PICK 26. GREEN BAY (FROM RAVENS FROM PATRIOTS) SELECT OLB CLAY MATTHEWS
I really like the way the Packers approached this draft. They knew what they wanted and needed for their new 3-4 defense, and i think they came away from the first round with 2 very solid 1st round picks. Clay Matthews offers amazing versatility and will be well utilised in Dom Capers version of the 3-4, much the way Mike Vrabel was used when Capers was in New England. He knows defense very well, and I think Matthews will be a great player for Green Bay
Better Fit Options still available: Irrelevant, this was the right choice in my mind
ROUND 1, PICK 27. INDIANAPOLIS SELECT RB DONALD BROWN
This one made me scratch my head. Have the Colts given up hope on Addai? Or is this just a move to have a RB by committee approach in Indy? Regardless, Donald Brown is a talented, quick running back, who has good instincts and great burst through the middle of the line, which is probably why the Colts chose Brown over Beanie Wells, who was still available at this point, to use in their zone blocking style of rushing. Still i was expecting a CB, DL or WR at this spot.
Better Fit Options still available: Evander Hood, DT, or either of Britt or Nick available at WR
ROUND 1, PICK 28. BUFFALO (FROM PANTHERS FROM EAGLES) SELECT C ERIC WOOD
Buffalo used their second 1st round pick on the O-Line, and rightfully so, after trading Jason Peters away to the Eagles. Eric Wood has good versatility on the line and can play Center and Guard. He has good size and mobility, and theres no guarantee that the Louisville product will play at Center, although thats where most experts think he will stay
Better Fit Options still available: None really, with all major OT prospects off the board, Wood was a decent pick, albeit a slight reach
ROUND 1, PICK 29. GIANTS SELECT WR HAKEEM NICKS
As expected, with all the drama surrounding Plaxico Burress in the offseason, the Giants added insurance to the situation by adding Hakeem Nicks to their offense. Nicks has all the intangibles of a Number 1 receiver, size, speed and bulk, and should be a solid contributor on the offense of the Giants. Has great hands, and should fit into the WR corps of the Giants very nicely.
Better Fit Options still available: Couldve looked at Britt, but i think Nicks was the more polished prospect. Im sure there were some discussions of Beanie Wells in the war room too.
ROUND 1, PICK 30. TENNESSEE SELECT WR KENNY BRITT
After [reportedly] having a long look at Chris "Beanie" Wells, the Titans decided it better to take Kenny Britt with the 30th overall pick. Titans fans finally get their wish of a 1st round WR, and i for one really like what Britt has to offer. Britt gives Kerry Collins (or VY) a tall receiver, who should develop into a force over the middle of the field, and is a solid bump and run receiver. Suffers inconsistency from his hands, he should have instant production, especially with defenses stacking against the run.
Better Fit Options still available: None in particular that stand out
ROUND 1, PICK 31. ARIZONA SELECT RB CHRIS "BEANIE" WELLS
After plummeting in the draft, Wells was finally picked up by the defending NFC Champion Cardinals, which means the release (or maybe even trade - unlikely) of Edgerrin James is imminent. Chris is a big powerful back who explodes inside and is a powerful runner, but his reoccuring reluctance to take on defenders and fight for yardage, despite his size, is probably what caused his massive drop. He should be a solid addition to the Cardinals, although they need some people on the OL to actually run block.
Better Fit Options still available: Many thought Eben Britton, Beatty or Unger couldve found their way into the 1st round, and I believe the Cardinals couldve used some help on the O-Line
ROUND 1, PICK 32. PITTSBURGH SELECT DT EVANDER "ZIGGY" HOOD
Hood slipped a bit, and Pittsburgh decided to take him. The Steelers rarely trade down in drafts, opting to take the best player available instead. Hood will likely be moulded into a 3-4 Defensive End rather than Nose Tackle, and will likely back up Smith and Keisel for the entire year. After being a little surprised by the pick at first, I really like the idea of him watching and learning behind two of the best 3-4 Ends in Football, before supplanting Keisel(most likely) next year if he proves ready. He has good size and explosiveness to play the 3-4 end position very effectively.
Better Fit Options still available: Irrelevant, because its the Steelers and they know how to draft. Best in the business.
Cheers guys, thats my analysis. Feel free to share your views below