Fifteen hours of my life were well spent this past weekend. With a pretty deep class of college talent coming out, a lot of teams were able to address glaring needs on their rosters. However, many teams seem to always make questionable and risky draft selections, cough cough, Dolphins and Seahawks.
The big winners of the draft are the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns. The Cowboys only chose three players through the first
113 picks of the draft, but probably made the best trade of the weekend when they moved way up in the first round to select LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. Claiborne will probably start right away and have a much-needed impact on the Cowboys’ secondary.
The Patriots selected Syracuse’s defensive end Chandler Jones and Alabama’s middle linebacker Dont’a Hightower. These two defensive beasts will bring strength to a Bill Belichick backline that helped the Pats come just one Wes Welker catch away from kissing the Lombardi trophy.
As for the Steelers, I really like its first two selections: Stanford guard David DeCastro and Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams. DeCastro, a mammoth at 6’5” and 315 pounds, is quick and can run block very well. Adams would have been a first round pick if he didn’t test positive for marijuana at the combine. Aside from the off-the-field issues, he has really good footwork and will hopefully anchor Roethlisberger’s blind side for a long time.
Cleveland got probably the third best overall player in the draft in Alabama running back Trent Richardson, who does everything well: running, catching and blitz pickup. Then, the Browns grabbed my favorite pick in the whole draft: Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden, a 28-year-old ex-minor league baseball player. He’s better than Colt McCoy, and if he succeeds, he has at least six good years of solid performance before his age becomes a factor again.
Of all the losers in this year’s draft, the Seattle Seahawks definitely caught my attention with their flurry of defensive- minded picks. The Seahawks have had an abysmal offense since their 2006 Super Bowl year, so what does the team do in the draft? Out of its 10 picks, the Seahawks drafted eight defensive players. Their first two choices were defensive end
Bruce Irvin and inside linebacker Bobby Wagner. Irvin has major off-the-field issues, but can be a dynamic pass rusher if he can mature a little, and Wagner is an undersized linebacker that will probably make the most impact on special teams. Their only two offensive picks started with the undersized but great decision-making quarterback Russell Wilson and the big, bruising running back Robert Turbin.
Some of the most questionable or risky draft choices were made by New York Jets. The Jets drafted defensive end Quinton Coples from North Carolina and Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill with their first two picks. Coples didn’t have a great senior season, but has the potential to be a big time pass rusher under defensive genius Rex Ryan. Hill is a physical specimen at 6’4” and 215 pounds. The only problem is that he is extremely raw and unrefined. Georgia Tech is notoriously a run first, run second, pass third offense, so Hill has a lot of work to do to become an NFL receiver. Then again, you could say that about everyone on the offensive side for the Jets these days. If Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and now Hill can mature and come together as a group, the Jets will be fine.