The NFL Draft is behind us, and with it, one of the most mind-boggling weekends in football since the Giants and Ravens made the Super Bowl way back when.
For starters, we had a defensive end go first, as the Houston Texans made Mario Williams the top pick of the draft over Heisman winner Reggie Bush. All I can say is, this guy had better be racking up the sacks and backfield tackles in the next few years, or the Texans’ GM will be the joke of the league.
If Bush develops as many expect him to and becomes the kind of running back that offenses are built around, it won’t matter how good Williams plays. Defense wins championships, but an elite running back or quarterback is worth more than any single defensive player every time.
Then we had Matt Leinart going at #10 to Arizona. Here’s a Heisman winner and two-time champion who would have been a three-time champion if USC’s defense had made one more tackle in the Rose Bowl against Texas. His numbers speak for themselves: 99 touchdowns versus 23 interceptions, and a 37-2 record in his three years as a starter.
Three of the teams drafting ahead of Arizona – Detroit, Buffalo and Oakland – all needed to upgrade their quarterbacks and the guy who could become the next Tom Brady was available. So they all did the logical thing and passed on him. Brilliant.
Scouts were quick to point out that Leinart lacks the cannon arm of a Brett Farve-type QB, but like Brady, the man knows how to win. He has exceptional accuracy, works tremendously well under pressure, throws very few interceptions, and he has all the intangibles that separate the Peyton Mannings from the Ryan Leafs of the world. When he becomes a franchise quarterback in the next few years, more than a few people will be wondering what they were thinking on draft day.
What really got me was the Titans’ first two picks: Vince Young and USC running back LenDale White. Young was an obvious choice with the #3 pick, but the fact that they were able to get White in the second round was incredible.
This is the guy who ran over the vaunted Texas defense in the Rose Bowl, and who was almost as much a part of USC’s success over the last three years as Bush and Leinart, and yet 32 teams passed on him in the first round. When this guy becomes the next Jerome Bettis in the a few years, look for White to be called the steal of the 2006 NFL Draft.
What this shows is that sometimes the choices that seem like no-brainers aren’t so obvious to the higher-ups in the football world. Raiders fans, when Kerry Collins is turning 36 two seasons from now and putting up a 75 QB rating, just think: You could have had Leinart.
Daily Nexus staff writer Jeremy Fuller is hoping the Black Hole and Raider Nation do not take offense to the above comments.