As The NFL Draft Happens

My draft thoughts as they occur:

1:02 p.m. – To the shock of no one (I hope), Jake Long was the first pick. New York fans stayed classy by booing him. Nice.

1:12 p.m. – Chris Long goes to St. Louis second. The draft definitely isn’t as interesting to watch when the picks are already known. I’m fairly confident that we know that Matt Ryan is going next, too, but we’ll see what happens.

1:17 p.m. – Matt Ryan is kissing his mother, so the Michael Vick era is about to end. A good pick, and it should make things very interesting now. Teams could be active to get Glenn Dorsey. The guy who benefits most from this is Chad Henne – I see him getting picked inside the top 20 now because there are a lot of teams who need a QB.

1:23 p.m. – Darren McFadden is tempting, but I am not completely sold on him, or on Oakland’s need to get a running back this high. If I was the Raiders I think I would have to go with Dorsey.

1:27 p.m. – Goes to show what I know. The best part of McFadden going to Oakland is that it pissed off the Jets fans. I don’t really have any problem with the Jets. It’s just their fans that are so unlikeable.

1:31 p.m. – That means that JaMarcus Russell will be handing off to Mcfadden. It’s handy when players I don’t really believe in are concentrated in the same place.

1:34 p.m. – Dorsey goes to Kansas City. Good pick and good value in that spot. He could have easily gone in any of the first five spots. The only guy left in the green room is Vernon Gholston. There’s a decent chance that he could be there for a while. It depends how badly teams want Sedrick Ellis. If I had to guess I would say that the Jets would trade down to New Orleans or Cincinnati, and that the Patriots are trying desperately to move down as far as they can. On the other hand, the Jets may not be able to resist the perceived value of Gholston.

1:43 p.m. – Gholston it is. I expect him to be a mild disappointment in his career. When he’s good he’s really good, but that’s not all the time.

1:45 p.m. – I’ll be surprised and verging on boredom if the Pats don’t make a trade here.

1:46 p.m. – It’s more fun watching Aaron Rodgers or Brady Quinn go through hell than it is seeing the green room empty out early. Is that wrong?

1:51 p.m. – The trade did happen. New Orleans is on the clock and should take Ellis.

1:53 p.m. – Ellis it is. Now Baltimore should trade down to pick a QB.

1:54 p.m. – Sure enough – Jacksonville trades up. Baltimore is in 26 now. I could see them try to move up a few spots to make sure they get Henne or Flacco – their guy may be gone by then. Jacksonville needs D-line help, so Derrick Harvey would be my guess. I like Harvey more than Gholston.

2:01 p.m. – It is Harvey. Third defensive end gone in eight picks. So far the draft has been pretty predictable, but it should get more interesting now as players get a bit more interchangeable.

2:06 p.m. – Wow, that Jacksonville move was expensive – two thirds and a fourth. I still expect Baltimore to use one or two of those picks to move back up a few spots.

2:07 p.m. – Keith Rivers goes to Cincinnati. Good day for USC so far. Given that they couldn’t get Ellis I like the pick. This pick will work out well as long as the Bengals keep building their defense. He’s a piece, not a complete answer.

2:10 p.m. – Cornerback if the biggest need for New England, and that would likely mean McKelvin. They could have a good corner further down, though, so I would suspect a trade or a pick of Mayo or Albert.

2:13 p.m. – Jerod Mayo is the pick. I love this pick – Mayo is a gem at this spot. Buffalo is next. I will be shocked if it isn’t Devin Thomas. I don’t love that choice, but I think it is the choice. It could be a corner – McKelvin – too. I wish that the Bills would trade down a bit instead.

2:17 p.m. – It was McKelvin. I feel relieved. I like the Bills, and I think that this pick pays off better now and in the future than Thomas. They can get a receiver later on that is not a major step down from Thomas.

2:19 p.m. – Branden Albert can’t fall past Denver, can he?

2:22 p.m. – Yep. Ryan Clady is the pick instead. I’m glad, actually – it’s good to see that Albert isn’t getting rewarded just for being a Combine freak.

2:27 p.m. – Carolina is next, and Johnathan Stewart is getting the buzz. I saw this guy play in person and he was impressive. He’s excellent value here.

2:28 p.m. – He was the pick. I like it. Bears next. Probably an offensive tackle, but we could make this really interesting if they took a quarterback. Won’t happen, but I can dare to dream.

2:37 p.m. – Chris Williams from Vandy is the OT of choice. he and Jeff Otah were fairly interchangeable, so this pick addresses a need. I just hope that the long term plan isn’t for him to protect Rex Grossman and block for Cedric Benson.

2:39 p.m. – Lions next. My first thoughts for them are all gone. I would love to see them take Rashard Mendenhall. They need a running game, and I am really high on this guy. If they don’t take him then Arizona probably will. If Mendenhall ends up behind a decent line I could see him having the top running year of the nice rookie crop.

2:43 p.m. – Finally something out of the blue. The Chiefs traded up into this spot to take Branden Albert (presumably). I like Albert here better than higher up because he is athletic and versatile. He’s very solid value at this pick. Great draft for the Chiefs so far. Great week really – they got maximum value for Jared Allen, and they are so far using their assets well. Mendenhall should go to Arizona now.

2:52 p.m. – If Arizona takes a corner, which is a real possibility, then Matt Millen may have just made the first really good move of his career – trading down for more picks and still getting his guy.

2:53 p.m. – Sure enough – Arizona takes Dominique Rodgers- Cromartie and his one kidney. No complaints about that pick. They can get a second running back later on to complement James.

2:57 p.m. – Wow. The Lions surprised me with that pick – Gosder Cherilus from Boston College. If that was who they wanted they could have traded further down to get better value. I don’t like the pick – not the best available player, nor does it fill the biggest need for the team. That saves me from having to say something nice about Matt Millen at least.

3:00 p.m. – Houston is next. My guess is Jeff Otah, the tackle from Pittsburgh. They need line help. I’d really like to see them move down a bit – say with Baltimore – because they aren’t getting a slam dunk here, and they need lots of help.

3:01 p.m. – Sure enough. Baltimore moves up to get Henne or Flacco. Great move either way. I would love it to be Henne, but my guess is Flacco. Henne will contribute sooner, but Baltimore will probably fall in love with Flacco’s arm.

3:04 p.m. – It was Flacco. Very good day for Baltimore. They got their guy (not my guy, but their’s), and they gained some picks doing it.

3:07 p.m. – Strange how this game works – Flacco is being worshipped as the next coming now, but he left Pitt after two years because he couldn’t beat out Tyler Palko.

3:09 p.m. – Iggles are up. Wide receiver? I like James Hardy and Mario Manningham, but they both have baggage, so Devin Thomas would probably be the choice.

3:10 p.m. – Scratch that – the Panthers traded up for the pick. I would love to see them take Chad Henne.

3:11 p.m. – Nope. They took Jeff Otah to shore up the line and make room for Johnathan Stewart. Not sure I love them trading back into the round for that, but it’s not a total disaster by any means. A decent deal as long as they didn’t have to sell their souls to do it.

3:13 p.m. – Now the Bucs are up. Jeff Garcia could use a target, so I would guess receiver. See my earlier comments regarding the Eagles – I would like it to be Hardy or Manningham, but think it will be Thomas.

3:15 p.m. – I can’t believe we are at number 20 in just over two hours. This isn’t nearly painful enough to be the first round of the draft.

3:16 p.m. – Okay, I hate the Jeff Otah pick. The Panthers gave up next year’s first round pick plus a second and fourth this year. Too much for a team that is more than a player away from being competitive – especially when that player is talented but not polished.

3:20 p.m. – Wow. Another surprise. Aqib Talib of Kansas goes to Tampa Bay. I thought his attitude issues would drop him behind Mike Jenkins. My complaint about this guy is that he takes too many risks that leave him out of position. This pick really tells us what teams think of this year’s receiver crop – not much.

3:22 p.m. – Washington is next. My guess would be Calais Campbell, but the last hour or so has shown how sharp my guesses are lately.

3:27 p.m. – Another trade. After a slow start this is getting very interesting. My guess is that someone is moving up to take a running back.

3:28 p.m. – Atlanta is the team that traded back up. Probably not a runner, then – they have Michael Turner. Could be anything – they have holes almost everywhere.

3:30 p.m. – They took Sam Baker, the OT from USC. I like the guy, but I am surprised that they had to move this high to get him. Still, nice to see them spending to protect Ryan and Turner. No complaints. Dallas is up next. Now they have the fortunate situation of picking whatever running back they want now that Mendenhall has fallen. They might even pick someone else with this pick and take a running back with their next one if they don’t have a strong preference between Mendenhall and Felix Jones. If they did that I would guess Mike Jenkins – Pacman Jones can’t be trusted. If I had to make one pick it would be Felix Jones.

3:38 p.m. – It’s good to get one right again. It was Jones.

3:40 p.m. – Someone is going to get a steal with Mendenhall.

3:42 p.m. – Pittsburgh next. They would have loved an OT but there isn’t one worth taking. A receiver? James Hardy would look good in these colors.

3:43 p.m. – They took Mendenhall. Had to take the best player on the board. He and Willie Parker will be a great backfield. I like the pick, obviously.

3:48 p.m. – Tennessee up next. I’ll make two guesses – they’ll either go receiver with Thomas or defensive end with Campbell. I’d list them in that order.

3:50 p.m. – Wow. The Titans stretch a bit to take Chris Johnson, the ridiculous fast guy running back from the Combine (4.24). A stretch for a team that has plenty of needs. Nice kick return potential, though. Again, this tells us how little people think of the receivers.

3:52 p.m. – Seattle is up. I have had Kentwan Balmer penciled in for quite a while for them and he is available so I won’t change my opinion.

3:59 p.m. – Seattle figures they can drop and still get their guy. Dallas moves up to take someone. Either a receiver or a corner. I guess Jenkins, but wouldn’t be surprised if it was Thomas or Desean Jackson.

4:00 p.m. – Jenkins it is. Nice pick.

4:01 p.m. – Houston is up now in Jacksonville’s spot which they got from Baltimore. Either they stretch a bit for the O-line or they take the best available. DeSean Jackson and Andre Johnson would be a pretty fun duo. I think it is O-line, and I’m pretty sure I won’t like it.

4:05 p.m. – Sure enough – Duane Brown from Virginia Tech is the pick. He’s a guy they probably could have had without worry 20 picks later. It’s not too hard to figure out why Houston has struggled for so long. Lousy pick in my eyes.

4:06 p.m. – San Diego up next. I have had Brandon Flowers here for a few weeks. My opinion hasn’t changed, but surprises are everywhere.

4:10 p.m. – Right position, wrong guy. Antoine Cason of Arizona. No complaints – I like the guy, too. Good pick to fill one of the few needs on the team.

4:12 p.m. – Seattle up next. Still going to stick with Kentwan Balmer.

4:16 p.m. – Lawrence Jackson of USC. Wow. The world loves the Trojans – that’s the fourth one. A bit of a reach in my mind. They could have traded down again if that was their pick.

4:17 p.m. – Still no receivers gone. San Francisco is on the board. I think that they will take Balmer because he is available. It will be someone in the defensive front seven. I would guess.

4:19 p.m. – There it is – Balmer. Very nice pick for them. This defense is getting better and better.

4:20 p.m. – Green Bay up next. Have to think they would love to trade down a bit. A team wanting a QB could be a partner. If they keep it my guess is Kenny Philips of Miami.

4:24 p.m. – Sure enough, Green Bay trades down with the Jets. The trade is to pick Dustin Keller. Nice tight end and nice pick.

4:27 p.m. – Last pick of the round – the Giants. They could do several things – a linebacker like Dan Connor, a safety like Kenny Philips, or whichever receiver they want. I have no clear choice, but I’ll guess DeSean Jackson just because he is flashy and fun. Personally, I just wish that the Giants would fold.

4:35 p.m. – It was Philips. Can’t complain about a guy from the U in the first round.

That’s it for the first round. It was a very interesting one – predictable up top and crazy down below. A lot of teams filled some big holes. It’s obviously way to early to figure out who did well, but kudos to the Chiefs and Baltimore.

I’m going to leave you now. It’s been fun. I’ll be looking to see where the rest of my Michigan boys go – there is some real value in them in my incredibly biased view.

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