Thursday, April 15, 2010
Feeling a draft
Contributed by Auggie
Calm down people, the NFL draft is only one week away. This event has become so popular that ESPN will televise the first three rounds in primetime over a two-day period, followed by rounds 4-7 in the normal Saturday time slot. I for one will be glued to the TV. Everyone knows how rare it would be for a single draft class to immediately turn a team into a contender, but still, it’s a time for optimism and hope. And for most sports fans, what else is there?
For you non-experts out there, Auggie is once again here to help. As you no doubt recall, I provided a similar service last year with spot-on predictions before the draft. (Ok, it takes more than one year to properly evaluate a draft but I’m not waiting 5 years to boast – and I need to boost my credibility so you’ll pay attention this year). Let’s review. Last year I said that WR Darrius Heyward-Bay was the most overrated player entering the draft and some team would foolishly pick him early. Bingo! The Raiders made him the seventh pick in the draft. Heyward-Bay basically bombed his rookie year with only 9 catches for 124 yards and 1 TD. He wasn’t even the best rookie receiver on his team - a distinction that went to 3rd round pick Louis Murphy who came in with 34 catches for 521 yards and 4 TDs. On the flip side, I said that CB Alphonso Smith was the most underrated player. Well, the Bronco’s staff must have been reading WWDS because they traded up to get him early in the second round. He didn’t exactly set the world on fire his rookie year but he did show promise. Let’s just give me an A and move on to 2010.
Most overrated: Taylor Mays, S, USC. He has the speed of a CB and the size/strength of a LB. Some team will fall in love with this combination without consideration to the fact he doesn’t know how to play safety. Actually, some teams are onto this now and he may be slipping down the draft boards. The runner up for this award goes to Bruce Campbell, OT from Maryland.
Most underrated: Jahvid Best, RB, California. Everyone is talking about C.J. Spiller as a top-15 pick and Best as a second rounder. I don’t see much difference between the two unless its injury concerns for Best. I could see Best ending up with someone like Indy or Minnesota and winning the rookie of the year award.
Safest picks: Maurice Pouncey C/G, Florida: Mike Iupati, G, Iowa. The offensive line is not the most exciting position, but both these guys are NFL ready and should start immediately.
Boom or Bust: Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida: Jason-Pierre Paul, DE, South Florida. I could see either guy being an elite pass rusher in 2-3 years, or going the way of Manny Lawson and Vernon Golston. And if you’ve never heard of Lawson and/or Golston then enough said.
Sleeper: Andre Roberts, WR, Citadel. Roberts reminds me of Greg Jennings (WR for Green Bay). Jennings was a small conference WR who was not highly touted but immediately grasped the NFL system and developed into one of the better receivers in the league. I think Roberts will do the same. If your team picks him in the 3rd round or beyond they got a steal. Some late-round sleepers include Dennis Pitta (TE, BYU), A.J. Edds (LB, Iowa) and Jarrett Brown (QB, WVA).
I am not planning to post a mock draft, but if Jeff Ryer insists then I'll think about it.