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NFL Draft 2009; Boom or Bust?

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Nearly a week after the draft it seems a good time to reflect.

The kind of money that has been thrown around this season is set to top $600 million and even in the best drafts [ the 1983 draft for example contained John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino] there are never 32 successful picks.

I am in no way comparing the 2009 draft to the 1983 draft, in fact quite the opposite; this year’s draft did not have enough star players. Don’t take my word for it though, Bill Belichick, Head Coach of the New England Patriots, when asked if he was trading up in this year’s draft he quipped “and who exactly would I be trading up for”.

The Patriots have stock piled 2010 draft picks, seen to be a better draft, and traded down several times, as did the Cleveland Browns. Belichick is the best drafter in the business and so it is useful to listen to him, even if his past methods are unorthodox.

In fact, the two teams deemed to have the best drafts are the Cleveland Browns [who traded down as well] and the Houston Texans .This because they picked solid players, not superstars. The Browns first round pick was a Center and the Texans did not pick a Wide Receiver, Running back or Quarterback in the draft, relying rather on undrafted rookies for those positions.

The team [and not for the first time] to be seen to have the worst draft are the Oakland Raiders, they passed on Michael Crabtree, seen by many as the best wide receiver in the draft for Darius Heward-Bey, a speedster and a big risk. What makes this worse is that Crabtree eventually fell to the San Francisco 49ers, so now he is only across the bay and the Raiders are just a short bridge ride away from the future superstar they passed on. In the second round they picked Michael Mitchell, who was not in any draft guide and raised a fair few eyebrows with pundits in America.

Another big risk is taking a quarterback with the first overall pick. For ever Manning brother there is a Tim Couch or Alex Smith and with 6th round Super Bowl winners such as Tom Brady available it can be a huge coup or a huge risk. Matthew Stafford, No.1 pick for the Detroit Lions is now the highest paid player in the NFL with $41.7 million in guaranteed money, twice what Eli Manning received in his rookie deal from the Giants just five years ago. Eli Manning has won a Super Bowl whilst Stafford has yet to throw a football in anger.
For what its worth, and it’s not much, my picks for the top draft picks are as follows

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Mark Sanchez, QB – New York Jets: An expensive price to pay for a face of a franchise, but will sell shirts and club seats for the new stadium in 2010.

Michael Crabtree, WR – San Francisco 49ers: I truly believe the drafted Crabtree to annoy the Raiders; they just need to find someone to throw to him now.

Brian Cushing, OLB – Houston Texans: Leader of the USC defense in college, which sent 4 Line Backers to the draft, Will become the leader of this young, emerging defense

Knowshon Moreno, RB – Denver Broncos: The Broncos fired long-time coach Mike Shanahan at the end of last season and replaced him with Ex-Patriots Offensive Co-ordinator Josh McDaniels and after trading disgruntled Quarterback Jay Cutler they need a boost and this is it, the best running back in the draft.

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posted May 1, 2009

I'm a Cards fan gutted that Curry looks like making the Seahawks trio of Linebackers one of the best in the NFL.

I thought the Browns did exceptionally well trading back, and still getting a good guy. And I love the Lions second pick. I think Pettigrew is the most exciting TE to come out of college since Heath Miller.


One of the obvious surprises was Denver taking a running back. But I actually think they got a great pick, going into a great system. I cant see the new HC tinkereing with the best run blocking scheme in the NFL.

Watching the Total Access shows this week. I'm loving the Skins pick of Brian Orakpo. What a great guy. Reminds me of Frank Bruno when he talks, but looks a beast (despite the VT of Pettigrew owning him on one play.) He really sounds like he is going to be a mdoel pro. Maybe he can convince the Skins FO that the way to build is by getting guys like him in the draft, nt chucking money and picks at big names.

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comment by Eircom (U10768721)

posted May 1, 2009

I think the Pack will see the benefits of their gamble soon. Should be a good season in 2010/2011 for them. Their defence will be monstrous with Hawk, Barnett, Matthews, Raji, Harris, Woodson and Bigby. Now all we need is a big pass rusher and maybe a running back and our team is complete.

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posted May 1, 2009

Humbug - your comment re Curry, are you gutted because you thought he might still be around at 31st pick or just genuinely concerned that a div rival have strengthened ?

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posted May 1, 2009

i'm certainly going to be watching crabtree for his career , no matter who he's with (soooo glad it wasnt the raiders)
a good friend of mine is the cousin of tech's head coach mike leech and so we've known all about this young man, and his amazing abilities, for a very long time
for those that want a look, go on youtube and find his winning touchdown catch in the last second of their home game vs texas longhorns.

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posted May 1, 2009

i don't know if this years draft class was weak or not it certainly looks like that on paper. only time will tell but as far as stafford getting that much money is crazy and stupid. the nfl will have to raise the salary cap if this keeps happening.

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posted May 1, 2009

It's too early to say who is going to do what but as a Seahawks fan I was very happy to get Curry (and resign Hill) as we have really upgraded our D-Line with FA's and players returning from injury and the resigning of Lucas to pair with Trufant helps as well. I like picking up an interior O-Linemen and getting anothe #1 for 2010 as well. I can't wait to get in Qwest Field for Game 1 (booked my tickets yesterday, yes!)

A lot of people were hot on Heyward-Bey (the Giants were going to trade up to 16 to get him) so he might not be that bad a pick, although at 7 he is very very risky but if the Giants like you, you can play.

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posted May 1, 2009

I agree with the comments about the Packs draft being long term but Al Harriss is past it now. Too slow too injury prone and gives away so many pens. Woody is in the top 5 corners in the league and I think that if our LB core can be as good as possible with Raji eating space I think we will be a top side come 2010-2011. Still need a new top corner though IMO. Nmandi after his deal runs out in Oakland. Yes please.

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posted May 1, 2009

Hi Grizzly.
Gutted because I wanted our old guy Todd\Haley to take him to the Chiefs. I am worried that the Seahawks are strengthening again. I am still confident in the Cards, and hopeful that its a back to back division (And NFC Championship) title. But there was a chance Curry wouldnt be in the NFC West, but the Hawks got V. lucky sadface

Also not tpop chuffed the WR fell to the 9ers either. In fact I think all the West teams did pretty well this year.

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posted May 1, 2009

Humbug - I don't think the Cards are in bad shape either to be fair.
Many thought they won a desperate div and would exit play offs on wild card weekend, but they proved everyone wrong, went to superbowl and came within seconds of winning rings - and who have they lost ?
In fact, Warner looked as good as ever last year and Fitz was getting better and better with every game, sure they have no running game but I don't remember the Pats beating up on sides with the ground game on their way to 18-0.
It's still a weak div, yes others are likely to be stronger in 09, but Cards proved they can mix with the best last year and will start favs to win the div.
Niners are still a work in progress and no-one remember a Holgrem-less Seattle so Mora could be under early pressure, and the Rams just seem to get worse and have traded their best WR.
It's the Cards to lose I think

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posted May 5, 2009

I have one thing to say about Orakpo - Workout warrior, he is this year's Vernon Gholston.

I loved the 49ers pick, they needed a quality WR and got the best one in the draft, the Raiders took speed although I reckon I would have taken Maclin ahead of Bey and Crabtree ahead of both (ah Al Davis, I love thee, his obsession with speed meant great things for my niners).

Cushing won't be the leader of the Texans D, that job will and already has gone to Demeco Ryans. Although Cushing is sweet and a great pick.

Both Sanchez and Stafford are well overpaid. Tebow, McCoy and Bradford are all better, the 49ers will use the extra 1st rounder they have next season to trade up and bag one of them (if Bradford comes out that's who I want).

This years draft is weak as you like, the ability level between the top 10 and 11 to 20 is so so small if any at all.

The NFL needs to put a cap on the salaries of rookies. It's obscene and ridiculous to pay a rookie QB as much as Big Ben with 0 NFL experience.

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