In my opinion, the NFL draft is the worst television event in sports. It’s a complete waste of time but, hey, it’s April, so what else are you going to do? Here are my thoughts on this year’s proceedings:
—Can we all agree that Mel Kiper and Todd McShay’s opinions should be taken for entertainment purposes only? They are showmen. Very little of what they say in the weeks and months leading up to the draft has any bearing in reality. The draft is a very tricky thing and no one really knows how it is going to turn out. What amazes me even more is these guys’ picks for the No. 1 prospect in 2010. Kiper tabs Eric Berry, while McShay chooses Sam Bradford. Now, look. Those two are both excellent prospects and will be first round selections (in Berry’s case, a top five pick). But a defensive back has never gone No. 1 in the draft and, if it does happen, I think is just as likely to be USC’s Taylor Mays–who has the other-worldly measurables the NFL craves–as Berry. As for Bradford, I doubt he survives the scrutiny of the combine and evaluation process; he is likely to be revealed as a system guy to many and the NFL loves to nitpick. This will likely not prevent him from being a first rounder, but it will prevent him being taken first, in my opinion.
To me, it’s fairly obvious who will be the first player taken in the next draft. It will be (barring injury) the guy who was the best player on the field in the BCS Title Game: Sooner defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
—We hear a lot about how many players don’t fit into NFL schemes because they play in the spread in college. Well, wouldn’t it behoove the NFL to start playing more spread and get a quicker payout from the talent it drafts? Oh, right. Supposedly things like the spread and the, uh, Wildcat, don’t work in the NFL. Just like the spread couldn’t work in the SEC and Urban Meyer was doomed to fail….hmmmm.
—First-Round Picks I Liked: Mark Sanchez to the Jets. I think he made the right choice to come out early. He’ll get $20 million over the next year and be in a major market. And he’s a talent who will have a pretty decent team to work with, unlike Matt Stafford. Andre Smith to the Bengals. There was a lot of talk by the usual suspects about how much he was dropping in the draft. Yup, sure. This guy is a great player and will do well, mansierre or not. Michael Crabtree to the 49ers. He’s no J.J. Stokes. He could become the face of this franchise one day. Great pickup for the 49ers. Percy Harvin to Minnesota. Harvin paired with Adrian Peterson will make this team as fun to watch as any in the league. I might even have to tune in.
—Steal of the Draft: Chris Wells to Arizona. The knock on him is that he isn’t durable. But neither were Adrian Peterson or Cadillac Williams (both top 7 picks) when they were in college (and neither has been durable in the NFL). Wells doesn’t catch the ball, but neither did Peterson or Williams, really. Now, he’s not Peterson (who is?), but he’s better than Caddy. He’ll be the featured runner in a boffo offense and he should shine right away. My early pick for Rookie of the Year.
—The Worst Picks of the 1st round: Darius Heyward-Bey by the Raiders. But we all knew this. He’s a shiney hood ornament for a lousy clunker of a franchise. Tyson Jackson to the Chiefs. Good player, but not third-pick-of-the-draft good, methinks. Jeremy Maclin to the Eagles. Seems a bit redundant with DeSean Jackson there already. Although, he could be a good insurance policy in case MeSean strikes.
—USC has 21 picks the last two years and yet lost (in 2007) to a team (Stanford) that has zero picks that last two years. The point: Coaching matters.