NFL 2009 Draft Recap

The 2009 NFL Draft came upon us, as the Detroit Lions took the first step towards winning their first game since 2007.

This should make a certain P*ssed Off Tree Rat pleased.

Yet the fellow behind No Runny Eggs sees things differently.

For members of the Raider Nation, all things Silver and Black can be found at Just Blog Baby.

Dallas Cowboy fans can visit the Landry Hat.

More sports websites offer more coverage.

For those who play in addition to watching, the league I play in on occasion is below.

Of course, the big dogs of draft coverage are vital as well.

Rather than recap every moment of the Draft, I am forced to accept the fact that I ended up at the UCLA Book Festival instead. Before getting to the Draft, a brief book festival recap is in order.

I got to meet Bob Barker. He is every bit as likable in person as he is on television. I used to love watching “The Price is Right” with my grandmother, who will have been gone one year on April 28th.

I got to be ask the very last person to ask him a question after his remarks.

“Mr. Barker, you look great…”

He then stopped me, and to the delight of the audience said, “You’re setting me up for an old maid joke.”

He then let me continue.

“In your current physical condition, do you think you could still beat up Adam Sandler?”

(Rent the golf movie “Happy Gilmore. It is hilarious.)

Mr. Barker did not miss a beat.

“Adam Sandler could not even beat up Regis Philbin. I could definitely beat up Adam because I know I could definitely beat up Regis.”

He remains fabulous, and the audience from children to octogenarians cheered him wildly.

I also got to see Hugh Hewitt. Hugh has been very good to me over the past year. He and I walked and talked for about 20 to 30 minutes around the UCLA campus. The conversation will remain private. I can only say that he is a first class gentleman.

Now on to football.

The Raiders were lambasted by virtually every expert, including His Royal Hairness Mel Kiper Jr.

Now I know as much about Mel Kiper Jr. as I do about Ray Parker Jr., which is not much. However, “Ghostbusters” aside, perhaps with Mel Kiper Jr., and other announcers, when it comes to Al Davis and the Raiders, “busting makes them feel good.”

Al Davis is constantly criticized for supposed “bad” decisions, but gets very little credit for the many good ones he has made. I see the building blocks of a good football team taking place.

The 2007 draft brought the Raiders JaMarcus Russell. The 2008 draft brought Darren McFadden.

The 2009 draft required that the Raiders take a wide receiver, and beef up the offensive line. With the seventh overall pick, they selected a wide receiver. The controversy came with the fact that they chose Darrius Heyward-Bey, not Michael Crabtree.

Everybody was expecting Crabtree to go to the Raiders, including me. He was considered the best receiver in the draft. Yet Heyward-Bey was the fastest, and Al Davis loves blinding speed.

The criticism of Heyward-Bey was his lack of good hands. In the past the Raiders have been burned by bad hands, from Willie Gault to Rickey Dudley.

Yes, Al Davis goes against the conventional wisdom. Yet on many occasions the conventional wisdom is wrong. Everybody criticized Al Davis for passing up Rashan Salaam. Instead he chose Napoleon Kaufman, who was a superstar during his six year career. Also, for all the talk about Al Davis being a maverick, the choices of Russell and McFadden were very safe choices, especially McFadden.

I am not upset with the choice of Heyward-Bey. Had we not drafted a receiver or an offensive lineman, I would have been very upset. We got the position right.

Crabtree and Heyward-Bey will always be linked, especially with Crabtree being right across the Bay in San Francisco. They will only play each other every four years, so outside of a Bay Area Super Bowl, they will only meet three times if both of them have Hall of Fame careers. That does not make for much of a rivalry.

JaMarcus Russell can launch it 70 yards with ease. This makes the Heyward-Bey choice sensible.

The big trade came between the Jets and the Browns. The Jets were considered the big winner of the draft. I disagree. The Browns were the big winner.

While the Jets gave up less than the debacle of the Herschel Walker trade, they gave up more than the multiple players traded for John Elway.

They gave up four players. That is simply too much, especially since Sanchez is a real wild card. USC Quarterbacks do play in a pro-style offense under Pete Carroll, but sometimes it is tough to tell if the success is the quarterback or the system.

Carson Palmer can play. Matt Leinart is headed down the path of being a bust, although it is not too late. John David Booty has not set foot on the field, although he was a fifth round pick, not a first rounder.

Sanchez was not even the top quarterback picked. Time will tell whether the Jets made the right move, but grading drafts is about immediate results. The Browns received a king’s ransom for a player that they did not even need and had no intention of drafting. Maybe Eric Mangini truly is Mangenius.

For the second year in a row, the Browns were able to get the exact player they wanted at a bargain price. Last year they picked Joe Thomas with the third overall pick instead of Brady Quinn. 18, spots later, at # 21, they got Quinn anyway. This year, they traded down three times, stockpiled picks, and still got Mack the center, who was their targeted choice anyway. That is a successful draft.

The Eagles did well, and Donovan McNabb could see his career revitalized. Pass happy Andy Reid has a pair of new toys to play with. They are already now a legitimate contender.

While many will consider the Lions to have messed up (a reasonable conclusion for an 0-16 team 52 years removed from a championship), they made the safe choice. They could have gotten multiple picks, but a franchise quarterback puts fans in the stands. Unlike the Jets, the Lions did not give up the store to get one.

The Broncos made a pair of very curious decision, picking a running back. The team desperately needs help on defense. They also gave up a first round pick next year to take a second round pick this year.

I was surprised that the Colts took a running back over a wide receiver to replace the departed Marvin Harrison.

The Cardinals taking a running back also seemed curious. While Edgerring James winds down, Tim Hightower seemed to be the logical replacement. The Cardinals are the Greatest SHow in the Desert with Ken Whisenhunt and Kurt Warner. What they need is a defense.

The Rams, Bengals, and Jaguars all have talented quarterbacks that faced injuries last year from taking too many beatings. They were wise to take offensive tackles, especially with the Rams losing Orlando Pace.

The Bears won before the draft even started by getting Jay Cutler, another Denver blunder. Yet the Bears gave Cutler no help, since they did not have a first round pick.

The Giants were also criticized, yet their decision to take a wide receiver was sensible given the Plaxico Burress debacle.

Similarly, the Titans were criticized, but even the great Jeff Fisher will not win a Super Bowl winning every game 13-10. Sooner or later they will lose a game 13-10. Their defense is a perennial Super Bowl defense. Kerry Collins has been underestimated his entire career. He needs receivers.

The Chargers were right to go with defense. Selecting a running back would have torn the team apart. Either cut Tomlinson or keep him, but keeping him and selecting his replacement would have been boneheaded.

The Cowboys lacked a first round pick, but getting rid of Terrell Owens makes them winners.

Aaron Curry was a steal for the Seahawks, since it was a surprise that the Chiefs did not take him. It was also smart for the Seahawks to stay out of the Sanchez sweepstakes, since they have Matt Hasselbeck and Seneca Wallace.

In 4 1/2 months, the 2009 NFL Season starts.

I am ready for some football.


2 Responses to “NFL 2009 Draft Recap”

  1. hauk says:

    Thought you might enjoy this Eric. Looks like I’m not the only Right of Center Songwriter working on protest songs right now…

  2. Russell, so far, has been a bust. Now, one could put the blame on the OLine, but the Raida’s rushing game was pretty good, so Russell was not exactly hamstrung. His accuracy is questionable, and the long ball is useless without some fear of inside accuracy, something Russell does not inspire. What they needed was an inside threat with hands, what they got was an outside non-threat with no hands. I’ll tell ya’ this – Sanchez came out of a really pro-system, Russell, not quite so much. The Jets got rid of a few players Ryan didn’t even want. The Raiders should have dumped half their roster – including the entire secondary. I know it’s hard to get an instant secondary out of the draft, but there were plenty of other places they could have shuffled around – like beefing up their pass blocking. The Raiders should have drafted for pass blockers and traded for a better secondary. Yes, they need receivers, but H-B will probably be a special teamer at best. The Raiders drafted for sacking, instead of coverage, receivers instead of pass blockers, and youth in the secondary instead of experience. Typical Al – placing his bets on the low percentage plays. The man’s still stuck in the 1960’s! I predict another rough season in Oakland. As for the NYJ’s, I have no idea, but I will say this, Sanchez will be starting behind a completely returned OLine that is amongst the best in the game and an overall team that is not a work in progress by any stretch. They’re ready to go. All they need is a QB. If Sanchez succeeds, and he has every opportunity, and the Jets can beef up their receiving corps before the regular season starts, I predict a great year for them.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.