I had to turn the volume up a bit on my tv today as I was preparing to watch the first day of the NFL draft. I couldn’t hear over the birds chirping and the song in my heart. Football, folks. Any day where the focus is football is a great day. And today was no exception… Lest you think that I wore the rose colored glasses while viewing the draft, there were a few things I was disappointed about. But we’ll get to that.
Let’s start, for proximity’s sake, with the picks made by the Dallas Cowboys. Overall, I’m pleased. I had a feeling they’d take Felix Jones and I’m glad that they didn’t trade up to get Darren McFadden. I know he’ll be an impact player, but the Boys already have Marion Barber and Jones will fill the role that Julius Jones was playing. I also had a suspicion that they’d look to take Mike Jenkins if he were still on the board when they had their second pick. The only thing that taints this pick is knowing that Jenkins will be playing along side Pacman Jones, assuming he’s reinstated. I questioned the Tank Johnson signing and things have seemed to work out so far on that deal. This one though? Whole other ball game. I don’t trust when Jones says he’s learned his lesson. I don’t trust that he’ll stay out of trouble. The third player they drafted today was Martellus Bennett, the TE out of Texas A&M. When I first heard his name called, I thought it was odd that they were drafting at that position in the second round, as they have quite a few options to go to. But then I remembered that they struck a deal with Miami to send Akin Ayodele and Anthony Fasano for the second and fourth round picks. And that got me thinking. Where is Jerry Jones’ head?
First he loses Tony Sparano to the Dolphins which, I suppose, is easy enough to defend because you can’t really hold a guy back from an opportunity to be a head coach. But wouldn’t you naturally be suspicious when the man who was coaching your team last year is now the VP of Operations there in Miami and he seems to be systematically stealing your staff and players? Does Jerry really have so little regard for Parcells’ football acumen that he honestly thinks he’s getting the better end of the deal on his stuff? I was impressed with Fasano this season. I think he’s going to grow into a really good player. And to only get two picks for those two players? Something seems strange. With the way Miami drafted today, and the players they’ve acquired this off-season, I honestly think things could be turning around for them. And Henne and Long are Michigan guys so I may just have to start paying attention to the Dolphins!
For only having two picks in this first day of the draft, I think New England fared pretty well, which is par for the course for that franchise. With their first pick, they got Jerod Mayo, which led to one of my favorite moments of the draft. Chris Berman did his best deadpan when asking what other teams would get flagged for next season. The answer? 15 yards for holding the Mayo…classic. This is why I love Boomer! Everyone has mentioned that New England needs to get younger on defense so I’m not going to point that out. But I think Mayo is a versatile player who will work well in the New England defensive scheme. They also selected Terrance Wheatley who will compete to replace Asante Samuel, which is not a small set of shoes to fill. Ok, well, maybe size-wise they’re small shoes, I mean Samuel isn’t exactly the biggest guy, but still, you get my drift…All in all, it was a rather unremarkable draft for the Pats, but that’s just how they roll, so we’ll just have to wait until the season begins before we can evaluate if they made the right choices.
A few miscellaneous highlights from Day 1. I was really pleased to see Arizona select Rodgers-Cromartie. I think he’ll be a good player and AZ could use some help on defense. I like Ken Whisenhunt and want to see him succeed. And there seem to be so many good pieces in place for them that I’d loved to see that all gel. There will be a debate raging up until the season begins, and likely well into it, on whether or not Matt Ryan was the right selection for Atlanta. I think Atl couldn’t win with that pick. If they didn’t draft a QB, who are they going to pick up to lead that team? If it wasn’t Matt Ryan, who would be a better fit for that franchise? Brian Brohm? Um, no. And with them drafting a QB to replace Vick, they have no room for error because they already failed once in that department. So really, because that franchise has suffered enough, I’m hoping Ryan pans out. I liked him at BC, I thought the drive he engineered to come back and beat Va Tech was fantastic, and all you hear on him is that he possesses the intangibles needed to win games on the field. I think Baltimore got it right taking Joe Flacco at the 18-spot and good riddance to Brian Brohm in Green Bay. That was maybe my least favorite move of yesterday’s action. He’s no better than Aaron Rogers. So now you’ve got two so-so QB’s vying to replace a legend. Great move Green Bay.
And now, the things I didn’t like from yesterday’s coverage. I didn’t like how ESPN essentially ruined the element of surprise on some of these picks. When Matt Ryan was taken, about 2 minutes before the announcement the cameras were focused on him as he was taking a call on his cell phone, then he hung up, hugged his mother (who was tearing up) and hugged his dad. Gee, let’s see, maybe he just saved a bunch of money by switching his car insurance to Geico, but I’m thinking the more realistic answer in that case is that the Falcons called and said they were taking him. So then we had to wait another 2 minutes while the analysts pretended to debate who Atlanta was going to take. And this happened on quite a few occasions. I was already disappointed that we knew who the #1 pick was, even though I was ecstatic that it was a Michigan guy. For ESPN to ruin the picks multiple times was poor. They even managed to do that with players that weren’t sitting in the green room! I would think to retain maximum viewership, you’d hold everyone in suspense as long as possible. But alas…
I also was nearly blinded by the atrocity that was Keyshawn Johnson’s outfit. It was bad enough that I had to text my best friend to see if he was watching and was as blown away as I was. And the combined verdict was that Keyshawn has lost it. I’m all for pushing the fashion envelope, but that green checked shirt was just bad, no doubts about it. We did however both enjoy the hostility between Keyshawn and Steve Young. The dislike between the two is palpable and makes for quite an interesting time. Keeps things lively! On a separate note, I am officially hoping that we had a preview to next season’s MNF booth combination with ESPN pairing Tirico and Jaws with Kirk Herbstreit. Don’t know if Herbie would leave college ball to step up to the pros, but I think it would be a great combo. Anything would be an improvement over Kornheiser, but Herbs would really be a good addition.
Who knows what Day 2 has in store. Mario Manningham is still on the board so I’d like to see where he ends up. We’ll see if the Cowboys pick anyone up to improve their offensive line. Day 2 is never as exciting as Day 1, but at least when the draft is done we can start looking ahead to the new season. It’s definitely going to be a good day!