After the expected picks of Stafford and Jason Smith to Detroit and St.Louis, the drama started to unfold in NYC. Tyson Jackson (a player who has been steadily climbing up the draft charts as a 3-4 DE lately), vaulted all the way to the #3 pick in Kansas City. Seattle passed on Michael Crabtree (whom a lot of mock drafted had at #4) to take Aaron Curry, the proclaimed “safest” pick in the draft at linebacker.
The Jets then pulled the biggest deal of the day, trading up from #17 to get Mark Sanchez, their 3rd big QB acquisition recently (Pennington, Favre), giving up 3 players and their top two selections this year.
Not surprisingly, The Bengals took another wild card on draft day with Andre Smith, the guy who underachieved at the combine. Not to say he won’t succeed in the NFL, but he definitely had some red flags about him heading into Saturday.
The Raiders at #7 even passed on Crabtree, taking the speedy Heyward-Bey instead at wide receiver. The 49ers, across the bay took Crabtree, begging the two guys to constantly be compared.
The Broncos surprise everyone with a running back pick at #12, Knowshon Moreno. He’s a talent, but on a team that couldn’t stop anyone on defense in 2008, it’s a questionable move.
Houston takes Brian Cushing at #15, a potential stud linebacker. Combine him with Okoye, Mario Williams and company and the Texans’ defense is primed to match their offensive play from 2008 and maybe move into the playoffs in the AFC.
The Browns and Patriots both trade down constantly to stockpile picks (New England seems to have 15 picks coming up in rounds 2-7 this year) in a move that Belicheck (and now Mangini) like to do. I’ve always thought 2nd round picks were almost better than 1st round selections because you can get two of them for the “value” of a 1st and they are significantly cheaper on the salary cap and risk scale.
The Vikings snagged Percy Harvin to pair with Adrian Peterson as a powerful tandem of playmakers. With Cutler in the division, the Vikings getting more explosive and the Packers making a resurgence, the NFC North is primed to bounce back in 2009.
The Cardinals got Chris Wells, a stud running back to put into an offense with Warner and Fitzgerald after getting to the Super Bowl. A great talent if he stays healthy. Tim Hightower had an up-and-down season in 2008, so Arizona sures up the position after Edgerrin James on the depth chart.
The Steelers close out the 1st round with Evander Hood, DT, Missouri. Good depth on the defensive line for the reigning champs.