2010 NFL Draft Preview by Lloyd Vance

photo by David Kindervater

Radio City Music Hall will be electric for the start of the 2010 NFL Draft at 7:30 PM on April 22nd

Happy Draft Day!!! It will be Christmas in April as optimism and hope abound for all 32 NFL franchises and their fans as the 75th NFL Draft takes center stage on the sports calendar.  Sure the NBA playoffs, NHL playoffs, first month of baseball, and any number of sporting events are also occurring, but fans around the globe are most interested in the NFL Draft.  The new 3-day event, which will take place from the largest city in the United States at the venerable showbiz palace Radio City Music Hall, is so grandiose that it will be in “Prime Time” starting on Thursday for the first time. 

With all the hoopla around the NFL Draft, one has to wonder was there this much fanfare on February 8th, 1936.  That was the date the brainchild of league legend Bert Bell took flight as the first NFL Draft was held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia – A much quieter event where players like Tuffy Leemans were selected and didn’t know about it until receiving correspondence from the league.  The 1936 NFL draft was only a tiny ripple compared to the ocean’s worth of hype and expectation surrounding the 2010 NFL Draft. 

The whole thing is a “Can’t Miss Event” causing jersey-clad fans to line the streets of Manhattan for over 12 hours just for the chance to sit in the balcony of Radio City Music Hall with millions more watching on television.   However there is no need to worry about the NFL Draft television viewers as their extended 3-day couch time will include quality time with their favorite “draft guy” (NFL Network’s Mike Mayock or ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr).   As the seconds tick down on the clock, households in every NFL city will ponder questions like “Is my team trading up”, “Will they go for a need pick or the proverbial best player on the board”, “What are the stats on my team’s first round pick”, “Is that linebacker from my alma mater still available”, and many others.

For the most part all of the hoopla is just part of the show and 255 players will soon have new addresses after Saturday.  However I must offer some words of caution to all fans and media wanting instantly hand out or take away the Lombardi Trophy from NFL teams based solely on the draft.  Please take it easy on your rants and raves for a particular player or team, because as I always like say, “It takes 2 to 3 years to evaluate a draft”.  I know fans everywhere can remember the names of former “can’t miss players” that turned into just plain “missed picks” (Tim Couch, Courtney Brown, Andre Wadsworth, Charles Rogers, Ryan Leaf and many others).  

Consistently winning teams like the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, and the New York Giants tend to use the following draft principles in bringing in players.

  • Go for Larger School Players (BCS Level Players) in the first three rounds.
  • Judge the total player (Interview, Practice Habits, All Star Game, Combine, Pro Day, “Character”, and most importantly Game Film).
  • “Football Players” in the 4th round and higher (Day 2 and 3). Players that may not have all the measurables, but who can provide quality depth by helping on special teams or playing multiple positions.
  • Always consider your team’s needs with picks (Use the draft to replenish and build to establish the cornerstone of your team).

However remember that no “blueprint” is bulletproof, so regardless of how much homework is done before the draft, most talent evaluator’s will have just as many Freddie Mitchell, Mike Mamula, Akilli Smith, and Cade McNown type picks (All High 1st Round Busts) on their resume as Tom Brady, Terrell Davis, and Seth Joyner type picks (All late round finds).

So as always enjoy Draft Day, but remember a lot of times drafting prospects is a 50/50 proposition.

2010 NFL Draft Facts

Where: Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Avenue of the Americas, New York City (Between 50th and 51st Streets).

When:   7:30 PM ET, Thursday, April 22 (Rounds 1) 

              6:00 PM ET, Friday, April 23 (Rounds 2-3)

        10:00 AM ET, Saturday April 24 (Rounds 4-7)

Television:   NFL Network (5th year) and ESPN / ESPN2 (31st consecutive year)

The number of players attending the draft: The number of players attending the draft has increased this year to a record 17 players, but unfortunately college stars Tim Tebow or Jimmy Clausen have taken a pass.  The potential stars that will be in attendance include: Tennessee safety Eric Berry; California running back Jahvid Best; Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford; Iowa offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga; Wake Forest cornerback Brandon Ghee; Florida cornerback Joe Haden; Texas defensive tackle Lamarr Houston; Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy; Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan; Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick; Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung; Clemson running back C.J. Spiller; Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh; Georgia Tech wide receiver Demaryius Thomas; Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams and Oklahoma offensive tackle Trent Williams.

On the Clock: 

NFL trying for speed again – Last year the draft moved briskly (3 hours, 23 minutes), so it will interesting to see if the new 3-day format lends to teams taking their full allotted time — 10 minutes in Round 1;  7 minutes in Round 2; and 5 minutes in  Rounds 3-7  — in trying to wheel-and-deal.

Number of Picks:  There will be 255 selections with the St. Louis Rams holding the first selection and the Detroit Lions holding the last pick that is “Mr. Irrelevant” (Rd 7, 255)

Compensatory Picks – There will be a total of 32 compensatory choices in the 2010 NFL Draft from 19 teams. New England received the most compensatory picks with four (6th Rd,  205;  7th Rd,  229;  7th Rd, 247; 7th Rd, 248; 7th Rd, 250)

Teams with multiple selections in first round: Seattle Seahawks (6, 14) and San Francisco 49ers (13, 17)

Teams without a pick a first rounder: Carolina Panthers (don’t pick until the 2nd round, #48) and Chicago Bears (don’t pick until the 3rd round, #75)

Team with the most picks:  The New England Patriots have 12 picks including four picks in the 2010 NFL Draft’s first 55 picks (1st Rd, 22; 2nd Rd, 44; 2nd Rd, 47; 2nd Rd, 53)

Team with the most picks:  The Washington Redskins have 4 picks (1st Rd, 4; 4th Rd, 103; 5th Rd, 135 ; 7th Rd, 211) due to trades and selecting DL Jeremy Jarmon (3rd round) in last year’s Supplemental Draft.  New GM Bruce Allen and head coach Mike Shanahan will have to make ever pick to further improve a roster that have been very active already this offseason

Teams rumored trying to trade up: Cleveland Browns (might want a shot at Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford), Philadelphia Eagles (been rumored to be moving up to get a shot at Tennessee safety Eric Berry), and Buffalo Bills (may have to move-up to get a shot at Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clause)

Players Moving Up Draft Boards:  Florida QB Tim Tebow, Oklahoma OT Trent Williams, Texas QB Colt McCoy, Maryland OT Bruce Campbell, Alabama CB Kareem Jackson, and  Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham

Players Moving Down Draft Boards:  Georgia Tech RB Jonathan Dwyer, Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant, Abilene Christian OT Tony Washington, Notre Dame OT Sam Young, Rutgers OT Anthony Davis, Florida DE Carlos Dunlap and Alabama NT Terrence Cody

Possible trades: Everyone is telling me that the new 3-day format and more time between rounds 1 and 2 will allow more time to think over trades which could lead to teams making more moves.  Already this offseason (no Salary Cap and fewer quality unrestricted free agents) has brought some creative deals involving top level veteran players (Brandon Marshall, Donovan McNabb, and others) so I expecting more trading than ever – 88 trades in 2009 — during the 2010 NFL Draft.  Some veterans rumored to being on the trading block include:

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger — After receiving a 6-game suspension for his much publicized behavior, the Steelers are “listening” to offers for Big Ben going into the draft.   They have even hedged their position by trading for and extending veteran Byron Leftwich through 2011.  Clearly there will need to be some fence-mending Roethlisberger and the team, but I don’t believe the Steelers really are ready to “Give Away” a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback  I believe the Steelers will give him, the proverbial, “One Last Strike”.  Anyway…I don’t believe right now that any team, not even the dysfunctional Oakland Raiders, is ready to take on Big Ben and the problems that he brings.  It would take a blockbuster deal for any team to bite and I don’t see that happening.

Washington Redskins QB Jason Campbell — After trading for QB Donovan McNabb, there really is no room for Campbell.  The former 2005 first round pick wants to start and it will not be with the Redskins as they will soon extend McNabb.  Watch for quarterback needy teams like the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, or Oakland Raiders to take a look.  I think the Redskins will take anything at this point (4th or 5th rounder) as Campbell has signed his 1-year restricted tender and Washington doesn’t want him around.  I see Campbell moving (Buffalo??) for a low round pick or being released.

Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick — I have heard that the Eagles really are not confident in Vick’s ability to run their offense if starter Kevin Kolb goes down.  Unfortunately the market for Vick is very bare due to his lack of playing time in 2009 (looked rusty only throwing 13 passes), his salary (over $6M in ’10) and the baggage that he brings.  I expect the Eagles to shop him around, but in the end he will return to the Birds to be a 3rd stringer behind Kolb and a veteran West  Coast back-up (Jeff Garcia??)

Washington Redskins DT Albert Haynesworth — Hard to believe after the ‘Skins paid him $21 million on April 1st that Haynesworth is on the trading block.  But there clearly is no love lost between the former 2009 free agency period’s Big Fish and new Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan.  To make matters worse, Haynesworth has said he does not want to be a nose tackle in new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett’s 3-4 scheme and is working out away from the team’s facility.  If any move is made (back to Tennessee?? or Colts or Saints), Haynesworth will need to restructure his contract (signed in ’09 for 7 years, $100 Million Contract w/ $41 Million guaranteed) and possibly payback the Redskins some of his bonus.  I don’t know how this one is going to play out, but my gut says Haynesworth is back in D.C for 2010 as there is too much money at stake.

Buffalo Bills RB Marshawn Lynch – The emergence of RB Fred Jackson (238 rushes for 1,062 yards and 2 TDs) plus the Bills’ new braintrust of GM Buddy Nix and head coach Chan Gailey could finally lead to the end of the road for the talented, but troubled Lynch (120 rushes for 450 yards and 2 TDs).  I could easily see the Bills taking the “Santonio Holmes” approach and taking a low-round draft to pick rid themselves of a pain in the butt player.

Lloyd’s Leftovers

Rookies Better Watch Their Pockets – With rookie guaranteed money reaching $40 Million dollars – look for expected first overall pick Sam Bradford to receive a deal north of Matthew Stafford’s deal from last year of 6-years, 72 Million Deal w/ 41 Million guaranteed — a rookie salary cap will definitely be a big bargaining chip in the upcoming CBA talks.  Can you believe Stafford made more up-front money than Colts future hall of fame quarterback Peyton Manning (Signed a seven-year, $99.2 million contract in March 2004 that included a $34.5 million signing bonus).  Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a recent interview about a possible rookie cap, “I’m a big fan of the rookie salary cap… I think that it is very much in the best interest of our veteran players, being able to be rewarded for what they achieve on the NFL field.”

Players being selected with the ‘Wildcat’ solely in mind – We all know the NFL is a copycat league so a lot of teams will be trying to find versatile players who can run the “Wildcat” formation.  Teams will be looking to draft mobile throwers like Florida’s Tim Tebow, Appalachian State’s Armanti Edwards, and Penn State’s Darryl Clark plus former high school quarterbacks (ex. Buffalo’s James Starks and Fresno’s Ryan Matthews) with the Wildcat in mind. 

Top 10 Greatest NFL Draft Picks to be Named –  In celebration of the 75th NFL Draft, which kicks off in primetime for the first time on Thursday, April 22, fans chose the 75 Most Valuable Draft Picks of all time presented by Verizon.  Nearly 45 million votes were cast from March 12 – April 18 on NFL.com.  Surprisingly guys like legendary NFL figure  Jim Brown (#12) and former Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman (#15) did not make the Top 10.

Heisman to first overall pick – Oklahoma quarterback Sam  Bradford, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2008, is looking to become just the 9th winner of the award to be selected first overall since the inception of the common NFL Draft in 1967.  Cincinnati Bengals QB Carson Palmer  was the most recent such player after being selected with the number one pick in 2003.

 

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: