Let's save all the discussion about what went down last night. It was a terrible game with terrible commercials and unfortunately I can't get that time in my life back. Not only did I dislike both teams in this game but then they had to go and play a horrible game. Probably the worst Super Bowl since the Giants/Ravens debacle. Also some guy named Brett Favre announced that he's coming back for another year. Somewhere John Madden and Tony Kornheiser are sharing a beer and debating how best to give a verbal hand job to Brett next season. Great....
The good news though is that with that pesky Super Bowl out of the way we can officially start the offseason and start talking NFL Draft! What's that you say? The Pro Bowl is next weekend? While some may enjoy watching the best players in the NFL (and Tony Romo) play basically a glorified flag football game, it's really just not for me. The season is over and the offseason starts now damnit. So without further ado here's my first (of many) NFL mock draft, and since it's before the combine I'm only going top 5, after that I'll start to venture to a top 10.
Before I start this let me say that I'm 4 time defending champ of my annual NFL draft pool and have picked the top 15 picks with 98% accuracy over that span. Beyond that I'm about as good as anyone else, which is to say that I'm hit and miss, but over the first 15 I've been lights out. So there you go....
1. Oakland Raiders: JaMarcus Russell, QB LSU
It almost seems like Russell has been built just to please Al Davis. He's a big quarterback with a cannon for an arm that will fit rather well in the "vertical" offense Davis loves. Plus the Raiders currently employ Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter at the QB position so this is probably an area where they could use some improvement. If you don't want shitty QB play that is. Russell should thrive in Oakland where he could possibly ride Randy Moss to All-Pro status like Daunte Culpepper did in Minnesota.
2. Detroit Lions: Brady Qinn, QB Notre Dame
I'm not excited about this pick at all. First of all did you see the picture I used for this post?!?! Does that inspire you to think he's going to be a great pro quarterback? Didn't think so. Having watched Quinn closely since he plays for Notre Dame and they are always on TV, I'm not sold on him being a great pro QB at all. While he does a great job tearing up the service academies and the Stanfords of the world, he hasn't played well against elite competition at all. He may have beat Michigan two years in a row but it was more due to Michigan miscues than his savvy QB play. Best example I can give of this is when he threw the touchdown pass to Samardzija that was deflected off a Michigan defender's hand. Horrible throw, lucky break. Then this year during his "Heisman" campaign he was exposed by Michigan and USC. Hate to say it but I think the defenses in the NFL are better than Michigan and USC. Quinn tends to get happy feet in the face of a decent pass rush and last I checked the Lions O-line was rather terrible. Brady may need a few more band-aids if he becomes a Lion. Kiper has the Lions taking Thomas here in his first mock draft. I really can't see Matt Millen using this high of a pick on an O-lineman. Plus that seems to be a position of depth in this draft so I'm sure Millen will look to make a splash with this pick and then go O-line in the second round. Quinn fills the "splash" quotient here while making it exceedingly possible that Millen blows another high pick. Looks like a match to me! The Lions making this pick pretty much ruins the draft for me right after it begins....
3*. Cleveland Browns: Alan Branch, DT Michigan
*Number 3 pick is a tie between Cleveland and Tampa TBD by coin flip at end of this month
The coin flip won't affect either pick unless someone trades down or something. Browns need some defense and help up the middle and Branch should help fill that need. After a lackluster Sophomore year, (though the argument could be made that EVERYONE at Michigan had a lackluster year during the...ugh...7-5 2005 campaign...let's not speak of that again shall we?) Branch helped a revitalized Michigan defense rise back to prominence before that slide at the end of the season (another thing I don't want to discuss) and showed the ability to pass rush the QB and stop the run, something Cleveland needs. Michigan defensive players have a pretty good track record in the NFL (two played last night...Cato June and Marlin Jackson) so this should be a pretty good pick up for Cleveland.
3*. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Calvin Johnson, WR Georgia Tech
I really wish Matt Millen had the stones to take Johnson. He is easily the most talented player in this draft and Tampa is going to get a steal at number four. Bear in mind that Johnson was great in college and he had REGGIE BALL throwing to him! Can you imagine how great he would have been if he had a decent QB throwing to him? Tampa's "deep threat" is an ever aging Joey Galloway, and Michael Clayton hasn't delivered on the great rookie campaign of two years ago (just ask my fantasy team...) so getting Johnson here will be a great pick up for the Bucs and will be a nice addition to a team that really wasn't as bad as their record last year.
5. Arizona Cardinals: Joe Thomas, OT Wisconsin
I don't know how I feel about Joe Thomas. On the one hand he dominated his competition this year, but on the other hand Wisconsin didn't play anybody except Michigan, and he was alright in that game. I must admit, Big Ten tackles scare the hell out of me in the NFL. I've been burned by them a couple of times as a Lions fan. Aaron Gibson was supposed to be a big lineman with quick feet out of Wisconsin, but instead turned out to be just a slow fat guy who was a bust from the moment he squeezed into his XXXXXXXL jersey. Jeff Backus was also supposed to be a stud out of Michigan but has been decent at best. The only reason the Lions gave him that big extension is because there aren't that many great tackles out in free agency so you have to hold on to what you have. Pains me to say that about a Michigan player but Backus hasn't panned out like most thought he would. That brings us back to Thomas who is getting the kind of hype Robert Gallery got two years ago out of Iowa, and you can ask the Raiders how well that is panning out. Thomas seems to have the total package of size, agility, and quickness to be able to handle the speed of an NFL outside pass rush, but as always drafting an O-lineman this high is tough. Arizona desperately needs the help though so this is a no brainer pick here. Their O-line is terrible and if their offense is ever going to realize it's potential, that's a problem they need to fix.
There you have it. My first look at the top 5 of the 2007 NFL Draft. We are only a couple of months away from the festivities so let the draft talk begin! WOOOO!!!!