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Top 5 Good and Bad Picks
May 1, 2007, 5:34 PM
by Shaun DePasquale
Well with the 2007 Draft behind us, it's that time again. Time to nit-pick the good and the bad. One name you will not see in either category is that of Ted Ginn Jr. Why not? Because a player of that speed and potential at the WR position--and elite return specialist spot--simply cannot be called a "bad" pick. It's a gamble, like all picks are, but what the people who are knocking it don't realize is that if he returns from that injury, he could make the Dolphins look like geniuses. So let?s take a look at my top 5 bad and good picks.
The Bad: 5 picks that made me cringe as I read my ESPN Bottom Line.
1. WR Craig Davis--San Diego--1st Round #30
- With WR's Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio State, and USC's Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith all on the board, the Chargers ignored all 3 for a guy whom most rated as a 3rd round prospect. Davis, who shared the spotlight at LSU with Dwayne Bowe and Early Doucet, ran rather average at the Combine (4.46 40 yard dash), and had a rather quiet weekend at the Senior Bowl. So why take Davis over those other guys? Well, Gonzalez was considered the best slot receiver in the draft, the position Davis is expected to play in San Diego. Jarrett would have given the team the big possession receiver they sorely need, and Smith likewise is a slot type with a better resume`. Maybe the Chargers wanted experience and height, both of which Davis has the most of compared to his cohorts.
2. LB Buster Davis--Arizona--3rd Round #69
- These guys just don't get it when it comes to drafting LBs. Buster Davis was a solid, active LB in college. But he's painfully small to start at MLB in the NFL at 5'9? and around 240 lbs. Davis ran a plodding 4.64 at the Combine, so his speed isn't anything to hoot about either. I had Buster Davis pegged as a late-round guy, much like Florida's Brandon Siler was. For whatever reason, despite being small and slow, Arizona selected Davis at the top of the 3rd round to supposedly compete with incumbent Gerald Hayes at MLB.
3. RB Chris Henry--Tennessee--2nd Round #50
- Well, they couldn't get Michael Turner through trade from San Diego, so they settle for Chris Henry from Arizona? This was just a reach pick, and made a muddled position more muddled. Henry had a fine showing at the Combine, running a 4.38 40 yard dash and measuring at 6'0? 228 lbs. But his college experience alone is very limited, as he started only 6 games his entire career and in his time at Arizona only logged 892 yards and 9 touchdowns. If Henry couldn't cut it in college, odds are against him cutting it in the pros. Now consider that with only the unproven LenDale White around to carry the rock this season, the Titans will be leaning heavily on production from Henry, and now.
4. CB Usama Young--New Orleans--3rd Round #66
-Young wasn't even invited to the combine out of Kent State, but ran an impressive 4.4 yard dash at his Pro Day. He racked up a ton of momentum at the right time, solidifying himself as a day 1 pick. That being said, Young is still a relatively unknown commodity out of a smaller program, and was taken ahead of more accomplished CB's like Cal's Daymeion Hughes, Marcus McCauley of Fresno State and Tanard Jackson of Syracuse. The Saints made a classic boom-or-bust pick based on postseason workouts. At the top of the 3rd round, that isn't really a great value.
5. TE Matt Spaeth--Pittsburgh--3rd Round #77
- Really reached here for a TE to pair with Heath Miller. By comparison, the New York Giants drafted a TE to pair with Jeremy Shockey--in the 5th Round. And that player, Western Kentucky's Kevin Boss, has similar potential to Spaeth, who has to prove he can overcome the injury bug and stay healthy now. This pick made Spaeth the 3rd TE chosen after the "big 2" of Greg Olsen and Zach Miller, so he will be forever tied to the TE's taken after him, one of which you will see later on in this article.
Honorable Mention Choice: QB Kevin Kolb--Philadelphia--2nd Round #36
--To begin with, there were doubts he was the third best quarterback in the draft. But the Eagles took him at the top of the 2nd round anyway, despite the position not being a huge need area in the first place. Their first pick in the draft after trading out of the 1st round, the Eagles needed to really hit on this pick, and could have taken a flyer on free-falling USC WR Dwayne Jarrett to help give McNabb more weapons in the passing game. Instead the team elected to go with a QB to back him up. This is how a team remains stagnant, rather than to improve. Kolb now has alot to live up to, as another reviled Philadelphia draft choice.
The Good: Here are 5 picks I actually liked, with an Honorable Mention.
1. WR Dwayne Jarrett--Carolina--2nd Round #45
- You have to hand it to the Panthers for jumping on a talent like Jarrett when it seemed like everyone else was doing their best to avoid him. Despite having a fine career at USC where he abused 1st Round CB's like Leon Hall one-on-one, and catching the fabled 4th down pass against Notre Dame in 2005 that made it possible for USC to remain undefeated and make it to the National Championship Game that year, Jarrett went after guys with less measurables, and a lot less experience. LSU's Craig Davis and Dwayne Bowe, and Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio State were both off of the board before Jarrett. I think Jarrett fell because he ran a 4.6 at Pro Day, and concerns about his ability to get off the line and down the field. Well, once upon a time this guy from Florida State named Anquan Boldin ran 4.7 at the Combine, and today I think we can say he's had a fine career. Basically, with some effort and coaching up, Jarrett has potential to be the same impact player for Carolina that he was in college. And teams like San Diego and Indianapolis will have to sit back and watch with their WR gambles. At the point he was taken, there's very little risk in the pick for Carolina, but enormous reward potential.
2. Daymeion Hughes--Indianapolis--3rd Round #95
- Sure, he ran a consistent 4.6 in the postseason, but Hughes was better than a late-3rd round pick. The 4.6 raised flags about his speed to play the cornerback position, but Hughes was one of the finest "zone" corners in the draft, and is an excellent fit in Indy's Cover 2 system where he will be helped by safeties in coverage. Like USC's Jarrett, he was highly productive in the Pac-10, at Cal, logging 8 interceptions last year. So with a late-3rd round pick, Indianapolis may have found a starting cornerback after losing both Nick Harper and Jason David this off-season.
3. Tanard Jackson--Tampa Bay--4th Round #106
--Another defensive back that lasted way too long. Tampa Bay was enamored with Jackson at the Senior Bowl, and was once thought a lock to grab him at their 2nd round pick, #36 overall, if he lasted that long. But to shore up a weak offensive line, Tampa Bay opted for Tennessee's Arron Sears instead. Lo and behold, they were able to grab their guy in the 4th round. Jackson projects as a safety in their Cover 2 defense, where he could supplant the oft-injured and relatively mediocre Will Allen at FS. Being a collegiate cornerback at Syracuse, Jackson also has the versatility to slide over and play cornerback when needed as well, and could even replace Ronde Barber or Brian Kelly down the line. Not bad for a 4th round pick who only dropped due to running a 4.5 in the postseason.
4. S John Wendling--Buffalo--6th Round #184
--It's amazing that a guy like this lasted until the 6th Round. Wendling was rumored to be rising up draft boards after fine workouts where he ran a 4.5 40 yard dash at 6'1? 222 lbs. Wendling has questions in his pass-coverage ability, but you can play this guy close to the line all day long and he'll make plays for you. He?s listed as a free safety but is probably a better strong safety prospect. Ko Simpson is currently the incumbent there. While Simpson showed promise last year, he was only a 4th Round pick in the 2006 draft, and if he doesn't outplay Wendling in training camp, you realistically could see a change in the starting line-up.
5. TE Ben Patrick--Arizona--7th Round #215
--Arizona swung on Leonard Pope last year, and seemingly missed. Pope's ceiling doesn't appear too high. But in the 7th Round of this draft, the Cardinals grabbed a guy who figured to be gone at the end of day 1. Due to questions of competition coming out of Delaware, and needing refinement in his blocking, Patrick lasted until the 7th round, and after guys like Brent Celek of Cincinnati. Patrick has adequate size (6'4?, 270 lbs) and pass-catching ability to come in and contribute as a key weapon for Matt Leinart in Arizona. Don't be surprised to see this end up as one of the draft's big steals.
Honorable Mention Choice: OL Mike Elgin--New England--7th Round #247
--New England has a way of grabbing gems late, and it's almost unfair that they were able to secure Elgin just before the end of the draft, securing him and taking away the option of his choosing a team as a free agent. Elgin is a well-coached, smart and athletic, versatile offensive lineman who can play either guard spot or center. Elgin is just one of those lunch-pail, hard-working guys that teams like New England love to coach up. Watch for Elgin to make the team and down the road, possibly start.
Next week I will share my top 5 Winners and Losers from the 2007 Draft. Hope everyone had a fun time watching an exciting- but overall sloppy- 2007 draft.