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1st Round Analysis - Team by Team (USA Today) (1 Viewer)

Bob Magaw

best commentary i've seen from mainstream media so far, after a cursory look at espn, PFW & NFL.com (yet to look at sporting news)...


Apr 22, 2010

Analysis: How first-round picks in NFL draft fit with their teams

USA TODAY's Nate Davis will provide pick-by-pick analysis of the first round of the NFL draft here tonight. Return here for the latest news from Radio City Music Hall and around the NFL. (Pick-by-pick tracker) We'll have the most recent picks and news at the top:

32. New Orleans Saints: Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State

A year after taking CB Malcolm Jenkins in the first round, the Saints take another gifted corner. This could mean that Jenkins will be shifting to safety as Darren Sharper, who was a huge difference maker in 2009, remains unsigned. Like the Jets' pick of Wilson, this is another indication that a nickel back's value perhaps outstrips a strongside linebacker in the modern NFL.

31. Indianapolis Colts: Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU

A relentless, speedy edge rusher who's a about 15 pounds lighter than smallish DE Dwight Freeney. But Hughes provides a nice change-of-pace speed rusher to Freeney and Mathis, surely a supplement they could've used in their Super Bowl XLIV loss when Freeney was at less than 100% with a bum ankle. This also sends a message to QBs Vince Young and Matt Schaub in the AFC South that the Colts are committed to upgrading their defense with top-tier talent and not just the system players they are often perceived to enlist.

30. Detroit Lions (from Minnesota Vikings): Jahvid Best, RB, California

He's a home-run hitter (27 TDs over the past two seasons), who saw a potentially special 2009 season for the Golden Bears aborted by a scary concussion. But he's made to order for the Lions, who could be waiting some time for RB Kevin Smith to return form after he tore up his knee last December. For helping their divisional foes, the Vikings slide pack four picks to No. 34 (the second pick of Round 2) and pick up a fourth-rounder.

29. New York Jets: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State

Yes, the Jets already have all-pro CB Darrelle Revis and acquired former all-pro Antonio Cromartie last month, but this could be a reaction to what happened to the team in the AFC Championship Game when Colts QB Peyton Manning avoided Revis but torched New York by targeting the team's other defensive backs in a second-half runaway. And given that most teams spend 60% of their time in a nickel defense, a No. 3 corner is essentially a starter in today's NFL and perhaps more valuable than a situational linebacker or defensive end.

28. Miami Dolphins (from San Diego Chargers): Jared Odrick, DL, Penn State

This is about where Odrick was expected to go, though many thought he'd go to the pick's original owner, San Diego, or the Jets or Patriots. He should step in as a five-technique (3-4 defensive end) for a Miami defense that regressed in 2009 after ranking 15th when the team surprisingly won the AFC East in 2008. The Dolphins opt to upgrade the outside of their line now even though NT Jason Ferguson will miss the first eight games of the season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

27. New England Patriots (from Dallas Cowboys): Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers

Kicking off three successive picks by the AFC East powers, the Patriots take the cerebral and tough corner from the Scarlet Knights. McCourty, whose twin brother Jason plays for the Tennessee Titans, should immediately step in as the nickel back and will also serve as a special teams ace. Interesting that the Patriots opt to address their secondary before a front seven which was perceived to have greater needs.

26. Arizona Cardinals: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee

Arizona gets a 327-pound anchor for its 3-4 defense. This is good news for OLB Joey Porter and DL Darnell Dockett on a defense that needed help after losing ILB Karlos Dansby in free agency. Williams' arrival probably assures that 35-year-old NT Bryan Robinson will not be re-signed as this unit, which ranked 20th overall in 2009, continues to get younger. And given the upgrades to the 49ers' offensive line tonight, this was a needed counterpunch in the battle for NFC West supremacy.

25. Denver Broncos (from Baltimore Ravens): Tim Tebow, QB, Florida

So he actually did go in the first round as the Broncos make yet another deal. Denver jumps into the 25th slot to select the polarizing 2007 Heisman Trophy

Tim Tebow laughs while answering a question prior to being selected in the first round of the NFL draft.CAPTIONBy Phelan M. Ebenhack, APwinner, who has off-the-charts intangibles but has been dissected for the hitch in his release and his lack of experience playing under center. Tebow immediately enters a position that's been somewhat unsettled since coach Josh McDaniels deported Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears a year ago. Tebow may not start in 2010, but he'll definitely push Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn and clearly looks to be the franchise's long-term signal caller. The Ravens get picks No. 43 (Round 2), 70 (Round 3) and 114 (Round 4). Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen continues to slide ...

24. Dallas Cowboys (from Philadelphia Eagles via Denver Broncos and New England Patriots): Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State's star wideout swaps one Cowboys uniform for another. Few dispute that Bryant is the draft's best receiver and a likely top-five talent, but off-field problems (he was suspended for most of OSU's 2009 season for lying about his contact with former NFL star Deion Sanders) and a poor workout for scouts dinged his value a bit. But he joins Dallas -- which passed on troubled WR Randy Moss a decade ago -- where he supercharges an aerial array that already includes WR Miles Austin, Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton and TE Jason Witten. QB Tony Romo now has a wealth of skill options -- the backfield remains loaded, too -- and it appears Dallas will stick with in-house T Doug Free to supplant released LT Flozell Adams in 2010. The Patriots move back to No. 27 and pick up Dallas' third-round pick (No. 90) while giving the Cowboys their fourth-rounder (No. 119).

23. Green Bay Packers: Bryan Bulaga, T, Iowa

Bulaga fell down the board a bit, but the Packers were waiting with open arms (just as they were for QB Aaron Rodgers five years ago, and that's working out pretty well). Though the Packers re-signed tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher, they should get immediate competition from Bulaga, who could ultimately replace either. This is obviously great news for Rodgers, too, who was running for his life early in the 2009 season while Clifton was injured and Tauscher was working his way back from a 2008 knee injury.

22. Denver Broncos (from New England Patriots): Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech

Bill Belichick and protege Josh McDaniels strike a deal as the Broncos get their heir apparent to departed Brandon Marshall. Thomas might have gone higher had he not broken his foot prior to the combine. Thomas is a big target (6-3,224 pounds) who averaged 25.1 yards per catch in the Yellow Jackets' triple option offense in 2009. He's also got excellent speed when healthy. He will need to improve his route running in the NFL. Like last season, the top-rated receiver (Dez Bryant) doesn't get picked first. New England slides to pick No. 24 and picks up a fourth-rounder, too, for their trouble.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma

Yet another Sooner is taken. Like QB Sam Bradford, Gresham probably would have been a first-rounder in 2009 if he'd declared. But like Bradford he was hurt last season. Gresham gives QB Carson Palmer something he's never had in Cincinnati, a field-stretching tight end, an element that could make a vanilla offense more dynamic in 2010.

20. Houston Texans: Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama

A logical pick given the departure of CB Dunta Robinson to Atlanta and the Texans' annual struggles against the Colts the and arm of QB Peyton Manning. With RB Ryan Mathews off the board, the Texans may have had to shift their focus to defense despite coach Gary Kubiak's desire to improve his 30th-ranked rushing attack.

19. Atlanta Falcons: Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri

This could put aging LB Mike Peterson on notice. Weatherspoon was probably the best 4-3 outside linebacker on the market and will flank emerging MLB Curtis Lofton for a defense that ranked 21st in 2009. But with the acquisition of CB Dunta Robinson and return from injury of 2009 first-round DT Peria Jerry, Atlanta could field a much more effective unit in 2010.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers: Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida

An offensive line that's been heavily criticized in recent seasons gets a partial makeover with Pouncey, easily the top-rated center in this year's crop. Pouncey might also play guard depending on what the Steelers do with C Justin Hartwig. Some combination of Pouncey and Hartwig seems likely to man center/right guard for the Steelers. And assuming QB Byron Leftwich starts the season under center, this was an important move since Leftwich doesn't shed defenders nearly as well as suspended QB Ben Roethlisberger.

17. San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina Panthers): Mike Iupati, G, Idaho

Iupati joins T Anthony Davis (the No. 11 pick) on a front five the Niners have instantly rebuilt. And they needed to after surrendering 150 sacks over the past three seasons. No other guard in the draft was as highly rated as Iupati, who could potentially be a tackle as he refines his skill set. Regardless, this should all be good news to QB Alex Smith and RB Frank Gore as San Francisco looks to wrest the NFC West from the Arizona Cardinals (now sans QB Kurt Warner) in 2010 and make its first postseason appearance since 2002.

16. Tennessee Titans: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech

The ACC's defensive player of the year in 2009 with 12 sacks among his 52 tackles, he should take over for departed DE Kyle Vanden Bosch for what is usually one of the NFL's better defensive lines. Even with Vanden Bosch, the Titans only had 32 sacks in 2009 after losing DT Albert Haynesworth.

15. New York Giants: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida

Seems the Giants want to replenish a front line that was largely responsible for its Super Bowl XLII upset of the New England Patriots. Pierre Paul joins DEs Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka and Osi Umenyiora on the edges ... though this could mean a departure ticket for Umenyiora, who lost his starting job on a defense that ceded 427 points in 2009. The 6-5, 270-pound Pierre-Paul is a freakish athlete -- check out his series of handsprings on YouTube -- but he's also inexperienced and raw and generated just six sacks in 2009. But playing on a deep and experienced line, he won't be under pressure to produce immediately and should get plenty of tutoring from his accomplished linemates.

14. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos): Earl Thomas, S, Texas

The 30th-ranked pass defense of 2009 gets an immediate upgrade with Thomas, a rangy center fielder who led the country with 24 pass break-ups last year when he also intercepted a Longhorns record eight passes. He steps into a secondary that recently dumped Deon Grant and will join Jordan Babineaux on the back line. And how much does Pete Carroll think of Thomas? Apparently a lot given he chose Thomas over highly regarded S Taylor Mays, who played for Carroll at USC.

13. Philadelphia Eagles (from San Francisco 49ers via Denver Broncos): Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan

Philly surrenders the No. 24 pick and both its third-rounders (Nos. 70 and 87) to the Broncos to get Graham, who at 6-2 and 268 pounds is built just like Dwight Freeney. It's a very costly trade for the Eagles, who entered the draft with five of the top 87 picks but will still have three of the first 55. Andy Reid holds to form by getting a lineman in Round 1, and Graham will be expected to generate more push opposite Trent Cole than Darren Howard (released) and Chris Clemons (traded) did. Philly also picked up DE Darryl Tapp from Seattle in the Clemons deal, so Graham could spell Cole or supplement him for a team that traditionally likes a deep D-line rotation.

12. San Diego Chargers (from Miami Dolphins): Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State

The Chargers climb 16 spots (giving up the No. 40 pick they got from Seattle in the Charlie Whitehurst deal and a fourth-rounder) to poach Mathews as the successor to LaDainian Tomlinson. At 6-feet, 218 pounds, Mathews, who ran for 1,808 yards and 19 TDs in 2009, likely becomes the man on first and second down with Darren Sproles entrenched as the third-down back. It's certainly an expensive transaction for the Chargers and will probably prevent them from getting a top-tier nose tackle to replace Jamal Williams.

11. San Francisco 49ers (from Chicago Bears via Denver Broncos): Anthony Davis, T, Rutgers

The Niners jump up two spots, leapfrogging Miami, to grab Davis to solidify their O-line. Miami didn't seem to be in the market for a tackle given the presence of LT Jake Long, but clearly San Francisco, which recently lost GM Scot McCloughan, felt the need to make an aggressive move (surrendering its fourth-round pick) to get Davis. The 323-pounder could very well go to the right side with Joe Staley protecting QB Alex Smith's blind side, but these bookends could very well be interchangeable.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tyson Alualu, DL, California

A surprise pick, but Alualu has been climbing quickly on scouts' boards in recent weeks. But the Jags weren't afraid to make a big jump for DE Derrick Harvey at No. 8 two years ago, though he has yet to justify that move. Alualu will likely play inside in the Jags' defense, which will probably go back to a 4-3 look given the signing of Aaron Kampman, who prefers to play with his hand on the ground. By far the NFL's worst pass-rushing team in 2009 with 14 sacks, Alualu and DT John Henderson could certainly help Kampman and (the Jags hope) Harvey get to Peyton Manning, Matt Schaub and Vince Young.

9. Buffalo Bills: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson

A curious pick given the Bills' multiple needs -- quarterback, offensive line, defensive line, wide receiver to name a few. Spiller is really the only elite back in the draft and is dangerous as a runner, receiver and returner. Of his 52 career TDs with the Tigers, 21 came from 50-plus yards. But given the presence of 1,000-yard back Fred Jackson and former first-rounder Marshawn Lynch -- we're left to wonder if new coach Chan Gailey plans to implement the triple-option offense he used at Georgia Tech. Of course, it would not surprise anyone if the Bills try to find a trading partner for Lynch, though his value might be depressed after a season when he ran for a career-low 450 yards and began the campaign on the bench with a three-game suspension.

8. Oakland Raiders: Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama

This seems to give credence that the Raiders were indeed unhappy with the run-stopping ability of incumbent MLB Kirk Morrison. McClain was a 3-4 ILB at Alabama but will surely take over for Morrison for the Silver & Black. The Raiders have ranked 29th or lower against the run since 2007.

7. Cleveland Browns: Joe Haden, CB, Florida

Widely regarded as the best pure corner in the draft, Haden gets dropped into a division where he'll grapple with Anquan Boldin, Hines Ward and Chad Ochocinco twice a year each. Haden doesn't have elite speed -- a fact on full display at the combine, though Haden blamed a balky back -- but he does have huge upside ... Haden hadn't played defense until he was switched to that side before his freshman season in Gainesville and should get better with experience and improved technique. He should immediately bolster the league's fourth worst pass defense (244.7 ypg in 2009).

6. Seattle Seahawks: Russell Okung, T, Oklahoma State

Back to the Big 12 in what's really a no-brainer pick for Seattle given the expected retirement of perennial all-pro LT Walter Jones, who's 36 and missed all of 2009 with a knee injury. Like Williams in Washington, Okung takes the reins from a longtime anchor and should become the first rookie cornerstone of the Pete Carroll era. This is also good news for aging QB Matt Hasselbeck, who's spent much of the past two seasons running for his life, and a Seattle ground game that's essentially been grounded since the franchise's 2005 run to Super Bowl XL.

5. Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Berry, FS, Tennessee

The SEC star breaks the run on Big 12 players. It's a bit of an upset pick as Chiefs GM Scott Pioli has historically not believed in drafting safeties this high; Berry is the highest-drafted safety since Sean Taylor went No. 5 six years ago to Washington. But the selection is also a testament to the playmaking abilities of Berry, who's drawn comparisons to Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu. Berry had 14 INTs in three years -- just two has a junior when SEC QBs avoided him at all costs -- and returned three for TDs. His 494 INT return yards were 7 short of Terrell Buckley's NCAA record. Berry, who's also been mentioned as the best player in this draft, will certainly be a boon to a K.C. defense that needs an electric presence.

4. Washington Redskins: Trent Williams, T, Oklahoma

The third Sooner in a Top 4 comprised of Big 12 athletes (a common draft first) -- anyone wondering why the Sooners don't have more national titles? -- Willia

The NFL draft at Radio City Music Hall.CAPTIONBy Howard Smith, US Presswirems immediately takes up the mantle at left tackle from retired Chris Samuels. A slightly better athlete than Oklahoma State's Russell Okung, Williams is apparently a better fit for the Redskins' zone-blocking schemes. Mike Shanahan's offense can probably use another player or two to improve the protection in front of Donovan McNabb, but as of now the Redskins won't pick again until Round 4 on Saturday.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma

The third Big 12 player comes off the board as McCoy, who many analysts deemed the best player in the 2010 draft, becomes the new centerpiece of a Tampa Bay defense that hasn't had a player of his caliber since Warren Sapp. McCoy, USA TODAY's 2005 high school player of the year, should help an anemic pass rush that produced just 28 sacks in 2009, both by generating his own pressure and freeing up new teammates like Stylez G. White.

2. Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

Suh's probably the perfect remedy for a defense that's surrendered more than 1,000 points over the last two seasons, when the Lions have gone an aggregate 2-30. He becomes the focal point of what appears to be a vastly improved front four; the Lions signed DE Kyle Vanden Bosch in free agency and traded for DT Corey Williams, who was miscast in Cleveland's 3-4 approach. Combine that with S Louis Delmas, last year's second-round pick, and Jim Schwartz's unit suddenly has a nice mixture of youth, experience and talent. Maybe the Lions take a new blind side bodyguard for QB Matthew Stafford in Round 2.

1. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma

As expected, Bradford, the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner, is the first player off the board. Presumably, he'll eventually become the centerpiece the Rams build their West

The Rams selected Sam Bradford with the first pick in the draft.CAPTIONBy Jeff Zelevansky, Getty ImagesCoast offense around after the release of QB Marc Bulger. And given his accuracy and decision-making (88 TDs and 16 INTs during his Sooners career), Bradfords seems well-suited to the scheme ... that is, unless, St. Louis trades his rights in a megadeal down the line. Assuming he remains with St. Louis, Bradford isn't stepping into a horrible situation offensively. LT Jason Smith (last year's No. 2 overall pick) and C Jason Brown should anchor an improving offensive line. And workhorse RB Steven Jackson will remain the focal point of the offense. But don't be surprised to see St. Louis get Bradford some receiving help later in the draft, perhaps at pick No. 33, the first of tomorrow night's second round. Fun facts: Bradford is the first QB the Rams have selected in Round 1 since the common draft was instituted in 1967 as the NFL and AFL began their merger process; he's also the first-ever No. 1 overall pick to play at a Big 12 school. -- Nate Davis

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30. Detroit Lions (from Minnesota Vikings): Jahvid Best, RB, California

He's a home-run hitter (27 TDs over the past two seasons), who saw a potentially special 2009 season for the Golden Bears aborted by a scary concussion. But he's made to order for the Lions, who could be waiting some time for RB Kevin Smith to return form after he tore up his knee last December. For helping their divisional foes, the Vikings slide pack four picks to No. 34 (the second pick of Round 2) and pick up a fourth-rounder.
lol why would they use this word? it's like saying #####rdly. it's not a bad word, but it carries a lot of weight...also... did u see the author? it's good that he's gotten over his learning disability and is now doing some pretty nice writing.

ETA - props if you can guess what benign word got censored here.

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