Draft creates some new rivalries
Posted Apr. 29 at 04:51 AM
In a strange first round, some new rivalries have been born across the league. Players who’ll always be compared because of where they were picked and which teams they’re playing for.
JAKE LOCKER and BLAINE GABBERT
Two AFC South teams go with quarterbacks with top-10 picks. Locker goes to the team where most of the passing records are held by another former Washington quarterback (Warren Moon). Jacksonville says it had Gabbert higher on its board. Chris Berman points out that Locker had a completion rate in college in the low 50s – just like Brett Favre. The Titans decide to issue Locker a mobile phone without the camera option.
JULIO JONES and JONATHAN BALDWIN
The Falcons traded up to select Jones, who is huge and fast but dropped a lot of passes at Alabama. Is he another Darrius Heyward-Bey? Kansas City got its hands on the first-rounder that Atlanta traded away and selected Baldwin, who isn’t as fast but has better hands and catches the ball better in traffic. He might be better than Jones straight up. I don’t think many teams would rather have Jones than Baldwin, second- and fourth-round picks, and first- and fourth-rounders next year. But we’ll see.
CAM JORDAN and CAMERON HEYWARD
Three sons of former NFL players are selected in the last nine picks, including Mark Ingram to the Saints. I am leaving Ingram out of this group, however, because both Jordan and Heyward are defensive ends. Steve Jordan’s boy goes to the Saints. Heyward goes to Pittsburgh, where his dad (the late Ironhead Heyward) played his college ball. The Saints selected Ironhead in the first round in 1988, and if you get out your issue of the magazine from that year, you’ll see I was way too high on him in our player ratings.
NATE SOLDER, ANTHONY CASTONZO and DEREK SHERROD
Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers are three of the best quarterbacks in the game, and the Patriots, Colts and Packers all selected offensive tackles in the second half of the first round to help their jobs easier.
NDAMUKONG SUH and NICK FAIRLEY
The days of Detroit’s defense being a pushover unit are over. Adrian Peterson and Matt Forte no doubt sat up a little bit when Detroit went with a big, mean defensive tackle high in the first round for the second year in a row. The last time a year went with defensive tackles with top-13 picks in back-to-back years was Jacksonville almost 10 years ago, with John Henderson and Marcus Stroud, and that was a feared combo. New England went with three tackles in four years almost 10 years ago (Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, Vince Wolfork) and that worked out well, and the 49ers got nice production out of the tackle combo of Bryant Young and Dana Stubblefield in 1993-94. But I consider Suh/Fairley to be (on paper) the most heralded pair of tackles ever drafted.
MARK INGRAM and BILL BELICHICK
Belichick could have drafted Ingram, but opted to trade down for a late second-round pick and 2012 first-rounder. The Patriots don’t have a difference-maker at tailback, so they could live to regret that move if Ingram emerges as a big-time back. Ingram is also linked with Reggie Bush, who should be moved out of New Orleans.
A.J. GREEN and CHAD OCHOCINCO
The Bengals drafted Green and have some other young receiving talent – Jerome Simpson, Jordan Shipley and Jermaine Gresham – so Ochocinco will be shown the door. Cincinnati is planning on Green being not only good but a true difference-maker. Ochocinco has been very good, so Green better be good sooner rather than later.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Apr. 29 at 05:17 AM
Another comment on Belichick trading down out of the first round: a couple of years ago he did so with Ted Thompson, who used the pick on Clay Matthews. Matthews would have looked pretty nice for the Patriots defense the last couple of years. Belichick certainly does a great job of adding picks each year, but I think we can also find some examples of when he should have just used them rather than trading them away for future ones.
Posted by ZACH LEAVITT | May. 01 at 01:49 AM
Regarding your trivia question on Mark Ingram and Heisman backs, just based on the list of teams that have selected two Heisman winning backs, that looks like a pretty high success rate. I'd guess it is better than the success rate for QBs who have won the Heisman (I know I have at least Charlie Ward backing me up on this one). Have you ever done an analysis of how Heisman winners at different positions have done in the NFL?
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