With the NFL Draft still in footballs rear-view mirror, its tough to say which teams were successful and which ones failed in this years selection process. Only time will tell which prospects bust out and which ones simply bust. But before shifting focus from the draft to preparing for the fantasy football season ahead, Id like to take a look at the guys I believe were steals and those that appear to be reaches.
The biggest steal of the first round easily belongs to the Green Bay Packers, who saw California quarterback Aaron Rogers, in one of the more dramatic drops in recent history, slide all the way down to them at the No. 24 slot. The Packers faced more immediate needs on the defensive side of the ball, but a signal caller with his potential was a tremendous value late in the first round, and his selection answers all questions as to who will succeed the legendary Brett Favre when he decides to hang it up.
I also like the selection of Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson at the No. 15 spot by the Kansas City Chiefs. Johnson was the top defensive player on my draft board, and is a wonderful addition to a team that was in dire need of playmakers on defense. His nose for the football and ability to create turnovers should create an immediate impact from the weak side.
Perhaps the most questionable pick of the opening round was that of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who took a huge risk on Arkansas quarterback-turned-wide receiver Matt Jones with the 21st pick overall. Granted, Jones has freakish speed for his size, and ESPNs Chris Mortenson called him the best player in the draft, but talk about your classic boom-or-bust prospect. I like the guys potential as well, but he has almost no experience at the position he was drafted to fill and the risk is just too high at this point.
The Oakland Raiders were a close second for the biggest first-round reach with the selection of cornerback Fabian Washington of Nebraska. Washington has blazing speed, but doesnt have the cover skills you would normally associate with a first-round pick. And, of course, I have to give the Denver Broncos a dishonorable mention for their selection of controversial running back Maurice Clarett with the last pick in the third round. There were backs of similar talent with far less baggage available on day two.
The biggest steal of the weekend came on day two, and also belonged to the Raiders, who picked up Wisconsin defensive tackle Anttaj Hawthorne in the 5th round. Hawthorne was viewed by many as a potential first-round pick, but after testing positive for marijuana at the NFL scouting combine in February, his stock took a freefall that made Rogers slide look like nothing more than a dip in the road. Head coach Norv Turner will have to make sure he keeps the guys head on straight and make sure he stays motivated. But if he is successful, Hawthorne has the talent to be an important part of the rotation at tackle from the very beginning.
Other great values include:
- Cleveland Browns - QB Charie Frye, Round 3 (67)
- Arizona Cardinals - OLB Daryl Blackstock, Round 3 (95)
- Philadelphia Eagles - SS Sean Considine, Round 4 (102)
- Chicago Bears - QB Kyle Orton, Round 4 (106)
- Arizona Cardinals - OG Elton Brown, Round 4 (111)
Other reaches include:
- San Diego Chargers - DT Luis Castillo, Round 1 (28)
- Oakland Raiders - CB Stanford Routt, Round 2 (38)
- Seattle Seahawks - ILB Lofa Tatupu, Round 2 (45)
- Green Bay Packers - CB Nick Collins, Round 2, (51)
- Indianapolis Colts - CB Kelvin Hayden, Round 2 (60)