SI.com At The Draft Blog
First round last year: 6 hours, 4 minutes.
First two rounds this year: 5 hours, 50 minutes.
NFL, we love you. We're still awake after two rounds.
With the second round coming to an end, I have mixed emotions about the new draft format. Being a morning person, I was less than thrilled that the NFL elected to wait until 3 p.m. to start the draft.
The increased speed of the draft has been enjoyable, however, limiting the agonizing time in between picks that had been such an annoyance in years past. More importantly, it got me another gig working for one of my other media employers, Sirius NFL Radio. I recently got the call from my producer letting me know that they could use me to do a shift tonight because of the unanticipated speed with which the teams have made their selections.
I may have been on the fence about the new format earlier, but now that I get another opportunity to continue talking about the game I love the rest of the night, I felt the need to tip my cap to
"When I came down for my visit to Tampa," Jackson said, "
Galloway should forgive Jackson, who caught three passes for 92 yards in the Mountaineers' opening-week win at Michigan, for his exuberance. After watching the entire first round go by without a receiver taken, Jackson grew concerned. "I started to worry a lot," he said. He knew he was the 10th receiver on a lot of draft boards, and he didn't realize he was about to be taken until receivers
When the Bucs' pick flashed onscreen, some of the veteran Tampa Bay beat writers saw the name and yelled, "He's coming back again?" Not exactly. The elder Dexter Jackson -- no relation -- served two stints with the Bucs from 1999-2002 and 2004-05. That Dexter Jackson was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXVII.
During the Q&A,
One of the bigger surprises in the second round was the Packers' selection of
I just talked with Nelson, who is still back in Kansas, and he said he didn't hear much from Green Bay before the draft. Nelson was drawing interest from teams like Washington, Philadelphia, Kansas City and Carolina. "The Packers must have been just sitting back and liked what they saw," Nelson said.
The 6-foot-3 Nelson said he hasn't been a receiver for that long and he can't wait to learn from the veteran receivers in Green Bay. He says he's not worried about the frozen tundra. "It gets a lot colder than you might think in Kansas, especially with the wind chill," Nelson said. "One thing I learned playing in some really cold games, a dropped pass hurts a lot more than a caught pass."
Sounds like a Packers guy already. He said, however, he didn't think to ask the team if
Here's an easy way to irritate your notoriously irritable new boss.
"No sir," giggled McFadden. "Not at all."
I spent a few days with Cardinals' second-round pick
That will do it from Cardinals camp as general manager
This one is personal. Dolphins second-round draft pick
I can honestly say I knew all about the athletic exploits of Henne before he even reached the high school level. To say I believed everything I was hearing, however, would be less than accurate. I used to work out in my high school's weight room while home from college on breaks with Henne's father
I can only look back now and laugh, knowing Sheldon was really being reserved about his son's ability. I don't think Sheldon even knew how good Chad really could be. After all, nobody can project having a future NFL quarterback for a son, especially when they are a fullback in eighth grade. One year later Henne was the All-County quarterback and a legendary high school career had begun.
Henne went on to start since day one at Michigan and seems uniquely qualified for the task that is now in front of him. If only I could say I had predicted this day would come eight years ago when I first heard about him.
Earlier this week I asked both ESPN senior coordinating producer
Weinberger: "We will all tell you -- and I am not trying to cop out of anything -- both networks' coverage is phenomenal. This is a monster of a show. They have obviously been doing it for longer than we have. The uniqueness for us and for our viewers is that this is our fulltime job. No one else can really say that. We have been analyzing players and educating viewers on this since the college football season started and really in earnest since our exclusive coverage of the senior bowl and combine. It's all that we do. We're not cramming for a test today. The main thing we can say is this has been our first and foremost priority since the Super Bowl ended."
Rothman: "You know why? Because we have been the voice of record for some time and I think our talent our is unmatched. Their guys do a great job and I respect and know all of them. But I stand by our guys."
Almost every team in the NFL is looking to draft guys with passion for the game of football. Inevitably you will hear teams talk about a player's "motor" or the fact that he has a "lot of heart." Conversely, teams often cut the cord after a couple of years on high draft picks whom they deem to have "no heart" after they have received a large signing bonus and their work ethic and desire to play through pain has faltered. Can a player possibly have "too much heart?"
Groves was plagued by a painful turf-toe injury this past season that limited his effectiveness and dropped him down some teams draft charts. He is the latest example of a player falling after returning for another season.
Newsflash from New Jersey:
"Can we talk about our draft pick?" GM
That draft pick would be
The Giants got a look at Phillips at the combine and sent a representative to his pro day in Florida but didn't have additional interaction with him. Reese said none was required. "We had a guy, had him targeted," said Reese, who mentioned he was surprised but delighted Phillips fell as far as he did. "We didn't have a lot to clear up about him."
Phillips said he thinks the Hurricanes' 5-7 record may have hurt him. He played both free safety and strong safety at The U and believes versatility is the biggest asset he'll bring to the Giants. "I can come down and play in the box, or I can go back there and be a ball hawk. I can go down there and be that guy on special teams. Whatever the team needs me to do, I can do that."
And what of playing for head coach
"I don't know a lot about him," admitted Phillips. "I've seen him on TV and everything. He seems like a really cool guy, really nice guy."
Is that so? Welcome to New York, Kenny.
With their only pick of the second round the Bears select ...
Forte's pick has to be considered a surprise considering all the receivers on the board, as well as quarterbacks
Our conference call with Dallas' opening first-round pick, Arkansas running back
Did you now, Felix? Why? Because every single mock draft I've seen for the last four weeks have had you penciled in to Dallas at No. 22?
Personally my favorite moment came when Jones referred to Cowboys owner
"Well, Mr. Jones,'' corrected the Cowboys rookie running back, to a bit of laughter from the assembled media.
Felix Jones admitted he himself was a bit surprised that Dallas chose him ahead of the higher-rated running back
"I grew up watching the Cowboys,'' Felix Jones said. "Now I'm going to have a chance to play with their star on my helmet.''
A dozen or so microphones and recorders were placed around the telephone in the Cardinals press room as
The always self-deprecating Phoenix media laughed as one scribe followed up with: "A dream come true to be a Cardinal or to be in the NFL?" After a long pause, Cromartie-Rodgers answered, "Both."
The Saints are on the clock with the 40th pick in the draft, and this is the pick they should be trading to the Giants for
No Shockey trade. The Saints pick cornerback
A shame. Shockey will be an unhappy distraction for the Giants. I really thought they should have traded him.
Just got a chance to sit down with SI.com's
Don't expect the Cardinals to make any moves before their second-round pick (No. 50), coach
• The first round went about as expected for the Cardinals, save for the bevy of trades in front of them, and they basically got the player they wanted. "If Cromartie was there he was going to be the selection we would make," said Graves. "We based it on the fact that he would give us the greatest margin of improvement and we would have opportunities later to address our other needs."
• Whisenhunt said he loved the speed of the draft even if "it went by real fast when we were up," although he said the trades scared him and the team from dealing their first-round pick to drop back in the draft. "There was a drop off [at cornerback] after Dominique and the players that were already picked and we didn't want to risk giving him up and not being able to get him later," he said. "There was no guarantee he was going to be there if we traded back."
The Chiefs continued a strong draft by selecting Virginia Tech cornerback
That's critical because the Chiefs' recent drafts have left a lot to be desired. Of the 24 picks they made from 2003-05, only three are on the roster -- and only two of them are position players: linebacker
Inside a broadcast truck on West 51st Street, about a football field away from the stage of Radio City, the NFL Network's production team is busy conducting a chaotic sympathy. There's more than 100 video screens inside the truck, from isolation shots on analyst
No matter what you think of the coverage of ESPN and the NFL Network, there's no arguing the work ethnic of the behind-the-scenes staffers in sports television. The production teams gets tipped a couple of minutes before each pick, which gives them time to set up b-roll film of the players and some stats. But the reduction of time between the picks has dramatically changed the production this year, especially for the talent. They have had to get in and out of discussions much quicker.
NFL Network executive producer
Weinberger said he had not heard of any technical glitches. Reporter
The Bears filled one of their big needs already with the selection of offensive tackle
Gholston's a smart guy, so we got all the canned answers we expected: "I'm happy to be a Jet." "I didn't know where I'd go." Etc., etc... He did share this little tidbit, however, which Mangini and Co. reiterated. Gholston attended Cass Technical High School in Detroit, which pretty much serves as a University Michigan feeder. Instead of Ann Arbor, though, he landed in Columbus. A sin, of course. One guy who was in Michigan at the time, and who remembers scouting Gholston, is
Meanwhile, the Jets just traded up to No. 30 right in the middle of our dinner. We're officially in Freak Out mode. Purdue tight end
My favorite observation from the NFL Network's Keller bio: "Doesn't block." Not "can't block." Not "struggles at blocking." Just "doesn't block," as if he often thinks about blocking but simply chooses not to. That makes sense for New York.
There were a lot of "I-told-you-so's" in the Giants media room when
The Giants still have
With every receiver still on the board and quarterbacks
"I'm not going to live in the past," Gruden said. "I'm going to live in the future. I trust this kid, and we're going to give him the opportunity to prove it. He understands exactly what we expect of him."
Talib said he made some bad choices after leaving Richardson, Texas, for Lawrence, Kan., but he said he has cleaned up his act. Talib was suspended for the first two games of the 2006 season, meaning his most recent transgression probably took place during the offseason between the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
"I went through a little phase in college," he said. "That stuff happened two and a half years ago."
A little wacky tobaccy use wasn't enough to scare off Gruden, who said Talib reminds him of
"We'll use offense as motivation," Gruden said. "Cover that guy, and we'll let you play offense. Cover that guy, we might get you a reverse."
It appears as if there will not be a wide receiver taken in the first round of a draft for the first time since 1990. The first wideout taken that year was
Only twice since 1990 has fewer than three wide receivers been taken in the first round: 2006 (Steelers took
As a former I-AA player I am thrilled by the Baltimore Ravens draft selection of former Delaware quarterback
These two selections, along with impressive victories like Appalachian State over Michigan and Delaware over Navy are the latest indication of the closing gap between BCS and FCS competition. The chances of a team like Appalachian State beating Michigan 10 years ago would have been infinitesimal. The proliferation of the spread offense and the lower scholarship limits for the big boys have been a boon to football at the non I-A level.
Flacco is known for his big arm and he now has an excellent opportunity to carry the lower level flag that
While Jets fans in Radio City seem pleased with the selection of
Gholston didn't even want to guess at his press conference. "That's for the coaches to decide," Gholston said about how often he will line up with his hand on the ground with the intent of rushing the QB.
Gholston said he has confidence in his coverage abilities and everyone knows he can get after the quarterback. For a defensive chess player like Mangini, Gholston is an intriguing weapon. For a team that had just 29 sacks last season, he better help improve the pass rush. The Jets are going to have to create a lot of turnovers and get that offense good field position, because they might not be able to do much to improve at skill positions on offense today.
Mark my words: In two years, Mayo will be a star.
McFaddenmania continues as the press here was given a quick eight-minute phone call with the Raiders' No. 4 pick. The Arkansas stud is in for an interesting awakening out on the West Coast, far away from his family. "It's going to be a good thing for me being away from home," he admitted.
He also says he's psyched to play for
But going at No. 4? "It surprised me," McFadden said, "but coach said they were missing [a guy with] big-play ability and that's something I can help with." (For the record, McFadden sees himself as an upfield runner, a little different than Bush.)
When asked about the fan culture of the infamous Black Hole, McFadden said, "It's going to be very important to carry on a tradition because you never want to ruin a tradition." Recent Raiders tradition is all about losing, Darren. Ruin away.
Here's an example of the draft-season axiom that the more you hear, the less you know: Coming out of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in late February, I was fairly well convinced that Baltimore loved Delaware quarterback
But lately the buzz has been about Michigan's
I love the pick. Flacco's got the best arm of any quarterback in this draft, he's got the moxie you want from your QB, and I say in the long run he'll be the best of the Class of '08 passers. Baltimore has their quarterback of the future, and Henne and
The first upset of the day down here:
Could the Falcons have sat at 34 and gotten Baker? We'll never know. Obviously the Falcons didn't want to take the risk.
The dominoes began falling for the Chiefs today.
The Chiefs plan to initially line up Virginia guard
Why did the Bears tab Vanderbilt's
"It may be his strongest point," Angelo said. "I think it's real important (for offensive linemen). We need this player to contribute."
No more picks, no more interest? Looks like the rest of the Bay Area football media wants to enjoy the beautiful weekend, too. Less than an hour after the Raiders made Run DMC their man, the party looks to be over. The buffet is closing up and there are less than 20 scribes still here, probably a third of the scrum that waited around for the No. 4 pick.
A conference call with McFadden might be nice -- it's supposedly upcoming. So would a trade for more picks today that would actually help the team. Then again, so would an afternoon on the grass in Berkeley's Tilden Park.
Nothing has happened at Giants headquarters since the coffee maker went haywire two hours ago. The sound kept going in and out on the lone television in the press room (only on ESPN), so we, too, are now watching the NFL Network, although the periodic silence was admittedly wonderful.
My favorite line from the coverage so far? When one NFL Network analyst said, "
Before the Patriots snapped him up with the 10th pick, some thought Mayo could fall to the Giants and fulfill a need at linebacker. Weakside linebacker
Most of the media here at Cardinals camp figured Arizona would take
Oops. I was wrong. I blew it. I thought Baltimore would take Michigan QB
Sometimes it's the moves you don't make that turn out to be your best. That's what the Saints will say one day about the first day of the 2008 draft. If the NFL Network is correct, the Saints offered the No. 5 Chiefs this year's first round pick (No. 10), next year's first-round pick, and this year's seventh-round pick in order to move up to five and take LSU defensive tackle
Remarkably (at least to me), the Chiefs turned down New Orleans and took Dorsey themselves. The Saints then responded by trading up from 10 to No. 7 New England, getting USC defensive tackle
I say the Saints will wind up thanking their stars that the Chiefs turned them down. At least now New Orleans still has the ammo to get
The Chiefs traded up to 15 to get Virginia offensive lineman Branden Albert because they were fearful that another team would take him before they were on the clock at No. 17. Kansas City gave up its first (17), third (66) and fifth for Detroit's first (15) and third (76).
Earlier in the day, the Chiefs selected LSU defensive tackle
When Oakland selected running back
Interesting note, when the Raiders selected McFadden, a gathering of Chiefs fans at the team's practice facility cheered. And when it was noted that Kansas City was listening to trade offers, the fans booed. They cheered again when Dorsey was selected.
An NFL official told me the league was happy with the six draft prospects they invited to New York City this week. Unlike last year, when
The Chiefs will probably be a good fit for Dorsey, who said he's not used to the big city and said playing in Arrowhead should be a lot like playing in the environments of Baton Rouge. Often compared to
A Jets fan will tell you Gholston was an easy pick at the six spot, especially given the board. He'll be a sweet compliment to newly-acquired nose tackle
Mayo told me on a number of occassions during our discussions for his Rookie Diary on Sirius NFL Radio that he would not watch one second of the draft because he didn't think he could handle the anxiety. Instead of sitting on a couch watching the tube, Mayo elected for some yardwork with his mom in his hometown of Hampton, Va. He said he would just mow some grass and pick some weeds on draft day with his cell phone on him in case someone called.
Though I consistently told Mayo I did not believe him and thought he would end up watching the draft, he has a proven track record of keeping his word. Mayo kept his promise to get his degree from Tennessee when he graduated early enough that he could declare for the NFL draft after his junior year.
The maturity Mayo showed in getting his degree early in an era in which many players don't graduate is just one of the reasons the Patriots chose him. Thankfully, Mayo can now come inside from the yardwork and get ready for a flight to Boston where he will begin his apprenticeship under
I'll never forget spending a week with the Boise State football team before the Fiesta Bowl and talking to Broncos coaches as they went over game tapes. While Oklahoma was clearly the most talented team across the board, the one player that stood out amongst the rest was
Clady, now a Denver Bronco, may end up being the only Boise player involved with that unforgettable Statue of Liberty play that ends up making an impact in the NFL. If you don't remember Clady,
I just talked to
Like his dad, Matt seems to be a humble kid. His dad explained that when Matt first arrived at Boston College, he weighed 190 pounds, and when he took his shirt off, everyone laughed. At one point Matt was considered a serious candidate to be the No. 1 picks. So for a kid who no one had heard of a few years ago, to be drafted No. 3 is pretty good.
The Bears' big decision on whether to go for help on the offensive line, or at the skill positions, has been made easy. It looks as if they might have their choice of top-10 graded
• Yes, defense was the biggest need, but "this was the guy we had to have." There was never a discussion of trading the pick. Kiffin and his staff considered it somewhat of a long shot that McFadden would even fall to No. 4, and actually discussed trading
• There was little interest from other teams in grabbing the Raiders' pick -- more were interested in snapping up
• McFadden will likely be the opening-day starter, perhaps even in a split backfield with the recently re-signed
• The oft-publicized character issues? Not an issue (especially on this team, which has become a haven for guys with so-called "character issues" that make McFadden look like a choir boy). "I can't find one person who will tell me they've ever had an issue with him, in the weight room, in practice," Kiffin said. "He's passionate about football."
• And finally, the Raiders may not be done on Day 1 after all. Kiffin said the team may deal for more picks depending on how the board shakes down. "There are a couple of players where we'll have to look at giving something up for next year." And there are plenty of holes to fill: defensive line, receiving corps, another cornerback ... the list goes on.
• Best joke I've heard all day at Raiders HQ: Oakland's premier offensive players are now McFumbles and JaMumbles.
All right. Everybody out of the pool. I'm done. It's all downhill from here. When the Patriots at No. 10 picked Tennessee linebacker
I'll not match that sort of prescience any time soon. Be forewarned. Anything I say now is subject to change. Or not happen. My psychic powers are spent.
First two trades in the top 10 since 2004. The Patriots' trade with New Orleans was totally logical, because once
It's amazing to me that the Jags saved their second-round pick in the deal, surrendering two third-round picks and a fourth in the deal.
Now Baltimore sits at number 26 for their first choice. The Ravens will try to move up a few spots to pick off
Florida defensive end
This seems like the draft's first reach, but maybe the Jags know what they're doing. Jacksonville is only about 75 miles from Gainesville, Fla., so Jags scouts and coaches have had plenty of chances to see Harvey up close and personal. They know he's a "high-motor" guy with excellent burst off the line. Line him up next to
Jacksonville's pick does raise one question, though. Given that Jacksonville picked
"We're definitely excited about
"We're excited about him being at the helm ... It wasn't a difficult decision. I can't stress it enough. He has the ability to [lead] not only the offense, but the whole team. I was in New England with a guy who was like that, and it was important.''
Said Smith: "When we met with Matt, [offensive coordinator and QB coach]
Ouch. Just dislocated my right arm trying to slap myself on the back for nailing the Patriots-Saints trade in the top 10 of my final mock draft on Friday. But it did make all kinds of sense to have No. 10 New Orleans come up to No. 7 and get
I didn't have the exactly order correct in my top six, but I had all six players who were chosen 1-6. I got
I really like the moves the Saints have made this offense. That defense is considerably better with
What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time I was in an apartment in Northern Virginia with a case of beer, anguishing over every pick the Wahington Redkins made. As a back-up lineman fighting for a roster spot, I was keenly aware how devastating it would be to my chances of making the team if the Skins drafted a lineman. With most teams only keeping nine offensive linemen, one draft pick along the offensive line would mean one less spot available for me. The NFL is a zero sum game and the math isn't hard to figure out.
There aren't too many other professions where you can literally watch your employer attempt to replace you on live TV. I always loved the draft and considered it one of my favorite days as a huge football fan growing up. Once I became an NFL player, it became my least favorite weekend on the NFL calendar. Every pick was agony and though I know I shouldn't have watched, that is easier said than done. Everybody rubbernecks and looks at car crashes on the side of the road when they drive by, and for me this was no different. If my career was going to be negatively affected, I wanted to know immediately and with my own eyes, not from a text message or phone call from a friend.
I can still recall watching the Cowboys draft
For the first time in seven years, I have nothing at stake today. Though I wish I was still playing, I must admit it was a lot easier to wake up today than it had been in years past.
In Tampa, we have to agree with the decision of the assembled media in Long Island to watch the NFL Network's draft coverage, if for no other reason than the NFL Network keeps running a crawl explaining that draft analyst
If the Bears are thinking OT right now, they've got to be happy. Kansas City was one of the teams expected to go after offensive line help (
The NFL got it right this time. After watching the likes of
The most predictable ending since
But the joke here now among the scribes is that fans are probably growing thirstier for blood by the second. Atlanta's pick of
Still, Run DMC is now a member of the Raider backfield, and he's the kind of explosive player this team might need -- maybe even a
The revolution starts now. Fourteen media members at the Jets team headquarters put it to vote and, alas, we're watching the draft on the NFL Network, not ESPN. (NFL Net won by a very wide margin.) Quoth one anonymous reporter: "I can't handle
Twenty minutes into the draft, I think we whiffed on the pick. NFL Net's sound has gone haywire twice already, and something went wrong during the
There was no other pick. For this team, at this time, the Falcons had to take
One particular thing they loved: Dimitroff asked Ryan a trick question at dinner, a question designed to have him say he was playing with inferior players around him. Ryan didn't take the bait. He said he loved his teammates and was indebted to them for helping BC win 11 games.
Dimitroff loved it. Absolutely loved it.
The Falcons are going to be bad over the next couple of years. I mean, 8-24 bad, or something like that. They need a guy who won't blame anyone, who will be the ultimate team guy and care about nothing but winning. They got that guy in Ryan.
Talked to Ryan at length last night. "Winning,'' he said about 16 different ways, "solves everything.'' It'll take a while, but I like the pick.
We got an email today from
It's a good question. The Dallas to Miami pipeline is getting plenty of use this offseason, but the Dolphins getting two potential starters for one fourth-rounder is no small trick. Ayodele has at least been a decent starting linebacker in the Cowboys' 3-4, and Fasano was a second-round pick just two years ago. What's up with that?
Rightly or wrongly, Ayodele became expendable when the Dolphins signed ex-Dolphin inside linebacker
You'd have to expect that the Cowboys will be looking to draft another tight end, although they are high on third-year veteran
Not to be outdone, the Rams at No. 2 took another player named Long --
The first pick is off the board.
Touching note from the Jets' Hofstra digs, where beat reporters actually bring baked goods in for each other. (No, really. Honest to blog.) One reporter has his fingers crossed that Oakland takes McFadden, simply so that Jets brass are spared the inevitable, merciless booing when New York (he thinks) passes on McFadden.
The buzz around here suggests Troy's
What's the greatest sign you're sitting amongst a room of jaded football scribes? The hearty round of belly-laughs in the Raiders media room upon NFL commissioner
In any case, there's growing speculation that the Raiders could trade down their No. 4 pick -- perhaps with New Orleans for its No. 10 pick -- which would obviously be a huge sign that
It's draft day in the Windy City, and Bears talk is swirling like the gusts off Lake Michigan. Will the Bears fill a hole on the O-Line with a prized tackle like Jeff
Or will GM
I'll be here at the Bears draft HQ at Halas Hall to give my two cents -- or as Papa Bear used to call it, a fair day's pay back in the '20s.
Though normally an NBA writer, I am a lifelong Chicagoan who grew up watching the Bears every Sunday -- often from the sidelines at Soldier Field. It was one of the perks of working as a clerk in the Bears ticket office, a job I held every summer from age 15 to 21. During my time with the Bears I had the chance to meet many players and coaches, including
I went to all the games, often seeing the action up close. I can still vividly remember the look on the faces of the Green Bay Packers' players as they came off the field after getting overrun by the
The best memory came in '86, when I shuffled off to New Orleans as an employee for Super Bowl XX.
I no longer have any connection to the current Bears, except as a season ticket holder.
But I still follow the team closely, and I have many family and friends who live and die with the Monsters of the Midway. Like them, I'm looking forward to seeing what the Bears do with those two key picks at No. 14 and 44.
It takes a village to broadcast an NFL draft. The NFL Network and ESPN have 270 press credentials between them -- or more staffers than players that will be selected today.
Both networks face challenges unlike previous years: The league reduced each team's time to make a first-round pick from 15 minutes to 10. The second round has also been reduced from 10 to seven minutes. Plus, the draft begins at a later time -- the NFL wanted prime-time exposure for its biggest offseason showcase -- and the start of the third round was moved to Sunday. "Everything we have learned the past couple of years is out the window," says NFL Network executive producer
With less time to prattle on about each pick, ESPN decided to streamline its on-air talent for its 16 hours of live coverage. Chris
Last year's first round clocked in at an excruciating six hours and eight minutes, the longest in history. Thankfully, we're safe from a repeat this year.
The best indicator that the Cardinals are headed in the right direction is their position (No. 16) in this year's draft. Not only are the Cardinals not picking in the top 10 for only the second time since 1995, but their first round pick is outside of the top 15 for the first time since 1985. This isn't to say the Cardinals, which finished last season at 8-8, aren't in need of some help. We're still talking about a franchise with only one winning season in the past 24 years.
The word of the day in the Cardinals war room is "flexibility." For the first time in years the Cardinals don't feel the need to draft a starter or select a player based on need. Coach
To that end the Cardinals have focused on two positions: cornerback and running back. The Cardinals wish list at cornerback includes
A possible trade that has been bounced around has the Cardinals sending disgruntled wide receiver
I've been seeing buddy
After I picked my bruised jaw up from the floor, I called up the column I wrote in the April 7 edition of SI, a column with
I don't expect the tradeup for McFadden to happen, but in the offhand event that it does, Jerry, we're going to hold you to those words, and wonder how the world turned upside down in 19 days. McFadden might -- underline might -- get 150 carries playing behind
Drive it in! Tow it in! Drag it in! The Bucs will accept your trade!
They're flying the football field-sized Buccaneers flag outside today, which can only mean one of two things. This either is a big day at One Buc Place, or the Bucs plan to add a revenue stream by opening a Ford dealership in the space between the practice facility and Raymond James Stadium.
If you've driven around your average American suburbolopolis, you know you can't sell cars without a giant flag. The Bucs have that, and they also have General Manager
Speaking of trades, the Bucs may end up shipping off their second-round pick today to land an established star. Tampa Bay is rumored to be in the mix for Philadelphia cornerback
This is purely unscientific (how could it be anything else?), but here are one man's odds of the available big-name players being traded this weekend, now that Kansas City's
--Giants tight end
--Dolphins defensive end
What is a draft without crazy Jets fans? I talked to at least 100 Gang Green supporters outside Radio City in jerseys ranging from
There's a multiple-TV-truck draft-day buzz here 53 minutes before the draft, and thanks to heavens for sending extra second-round picks for
Quick league stuff from a cauliflower-eared phone night, and less this morning: The Rams, obviously, are set to take
Which would drop Dorsey to died-and-gone-to-heaven Kansas City. I think the Chiefs run the card to the podium in New York, thrilled to have gotten Dorsey to anchor their defensive line for the next 10 years. If the Chiefs can find a suitor for very big compensation, maybe they drop back. But I doubt it.
What caught my eye this morning from an early perusal of the 'net: Plugged-in
One last thing: The Saints won't raise their offer of second- and sixth-round picks for
Five things I'm thinking about as I head out to Giants Stadium:
1. Will the Giants orchestrate a draft-day trade involving disgruntled tight end
2. What gems will the Giants uncover this year? As the ESPN draft promo featuring late-round picks
3. How late did Reese stay up last night?
4. Will Miami safety
5. For people who aren't from New York, driving through -- heck, even merging into -- the Lincoln Tunnel can be a harrowing experience. If only the subway went out to the Meadowlands...
First thought: Why the hell do the Jets headquarter in Long Island, an hour-long drive from their stadium in New Jersey? That's where I'll be all day, trying to sort out the Jets draft scenario.
Here's what we have to go on in the hours leading up to game time: The Jets are willing to trade up. (Helloooo, Kansas City.) They're willing to trade down. (Hellooo, Baltimore.) They're either seriously enamored with
Same ol' story, which makes prognosticating a completely laughable task, really, at this point. In the last three days, I've seen the Jets slotted to take any of six different people, mostly focused on
At Radio City Music Hall, fans will cry for the sexy picks, McFadden and Ryan (neither of which makes a lot of sense). Online, a poll at the Jets' Web site says fans want a receiver, of which there are none deserving of a top 10 pick; another online poll has them begging for Gholston. Feeling pressure yet,
If you reside in the Bay Area and you're reading this, you obviously care a boatload about this draft to stay indoors on a day like today. It's shaping up to be a gorgeous spring weekend: mid-70s, sunny skies, light breeze. You know, the kind where, if you drive over the San Francisco Bay Bridge toward Oakland, you can see far enough up and down the bay to catch glimpses of four bridges at once.
Let's hope the Raiders are ready to build a new bridge. (Like how I did that one?) These are lean times in Bay Area sports, especially in the pro football department -- the 49ers' and Raiders' combined record over the past five years is 44-116 ... can that be right?
And here we are on yet another Draft Day, where the Raiders' recent results have been, well, awful. Even though
I think I've got the best SI.com assignment of all this draft weekend. I'm embedded at Valley Ranch, home of the win-now (or else) Cowboys, the team that last season did about everything you can do in the NFL except for snapping their galling 11-year streak of not winning a playoff game.
Simply put, they're not messing around in Jerry World this year. When you go 13-3 and earn the NFC's homefield advantage and still get bounced from the playoffs with a one-and-done playoff showing, well, a sense of urgency tends to prevail. Thus,
The Cowboys aren't in the market this weekend for players to develop. They need the last few pieces of the puzzle, in order to enter the 2008 season fully locked and loaded for what doubtless will be head coach
Until the Chiefs swung the deal with Minnesota for
All in all, it should make for some entertaining draft-watching, because we know Cowboys owner
Draft weekend unofficially started about 41 hours ago when
The whole exercise, part of an NFL Network party at the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan, was equal parts riveting and ridiculous. In other words, it was exactly like the NFL draft.
Welcome to the inaugural SI.com At The Draft Blog. Today, we have dispatched 14 writers throughout 11 cities across the country. They have one goal: To bring you behind the scenes of the first two rounds of the 2008 NFL Draft. The baker's dozen plus one:
The blog will run from now until the end of the second round. Have any questions along the way? Feel free to email us at
So sit back, relax and settle in for a long day ... and night. Come to think of it, a butt pad may come in handy.