After seven rounds and 255 selections here's who fared the best and who didn't (along with a couple of head-scratchers) in the two-day NFL draft marathon.
With the seventh pick they grabbed South Carolina wideout Troy Williamson, who with his 4.31 speed will be plugged into the Randy Moss spot. Then they got lucky at No. 18, when Wisconsin's superb pass rusher, Erasmus James, was still on the board. Mississippi's Marcus Johnson (second round) is a mauler who could fit in at guard or right tackle, and their third-round choice, defensive back Dustin Fox of Ohio State, is a leaper (431/2-inch vertical jump).
Bill Parcells hates little guys, so he brought in a couple of hefty defensive ends in the first round, 270-pound Demarcus Ware of Troy and 305-pound Marcus Spears of LSU, to give his anemic pass defense a solid outside rush. And to provide some muscle at linebacker he drafted 242-pound Kevin Burnett of Tennessee in the second. All told, six of the eight selections went for defense.
Quality over quantity. They had only six picks, but they found such gems as Auburn's Ronnie Brown, the best running back in the draft; Matt Roth, a premier pass rusher out of Iowa; and Florida linebacker Channing Crowder, a bit of a gamble because of his multiple knee injuries but an instinctive ball hawk when he's right.
Dennis Green addressed his cornerback need with the eighth choice, picking Miami's Antrel Rolle while gambling that he could upgrade another weak position, running back, later. The gamble paid off big-time in the second round when Arizona landed Cal's J.J. Arrington, who led the NCAA in rushing yards last year, with 2,018.
They came away with arguably the two best players at their positions, wideout Braylon Edwards of Michigan and free safety Brodney Pool of Oklahoma. But here's the player who could put their draft over the top: Akron quarterback Charlie Frye, a third-rounder who is remarkably accurate.
I love the way they chose solid performers rather than workout warriors. I'm talking about USC defensive tackle Mike Patterson, only 5'11" but what a motor; outside linebacker Matt McCoy of San Diego State; free safety Sean Considine of Iowa; and running back Ryan Moats of Louisiana Tech, a Brian Westbrook clone.
Three corners who run in the 4.3s and Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett were the first four selections in their six-man draft. If they're setting up a sprint relay, I hope they don't make Clarett run the anchor leg. Why do they need him, anyway? I thought they addressed their running back situation when they signed free agent Ron Dayne, late of the Giants.
They needed a right tackle, namely Jammal Brown of Oklahoma (snapped up by the Saints), but they wound up with a left tackle, Florida State's Alex Barron, who's a finesse type. Their other first-day picks were a pair of uninspiring defensive backs (Ronald Bartell of Howard and Oshiomogho Atogwe of Stanford) and a center (Richie Incognito) who was suspended at Nebraska for anger issues.
They had no first-round choice and only four picks total. One good corner, Corey Webster of LSU, and one decent rusher, JustinTuck of Notre Dame, are all the blessings they can count from this draft.
Everyone thought they'd go defense with their top pick, but they took a wideout, Mike Williams of USC, in the first round for the third straight year. Then again,I did jot down a comment from club president Matt Millen in which he said he'd love to line up Williams with Charles Rogers and Roy Williams in three-wideout sets.
I will never criticize a Scott Pioli--Bill Belichick draft, not with their track record, but of their seven choices this year, not one was a household name. The draftees are all no-nonsense, high-performance people, but, gosh, Fresno State guard Logan Mankins at the top of the board? Sounds like a department store in London. --Paul Zimmerman