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Taking Stock

May 05, 2008
May 05, 2008

Table of Contents
May 5, 2008

SI Players: LIFE ON AND OFF THE FIELD
BASEBALL
NBA PLAYOFFS
BEIJING OLYMPICS 2008
COLLEGE FOOTBALL
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
NFL DRAFT
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Taking Stock

Beef stock, that is. A draft top-heavy with offensive tackles had some other weighty issues too

How to assessthis draft? I give the first-round run of seven offensive tackles (above) an A,but beyond that letter grades are out, groupings are in. These are the teamsthat got me thinking.

This is an article from the May 5, 2008 issue

DRAFTING FORNEED, AND WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?

BENGALS
Start with the finest and most dedicated LB, Keith Rivers. Third-rounderPatrick Sims is a 310-pound DT who'll shore up the middle. WRs Jerome Simpsonand Andre Caldwell help cover the loss of Chris Henry and the moods of ChadJohnson.

COWBOYS
Breathtakingly fast RB Felix Jones will team with Marion Barber. Mike Jenkins,a quality CB, will pair with Terence Newman. Martellus Bennett, an athletic TE,will replace Anthony Fasano (traded to Miami). Tashard Choice, a seriousbanger, provides still more backfield depth.

GIANTS
Talented S Kenny Phillips neatly fills the hole left by the departure of GibrilWilson. The off-season loss of two LBs is covered by an athletic pair of245-pounders, Bryan Kehl and Jonathan Goff.

JAGUARS
To beat the Colts, you have to get at Peyton Manning. The first two picks wentfor edge rushers Derrick Harvey and Quentin Graves, though trading up 18 spots,to No. 8, for Harvey was a bit of a reach.

PATRIOTS
Linebacking corps aging? Plug in top pick Jerod Mayo, 242 pounds, 4.54 in the40. Mourning the loss of CBs Asante Samuel and Randall Gay? Here'ssecond-rounder Terrence Wheatley.

SAINTS
They wanted to trade up for their most pressing need, a big, quick defensivelineman, notably Glenn Dorsey. Sorry, price was too high, so they took LBSedrick Ellis. Believe me, they will not regret it. Second-round CB TracyPorter (4.37) helps the secondary get speedier.

WAIT A MINUTE

BEARS
Enemy offenses run over a Chicago D built for speed rushing. Rex Grossman losesWRs Bernard Berrian and Muhsin Muhammad. So the first two picks are a smooth,athletic T, Chris Williams, and a grind-it-out RB, Matt Forte. One QB among 12picks would have helped.

BRONCOS
They had trouble stopping the run, remember? Well, first-rounder Ryan Clady isa very functional T, but they didn't take a big defensive guy, DT CarltonPowell, until round 5.

CHIEFS
The names will knock you out: DT Glenn Dorsey, OL Branden Albert, CB BrandonFlowers, 6'8" TE Brad Cottam. Two questions: How do you cover the loss ofAll-Pro DE Jared Allen (traded to Minnesota)? Do you really have a QB who canget you through a season?

REDSKINS
Secondary's creaking, D-line needs help. So the first four picks go WR, TE, WR,G? Yes, Devin Thomas might be the best wideout in the draft, and Malcolm Kellyis a good possession man, but ...

MIRROR,MIRROR

PANTHERS
John Fox is a tough guy. The first round brought pounding RB Jonathan Stewartand hard-nosed T Jeff Otah. Later came no-nonsense CB Charles Godfrey and solidILB Dan Connor.

BUCCANEERS
The No. 1 pick, CB Aqib Talib, likes to get in people's faces, which Jon Grudendoesn't mind at all. Then comes little WR Dexter Jackson, who runs a 4.33.Speedy and annoying, that's Tampa Bay.

DOLPHINS
The nine picks average 6'3", 275, and at the top are 6'7", 315 T JakeLong; 6'5", 272 pocket-collapsing DE Phillip Merling and 6'2", 225 QBChad Henne, with a rifle arm. Bill Parcells likes 'em big.

GAMBLERS

CARDINALS
The top pick, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, is a terrific cover guy, butsecond-round DE Calais Campbell didn't reach his potential and third-round WREarly Doucet had a nagging groin injury.

RAVENS
Up and down the draft order they went until big Joe Flacco, the Delaware QB,fell into their laps. To make things interesting they grabbed RB Ray Rice, thegreatest Rutgers player since Paul Robeson.

QUALITY, NOTQUANTITY

49ERS
I guess this is a way of saying that after top pick Kentwan Balmer, thelate-blooming DT, and G Chilo Rachal, the roughneck second-rounder, none of theNiners' other selections thrilled me.

BILLS
Leodis McKelvin is a top-flight CB but an even better return man. QB TrentEdwards asked for a big target—how about 6'6", 220-pound WR JamesHardy?

HEAD-SCRATCHERS

PACKERS
Some interesting choices among nine picks, but two QBs? We can understand BrianBrohm, but why Matt Flynn?

TEXANS
Should have been loading up on pass-protecting lineman from the franchise'sstart, and now they finally get one—a finesse guy, T Duane Brown.

RAMS
DE Chris Long makes sense. And so does beefy G John Greco, the third-rounder.But who insisted on WR Donnie Avery at No. 33 with better wideouts on theboard?

I CAN'T WAIT TOSEE ...

EAGLES
Trevor Laws, the second-round DT, show the world that a great run-plugginglineman is just as valuable as a sack artist.... Donovan McNabb get a look atsecond-round WR DeSean Jackson's 4.35 speed.

STEELERS
First-round RB Rashard Mendenhall carrying the ball in relief of WillieParker.... Big Ben playing skyball with 6'4", 212-pound WR, Limas Sweed,the second-round pick.... Classy fifth-round QB Dennis Dixon coming in for afew of those Kordell Stewart numbers.

Miami's nine picks average 6'3", 275 pounds. TheNo. 1 choice, Jake Long, is 6'7", 315. Bill Parcells LIKES 'EM BIG.
PHOTOTOM DIPACE PHOTOGRAPHYJake Long, Michigan No. 1 • DOLPHINSPHOTOBRIAN LOSNESS/US PRESSWIRERyan Clady, Boise State No. 12 • BRONCOSPHOTONEIL BRAKE/VANDERBILT ATHLETICSChris Williams, Vanderbilt No. 14 • BEARSPHOTOROB TRINGALI/SPORTSCHROMEGosder Cherilus, Boston College No. 17 • LIONSPHOTOJIM OWENS/ICON SMIJeff Otah, Pittsburgh No. 19 • PANTHERSPHOTOJOSE/MARIN/MEDIA.ORG/CAL SPORT MEDIASam Baker, USC No. 21 • FALCONSPHOTORICH KANE/ICON SMIDuane Brown, Virginia Tech No. 26 • TEXANS