The NFL Draft unfolded last weekend unlike many suspected it to. Jimmy Clausen, a possible top 10 pick, plummeted to the 48th pick before being chosen by the Carolina Panthers. The Oakland Raiders actually made some damn smart moves, landing a guy many suspected them to draft at number eight overall (Maryland OT Bruce Campbell) in the fourth round. Tim Tebow, a guy many people saw as a tight end or fullback prospect rather than a quarterback, somehow got Josh McDaniels to put his job on the line by moving back up into the first to select him. Needless to say, a lot of rookies just got put in the NFL, and I have the whole summer to go over them and figure out who I think is going to do well. But for now- here are the biggest steals, reaches, and late round hopefuls of the 2010 NFL Draft:
Biggest Steals: Bryan Bulaga, Iowa OT, 23rd overall pick (Green Bay): Bulaga, while drawing concerns about his arm length, was one of the top offensive tackle prospects in the draft class, put by many behind Russell Okung (#6 overall) and Trent Williams (#4 overall). He fell down boards after the teams with needs looked elsewhere with their picks (see Buffalo, Oakland) and the 49ers suprisingly chose Rutgers tackle Anthony Davis before Bulaga, despite wide concern about Davis’ work ethic. Bulaga then fell to the Packers, who depsite making the playoffs and going 11-5 behind the arm of Aaron Rodgers had large concern with the stability of their offensive line.
Charles Brown, USC OT, 64th overall (2nd round): How the defending superbowl champs managed to land a prospect like Brown with the last pick in the second round boggles my mind. Brown, a guy who some thought could slip into the latter portion of the first, started two years for the Trojans and received first team All-Pac-10 and All-American honors his senior year as well as being the recipient of the Morris Trophy for the Pac-10’s top offensive lineman. The Saints now have a solid, young offensive tackle to groom into Jammal Brown’s place when he leaves.
Biggest Reaches: Tyson Alualu, Cal DT, 10th overall pick (Jacksonville): While I think that Alualu could be a solid DT for the Jags and a good player, he was a huge reach at 10 overall. You look at guys who have been chosen at #10 in the past: Michael Crabtree, Jerod Mayo, and Matt Leinart (didn’t exactly work out, but was regarded very highly coming into the NFL). Blue chip prospects, guys you know are going to be great players. I just think Alualu was more fit as a second round guy.
Tim Tebow, Florida TE QB, 25th overall pick (Denver): Okay, if you are a Tebow lover skip down to the next section, because you’re more than likely not going to agree/like what I’m going to say. Trading back into the first to get Tebow is going to ultimately get Josh McDaniels fired, unless Tim Tebow really is a disciple of Christ and morphs into a NFL quarterback. Tebow’s mechanics are just too shaky, his footwork the same. He has never taken snaps under center, and as a result has never had to read a defense thanks to Urban Meyers spread offense. As if all these red flags weren’t enough: his athleticism isn’t going to dominate defenses like it did in the college game. He won’t be able to run around the backfield and wait for a receiver to get open like he did in college: the defenders in the NFL are faster than he is. Neither will he be able to run over middle linebackers while running, the talent level and the physicality of the NFL is leaps and bounds above what he usually faced in the NCAA, making for an unwelcoming environment to his style of play. Tebow looked absolutely terrible at the Senior Bowl, but somehow convinced Denver with his revamped delivery at his pro day (which consists of throwing without pads to wide open receivers, how that makes people forget about the 4 years prior to that I have no idea) to pick him at number 25 overall. This was an awful pick.
Late Round Gems?:
Corey Wootton, Northwestern DE, 109th overall (4th round): Wootton fell to the fourth round of the draft for one reason: his health. He blew out his knee in the Alamo Bowl at the end of his junior year in every since of the term: tearing his ACL, MCL, and meniscus in his right knee in one play. After recovering from the nasty injury, Wootton returned, motivated for his senior season, only to sustain a nagging high ankle sprain in Northwestern’s October 3rd game against Purdue. These two injuries caused quite the decline in Wootton’s effectiveness, going from 10 sacks his junior year to 6 as a senior. I still expected Wootton to go earlier than round four, and think that once he can get back into full swing will be a nice complement to the newly signed Julius Peppers for the Bears.
Bruce Campbell, Maryland OT, 106th overall (4th round): Campbell, a offensive tackle that many thought would be taken at #8 overall by the Raiders, is a physical freak that has loads of potential. While very raw and unpolished, Campbell has the potential to develop into an elite LT with the proper coaching and work ethic. He needs to work on his footwork and blocking game in general, the potential is through the roof and for a fourth rounder, his high bust possibility isn’t as disconcerting as it was as a first rounder. This was an excellent pick for the Raiders and I think it could pay off largely for them.