NFL Draft Winners and Losers
04-29-2008, 03:09 AM
NFL Draft Winners and Losers
By David Lee
This year’s draft had its elite players and surprising selections, and collectors have already begun to react to the picks. Here are a few of the draft’s winners and losers from a hobby perspective.
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
The consensus top quarterback lasted just three picks. Atlanta’s quarterback situation is wide open, so expect Ryan to be starting by October. Roddy White finally came on last year with 1,200 yards receiving, and with Atlanta adding Michael Turner at running back, Ryan looks to have some decent weapons.
Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens
The Ravens traded up to grab Flacco with the 18th pick. With Steve McNair retiring, Flacco could be another rookie who gets to start early in 2008. Watch for his cards to heat up as the season draws near and collectors anticipate him getting playing time.
The Steelers had a great first two rounds by drafting RB Rashard Mendenhall in the first and WR Limas Sweed in the second. Steelers collectors have to be loving these picks. Many thought Mendenhall was the second best RB in the draft, and he should provide needed power running—something the Steelers have been missing since Jerome Bettis retired. Sweed will remind Steelers fans of Plaxico Burress, and should be a great complement to Santonio Holmes. Oh, and to top off the weekend, the Steelers grabbed QB Dennis Dixon from Oregon, who could be used in the Kordell Stewart mold. Just an exciting draft all around for those towel waivers.
Christmas came eight months early (or four months late, however you look at it) for Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell. After some dealing, the Redskins ended up with three second-round pick that they turned into receivers Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly and tight end Fred Davis. All three add size and plenty of talent to the Washington passing game. They’ll need it if they want to keep up with the Giants and Cowboys in the NFC East.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers
He was supposed to slide down to the late first round or early second round, but instead was the 13th overall player taken and the No. 2 running back. Guys like Maurice Drew and Maron Barber have showed that it’s possible to make Hot Lists while sharing carries. The same could be true for Stewart, who is a powerful, hard runner, and a great fit to DeAngelo Williams’ versatility and speed.
Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
A surprise first-round pick by the Titans, who had their choice of any receiver in the draft. Johnson was the fastest player at the combine. This pick tells me two things: No. 1: LenDale White is slow. No. 2: The Titans plan on handing the ball off a lot in 2008, which doesn’t speak much to the team’s confidence in Vince Young.
Chad Henne, QB, Dolphins
Henne fell to the Dolphins in the late second round and should have a great shot at competing for the starting job in Miami where John Beck and Josh McCown are anything but solid.
Doesn’t anyone pass the ball in this league anymore? No receivers were drafted in the first round, and the first receiver off the board was from Houston. A slide like that could slow down card sales for bigger-name receivers like Malcolm Kelly, Limas Sweed and DeSean Jackson. Still, this is a deep class and plenty of receivers went in favorable situations.
Brian Brohm, QB, Packers
Once considered on par with Matt Ryan, Brohm fell to the Packers in the second round. With Aaron Rodgers waiting three years to take Brett Favre’s place, it could be a long time before we see Brohm play.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers
While we still like the one-two punch of Mendenhall and Willie Parker, Mendenhall fell further than most thought he would. Splitting carries is not as exciting as being drafted as a No. 1 running back.
Early Doucet, WR, Cardinals
This may be the best value pick of the draft. Doucet was a mid-third-round pick and the 11th receiver drafted. With a crowded receiver depth cart in Arizona, Doucet may not get many passes in 2008. But he’ll be a good slot receiver, and the Cardinals won't be able to hold on to Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald forever.
Mike Hart, RB, Colts
Hart may never be a starting running back in the NFL, but he’s better than a late sixth-round pick. He’s a popular rookie who played four years at Michigan. The Colts will find a way to work him into the offense.
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