One of my favorite days of the year is upon us. The NFL Draft. A day when every team thinks they find the puzzle pieces that will put them over the top.
If you don't follow football, you would be shocked to learn how the process works. Teams spend millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours scouting players. And in the end, they usually get it right only half the time. Especially in the first few rounds of the draft, the 'experts' get it wrong more than they get it right.
So it's fun to join in on the arm-chair GM game. So as a gigantic fan of college football, here's my take on a few of the guys that should go very early in the draft.
Matthew Stafford ( QB Georgia ) - Stafford already signed a deal with the Lions a few hours ago to be the number one overall pick. This year is not regarded as a 'deep' draft class, meaning there aren't alot of superstars to pick from. But in any year, Stafford is a superstar. He can make all the throws, and has one of the best arms to come out of college in a long time. His only downside at this point... is that he's the best player available. He's going to the Lions.... poor Matthew. I think he'll be a serviceable QB in the league, it's just going to take a while... or him moving to another team before that happens. But he'll stay in the league, and be a starter for most of his career.
Mark Sanchez ( QB - USC ) - Sanchez is the biggest boom/bust prospect in the draft. Someone is going to draft him WAAAAY higher than his resume warrants. He's got physical tools, but is still pretty green under the gills. He too will be hurt by going to a crappy team, and he'll take a lot of lumps in the NFL. I don't think he'll have half the career that Stafford will have. He is the 'buzz' player right now before the draft, but nobody has played a game in 3 months. How someones stock can rise so much when you're not playing is beyond me. Halfway through the college season, he wasn't mentioned as a top ten pick.... I think he's still the same player he was in November, and isn't worth the risk. Serviceable backup for most of his career I think.
Aaron Curry ( OLB - Wake Forest ) - The safest defensive pick in the draft. Curry can come in and start and be productive right away - even if he goes to a crappy team. Defensive players don't get hurt by going to poor teams as much as offensive players do. Especially at LB. Curry should be a mainstay for most of his career. He reminds me of AJ Hawk coming out of college. Sorry Nort, Hawk isn't living up to being the 5th overall pick, but he was still a good pick. Curry won't be the next Ray Lewis, but he'll make whoever picks him up happy with the pick for a long time.
Andre Smith ( OL - Alabama ) - Gulp. This one boggles my mind. He is the second rated OL in the draft... DESPITE flaking out at the NFL Combine ( he just up and LEFT. Like walked out. That's never happened before in the history of the combine. I'll say it again. He just left. ) He also showed up having put on over 20 pounds since the season ended, and his body looked like he swallowed a bag of nickles. He was a beast in college... but I think he got by on his size alone in college. A defensive end in the NFL will run circles around him. I'm spooked cuz a TON of mock drafts have the Packers picking him at the nine spot. GULP. I hope we don't take him. I don't see him staying very long in the league.
I think the receiver that will be the best out of this draft class will be Hakeem Nicks out of North Carolina. He's big and has great hands. He's projected by the experts as the fifth best WR... but I think he's going to make more of an impact right away, and in the long run will be the best wideout available this year.
The RB, the DL, and the DBs are all so muddled, I'm just guessing as much as the experts are when it comes to them, so I'm not going to prognosicate when it comes to them.
But it will sure be fun to watch this weekend.