The picks have all been turned in and Ryan Succop was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs as “Mr. Irrelevant” with the 256th and final pick of the 2009 NFL Draft. While it’s too early to begin to evaluate the draft now, I think it’s apparent that some teams were more successful than others throughout the draft weekend. I’ve reviewed each of the 32 NFL team’s draft picks and decided on my list of draft day winners. I don’t need 10 or 15 minutes on the clock to give you my selections like they did this weekend, so without delay here are my draft day winners (in alphabetical order):
1. Cincinnati Bengals- I absolutely love what the Bengals were able to accomplish this weekend, however my inclusion of the Bengals on this list has nothing to do with their 1st round pick Andre Smith. I’m not a Smith fan at all and think that he could become a big bust (Did you guys seem him on Saturday? He looks like he’s pushing 350 lbs.). Even taking Smith away from the class you have to love Rey Maualuga in the second round, Michael Johnson in the third round, Chase Coffman in the fourth, and Jonathan Luigs in the fifth round. I’m looking at no less than four starters coming from this draft class in addition to the Bengals filling many needs without ever “reaching” to get these players.
2. Cleveland Browns- Nobody knew what the Browns were going to do this weekend with rumors that they could move both Braylon Edwards and Brady Quinn. Neither player was traded, but the Browns sure were active on Saturday moving back in the first round twice, while stock piling picks and players in the process. The Browns were able to get some of Eric Mangini’s old players from the Jets while moving back from the 5th overall pick to the 17th, and then moved back again to the 21st pick moments later. In addition to not trading Edwards and Quinn, the Browns had a field day drafting over the weekend. In the end, through trades and draft picks the Browns added eleven new players to their roster over the weekend. The Browns highlight selections include offensive lineman Alex Mack and receiver Brian Robiskie, however they also added many new defensive players to their team, a major weakness of the Browns last season
3. Green Bay Packers- The Packers already had a playoff caliber team heading into the draft, but they were able to greatly improve their defense after having two first round picks (one they traded for). While it’s not the entire Packers draft that has me sold, it’s the addition of two starters on defense for them. Their first pick was B.J. Raji, the draft’s best defensive tackle, however they also traded for another first round pick where they took USC’s Clay Matthews. Raji and Matthews are perfect fits for the new Dom Capers 3-4 defense.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars- Whenever a team can draft both of their tackles in the first day of the draft that’s clearly a good draft. The Jags grabbed Eugene Monroe when he slipped to them and then got lucky as Eben Britton fell to them in the second round. In addition to the two tackles, the Jags also added depth on the defensive line and at receiver. Since the Jags cut Fred Taylor, we knew the Jags would need to take a running back in the draft to pair with Maurice Jones-Drew. They hit a homerun in the 7th round where they took one of my “sleepers” Rashard Jennings from Liberty. Jennings is a big back and a perfect complement to the smaller MJD.
5. Miami Dolphins- It’s hard to knock Bill Parcells when he’s making the selections. The Dolphins addressed a serious need in the first round by taking corner back Vontae Davis and then added depth at the position again by taking corner Sean Smith (6’4”). The Dolphins focused on the edges and speedy players with their draft picks. In addition to the corners, Parcells also grabbed some fast and versatile receivers in the draft as well. If NFL defensive coordinator’s thought the 2008 version of the “Wildcat” offense was tough to read, just imagine the possibilities now with the addition of Pat White. The Dolphins will be fun to watch and one of the NFL’s up and coming young teams.
6. New York Giants- The Giants consistently are one of the betters evaluators of talent in the draft and proved it once again this year. It seemed like every pick was a home run for them and it started in the first round with receiver Hakeem Nicks, then they added a solid outside linebacker in Clint Sintim, a tackle with William Beatty, and a big, tall receiver in the Plaxico Burress mold with Ramses Barden. Other Giants draft picks included a running back to fill the void left by Derrick Ward, a tight end, and two corners. Yet again the Giants were able to add good players to areas of need without ever drafting players out of position.
7. Philadelphia Eagles- Just like the Giants, the Eagles are one of my favorite teams to watch in the draft and are my official winners of the best overall draft of 2009. The Eagles got McNabb a solid target with Jeremy Macklin in the first round (Moreno was gone) and then selected running back LeSean McCoy in the second round to pair with Brian Westbrook. The Eagles really made their draft in the fifth round where they drafted tight end Cornelius Ingram, cover corner Victor “Macho” Harris, and offensive lineman Fenuki Tupou. Overall this was an incredible draft by the Eagles (again), they really seem to have the best philosophy when it comes to the draft in my opinion. Great draft by the Eagles!