When the Texans surprised pretty much everyone by agreeing to terms with N.C. State DE Mario Williams even before the draft had begun, my initial take on that was that it was very bad news for Matt Leinart and, by extension, Jay Cutler. I think the Texans had some idea that, while Williams would probably go high, he wasn't necessarily someone they had to spend the #1 overall pick on, and I'd be willing to bet they probably shopped that first pick to as many people as possible. But apparently nobody bit on it -- at least not for what Houston was asking -- which could have meant one of two things: Either nobody was concerned enough about Matt Leinart getting snapped up early to go after that #1 pick, or not all that many teams had their hearts set on him in the first place. And if Leinart dropped, then Cutler would drop even further.
As far as Leinart was concerned, I guess my prediction was somewhat borne out in that he fell all the way to #10 (and to Arizona, no less), although my other hunch -- that Cutler might fall all the way to the second round -- didn't end up happening. If anything, Cutler came out better than Leinart -- if you're a blue-chip college QB and you have the choice of getting drafted by Arizona or Denver, where would you rather end up? Yeah, that's what I thought.
At any rate, I was really glad to see that Vince Young didn't get sunk by the Wonderlic hoo-ha -- I said from the beginning that he'd go before Cutler and probably deserved to go before Leinart, too, and sure enough he did. I think Young ended up in a near-ideal situation in Tennessee, where he can spend a year or two getting mentored behind a tough, experienced quarterback (Steve McNair) who's still got a couple good seasons left in him, and then when it comes time for VY to take the reins, his range of talents (mobility being chief among them) will be similar enough to McNair's that the transition should be relatively seamless.
Consider this an open thread for anyone just passin' through on a Saturday afternoon to leave their random thoughts about draft picks already made and draft picks yet to come -- which teams came away with terrific steals, which teams got suckered into picking players way higher than they needed to, which players stand to become superstars in their new NFL homes and which ones are the likely busts. I'm still really hoping that D.J. Shockley, Leonard Pope, and Darrell Hackney in particular end up with good teams. With Pittsburgh having lost Antwaan Randle-El to free agency, it's not far out of the realm of reality to envision Shockley -- a running and throwing threat just like Randle-El -- getting picked up by the defending Super Bowl champions and picking right up where his very talented predecessor left off. Certainly it's already been proven that, for Bulldogs at least, there are much worse places than Pittsburgh where a guy can end up.
AFTER-THE-SMOKE-CLEARS UPDATE: Yecch. I'm glad I had both a date and a wedding to occupy my time yesterday, because I would've been really pissed had I sat around in front of ESPN all day only to see Max Jean-Gilles go undrafted through the first three rounds. This was not the Bulldog bonanza most Georgia fans have come to expect on draft day, with only two Dawgs going in the first three rounds and none going in the first round (the first time that's happened in six years, as Paul Westerdawg reports). The two who did get drafted, though, are in excellent situations -- Leonard Pope stands an excellent shot at becoming the starting TE in his rookie season with Arizona (yeah, forget everything I said about the Cardinals), while Tim Jennings overcame his relatively small stature to go way higher than most draft "experts" predicted. Still shocked about Jean-Gilles, though -- yes, I'm very biased, but I pegged him as the best OL after D'Brickashaw Ferguson and maybe Marcus McNeill. And I'm still really hoping that Shockley and my UAB homeboy, Darrell Hackney, get picked up by good teams. Westerdawg's take on Day 1 is here; DAve Akins, a radical partisan of both the Dawgs and the Falcons, has his winners and losers here (along with a very funny Random Ten/Mel Kiper Jr. goof here); and if you're one of those people who insists on having your opinion validated by those squares in the mainstream media, you can get your fix here (ESPN's John Clayton) and here (SI's Don Banks).
Quick hypothetical, for those of you who are interested: What if Mario Williams becomes the second coming of Reggie White, while Reggie Bush becomes the RB equivalent of Ryan Leaf? Something to think about. Alls I'm saying.
One thing I hope for in the draft is for the Falcons to pick up some local players out of UGA. I don't expect them to pick up players for the sake of just having UGA players on their team, but this year's crop of Bulldogs fill the Falcons needs nicely. Falcons need a back up QB and Shockley fits the mobile QB mold, they need secondary help and Jennings will be there as well as Blue, and they could use O-line help as well. All these players they could pick up late in the draft and would be as good as anybody out there so I see no reason NOT to pick these local players.
I'm not saying I wish death on Chris Berman - but a nice speech-impairing stroke would be very welcome.
Pope will be a Chicago Bear, I'm guessing. And as long as Greg Blue stays the hell away from my Falcons, I will accept Bulldogs with open arms.
Greg Blue has stayed the hell away from my Falcons, thank God. But so will Shockley, I'm a'fearin'.
Sadly, NFL.com is not selling Leonard Pope Cardinals jerseys yet. But I will have one. Oh yes, I will have one.
Golston to the Redskins. Let's be honest, Doug: do you need to change your jeans now?
Pfft, what makes you think I was wearing pants at all?
Seriously, I'm always thrilled anytime the Redskins snag a Dawg. Since Champ Bailey is no longer with the 'Skins, I may have to go out and get Golston's jersey at some point.
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