Tuesday, April 26, 2005

NFL Draft Winners and Losers

All in all, it was a terrific draft, although I must concur with Peter King of Sports Illustrated in that the time allowed "on the clock" for teams to pick should be reduced. If they haven't made up their minds by the time their pick rolls around, an extra five minutes isn't going to make much difference.

Draft Winners
Arizona Cardinals—I remember when the Gridbirds were in St. Louis and the only question was how badly would George Boone and Bill Bidwell and the rest of the Cardinals brain(dead)trust screw up their draft picks. Well, Denny Green has brought in a new attitude, and it's looking more and more like Arizona could legitimately contend for a playoff spot this year. They were fortunate to get Antrel Rolle to fall to their #8 spot, then they further solidified their running game with J.J. Arrington, then went back to work on their defense, for the most part. If Seattle stumbles, they could win the NFC West.

Minnesota Vikings—They went for speed over size in selecting Troy Williamson at WR to replace Randy Moss, then got a huge break when Erasmus James, a big, fast, pass-rushed DE was available with their second first-round pick at #18. They also picked up an offensive lineman to back up the aging David Dixon, another running back (the Vikings are second only to Denver in producing quality RBs) and more help in the defensive secondary. The Vikings' defense will be so dramatically improved this year that the resulting release of pressure on the offense to outscore opponents should actually free Daunte and company to relax and light up the scoreboard like a pinball machine. Is this the year? Well, Vikings fans think every year is the year, but at least this time, our optimism is legitimate.

St. Louis Rams—You can't argue with their first-round selection of Alex Barron. The kid has a mountain of size and potential, and he could be an All-Pro if the Rams coaching staff figures out how to motivate him to work harder than scouts say he did at Florida State. They had to pick the best lineman available, especially after the Saints moved up and took Jammal Brown (see, I TOLD you New Orleans would try to screw us). The rest of the Rams draft, however, are all projects and reaches. I don't know why Mike Martz continues to draft players that could develop under the right circumstances when what he needs are players who can step in right now and fill needs. New England can afford coaching projects; the Rams can't, and that's why their second and third round picks look like wastes at this point. We shall see...

Detroit Lions—They play in a division against Daunte Culpepper and Brett Favre and only drafted one player for the defensive secondary. Stupid. Sure, Williams was a tempting pick, but they didn't need another wide receiver. The Vikings did, desperately, and they picked someone else, which tells me all I need to know at this point. The Lions need help on defense, and they didn't get it.


Amy said...

Hey, Sandman- I love your blog and think you are DE MAN!!! And not just because I'm your wife! You are a most talented writer and are truly appreciated!

TUCK! said...

I'm not too sure I'm comfortable with Mrs. Sandman calling him a demon in public...like...this...

Oh. She said "de man." Nevermind.