I really love the way Mike Holmgren handled his first draft with the Browns. It’s as if he realizes that he’s not making the playoffs without a LOT of luck or the decline of the Steelers and Ravens stranglehold on the division. So, he has now postured his team to be much better in 2-3 years while those teams should be in decline with age. It was a brilliant move in a year when there really weren’t a lot of “must have” players.
The more I look at it, the more I love the Jake Locker pick at #8. Sure, the Titans probably could have traded down a bit and maybe gotten something extra, but as we saw with the Christian Ponder pick at #12 it may not have played out if they had. The Titans have a great opportunity this season for Locker learn from Kerry Collins (who, like him or not, has put up more than 30k yards passing in his career and played in a Super Bowl) without the pressure of being forced to start right away. That isn’t to say that he won’t start right away, but the pressure won’t be there because of the serviceable veteran. That will be a clutch factor if the preseason or mini-camps are cut short at all.
That being said, I like the Jaguars taking Blaine “Yo Gabba” Gabbert at #10 (I’m repeating that nickname until he’s out of the league or it catches on, and I’m okay with either result). He gets to learn from a seasoned vet who has proven himself to know the NFL game.
That being said, I pity Cam Newton and Christian Ponder. Both guys could be thrust onto the field behind mediocre offensive lines and have Jimmy Clausen (1 year, 10 starts, 58.4 rating) and Joe Webb (1 year, 3 starts, 60.9 rating) holding the clipboard, respectively. I’m not saying that Carolina should have drafted someone else, but I am saying that Cam Newton needs to brace himself.
The last pick in the draft that I want to over-analyze is the Cardinals’ selection of Patrick Peterson at #5. Everyone knew that Arizona needed a QB and that both Newton and Gabbert would be off the board at #5. Except that Gabbert wasn’t off the board, and Arizona had a golden opportunity to get the QB that they desperately need in order to keep Larry Fitzgerald happy and Beanie Wells out of a wheelchair. But Arizona did the unexpected and opted not to take Gabbert. They didn’t panic and go after a QB that they weren’t set on. They grabbed the best player available to them and said to the world, “There is not a QB in this draft that is good enough to be the future of our franchise.” I love the pick, and I think the Cardinals absolutely made the right call.
That probably sounds hypocritical since I predicted that they would take Yo Gabba Gabbert. But I made my prediction based on the fact that thought a) the Cardinals believed Gabbert was that good and b) all NFL GMs are in love with young QBs. I like the Peterson pick because it proved that c) some teams understand that not every prospect is a superstar.