With the first round in the books and still several hours till the start of the second round, what's left to do other than jump the gun and start dissecting the first 32 picks. While it'll take at least two years before we truly know how the these kids turn out, why not spend countless hours trying to look into our crystal balls (insert sexual joke here).
First though a general thought: I think this was a pretty unique draft, well a unique first round anyways, and I think it's because so many teams were interested in moving down but very few teams really wanted to move up. I mean how many times did a team use the entire clock working the phones, trying to move down? There had to have been almost ten teams that seemed like they desperately wanted to move out of their pick, only to shrug their shoulders and say "well I guess we'll take this guy." While I obviously wasn't a fly on the wall in any draft war rooms last night, I do wonder if that's why there were so many "minor reaches" (like the Niners and Cowboys) and/or teams selecting a guy who wasn't exactly the best fit for their system (Washington, New Orleans). Then again it also might be that there just isn't a great deal of difference, talent wise, between the middle of the first round guys and late second round guys. Whatever the reason, this has been a pretty unique draft already.....
Biggest Reach:While it would be easily to look at the selections of Locker and Ponder, I'll forgo those two picks until later. No, for me the biggest reach, without a doubt, was the Seahawksselection of James Carpenter. Carpenter could very well be a day one starter who's a fixture on their front line for a decade or so, but that doesn't change the fact that they could have selected him in the middle of the second round, if not at their pick in the second. And don't forget the fact that there were several offensive lineman still on the board who were higher ranked than Carpenter. To the Seahawks credit though, they did use almost the entire clock which could mean that they were working the phones trying to move down (even though the cameras showed most of the guys in the war room casually leaning back in their chairs like they'd just nailed the prom queen, including the very smug Pete Carroll).
Best Value:Prince Amukamara was almost a top 10 lock two months ago but yesterday he fell all the way to #19 but his loss is definitely a positive for the New York Football Giants. He may not have excellent ball skills but he should be a guy who will become a solid NFL starter sooner rather than later. Secondary help wasn't the Giants biggest need but they simply couldn't pass up the value that Prince offered.
Biggest Headscratcher:I had to include this category simply to discuss how the quarterbacks ended up falling in this draft. Even though there were multiple draft experts who correctly predicted almost a handful of QB's going in the top half of the draft, I still can't wrap my head around guys like Ponder and Locker as top 10 or top 15 picks (much less first round guys). Both have major flaws and/or red flags but that didn't scare off QB needy teams like Tennessee and Minnesota. Maybe the lack of free agency thus far pushed teams teams to roll the dice on rookies instead of trying to sign or trade for a more proven commodity, but regardless neither of these guys would have been first round picks in previous drafts.
Best Trade: The Brownsdid two things that I absolutely love. First they realized that they sucked and that one player wasn't going to fix them. Therefore trading down and picking up additional selections was genius. Secondly they knew who they wanted and they went and got him. Give credit to the front office for not trying to make a splash with a sexy pick and for realizing that their rebuilding process will take multiple seasons (picked up two picks in the 2012 draft, including a first round pick). Drafting a 350+ pound defensive tackle probably won't sell many jerseys but adding beef to the defensive line is crucial if they hope to contend in the black and blue NFC North.
Biggest Risk: Excuse this trite poker reference but the Falconsjust pushed all their chips to the center of the table. The Dirty Birds clearly think they are one player away from a championship because that's the only reason you'd trade four picks (2nd, 4th and a 1st and 4th in 2012) plus swapping first round picks. This is the kind of move that can pay off and put your franchise over the top but the crash and burn factor is HUGE. How many early first round recievers end up turning into nothing? This If Julio Jones doesn't become a very good player, very quickly, the Falcons could have just seriously hurt their immediate future.
Biggest Initial Impact:Forget the Williams Wall in Minnesota. There's a new DT duo in the NFC North that should dominate for years to come. Nick Fairley was almost a consensus #1 overall pick after the National Championship Game but several red flags allowed him to slip all the way to the Lionsat #13. That means this highly talented DT is now paired with last year's defensive rookie of the year Ndamukong Suh. If Fairley can keep it together these two guys could wreak havoc in the NFC North for many many years. Fairley may not be the defensive rookie of the year but he'll be a day one starter and will make some noise in 2011.
Who makes your list? Thoughts?