Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Draft Recap, A Few Days Late

I really only care about two teams when it comes to the NFL Draft: obviously the Redskins and the Hokies. In my eyes, both did very well for themselves.

Once again, the two did not mix this year, and all eight of the drafted Hokies went elsewhere (though one landed in Baltimore).

Start with Virginia Tech. We had eight guys drafted, and five more signed free agent deals within the next 24 hours. Not everyone is guaranteed a spot on any roster, but for the first day picks, and even the early second day picks, I don't think there is any question they'll make the team.

Round 1
Pick 26 - Houston Texans take Duane Brown (OT). Brown was a phenom at Tech. He came in as a tight end and had a decent freshman season under Jeff King's tutelage. He made the move to right tackle to fill a need for our offensive line and began to flourish as a lineman. Eventually, the coaches dropped him at left tackle, which is arguably the most important spot on the line for a team employing a right-handed quarterback. I think Duane will have no problem learning to block for former Wahoo Matt Schaub, and will fight for early playing time as a rookie. He joins several other Hokies in Houston (Andre Davis, Brandon Frye, and Xavier Adibi).

Round 2
Pick 4 (35) - Kansas City Chiefs take Brandon Flowers (CB). Flowers was relatively unheralded coming out of high school. He got an interception on his first appearance in maroon and orange, but later broke a bone and was granted a medical redshirt year. Upon his return, he was the only redshirt freshman player in NCAA history to have an interception in his stat line at the beginning of the season. He went on to be one of the best defensive backs in the history of VT football. He's a powerful hitter, a savvy defender, but a little slow on his feet.

Pick 11 (42) - Denver Broncos take Eddie Royal (WR/RS). Eddie waltzed in to Blacksburg amidst a ton of hype and fanfare. If he disappointed, it's only because our offense couldn't get him the ball enough. He is a speedster, through and through, and is one of the strongest players pound for pound I've ever seen. At 5'10 180 lbs, he can bench 400 lbs. He will be a good return man in the NFL, and may get a few looks at receiver as well, though scouts criticized his route-running and his durability.

Round 3
Pick 9 (72) - Buffalo Bills take Chris Ellis (DE). Another big hype recruit, Ellis came in tall and lean. His frame didn't afford much room for weight gain, which is one of his biggest knocks. He'll be a good situational pass rusher for the Bills, but will likely not be an every down kind of end. He's just not bulky enough to support on the run. His speed will get him past lazy guards on the pass protection though.

Round 4
Pick 19 (118) - Houston Texans take Xavier Adibi (OLB). I consider this a steal. I view X as first round talent. He could add a little bulk to his frame, but he is very fast in the game. He is incredibly smart, a monstrous hitter, and a good cover linebacker. If he doesn't blossom in to a full time starter in Houston (whose defense has been questionable since they became a franchise), I'll be surprised and disappointed.

Round 5
Pick 13 (148) - Denver Broncos take Carlton Powell (DT). CP quietly became a key figure in our defense. He was a big body on the interior line, and was huge in run support. He will need to add a little muscle without sacrificing any speed if he wants to make it for the Broncos, who have a decent d-line already. He joins Eddie Royal in Denver.

Round 6
Pick 8 (174) - San Francisco 49ers take Josh Morgan (WR). I'm sorry, Josh. You deserve better than this. Nicknamed the Old Man for his aged look, Morgan was a phenomenal receiver when he wanted to be. He is knocked for taking too many plays off, and dropping too many easy balls. The way I see it, he's just not good at catching over his shoulder. He can make a circus grab for SportsCenter on one snap, and on the very next snap drop a wide open ball on a fly route. With some polishing, he could flourish. Either a complete steal, or a complete bust (if you can consider a 6th round pick a bust).

Round 7
Pick 8 (215) - Baltimore Ravens take Justin Harper (WR). I could cut and paste Morgan's analysis and put it here for Justin. He was much more consistent, and is a better athlete, but has trouble getting his big frame separated from quicker corners. If Flacco turns out to be the real deal for Baltimore, then Harper will flourish.

Signing free agent deals were the following players:
Vince Hall (ILB) - St. Louis: Bud Foster says Vince is the best player he has ever coached. If that translates to pro quality, then the Rams got an absolute steal getting this guy in free agency. He is a little small, and a little slow on paper, but when you put him in a game, he is a ferocious player...always the first guy to the ball. I would put money on him going to a Pro Bowl at some point in his career.

Josh Hyman (WR) - St. Louis: See analysis for Morgan/Harper. Hyman was probably the least polished of the four senior receivers at Tech last year. He joins VH in St. Louis.

Kory Robertson (DT) - Miami: The Big Country goes to Miami to help them rebuild. He is a solid tackle with a huge frame. A couple years as an understudy ought to put this guy on the field.

DJ Parker (FS) - San Francisco: Another steal in my eyes. Parker was a three year contributor at safety for one of the best defenses in college football. And he quarterbacked it. If he can't help San Francisco on defense, then it's a fault of their coaches, and not their players.

Barry Booker (DT) - Tennessee: Very much the same as Kory Robertson, with a little more raw talent. He has a strong shot at joining Vinnie Fuller on their roster.

As for the Redskins...I was pleased as I said, though not ecstatic.

We essentially took three receivers in the 2nd round--Devin Thomas (WR - Mich. St), Fred Davis (TE - USC), and Malcolm Kelly (WE - OU). Thomas and Kelly were both considered first round talent, so getting them in the second was a very good thing. Fred Davis is a very athletic receiving tight end, but not much of a blocker.

Past these three, we addressed further needs with an offensive guard (Chad Rinehart, Northern Iowa), a defensive end (Rob Jackson, Kansas State), a corner back (Justin Tryon, Arizona State), two safeties (Kareem Moore, Nicholls State, and Chris Horton, UCLA), and my favorite pick, a quarterback (Colt Brennan, Hawaii). Moore was most likely drafted as a return guy more than as a safety.

I would love to see Brennan come in and take over for Jason Campbell, especially with the west coast offense Zorn is going to implement. Campbell isn't suited for the spread, and Brennan ran it to perfection in Hawaii. Add to it the two big bodied receivers we got in the second round, and another receiving tight end to line up across from Cooley, and I think Brennan should be our guy. The franchise quarterback we've been waiting for, maybe.

But, as everyone who pays attention knows, the draft is a complete guessing game. It'll take at least a year or two before we find out how well we did.

For now, I'm excited about the way things went. Best of luck to all the Hokies trying to live their dreams.

1 comment:

Jon said...

Wow, I shouldn't go out of the country for the draft anymore. The Skins got Colt Brennan? That's an awesome pick. I mean, he'll probably never take a meaningful NFL snap, but it would be really fun if he did.

I mean, he threw 50 passes a game, right? 8 TDs and 4 INTs a pretty standard line? Let's go five wide and play arena football next year. We seem to have enough receivers now.