Sunday, April 29, 2007

The NFL Draft: Round Two

33. Arizona, Alan Branch: This is a very interesting situation. Mr. Branch was, a month or two ago, preceived to be the best defensive tackle available. But as often happens on draft day he slid steadily down the board. Mr. Branch has outstanding lower body strength, though he has a tendency to come up too high. A good run stuffer who is also very effective in the pass rush.

34. Buffalo, Paul Poslusny: Another player who wasn't expected to be available this deep into the draft. A high energy, competitive player who is a little slower than preferred for the outside linebacker position, and struggled at the inside spot as well. Good in pass coverage, better against the run. Relentless at tenacious at the point of attack. Great football IQ. Coming back from a knee injury.

35. Tampa Bay, Aaron Sears: Rated as the #1 guard by Pro Football Weekly, which says that he "[p]acks a powerful punch . . . [c]an block out the sun." A versatile player who can play guard or tackle. Very solid in the run and pass -- fairly imoveable in pass protection. Has excellent football awareness. Needs to improve his blocking on screen passes.

36. Philadelphia, Kevin Kolb: The eight ranked quarterback according to Ourlad's Draft Service and Athlon Sports. Ranked as the sixth best quarterback in the draft by Pro Football Weekly. Ranked as the fifth best quarterback by Street & Smith's and ESPN. Only The Sporting News -- which ranked Mr. Kolb as the second best quarterback (behind JaMarcus Russell) applauds the Eagles' brain trust for this choice, and even they describe him as "a frustrating prospect." Nice first pick in the draft.

37. San Diego, Eric Weddle : A four year starter who played six different positions during his collegiate career. An instinctive player who is especially effective in zone coverage, but has speed enough to cover the deep ball. Good size (5'11", 203 lbs.) helps his ability to support the run. Rated as a late third round pick by Ourlad's. Hard to evaluate given the level of competition against which he played. Solid special teams contributor.

38. Oakland, Zach Miller: An outstanding pass catcher with decent speed (4.86), and size enough (6'4", 256 lbs.) to go across the middle. A good blocker, but doesn't use size as effectively as one would hope. Smooth route runner who was rated by The Sporting News as the best pass catching TE in the draft.

39. Atlanta, Justin Blaylock: A terrific pick of a player many had rated as a fist rounder. Bigger and stronger than most of his competition at the collegiate level, but will have to improve technique in order to compete at the NFL level. A good athlete who displays excellent mobility and quickness when pulling, and can move quickly to the second level to block linebackers. Ourlad's says that Mr. Blaylock "reminds our scouts of Will Shields when he came out of Nebraska."

40. Miami, John Beck: ESPN's Sean Salisbury says that there isn't much difference between Bray Quinn and this quarterback out of BYU -- exactly. Is older, 25, than the traditional NFL rookie. A tough competitor who has a strong arm and good footwork. Throws three-quarters and has an inordinate number of passes blocked/deflected.

41. Atlanta, Chris Houston: I love this player, and had hoped that he would slide to the Steelers. A speedy defender who plays aggressively at the line of scrimmage. Performed well against outstanding competition, and is described by Athlon Sports as "a classic cover two corner." Does sometimes lunge in press coverage, and struggles in run support.

42. Indianapolis, Tony Ugoh: Good size (6'5", 301) with a wingspan of 36", the longest amongst the top offensive tackles available. Poor technique will slow his development along with a slow first step off the ball. Questionable football instincts, and strength. Drafting for need versus "best available" can, in the long run, bite teams in the butt -- this pick seems like a reach at this level.

43. Detroit, Drew Stanton: A tremendous competitor who has more determination than skill -- but then so did Bernie Kosar. Good size for the position, but needs to improve arm strength to have any hope at competing at the NFL level. Good mechanics, and nice touch allow him to throw acurately into traffic. That ability does result in some bad decision making from time-to-time. Good feet, moves well to avoid pressure.

44. Minnesota, Sidney Rice: A big receiver whose physical skills compare favorably with the receivers taken in the first round (with the exception of Calvin Johnson). Has soft, sure hands and speed enough to run away from coverage. Can be slow coming out of cuts because of upright running style, something that will change with coaching. Played baskeball in high school, and displayed excellent vertical leap at the NFL Combine (39.5").

45. Carolina, Dwayne Jarrett: First round physical skills who tends to cutoff his routes. Ourlad's Draft Service says he "[w]as a matchup nightmare for USC opponents." More of a possession receiver than a deep threat, but has do a better job of making the easy catches in order to succeed in the NFL. Very competitive in traffic and across the middle. A big game player who may benefit from the tutoring of fellow USC alumni Keyshawn Johnson.

46. Pittsburgh, LaMarr Woodley: A little shorter (6'1") than one would prefer, but has long arms. In an interview with ESPN head coach Mike Tomlin described both Mr. Woodley and first round pick Lawrence Timmons as having "position flexibility" and "great football character." Mr. Woodley has an outstanding first step and good speed. A hard hitter whi is very aggressive and competes hard.

47. New York Jets, David Harris: The #2 ILB available, and a football player's football player. Quick first step, good speeed and agility make him a force against the run. Good lateral speed makes him a "sideline to sideline player" (Ourlad's). A weak blitzer but excellent in pass coverage, especially in the zone.

48. Jacksonville, Justin Durant: Poor time in the 40-yard dash at the Combine belies a player of exceptional speed and athleticism. Disruptive, especially on plays going away where he can use his speed, but can get caught up with bigger blockers. Led his team in tackles the last two seasons and has 12 career sacks. Is preceived as having good upside potential, and many believe he could be a special teams difference maker.

49. Cincinnati, Kenny Irons: A speed merchant who, at 203 lbs. either has to bulk up (which may slow him down) or change positions. Has good hands, and is a tremendous open field runner. He was a poor blocker in college, and unless he gets bigger it is unlikely that he will get any better. A hard runner who takes on tacklers, and is hard to bring down.

50. Tennessee, Chris henry: The tenth rated running back available in the draft, and outside of the top 100 overall -- in other words, this is not a value pick. Started a grand total of four games, but turned in an outstanding Combine performance who Ourlad's describes as "[a] poor man's Michael Turner if he's willing to work." For all the shocked looks at Philadelphia's choice of Kevin Kolb at the start of this round, this one doesn't make much more sense.

51. New York Giants, Steve Smith: A very good possession receiver who is tough in crowds and across the middle, but lacks the speed to be a deep threat. Will struggle to get on the field given the Giants depth chart. A smart player who reads defenses well and adjusts well. Very coachable.

52. St. Louis, Brian Leonard: The first fullback taken in the draft, and the only available who will be considered on the first day. Lost fourteen pounds so that he could be considered at the running back position during the Combine. A good pass catcher, and offensive threat rather than an NFL style fullback (i.e. blocker first). "An inconsistent lead blocker" (The Sporting News). Tough player with solid instincts.

53. Cleveland, Eric Wright: Transferred out of USC, played one season at UNLV, entering the draft as an underclassman. Decent size (5'10") though he is a little light (192 lbs.). Excellent speed allows him to cover elite receivers, and provide good run support. According to Ourlad's there are "Of field red flags . . . Needs to clean up off the field problems." plays a little too upright, but with work he could excel.

54. Kansas City, Turk McBride: Seventh rated defensive tackle, and a one year starter. At 277 pounds he is undersized for the middle, but his speed (4.83 forty at the combine) is the best amongst the available DTs, an makes one wonder if a position change might not be fforthcoming. Because of his lack of bulk he has struggled against bigger offensive linemen, and can be overwhelmed against teams with strong running attacks. An excellent pass rusher.

55. Seattle, Josh Wilson: The seventh rated cornerback available in the draft, but one who has above average speed. Somewha smaller than preferred and can get pushed around by bigger players. Has difficulty shedding blockers, and gives up far too much cushion at the line of scrimmage. Has great physical ability but can taake too many chances, and give up too many big plays.

56. Denver, Tim Crowder: A four year starter who is fairly polished, but doesn't have much untapped potential. Effective against the run and in the pass rush, where he employs multiple moves. Is effective when running stunts and plays a disciplined style of football -- good scheme player. Had an inconsistent senior season, but was rated by some as superior to Steelers draft pick LaMarr Woodley.

57. Philadelphia, Victor Abiamiri: A physical specimen who is an "explosive and natural playmaker" (Ourlads). Plays high, and as a result he cam be overwhelmed by strong blockers. A competitive, physical player who loves to compete. Too quick to react to misdirection plays, and will take himself out of the play at times. Needs to bulk up a bit, especially in the lower body.

58. Detroit, Ikaika Alma Francis: Seventeenth rated defensive end in the draft -- Matt Millen is still Matt Millen. A converted basketball player who seems lost at times. Was hurt in the Hula Bowl. Lacks both the upper- and lower-body strength needed to play effectively in the NFL. Has potential but is as raw as any player chosen in the draft.

59. Carolina, Ryan Kalil: Perfectly placed at this spot, and the #1 rated center available in the draft. A leader on the offensive line, despite being somewhat smaller than preferred. Very quick inside, and has a well-developed football IQ. Needs to improve his upper body strength in order to compete against the big defensive tackles. A winner who plays big in big games.

60. Miami, Samson Satele: Two picks, two centers. A four year starter who played guard and center. Somewhat shorter than preferred but is solid otherwise. Can be dominating at times but hasn't been able to do it consistently. Lost no games to injury during his career (KNOCK WOOD). A good run blocker, but really excels in pass blocking.

61. Detroit, Gerald Alexander: The ninth ranked strong safety available in the draft who was a three year starter who played both corner and safety. Strong in run support, but inconsistent in pass coverage. Inconsistent play is the result of poor technique. Graded by Ourlads as a sith or seventh round choice. Matt Millen strikes again.

62. Chicago, Dan Bazuin: The thirteenth rated defensive end who was a four year starter. Demonstrates good straight ahead speed but struggles laterally. Strong competitor who is shorter than preferred, but is a good edge rusher. Most effective when moving before the snap.

63. Green Bay, Brandon Jackson: A bowling ball (5'9", 210 lbs.) power back who also possesses nimble feet, and good quickness to get through the line. Does not have break away speed, but is a good pass catcher. A below average blocker.

64. Tampa Bay, Sabby Piscitelli: Excellent size (6'2", 224 lbs.) and football instincts. Especially effective zone coverage. A good tackler though he is not a big hitter. "Should be a major contributor on special teams" (Ourlads).

The second round is completed, and this is how it shook out, by position:

QB: 3
RB: 3
WR: 3
TE: 1
FB: 1
OT: 1
OG: 2
C: 2
DT: 2
DE: 5
OLB: 2
ILB: 1
CB: 3
S: 3

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