The above picture is a bit of a misnomer, since we haven’t exactly “covered” tomorrow’s NFL Draft. In fact, we don’t believe we’ve mentioned it, and since it’s less than 24 hours until we get a constant dose of that man pictured above, we figured it was high time we did something.
Due to time constraints and the-world-outside-the-blogosphere-type realities, this post will be short and inundated with links directing you elsewhere. But we’ll have more in-depth stuff after all 252 picks are made.
For player rankings and evaluations, we highly suggest you check out Scouts Notebook, which serves as our go-to site for this stuff. Also, SI.com has video of about 200 players, which will be a great resource for the weekend.
Alright, now let’s do a quick breakdown by team, going from most important to least important (easy, Giants fans, I kid, I kid).
Team Needs: S, OL, DT, CB, WR, KR/PR
Picks: 1(19), 2(49), 3(80), 4(115), 4(131), 5(152), 6(184), 6(191), 6(200), 6(203), 7(230)
Donovan McNabb was on SportsCenter earlier this week and said that the NFL Draft is for finding playmakers who can contribute right away, not guys who learn for the future. That’s all well and good, but DMac is smart enough to know that that’s not how the Birds operate.
Both McNabb and Eagles fans alike would love to see an impact receiver brought in this weekend, but unless the Lions (Roy Williams) or Cardinals (Anquan Boldin) change their mind regarding the availability of their star wideout, it’s not happening. It’d be a shame to trade Lito Sheppard straight up for picks, but it looks like that’s what’s going to happen (and please, we don’t want Michael Clayton, unless of course this Michael Clayton wants to come kick ass in the Eagles’ front office).
As it stands, there are no glaring holes in this team, though the Birds could stand an upgrade at a few positions (wideout and safety spring to mind) and some depth at others (offensive and defensive lines). If the Birds want one of the premier offensive tackles (Branden Albert, Chris Williams, Ryan Clady) to succeed the aging Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan, they’re likely going to have to move up from 19. With 11 picks, they certainly have the ammunition to do it.
One thing the Eagles do need desperately is a return specialist. If DeSean Jackson tumbles into the mid-2nd round, the Eagles could try to move up and grab him. Eddie Royal and Dexter Jackson would also be good candidates to end the Reno Mahe era.
For an extensive list of players the Eagles have shown interest in, check out Eagles Scout Uncensored (who grabbed the list from the Eagles’ message board, so credit to them as well).
New York Jets
Picks: 1(6), 2(36), 4(102), 4(113), 6(171), 7(211)
Needs: WR, CB, DE, S, OLB
The Jets have had a nice little offseason for themselves so far. The signings of Alan Faneca and Damien Woody have helped shore up a leaky O-line, and Calvin Pace was a solid addition as a 3-4 pass rusher. Then again, this is a team that went 4-12 last year, so there’s still plenty of work to be done.
The good news for the J-E-T-S is that with the sixth overall pick, they should definitely be able to nab an impact player. If we’re going to break it down by need, we can look at it this way…
- There isn’t a WR or a S in this draft worth that high of a pick
- That likely holds true for corner, as well, where taking Leodis McKelvin or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie would at 6 would leave a better player on the board
- At DE, Chris Long likely won’t fall to 6 (but he’d be a steal if he does)
- Vernon Gholston would fit perfectly as a 3-4 OLB, but he could go anywhere from 4 to 7 at this point; Derrick Harvey will likely be on the board and can really get after the QB
Of course, the “best available player” route could potentially yield a nice surprise like Darren McFadden. Although RB isn’t technically an area of need with Thomas Jones locked up, the Jets would be hard-pressed to pass up on the chance to add an explosive playmaker that could jump-start their offense.
One thing’s for sure: with just two picks in the top 100, the Jets had better make their first and second rounders count.
New York Giants
Picks: 1(31), 2(63), 3(95), 4(130), 5(165), 6(194), 6(198), 6(199)
Needs: CB, S, LB, DT, WR
To everyone who gets sick of the endless hype around the draft — you know, the people who say, “God Almighty, who cares who gets picked in the sixth round?” — we’ll just calmly point to the reigning Super Bowl champions. Kevin Boss, Ahmad Bradshaw, Michael Johnson, and Jay Alford were all recent late round picks or undrafted free agents that helped the G-Men spoil the Patriots’ perfect season (just don’t tell the Pats they lost… we don’t think it’s sunk in yet).
As amazing as their run was, and as well as the D played, the Giants certainly have some needs. The runaway freight train pass rush masked some serious personnel deficiencies in the secondary, where only Aaron Ross and Sammy Knight inspire a lot of confidence as starters. Luckily for the G-Men, this draft is deep at corner (though not so much at safety).
At linebacker, Antonio Pierce is a stalwart in the middle, but Mathias Kiawanuka will try to return after missing much of last year due to injury while Gerris Wilkinson is talented but inexperienced. Some depth there certainly couldn’t hurt. Likewise, another defensive tackle to push starters Barry Cofield and Fred Robbins can only be a good thing for the G-Men.
On offense, Amani Toomer is probably on his last legs, while David “I only need one hand and my helmet to catch the ball” Tyree, his incredible Super Bowl catch aside, isn’t any more than a third receiver. Steve Smith may be the long-term solution across from Plax, but he may not, so adding a talented receiver to the mix couldn’t hurt.