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Until literally the final minutes leading up to the start of the 2010 NFL Draft, all eyes were on the Rams. Not only because they held the first overall pick in said draft, but there were also substantial rumors floating around draft circles that they were close to a deal for Eagles QB Donovan McNabb.
"The deal finally went through in literally the 11th hour," said Rams GM BeerBaron to reporters after the deal was announced. "We are very pleased to have been able to acquire a QB of Donovan's caliber. He brings proven leadership and, perhaps most importantly, he is a proven winner in the NFL."
In exchange for McNabb, the Rams sent the first pick of the 2nd round, #33 overall, to the Eagles as well as DT Clifton Ryan.
The Rams have also announced that they've reached a 3 year contract extension with McNabb through 2014, though the terms of the deal weren't announced.
McNabb seemed happy with the way the trade turned out at the team's post trade press conference: "It was hard for me to leave the Eagles, you know? I've spent my entire career there, but as this offseason went on, it just seemed unworkable to both sides for me to stay ... I couldn't ask for a better opportunity than what the Rams are offering me here. I've been in contact with a few of the coaches and players since the trade and I like what they're doing here. I've talked to guys like Jason Smith and Jason Brown, as well as Stephen Jackson and Donnie Avery, and I think we can turn this into one of the league's better offenses. The pieces are definitely in place for that."
A few hours later, the Rams officially kicked off the 2010 NFL Draft by selecting the near-consensus best player, Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh.
"We really had it down to two players," said BeerBaron. "If the McNabb trade fell through, we were going to pick Sam Bradford to give us a potential franchise QB. Since we got McNabb, it freed us up to take Suh, and I'm very happy with that."
Shortly after the selection was announced and he got done with some of the immediate post draft interviews, Suh was flown from New York City to the team's headquarters in St. Louis for a press conference.
"I'm very glad to be a member of the Rams. It's been my lifelong goal to play in the NFL, and to get that chance as the first overall draft pick is just unbelievable," said Suh. "Coach Spagnuolo helped the Giants win a Superbowl starting with the defensive line, and I'm glad to have the opportunity to play for a guy like that."
When asked if he had heard from any of the other Rams players, Suh had this to say: "On the flight here actually, I was talking to some of the team's other players. I got calls from Chris Long and James Laurinaitis congratulating me and saying how awesome it will be to play with me, it was great."
With McNabb and Suh now on board, BeerBaron says he is turning his attention to the rest of the draft. "It won't be easy to turn this team from 1-15 into a competitor, but I really feel like we are headed in the right direction."
Though the Rams still have many holes to fill, it would be very hard to argue that they've taken some big leaps in the right direction with the acquisitions of McNabb and Suh.
Raiders Welcome Former Rutgers Standout Anthony Davis to the Bay Area
After almost taking Davis at 8, the Raiders decided to trade down in the draft thinking they needed more picks than the player. Well it turns out they get both now. Davis dropped all the way to the 16th pick, and the Raiders jumped up from 21 to get him. At 6'5 325lbs Davis is the perfect OT for the Raiders who are switching back to a power blocking scheme. Davis according to GM RaiderNation" Has the most potential of any OT in this draft and is the most natural LT in this draft. We are excited to see what he will bring to us and help our offence."
The Raiders have the 39th, 50th, 69th, 106th, 138th and 158th picks left so expect alot of new young faces in the locker room next year.
Steelers Trade Back, Get Their Man, and Finally Improve the Offensive Line
Idaho Guard Mike Iupati during practice
Picking at #18, and after some non-conclusive trade talks, the Pittsburgh Steelers were set on drafting Idaho Guard Mike Iupati. His rare blend of size, power, and skills were too appealing to ignore, especially with the recent play of Pittsburgh's offensive line. The coaching staff was highly impressed with Iupati after meeting with him at the Combine in Indianapolis; offensive line coach Sean Kugler even told him that he was the highest rated offensive lineman for the Steelers. It was a match predicted by many that made perfect sense. Moments before officially declaring the selection, however, a trade offer was presented by the Philadelphia Eagles, which the Steelers entertained. Needing quality depth at multiple positions, the trade down would mean a six pick drop in the first round while upgrading a third round pick to a second round one. It was a valuable deal that the organization ultimately decided was a better option than standing pat, and the trade was finalized.
The Steelers traded their first round pick (#18) and third round pick (#82) to the Philadelphia Eagles for their first round pick (#24) and second round pick (#55). Now sitting at #24, it was nothing more than a waiting game. It was a calculated risk the Steelers took, hoping that if paid off. With the Eagles, Falcons, Texans, Titans, Patriots, and Packers now in front of them, the availability of Iupati at #24 was not a guarantee.
The Eagles are known for liking to draft offensive linemen (as evidenced by selecting UMass tackle/guard Vladimir Ducasse with the first pick in the second round). The Falcons could have wanted to upgrade at either RT or RG with a true run-mauler to clear lanes for star running back Michael Turner. The Texans could have used a replacement for recently-departed guard Chester Pitts. The Packers are in desperate need of upgrading their offensive line, and at multiple positions too. Mike Iupati's abilities and position versatility could have been just as attractive to these teams as to the Steelers. All of them, however, addressed other needs, and Iupati fell yet again to the Steelers.
Arriving at #24, yet another trade down offer was presented. This time, though, the team was much more inclined on selecting Iupati, and when the offer was made, it wasn't as appealing as the opportunity of having Mike Iupati become a Steeler.
And so, it happened. The trade-down was a success. Mike Iupati, the 6'5 330 lbs. road-grating behemoth from the University of Idaho, became the newest member to wear the Black and Gold.
"It's really exciting," Iupati said. "Entering the draft, I had no idea where I would wind up. I had talked with Coach Kugler back in the combine, and I really liked what he told me about the Steelers and what they planned to do with me if they drafted me. I guess it's a reality now. I couldn't be happier."
When asked about what was so alluring about Mike Iupati, Steelers GM Mr. Goosemahn had nothing but praise for the former Vandal. "He fits our criteria for offensive linemen on so many levels," he said. "For starters, we covet guys who are hard-workers. Mike is just that. The fact that he went from a kid who didn't play football until high-school to a first round pick and the #1 player at his position, is a testament of his work ethic. Furthermore, he's a self-motivated player who plays with a competitiveness and intensity that can't be taught. The passion that he shows for the game, the way he gives his best effort on every single play, it's something that is an invaluable asset for any player. He's a top-notch character. Add in the fact that he's got incredible physical skills and a seemingly limitless ceiling, and what's not to like? Yeah, he's got some technical issues, he's not a perfect player, but then again who is? And with the way he listens to coaches and absorbs their coaching, all his issues could disappear in a very short amount of time. They're all minor things that can be fixed with practice and coaching. The things that can't be taught, those are the valuable attributes that players have to find for themselves, and it excites us that Mike already possesses them."
Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Mr. Goosemahn
When asked about the impact that Mike Iupati could have on the team, Mr. Goosemahn responded by saying: "12 years ago, we drafted a guard with the 26th pick in the 1998 draft. He went on to become the best guard in the league, and became a staple of our offense for over a decade, paving the way for a Superbowl win. Quite frankly, we expect nothing less from Mike. He's got the potential to become just as good, if not a little bit better."
After hearing these comments, Mike Iupati chuckled nervously for a bit, humbled and excited that the team was just as happy of acquiring him as he was of becoming a Steeler. "I don't know if I'll ever become as good as Alan Faneca," he said, "but I will try as hard as I possibly can to be the best player I can be."
There's little doubt in the Steelers organization that Iupati will become their next great offensive lineman. It's simply a question of how fast he'll become a starter, and judging by his skills and personality, it shouldn't take long for Iupati to start protecting Ben Roethlisberger and opening lanes for Rashard Mendenhall.
The Silver and Black Make Another Big Move; 2 Starters On The Block
After taking OT Anthony Davis, the Raiders decided to address the biggest need on defense. The Silver and Black sent the #39, 138, 158 and OLB Thomas Howard for #31 and 74. The Raiders got their guy at 31, DT Brian Price. Price was considered a top 25 player by both Gm's RaiderNation and PMD and they didnt want to wait for him. Price at 6'1 303lbs is a stand out prospect from UCLA who produced 11.5 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss his last 2 seasons there. He is expected to play NT in their 4-3 defense next to Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour.
In other news the Raiders have announced both LB Kirk Morrison and FS Michael Huff are on the trade block. They are looking for a 3rd round pick for each player, but are also willing to listen on other offers on them if a team doesnt have a 3rd to trade.
The Beer Blog The Official Blog of Rams GM BeerBaron
-posted: 2:45 AM
My friends, it has come to my attention that ESPN Draft Analyst Mel Kiper Jr has expressed some criticism of some of our team's recent moves in relation to the ongoing NFL Draft.
Now, I'm all for freedom of speech and Mel can say whatever he likes when it comes to the various teams of the NFL. That's his job and he has been at it far longer than most anyone else currently associated with the NFL. In fact, I respect his opinion very highly. However, that does not mean I have to agree with opinion, and in this instance, I most certainly disagree.
I feel like it is only fair that I be given a chance to defend myself, so here we go.
For reference sake, here is Mel's web posting that has caused my disagreement:
2. St. Louis Rams (#33 Overall and DT Clifton Ryan for QB Donovan McNabb) - I simply don't understand this move for the Rams. This is a team that likely won't be a contender for the next few years, and they get a QB who is 33 years old to lead their team. By the time they are contending, McNabb will be on his way out and they will need to develop a new QB. For me, this was not the team that should have went out to get McNabb. Giving up a prime selection at 33, it wasn't great value and a bad trade overall for the Rams.
Mel, since it seems that your understanding of football begins and, clearly, ends with the draft, let me clue you into to a number of factors behind the decision that you seem to have conveniently ignored/overlooked in your write-up.
Firstly, let us have a look at some recent history. This draft marks the third in a row in which the St. Louis Rams have selected in the top 2 overall picks. This team and its diehard fans have seen and experienced nothing but futility in that time. It is my job to make sure that comes to an end this season. The moves that my staff and I have made thus far were all deliberate, careful and well thought-out. They were not made in haste or without careful consideration.
After spending much time checking all of the facts and looking at all of our options, we decided that acquiring Donovan McNabb was the best course of action to take in an effort to bring winning ways back to this franchise.
You claim not to understand the move, so I will show you some of the facts and statistics that helped us to make the decision:
- Least-intercepted quarterback per pass attempt of all time, (4588 attempts-96 interceptions, 2.09%)
- 6 time Pro Bowl QB
- 5 NFC Championship Game appearances
- Currently the third-highest winning percentage among active quarterbacks
What can we learn from this? McNabb is proven winner who is careful with the football. Ask any coach or GM in the league and I guarantee that those two qualities are at least in the top 5 of what they look for in a QB, and I’d bet even in the top 3 for most of them. Even if you want to reverse the argument and make the point that he is 1-4 in those championship games, I would say to you that every Rams fan on the planet would rejoice to even get that far next season after the dreadful seasons they’ve had in recent years.
Here's a picture to break it up a little and make it feel less long to read, lol
Second argument, what were our other options at QB besides McNabb? Considering they were key contributors in “winning” the first overall pick of the draft, any holdovers such as Marc Bulger, Keith Null and Kyle Boller were simply out of the question to lead this team into the future. No other quality options via trade presented themselves either. Most other times, QBs of McNabb’s caliber simply don’t become available like this. It took a perfect storm of events in Philly for him to be the odd man out there. Now, what about drafting a QB with that top pick?
That option was also thoroughly explored. After many months of studying this year’s top QBs, Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen, we decided that neither were particularly appealing options, at least in comparison to what we could get in McNabb.
Though we found issues with both, we had Bradford rated slightly higher, so I will use him as our second option to trading for McNabb.
There is a lot to like in Bradford. He was a Heisman Trophy winner, played in a national power program at Oklahoma, and appears to have all you want physically in an NFL QB assuming that his shoulder heals up fine.
But our biggest knock against him was the offense that he played in at Oklahoma. The spread is taking over college football at an alarming rate. It works very well there and perhaps, one day, it may work its way into the NFL. But until then, I consider it a huge weakness for the QBs trying to come into the NFL after playing in that system.
In fact, according to the QBs I researched for this, there has not been a single spread QB to find success as a passer in the NFL within his first 3 seasons. Forget winning or even looking like a successful NFL QB, most of the former spread QBs who came into the league couldn’t even throw more TDs than INTs!
Drew Brees has found great success now playing for the Saints, and he came out of a college spread offense while at Purdue. However, he showed no signs of being a quality NFL QB in his first 3 years in the league. In fact, his original team, the Chargers, had completely given up on him and drafted Phillip Rivers with a high 1st round pick! Only after that did he begin to grasp quarterbacking in the NFL to become the pro bowler and Superbowl champ he is today.
If it took until his 4th season for Bradford to successfully transition to an NFL style offense, I can guarantee you that Coach Spagnuolo, his staff and, even I, wouldn’t be around to enjoy it.
You want to know another shocking statistic about the spread? The 2nd most successful QB to come out of a college spread, according to my research, in the NFL right now is Kyle Orton! Shocked? So was I!
While he did win 10 games as a rookie, he wasn’t asked to carry the team. The Bears had an excellent defense and rushing attack that year that they could rely on while asking Orton only to manage the game. That is not a luxury we could count on having here in St. Louis. Even then, he threw more interceptions than touchdowns… After that, he sat on the bench for the better part of his next two seasons. Finally, in his fourth year in the league (there’s that number again,) he started to find a little more success. So much success that, his former team, the Bears, gave him up as well as two first round picks for another QB!
And it doesn’t end there; I have even another example for you. Sure, Vince Young won a lot of games as a rookie coming out of the spread at Texas, but that was more due to his athleticism and pure playmaking skills (something that Bradford does not possess) than it did with him being a good passer. In fact, he threw more INTs than TDs and barely completed half of his passes. And after his rookie year? A sophomore season in which he threw nearly twice as picks as TDs and again, got by relying on his pure athleticism, again, something that Bradford does not possess. In his third year, after some off the field drama, lousy play, and a questionable injury, he was benched as his team went on to win the most games in the AFC under grizzled old Kerry Collins.
There are other examples as well like Alex Smith, but I believe I’ve made my point already. In addition to the ones who do make it to the NFL struggling, many spread QBs don’t even get a chance in the NFL. Prolific college spread QBs have been drafted low or, in many cases, not at all with the biggest knock against them the system that they played in. Guys like Colt Brennan, Chase Daniels, any Texas Tech QB…great success in college but now, they find themselves riding the bench, on the practice squad, or in the CFL.
There simply wasn’t enough evidence of a QB making the transition Bradford would have to make for us to take that chance when a proven veteran option like McNabb was available. And for McNabb, we only needed to invest the 33rd pick while Bradford would have cost us the #1 pick.
And that is the third argument. With the #1 overall pick, we were able to take the hands-down best player in this draft, DT Ndamukong Suh. I’m drooling in anticipation for what this guy can do when he hits that football field in the fall. In addition to the playmaking skills he brings to the table, having a dominant player in the middle automatically makes the players around him better. Other high investments like Chris Long, Adam Carriker and James Laurinaitis will hopefully benefit immensely from Suh’s presence.
In fact, I’d like to hear someone make the argument that we would win more games over the next 3 seasons with Bradford and a rookie of their choosing who we could have taken at #33 than we will win with McNabb and Suh. I seriously would love to hear that argument made. I will leave it to the internet universe to try and make that argument.
And another...you're so close! Just a few more paragraphs!
Furthermore, it isn’t like the cupboard was completely bare on either side of the ball. While a team who just went 1-15 has obvious holes to fill on both sides of the ball, there is untapped potential in many players on both sides of the ball.
The acquisition of a good, veteran QB like McNabb can suddenly make a bad o-line look at least average. There are several high draft picks and many free agent dollars invested in this offensive line. The talent is there in guys like Jason Smith, Alex Barron, Jacob Bell and Jason Brown. Health and a veteran QB behind them who is a proven master at avoiding pressure will bring it out I feel. It can also tap the potential in young, talented receivers like we have in Donnie Avery and, two of the rare pleasant surprises in 2009, Brandon Gibson and Danny Amendola. And of course, we all know about Stephen Jackson. In fact, I expect him to benefit the most. Even if McNabb helps bring the passing attack up to an average level, Jackson will face far fewer 7 or 8 in the box situations and will run wild as a result. Defensively, like I said already, a dominant presence at DT will free up the rest of the defense to make more plays.
So Mel, I hope you can now understand the acquisition of McNabb as the QB for our team. I really hope you can, as I don’t believe I can explain it any clearer than this.
BeerBaron General Manager, St. Louis Rams
(Insomnia, a knee injury and me wanting to be a smartass have brought you the last post, hope you all enjoyed :) )
The Raiders made a big move yesterday, trading up from the 50th pick to 45 to land CB Patrick Robinson. Robinson is one of the most athletic players in the draft and also has the size the Raiders look for in a CB. He is believed to compete with CB Chris Johnson for the #2 CB job in camp
The Raiders had two 3rd round picks this year, they used them to help both sides of the ball. With the first one, they added OT Jason Fox from Miami. Fox a 6'6 303lbs has the size to play RT for the Raiders. The Raiders dont believe Mario Henderson can be a RT in their new power blocking scheme so they decided to address the need here in the 3rd.
Just a few picks after the Fox selection, the Raiders drafted LB Brandon Spikes. Spikes was the leader of Florida's defense from day one when he showed on campus. Spikes at 6'2 250lbs has true MLB size even though he lacks in speed. This move is expect to move Kirk Morrison to OLB to replace Thomas Howard.
Chargers create the world's sexiest RB duo Matthews and Best team to replace Tomlinson...in style
With Shaun Rogers, a massive NT, in the fold via a pre-draft trade and Darren Sproles sent to Green Bay, San Diego entered the draft with only one major need: Running back. Ryan Matthews with the 28th pick promises to be a franchise caliber runner, and Jahvid Best's walking highlight reel promises to give defenses no relief, as well as continue the Charger tradition of electrifying return men.
Running backs by committee have been shown to be the way of the future, and San Diego's new combo promises to revitalize the league's 31st ranked rushing attack, as well as open up the field for franchise quarterback/messiah Philip Rivers.
Packers Bring in Reinforcements Via Trades and Draft
The Packers first priority this off-season was to improve their thin secondary which was the cause of their eventual downfall in the playoffs this past season. Step one in this process was trading for the former Tennessee Titan Vincent Fuller.
Fuller projects to be a SS for the Packers, and provides immediate competition for the often injured Atari Bigby for the starting job. He also has experience as a nickel and dime back which he can be used at, especially as Al Harris rehabs from his ACL tear.
Step two was drafting corner Kyle Wilson in round one. Wilson slides immediately into the nickel roll as Harris starts the season on PUP but should be a starter sooner rather then later for the Packers.
The Packers second priority was finding an heir apparent to Chad Clifton at Left Tackle. Though OT isn't a need for the present, finding someone to replace the aging Clifton on the left side was a must. Enter Jared Veldheer.
The Hillsdale product is bit of a project but comes with a huge upside. Veldheer will likely learn behind Chad Clifton before eventually succeeding him as Aaron Rodgers' blindside protector. This gives the Packers a pair of bookends in Veldheer and TJ Lang who will sit and develop until the current starters Clifton and Tauscher retire.
The Packers then acquired RB Darren Sproles from San Diego. Sproles will work in a committee with current starter Ryan Grant. His electric speed and playmaking ability should help give the Packers another dynamic offense weapon, help out as a pass catcher on third downs, and help an often stagnant Packers screen game. Not to mention he projects as an immedaite return man for the Packers who suffered through a season of awful returns on Special Teams.
Finally, the Packers added DE/OLB Jason Worilds out of Virginia Tech. Acquired in the third round, via the trade with Tennessee, Worilds should be in immediate competition for a starting job opposite of Clay Matthews. Worilds is an amazing athlete, with a knack for getting to the QB. He is a natural fit into Dom Capers 3-4 defense and should flourish in his role as rush backer.
Unfortunately, the Packers had to deal LB AJ Hawk to the Titans. The former first round pick was just too expensive for the Packers. His mediocre at best play didn't justify his humongous salary and there were whispers that he could be cut after 2010 when his salary would escalate even higher. For these reasons, the Packers should be happy they got such good value in return. The trade of Hawk allowed the Packers to acquire Worilds, a potential starter as well as Fuller, another potential starter. Brandon Chillar is now a projected starter at ILB for the Packers. The much hyped Desmond Bishop also should see more action on defense now that Hawk is gone instead of being buried on the depth chart.
Overall the Packers helped out their secondary greatly, added a dynamic offensive play maker, their LT of the future, and a potential starter at OLB. Not a bad haul after the first 3 rounds of the draft. They still have 3 more picks in round 5 to look forward to.
Although the Arizona Cardinals came in with plenty of needs in terms of depth this was not going to deter them from their successful strategy of taking the best player available, proven in round 1 with the selection of top 20 talent Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma.
Coming off of a knee injury that kept Jermaine off the playing field in 2009, Gresham saw is stock drop from a possible top 10 pick to finally being selected at 26 by the redbirds. This playmaker is the complete package at TE, who draft expert Scott Wright describes as a, "Talented playmaker who is mismatch waiting to happen and can be a dynamic weapon in the passing game", and is sure to make everyone forget about former Cardinal, Anquan Boldin.
After trading away former starting Cornerback, Bryant McFadden, the Cardinals found themselves in a perfect scenario to trade up in the 2nd round to grab falling 1st round talent, Devin McCourty, CB, THE Rutgers University.
McCourty along with former draft picks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Greg Toler, form an ultra athletic trio of corners who could potentially match up one-on-one with any receiver in the league. In addition to his coverage skills McCourty is also an excellent special team player, which has been a staple of the Cardinals under Coach Whisenhunt.
Entering the 3rd round GM Rod Graves said he was very pleased with how the draft had fallen thus far and it continued with the selection of Mississippi State, Linebacker, Jamar Chaney.
Chaney, who would of been a 4 year starter if he had not broken his leg in 2008, is as NFL ready as they come and should battle Hayes and Lennon for a starting spot at ILB in the offseason. He has good size and strength for the position but it's his quickness that sets him apart from the rest of the pack. Running a 4.54 put him on top of every other LB at the combine and it's this speed that makes him so valuable in coverage.
Along with their three draft picks the Cardinals also traded for former Bengals 4th round pick, offensive tackle, Anthony Collins.
After some discussion the front office had come to the conclusion that Collins was better than anything that was on the board. A former 1st team All-American, Collins will likely be entrenched as the starter at left tackle at the start of OTAs and it will be his job to retain that position.
Bears solidify their weakness at O-line through Draft and Trades
For the past two days GM of the Bears ZachSaints52 and Woodnick have been working the phones for as much as 10 hours per day, trying to help the Bears in their main weakness, the OL.
But first order of business was to trade their star TE, Greg Olsen, who Mike Martz the new offensive coordinator feels isn't up to par on the main aspect of his systems TE duties, which is blocking. While they got as many as 12 teams to throw out ideas for Olsen, they got what they wanted from the Baltimore Ravens sending Olsen and a 4th for a 2nd and a 5th.
"It was a hard process when trying to deal away a very good and young TE like Olsen." said ZachSaints52," But with our scheme and mindset his talents would have not been used correctly, so we traded him to a system that he will enjoy"
The next order of business was to try and locate any tackles or guards for trade, and the Bears found two.
The first was to the Colts, and dealt away Alex Brown. With Peppers on board, and Mark Anderson on the no-trade list, Brown was the odd man out. Luckily the Colts swooped in and picked him off our hands for thei 4th round pick and Tony Ugoh, the once prominent OT for the Colts who has digressed since his rookie year.
"Basically we gave a back up DE in Brown to help out our OL out some, and with the addition of Ugoh, we will move Chris Williams to LT and have Ugoh battle Kevin Schaffer for the RT spot. But whoever loses will be the swing tackle, and we feel like it helped us out alot. Not to mention in Martz scheme our TE (Brandon Manumaleuna) stays in to block, so Ugoh will have alot of help if he starts." ZachSaints52 says of the deal.
Another trade nabbed another potential starter, Max Jean-Gilles. The Bears moved down in the 2nd round, swapped 5ths with the Eagles, and landed Jean-Gilles.
"While not flashy, Jean-Gilles has provided the Eagles with depth at OG for the past number of years, stepping up when Andrews went down and doing a fine job. Last year he went down with a broken ankle, but our medical staff says he is 100% so we made the trade." Woodnick explanation of the trade.
With the 2nd pick the Bears acquired in the Eagles trade via the Olsen trade, they managed to snag Morgan Burnett, Safety from Georgia Tech.
Burnett led the nation his junior year with seven interceptions, and a quick little fun fact his first touchdown was a interception returned thrown by #1 pick Matthew Stafford. He has great coverage abilities and athleticism, with no durability concerns. Look for Burnett to push Josh Bullocks for the safety spot across from Daniel Manning.
Then with their original 3rd round pick, the Bears got an additional boost to their OL, by selecting Jon Asamoah, the stud OG from the University of Illinois.
Zachsaints52 and Woodnick were very happy Asamoah fell to them. An academic all-american and three year starter for the Illini, Asamoah can come in on day one and start for the Bears. He provides toughness and has an amazing work ethic, to go along with his ability to keep the defense off the quarterback.
While we wait for the 4th round, the Bears got an inquire about a player who hasn't lived up to expectations yet in the NFL. The Bears thought it over, and decided to send their 2 5ths to the New York Jets for Vernon Gholston.
While they didn't give up much, look for the Bears to try him out opposite Peppers and challenge Mark Anderson for time at the RE position.
That's all for now, will update later with the 4th round pick and any other moves the Bears do. For now, with a new OL set, and two guys on defense looking to upgrade areas, look for the Bears to be major players in next years playoffs.
Lions revamp secondary #7 overall pick - Joe Haden
#71 overall pick - Dominique Franks
#90 overall pick - Larry Asante, SS
The secondary was the weakest part of the Lions roster last season. The Lions added three talented prospects to team up with Louis Delmas in a revamped secondary. Haden, Franks, and Asante will add an influx of talent to a secondary that was terrible last year.
Offensive additions look to help Stafford's growth
Players obtained through trade Tashard Choice, RB
Justin Smiley, LG
Players obtained through draft Bruce Campbell, LT
Riley Cooper, WR
Running back was an area of concern heading into next season before Tashard Choice was acquired. He is young, doesn't have a lot of carries,cheap contract, and has shown he can be a successful back in the league. The acquisition of Justin Smiley means that Bruce Campbell won't be forced into the lineup before he is ready. Instead of moving Backus to LG we can wait until Campbell is ready. Campbell is built like a top ten pick but is a raw prospect. I felt in the middle of the third Riley Cooper was worth taking a chance on. Cooper has a nice blend of size and speed and can give Stafford another weapon to use. After Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson the WRs are question marks.
After trading down in the first round and still getting their main target Mike Iupati, the Steelers managed to pull off two more successful trade-downs in the third and fourth rounds.
As the 52nd pick approached, Pittsburgh Steelers front office was negotiating a trade down with one of their second round picks, the other being #55. The team completed a deal with the Miami Dolphins, where the Dolphins would receive #55 and #116 and the Steelers would receive #73, #100, and #110. The deal, however, would only be finalized if the player the Dolphins were targeting was still on board when the 55th pick arrived.
Mr. Goosemahn and Salgado, however, decided that pick #52 would be used on a player they felt could improve the weakest part of the defense. Last year, when Troy Polamalu went down with his second ligament injury of the season, the defense started to struggle. They couldn't hold 4th quarter leads, and got burned frequently, sometimes by teams who weren't known to burn defenses. Two long passes in the 4th quarter remain carved into the memories of Steelers players, coaches, employees and fans: one was the 61 yard catch-and-run by Chris Chambers during the Week 11 game vs. the Chiefs in overtime. The other, a 75 yard play by Raiders rookie receiver Louis Murphy in the closing minutes of the 4th quarter. Missed assignments and lack of communication were the main problems with both plays, but there was an even bigger factor that some people originally ignored: the Steelers had little to no valuable depth behind Troy Polamalu.
Without Polamalu, the entire defense struggled. Tyrone Carter was not able to fill in adequately. While he gave a good effort in run-support, he was constantly outmatched against receivers and tight ends, and his speed was not enough to catch running-backs and receivers who ran right by him. The other safety on the roster was second year man Ryan Mundy, who showed some talent in pre-season and made the roster, but had minimal contributions during the season. In fact, the main image Steeler fans associate with Mundy (if any at all), is him reaching up and failing to deflect a pass that wound up being the game-winning touchdown for the Oakland Raiders. It was time for the team to address the Safety position.
Fortunately, standing at #52 gave the Steelers a lot of possibilities. There was Chris Cook from Virginia, who offered position versatility at both CB and FS. There was Reshad Jones from Georgia, a vicious hitter who some have compared to Ryan Clark. There was Morgan Burnett from Georgia Tech, who is an undeniable playmaker. There was Nate Allen, who's football smarts make him a valuable asset in the secondary. And then there was Chad Jones.
Called by some a "slower Taylor Mays," Jones seems to combine some of the attributes from the other safeties. He can hit like Reshad Jones, make plays like Morgan Burnett, has great size like Chris Cook, and could develop the smarts that Nate Allen has. The only knock on Chad Jones, however, is that he's a very raw player, but that's a positive in the eyes of the Steelers.
"There's just so much potential," said Steelers GM Mr. Goosemahn. "He's a great athlete, he was a great safety, and all the while he was playing two entirely separate sports. Now that he's a Steeler, he won't have to focus on baseball anymore, and with full concentration on football, we believe he can become a very special safety."
One advantage for Jones is that he doesn't have to step in immediately. Troy Polamalu, when healthy, is the best safety in the league, and Ryan Clark is a solid safety to accompany him. Jones could enter as the #3 safety and as a special teams player, a position in which he also excelled in college. He could come in passing downs and cover tight ends. There are many other creative ways that defensive guru Dick LeBeau could use him.
"We're really excited that he's on the team," LeBeau said. "He's going to provide a new dimension to our defense. He'll become a guy that an opposing quarterback will have to take into consideration every time he makes a pass. He'll become a guy that will make running-backs think twice about trying to confront head-on. He'll become a guy that will make wide receivers cringe at the thought of running through the middle. He'll change the way our secondary functions. It'll be like having a linebacker with superior coverage abilities. Suffice it to say, we're very excited!" LeBeau simply couldn't keep himself from smiling.
So with Chad Jones officially chosen with the 52nd pick, the Steelers arrived to the 55th pick. Had the deal with Miami not gone through, the Steelers were prepared to select Cal's Defensive Tackle Tyson Alualu, a high energy player who had experience playing as a 3-4 5 Technique defensive end. After contacting the Dolphins, the previously arranged trade was made official, and the Dolphins moved up to select safety Nate Allen. It was now the Steelers turn to wait for the 73rd pick.
Coming into the draft, the Steelers had two priorities: improving the run game and shore up the secondary. Both Mike Iupati and Chad Jones helped each area, but the team was not done yet. Arriving at the #73 pick, the Steelers evaluated different options. Ultimately, the Steelers decided to take the wrecking ball from Stanford, running-back Toby Gerhart.
For starters, the fact that Gerhart was available at Gerhart embodies what a Steelers offense used to be, hard, tough, smash-mouth football. Gerhart is the perfect back to return to this type of offense, which is what coaches and owners have suggested will happen this off-season. Getting Iupati and Gerhart is a great start for this movement. Gerhart will bring a tough attitude that the Steelers will need. With the amount of tough defenders the AFC North is gathering, the Steelers had to respond. Mendenhall goes from being the power-back last year to being the all-around back right now.
Quoting Steelers running-back Kirby Wilson, "Toby is the type of runner that will get you extra yardage with every single one of his runs. Rarely does he fall backwards, and if you watch tape on him, you'll see that he averages around five yards after initial contact. It's an underestimated statistic that, when it comes down to game situations, is extremely valuable. We struggled a lot last year on 3rd and short, but we have reason to believe we've found the answer."
Gerhart is a special player who had a tremendous senior season. If he's able to translate his college talent to the NFL, then the Steelers might have finally found an adequate replacement for Jerome "The Bus" Bettis. As great as Willie Parker was, he wasn't the smash-mouth back the Steelers have had for so long. A duo of Mendenhall and Gerhart will bring that mentality back, and will be a dangerous combination of players that will tire opponents and run over them mercilessly.
The Pittsburgh Steelers Front Office is extremely happy to have landed both Chad Jones and Toby Gerhart. Both have the potential to be impact players and become game-changers.
With the 27th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Dallas selects from Penn State, Jared Odrick.
Odrick is expected to push Spears for playing time, and possible force the vet out completely. He should excel in Phillips' one-gap scheme at LDE similar to Luis Castillo. Cook is expected to be groomed at free safety, and possibly fill in at corner should injuries or continued poor play from Scandrick necessitate. Walton gives the line some flexibility to move bodies around and finally shake up the weak link of the offense. Gurode may kick out to guard if Walton is ready to be guy at center. Gurode lacks the intelligence and shotgun-snap skills of Walton, but is still a high level blocker and could contribute at LG. Tony Washington has the potential to guard the edge at the pro level, but will need time to mature and develop first. He knows better than anyone that forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest.