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The New NFL Draft: Day 1

I normally love NFL Draft Weekend, but this year's draft has just been odd.  While I love the idea of cutting the first round picks down from 15 to 10 minutes (cuts the first round down from around 8 hours to 5 1/2), starting the draft at 3 P.M. ET (instead of Noon ET) and only completing two rounds on the first day just seem awkward.  This means they have five more rounds to complete tomorrow, which I usually find more interesting because that's where teams are built for the long-haul of the NFL season.

As for my take on the first day of the 2008 draft:

  • Atlanta got a good deal getting QB Matt Ryan at #3 overall.  The guy accomplished a whole lot with almost nothing around him at the skill positions while playing at BC, and he definitely should have more to work with at the pro level.
  • Jacksonville clearly seemed to reach for Florida DE Derrick Harvey.  I really don't think he's going to be worth the two third rounders and the fifth rounder he cost them.
  • I was surprised to see Carolina pick Oregon RB Jonathan Stewart at #13.  I know they needed a RB after losing Foster, but they also had other needs that could have been addressed at this spot.
  • Baltimore played the yo-yo team this year, moving down 18 spots in their trade with Jacksonville, and them back up 8 spots to #18 to pick QB Joe Flacco of Deleware (and formerly Pitt).  Looking at how things played out, he probably would have been there for them at #26.  However, they have a record of moving up for mediocre QBs (say hello to Kyle Boller, Joe).
  • The Steelers selected a solid RB in Rashard Mendenhall of Illinois with their first round pick, and then followed that up with big WR Limas Sweed of Texas in the second round.  They're good picks, but seem out of character for the team, especially when their most pressing need appears to be the offensive line.
  • Five teams (Cleveland, Green Bay, Philadelphia, Washington and Indianapolis) traded out of the first round altogether.  I'm not sure if that's indicative of the quality of the draft class, the depth of the draft class, or the needs of each team.  We won't know that answer for a few more years, but I'm pretty sure that number has to be some kind of record.
  • The “experts” and the teams didn't seem to see eye-to-eye much beyond the first ten picks in the draft this year.  There's a lot of predicted first rounders who fell into the second round or are still on the board.  For example, Limas Sweed was predicted to be the first or second wide reciever picked on the day, when he ended up being the ninth wideout picked at #53 overall.

There's still a lot of draft to go, and the remaining five rounds will likely have as much or more impact on their teams as the picks of these first two rounds.

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