Normally I am friggin geeked for the NFL Draft by the Thursday before the big day. I've read every mock draft and reviewed them with a fine toothed comb (making witty comments to myself like, "you idiot Don Banks, there's no f'n way Rodgers-Cromartie falls out of the top ten. This isn't the CFL draft!" And I laugh and I laugh...) and have listened to enough of Mel Kiper's predictable speaking cadence that I can finish his sentences with proper voice inflection. This year I'm just not all that into it. I don't know whether it's the teams at the front of the draft or the players coming out, but for some reason this draft just lacks a certain umph.
My guess is that the reason the Draft is lacking this year is because the players at the front of the draft are completely unknown quantities. The only one anyone really has any familiarity with is Darren McFadden and he's not even in the discussion at 2 or 3. Instead we've got a the Tyler Hansborough of D Ends (gritty, motor guy with a big heart) and one of the most talented D lineman in recent memory whose limbs are apparently constructed out of wet toilet paper. Even the top QBs don't have a ton of marquee value because none of them (other than my draft favorite, Chad Henne) are from programs anyone's ever watched. The WRs suck the RBs have a ton of depth (all the way through Mike Hart who is projected in the 4th/5th) and the real playmakers (like DeSean Jackson and Aqib Talib) have been red flagged to death. Other than Chris Long and Jerod Mayo, there's not a player in this draft that people seem to like. I hate to admit it but we may have reached our saturation point for NFL Draft information. There's so much out there about these kids that when the Pats pick their guy, I'll be so confused as to how to feel that I'll probably be emotionless. All that being said, it won't stop me from picking my over and underrated guys in this draft and project the first 15. While I didn't do too badly picking the over and underrated guys (in fact, I was f'n dead on) I sucked at picking the draft last year but I still enjoyed it so I'm doing it again. Here goes something....
1. Glenn Dorsey - if he's healthy, he's Warren Sapp. He's never healthy.
2. Vernon Gholston - Mike Mamula says hello.
3. Devin Thomas - JuCo kid with 6 catches in 2006. One year at Mich. St. and he's a first rounder?
4. Limas Sweed - Mike Williams part deux.
5. Felix Jones - The guy is 5'10" 205lbs. He's almost my size. I could not play in the NFL.
6/7. Joe Flacco / Brian Brohm - Great peripherals and disappointing college careers, unless you count eating. Joe Flacco could give Jared Lorenzen a run for his money in a pudding eating contest.
1. Rodgers-Cromartie - Big, fast, great hands and raw. He may be the first shutdown corner to come out of the draft since DeAngelo Hall.
2. Clady / Alberts / Otah / Williams - The OTs in this draft are gonna be good.
3. Jerod Mayo - He's a physical specimen and played tremendous in the toughest conference in the NCAA.
4. Calais Campbell - I have a man crush on him. 6'8", athletic and tore through the ACC two years ago.
5. Chad Henne - He reminds me of Matt Hasselbeck. So I guess he'll play on an above average team in a bad conference and not win a big game, just like college!
6. Rashard Mendenhall - First jewish running back in the NFL.
NFL Draft Projections
1. Miami Dolphins - Jake Long
2. St. Louis Rams - Glenn Dorsey
3. Atlanta Falcons - Vernon Gholston
4. Oakland Raiders - Chris Long
5. Baltimore Ravens - Sedrick Ellis
6. New York Jets - Matt Ryan
7. Cincinnati - Darren McFadden
8. Kansas City - Chris Williams
9. New England - Branden Albert
10. New Orleans Saints - Mike Jenkins
11. Buffalo Bills - Devin Thomas
12. Denver Broncos - Ryan Clady
13. Carolina Panthers - Jeff Otah
14. Chicago Bears - Rashard Mendenhall
15. Detroit Lions - Keith Rivers
16. Arizona Cardinals - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
17. Kansas City - Derrick Harvey
18. Houston Texans - Aqib Talib
19. Philadelphia Eagles - Jerod Mayo
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DeSean Jackson
21. Washington Redskins - Malcolm Kelly
22. Dallas Cowboys - Leodis McKelvin
23. Pittsburgh Steelers - Jamaal Charles
24. Tennessee Titans - Devin Thomas
25. Seattle Seahawks - Mario Manningham
26. Jacksonville Jaguars - Calais Campbell
27. San Diego Chargers - Kenny Phillips
28. Dallas Cowboys - Marcus Harrison
29. S.F. 49ers - Gosder Cherilus
30. Green Bay Packers - Antoine Cason
31. New York Giants - Brandon Flowers
If I have time tomorrow or Saturday, I'll give some explanations for all of this but for now I'm sticking to it.