Draft Day links brought to you by guest blogger Bob Ekstrom. As always, he can be reached at [email protected]
Good morning, and welcome to the midpoint in football’s offseason. It’s the one weekend in the year when college and NFL intersect, where young men descend upon Radio City Music Hall or gather in front of television sets as mom and dad stand behind them with a hand upon each shoulder and navigate the string of mini-dramas that are Commissioner Roger Goodell’s regular visits to the mike.
There’s a long way to go before the 3 PM start, but you’ve got several good places to frequent once things get rolling. Get your info straight from the horse’s mouth with the NFL’s own Draft Tracker. For breaking headlines, ESPN’s Draft Central has some of the best reporters, but most content requires an In$ider account. Pro Football Weekly’s content is more accessible and they’ll keep it fresh all day. If fresh isn’t important, NFL Draft History is the best site to relive your team’s successes and failures of yesteryear. For Patriots’ draft activity, there are no better sources than Mike Reiss, who’ll be blogging on Reiss’s Pieces, and Scott Benson, who’ll be manning the fort all weekend on Patriots Daily. Scott Wright’s Draft Countdown offers some good content and this easy-to-read value chart, which I plan to consult when Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli start trading down.
Clark Judge says the end of Jeremy Shockey’s days in the Meadowlands will create a ripple through the draft, but don’t look for it until late Saturday at the earliest. Paul Schwartz of the Post says Sean Payton will have to do better than the 40th overall pick if he wants Shockey in New Orleans as speculated. Dolphins in Depth says yesterday’s trade with the Cowboys may not be the one Miami fans expected, and with Parcells demanding a first-round pick for Jason Taylor, it may not come at all. Chad Johnson is still a Bengal, but confirmed his intention to sit out the season if that doesn’t change.
New Englanders will have to wait it out as five teams have their ten minutes of limelight ahead of them. That, of course, does not count the Dolphins, which made Jake Long’s weekend shorter (30-second ad comes first) than the one Mike Ditka had in 1999 after letting all his picks go up in smoke for Ricky Williams. Conventional wisdom has the remainder of the “Sexy Six” going before New England’s time, the only mystery being the order in which they become unavailalbe.
Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch has the St. Louis front office narrowing their pick to either Chris Long or Glenn Dorsey, with Long now gaining the edge as the next apparent Ram. Steve Wyche of the Journal-Constitution reminisces about the anniversary of Mike Vick’s proclaimed innocence, coming one year before BC’s Matty Ryan says he’ll stack up well in Atlanta. Inside Bay Area suggests Al Davis may finally acquiesce to his draft deficiencies. Yes, the mastermind who made first-round selections of a punter, a kicker, and the oft-incarcerated Todd Marinovich, is willing to spare our nation another April embarrassment and trade down to his level of incompetence. The Star’s Adam Teicher is giddy about the Chiefs’ 13 picks, a wealth that may empower them to break up the Sexy Six and reach out to OTs Branden Albert and Ryan Clady.
As for the Jets, Rich Cimini says GM Mike Tannenbaum and Coach Eric Mangini await a seminal decision if Ryan is still on the board. Mark Cannizzaro thinks the Jets may not like the top-tier leftovers and look to trade down to the next class, a move that seems highly unlikely to us New Englanders who see Gang Green as perpetually green with envy and coveting their spot just ahead of the Patriots. Dave Hutchinson says Darren McFadden has the skills and character to be a Jet, but not so fast says McFadden’s mom, who is not convinced New York has the character for McFadden.
With the Seventh Selection
The Patriots will have eight overall picks, starting high at Number 7 but having a long wait into the night for another chance at 62. That’s something Belichick and Pioli are not fond of. Christopher L. Gasper thinks Belichick may be sufficiently underwhelmed with his choices and trade down to bridge that chasm. He better hurry though, as Glen Farley reminds us the new time limits may crimp Coach’s style. Karen Guregian is full of hopes and possibilities at Number 7, even the possibility of trading for Jason Taylor. Douglas Flynn is certain the Patriots will not be forced into any selections based on need. Shalise Manza Young blames the Belichick/Pioli team’s proclivity towards the unpredictable for keeping her in the dark as to whether they’ll move up, trade down, or hold. As Gasper points out, Pioli knows what he wants and that’s led to at least one starter in each of his drafts with the exception of 2007. Gasper also recounts the ill-fated 2007 draft, whose carnage left only two players remaining on today’s roster. Tom King says last year’s failure makes this a pivotal weekend in Foxborough.
Ian Clark says ‘value’ is the word for the Patriots with their eight picks. Guregian is either completely thorough or has plenty of time on her hands before the 3 PM tipoff (pick the former), because she’s looking for a backup quarterback in one piece, and some kicking help in another, two areas of no imminent need.
Draft Odds & Sods
As UNH’s Ricky Santos is perhaps the most promising New England player not attending classes in Chestnut Hill, Allen Lessels sees him rightfully waiting by the phone on Sunday.
John Connolly entertains the notion of OT Mackenzy Bernadeau becoming the first Bentley College player ever drafted, and offers a rundown on some local free agent prospects after the weekend.
Eric McHugh visits with North Quincy Head Coach Jim Connor, whose brother Dan, a Penn State LB, figures to be selected sometime today.
Enjoy the festivities as it should be fun to see the new crop of Patriots form. We’ll see you back here on Monday morning. Until then, get all the latest Pats news on Patriots Daily.