In this football desert known as the lockout, it's refreshing to finally have something to quench our football thirst. For three glorious days we've lounged in the oasis of the 2011 NFL Draft, before being unceremoniously dumped back out into the desert. However, we can still think back with fond memories of our brief respite from the barren and stark landscape of our NFL world. I also just finished a writing workshop. Is it helping?
I thought about doing the obligatory winners and losers story but nocal already beat me to it. So instead I'll do the good, the bad, and the ugly of the draft, which is essentially the same thing but with a catchier name and an extra category. But as is the case with everything I write it's important to remember one thing. I'm not an expert I just play one on the internet.
No, I'm not kidding. Believe it or not the Lions actually had a great draft. Hey, it was bound to happen eventually. Rather than taking the best player that fits their need, they simply took the best player available regardless if it was a huge need or not. They already have a star WR in Calvin Johnson, but Titus Young provides a second weapon for Matt Stafford and one that will likely face a lot of single coverage. Jahvid Best was only a rookie last year, but throw Mikel Leshoure into the mix and the Lions have a great young 1-2 punch. Yet where they really scored big was when Nick Fairley fell to them in the first round. He clearly wasn't a need, but put him in a defensive line rotation that already has Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch and the Lions end up with a defensive front that looks scarier than Al Davis's face. I cringe just thinking about it.
The Bucs just missed the playoffs last season and their 17th ranked defense was a big reason why. So they decided to try and fix the problem by selecting DE Adrian Clayborn in the first round, and DE Da'Quan Bowers in the second. Bowers in particular could be a steal since he has top-5 talent but they got him with the 51st pick because of medical concerns. Throw in LB Mason Foster and the Bucs porous run defense suddenly looks a lot more stout. Now if they could just figure out a way to get people to their games they'd be set.
Jack Del Rio is on the head coaching hot seat after the Jags lost their last three games to finish 8-8 and miss the playoffs. Yet the Jags front office gave him no help when they traded away their second round draft pick so they could move up to get QB Blaine Gabbert with their first. They also didn't do him any favors when they used their 3rd round pick on a Guard which was hardly a position of great need. Of course, Del Rio's job security isn't a huge concern for the front office. They're more worried about making sure they have a good team when the time comes for the move to LA.
It's hard to have a good draft when you don't even have a first round pick, but when you follow that up by reaching to get Center Stefen Wisniewski with your second round pick you're all but guaranteed to have a bad draft. Include the Raider requirement of picking a player who's really fast like Demarcus Van Dyke but may not be the best at actually playing his position, and their failure to address their OLB needs and it all adds up to a sub-par draft. But take heart Raiders fans. Al Davis can't live forever. At least I think he can't.
Those poor Seahawks. If it's not an oil spill it's a bad draft. In spite of a losing record last season the Seahawks still found themselves drafting all the way down at number 25. But the Seahawks must have felt even that pick was too high for them. It's the only explanation I can come up with for why they reached on each of their first four picks. With every pick there was another player or two (and in some cases several) rated higher at the same position. At least according to the scouting reports I googled. I couldn't actually be bothered with scouting the players myself. Then to make matters worse, they didn't even bother to draft a QB. Maybe they think they can swing a deal for Kyle Orton or Kevin Kolb when the lockout ends. It certainly can't be because their front office is being overrun by fans chanting, "Charlie Whitehurst is our future!"
I actually liked the Packers draft, but enough with the cheeseheads. And what kind of cheese is it supposed to be anyways? Is it cheddar or swiss? Maybe it's some funky hybrid offspring of the two? You've been wearing that same hat since 1987 (once again, thank you google) at least try and mix it up a little. How about a nice round mozzarella or a crumbly bleu cheese? And if you're feeling really wild you could go with a gruyere. Or just be completely unoriginal, wear your cheese hat, and bring your big painted "D" and white picket fence so you have something to hold up when Aaron Rodgers isn't on the field.