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A look at last years first round picks
At the midpoint of the NFL season, USA TODAY examines the progress of the players selected in the first round of the 2007 draft:
1. JaMarcus Russell, QB, Oakland
No action yet for the top overall pick, who held out of camp until Sept. 12 — three days after the Raiders' first game. After four consecutive losses in Oakland, Russell may soon finally get a chance to direct the offense under rookie coach Lane Kiffin.
2. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit
The receiver some dubbed the most talented player in the draft showed early flashes for Detroit with touchdowns in his first two games. He leads the surprising Lions with 17.8 yards per catch.
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3. Joe Thomas, OL, Cleveland
Started all eight games for Cleveland and has yet to surrender a sack. He's been part of the rebirth of football in Cleveland, with the 5-3 Browns ranked fourth in overall offense and in points scored.
4. Gaines Adams, DE, Tampa Bay
Logged his first start in a Week 9 win against Arizona. Adams has collected 1½ sacks in the past four games, and is continuing to contribute more to a first-place Buccaneers defense that is ranked sixth overall and has surrendered the third-fewest points in the NFC.
5. Levi Brown, OL, Arizona
Started the first three games, but has been slowed by an ankle injury. Improving the offensive line was a huge offseason goal in Arizona, and thus far the results aren't what new coach Ken Whisenhunt could have hoped for. He lost starting quarterback Matt Leinart for the season to a broken collarbone and second-stringer Kurt Warner has battled injuries that forced the team to thrust journeyman Tim Rattay into action.
6. LaRon Landry, S, Washington
Made an immediate impact and has started every game for a veteran defense. He's third on the Redskins in tackles. With grizzled vets such as Sean Taylor and Shawn Springs tutoring him, Landry looks like he'll be a factor for years in Washington.
7. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota
Might have been the steal of the draft for the Vikings. He's rushed for 1,036 yards in eight games, including the single-game record 296 yards he collected Week 9 against San Diego. Peterson is threatening Eric Dickerson's rookie rushing record of 1,808 yards.
8. Jamaal Anderson, DE, Atlanta
Started all eight contests for Atlanta, but is still looking for his breakout game. Fellow end John Abraham has begun to criticize Anderson's slow development, which may serve as motivation for a stronger second half.
9. Ted Ginn Jr., WR/KR, Miami
Dolphins fans booed Ginn's selection on draft day, and thus far his performance hasn't done much to turn them into believers. Ginn finally notched his first touchdown reception in the winless Dolphins' eighth game. His work as a kick returner (24.3-yard average) is notable, but hardly worth the ninth pick in the draft.
10. Amobi Okoye, DT, Houston
The 20-year-old leads the Texans with five sacks, including four in his first four games. Okoye has been a big contributor and shown a flash for rushing the passer alongside other talented youngsters (Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans) in the Texans' defensive lineup.
11. Patrick Willis, LB, San Francisco
Perhaps the front-runner for Defensive Rookie of the Year, Willis leads the NFL with 83 tackles after Week 9. Willis' toughness (he broke a bone in his hand against the Falcons on Sunday, but never missed a play and recorded his first sack in the contest) is needed for a ***** squad that has lost six straight.
12. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Buffalo
Proved to be more than an able replacement for Willis McGahee in Buffalo. He's fourth in the NFL with 690 yards rushing and tied for seventh with five rushing touchdowns. Lynch added a passing touchdown against Cincinnati in Week 9, and has averaged 106 yards rushing in the Bills' three-game winning streak that brought them back to .500.
13. Adam Carriker, DT, St. Louis
Carriker's rookie campaign has been slow to develop through the trials of the Rams' winless campaign. He's had to adjust from defensive end (his position at Nebraska) to nose tackle, but finally notched a sack in the Week 8 loss to Cleveland.
14. Darrelle Revis, CB, N.Y. Jets
A rare bright spot for the Jets through their 1-8 start. With 57 tackles, he's been a defensive factor in every game. He's shown the ability to both rush the passer and defend the pass well. Says Jets coach Eric Mangini, "He's consistently working toward the ball."
15. Lawrence Timmons, LB, Pittsburgh
Made more contributions on special teams (including a recovery of a fumbled Ravens punt return in Week 9 that set up a Steelers touchdown) than on defense thus far. But he's behind standout linebacker James Harrison on the top-rated Steelers defense, and he's certain to absorb the mantra of the Steel Curtain.
16. Justin Harrell, DT, Green Bay
Having played in just two games, the defender has made little impact. Harrell was inactive for the first four contests, then sprained an ankle in practice on Oct. 23 and hasn't played since. The Packers, whose 142 points surrendered rank second in the NFC, haven't missed him thus far.
17. Jarvis Moss, DE, Denver
The athletic defensive end had a strong start to his season, with nine tackles in his first three games. But Moss broke his leg in practice on Nov. 1, and landed on injured reserve.
18. Leon Hall, CB, Cincinnati
The cornerback has earned two starts in relief of Johnathan Joseph, and has shown glimpses of why he was a first-rounder. Hall has three picks, but needs more seasoning before he can overtake Joseph or Deltha O'Neal on the Bengals depth chart.
19. Michael Griffin, DB, Tennessee
It took almost half the season, but Griffin finally cracked the Titans starting lineup in Week 8. The Texas product has 12 tackles in the past three games combined, and intercepted his first pass in Week 9's 20-7 win against Carolina.
20. Aaron Ross, CB, N.Y. Giants
Has started three straight games since a breakout performance in Week 5 against the Jets when he picked off two passes and returned one 43 yards for a touchdown. Now a major contributor on a Giants unit that has improved to ninth in passing defense since surrendering four touchdowns in a Week 1 loss to Dallas.
21. Reggie Nelson, S, Jacksonville
Has become a mainstay of the Jaguars defense. After notching a sack and seven tackles in the opener, Nelson has started every game since. With 39 tackles and two interceptions through the first half, coach Jack Del Rio is counting on Nelson "to be a very, very good player for us for a long time."
22. Brady Quinn, QB, Cleveland
The highly hyped quarterback has yet to see the field. An 11-day holdout kept the Browns from considering Quinn for the starting job at the beginning of the season. Now, the performance of incumbent Derek Anderson (fourth in the NFL with 17 TD passes) has him on the bench for the foreseeable future.
23. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City
Another latecomer to camp, Bowe quickly found a groove after scoring touchdowns in three of his first four games. He leads all Chiefs wide receivers with 29 receptions, and his three scores are second on the team to Tony Gonzalez's four.
24. Brandon Meriweather, DB, New England
The Patriots defensive back has yet to start but has appeared in all nine games with 14 tackles. He's seen time at both safety and cornerback, and has had more of an impact on special teams. He represents an insurance policy for New England's defense if one of their veterans is injured.
25. Jon Beason, LB, Carolina
The linebacker is tops on the Panthers and third among all rookies with 61 tackles after starting the first eight games for Carolina. He moved to the starting middle linebacker spot in Week 6, and has been the team's best linebacker since.
26. Anthony Spencer, LB, Dallas
Started the first six games as he helped fill the hole left by veteran Greg Ellis' injury. Collected 21 tackles and a sack during his apprenticeship, and has shifted to a reserve roll with Ellis back.
27. Robert Meachem, WR, New Orleans
Has been inactive for all of the Saints' games thus far. Although he had a knee injury during the summer, Meachem's failure to get on the field has not been entirely injury-related.
28. Joe Staley, OT, San Francisco
Has started all eight games. Was beaten for several sacks against the Giants in Week 7, but otherwise has been a rare bright spot for the ***** through their 2-6 start. There is even talk of moving him to left tackle with Jonas Jennings out for the season now.
29. Ben Grubbs, G, Baltimore
Earned his first start at guard in Week 5, and has been in the lineup since. Looks like he could be a mainstay on the line for the Ravens, and has been a rare point of optimism for the struggling club.
30. Craig Davis, WR, San Diego
Was a contributor with nine catches for 84 yards and a touchdown during the Chargers' first six games. But a sprained ankle in Week 6 has kept him out of the lineup since. And the arrival of Chris Chambers in San Diego has pushed Davis back on the depth chart.
31. Greg Olsen, TE, Chicago
A sprained knee in the preseason kept him out of three of the first four games. But in the Bears' last four games he's shown he can be a focal point of the Chicago offense with 19 catches for 227 yards and two touchdowns.
32. Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Indianapolis
Had a breakout game in Week 5 against Tampa Bay with seven receptions for 71 yards. Has filled in for an ailing Marvin Harrison lately, and has shown signs of developing a rapport with Peyton Manning.
-11-10-2007 #2evil Guest
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