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  1. #1
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    Nick's Thoughts on Day One of the 2007 NFL Draft

    Our Picks

    Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska
    -ANALYSIS: He's the guy I had us taking in my mock last night, and ultimately he's the guy we take. I'm happy he was able to fall to us, and I'm anxious to see exactly how Scott Linehan and Jim Haslett use him on the defensive line in camp. I really didn't consider trying to use him as a potential nose tackle but I think if the Rams feel he can bulk up a bit it could certainly work. He certainly has the strength and plays with the kind of leverage you want from an interior run defender, and word has it he's already at 308 pounds. He's a very strong run stopping lineman whom, simply put, the Rams are better for having. A few months ago I was unsure about Carriker for the Rams simply because I wasn't sure I saw a great fit. But if the Rams view him eventually playing next to Wroten and stuffing the run from the inside, I'm excited about the possibilities.
    -GRADE: A

    Brian Leonard, RB/FB, Rutgers
    -ANALYSIS: For as much debate as I've engaged in with this pick, I actually like Leonard as a prospect. I think the combo of Jackson and Leonard will be a quality one. This just isn't the direction I would have preferred to go with Kalil, Crowder, and Abiamiri on the board. I feel all three of those players were better value, and I don't think we're so set at center and DE that we can afford to pass on that. In the end it's great that we addressed our need in the backfield, but I think it could have been held off to the third or even fourth round. But since I like Leonard as a prospect and like the combo of he and Jackson, I still have to give this pick solid marks.
    -GRADE: B

    Jonathan Wade, CB, Tennessee
    -ANALYSIS: Wade is a prospect I had going in the second round, actually before we selected in round two in fact. I think he has a lot of upside as a cornerback but there's certainly room to be concerned. He doesn't have a lot of experience at the position and hasn't yet developed the kind of instincts you'd like to see. Will he ever? More experience should certainly help, but it's no guarantee that he ever truly gets a feel for it. In the end, with Charles Johnson off the board when we picked, I think Wade was a solid combination of addressing value and need (as it seems clear the Rams view cornerback as some kind of need), though if I were being picky I would have preferred a bigger corner.
    -GRADE: B-

    OVERALL GRADE: B
    Again, it's not the direction I probably would have gone, as I would have diverged in a different direction in round two, but the bottom line is I like all of these prospects. And even though I would have done something different in the second round, I see Leonard as a guy who will work hard and be a great compliment to Jackson, hopefully giving us one of the more effective 1-2 punches in the league. Carriker is exactly the kind of attitude we need, and I'm intrigued by the way the Rams seem to want to use him. Wade has all the physical tools and could be a steal should he put it all together. A very solid first day, but higher marks are just out of reach simply because I think we passed on better value in the second round.


    Day One Winners

    It's pretty silly to start proclaiming winners and losers so soon after the selections have been made. In the end, we won't know who truly won or lost for a few years now. But based on what we know right now, here's whom I was impressed with:

    Cleveland Browns
    How can you start off a list of Day One winners without mentioning the Cleveland Browns? They pass on Quinn and Peterson in order to take the potential franchise left tackle in Joe Thomas. Combined with the Eric Steinbach free agent signing, they've on their way toward an improved line. But then when Quinn makes his free fall, the Browns trade back into the first round (to be fair, they gave up a good bit) and take the hometown boy. Then, to top it off, they get a potential first round talent in cornerback Eric Wright at the end of round two. They only have three more picks on the second day, but their first day seems to have been a pretty big success from the look of it.

    Carolina Panthers
    It's hard to look at what the Panthers were able to accomplish and not view their first day as a major success. They were able to trade down and acquire more picks, all the while getting a linebacker in Jon Beason who could potentially play outside or inside for them. They grabbed Dwayne Jarrett in the second round, giving them someone with size to develop behind Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson. They also added the best center in this class in Ryan Kalil, and topped it off by taking Georgia DE Charles Johnson in the third round. Looks like a winner to me.

    Atlanta Falcons
    This team had three picks in the first two rounds, and I think they really cleaned up. In the first round they took Arkansas defensive end Jamaal Anderson, whom some thought might be slipping but certainly has a lot of upside at the next level. In the second round, Bobby Petrino was able to find a powerful lineman in Justin Blalock to help impliment his new offensive system. The Falcons probably couldn't have hoped for anything more but they got it when they were able to trade up for Chris Houston, whom some graded as a mid-first round pick in this class. This is enough success for me to ignore what I thought was a reach for Laurent Robinson in the third round.


    Day One Losers

    Again, a bit pointless to do this hours after the draft, but there were some teams I was left scratching my head about:

    Miami Dolphins
    First of all, let's start with Ted Ginn. I personally think the number nine slot was much too high for him, especially considering he isn't even healthy. But the Ginn pick is complicated by the fact that the Dolphins passed on Brady Quinn to take him. Some might say that was wise considering how far Quinn dropped, and that's a fair point. The Dolphins also were able to land a quarterback in John Beck in round two, so maybe that worked out. Samson Satele provides good interior line talent, and Lorenzo Booker is a nice change of pace back. So why are the Dolphins losers? I'll sum it up in one question - where's the defense!? They're aging at defensive tackle, they need more depth at linebacker in order to transition to the 3-4, and their secondary could use help as well. But the Dolphins went strictly offense, which I foudn rather perplexing.

    Tennessee Titans
    Alright, maybe you can convince me that you thought Michael Griffin was the BPA in round one and just felt so compelled to take him. Okay, I can at least see the logic behind that kind of pick. But please Titans, tell me what you're doing taking the unproven Chris Henry in round number two! Surely you could have found someone with some more experience as a starting back. I understand Henry will be paired with LenDale White, but the lack of experience and production should have been concerning. Then in round three, they take Paul Williams, who could develop into a good starting receiver with the proper mentorship. Unfortunately I'm not sure he gets that in Tennessee where the current group of receivers is pretty bleak. All in all, I think the Titans could have done much better.

    Baltimore Ravens
    I'm not a huge fan of what the Ravens accomplished on Day One. In round one, I think Ben Grubbs is a fine pick for them. I understand that they wanted Staley and were prepared to select him until San Francisco jumped right in front of them. So Grubbs is fine. But the Ravens, who traded out of the second and back up into the third, needed to make those final Day One picks count. And they didn't. They added Yamon Figurs, an electric return man but someone I don't think will be anything more than a capable slot receiver and ultimately not great value in the third round. They also added Marshall Yanda... a guard prospect! While Yanda does have collegiate experience at tackle, he projects better to the guard position, which the Ravens already addressed with Grubbs and have at least one other promising young player on their roster. Did they really need to go O-line twice? Help in the secondary or at linebacker might have been better options.


    Top 20 Second Day Big Board

    Below are the Top 20 players that I see still available for the second day of the NFL draft. Keep in mind they're ranked without consideration of team or draft need; basically, this is just a general big board of who is left.

    1. Ben Patrick, TE, Delaware
    -Was rumored to be challenging Zach Miller for the #2 spot but now slips to Day Two

    2. Tim Shaw, LB, Penn State
    -I'm higher on him than some, but I think he's the top OLB prospect available here.

    3. Tanard Jackson, DB, Syracuse
    -Jackson could play corner or safety, and I had him in the second round of my last mock.

    4. Antonio Pittman, RB, Ohio State
    -Another player that fit into my second round projection that I don't think lasts long.

    5. Marcus Thomas, DT, Florida
    -The talent is there, but is someone going to take a flier on this character concern?

    6. Josh Beekman, OG, Boston College
    -Considered a top guard during the season but slipped during workouts; should be good value here though.

    7. John Wendling, S, Wyoming
    -Versatile safety prospect whom I thought was on the rise and could be a late second rounder.

    8. Michael Bush, RB, Louisville
    -Thought he was rising back up the charts in recent days; may not last beyond Atlanta's first 4th rounder.

    9. Doug Free, OT, Northern Illinois
    -Athletic and could be one of the few potential left tackles available here.

    10. Brian Robinson, DE, Texas
    -The top edge rusher available on Day Two and should be a target for the Rams.

    11. Paul Soliai, NT, Utah
    -Should get heavy looks by 3-4 teams to start the day; I don't expect him to last long.

    12. Scott Chandler, TE, Iowa
    -Good pass catching tight end that should come off the board once Patrick is gone.

    13. Manuel Ramirez, OG, Texas Tech
    -Some viewed him as a second round selection. I believe I had him in the third, but I like the value here.

    14. Leroy Harris, C, NC State
    -Rumored to get some looks at the end of round three, Harris could be the top center available.

    15. Aundrae Allison, WR, East Carolina
    -Productive receiver who can make things happen in a number of ways; surprised to see others taken ahead of him.

    16. Mason Crosby, K, Colorado
    -Like it or not, the kicker has to go on there; he'll likely get passed up but has talent that should be considered

    17. Zak DeOssie, LB, Brown
    -Really love this guy as a prospect; could play on the strong side or as an ILB in a 3-4

    18. Michael Johnson, S, Arizona
    -Could play either safety position and IMO certainly should have gone before Gerald Alexander

    19. Fred Bennett, CB, South Carolina
    -Combination of size and ability to jam at the line could make him a good selection for a Cover 2 team.

    20. Rufus Alexander, OLB, Oklahoma
    -I don't see any reason why Alexander couldn't succeed as a Tampa 2 weak side linebacker.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Nick's Thoughts on Day One of the 2007 NFL Draft

    I agree with most of what you said about the Rams draft, though I give Leonard a slightly higher score than you do (B+) because of two factors: (1) his ability as a receiver, and (2) the value of having him on the roster when Jackson's contract is up (not that I think Leonard can replace Jackson, but at least he could even out the bargaining power a little for the Rams).

    I'm going to split my grades as follows:

    Quality of players taken: A-
    Success in filling top needs: B-
    Overall grade B/B+

  3. #3
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    Re: Nick's Thoughts on Day One of the 2007 NFL Draft

    Sounds very reasonable. In the end, there are plenty of ways this draft could have been worse, so even if I would have preferred some other scenarios in the second and third, this one is still a solid one. Getting players of this caliber and more important this kind of character is something to be commended, no question.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Nick's Thoughts on Day One of the 2007 NFL Draft

    the way i see it, this first day will look great when we add a pass rusher on day two. i think we have to get a guy that will come in and be our Mark Anderson, the DE for the bears drafted in the fifth round who had 12 sacks on the year.

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    Re: Nick's Thoughts on Day One of the 2007 NFL Draft

    Carriker was the right pick at #13. With Anderson off the board, there was no debate really, even with Revis there. A lot of Niner fans are pissed that we got him. They view him as a Gore stopper. So do I.
    - Excellent pick


    I was flip-flopping between Leonard and Kalil at #52. I believe they are equal value. Kalil is a bit small, and is more of a technician. Well that's what we got in Romberg right now. Kalil is not Mangold. So I don't know how much of an upgrade Kalil would have been to Romberg. I think Leonard is the better football player and he may actually have more impact than Kalil. You need 2 RB's in Linny's offense because they get a lot of touches especially with all the check downs. Leonard is a great compliment to SJ because they can do similar things and the OL will maintain the same feel for what is happening behind them. BL will keep SJ fresh, he will be great in short yardage and GL situations, and secondaries are gonna hate playing the Rams. Those two will pound the crap out of secondaries and open things up for Holt and company. I think there was a big drop off between Leonard and the next RB and that helped support the pick. Some evaluators had BL as the 2nd best RB in the draft.
    - Excellent Pick


    Now the Wade pick - Not getting Charles Johnson hurt (would have been a great pick), and I may have went Bradley here, but I liked Wade better than Tyler. I actually saw a mock that had us getting Wade in the 2nd (which I didn't like). But he is fine in the 3rd. Wade has excellent cover skills but has to work on his tackling and get bigger and stronger. He looks like he is a good kid on film and very coachable. He is a converted WR, so his hands should be better than most of our corners. Rams rolled the dice on this one, but the payoff is high so I'm good with it.
    - Good pick

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    Re: Nick's Thoughts on Day One of the 2007 NFL Draft

    I like Brian Leonard as much as the next guy, but I think that your second round pick should be a player who has a chance to start unless you're just incredibly deep at most positions. Well, we're not incredibly deep at most positions. And, to the extent we need anything on offense we needed a guard/center type player and passed on that. This pick is a little too Martz-ish for me, especially given that Abriamri, Crowder, and Kalili were all available. When you look at the RBs who are *still* there right now, the pick looks even less clever to me.

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    Re: Nick's Thoughts on Day One of the 2007 NFL Draft

    But if the Rams view him eventually playing next to Wroten and stuffing the run from the inside, I'm excited about the possibilities.
    I agree with this, 100%.

    Carriker

    The Carriker pick makes sense, it simple really we need to stop the run and Carriker can certainly help with that from day one. In today’s Pac Man rules, character is an issue now more then ever, but not with this guy. He’s a solid guy on and off the field.

    Leonard pick…

    I wanted a DE pass rusher here but a real need has bee filled with a really good football player. He is IMO much better then just adding a change of pace type back. He can carry the load if SJ gets nicked up. Between the two of them they will wear out a defense. We went from finesse to having a monster backfield in two short years. My only nock on SJ has been in short yardage situations. I was not always sure he would pound it up in there. Leonard will help move the chains.

    Wade

    Has the speed to kill and can catch; only time will tell if he can develop into a NFL DB. He has the talent and the Rams have time to develop him.


    First day… I think we added two very good football players, high character guys, and good looker room guys as well.


    Nice job FO addressing needs with the best players available IMO

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    Re: Nick's Thoughts on Day One of the 2007 NFL Draft

    Day One Winners

    I thought the Whinners did well...

    Day One Losers

    Eagles trade out of the first round and the with the first pick take a QB

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    Re: Nick's Thoughts on Day One of the 2007 NFL Draft

    I'd add the Green Bay Packers to your list of losers. They didn't make any move for Marshawn Lynch and opted for Justin Harrell. A bit of a reach, in my opinion, not to mention DT was not a real team need. They passed on 3 starting-calibre safties and could probably have traded down a bit, if they were so set on Harrell.
    In the second round they went with an unproven Brandon Jackson. I don't think he'll have what it takes to fill the massive hole left by Ahman Green and the Pack should look into free agency to adress their RB need.
    In the third they added yet again another unproven player, this time a wide reciever by the name of James Jones. Many call this move a bit of a reach but they somewhat make up for it by getting safety Aaron Rouse so deep into the third.

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    Re: Nick's Thoughts on Day One of the 2007 NFL Draft

    Watching Mike Bush go at the top of the fourth round makes me feel even worse about the Leonard pick. Again, I have nothing against Leonard but we didn't get an edge rusher in a draft full of edge rushers. Either the FO knows something about guys like Crowder and Abriami that we don't know, or they blew it. We could've had a quality backup RB in the 3rd or 4th, while meeting a defensive need with a high quality player. Then, we moved out of the fourth instead of staying and picking Josh Beekman to compete on the interior.

    The *only* thing I'm happy about -- we made a lot of choices on the lines, so we should at a minimum build depth. But I feel like they missed more opportunities in this draft than I have felt in a long time.

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