Tuesday, 16 January 2007

2006 NFL Draft Redo

Hindsight is 20/20, and that's what makes it so fun. With the season in the books for most rookies, I thought it'd be interesting to take a look at what the teams would do if they could do it all over again. Would the Texans still take Mario Williams #1? Here's my 2006 NFL Draft Redo.

1. Houston Texans - Vince Young, QB Texas
Original Pick: Mario Williams, DE North Carolina State
Analysis: Mario Williams certainly showed flashes of the talent that made him the #1 pick in the draft, but I think the Texans would like a redo. On second thought, they would go with hometown hero Vince Young. With David Carr struggling this year, the multi-dimensional Young would be a good football and economic fit. He was able to lead the Titans all the way to the edge of the playoff race, and almost as important, he'd bring fans to the game in Houston.

2. New Orleans Saints - Reggie Bush, RB USC
Original Pick: Reggie Bush, RB USC
Analysis: Marques Colston was another rookie that made a splash in New Orleans, but I don't think the Saints are regretting their decision to draft Bush. He has combined with Deuce McAllister to form a dangerous RB duo, in part because Bush does a little bit of everything. He's an explosive runner, great pass catcher out of the backfield, and a good return man. Not much to dislike here.

3. Tennessee Titans - Matt Leinart, QB USC
Original Pick: Vince Young, QB Texas
Analysis: The Titans would love to get Young again, but they'll be ok with Matt Leinart. Coming to Tennessee will allow him to reunite with his college coordinator Norm Chow. Leinart obviously won't be able to make the plays Young made with his feet, but he'll be able to utilize all of the options on the Tennessee offense, and will be an excellent long-term solution.

4. N.Y. Jets - Marcus McNeill, OT Auburn
Original Pick: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT Virginia
Analysis: The Jets did well in improving the O-Line, but this time around they'll go with a different OT, Marcus McNeill of Auburn. Playing for the Chargers, McNeill was a force on the Line, even making the Pro Bowl in year 1. It's hard to go wrong with D'Brickashaw, but Marcus McNeill was certainly the better OT in his rookie year.

5. Green Bay Packers - Jay Cutler, QB Vanderbilt
Original Pick: A.J. Hawk, LB Ohio State
Analysis: Brett Favre's a year older, Aaron Rodgers still hasn't done anything to prove himself, and this leads to the Packers going with Jay Cutler, a guy who reminded a lot of folks of Brett Favre. Cutler's got a great arm, toughness, and is a leader. He'll take the QB throne from Favre in Green Bay and remain there for a long time.

6. San Francisco 49ers - Mario Williams, DE NC State
Original Pick: Vernon Davis, TE Maryland
Analysis: The 49ers keep improving their defense with the talented Mario Williams. There was a reason he was the #1 pick, because he has great physical tools. He was a little inconsistent in his rookie campaign, but as he matures that should be less of a problem, and he'll just be able to let his immense talent lead the way.

7. Oakland Raiders - Marques Colston, WR Hofstra
Original Pick: Michael Huff, DB Texas
Analysis: People thought the WR corps might be one of the Raiders strenths coming into the year, but that's not quite how things turned out. Randy Moss didn't really try hard, Jerry Porter hardly played, and the rest of the guys couldn't get going without a decent QB in there. Insert Marques Colston. the best WR in the draft class and the WR corps gets back to being ok again. Now if they could just find a QB, maybe even this guy.

8. Buffalo Bills - DeMeco Ryans, LB Alabama
Original Pick: Donte Whitner, S Ohio State
Analysis: Ryans was very, very good for the Texans as a rookie, and the Bills will be happy to snatch him up at #8. He adds a talented piece to the Bills defensive puzzle, and immediately helps their defense get closer to the top defense they were a few years ago.

9. Detroit Lions - AJ Hawk, LB Ohio St.
Original Pick: Ernie Sims, LB Florida State
Analysis: Hawk was the best LB coming into the draft and still may be the one with the most upside. After a slow start to the year for the Packers, Hawk showed all of the tools that originally made him the 5th pick in the draft. He is tough stopping the run, but he has the speed and athletic ability to get out in coverage or blitz the QB. In other words, he's going to be very good for a long, long time.

10. Arizona Cardinals - D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT Virginia
Original Pick: Matt Leinart, QB USC
Analysis: With the QBs off the board, the Cardinals look at shoring up the perpetually awful O-Line, and get a gift in D'Brickashaw. He has all the tools to be a great O-Lineman in the NFL, and provides a long term answer for a franchise that's been desperately searching for long-time answers for quite a while.

11. Denver Broncos - Laurence Maroney, RB Minnesota
Original Pick: Jay Cutler, QB Vanderbilt
Analysis: Cutler is not on the board at this point, so Denver must look elsewhere. The biggest problem with their offense is that despite the Shanahan magic, they did not have a consistent running game. For the most part, this stemmed from the fact that their RBs aren't that good. So in comes Maroney, a talented back who had an immediate impact with the Patriots. Throw him in there behind that line and the Broncos running game is much more consistent.

12. Baltimore Ravens - Haloti Ngata, DT Oregon
Original Pick: Haloti Ngata, DT Oregon
Analysis: The Ravens originally went with Ngata and they are sticking to it. His big presence on the line gives LBs Ray Lewis and Adalius Thomas room to move around and make plays, which is a big reason the Ravens defense is so good.

13. Cleveland Browns - Joseph Addai, RB LSU
Original Pick: Kamerion Wimbley, DE/OLB Florida State
Analysis: The Browns have a lot of problems offensively, and one of them is at RB, where Reuben Droughns battled injury. The injection of Joseph Addai is a huge help to both the running game and the passing game. Addai is a tough, quick runner, good receiver out of the backfield, and improved his pass blocking skills as the season went along. Addai brings another playmaker to the offense to go along with Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow.

14. Philadelphia Eagles - Kamerion Wimbley, LB Florida State
Original Pick: Broderick Bunkley, DT Florida State
Analysis: Wimbley had a very nice rookie campaign for the Browns as a tweener DE/LB pass rusher off the edge. He provides some explosiveness and youth for the Philly defense. He finished the year with 11 sacks for Cleveland and will be an impact player on the Eagles defense.

15. St. Louis Rams - Ernie Sims, LB Florida State
Original Pick: Tye Hill, Cb Clemson
Analysis: With Ernie Sims still on the board, the Rasm jump to take the athletic LB from FSU. Sims led the Lions in tackles, has good instincts defensively and has the athletic ability to get anywhere on the field.

16. Miami Dolphins - Vernon Davis, TE Maryland
Original Pick: Jason Allen, DB Tennessee
Analysis: The Dolphins are in need of offensive playmakers, so on comes the physical specimen of Vernon Davis. His numbers weren't that great this year as he was battling some injuries, but his upside and physical ability is tremendous. He becomes a weapon for the Dolphins, and soon enough becomes a focal point of the offense.

17. Minnesota Vikings - Mark Anderson, DE Alabama
Original Pick: Chad Greenway, LB Iowa
Analysis: There are more glaring needs offensively, but its hard to pass up this chance to go from a good defense to a great defense. The thing that hurt the Vikings defense last year was that they could not consistently get a pass rush... insert Anderson, who had 12 sacks with the Bears as a rookie, and suddenly the secondary doesn't have to cover quite as long, and the Vikings aren't giving up as many pass yards. With the top 3 QBs off the board, DE is the choice here.

18. Dallas Cowboys - Nick Mangold, C Ohio State
Original Pick: Bobby Carpenter, LB Ohio State
Analysis: The Cowboys O-Line began to struggle as the year went on, which leads to the pick of Mangold. He's a very solid interior lineman and should be in the NFL for a long time, locking up the middle for the Cowboys.

19. San Diego Chargers - Greg Jennings, WR Western Michigan
Original Pick: Antonio Cromartie, CB Florida State
Analysis: The Chargers don't have many needs, but anyone can always use another offensive weapon, and that's what Greg Jennings will bring. He was very solid as a rookie in Green Bay, and will be just another talented option for QB Philip Rivers to go to to make the offense even better.

20. Kansas City Chiefs - Tamba Hali, DE Penn State
Original Pick: Tamba Hali, DE Penn State
Analysis: Hali got better and better as the season wore on for the Chiefs, forming a solid DE duo for the Chiefs. With Hali falling here again, the Chiefs will take him and be happy with the up-and-coming Hali.

21. New England Patriots - Maurice Jones-Drew, RB UCLA
Original Pick: Laurence Maroney, RB Minnesota
Analysis: With Maroney off the board, the Patriots go with the best RB option on the board, and that is Maurice Jones-Drew. In his rookie year Drew showed lots of flashes of brilliance, and is capable of scoring a TD from anywhere on the field. He's also an excellent receiver out of the backfield and a Special Teams threat, and we know the Patriots love versatile players that can help in many ways.

22. San Francisco 49ers - Devin Hester, KR Miami
Original Pick: Manny Lawson, DE/OLB North Carolina State
Analysis: With the earlier pick of Williams to help the defense, they turn to Hester, who was the best Special Teams weapon in the NFL as a rookie. He can single-handedly change the course of games with returns, as well as change field position. Also, if he develops enough he might even be able to help out a little in the secondary.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Johnathon Joseph, CB South Carolina
Original Pick: Davin Joseph, G Oklahoma
Analysis: With Brian Kelly and Ronde Barber getting older, Joseph provides some youth at the CB position for the Bucs. He was very solid as a rookie for the Bengals, and will provide immediate help in the nickel for an older Bucs defense.

24. Cincinnati Bengals - Elvis Dumervil, DE Louisville
Original Pick: Johnathan Joseph, CB South Carolina
Analysis: Dumervil dropped in the real draft, but the Bengals will take him with pick 24 here. Dumervil struggled a little bit his last year in college, but was really a good pass rusher as a rookie for Denver. And a bonus for Cincy, he's not in in legal trouble!

25. Pittsburgh Steelers - Mathias Kiwanuka, DE Boston College
Original Pick: Santonio Holmes, WR Ohio State
Analysis: The Steelers could look to improve the offense, but instead they look towards the other side of the ball in an effort to keep the defense at the same level it's been at for a long time. Kiwanuka provides nice depth and another pass rusher on the Line, and an NFL can never have enough guys like that.

26. Buffalo Bills - Michael Huff, S Texas
Original Pick: John McCargo, DT North Carolina State
Analysis: There's a reason he was taken so early in the real draft... he's a very talented player and is a steal for the Bills this late in the draft. In real life the Bills took Donte Whitner early in the first round, in this fantasy world of mine Michael Huff is a fine replacement and will be a fine player for the Bills to come, as they have the making of a great young defensive core with Huff and DeMeco Ryans.

27. Carolina Panthers - DeAngelo Williams, RB Memphis
Original Pick: DeAngelo Williams, RB Memphis
Analysis: Williams did about what everyone expected for the Panthers... he showed signs of that talent that got him taken here originally, and he challenged Deshaun Foster for the starting spot. I think the Panthers would be happy to get him again.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jerious Norwood, RB Mississippi State
Original Pick: Mercedes Lewis, TE UCLA
Analysis: In real life, the Jags got Jones-Drew and he was a huge help to the offense. With him off the board, they look for another running back, and take Jerious Norwood. Norwood didn't get a ton of carries in Atlanta, but he was very good when he did get the ball. Splitting time with Fred Taylor should work out great, as Norwood becomes the RB of the future in Jacksonville.

29. NY Jets - Donte Whitner, S Ohio State
Original Pick: Nick Mangold, C Ohio State
Analysis: With Mangold gone, the Jets look to improve the defense with a very good player in Donte Whitner. Whitner was a nice player for the Bills as a rookie, and showed good cover skills and tackling ability. Everyone thought he went too early last draft, but he's an absolute steal at this point.

30. Indianapolis Colts - Manny Lawson, LB NC State
Original Pick: Joseph Addai, RB LSU
Analysis: With all of the top running backs off the board, the Colts are forced to look for defense, and that leads them to the raw but athletic Manny Lawson. Lawson's game is more of a pass-rusher type right now, but with his great abilities and Tony Dungy's defensive knowledge, he'll be a nice help to the Colts defense.

31. Seattle Seahawks - Tye Hill, CB Clemson
Original Pick: Kelly Jennings, CB Miami (FL)
Analysis: The Seahawks showed that they have some problems in the secondary, though some of that was due to the injuries back there. So to add depth they go with Tye Hill, a slightly undersized corner that has very good cover skills. He'll be a fine addition to the Seattle secondary and will have a chance to play right away.

32. N.Y. Giants - Santonio Holmes, WR Ohio State
Original Pick: Mathias Kiwanuka, DE Boston College
Analysis: With a lot of the DEs off the board, the Giants look to add another weapon for Eli Manning. Santonio Holmes showed flashes of his great talent as a rookie, and immediately becomes a dangerous 3rd WR after Toomer and Burress, as well as a good Special Teams option. Plus, with Toomer getting older and older, Holmes will be able to step in soon to be the #2 guy in the Big Apple.