The Kansas City Chiefs entered this weekend with a lot of holes on their team, and in the end, they made the most noise. On day one, they selected three players who will become immediate starters: LSU DT Glenn Dorsey (1st round, 5th overall), Virginia OT Branden Albert (1st round, 15th overall) and Virginia Tech CB Brandon Flowers (2nd round, 35th overall).
The Chiefs continued to rule the draft on Day Two. In the third round, they selected three gifted players who possess great upside and can make an immediate impact this season: RB Jamaal Charles (Texas), TE Brad Cottam (Tennessee) and FS DaJuan Morgan (NC State). Their fourth round selection, Missouri WR Will Franklin, is a promising receiver who should fit nicely in the Chiefs offense as a slot receiver who can also play outside.
The Chiefs identified the sleeper of the draft in the fifth round, a player I mentioned in my All-Sleeper Defensive Team, Grand Valley State CB Brandon Carr. Carr is a tremendous athlete with great size, and he really impressed scouts during his Pro Day. He ran a 4.43 in the 40, had a 35-inch vertical and 10'4" broad jump and timed well in shuttle drills. Those attributes and his playmaking ability make him a steal for K.C.
Also selected by the Chiefs were: Clemson OT Barry Richardson, Utah State WR/RS Kevin Robinson, Gardner-Webb DE Brian Johnston and Central Florida TE Mike Merritt.
You have to like what the Pittsburgh Steelers came away with this weekend. They took the best available player with their first round pick (23rd overall) and selected Illinois RB Rashard Mendenhall, and they gave Ben Roethlisberger the big WR he asked for in the second round with Texas’ Limas Sweed. Mendenhall is explosive in the open field and gives the Steelers the perfect complimentary back to Willie Parker. Sweed joins Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes to give the Steelers a nice trio of receivers that will allow Roethlisberger to flourish.
On Day Two, the Steelers selected UCLA’s Bruce Davis (3rd Round), a 3-4 DE/OLB that fits in with nicely with their defensive scheme, a quality OT in Texas’ Tony Hills (4th Round), who would have been a second-round selection if he didn’t break his leg this past season, and a developmental QB in Oregon’s Dennis Dixon, who the Steelers may look to convert into a versatile threat.
The Steelers took a member of my All-Sleeper Defensive Team in the sixth round, Iowa LB Mike Humpal. Humpal is an intelligent inside linebacker who brings a lunch pail attitude to the field and will be a favorite in the Steel City.
Overall, the Steelers did an outstanding job addressing some needs and acquiring the best available talent.
It seems every year many project the Tennessee Titans to supply Vince Young with a first-round wide receiver who can help him in the passing game. But, the Titans have other infatuations, and it appears they value RBs over WRs. The Titans made a surprise first round pick when they drafted East Carolina RB Chris Johnson with the 24th overall selection. Johnson is a tremendous talent in the backfield, but the Titans spent a second round pick in 2006 and 2007 on LenDale White and Chris Henry. Another questionable pick was made in the fourth round when the Titans reached for Winston-Salem State DE William Hayes. The Titans needed a pass rusher, but they also have depth issues at DT. There were two very good DTs, Dre Moore and Joseph Bryant, on the board at the time of the Hayes selection, and that makes the pick even more puzzling.
Highest Value Pick
The Chiefs didn’t expect LSU DT Glenn Dorsey to be available to them at No. 5, especially since the Atlanta Falcons were expected to take him if he was on the board. But, Dorsey gives the Chiefs an instant impact player who can be a difference maker in the trenches.
First Round Surprise
No wide receivers were taken in the first round - the first time since 1990.
Most Intriguing Late Round Pick
There were a few situations in the NFL where Hawaii QB Colt Brennan could live up to his potential and succeed, and Washington was one of them. Brennan goes to a Redskins team that has Jason Campbell as the starting quarterback and a veteran in Todd Collins as the backup. Campbell hasn’t lived up to the hype, and with Jim Zorn as the new Head Coach in Washington, Brennan has a chance to assume a starting role within a couple of years.
Best Sleeper Selection
The Raiders got an intriguing defensive end with tremendous pass rushing ability in Buffalo DE, Trevor Scott. Scott, who was also named to my All-Sleeper Defensive Team, amassed 19 sacks over the last two seasons for Buffalo and will be an effective situational pass rusher for the Oakland Raiders.
Best Roll Of The Dice
The Green Bay Packers selected Louisville QB Brian Brohm in the second round (56th overall). Brohm provides the Packers with an interesting dilemma at quarterback. Former first round pick Aaron Rodgers is expected to be the starting QB this season, but having two young signal callers in the fold gives Green Bay insurance. If Brohm entered the draft after his junior season - a season where he led Louisville to an Orange Bowl victory – he would have been a top-five pick. But after he decided to stay in school for his senior year - under a new head coach - Louisville had a disappointing 6 – 6 record, but Brohm still performed at a top level completing 65-percent of his passes for 4,024 yards, 30 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Green Bay may have received the steal of the draft.
Biggest Wild Card
Baltimore Ravens first round pick QB Joe Flacco is all smiles during his press conference with the Baltimore media.
AP Photo/Rob Carr
The Baltimore Ravens traded the No. 8 overall selection to the Jacksonville Jaguars and moved all the way back to the 26th selection with one intention, drafting a quarterback. In an aggressive move, the Ravens traded up with the Houston Texans, who had the 18th overall selection and selected Delaware QB Joe Flacco. Flacco was the QB darling of the offseason and really impressed scouts and NFL personnel with his size and elite arm. Flacco, a former Pittsburgh transfer, had a breakout senior campaign throwing for 4,263 yards, 23 touchdowns and five interceptions. But coming from a Division I-AA school and being a first round pick, especially by a team close to his home, Flacco will have a lot of pressure on him to perform and may be thrown into the fire before he’s ready.
The Panthers traded the 43rd pick in the second round and a fourth round pick to the Eagles for the 19th pick in the first round to select Pittsburgh OT Jeff Otah. Also included in that deal was the Panthers first round pick in the 2009 draft. Carolina better hope they make it back to the playoffs next year, or they will realize the same fate the San Francisco 49ers were dealt when they surrendered their first round pick in this year’s draft to the New England Patriots for the right to select Joe Staley in the first round during the 2007 draft.
Mario Manningham is a vertical threat who had an inconsistent offseason followed by a failure to admit previous marijuana use while at Michigan. Even though Manningham struggled to impress during the offseason, he’s too talented to have been available late in the third round for the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants to secure.
Best Draft Day Speculation That Didn't Happen
There were two: Jeremy Shockey not being traded to the New Orleans Saints and the Philadelphia Eagles not trading Lito Sheppard.
The Five Most Prominent Undrafted Players
Every year there are players who don’t get the call they dream about from the time they play Pop Warner until the minute the draft begins. But just because they don’t get a phone call between the 252 selections taken in the draft, that doesn’t mean teams won’t be calling when the draft is over. Here are five top priority undrafted free agents:
LB Erin Henderson is very talented, but injuries are a concern, which led to him being undrafted.
Jaime Squire/Getty Images
1. Erin Henderson, LB, Maryland
Notes: I’m very surprised this talented underclassman didn’t get selected. I understand that durability is a concern, as he tore his left ACL in 2005, but when healthy he’s a tremendous force at linebacker. He’s a big body that will immediately catch on with an NFL team.
2. Wesley Woodyard, OLB, Kentucky
Notes: Woodyard is an undersized linebacker who’s a bit of a tweener, but has great value at weakside linebacker and on special teams. He displayed great playmaking ability at the Senior Bowl and was solid all week long. He’s a guy who will make an NFL roster this season because of his versatility and athleticism.
3. Darrell Robertson, DE, Georgia Tech
Notes: Another tweener with a lot of ability is Robertson. He has a nice frame, but has to get stronger and shed blocks consistently. He has the potential to be a good pass rusher and is versatile enough to play OLB in a 3-4 scheme. Robertson is a high-energy guy who will draw attention.
4. Paul Smith, QB, Tulsa
Notes: A skilled, talented quarterback with great intelligence, Smith not being drafted in the late rounds was surprising. He flourished this past season at Tulsa and put up some impressive numbers. I’m sure he will get a call from a team that runs a West Coast Offense and will compete for a third-string position.
5. Franklin Dunbar, OT, Middle Tennessee State
Notes: Dunbar is a talented OT who started all three years at Middle Tennessee State and decided to enter the draft after his junior season. He’s still a bit raw, but he’s massive, versatile and has a lot of upside that will draw attention from teams looking for depth on the offensive line.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.