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65 Observations about the 2009 NFL Draft

I’m going to channel my inner Peter King and dole out a crap load of quick-hit thoughts on last weekend’s NFL draft, which by the way, was one of the more unpredictable drafts I have ever witnessed.

Below are 65 observations from the 2009 NFL Draft. Why 65? I don’t know – don’t worry about it. Originally I came up with 62, but I know that some people freak out when things aren’t in round numbers, so I added three more. But the number 65 means nothing, so don’t waste time searching for its meaning.

Obviously these are all my opinions and feel free to debate them. But before you do, I already know that it supposedly takes three seasons to fully grade a draft and that no prospect is a sure thing. Again, I’m projecting here – so lighten up and let’s strike up some good debates.

1. Outside of the fact that he’s now a millionaire and could buy a small country, I kind of feel bad for Matthew Stafford. You know some halfwit fan or media member can’t wait to utter the comment, “For $72 million, he should have made that pass.” I hate the fact that money plays such a huge role in sports because when you get down to it, completing a pass, making a catch or kicking a field goal has nothing to do with how many zeros are on your paycheck.

2. I know I’m not saying anything new here, but the rookie salary structure is a joke. When teams don’t even want a top 5 pick anymore because of the financial burden that comes with it, there’s a huge problem.

3. The kid could turn out to be the next Ryan Leaf on the field, but Lion fans have to at least take comfort in the fact that Matthew Stafford is saying all the right things at this point. He did an interview with the NFL Network on Sunday and he talked about how he wants to be a starter right away, but also wants to learn and be patient in his development. From all accounts, he looks like he has a great head on his shoulders.

4. If Tyson Jackson turns out to be the next Richard Seymour like Chiefs’ GM Scott Pioli believes, then nobody is going to remember (or care) that he was taken with the third overall pick in a weak draft class.

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Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Official 2009 NFL Draft Post & Rumor Mill

As the NFL draft rolls on over the next two days, I’ll post picks, thoughts and stay on top of any rumors that I hear and post them here. Enjoy.

2:55PM ET: Mike Mayock of the NFL Network claims that his “cell phone is blowing up” with reports that the Jets are trying to trade up to No. 2 for USC quarterback Mark Sanchez.

3:19PM ET: According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Dolphins will select Connecticut cornerback Darius Butler at No. 25.

3:22PM ET: The Rams could trade back into the first round for middle linebacker Rey Maualuga according to NFL Network’s Steve Wyche.

3:38PM ET: I’m shocked the Chiefs passed on Aaron Curry, but all the pre-draft rumors that said Tyson Jackson would be their pick were obviously dead on. Jackson is the best 3-4 end in the draft and obvious was a commodity.

3:40PM ET: The Browns got exactly what they wanted with this trade. They weren’t in love with anyone at No.5 and managed to trade out. Great move – I wonder what kind of ransom the Browns got.

3:42PM ET: Mike Mayock just made a great point about the Jets trading up to No. 5. What team did they want to get ahead of to go all the way up to No. 5?

3:45PM ET: DE Kenyon Coleman, QB Brett Ratliff, S Abram Elam No. 17 and No. 57. A sleeper in this deal is Elam, who is one of the more promising safeties in the draft.

3:52PM ET: The Bengals select OT Andre Smith – another low character guy for their low-character roster. He is a tremendous talent, but he comes with a ton of baggage.

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2009 NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

This is it – the week NFL draft nuts have been waiting for. Soon enough, prospects will know what cities they’re headed to and draft mock experts everywhere will look like idiots when less than half of their predictions are correct despite spending hours of time researching the picks.

I say it every year – the NFL draft is a crapshoot in terms of trying to make predictions. Nobody knows how high prospects are rated on draft boards around the league except the teams themselves. So while it’s fun to project who will go where, nobody has a clue – not Mike Mayock, not Mel Kiper and certainly not Anthony Stalter. (Did I just refer to myself in the third person? What a joke.)

The following is my third and final mock of the first round. In my previous two mocks, I had some fun by predicting potential trades that could play out, but I won’t do it here. I’m playing this mock “straight up” because predicting trades in the first round is harder to do than predicting what kind of mood Billy Bob Thornton will be in when he sits down to give an interview. Zing!

Some of you will inevitably feel as though that I have teams reaching with their picks. That’s fine, but realize that reaches are going to happen come Saturday because they’re just a part of the draft. If you disagree with any of my picks, go ahead and let me hear about it in the comments section. After all, the NFL draft is a spectacle and it’s supposed to be fun for fans. Enjoy all the action on Saturday and good luck to your favorite team on draft weekend.

(Click here to see Mock Draft Version 1.0 and Mock Draft Version 2.0)

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2009 NFL Mock Draft Version 2.0

In my first attempt to project the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, I predicted the Lions to take Georgia’s Matthew Stafford with the first overall pick, Alabama’s offensive tackle Andre Smith to fall out of the top 15 and I also drummed up a potential swap between the Browns and 49ers so that San Fran could land USC signal caller Mark Sanchez.

But to paraphrase that overactor Nicholas Cage in “The Rock”: Gee, kind of a lot has happened since then. Most notably the Bears sending two first round picks to the Broncos for quarterback Jay Cutler and the Giants’ release of receiver Plaxico Burress.

Here’s my second attempt at projecting the first round of this month’s draft. As always, feel free to criticize in the comments section, but remember that I’m a human – I have feelings, too, damn it. So be gentle.

(Click here to see Mock Draft Version 1.0)

1. Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
Mock 1.0 Projection: Stafford
Nothing in the past couple of weeks has changed my mind about Stafford eventually winding up in Detroit. GM Martin Mayhew reportedly wants to trade this selection because of the financial burden that is bestowed upon having the top overall pick, but other teams don’t want it for the same reason. In the end, Jason Smith (Baylor) and Eugene Monroe (Virginia) are both very good options here, but the Lions were reportedly very impressed with Stafford’s private workout and you know what? They simply need a quarterback.

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Chargers to draft a running back in first round?

Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune expects the Chargers to select a running back in the first round of this month’s NFL draft.

I have said in my first two mock drafts that the Chargers will take Chris “Beanie” Wells from Ohio State. I think that’s the guy. General Manager A.J. Smith was at his Pro Day, and Wells is visiting San Diego next week.

But there is plenty of reason to doubt the Chargers will ultimately choose Wells with the 16th pick.
First, Wells might be gone. Teams in front of the Chargers reportedly are mulling their running back needs. Wells, for instance, has visits and/or workouts scheduled with Seattle (fourth pick), Cleveland (fifth), Cincinnati (sixth) and Denver (12th).

Also, I believe very strongly that Smith is going to work his way back into the second round. And there is a faction in the Chargers’ front office that believes Connecticut’s Donald Brown is the best value for the Chargers. A projected second-round pick, Brown is in San Diego now, a week after Smith attended his Pro Day.

Considering LaDainian Tomlinson restructured his contract in order to stay in San Diego, Darren Sproles was franchised and running back isn’t an immediate need for the Chargers, drafting a back in the first round would seem like an unwise move. But LT proved last year that he’s starting to wear down, Sproles has yet to sign his franchise tender and therefore there is no guarantee that either will be on the roster past 2009. And despite finishing 8-8 last year, the Chargers don’t have a ton of needs to address, so getting their running back of the future in a strong running back draft class makes sense.

The only question becomes, will the Chargers take a back like Beanie Wells in the first round or try to trade back for a prospect like Knowshon Moreno or Donald Brown?

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