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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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NFL Draft: 5 Second Day Steals

What constitutes a second day steal in the NFL draft? Well, opinion of the evaluator above all else, I guess. But if a player was projected to be taken higher than he was, then that plays into the notion that a team got somewhat of a steal for that selection. Below are five players that were selected on Day 2 of this weekend’s draft that I thought were decent steals.

1. Carolina Panthers No. 163, Round 5: Duke Robinson, G, Oklahoma
I was flat out flabbergasted that Robinson fell to the fifth round. Not that this holds much water because I’m not a scout, but I projected Robinson to go to the Steelers with the last pick in the first round in each of my three mock drafts. He was arguably the best guard prospect in the draft and instead of being a first day lock, he fell all the way to No. 163 for reasons unbeknownst to me. He has the talent to be a future starter and maybe sliding this far will motivate him to succeed.

2. Chicago Bears No. 119, Round 4: D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt
The only reason Moore slipped to the fourth round is because of his size (5’8”, 192 pounds) – or lack thereof. If he were two inches taller and 10 pounds heavier, he would have been a second round pick and maybe the fourth corner taken overall in this draft. Moore has tremendous athleticism, good speed and is an aggressive player. Nathan Vasher has struggled the past two seasons for the Bears and I wouldn’t be surprised if Moore challenges for the starting cornerback job opposite Peanut Tillman in training camp. If he doesn’t start, he’ll certainly see some time in nickel packages as a rookie.

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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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Seahawks to take Crabtree at No. 4?

Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News seems to believe that the Seahawks will take either USC quarterback Mark Sanchez or Texas Tech wideout Michael Crabtree with the No. 4 pick in this weekend’s draft.

Vacchiano also had some other interesting tidbits in his “draft hints” article.

• LSU DE Tyson Jackson will go in the Top 5. Not might. Will. This qualified as the biggest shocker, to me, since almost every mock draft I looked at pegged Jackson to be a mid- to late first-rounder at best. I thought the Top 5 was pretty locked in, too. But, of course, I shouldn’t have doubted Mr. Brandt. I asked around after the show to see if I could confirm it, and sure enough one NFL source I know did tell me he’s heard the Kansas City Chiefs might take Jackson at No. 3, or trade down and take him a few picks later.

• The Seattle Seahawks, at No. 4, will likely select either Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree or USC QB Mark Sanchez.

• The Saints, at No. 14, are looking for a big cornerback, and Ohio State’s Malcolm Jenkins is a good bet to be their guy.

• The New England Patriots, at No. 23 will take a linebacker.

• Oklahoma T Phil Loadholt (6-7, 332) will go in the first round of the draft. His teammate, G Duke Robinson (6-5, 330, and the top-rated guard on most boards), will not.

These are some interesting thoughts and while I don’t disagree with any of Vacchiano’s tidbits, a lot of these seem to be a stretch. Tyson Jackson will definitely go in the top 5? Phil Loadholt will be a first rounder?

The most noteworthy item in Vacchiano’s article is that the Seahawks will take either Sanchez or Crabtree at No. 4. Taking Sanchez makes sense for Seattle because Matt Hasselbeck is aging and is coming off an injury-plagued season. Crabtree makes sense because even though the Hawks signed T.J. Houshmandzadeh to a huge contract this offseason, Housh is 31 and would benefit from having another playmaker on the opposite side of him. (Crabtree would also arguably be the best player available at that spot.)

But does Seattle really want to sink that much money into one position? Generally speaking, NFL teams don’t like to do that – especially at the wide receiver position. I’m sticking to my guns in saying that Seattle takes offensive lineman Eugene Monroe at that pick, but I’m not shooting down anything Vacchiano wrote.

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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