NFL Draft: 5 Questionable Day 1 Decisions

It’s unfair to criticize a team for reaching on a prospect or making a trade (or two) on draft day because obviously nobody has a crystal ball to see how those moves will inevitably pan out. But it’s hard not to question some of the decisions that teams made during the first two rounds of the draft on Saturday. Below I’ve compiled five questionable decisions from Day 1 of the NFL draft.

1 and 2. Broncos trade their 2010 first round selection to the Seahawks for their second round pick (37th overall); Panthers trade their 2010 first round selection to the 49ers for their second round pick (43rd overall)
I have no qualms with the two prospects that the Broncos and Panthers traded for. Denver got arguably the most underrated cornerback in the draft in Alphonso Smith, while Carolina landed a player in Everrette Brown who many believed would go in the top 15. But it’s hard to fathom why both of these teams would give up first rounders in next year’s draft, to trade up in what some are considering the worst draft in some time. Granted, it’s hard to speculate whether or not this draft will be turn out to be horrible or if next year’s draft will be strong. But there’s a good chance that Denver and Carolina could each be picking in the top 15 or 20 picks again next year and to give up those picks for two second round prospects is highly questionable. What happens if either of these teams implodes next year and the picks they gave up turn out to be top 5 or top 10 selections? That’s just too much of a risk in my opinion.

3. Packers trade their second round pick (41st overall) and their two third round picks (73rd and 83rd overall) to the Patriots for their first round pick (26th overall)
Green Bay got a tremendous value pick early in Round 1 when DT B.J. Raji fell to them at No. 9. But even though they filled a need by taking outside linebacker Clay Matthews at No. 26, they gave up a truckload of picks to do so. Granted, Matthews probably wasn’t going to be there at No. 41 when the Pack came back on the clock and again, but he does fill a major need. But to give up their second round pick and two third round selections was just too much – especially considering Matthews could be one of the more overrated prospects in this draft. Some believe that he’s more of a bodybuilder posing as a football player (i.e. he looks great in workouts but could fizzle once he gets onto the field) and his character has come into question after it was made public that he and fellow USC teammates started a Facebook group called, “White Nation,” in which they posted a picture of an African American baby in handcuffs and had a caption underneath that read, “arrest black babies before they become criminals.” He claims it was just a joke and maybe he will turn out to be a versatile pro. But the trade and selection were very un-Ted Thompson-like for draft day.

4. Lions pass on Rey Maualuga at No. 33
First and foremost, I love Louis Delmas (who the Lions took at No. 33) and think he could turn out to be a very good pro player (some believe he’s a poor man’s Bob Sanders). But the Lions haven’t had a middle linebacker since the late 80s/early 90s in Chris Spielman and I’m just a bit surprised that they’d pass on Maualuga, who was the best middle linebacker prospect in the draft. Granted, a ton of teams passed on Maualuga (who the Bengals took at No. 38) so maybe there’s a good reason why he dropped. But you can’t tell me that Jordon Dizon is your middle linebacker of the future. Maybe the Lions will get their starting MLB at the top of the third round, but for now, passing on Maualuga was a surprise to say the least.

5. Eagles trade their first round and sixth round selections (21st and 195th overall, respectively) to the Browns for the No. 19 overall pick.
I question this pick, because quite frankly I just don’t understand it. Why did the Eagles feel it was necessary to get ahead of the Lions in order to take Jeremy Maclin? Were they worried that another team was going to attempt the same thing and offer something better? Giving up a sixth round pick isn’t a huge deal in the end, but I just wonder why Philly felt the need to trade up two spots to get ahead of Detroit, who obviously wasn’t going to draft a receiver. So why not hang onto the sixth round pick and take Maclin at No. 21? There’s probably a good reason for the move, I just don’t know what it is.

Other 2009 NFL Draft Coverage:

NFL Draft: 5 Second Day Steals
NFL Draft: 5 First Round Values
NFL Draft: 5 Questionable Day 1 Decisions
NFL Draft: 5 Day 1 Winners
Official 2009 NFL Draft Post & Rumor Mill

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