2007 NFL Draft – Running Commentary – Picks 26-32

Number 26. Dallas Cowboys select Purdue’s Anthony Spencer. I’ve already hit on this one. Great job. Spencer has all the tools to contribute to this team for years. He comes highly recommended and should be productive working in tandem with DeMarcus Ware and the rest of a good Dallas defense.

Number 27. The Saints take Tennessee’s Robert Meachem.

Meachem is 6’2 and about 215. Big deal. So am I. Well, sort of. I’m taller and heavier and older and slower, but the point is that “measurables” like this are no guarantor of success. Tennessee receivers have also been hit or miss in the NFL. Some of the bigger Vol misses have been Peerless Price, Marcus Nash and Joey Kent. Some of the bigger hits have been Carl Pickens, Anthony Miller, and Willie Gault. Donte Stallworth is trying to catch more than 70 balls in a season and get out of purgatory. He’ll have a shot in New England with Tom Brady. Meachem will get his chance with Drew Brees – in the city than Stallworth left in order to change the trajectory of his career. Meachem can do it all – but I’m a little wary right now…I was going through some of his clips – and he’s a classic body catcher. He does not catch the ball with his hands in a fundamentally sound fashion. Of course coaches can fix this habit, but it should have been fixed in high school. It should have been fixed in college. It will not get fixed in NFC South games against DeAngelo Hall and Chris Gamble and Ronde Barber. When Brees hit a rocket to Meachem that he doesn’t catch, it will bounce off of his body and will go right to endzone with the convey of defenders trailing any or all of the aforementioned Pro Bowl-caliber DBs. Joe Horn is gone. He won’t mentor young Bobby. Bobby may not want to hear it from Marques Colston or Devery Henderson, but he better listen to someone. Receivers who do not receive with their hands are liabilities – even if they run fast. Receivers who catch with their hands (Exhibit A: Torry Holt) are always a threat to score – and they have long careers, all else being equal.

Number 28. Joe Staley, Central Michigan. Nice. Heard a lot of good things. Haven’t seen him. I like the way the 49ers are picking. I can live with this pick.

Number 29. Ben Grubbs, Auburn. I like Auburn’s offensive linemen. They turn out some sound guys who like to smash defenders in the grille. Don’t remember Grubbs, but that’s a solid pick for a highly regarded player. Most importantly, the Ravens have been doing good things with offensive line draft picks. The book on Grubbs is that he lacks the versatility (read athleticism) to play tackle. This would have made him a higher first round pick. Instead, he goes at the bottom of the first round – and has a chance to start for a playoff caliber team.

Number 30.  Craig Davis, LSU.  Davis is the second receiver from LSU to get drafted in the first round.  Len Pasquarelli of ESPN wrote an article postulating that Ohio State (Ginn, Gonzalez), LSU (Bowe, Davis) and USC (Jarrett, Smith) could have two receivers taken early in the draft.  LSU is the first to get two off the board.  Davis is exactly what the Chargers need.  I think the Chargers are wanting more than they’re getting from that Tennessee receiver Eric Parker.  Davis will compete for Parker’s spot on this team – and this is a coveted role because the receivers have an opportunity (though limited) to be productive because Tomlinson and Gates command so much attention.  Charger receivers NEVER get hit by safeties.  It’s damn near a cushy job.  Parker may have ruined his opportunity.  Davis is the man of the moment.

The Tigers have been absolutely balling for the past few years.  There seems to be a sense of pride and energy with their draft picks that suggests future success.  Marcus Spears, Chad Lavalais, Brady James, Devery Henderson and others have been productive players.  The new crop of guys entering the league are really trying to show they can be elite performers.  I believe the Chargers do a solid job of diagnosing talent – and the “it” factor with prospects.  I like Davis to stick and possibly supplant Parker as a favorite of Philip Rivers.

Number 31.   Greg Olson, Miami.  The Bears have a good pass catching tight end with great size and the capacity to spread defenses.  That’s what Rex Grossman needs.  Grossman doesn’t have bad games, he has disaster games.  His games increase insurance rates and send women and children running for cover.  And there is no room in the fox holes filled with GM’s and coaches like Steve Spurrier who sang Rex’s praises.

[2nd Round Note – as I catch up: The Philadelphia Eagles know Mel Kiper took my crack pipe.  They took Kevin Kolb ahead of Drew Stanton.  It’s  a super high draft pick and indicates Philly is concerned about Donovan’s health – and they should be.  I like Kolb.  I saw him play a couple of times.  He played in a wide open system, but he seemed to be better than a mere “system” QB.  I like his upside.  He is a coaches son and may have a Kurt Warner/arena football type awareness of complicated pass defenses that allows him to do some things quicker than most.  It’s not as if Andy Reid doesn’t know quarterbacks.  Works for me.  By the way, if McNabb goes down, Romo struggles and Kolb plays well, Dallas can say, “Damn!”  Then again, the Eagles may be too smart for their own good.]
Number 32.  Anthony Gonzalez, Ohio State.  The Colts make a great pick here.  Gonzalez can do it all – and he does it hyperbaric style.

Gonzalez could actually retire as a Colt.  He reminds me of Marvin Harrison.  Quiet, pristine route runner, icy professional with lots of personality off the field.  The rich get richer as Manning adds AG to an arsenal that includes Canton-bound Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and Joseph Addai.  That’s nice.

It’s a wrap.  So concludes the longest first round in the history of the NFL.  Damn.

The early winners have to be the Cleveland Browns, the Oakland Raiders, the Minnesota Vikings and the Washington Redskins.  I like what each of these teams accomplished.  The early losers are the Miami Dolphins.  I believe they reached for Teddy Ginn and may yet live to regret it.  It’s not that Ginn isn’t a solid player capable of big things – it’s that I don’t see him warranting such a high selection.  I’m still waiting to see if the Lions trade the rights to Calvin Johnson.  If they keep him, it simply adds to the recurring cost of failed WR selections in Charles Rodgers and the yet-to-produce Mike Williams.  Tick tock.

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