2007 NFL Draft – Running Commentary – Top 5 picks + 1

The 2007 NFL Draft is on…live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

First on the clock – The Oakland Raiders. The pick: LSU quarterback, JaMarcus Russell. No surprises here. If I’m Randy Moss, I’m feeling pretty good. For the first time in a few years, he’ll have a quarterback who throws balls he can’t outrun. It’s a second shot at redemption for Moss since he blew up the Culpepper combination in Minnesota. Al Davis has what he wants. Still, I can see trouble on the horizon. The Raiders offense will have to have a balance of deep and short passes to keep defenses honest. Russell can’t take 7 step drops on every play and throw fly balls to Moss and Porter. Whichever player is lucky enough to run underneath routes for the Raiders next year could be going to the Pro Bowl. No player in the league will have more space to operate. Russell is a good fit for the Raiders. The key to his success, though, is the same as it is for other players. He will need pass protection, an effective running game, and a creative offensive package to maximize his effectiveness. Next on the clock: new Raider coach Lane Kiffin.

Calvin Johnson, the smile-free version, is picked at #2 by the Detroit Lions. Williams is the fourth receiver drafted by the Lions in recent years, following Charles Rogers (Michigan State), Roy “The Legend” Williams (Texas), and Mike Williams (USC). Based on his reaction, I believe he will be traded. I believe that decision is being made by upper-level management. Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz is probably lobbying hard to keep Calvin Johnson, even though he does not appear to be a classic Martz-type receiver. Martz prefers quick, route runners capable of getting separation on crossing routes, and running his favorite route – the deep dig (15-20 yards straight upfield, horizontal cross to the middle: in front of the safeties and behind the linebackers). Johnson can do many things well. That is probably not the best use of his talent. We’ll see if he is traded to the Buccaneers or if he remains a Lion.

Joe Thomas, LT Wisconsin, is scooped up by the Cleveland Browns with the 3rd pick. Thomas is a sound technician and the Browns could be compiling a formidable left side of an offensive line. The key to the Browns success, however, is the healthy return of former Ohio State star LeCharles Bentley at center. Bentley is the anchor of the Browns line, and Thomas is an excellent addition. ESPN posted a graphic on tackles drafted in the first round. From 1995 to 1997, the draftees were Tony Boselli (USC), Jonathan Ogden (UCLA) and Orlando Pace (Ohio State). I don’t believe Thomas is in that class, but he should be good for a long time. There are some concerns about his strength. He’ll need that against the likes of Aaron Smith (Pittsburgh) and Justin Smith (Cincinnati), but his strength is in diagnosis and quickness. He’ll need that against Terrell Suggs and the rest of the Ravens. Maybe Thomas can get the Browns to “Jump up, Jump up and Get Down!” at the end of the third quarter.

House of Pain video

A lot of mock drafts had Adrian Peterson going to the Browns. If you think about the Browns and Romeo Crennel, though, it’s not surprising that they went for a technician on the O-line. Crennel has Super Bowl rings (emphasis on the plural) that were won by teams without dominant running backs, but teams with power running games. It is important to be able to run with power; to get first downs late; and to run clock especially in inclement weather. It is not as important to have that elite running back. The league rushing champion has not played for a Super Bowl champion in years. The Cleveland pick fits with Crennel’s value system.

The Buccaneers take Clemson lineman Gaines Adams. I know they expect Adams to be an impact player right away. We’ll see. Adams was very productive in his games against ACC competition. (Side note: Brady Quinn looks sad. Dropping, dropping, dropping. Sad, sad, sad. He may be losing a bit of money today, but he’ll have ample opportunity to make it up.) I’m not totally sold on Adams, but I trust that Monte Kiffin knows exactly what the hell he is doing. Solid, safe pick for the Bucs. He could still be traded to the Lions and former Buc coach Rod Marinelli. They are probably negotiating for the Bucs 2nd round picks right now. Time will reveal.

Pick #5: Levi Brown, OT, Penn State to the Arizona Cardinals. No news here. Brown has to come in and dominate. He must win the position, protect Leinart and open holes for Edgerrin James. He will have excellent coaching from Russ Grimm, former O-line coach of the Steelers. If the Cardinals miss on this pick, the consequences will endure for years. Gotta get this right.

My favorite player in this year’s draft is probably going to the Washington Foreskins: LSU safety LaRon Landry! Damn. Can’t stand that team – but I cannot WAIT for the carnage that will be left by Landry and Sean Taylor when some quarterback hangs a receiver out to dry. LIGHTS OUT!!!!

Exhibit A: LaRon Landry standing over some cat that didn’t get the memo.

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Exhibit B: Sean Taylor doing what Sean Taylor does (when he’s not getting in trouble with the po-po).

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If you go over the middle against Washington, that’s your ass.

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