Friday, April 24, 2009

NFL Draft Junkie: The Final Push

I don't have a ton of time this morning after all of the Mavs-Spurs stuff has been completed, but I do want to provide a few items that are on my mind.


From what I hear, and what I have written, the Cowboys have a few decisions that they may need to make. Obviously, the beauty of the draft is that often the decisions will be made for them, and therefore, it could be an absolute no-brainer by the time the choice gets to them. Or, if everything is gone, you might actually look to trade out of there. Truth be told, at #51, it would seem that you generally have 5-10 of your Top 50 on your own board available, as teams never have a board that agrees with everyone else's.

Anyway, at #51, I would expect the Cowboys board of great preference is all about Louis Delmas, the safety of their admiration. The belief is that he likely will be gone, but if he is still around at #45 or so, the Jones' clan may push hard to jump up. Also at 51, Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi (who could be there at #69, if you are feeling lucky) are others who seem to really be the "Z" receiver that they don't feel they really have (Crayton is viewed as a stop gap, IMO), and let's not totally sleep on the idea that an OLB rusher could slide (Barwin isn't likely to be there) or an interior OL might be too good to pass up (Oregon's Max Unger or Louisville's Eric Wood). And of course, this week has been one where the TE/FB/SLOT/Wildcat guy from Rice, James Casey seems to be getting plenty of attention from Valley Ranch - I just can't see it at #51 with this team needing S, WR, OL, and LB so badly.

Then, at #69, early Sunday Morning, they could swing back and get a safety (If Chung, Moore, or Johnson are there) or consider the options available that were not filled at #51.

Then, at #101, we see the earliest spot where they could try to get that project QB of their dreams (McGee or Brandstater).


The following are items that I want to have at my finger tips on Saturday, and I figured you might, too:

Trades that have affected the draft order in the top 2 rounds :
First round

• No.18: Chicago to Denver. Chicago traded its first- and third-round selections (No. 18 and 84) in 2009, its first-round selection in 2010, and quarterback Kyle Orton to Denver for quarterback Jay Cutler and one of Denver's fifth-round selections in 2009 (No. 140).[2]

• No. 20: Dallas to Detroit. Dallas traded its first-, third-, and sixth-round selections to Detroit in exchange for wide receiver Roy Williams and a seventh-round selection.[3]

• No. 28: Carolina to Philadelphia to Buffalo. Carolina traded its first-round selection in 2009, as well as its second- and fourth-round selections in 2008 (No. 43: traded to Minnesota, who selected safety Tyrell Johnson; and No. 109: used to select offensive guard Mike McGlynn) to Philadelphia for Philadelphia's first-round selection in 2008 (No. 19: used to select offensive tackle Jeff Otah).[4]This selection was later traded to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for offensive tackle Jason Peters.

Second round

• No. 34: Kansas City to New England. Kansas City traded its second-round selection to New England for quarterback Matt Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel.[5]

• No. 44: Washington to Miami. Washington traded its second-round selection in 2009 and its sixth-round selection in 2010 to Miami for defensive end Jason Taylor.[6]

• No. 45: New Orleans to New York Giants. New Orleans traded its second- and fifth-round selections to the New York Giants for tight end Jeremy Shockey.[7]

• No. 47: San Diego to New England. San Diego traded its second-round selection in 2009 and fifth-round selection in 2008 (No. 160: traded to Tampa Bay, who selected quarterback Josh Johnson) to New England for the first of New England's third-round selections in 2008 (No. 69: used to select running back Jacob Hester).[8]

• No. 50: Tampa Bay to Cleveland. Tampa Bay traded its second-round selection in 2009 and its fifth-round selection in 2010 to Cleveland for tight end Kellen Winslow, Jr.[9]

Here are the average guaranteed amounts for each round from last year :
First round: $11.912 million
Second round: $1.932 million
Third round: $668,000
Fourth round: $432,000
Fifth round: $166,000
Sixth round: $89,000
Seventh round: $46,400

Here are the contracts of each of the first rounders from 2008 ...
1. Jake Long, Miami Dolphins - 5 years, $57.5 million ($30 million guaranteed)
2. Chris Long, St. Louis Rams - 6 years, $56.5 million ($29 million guaranteed)
3. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons - 6 years, $72 million ($34 million guaranteed)
4. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders - 6 years, $60 million ($26 million guaranteed)
5. Glenn Dorsey, Kansas City Chiefs - 5 years, $51 million ($23 million guaranteed)
6. Vernon Gholston, N.Y. Jets - 5 years, $50 million ($21 million guaranteed)
7. Sedrick Ellis, New Orleans Saints - 5 years, $49 million ($19.5 million guaranteed)
8. Derrick Harvey, Jacksonville Jaguars - 5 years, $33.4 million ($17.177 million guaranteed)
9. Keith Rivers, Cincinnati Bengals - 6 years, $23 million ($15.6 million guaranteed)
10. Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots - 5 years, $18.9 million ($13.8 million guaranteed)
11. Leodis McKelvin, Buffalo Bills - 5 years, $19.4 million ($12.6 million guaranteed)
12. Ryan Clady, Denver Broncos - 5 years, $17.5 million ($11.5 million guaranteed)
13. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers - 5 years, $20 million ($10.795 million guaranteed)
14. Chris Williams, Chicago Bears - 5 years, $16 million ($10 million guaranteed)
15. Branden Albert, Kansas City Chiefs - 5 years, $15.8 million ($9.2 million guaranteed)
16. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Arizona Cardinals - 5 years, $15.1 million ($9 million guaranteed)
17. Gosder Cherilus - Detroit Lions - 5 years, $15 million ($8.9 million guaranteed)
18. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens - 5 years, $30 million ($8.75 million guaranteed)
19. Jeff Otah, Carolina Panthers - 5 years, $14.4 million ($8.965 million guaranteed)
20. Aqib Talib, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 5 years, $14 million ($8.2 million guaranteed)
21. Sam Baker, Atlanta Falcons - 5 years, $13.5 million ($7.8 million guaranteed)
22. Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys - 5 years, $10.5 million ($8 million guaranteed)
23. Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers - 5 years, $12.555 million ($7.125 million guaranteed)
24. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans - 5 years, $12 million ($7 million guaranteed)
25. Mike Jenkins, Dallas Cowboys - 5 years, $9.7 million ($7 million guaranteed)
26. Duane Brown, Houston Texans - 5 years, $11.4 million ($6.5 million guaranteed)
27. Antoine Cason, San Diego Chargers - 5 years, $12.03 million
28. Lawrence Jackson, Seattle Seahawks - 5 years, $11.25 million ($6.1 million guaranteed)
29. Kentwan Balmer, San Francisco 49ers - 5 years, $11.5 million ($6 million guaranteed)
30. Dustin Keller, N.Y. Jets - 5 years, $12 million ($6 million guaranteed)
31. Kenny Phillips, N.Y. Giants - 5 years, $11.15 million



I spent a full segment on the radio a few weeks back documenting the fabled curse of Layne, and how Matthew Stafford cannot wait until he gets a chance to strike it down. It also might mean that he is actually looking forward to the $80 million ($40 guaranteed) that comes with the top spot, but let's allow a fairy tale the creative license, eh?

Anyway, I figured on the eve of the draft that some of you may enjoy reading two pieces out of Detroit that discuss various aspects of the whole thing.

Jerry Green is one who doesn't believe it is real and if you are not sure about his credentials, we interviewed him a few years ago based on the fact that he is one of 5 writers to have covered every Super Bowl. So, as you can tell, that means he has been around for a bit...
Bobby Layne was exiled from town, out of Detroit, harshly, cruelly, without regard for his feelings and what he had accomplished for the Lions.

But the curse that Bobby Layne is alleged to have placed on the Lions back then, in October 1958, I have determined, is unadulterated hogwash.

The myth is that as Layne was leaving town after being traded to the Steelers two games into the 1958 season, he muttered: "The Lions won't win for the next 50 years."

That supposed comment never reached print until recently. Now it is being spread, out of control, all over, repeated in national publications, a flame that cannot be doused.

Such a statement would have been a remarkable prophecy.

But who is the individual who heard Layne say such words? Where is this person? And why didn't this mythic individual reveal the details of such a curse back then?


Magnifying the curse story is that many of the guesser-purveyors of mock drafts surmise that the Lions will select Matthew Stafford with their first pick to alleviate the need at quarterback. Romanticizing the curse situation is that Stafford happened to attend the same Texas high school, Highland Park, as did Layne -- some 65 years ago.

An amazing coincidence.

So coincidental that Stafford told reporters at the recent NFL scouting combine that, sure, he had heard of the curse of Bobby Layne

And here Bob Wojnowski documents why the Lions must be cursed...
But how do you explain the Lions are the only NFL team to have a player die during a game? Receiver Chuck Hughes, 28, suffered a heart attack in the closing minutes against the Bears on Oct. 24, 1971 at Tiger Stadium. The Lions also lost head coach Don McCafferty after the 1973 season, felled by a heart attack while cutting his grass.

How do you explain, at the height of a short-lived renaissance in the 1990s, the Lions losing two offensive linemen to horrific fates? Mike Utley was paralyzed in a game against the Rams on Nov. 17, 1991. Inspired by Utley, the Lions reached the NFC championship game and lost to Washington, 41-10. That offseason, 25-year-old Eric Andolsek was killed as he did lawn work in front of his Louisiana home, run down by a wayward trucker.

How do you reconcile celebration doused by tragedy? With a momentous 13-10 victory over the New York Jets at the Silverdome in 1997, the Lions clinched a playoff spot and Barry Sanders topped 2,000 yards rushing. And linebacker Reggie Brown collapsed on the field after a tackle, stopped breathing and nearly died.

How do you explain the Lions' all-time leading rusher, Sanders, inexplicably walking away on the eve of the 1999 training camp, faxing in his retirement as he stood 1,457 yards shy of Walter Payton's NFL record?

How do you explain all those quarterbacks -- from Tobin Rote to Earl Morrall to Milt Plum to Bill Munson to Greg Landry to Gary Danielson to Jeff Komlo to Eric Hipple to Chuck Long to Rusty Hilger to Bob Gagliano to Rodney Peete to Erik Kramer to Andre Ware to Scott Mitchell to Charlie Batch to Joey Harrington to Jon Kitna -- who followed Layne, and in 50 years, only one (Landry in 1972) ever made the Pro Bowl. Only one.

How else do you explain it?

"I used to not be a believer in curses, but I'm a firm believer now," Lions receiver Roy Williams said. "Bobby Layne, right? I didn't know about it until I came here, but I'm learning, man. As the years go by, you see things happen with this football team that you just don't see nowhere else."

Yes, that was Roy Williams back when he was still a Lion.

Regardless, it is some fun background reading for Saturday and beyond for Stafford and the Lions. Unless they pick Aaron Curry.

So there you go, enjoy your draft!

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