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News » Draft had its share of curiosities

Draft had its share of curiosities

Draft had its share of curiosities
Some random thoughts after a long draft weekend:

* It seems that NFL teams pay more attention to what players can't do instead of what they can do. How else can you explain Southern California middle linebacker Rey Maualuga falling to the second round? I saw most of USC's games last season, and I didn't see a more dynamic defender. If the draft was Jan. 10, Maualuga goes in the first half of the first round. Had he come out a year ago, he's a top-10 pick.

The knock on Maualuga is he doesn't always play with discipline. What I saw was a relentless, not reckless, playmaker that destroyed ball carriers and took over games. I'll be shocked if he doesn't make an immediate impact for the Cincinnati Bengals.

* Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford was taken first by the Detroit Lions, but USC's Mark Sanchez is positioned to have a better career. New York Jets coach Rex Ryan hinted Sanchez could be the opening day starter. Starting a rookie QB is risky, but Sanchez will be surrounded by a good offensive line, a solid running game and a tough defense. How did that work for Joe Flacco?

* NFL scouts have praised the Buffalo Bills' draft, which could yield up to five potential starters. Some people thought the Bills should have gotten an offensive tackle, but the Bills are confident in Langston Walker and Brad Butler as bookends. We'll see if they're right.

* Scouts also like the New England Patriots' draft, but I'm impressed with how they finagled two extra second-round picks next year. A potential home run selection is North Carolina wide receiver-kick returner Brandon Tate. He's still recovering from a midseason knee injury and has off-field issues. But once he gets healthy, and if he cleans up his act, he could become a big-time weapon.

* I'm still trying to figure out what the Oakland Raiders were thinking by taking Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey over Texas Tech wideout Michael Crabtree. Heyward-Bey has more speed, but Crabtree is easily the better Football player. Message to Al Davis: The next time you want a fast guy, draft Usain Bolt.

* The Dallas Cowboys also had a curious draft. They had 12 second-day picks, but I don't see how any of them make Dallas a better team. You can count on one hand the number of good drafts the Cowboys have had since Jimmy Johnson and his chief college scout, Larry Lacewell, departed Big D.

* I was thoroughly impressed by what Green Bay and Philadelphia did. The Packers may have put themselves back in the playoffs by shoring up their defense with Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji and USC outside linebacker Clay Matthews III. The Eagles made Donovan McNabb happy by adding Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, Pittsburgh running back LeSean McCoy and Florida tight end Cornelius Ingram.

* Ozzie Newsome was a Hall of Fame player. His talent evaluation skills are just as legendary. The Baltimore Ravens' general manager almost never misses in the first round (see Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Peter Boulware and Chris McAllister). So count on Newsome's latest gem, Mississippi offensive tackle Michael Oher, becoming a future Pro Bowler.

* How ironic that the Mid-American Conference had 10 players drafted, but none from its champion, the University at Buffalo. But don't feel bad for the Bulls. Running back James Starks, wide receiver Naaman Roosevelt and safeties Davonte Shannon and Mike Newton are projected as early round picks the next two years.

* USC led all schools with 11 players drafted, which begs this question: How did the Trojans ever lose a game?

e-mail: awilson@buffnews.com

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 30, 2009

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