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2007 Post-Draft Impressions: Part 2
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

GB | HOU | IND | JAX | KC | MIA | MIN | NE | NO | NYG | NYJ

Green Bay

Impact Player: RB Brandon Jackson, Nebraska

Jackson will be battling Vernand Morency for time in the backfield and I think the rookie out of Nebraska has a chance to be a chance of pace back. He has a good burst of speed and deceptive power for his height. I’m not as impressed with him as others, but I do believe he’s good enough to be productive if Morency doesn’t make the grade. I just don’t think Jackson is the long-term answer.

Project: WR James Jones, San Jose State

Jones was a fast-riser in the pre-draft horse and pony shows. He’s projected as a possession receiver with good leaping ability and toughness. He will need to refine his routes to compensate for his lack of top-end speed. Once he does, look for Jones to develop into possibly starter. Green Bay’s personnel staff seems to have a good track record with developing mid-and late-round picks into good receivers—i.e., Driver, Brooks, and Freeman.

Sleeper: TE Clark Harris, Rutgers/David Clowney, Virginia Tech

I had a much better impression of Harris than most. I saw a fairly quick player with good hands and skills after the catch. His blocking is apparently suspect, but I saw decent technique and potential to develop more consistency. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Harris finds his way onto the field and becomes a Favre-favorite by season’s end. He’s one of those players you will be able to spot on your waiver wire around mid-season and take advantage of I turn out to be right. Clowney is undersized, but very fast and has good hands and concentration. I think he’s a better receiver than many perceive. He’ll get a shot as a return specialist but could see his way onto the field as a slot receiver, too.

Notable Free Agents: QB Jerry Babb is a strong-armed, small school passer that could make the practice squad.


Impact Player: DT Amobi Okoye, Louisville

Okoye will likely start right away and has the versatility to play inside or on the edge. He’s still a raw talent, which is part of the appeal because he’s the youngest player ever drafted at age 19. Houston’s defensive front seven has some young talent and Okoye see enough starting time early this season to make an impact—not a great impact, but more likely than any other Texan draft pick.
Project: QB Jared Zabransky, Boise State

This free agent QB is a tough, mobile signal caller that reminds me a bit of Jeff Garcia. I would be surprised if he doesn’t make the team. But I would not expect him to do much for at least a few years—he can make some reckless decisions in the passing game. Still, with some work the game may slow down for Zabransky.

Sleeper: WR Jacoby Jones, Lane

Jones has the physical tools to be a Reggie Wayne or Darrell Jackson type receiver. He’s athletic and despite occasional lapses of concentration and a small school background, he plays fast and demonstrates good on-field awareness. He was often just shy of making some catches with a high degree of difficulty in the limited time I observed his performance. I think he’s still a bit too rough around the edges to be an impact player, but Marques Colston proved to be an exception. Jones might have the chance, too.

Notable Free Agents: DE Victor DeGrate, Oklahoma State. He’s a natural pass rusher, but his size makes it difficult to project him either as a DE or OLB.


Impact Player: WR Tony Gonzalez, Ohio State.

I love how this receiver runs routes. He’s meticulous at setting up his man with a variety of steps and body fakes and he can catch the football in traffic. He will have some decent games this year as a slot receiver if he performs well enough to earn the slot position. I don’t envision a Brandon Stokely-esque season from the rookie, but he’ll have Stokley-esque games.

Project: WR Roy Hall, Ohio State

A big, fast, raw receiver, Hall had very limited playing time and spotty on-field productivity. Will he bulk up to TE or remain a WR? We’ll see if Indy and Hall can work out an arrangement that suits them both for the long haul.

Sleeper: CB Daymeion Hughes, Cal

The cover 2 is the best fit for this cornerback. He has with natural cover skills and ball skills, but less than optimal speed. I think Hughes could develop into a starter. Because he has a reputation for being a bit on the slow side, he’ll get tested a lot early in his career. This could pay dividends for owners that get points for passes defenses, interceptions, and tackles. Think about some of those Pittsburgh Steelers corners early in their careers that got thrown at early and often.

Notable Free Agents: TE Johnny Harline, BYU. An excellent receiver, Harline is reminds me of the Raiders’ Todd Christenson—slow, undersized, and Steve Largent-wily. If I can see Harline making the team as that second TE opposite Dallas Clark if Bryan Fletcher doesn’t continue his progression.


Impact Player: FS Reggie Nelson, Florida

The Jaguars strength only gets stronger with the addition of this versatile DB that can cover the slot as well as he can play centerfield. Nelson should make an immediate impact and has the talent to remain a fixture for the Jaguars for the next decade.

Project: LB Justin Durant, Hampton

Durant is a small-school star with excellent instincts, but he also has a small-school body. It might take him some time to acclimate to the speed, size, and intensity of the pro game.

Sleeper: WR Mike Walker, UCF

The receiver can flat-out, play, but he had a quarterback that hurt his draft stock. Walker might be the best all-around receiver the Jaguars have drafted in several years. Matt Jones has more potential, Reggie Williams had more accolades, and Charles Sharon has an impending trial. Walker will have a good opportunity to be the #3 WR on this team. The former corner has excellent hands and good route running skills for a player of his experience level. He also surprised with his speed. I don’t believe Walker is as much of a workout warrior as he is a collegiate player paired with a quarterback that didn’t anticipate throws with skill. This will change at that pro level.

Notable Free Agents: WR D’Juan Woods, Oklahoma State. Woods is a savvy receiver that likely got a bit of bad press due to his elder brother’s disappointing performance as a 1st round draft pick. He has enough skills to land a roster spot. TE Anthony Pudewell, Nevada. He’s not very fast, but he can catch the football extremely well.

Kansas City

Impact Player: WR Dwayne Bowe, LSU

Bowe is the kind of receiver the Chiefs haven’t had in many years—an imposing target with after-the-catch skills. I believe it likely that Bowe will start the year as the #2 WR with Samie Parker relegated to the slot. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you see Bowe busting through the Chargers or Raiders secondary on one of his trademark runs after the catch for a score or two. I’d take Bowe as my second receiver off the board in a rookie draft—he has that much promise—in fact, I already have.

Project: DT/DE Turk McBride, Tennessee

McBride is a lesser-known commodity on the Vols defensive line but he flashes skills that could translate to the pro level. This is a hard-working lineman that should develop within a few years. It’s hard to project McBride as the next Rod Coleman—the Falcons’ pass-rushing DT extraordinaire—but that’s the best-case scenario.

Sleeper: RB Kolby Smith, Louisville
Not that Smith is likely to get a ton of carries, but he is a hard runner that does the little things well between the tackles. He’s not a player to invest long term, but he’s a cheap, potential waiver pick up this season if Larry Johnson doesn’t last in 2007.


Impact Player: RB Lorenzo Booker, FSU

True, Ted Ginn, Jr. seems like the obvious impact player, but he’s rehabbing from injury and would not have been picked so high on his receiving skills alone. I saw the ESPN analysis of Ginn’s ability to adjust to the ball and take a hit. I thought they were extremely selective of Ginn’s film samples and even so, these examples weren’t convincing. Take Giants rookie Steve Smith’s samples of catching the ball in traffic and taking a hit and you’ll understand the difference.

But enough about Ginn, Booker is a quick, fast, tough runner with vision and receiving skills. He lit up the Senior Bowl practices and faced top-notch competition while looking like the better of the two backs in the rotation in 2004-2005 (Leon Washington was that other back). I think Booker will see the field as a situational back and Cam Cameron will also find ways to get him the ball similar to the way the Saints used Bush split wide.

Sleeper: QB John Beck, BYU

This was my best QB of the 2006 rookie class, folks. Yep, not Russell or Quinn—John Beck, the BYU signal caller that throws with the accuracy and release of Marc Bulger, but has an athlete’s body (Bulger is like a scarecrow) and good mobility. Although it’s likely Kansas City will give up Trent Green in June, it’s possible that Beck could find his way into the lineup if either Green or the rehabbing Culpepper aren’t ready to go or able to continue a game.

I believe Beck will become Cameron’s triggerman within 2-3 seasons, longest. This QB has excellent pocket presence and understands how to manipulate coverage at a level beyond any of the QBs from this rookie class. Pick Beck somewhere between rounds 2-4 in your rookie draft now, and thank me later.

Project: WR/KR/DB Ted Ginn, Jr. Ohio State

I love watching Ron Jaworski analyze film, but every once in a while he overanalyzes the tape (you have to wonder if he’s digging a little too deep to fulfill the requirement of a time-filler segment for these inordinately long draft specials—hey, I loved watching the draft, but it’s because I spent an ungodly amount of hours writing a 400-page book on the players involved—otherwise, I’d likely opt for the highlights). Like the way he looked too hard to fault Vince Young last year, I think he looked too hard to find a reason to praise Ginn as a receiver.

Don’t get me wrong Ginn is a great, athletic talent and a true football player. He’s just raw as a receiver. There were at least 6-7 receivers with better pass catching-route running skills than the OSU star. Think about teams loading up to stop Reggie Bush in New Orleans and now combine it with the fact that Ginn isn’t nearly as versatile offensively (or as good a receiver as Bush) to be on the field every down. This means defenses will figure out quickly when Ginn is or isn’t a decoy. This is why I think Booker has better chance to make an offensive impact this year. It’s going to take Ginn at least a year or two to develop his receiving skills.

Notable Free Agents: G Tala Esera, Hawaii—smart football player with skills if he works at it. Out of any position, linemen most frequently make it despite signing as undrafted free agents.


Impact Player: RB Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma

On the basis of pure talent, Peterson is the only player capable of overtaking Calvin Johnson as the rookie of the year. This is a rare runner in terms of his aggressiveness, balance, and speed. The issues I have with Peterson are correctable but it may take some additional adjustment and coaching for him to avoid being a liability on 3rd down or short yardage situations. But with Minnesota’s offensive line and Chester Taylor to take the pressure off Peterson, look for the rookie to have some big games and if his collar bone is healthy enough for him to get acclimated with this level of play during the preseason.

Project: WR Aundrae Allison, East Carolina

One of the biggest things I heard during the pre-draft bowl season was about Allison looking good in practices and was a fast riser. Well, he must have been rated an undrafted free agent before these games because what I saw on film was a moderately talented player that had significant lapses in concentration as a receiver, route runner, and ball carrier after the catch. I think its highly possible he’ll develop into a decent receiver, but he has to mature on the field. Although this isn’t something I mentioned in the 2007 RSP, I got the sense that Allison thought he was a star and behaved like a prima donna on the field as a senior. This needs to change for him not to be starring in the Arena League.

Sleeper: DE Brian Robison, Texas and LB Rufus Alexander, Oklahoma.

All Robison does is make plays. He reminds me of Grant Wistrom in that respect. Aexander is a bit undersized and didn’t have the senior year many expected. Both players have the skills to make their mark early. I think Robison is the most likely to surprise this summer. He is an aggressive gamer that will get better with each passing year.

Notable Free Agents: DT Joe Anoai, Georgia Tech. Honestly I’m just picking someone from the grab bag on this one. Since his father and uncle were the Wild Samoans tag team from the 70’s and 80’s, my sentiments lie here.

New England

Impact Player: S Brandon Meriweather, Miami

The UM star is going to become a solid starter rather quick in this league. Reggie Nelson may have had a bigger season this year, but the only reason Meriweather got overshadowed was his behavior during the FIU debacle. If you took away this indiscretion and he was more consistent as a senior, he would have been the second safety off the board. If you’re drafting defensive rookies, Meriweather is a bargain in a deep class of DBs.

Project: DT Kareem Brown, Miami

He has prototypical measurements but split time with other players. Brown has been productive in limited time, but he’ll need a season or two to develop. If he does, he could be a better pro than collegiate player.

Sleeper: RB Justise Hairston, Central Connecticut State

The former Rutgers back has very good instincts as a runner, but lacks the top-notch athleticism that would have kept him ahead of Ray Rice or Brian Leonard if he stayed. New England has a propensity of drafting talented backs that don’t live up to their college hype with the hope of hitting on them (J.R. Redmond, Patrick Pass, and Cedric Cobbs are three examples). Hairston will have the luxury to sit behind two solid pros if he makes the team. Since Kevin Faulk is getting up there in age. Hairston has a shot to stick with the roster if he shows something.

Notable Free Agent: QB Matt Gutierrez, Idaho State. The former Michigan QB that got beat out by Chad Henne has everything a coach wants from a physical-passing fundamental standpoint. What he needs is time to learn the nuances of the game and put it all together. If so, he could surprise as a solid, back up.

New Orleans

Impact Player: WR Robert Meachem, Tennessee

Honestly, I’m not a Meachem fan but he’s going to get every opportunity to be the #3 WR right away. He’s big and fast, but I’m one of the people in the minority that believes his hands are suspect. That happens when you watch games where he tries to catch the football with his hands and drops everything in sight until he reverts back to body catching the football. It doesn’t help matters when he catches the ball in workouts with his hands, but his method of doing so is analogous to someone working out a math problem while walking. That’s not going to work with pads and a safety gunning for his chinstrap.

Still, Devery Henderson is no lock as the #2 despite showing improvement and Terrance Copper is a journeyman. Heck, there’s no guarantee Marques Colston avoids a Michael Clayton-esque sophomore slump. So Meachem has a chance to show something in a good offensive system. That alone makes him the most likely impact rookie on this squad.

Project: CB Usama Young, Kent State

Size, speed, and skills shot Young up the draft board and it’s not out of the question he sees time as a rookie. He should develop into a solid corner within a year or two. He’s a natural at the position, but needs more seasoning.

Sleeper: RB Antonio Pittman, Ohio State

I’m not a Pittman fan, either. He’s solid, but not spectacular. This is what I’ll call a Chris Perry pick: a reasonably talented player drafted as depth for a solid starter. Pittman is in my opinion, the back the Saints hope will develop so they can ease the transition of parting ways with Deuce McAllister in the next season or two. Pittman is a straight-line runner with good, timed speed. I just don’t see a special burst or marked ability to create yards by him self. The presence of Reggie Bush helps open some big holes, which Pittman demonstrated he could gain yardage in chunks with a big play threat distracting the defense (Ted Ginn). So this team is a decent fit for his style. Of course, I think any RB would feel that way right now in this offense.

Notable Free Agents: QB Tyler Palko, Pittsburgh. This kid is going to stick—he works hard and has the skills to actually become a borderline starter one day. I think this is a great situation for Palko. Don’t be shocked if he’s starting for someone by 2010. He’ll at least be a solid back up in a couple of years. WR Rhema McKnight, Notre Dame. Many people expected this receiver to be drafted. He has the size. He just needs more consistency.

New York Giants

Impact Player: WR Steve Smith, USC

You know, I had this sick hope the Panthers would draft this USC rookie instead of Jarrett just so we could hear announcers act like idiots with two Steve Smiths on the field at the same time. Honestly, I think this Steve Smith is one of the best receivers in this draft. One of my litmus tests for a good wide out is the skinny post in traffic. Smith almost seems to relish this route. I’ve seen him blown up on receptions by linebackers and safeties with kill shots and the receiver still holds onto the ball. You don’t see this from Meachem, Rice, and especially not Craig Davis (this was a horrible pick, more on that later this week). I think Smith is capable of starting and I’m confident he’ll begin the year as the #3 WR, but finish it with the productivity of the #2 WR for Eli Manning. This is the savvy receiver with physical ability that Eli Manning has lacked since he arrived in New York.

Project: RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Marshall

I love this runner—then again, I loved Onterrio Smith, Cecil Collins, and Ricky Williams. And what do they all have in common? Yep, character issues. They all had ability, too. Bradshaw has great vision—possibly the best of any back in this draft class. He lacks long-range speed, but he has a heck of a burst and excellent moves. I think if he stayed in school, kept his head on straight, and played well for his senior year he would have been at least a 2nd round pick. If he matures as a human being, the Giants stole a starting-quality runner that will have Jints fans excited about the future. Keep an eye on this guy and you’ll be glad I brought him to your attention one day—if at the very least interesting crime blotter reading. At best, he’ll be the guy piling up the stats on the box score.

Sleeper: CB Aaron Ross, Texas

The past 2-3 classes of Texas rookies seem to translate rather well to the NFL, don’t you say? Ross is a corner that should continue this trend. He’ll at least help out as a nickel back, but I think he’ll catch on quickly.

Notable Free Agents: OT Gabe Hall, Texas Tech. Funny that Tom Coughlin was a receiver coach to begin his career. He has a good tendency for spotting mid-to-low-round linemen. Hall just needs experience and coaching to become a heck of a player. I think he’ll get that chance here.

New York Jets

Impact Player: CB Darrell Revis, Pittsburgh

I think Revis is the best corner in this draft. He’s a poor man’s Adam Jones as both a cover corner and kick return specialist, well maybe an upper-middle class Adam Jones. The Jets sure seem to be making the most of their picks since Mangenius took over. This is another good one.

Project: WR Chansi Stuckey, Clemson

This kid could have a little Troy Brown in him, but there’s no guarantee he’ll even make the roster. Then again, the Jets need better depth so Stuckey just needs to show reliable hands, which he has, to stick. At best, he’ll develop into a solid slot receiver in a year or two. Still, I’m not optimistic.

Sleeper: LB David Harris, Michigan

It’s hard to call this guy a sleeper, but he’s got the skills to stick him into the lineup and perform respectably well. You need a good linebacker rotation for the 3-4 and Harris will provide additional ammunition.

Notable Free Agents: WR Paul Thompson, Oklahoma. This multi-dimensional player has the athleticism to stick to a roster. Don’t be surprised if he beats out Stuckey for a depth chart position.

Part 3...