Apr 26, 2008
As the first round is coming to a conclusion, the backfield committees in the NFL are getting worse.
I wrote yesterday about the guys currently in the league who could see their draft stock drop based on the players their teams took, and we’ve seen plenty. In fact, my top guy DeAngelo Williams has seen his stock fall pretty far. I had a sneaky suspicion the team was going to take a higher-end back, and Jonathan Stewart’s almost as high as it gets in this class. Clearly, the Panthers don’t trust Williams and they want to roll with a more smashmouth running game. This is a training camp battle, and it’s likely a committee situation all year with Stewart, if 100% the favorite to be the 1st and 2nd down back. The Panthers also aggressively traded back up into the 1st round and helped their unstable o-line and took T Jeff Otah.
We saw Felix Jones go to the Cowboys, as expected. Marion Barber’s value is pretty secure, since Jones will be a guy who’ll give them some speed to corner, and who’ll be more of a complementary player, albeit a deadly one. Dallas’ offense is pretty damn scary now.
In Pittsburgh, it’s a big shocker. It’s a shock that ReShard Mendenhall fell to the Steelers, and it’s a shock that the Steelers took him (although you can’t blame them). Mendenhall’s a better talent than Willie Parker. He may not be ready to start from day one, and he probably won’t, but Parker’s value for the short term and the long-term has taken a serious hit. I could argue that in 1-2 years, it will be Parker coming in as a change-of-pace to Mendenhall, not vice versa.
As we all thought could happen, the Falcons took Matt Ryan. I would imagine he’ll start some games for them later on. The Falcons also wisely traded back up and took T Sam Baker, who will be a workmanlike starter who will give the team rock solid fundamentals on the edge. Good move.
I was very glad to see the Broncos get LT Ryan Clady, probably the 2nd best T in the draft. That will help their depleted and shaky offensive line.
The Bears also had to go O-Line, and I’m glad they did with Chris Williams.
Interesting to see the Titans take the speedy Chris Johnson. No doubt they wanted him to help their poor return game, so don’t underestimate that element. Still, he’ll be a great complement to the bruising LenDale White. White does everything between the tackles, and Williams does everything outside the tackles. This is a potential RBBC, but I don’t see Williams consistently getting upwards to 10 carries. Of course, if he busts off big play after big play, he’ll get more and more touches. It’ll be White starting with Johnson a changeup and Chris Henry the true #2, most likely.
The Ravens took Joe Flacco. Good pick, but don’t expect him to play much in 2008. That said we’ll likely see Kyle Boller open the season as the starter with Troy Smith backing him up. Flacco’s a solid keeper league option, though.
As expected, the Raiders took Darren McFadden. It’s a pretty good situation, actually, since the Raider line did a solid job last year and since they ran the ball well. In addition, they also ran it a ton, so they could use 2-3 backs on their roster. I would imagine McFadden will come off the bench, so we’ll have to what his role is more specifically later on in the summer. But right now, I’m thinking a healthy Jonathan Stewart needs to be ranked as the #1 rookie RB this year. It’ll be interesting to see it McFadden is teamed eventually with Justin Fargas or Michael Bush. In theory, the pairing with Bush would make more sense, but Fargas has a lot of experience.
The Lions better be right with T Gosder Cherilus because he might have been a little bit of a reach as high as they took him. Still, you can never argue with a team taking a potential franchise offensive tackle.
Glad to see the Texans get an offensive linemen in T Duane Brown, yet he might have been a little bit of a reach in the first. Still, I’m glad to see them upgrade their line.