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Winners and losers of the 2009 NFL draft

April 28, 2009

Top NFL prospects stand together on stage before the start of the 2009 NFL Draft

Most football experts will tell you that it takes three full years to evaluate an NFL draft class, but don’t tell that to the media, who are only too happy to provide the instant gratification of a thumbs up or down analysis after less than 72 hours.

Draft guru Mel Kiper of ESPN gave the Green Bay Packers his highest grade, an A, based primarily on their top two picks of defensive tackle B.J. Raji and outside linebacker Clay Matthews. While the Oakland Raiders, who selected the speedy, but unpolished wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bay with the seventh overall pick and the Dallas Cowboys, who didn’t have a pick until the third round after trading away earlier selections, both received the lowest mark of D.

Yahoo! Sports columnist Jason Cole broke down the AFC and really liked what the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens accomplished on the weekend and was completely befuddled by the Raiders. “This draft is another cry for help by the Raiders as they keep taking players based on outdated theories about what works in the NFL,” he wrote. But fellow Yahoo! Sports writer Charles Robinson agreed with Kiper, saying the Packers addressed almost all of the teams needs.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com absolutely loved what the Philadelphia Eagles did, giving them an A+, but it wasn’t just for the players they drafted. When Jeremy Maclin, widely considered the second best receiver in the draft, fell all the way to the 19th pick, the Eagles pounced moving up two spots to grab him. They also traded five draft picks for Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters and cornerback Ellis Hobbs.

Not everyone handed out letters but that didn’t make them hold back their views. Peter King of Sports Illustrated really liked the drafts of Baltimore — “First two picks were gems for a team that rarely blows the high picks. Cincinnati, Hard to knock this draft. Impossible, quite frankly. Might be the most starry top four since Hunley-Koch-Blados-Esiason of 1984″ — and Philadelphia: “Now, no one knows if Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy are going to be players. But getting them at 19 and 53, respectively, constitutes the best value picking of any team on day one of the draft.”

Whose draft did King dislike? Dallas. “Who knows these guys? Sounds like a special-teams jamboree in San Antonio this summer and the New York Giants, Sorry. I still can’t figure why, with five picks in the top three rounds, they didn’t go get Anquan Boldin or Braylon Edwards,” he said.

The biggest story of the weekend, the New York Jets trading three players and two picks for the right to select USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, was fairly well received by most media outlets. But if Sanchez isn’t leading the Jets’ Super Bowl charge within the next three years, all of that could change.

Right now,  though, only the Raiders appear to be wrong.

Comments

Oakland should get an F for their draft. They took Heywood-Bey over Crabtree? Crabtree will be the next Jerry Rice.

RE: Sanchez – The Jets did a great job of getting the QB that will lead them to the Super Bowl. It won’t be this year, it won’t be next year, but the Jets will be in the Super Bowl with Sanchez. They just need to pick up some WR’s for the boy.

 

i should b the gm of the oakland raiders.there is no way you pass on michael crabtree and 2 me already top 10 reciever in the nfl and he aint even play one game yet

Posted by dominique irving | Report as abusive
 

I agree that Oakland should have gone with Crabtree. It seems they are so desperate to nab someone who can stretch the field and get open that they just went for the fastest guy with the longest name. As far as the giants go, my only complaint is that we didn’t need another number three or two receiver. We didn’t get Boldin or Edwards because not only was the team asking for alot, but each player was asking for rediculous amounts of money that Jerry Reese (giants GM) felt he just couldn’t afford. As a giants fan, I was praying for one of those guys but believe me If we could have, we would have. And remember, Shockey wasn’t traded until after the draft so there is still a chance. With that said, the giants were silly in that they did not fill our linebacker need. We will definitely feel this when the eagles are throwing their two receivers and westbrook at us. Good luck covering those guys. Although with our new pass rushing force, mcnabb may never get an accurate pass off.

Posted by Greg Smith | Report as abusive
 

The asking price for Boldin had reportedly dropped to a second rounder, plus either another lower pick, or a player. I don’t think is that too much considering Boldin’s production. He would want a new deal, but the Giants would be getting a proven Pro Bowl receiver.
The addition of Boldin would not only free up Domenik Hixon, Steve Smith and the rest of the receiving core, but it would also stop teams from crowding the line of scrimmage to stuff the Giants running game.
Of course, if Hakeem Nicks can come in and contribute, the non-move for Boldin or Edwards becomes moot.
As for your concerns about the lack of linebacking help in the draft, Reese did take Clint Sintim in the second round. He becomes another addition to an already impressive pass rush. If Osi Umenyiora can come back from injury and Justin Tuck performs at the same level he did last year, getting to the quarterback will be the least of the Giants problems.

Posted by Josh Hargreaves | Report as abusive
 

I was speaking with Raiders fans at the draft as the #7 pick was announced. The entire venue expected Crabtree with the exception of a handful of media who has heard rumors of them liking bey. The fans were disgusted by them passing on Crabtree. Spoke with Mike a little later on that day and he definitely has a fire in his eye to prove why he should have gone higher.

Giants weren’t going to pay Bolquin what he’s looking for. Besides, Bolquin is not demanding a double-team across the middle to open things up for other guys. He is a great player, but not the same without Fitzgerald on the outside. I suspect that Nicks will be solid in a #2 role similar to Toomer. He is raw, but at 6’6, Barden will be a similar presence to Plax inside the 20 when Eli throws the fade to the back of the endzone. Don’t discount Sintim at LB. Pass-catching RB will help replace Ward. No clue why they targetted a QB that might not even pass Carr on the depth chart.

I think the eagles grabbing Hobbs to shut up Brown as well as filling out the offense at WR and RB did great. Considering the trade for Peters, McNabb gets a lot of weapons to work with. The Bills added solid depth and could be surprising solid. Anyone who trades with the Pats should get their head examined. They robbed the Packers and added two more 2nd rounders for next year.

Posted by Rich Cato | Report as abusive
 

Good post Rich, but I’ve got to disagree with your assessment of Boldin not being able to produce without having Fitzgerald on the other side. People forget that during his rookie season, Boldin caught 101 passes for almost 1400 yards without Fitzgerald. To make that even more impressive, he did so with Jeff Blake and Josh McCown under center. Boldin is an elite wideout and if teams try to just use single coverage on him, they will regret it.

Posted by Josh Hargreaves | Report as abusive
 

This is what We didn’t get Boldin or Edwards because not only was the team asking for alot, but each player was asking for rediculous amounts of money that Jerry Reese felt he just couldn’t afford. As a giants fan, I was praying for one of those guys but believe me If we could have, we would have. And remember, Shockey wasn’t traded until after the draft so there is still a chance

 

The unproven Josh Freeman out of Kansas State Univ. goes as the 17th pick in the 1st rd. while a proven winner like Chase Daniel goes undrafted. Personally I don’t know what the NFL is trying to feed us! There’s no way Daniel or Graham Harrell will get a fair chance as free agents because the NFL “brass” isn’t very good at admitting wrongs! Freeman has got to be one of the very most unproven QB’s ever drafted that high. I think it’s ridiculous! Another joke was Penn State’s AQ Shipley, the best college center in the country in 2008, lasting until the 7th rd. because he has “short arms”! I’m betting he’ll be a starting center in the NFL for years! Besides, I didn’t know centers had to rebound! tehe!

 

Josh, perhaps I was too harsh on Boldin (and no clue why I was spelling it wrong). He really is a great receiver. If he wasn’t asking for 8-10 mil, he wouldn’t even be on the market. However, for 8-10 mil, I want someone who can get me 12-15 TDs.

You have to go back to ’03 for stats featuring Boldin as a #1 wr and even then he only scored 8 tds that season. That was a horrific year for the Cardinals offense. Shipp was the #1 RB and Emmitt Smith was regretting his decision to go to Arizona (though he had a solid year in 04). Defenses were able to double-team him and otherwise stack the line against the run. He got his yards, but double-teaming him in the red zone neutralizes him.

I tend to view him as a tougher, slightly more talented version of Toomer when he was the #1 wr for the Giants. He was still really more of a #2-style wr, but he was able to get his yards and be the focal point of the passing game. Boldin is good enough to break 1000 yards in almost any offense, but I think his across the middle style is best suited to being a #2 and helping force single coverage on the outside when teams pull in a safety to shadow him.

Posted by Rich Cato | Report as abusive
 

Good points Rich.

You are completely right about Boldin working best across the middle and I agree he is asking for a lot of money. But I think in the right offense, he can produce the 10+ TD’s you’re looking for, therefore justifying price tag.

If you added him to either the Eagles or Dolphins, (both teams have a speedy outside wideout in DeSean Jackson and Ted Ginn Jr.) he would be a dynamic threat and still be considered the #1. If Bill Parcells didn’t value draft picks so highly, the combination of Chad Pennington’s accuracy and Boldin’s run after the catch ability would have been a beautiful thing to watch.

On other teams, if Boldin is indeed a #2 receiver, I assume we can both agree, he’s be the best one in the league.

Funny, but after all is said and done, I expect Boldin to remain with the Cardinals this year.

Posted by Josh Hargreaves | Report as abusive
 

Hey what was he thinking, that’s crazy

 

I watched the 2009 NFL draft and found it to be a little lacking in talent. Hoping the upcoming year will be better.

Posted by Calphalon | Report as abusive
 

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