Ah, NFL draft weekend… nothing like it… it still amazes me that ESPN has somehow made an annual television event out of what used to be a bunch of guys sitting around a hotel ballroom writing names on index cards every fifteen minutes or so… but now it’s must-watch TV for all NFL fans, a media extravaganza telecast live on two networks, and covered by all the rest. And god help me, I watch religiously every year, with all the draft magazines and a big bowl of chile con queso (thanks, Phipps!) by my elbow.
So how did my two teams do?
The Giants did their usual solid job. No surprises there. Jerry Reese is not a GM given to bold moves; he sits where he is and makes his picks, just like George Young used to do. And it works well. The big need for the G-Men this year was wide receiver, since Plax went and stuffed a pistol into his sweatpants and shot a hole in his thigh and the Giants’ season. There were five or six top-ranked WRs this year, and my big fear was that all of them would be gone by the time the Giants picked at 29… but the football gods were kind. The Raiders went and reached and picked the fast guy, who can’t catch so good. Michael Crabtree went, and then Macklin, and then the Viking made my day by taking Percy Harvin… who looks to be an amazing player and a real headcase. He may turn out to be sensational, but he may also turn out to be Pacman Jones, and I’m thrilled that he didn’t end up on either of my teams. So when the pick came to the Giants, they had their choice between three very promising wideouts: Kenny Britt from Rutgers, Hakeem Nicks from North Carolina, and the Robiskie kid from Ohio State. All of them will be good players, I think. I was leaning toward the Rutgers kid, Britt, since he’s a Bayonne boy, from my home town, but they went with Nicks instead. That’s okay too. He’s not quite as tall and tough as Britt, but he has better hands, they say… in fact, he has giant mutant hands that help him make incredible catches. Works for me. I am sure Eli will like that too. And if Mario Manningham and Sinorice Moss step up as well, maybe the G-Men won’t miss Plax so much next season. And hey, the last time the Giants drafted a player from North Carolina, it worked out pretty well.
The Giant picks in the second round look pretty solid too. A linebacker and an OT. Our offensive line is solid now, but depth never hurts, and if the tackle they picked works out well, maybe they can move David Diehl to the other side. He’s not a natural left tackle.
And for the Jets…
Well, you can always count on the Jets to provide some excitement. No standing pat and picking for them, no sir, instead they make a blockbuster trade, give up three players and a second round pick to swap places with the Browns, vault up the board, and grab USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. He’s going to save the franchise. (Just like that Favre guy did last year).
He seems like a great kid. Very personable, certainly, should be a hit with the media (until he throws a pass, at least). But he’s still an unknown quality. Will he be better than Kellen Clemens? Who knows? Will he be better than Brett Ratliffe, who was one of the three players the Jets gave up to get him? No one knows that either… though the fact that it was Eric Mangini, who coached Ratliffe last year, who asked for him in this trade makes me a little worried. Ratliffe looked great in preseason last year, much better than Clemens did, and I was actually thinking he might be the Jets starting QB. Did Mangini see something? Was Ratliffe just a throw-in in the trade, or is he the next Matt Cassell?
Bottom line, the Jets rolled the dice. If Sanchez is indeed a franchise QB, then this was a great move. If he turns out to be the new Matt Leinert… or worse, the new Akili Smith / Andre Ware / David Klinger / Ryan Leaf… then not so much.
Time will tell.
Meanwhile, there’s another day of reading out names to look forward to tomorrow. Whoopee!
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