Tampa Bay Sports Day

ACC DRAFT RECAP

With the 9th pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills selected Clemson running back CJ Spiller. The biggest scoring threat in this year’s draft, Spiller is too electrifying and too explosive to be ignored. I guess you could say that he has enough talent to be taken anywhere in the draft, so it shouldn’t have been a huge shocker when he went 9th overall. However, I didn’t think the Bills were going to take this big of a chance with a running back this early. Now we’re talking about a position that they’re not even in the need of; while Bills running back Marshawn Lynch missed plenty of games last season, back-up Fred Jackson took over and ran for more than 1000 yards during his absence. There has been a mixed success of top-10 running backs in recent years. Since 2005, Cedric Benson, Cadillac Williams, Reggie Bush, Darren McFadden, and Adrian Peterson are the backs that have been drafted with a top-10 pick. That’s one future hall-of-famer, one stuck on a crappy team, and three busts. So while the Bills are dreaming of Spiller being the next AP, the odds are against it. A better way to handle the situation would have been to draft someone like Derrick Morgan or Jason Pierre-Paul, who could help out at defensive end or perhaps at a an outside linebacker spot. Or maybe even a Brandon Graham, who would be a definite fix at linebacker. Plus, there are plenty of late-round backs that could have fit the bill such as Montio Hardesty, Conte Cuttino, Dexter McCluster, or Charles Scott.

With the 16th pick of the NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans took versatile Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan. Morgan is another one of those guys that has tons of talent and, like Spiller, had the potential to be drafted anywhere in the draft. Quite frankly, if I were Jeff Fisher right now, I’d be pretty stoked about finding this guy at the 16th spot. He can play defensive end in a 4-3 system and an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Morgan’s speed and relentless pass rush gives him the edge over most sluggish offensive tackles and he collapses the pocket very quickly; Tennessee couldn’t be happier. The defensive line has been falling apart lately and Morgan could defiantly add depth there and, heck, outside linebacker Kieth Bullock is getting up there in age, so it may not be a bad idea to see how he does at outside linebacker too.

The Broncos used their 1st round pick, 22, to draft Georgia Tech receiver Demaryius Thomas. This pick leaves me with one question; is this Denver’s master plan? First, we’re going to trade our #1 offensive threat, Brandon Marshall, to the Dolphins and, then, we’re going to replace him with an incoming rookie receiver that was the leader in YPC in college. They also drafted Tim Tebow with the 25th pick; the Broncos are taking some huge strides, the question is, are they in the right direction? There’s no doubt that the Broncos are looking to acquire a big-play receiver to replace Brandon Marshall, but the fact that they’re drafting Thomas to take over; those are some big shoes to fill. Now there’s no question that Thomas is a talented receiver; you don’t just fall into the 1st round on accident. He’s a very physical receiver that blows by corners with his strength. He has very sticky hands and, when he goes up for the ball, he’s almost always coming down with it. Sounds a little bit like Marshall. Final note – the Broncos should have never traded Brandon Marshall, because they’ve forced themselves to draft a receiver such as Thomas this early in the draft.

Only two ACC players were drafted in the 2nd round; Virginia cornerback Chris Cook went 34th to the Vikings and Virginia Tech defensive end Jason Worilds went 52nd to the Steelers.

When the Vikings took Cook, well, I’m not sure if they had their thinking caps on for this one. Cook is a very competitive, tough corner that isn’t afraid to help out with the run; sounds like a Vikings corner to me. But I’m afraid that Minnesota missed out on the chance to draft an elite receiver. Golden Tate, Arrelious Benn, Brandon LaFell, and Damian Williams are all receivers that would have scratched the itch for receiver in the 2nd round. Perhaps the Vikings are looking to turn Cook into a strong safety; not only do they have a greater need at that position, but Cook’s toughness and tackling mentality would certainly make an easy transition to the safety position.

Jason Worilds is a perfect fit for the Steelers; I love the pick. Pittsburgh’s starting defensive end Aaron Smith is entering his 13th NFL season, so it’s safe to say that, unless he pulls a Brett Favre, the Steelers are going to be without a defensive end very soon. Worilds will be a very good asset to the smash-mouth kind of football that the Steelers defense brings to the field. He is in a lot of ways like Georgia Tech’s Derrick Morgan in the sense that he explodes into the backfield. His pass rushing moves are as good as they get and he when he when he gets to the quarterback, he leaves no prisoners. I think Pittsburgh made a great pick here and that Worilds will be very successful under the Steelers aggressive, blitzing defensive scheme.

With the 71st pick, Georgia Tech safety Morgan Burnett was drafted by the Green Bay Packers. The main goal for Green Bay coming into the draft was to complete their offensive line in a sense where they wouldn’t be racing for answers in free agency. They took care of that in the 1st round, allowing them to pick up Morgan Burnett, a guy who wasn’t expected to be there in the 3rd round. Burnett’s a very quick, athletic, instinctive player that has all you want in a safety. He makes big plays on the ball, is terrific against the run, and should be a very good asset in Green Bay.

Miami tight end Jimmy Graham was drafted by the defending Super Bowl champions at 95th overall. It seems like defensive back has been the Saints biggest need in the NFL Draft the last five years, but as the 3rd round came along, New Orleans piled up by drafting a tight end I’m not quite sure they really needed. Hey, Graham should be thrilled; he’s going to be playing on last year’s Super Bowl winning, #1 offense. Though he may not get much playing time. Jeremy Shockey is still at lbay reeling in passes and 2nd string tight end David Thomas isn’t too bad either; he caught 35 passes for 356 yards and a touchdown as a back up in 2009. Not to mention the other two tight ends on their roster that never got to the field in the Saints Super Bowl run. I guess they’re just trying to provide competition.

Wake Forest cornerback Brandon Ghee was drafted by the Bengals with 96th pick. I like the decision the Bengals made with going with this guy in the 3rd round. They’re in a huge need of a #2 corner, as well as two fresh safeties; at least this satisfies one of their needs considering they didn’t address any needs in the first two rounds. Cincinnati drafted another tight end in the 1st round? What!? I thought their 2009 1st round selection, Missouri tight end Chase Coffman, was expose to take care of that? Oh yeah, he didn’t catch any balls last season, guess they gotta keep trying. Ghee didn’t make many headlines as a starter for Wake Forest, but he was very productive and will be a very solid corner in the NFL if he has time to develop. However, I’m feeling obligated to bash on Cincinnati; they didn’t really need to draft a tight end. They could have used their 21st pick in the 1st round to draft, hmm, I don’t know maybe Devin McCourtney? Kyle Wilson?

Miami linebacker Darryl Sharpton was drafted to the Houston Texans 102nd overall and offensive tackle Bruce Campbell was drafted 106th by the Oakland Raiders. A few picks later, Clemson receiver Jacoby Ford was drafted at 108 (The Raiders couldn’t go a draft without choosing a 4.3 forty receiver?).

UNC defensive end E.J. Wilson was picked up by the Seattle Seahawks at 127th overall, while Miami offensive tackle Jason Fox was picked next (128th ) by the Lions.

The Seahawks also picked up Virginia Tech safety Kam Chancellor 133rd overall (5th round), Clemson defensive end Ricky Sapp was drafted by the Eagles 134th overall, and Virginia Tech offensive tackle Ed Wang was selected by the Bills with the 140th spot.

Maryland corner back Nolan Carroll and UNC defensive tackle Cam Thomas were drafted back to back in the 5th round. Carroll by the Dolphins145th and Thomas by the Chargers 146th.

Boston College center Matt Tenant was selected by the Saints (158th), Wake Forest guard Chris DeGeare was picked up by the Vikings (161st), and Clemson cornerback Crezdon Butler was drafted by the Steelers (164th).

Hookies punter Brent Bowden was drafted by the Buccaneers (172nd), former Georgia Tech A-back Jonathan Dwyer was selected by the Steelers (188th), NC State center Ted Larson was picked up by the Patriots, and Florida State safety, road scholar, Myron Rolle slipped all the way down to the Titans; the last pick in the 6th round (207th).

Virginia Tech safety Cody Grimm was drafted by the Buccaneers (210th), NC State defensive end Willie Young was taken by the Lions (213th), Miami tight end Derrick Epps was picked up by the Chargers (235th), and, going to the Indianapolis Colts, Clemson linebacker Cavell Connor was the last ACC player taken in the draft.