Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2007 – Round 2

NFL Draft Logo 2007 Round 2 is underway and I’ll update as it goes along. The trades are fast and furious and there’s much less information available as we get deeper in the draft and I won’t do player-by-player analyses other than perhaps for the picks made by the Dallas Cowboys and really oddball news (like Philly taking Houston QB Kevin Kolb with their first pick).

ESPN DraftTracker:

33. Arizona Cardinals
Pick acquired from Oakland
The pick: Alan Branch, DT, Michigan
Scouts take: The saying it all starts up front is a football cliché that rings true more times than not and Arizona is having an excellent draft if you take that into account. In the first, the Cardinals got OT Levi Brown and trade up to get DT Alan Branch. Branch’s stock plummeted because of concerns about his work ethic and durability but he is an outstanding value here. He has the size, power and quickness to control the middle of the line of scrimmage and keep blockers off the linebackers.

34. Buffalo Bills
Pick acquired from Detroit
The pick: Paul Posluszny, LB, Penn State
Scouts take: The exodus of Takeo Spikes and London Fletcher makes linebacker a substantial need and the Bills helped fill it by getting a first-round talent in the second round. Posluszny possesses rare instincts, he is relentless in pursuit and he knows how to bring ball carriers down in the open field. Even more impressive, he’s versatile enough to line up on the outside or the inside so the Bills can plug him in wherever they think he is most needed.

35. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The pick: Arron Sears, G, Tennessee
Scouts take: USC head coach Pete Carroll might feel a little slighted because either Steve Smith or Dwayne Jarrett, both USC receivers, would have arguably been better picks here. Where Arron Sears lines up will also have an impact on how strong of a pick this ends up being. If he lines up guard, he would be a valuable addition because he is quick and strong enough to eventually excel there. If they drafted him as an insurance policy for injury-prone Luke Pettigout, it’s a poor pick because he isn’t explosive or long enough to consistently hold up in pass protection on the edge.

36. Philadelphia Eagles
Pick acquired from Cleveland through Houston
The pick: Kevin Kolb, QB, Houston
Scouts take: This is too much of a reach to consider it a quality pick and considering this is the Eagles’ first pick of the day makes this even worse but it’s understandable. The reason is Kolb is an excellent fit for the West Coast offense and the future if the quarterback situation needs to be addressed since Donovan McNabb and Kelly Holcomb aren’t getting any younger.

37. San Diego Chargers
Pick acquired from Washington through Chicago and New York Jets
The pick: Eric Weddle, S, Utah
Scouts take: The Chargers are efficient if nothing else, as they have used their first two picks to fill their most pressing needs. Weddle’s lack of ideal speed, athletic ability and size separated him from the top three safeties in the draft but he is a football player who makes the most of his natural ability. That’s good news for a Chargers’ team that needs him to make an immediate impact.

38. Oakland Raiders
Pick acquired from Arizona
The pick: Zach Miller, TE, Arizona State
Scouts take: While the Raiders signed two tight ends during the offseason, neither can be considered a quality starter and there is a big drop off in talent at the tight end position after Miller. He isn’t quite as fast as Olsen but he has excellent body control and he tracks the ball well so he can make the occasional play downfield. Miller also has strong hands to develop into a productive red zone target and hang onto the bullets QB Jamarcus Russell is certain to be firing next year.

39. Atlanta Falcons
Pick acquired from Houston
The pick: Justin Blalock, G, Texas
Scouts take: Head coach Bobby Petrino wants a bigger, tougher offensive line and general manager Rich McKay appears to be listening. Blalock is a mauler who has the upper body strength to lock onto defender’s frame and the meanness to finish the block once in position. He should step into the starting lineup and give the Falcons a much-needed upgrade at offensive guard.

40. Miami Dolphins
The pick:John Beck, QB, BYU
Scouts take: Miami needed a quarterback and Beck, whose stock gained some steam heading into the weekend, has the tools to develop into an effective starter. He is smart, mechanically sound and accurate. However, Drew Stanton is still on the board and he would have been a better pick in our opinion.

41. Atlanta Falcons
Pick acquired from Minnesota
The pick: Chris Houston, CB, Arkansas
Scouts take: Safety is Atlanta’s biggest weakness and getting Houston likely fills the hole there. The reason is Jimmy Williams can move from corner to safety and Houston can move into the starting slot opposite DeAngelo Hall. And the Falcons should be confident in his ability to start because he faced some of the best receivers in the nation at the collegiate and never backed down. Of course, his speed and ability to change directions quickly are reason to be hopeful.

42. Indianapolis Colts
Pick acquired from San Francisco
The pick: Tony Ugoh, OT, Arkansas
Scouts take: Again, Indianapolis needs help on the defensive side of the ball so this is puzzling. In fact, the only logical reason for taking tackle is to start grooming a possible replacement for Tarik Glenn. Ugoh played in a run-heavy scheme at the collegiate level and he doesn’t project as a starting left tackle. The only other possibility is moving him inside but he doesn’t have ideal lower body strength for a guard.

43. Detroit Lions
Pick acquired from Buffalo
The pick: Drew Stanton, QB, Michigan State
Scouts take:The Lions did well to get Stanton considering two quarterbacks had already gone in the round. Stanton doesn’t have elite arm strength or size but he is tough, moves well and can pick a defense part when he gets on a roll. He should play behind John Kitna for a year while he gets comfortable with the offense and develop a strong bond with first-round pick Calvin Johnson.

44. Minnesota Vikings
Pick acquired from Atlanta
The pick: Sidney Rice, WR, South Carolina
Scouts take: The Vikings needed a receiver and Rice has the potential to develop into a playmaker. He is fast enough to stretch the field and he does a nice job of adjusting to the ball while it’s in the air. With that in mind, this can’t be called a bad pick but there are concerns about Rice’s ability to excel at the NFL level. He doesn’t have great bulk and he is a little soft so he will get pushed around at times. That’s why USC WR Steve Smith may have been the better pick here.

45. Carolina Panthers
The pick: Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC
Scouts take: Mentor finally gets to play with protégé, as Dwayne Jarrett joins Keyshawn Johnson in Carolina. The truth is receiver isn’t a great need for the Panthers but Jarrett is a great value here and, oddly enough, he could eventually replace Johnson when the times comes for him to step down. It makes because both make up for their lack of ideal speed with fluid route running and by using their wide frame to shield defenders from the ball.

46. Pittsburgh Steelers
The pick: LaMarrr Woodley, DE, Michigan
Scouts take: Getting an outside linebacker that can get to the passer appears to be so important to the Steelers that they picked up two with their first two selections. Woodley’s stock dropped during the offseason, but he projected as a first-round pick at the end of the season and for good reason. He has good initial quickness, can shed blocks quickly and shows good closing speed once he turns the corner. The only concern is he has to work on his cover skills so he isn’t going to play an every-down role at outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme any time soon.

47.New York Jets
Pick acquired from Green Bay
The pick: David Harris, LB, Michigan
Scouts take: The Jets seem to be a completely different team in terms of the draft since Eric Mangini took over as the head coach. After jumping up to get Darrelle Revis in the first round, they jumped again to draft Harris. Harris doesn’t cover as well as Patrick Willis and he will need to be protected at times, but he is a stout run defender who rarely gets caught out of position and delivers some big hits. Just the idea of him lining up opposite Jonathan Vilma should keep opposing ball carriers up at night.

48. Jacksonville Jaguars
The pick: Justin Durant, LB, Hampton
Scouts take: The Jaguars reached for Durant because there are a number of higher rated prospects at outside linebacker, but they have addressed two of their top three needs. Though Durant has the athletic ability and explosiveness to develop into a quality starter, he is a small-school prospect so his ability to adjust to the speed of the game at the NFL level remains to be seen.

49. Cincinnati Bengals
The pick:Kenny Irons, RB, Auburn
Scouts take: Irons is a good value here because he runs hard between the tackles and he’s fast enough to break some long runs. His lack of size won’t be as much of a concern in Cincinnati because he will share caries with Rudi Johnson and Chris Perry. However, it’s important to note that the Bengals need an outside linebacker and a receiver so they didn’t fill any kind of a hole here.

50. Tennessee Titans
The pick: Chris Henry, RB, Arizona
Scouts take: With LenDale White having problems keeping his weight down and former Titan Travis Henry now wit Denver, the Titans needed a running back and Chris Henry has great upside. He possesses a rare bend of size and speed. With that said, Tennessee has yet to pick up a cornerback or a receiver and they are hurting at both positions. In addition, Henry’s lack of experience at the collegiate level should raise some red flags and Michael Bush is still on the board.

51. New York Giants
The pick: Steve Smith, WR, USC
Scouts take: The Giants couldn’t have done much better than getting Smith here. He is an excellent route runner for such a young player, catches the ball and can produce after the catch. Smith should replace aging Amani Toomer and complement Plaxico Burress well. Perhaps more importantly, he gives Eli Manning another legitimate target.

52. St. Louis Rams
The pick: Brian Leonard, FB, Rutgers
Scouts take: The Rams could have been better served taking a linebacker here because it’s a more pressing need. On the other hand, Leonard is a good choice here and they also need a back that can back Jackson up because undersized free agent signing Travis Minor is strictly a situational back. Leonard can pick up the tough yards between the tackles, catch the ball out of the backfield and line up at fullback at times.

53. Cleveland Browns
Pick acquired from Dallas
The pick: Eric Wright, CB, UNLV
Scouts take: From a talent standpoint, the Browns continue to have one of the strongest drafts. They have also addressed up some of the biggest weaknesses on the roster. Wright has the confidence, speed and quick feet to quickly emerge as a quality starting corner as a rookie. So why has he lasted so long? No player has more baggage in terms of character concerns than Wright so teams have been hesitant to pull the trigger. As a result, this looks like a boom or bust pick at this point.

54. Kansas City Chiefs
The pick: Turk McBride, DT, Tennessee
Scouts take: The Chiefs needed a defensive tackle and Turk McBride projected as a second round pick heading into today because he has the quickness to regularly disrupt plays in the backfield. However, it’s not a great fit. Kansas City’s priority should have been improving a mediocre run defense and McBride lacks the size to clog up the middle.

55. Seattle Seahawks
The pick: Josh Wilson, CB, Maryland
Scouts take: Kelly Herndon is a marginal No.2 cornerback who isn’t getting any younger so the Seahawks were wise to bring in Wilson. Wilson is a bit or a reach because he doesn’t have great size and he is inconsistent but he is still one of the best corners available. He’s fast enough to run with most any receiver and he is tough against the run for player his size.

56. Denver Broncos
The pick: Tim Crowder, DE, Texas
Scouts take: After taking Moss in the first round, Denver could have filled this need by taking a receiver or a linebacker. On the other hand, Crowder is a sound second round selection. He is a high-motor player with great speed for his size and sound instincts. Though he isn’t as explosive as Moss, he is bigger so he has a better chance of developing into an every-down player.

57. Philadelphia Eagles
The pick: Victor Abiamiri, DE, Notre Dame
Scouts take: While the Eagles still needing help at safety and corner, getting a defensive end was also on the to-do list this weekend because Javon Kearse and Darren Howard are aging and have underachieved. Abiamari lacks ideal top-end speed and has some problems holding his ground when teams run at him, but he has the strong upper body to keep blockers off him and the quick feet to develop a wide variety of pass rush moves.

58. Detroit Lions
Pick acquired from New Orleans
The pick: Ikaika Alma-Francis, DE, Hawaii
Scouts take:Alma-Francis is coming off a season-ending pectoral injury and he is raw so he will have to work on his technique. While he has the size and quickness to develop into an effective starter in time, the Lions have more pressing needs than end and adding a linebacker or possibly a cornerback makes a little more sense here.

59. Carolina Panthers
Pick acquired from New York Jets
The pick: Ryan Kalil, OC, USC
Scouts take:The bottom line is a team can’t go wrong by taking Kalil at this point. While Justin Hartwig is an adequate starter, Kalil represents an upgrade and could emerge as one of the best centers in the league. He is a technician who gets into good position and he’s strong enough to drive defenders off the ball when he gets under their pads. His pass blocking is just as strong if not better because he has excellent quickness and he has the quick feet to counter when defenders throw double moves at him.

60. Miami Dolphins
Pick acquired from New England
The pick: Samson Satele, OC, Hawaii
Scouts take: Satele is versatile enough to line up anywhere along the offensive line but he fits best at center and the Dolphins’ greatest need at offensive tackle. If they do indeed move him to tackle, defensive ends should have success exposing his lack of ideal lower body strength. In addition, he doesn’t have very long arms so he is going to have problems riding edge rushers past the pocket. In other words, this is a questionable pick.

61. Detroit Lions
Pick acquired from Baltimore
The pick: Gerald Alexander, S, Boise State
Scouts take: Although Alexander rarely makes mistakes when dropping into coverage, fills hard when he reads run and is versatile enough to line up at safety or corner, he doesn’t have great size or speed. In fact, he projects as a sub-package defensive back who makes his biggest contributions on special teams. Why not take DS Josh Gattis or DC/DS Tenard Jackson here? Both would have been better values.

62. Chicago Bears
Pick acquired from San Diego
The pick: Dan Bazuin, DE, Central Michigan
Scouts take: Bazuin is a good pick for the Bears’ Cover-2 schemes because he has the burst to turn the corner and can deliver the big hit when he gets to the quarterback but this is too much of a reach. First off, he doesn’t have great size and he will struggle when teams run at him. Secondly, he had a disappointing senior season and didn’t play in one of the premiere conferences. As a result, there are some concerns about ability to produce working against a considerably higher level of competition.

63. Green Bay Packers
Pick acquired from Chicago through New York Jets
The pick: Brandon Jackson, RB, Nebraska
Scouts take: The Packers lost out on the Marshawn Lynch sweepstakes so they were wise to take a back here. Only problem is they took the wrong back. On the positive side, Jackson is a balanced runner who bounces of arm tackles and can make defenders miss. On the negative side, he doesn’t have ideal size or speed for a primary back. With Michael Bush and Tony Hunt still waiting for calls, Green Bay probably should have taken one of them.

64. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pick acquired from Indianapolis
The pick: Sabby Piscitelli, S, Oregon State
Scouts take: DC Daymeion Hughes is a perfect fit for the Cover-2 and would have been a strong pick here Piscatelli, on the other hand, doesn’t have the range to cover the deep half of the field. He’s tough against the run and can make plays in coverage but he just isn’t fast enough to excel in this scheme. In fact, some draft experts thought Piscatelli would have to move to outside linebacker to make it in the NFL.

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