Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2007 – Round 4

NFL Draft Logo 2007 Round 4 of the 2007 NFL Draft is underway. The Oakland Raiders started us off by taking Michael Bush, a running back who would likely have gone early in the first round were he healthy. He’ll likely sit out his first year, a la Willis McGehee a couple years back, but the Raiders are getting him for a high 4th, not a low 1st that the Buffalo Bills spent. Potentially, the steal of the draft.

ESPN DraftTracker:

1(100) Oakland Michael Bush RB LOUISVILLE
2(101) Jacksonville (from Detroit through Baltimore) Adam Podlesh PT MARYLAND
3(102) Minnesota (from Tampa Bay) Brian Robison DE TEXAS
4(103) Dallas (from Cleveland) Isaiah Stanback QB WASHINGTON
5(104) San Francisco (from Washington) Jay Moore DE NEBRASKA
6(105) Detroit (from Arizona through Oakland) AJ Davis CB NORTH CAROLINA ST
7(106) Tampa Bay (from Minnesota) Tanard Jackson CB SYRACUSE
8(107) New Orleans (from Houston) Antonio Pittman RB OHIO STATE
9(108) Miami Paul Soliai DT UTAH
10(109) Atlanta Stephen Nicholas OLB SOUTH FLORIDA
11(110) Oakland (from San Francisco through New England) John Bowie CB CINCINNATI
12(111) Buffalo Dwayne Wright RB FRESNO STATE
13(112) Pittsburgh (from Green Bay) Daniel Sepulveda PT BAYLOR
14(113) Jacksonville Brian Smith OLB MISSOURI
15(114) Cincinnati Marvin White S TCU
16(115) Tennessee Leroy Harris OC NORTH CAROLINA ST
17(116) NY Giants Zak Deossie OLB BROWN
18(117) Detroit (from St. Louis) Manuel Ramirez OG TEXAS TECH
19(118) Carolina Ryne Robinson WR MIAMI (OHIO)
20(119) Green Bay (from Pittsburgh) Allen Barbre OT MISSOURI SOUTHERN
21(120) Seattle Baraka Atkins DE MIAMI (FLA.)
22(121) Denver Marcus Thomas DT FLORIDA
23(122) Dallas Doug Free OT NORTHERN ILLINOIS
24(123) Houston (from Kansas City from New Orleans) Fred Bennett CB SOUTH CAROLINA
25(124) Seattle (from New York Jets through San Francisco) Mansfield Wrotto OG GEORGIA TECH
26(125) New Orleans (from Philadelphia) Jermon Bushrod OT TOWSON
27(126) San Francisco (from New Orleans through Indianapolis) Dashon Goldson S WASHINGTON
28(127) New England Kareem Brown DT MIAMI (FLA.)
29(128) Tennessee (from Baltimore) Chris Davis WR FLORIDA STATE
30(129) San Diego Scott Chandler TE IOWA
31(130) Chicago Josh Beekman OG BOSTON COLLEGE
32(131) Indianapolis Brannon Condren S TROY STATE
33(132) Pittsburgh (Compensatory selection) Ryan McBean DT OKLAHOMA STATE
34(133) Atlanta (Compensatory selection) Martrez Milner TE GEORGIA
35(134) Baltimore (Compensatory selection) Antwan Barnes OLB FLORIDA INTL
36(135) San Francisco (Compensatory selection) Joe Cohen DE FLORIDA
37(136) Indianapolis (Compensatory selection) Clint Sessions OLB PITTSBURGH
38(137) Baltimore (Compensatory selection) Le’Ron McClain FB ALABAMA

UPDATE: Scouts, Inc. takes us “Inside the fourth round.”

• A leg injury caused Louisville RB Michael Bush to drop into the fourth round, but he is an excellent second-day value for Oakland. With LaMont Jordan and free-agent signee Dominic Rhodes playing in front of Bush, the Raiders can ease him into the rotation and protect him while he gets back to full strength. And if he can get healthy and stay that way, he has the size and speed to develop into a franchise back.

• The only two punters expected to get drafted came off the board during the first half of the fourth round. Jacksonville got Maryland’s Adam Podlesh with the second pick of the round, and he could be a substantial upgrade over Chris Hanson, who is coming off a disappointing season. Podlesh has excellent power, is accurate enough to place the ball inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and he can kick off. Pittsburgh took Daniel Sepulveda later in the round. He, too, has good power, and he gets good hang time on his kicks, but he tore his ACL in the spring of 2006, so there are concerns about his durability.

• Washington QB Isaiah Stanback has the arm strength and mobility to develop into an effective backup for the Cowboys. If he stays at quarterback, he is an excellent No. 3 because of his upside. However, there are concerns about his accuracy, and he has some experience lining up at receiver, so Dallas could swith his position. If the plan is to play him at receiver, this is a questionable pick, because there were better values available at receiver. Taking East Carolina’s Aundrae Allison, Auburn’s Courtney Taylor or Virginia Tech’s David Clowney would have made more sense.

• Tampa Bay might be deep at corner, but there’s no doubt it needed to infuse some youth at the position, and it addressed that need by taking Syracuse DS/CB Tanard Jackson. While Jackson isn’t fast enough to line up at corner for a team that runs a lot of man coverage, he could excel in the Buccaneers’ Cover 2 scheme. He is quick, reads quarterbacks’ eyes and fills hard when he reads run. It couldn’t be a better situation for him, either. He gets to play behind three veterans, and as a hard worker, he should only get better.

• Miami’s best pick thus far might be Utah DT Paul Soliai. With Keith Traylor turning 38 this year and the Dolphins expected to part with Dan Wilkinson, they needed to get a tackle, and Soliai is a great pickup. Projected to go in the third round, he dropped likely because of minor character concerns, and he isn’t a great pass rusher. However, he has the size and lower-body strength to develop into a dominant nose tackle who can clog up the middle and keep blockers off the linebackers.

• Playing for the Giants is now a Deossie family tradition. New York took Brown OLB Zak Deossie, whose father once played for the Giants. Zak played at a small school and needs to work on his technique, but he has great upside.

• Denver took its second Florida defensive lineman in DT Marcus Thomas, who joins Jarvis Moss. Thomas has some character concerns stemming from multiple failed drug tests, but the Broncos can protect themselves by including a clause in his contract that requires him to stay clean. Keeping that in mind, this could prove to be one of the steals of this draft. Remember, many draft analysts projected Thomas as a first-round pick heading into the 2006 season.

• Last night we questioned Dallas taking Boston College OT James Marten over Northern Illinois’ Doug Free. Maybe the Cowboys were listening, because they came back Sunday and took Free. Free is a developmental prospect because he played at a small school and needs to get bigger, but he has the quick feet to emerge as a quality starting left tackle.

• Seattle filled its most pressing need by taking OG Mansfield Wrotto, and it’s not a bad pick. Wrotto shows great quickness for his size and excellent lower-body strength. However, Seattle really needs a guard who can play this year, and Wrotto is raw so he may not be ready to push for playing time this year. Keeping that in mind, the Seahawks could have considered Boston College’s Josh Beekman, whom Chicago took later in the round, because he is more polished.

• New England almost never reaches to fill need, and it didn’t here either. Though the Patriots could use some help at linebacker and corner, they took Miami DT Kareem Brown because he was the best value at No. 127 overall. Brown is inconsistent, but he is explosive and athletic for a player with his size. If Bill Belichick can keep him motivated, he should develop into a productive contributor.

• Baltimore drafted OLB Antwan Barnes out of Florida International, and he is a good fit for that scheme. Though he doesn’t have great size and doesn’t read his keys particularly well, Barnes is a speed demon, and the Ravens can unleash him on opposing passers.

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