Sunday, April 29, 2007

NFL Draft Review

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From the Cleveland Browns' Perspective

  • It was a wild but successful first round for the Browns. Cleveland took OT Joe Thomas with the third overall pick, but they weren't done yet. After Brady Quinn was still around as of the 22nd pick, Cleveland traded their 2007 second round pick and 2008 first round pick to Dallas for the chance to draft Quinn. Fans and "experts" alike are hailing this as the day that potential puts the Cleveland Browns franchise back on track.

  • It looked like the Browns were out of the second round, until GM Phil Savage swung another deal. After trading for a second round pick, the Browns picked up troubled DB Eric Wright. Wright is a first round talent, but a troubled past got him kicked out of USC. After that, he ended up at UNLV. When interviewed, Romeo Crennel pointed out that if Wright can stay trouble free in Las Vegas of all places for two years, his character shouldn't be much of an issue any more.

  • Following Wright, the Browns picked up another cornerback and two defensive ends. The Browns are decent at corner when their players are healthy, but that's happening less and less these days. Both DEs are big enough to play the line in a 3-4, and will be the heir apparents to the aging Orpheus Roye.

  • The Browns finished out their draft with Syndric Steptoe, a WR/returner. If Steptoe has an impressive training camp, he essentially replaces the departed Dennis Northcutt.

From Notre Dame's Perspective

  • It was a long day for Quinn, but in the end it turned out well. Perhaps wisely, the Browns chose to strengthen their line with the #3 pick. (Someone related their previous first round picks to a sugar rush.) But after Miami took Ted Ginn at #9 (even Cleveland-area radio announcers thought that that was far too high for Ginn), no one else really needed a QB... until the Browns traded for the little kid in the Bernie Kosar uniform.

  • Victor Abiamiri and Ryan Harris have found themselves in great situations. Abiamiri is going to the Eagles, where he will backup Jevon Kearse. Harris was drafted into the Broncos system, which has always turned out great offensive linemen. In what is perhaps not a coincidence, Denver usually employs "undersized" but agile linemen.

  • Derek Landri was picked up by Jacksonville in the 5th round, a tribute to his "motor." It will be interesting to see what position the undersized Landri plays in the pros.

  • In another feel-good move for ND fans, the Patriots drafted Mike Richardson in the 6th round. Richardson is a smart player who arguably could play safety as well as corner. This proves that Richardson was perhaps the most improved defensive player of the Charlie Weis era to date.

  • The Bengals used two 7th round picks on Dan Santucci and Nedu Ndukwe. In a way, Santucci makes up for the loss of Eric Steinbach to Cleveland, while Ndukwe was no doubt drafted for his athleticism and potential.

  • Perhaps surprisingly, neither Darius Walker and Rhema McKnight went undrafted. But by the time you read this, they will probably have signed with a team as free agents.

Finally, a note that will hopefully serve as a preview for an upcoming ND baseball alumni update. Jeff Samardzija is doing well in the High A Florida State League, but has tough luck earning his first win. Meanwhile, Jeff Manship's numbers have been outstanding in the Low A Midwest League. Sure, he's playing in a lower league than Samardzija, but Manship's performance is still nothing to scoff at.