A mockery of a Draft

There are just too darn many mock drafts. That's why I am not doing one. Instead, I am going to take a look at something most only look at, say four or five years down the road. It's the skinny on who the biggest bust of this first round will be and who will blossom. And I will tell you one thing: It doesn't mean the player is either that bad or that good. Sometimes, stuff just happens.

Call it irony that the Oakland Raiders, staring at the chance to take the number one QB in this year's draft, is rumored to be trying to get rid of arguably their number one receiver. Of course, Randy Moss is an acquired taste, but as he has gotten older, the taste is becoming a little too sour for even an organization that just seems to love bitter pills.

Seriously, the Oakland Raiders are a train wreck, and they don't even have the luxury of having a lot of money to throw at LSU's JaMarcus Russell, because they have seemingly mastered the art of doing less with more, better than just about anyone outside of the New York Yankees.

Would you want to be Russell? Yeah, you are the number one pick, and the signing bonus is going to be sick, but you are still at Oakland, the long term prognosis is bad, and you are already walking into a situation where the most noticeable veteran leadership there is an aged guy wearing Elvis glasses, and a noted malcontent wide receiver.

That's why it doesn't take me long to figure out that if you want the draft bust of 2007, this is it.

Being the best player in the
draft isn't always a good thing

You notice I didn't say it had anything to do with Russell. I think this kid is legit. Not real polished, and he'll need some time to work that impressive physical potential into NFL-style finesse, but if put in the right situation this kid is a stud.

The only person Oakland is the right situation for is someone who doesn't mind getting paid but losing, having your own players bail on you at any point during a game and your fan base is about as patient as a stock broker on ephedrine.

Russell will probably be the guy, but "JUST WIN BABY"  has been replaced with "Just get through your first contract and JUST PRAY, BABY", that someone sweeps you out of Oakland before that franchise ruins you for life.

The only person who could potentially have it worse than the number one pick is the guy at number two. Talk about the kiss of death, being a wide receiver being taken by the Detroit Lions.

If there is a faster way for a receiver to go from being the next best thing, to antediluvian, I'd like to see it.

Either the receiver is a complete disappointment (see: Charles Rogers) or the quarterback (see: Joey Harrington) is so bad they can't make the most out of the supreme talent they get. Former Texas wide receiver Roy Williams is the one bright spot to this Matt Millen disaster that is his drafting resume'. Actually, it's not really a resume'. It's more like a how-to-book on taking an already disenchanted franchise and turning them into flat out morbid.

If Calvin Johnson becomes the bust of this draft, it won't be because he isn't any good. It will be because he got taken by the Detroit Lions.

Calvin Johnson should pull a
John Elway and refuse to go
to Detroit
Now, how about my unsung star of the first round? Is there one? Well, it's not Brady Quinn, who you could argue had as much offensive talent around him his last year at Notre Dame as any QB in this entire draft. All that got him and his Fighting Irish was another lambasting in a bowl game they shouldn't have been in, in the first place.

Is he really that good? Probably not, but in a QB draft this thin, his prototypical measurables and overall quality makes him a top 10 pick at the very least, whereas if he would have came out least year, he might have been waiting until round two.

Nope, the star, and I think this is totally appropriate to this particular draft, will be not one of the glory-getting-offensive-players, as is typical to the draft. It will be someone on the defensive side of the ball.

And no, I'm not going to say Adam Carriker.

I like to consider myself objective…most of the time.

LaRon Landry

Just like Miami 's Sean Taylor, this kid is going to be good even if he were to end up in a cesspool. And if the prognosticators have it right, going to the Redskins isn't that much of a stretch in comparison. Don't get me wrong, I think the stadium is nice, the fans are solid and it's a good atmosphere overall. But the owner might as well as have a joystick in his hand instead of a checkbook, because he runs that team like I used to play Tecmo Bowl.

It won't hinder Landry, though, because safety is one of those positions, where you can still be great even if everyone around you is abysmal. With the offensive positions, especially QB and WR, you are dependent on so many other things and people. But with Landry, he's going to come in and start laying people out the second he arrives.

I love defensive minded defensive players. That sounds ridiculous, but I'm not a big fan of technicians and just pure athletes. While Deion Sanders was a phenom of sorts, I couldn't' stomach a defensive player who was actually afraid to hit people. That's not Landry's problem and won't be. I may not be rooting for his team, but I'll tune in to watch that kid, because he's going to be worth the price of admission.

Landry is one player I
I can't wait to watch.

I, of course, would be remiss to not mention the players from Nebraska , who are likely to get taken in this year's draft. There's another irony there, in that probably the two highest rated players for the Huskers (Adam Carriker and Stewart Bradley) are considered almost ideal for the 3-4 defense, when they played their entire collegiate career (except for a few plays) in the 4-3.

Carriker is easily the most versatile of the two, though, and whichever of the systems he plays in, he'll be a solid contributor. I am not ready to say he's going to be a star. I love his brutish strength and deceptive quickness, but when you are 6-6 and almost 300 pounds, it's up to the Defensive Coordinator almost as much as it is to the player himself, if he gets put into a situation where he can succeed. I could easily see Carriker getting slotted into a 3-4 system, which will mean he might not ever really stand out as a pass rushing machine, but much like former Husker John Parella did for almost his entire career in the NFL, he may not get the week-to-week glory, but when it's all said and done, everyone will know that was one guy who could play.

Bradley is one who I think his success will be completely and totally dictated by the system. He's too much of a ‘tweener for the 4-3, but stick him in a 3-4, I think he's got a chance to have a very nice career. He's fast and big enough to work inside and savvy enough to know how to get off that initial block. Bradley may never go down as a true playmaker, but if you are "dependable" in the NFL, on defense, that's almost just as good.

Brandon Jackson is someone I thought could have gone in the first day, but I am now leaning toward the second day, but it isn't because of the competition. I think outside of Adrian Peterson and MAYBE Marshawn Lynch, there isn't a back out there that is clearly better. But Jackson didn't have a good combine, and while he regained a little momentum from the individual workouts after the event down in Indy, between that and his shoulder history, I think he'll probably be taken potentially in the third around and perhaps the fourth back taken overall.

Jay Moore is a bit of an enigma to me at this point. He's not far behind Carriker in his overall game, but he is a bit in every category. Not quite as big, not quite as quick and not quite as strong. That puts him in a no-man's land of sorts as to just where he fits and how you use him. Like Carriker, he could be seen as a guy who could have a nice future in a 3-4 defense, because I am just not sure he has the pure athleticism to be consistent in a 4-3. But he does have that motor, and if former Husker Kyle Vanden Bosch proved anything, you don't need to be a freak to succeed. You just have to have freakish desire. Does Moore have that? We'll see, but I'm estimating him to be a fourth round pick at this point.

It's hard to know if Carriker will
be a star or not, but he should
still be pretty darn good

If there was one guy who I thought actually got himself into the draft, whereas I didn't think he would get drafted at all, it's tight end Matt Herian. No, he's not the most aggressive at going after balls and he's certainly not an accomplished blocker. But someone 6-5 who can jump 34 inches or more, and who does have some decent speed – there's got to be a spot where someone will at least give him a good look. His athleticism is so impressive, it makes you forget just how tentative he's become since a broken leg over two years ago. Can someone light a fire under this guy? Can someone get some tenacity to go with that impressive physical frame? I don't know, but his pure athleticism will get him drafted, definitely second day, perhaps in the fifth or sixth round.

Sitting on the bubble a bit is Ola Dagunduro, who has the size and enough speed to be considered draft-worthy. But much like the theme of this Husker breakdown, the system will benefit him more than he will benefit the system. He's certainly going to be a better run stopper than he will be at getting up the field. Dagunduro has potential in all areas, but I have a feeling that he will be looked at, as somewhat "raw" going in. It's just a matter of how you apply his size and speed and figure out how it suits a team best. That makes him a project, and sometimes that means free agency, but I think Ola is just good enough in all areas, he'll get snagged up, either late sixth or early seventh round.

That leaves you with Center – Kurt Mann, Quarterback – Zac Taylor, Fullback – Dane Todd and Defensive Tackle – Barry Cryer.

Mann missing most of his last year pretty much killed any shot he had at getting drafted. He's got good enough size and speed someone might take a look. And his familiarity with the west coast system and its terminology will only help, but he's a stretch at even free agency at this point.

I'd say Todd would get a look, but as the fullback position fades into oblivion in the NFL, I think his chances at even getting noticed fade as well.

Cryer is just too undersized to play inside, not fast enough to play outside, and that means he's probably not going to get much of a look either. Maybe someone will pick him up for the practice squad, but while there are some good things to Cryer, many of his physical traits will have him on the outside looking in.

A GREAT Husker, but I don't see
the NFL in the future of one Zac

As to Taylor , there's no question about his heart. There's also no question as to his intelligence and his familiarity with this system are a huge bonus. But even a huge bonus can't override his size, lack of a really good arm and some pretty inconsistent play in not just the biggest games he's been in from JUCO to college, but his performance at the combine certainly didn't help. Taylor will go down (as he should) as a great Husker, and someone that made Bill Callahan's life a hell of a lot easier than it would have been had he not been around. But the NFL? Even free agency? I don't see it.

In the end, for the Huskers, this could be a respectable draft and one that will keep those defensive recruits in high school still looking at the Huskers, perhaps still wanting to be a blackshirt. But offensively, outside of a fair representation from Brandon Jackson, this class won't turn any heads.

Stomachs, maybe, but not heads.

Call it a good draft, because players like Carriker, Bradley and under the right circumstances, Moore - could be around the league for a long time. And sometimes it's longevity that means more to a school than one big season and a lot of disappointing ones, where the publicity isn't as good.

So, that's it. Draft analysis (or whatever you want to call it) done. JeMarcus Russell, I sure hope you get paid, because you are going
to be miserable in Oakland , despite the fact that I believe you definitely deserve to be the number one pick. You just don't deserve Oakland .

Nobody deserves that.

And I'd like to thank Calvin Johnson for wowing me with all those great plays you made at Georgia Tech. If you end up with the Lions, you might end up wishing you were a Yellow Jacket once again. Hell, after Detroit , you might end up taking up Tennis.

As for the Huskers, it's good, not great, but having a player in the first round of the draft can never be underestimated. It's not the glory days of having to count all the Huskers gone after day one, but it's better than having to wait until day two before anyone gets taken.

Call it a plus for the big red and for me, I'll will wait anxiously to see how the Huskers do, and just as anxiously to see how long it takes the first person Landry hits to get up. I'm betting on a minute-thirty-five.

That's it

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