Why Joe Thomas Won't Be There

Why does he look so serious and sullen? It's because he knows, like the rest of us, that the Cardinals won't get a chance to draft him.

There are many reasons why Arizona won't get a shot at taking Joe Thomas, T, Wisconsin in this year's draft.  There are many reasons why he'll be long gone by the time they're up at 5th overall.  Like Goose said, the list is long, but distinguished.  Decorum prohibits me from posting Slider's reply.

First of all, you have to factor in trades.  There are a number of teams with enough ammunition (or the willingness to mortgage their futures) to jump ahead of the Cardinals and snag Thomas.  Everyone ahead of the Red Birds has a compelling reason to trade down, acquire more picks, and fill in their rosters.  There are plenty of guys shuffling their feet by the wall of the gym and plenty of dance partners.

While Oakland, Detroit, Cleveland, and Tampa are not as desperate for a franchise left tackle of Thomas' power, they certainly wouldn't pass up on a franchise left tackle of Thomas' caliber if the guy they wanted wasn't available.  And, of course, we cannot discount the fact that Thomas could very well be the guy that they want.

I seriously doubt that Oakland will take him, though.  Thomas, while he has nice features and I'm sure is an exceptionally good person (ask his Dad while they're fishing), isn't quite sexy enough for the Raiders.  They need to make a splash in this draft and take either Ja Marcus Russell or Calvin Johnson.  Their franchise has lost a lot of goodwill over the past few seasons and they need a smiling, marketable face to put on the media guide to make the fans forget about last season.  A left tackle simply ain't gonna cut it.

Jeff Backus signed a big contract last off-season because the Lions had no one else.  They are no more tied to him than they are to anyone on their offensive line.  They could snag him at #2 overall and very few members of their fan base would groan.

I personally feel very strongly that Cleveland will take either Adrian Peterson to play "lightning" to Jamal Lewis' "thunder," but Romeo Crennel (much like the coach that follows him in this draft) could opt to go safe over sexy and claim at the end of a disappointing year that he's "building something special."

Gruden could go for the safe pick as well.  His offensive line is old, in disarray, and the young guys that they have brought in are not ready (or at least are not on Thomas' level).  Gruden could also go for Brady Quinn or Russell, though I doubt the LSU QB will be available when the clock starts on the 4th overall selection next Saturday.

The bottom line is this: Historically, going for a franchise left tackle is the safest selection to make in the top 5.  While they are exceptions such as our good friend Leonard Davis and Robert Gallery, the league is, by in large, littered with quality left tackles that were taken in the top 5-10 picks.  I'd list them, but that would take a great deal of time and energy.

So... do the four teams ahead of the Cardinals go safe or go sexy?  I guess we'll find out on April 28th.

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