Day 2 Decisions: Risers and Fallers

From the moment Day 1 ended till the time Day 2 got under way, the 2010 NFL Draft turned into the Jimmy Clausen watch. Here are some of the other more interesting selections from Rounds 2 and 3.

The "Take a Taxi Next Time" Pick
At No. 48, despite teams like Washington, Seattle, Cleveland, Buffalo and Jacksonville all having a pick in the top 10 and needing a quarterback of the future, not to mention Oakland at 8 and San Francisco at 11 potentially giving up on former No. 1-overall picks JaMarcus Russell and Alex Smith, respectively, Notre Dame signal caller Jimmy Clausen fell all the way to the Panthers in the middle or Round 2. He came from a pro-style offense directed by coach Charlie Weis, left school as a junior first or second on the Irish's all-time list in 32 passing categories and was considered the most NFL-ready of any passer prospect, but he must have interviewed poorly because he has a reputation for being spoiled, selfish and immature. As a prepster, he arrived in South Bend for his oral commitment in the back of a Hummer limousine, which was the first indication he may have been a Mariah Carey-level diva.

Nevertheless, considering how bad Jake Delhomme has been the last two years and with Matt Moore far from an accomplished pro, Clausen has quite a good chance to win the starting job in Carolina right away.

The "Where is Doc Brown's DeLorean?" Pick
At No. 49, somehow, physical-freak USC safety Taylor Mays lasted all the way to the middle of the second round and didn't come off the board until the 49ers called his name, after unknown prospects like Utah offensive lineman Zane Beadles (45) and East Carolina defensive tackle Linval Joseph (46). Had Mays entered the draft after his junior season, he would have been selected in the top half of the first round and was projected to go even higher than that in early mock drafts before the 2009 football campaign got under way. The 6-3, 230-pounder put on a show in Indianapolis with a 4.43-second 40-yard dash, 24 reps on the bench press at 225 pounds and a 41-inch vertical leap, but when it was time to watch the Trojans on film, No. 2 didn't make a lot of plays and looked invisible out there.

Both Mays and former Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart cost themselves a boatload of money returning to Los Angeles for one more year, which doesn't bode well for new coach Lane Kiffin holding on to his best players going forward.

The "Don't Expect to Be Starting" Pick
At No. 51, the Vikings strengthened a running game that is already among the NFL's elite by taking Stanford tailback Toby Gerhart, who came out of nowhere last season to finish as the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. He's not going to be the primary ball carrier in Minnesota any time soon since Adrian Peterson is currently atop the depth chart, and while Gerhart is big and strong enough to be a powerful lead blocker, don't look for him to be a fullback because "Purple Jesus" has always preferred to do his damage out of a one-back set. Losing dependable second stringer Chester Taylor this offseason to the NFC North-rival Bears, the Vikes will use Gerhart as a bruising change of pace since he led the nation in rushing touchdowns last season and has a style reminiscent of Hall of Famer John Riggins.


RB Toby Gerhart
Getty Images: Stephen Dunn

And for all you fantasy fanatics, Gerhart's mere presence in the Twin Cities could be significant because he might vulture away some goal-line TDs, not to mention Peterson's nasty fumbling problem is yet to be corrected.

The "Fashionably Late" Pick
At No. 75, the Bears were the last team to make their first selection, as previous trades for quarterback Jay Cutler and tragically-passed away defensive end Gaines Adams left them without a pick in Rounds 1 and 2. Fortunately for general manager Jerry Angelo, he was still able to fill his biggest need when he took Florida safety Major Wright, a center fielder-type that should compete for a starting job the moment he arrives for minicamp at Halas Hall. Lovie Smith has made 40 changes to the starting lineup at both safety positions since he became Chicago's coach in 2004, mostly because exited Pro Bowler Mike Brown's brittle body failed him year after year.

Angelo said Wright was the last defensive back he considered worthy of 75, as South Florida's Jerome Murphy (65), Iowa's Amari Spievey (66), Vanderbilt's Myron Lewis (67) and Georgia Tech's Morgan Burnett (71) all went quickly before his very eyes.

The "Just Take Him Already" Pick
At No. 85, the last of the big-name quarterbacks, Colt McCoy of Texas, had a long and difficult two days come to an end when he finally got the good news from Browns president Mike Holmgren and packed his bags for Cleveland. While some of the experts figured McCoy might sneak into the bottom of Round 1 if there was a run on passers, if the former Longhorn was upset about having to wait until late in Round 3, he certainly didn't show it. He spent a lot of time Thursday and Friday playing golf and basketball with his family, and when Holmgren called upon making the choice Friday night, McCoy was in the middle of a chipping contest.

The Browns made two picks in the second round and also traded down in Round 3 before ending McCoy's misery at 85, which implies that Holmgren wasn't necessarily foaming at the month to go get him.

The "Mike Mamula Memorial" Non-Pick
Still on the board heading into Day 3, Maryland offensive tackle Bruce Campbell announced his presence at the Scouting Combine with a 4.85 40, 34 reps, a 32-inch vertical, a 7.58 three-cone drill and a 4.49 20-yard shuttle at 6-6 and 314 pounds. Some of the draft pundits out there had Campbell going as high as No. 8 overall to the Raiders since Al Davis is a sucker for an eye-popping workout, as evidenced by his selection of fellow former Terrapin Darrius Heyward-Bey at No. 7 last April. However, measurables aside, Campbell only started in college for a season and a half, and last year the Terps finished 102nd in the nation in total offense, 105th in rushing and 110th in sacks allowed.

If he couldn't even get honorable-mention consideration in an average conference like the ACC, why would the Raiders – or any team, for that matter – believe Campbell can protect Russell's blind side or open holes for Darren McFadden?


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John Crist is an NFL columnist for Scout.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America.


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