NFL Draft: 10 Picks I Loved  

Posted by Walter

10 Picks I Loved

1) Dallas Cowboys - Anthony Spencer #26 overall pick

Going into the draft I felt Spencer was being vastly underrated, mostly because his stature and skill set make him almost exclusively a 3-4 pass rusher. Well guess what, that is exactly what Dallas is going to ask him to do, and he should team with Demarcus Ware to absolutely terrorize opposing quarterbacks for the next 5 seasons.

2) Atlanta Falcons - Justin Blalock #39 overall pick

Unlike Jim Mora's west coast attack, Bobby Petrino's offense is predicated on a power running game that requires big, physical blockers. Coming off three years under Alex Gibbs (who prefers smaller, quick offensive lineman) the Falcons desperately needed to reload up front. Blalock is a terrific player, and is arguably the most physical blocker in the entire draft. He should be a true mauler on the right side, either at tackle or guard, and will anchor the retooled Falcons line.

3) Carolina Panthers - Ryan Kalil #59 overall pick

There was a time when I thought Kalil was good enough to go #15 overall to Pittsburgh. Great NFL centers are few and far between, but the few are usually on the best teams. The most important thing a center does is control the line and call out changes to pass protection and blocking schemes. Kalil is the rare prospect who has the intelligence to step onto an NFL field and do these things right away.

4) Dallas Cowboys - James Marten #67 overall pick

The Cowboys had a major need on the offensive line, and they did an outstanding job finding players late in the draft who they can develop. Marten is a classic mauler, and a real self made player who could really flourish with good coaching. While he may not ever have the feet to play left tackle, Marten is just as physical as guys like Levi Brown and Joe Staley, and the Cowboys got him almost 2 rounds later.

5) Pittsburgh Steelers - Matt Spaeth #77 overall pick

Spaeth my never be a star, but he is a guy who will definitely contribute to a winning NFL team. Spaeth is a big, physical blocker who is a perfect fit on a team long known for it's smashmouth style of football. Spaeth should follow in the footsteps of guys like Mark Bruener and Jerame Tuman, who were never household names but were major contributors for super bowl teams.

6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Tanard Jackson #106 overall pick

Jackson is a near perfect fit in Tampa's cover 2 scheme. At 6'1'' and nearly 200 pounds, Jackson is a physical corner who is adept at jamming receivers and not afraid to tackle in run support. The Bucs won't ask him to do a whole lot more than that, and in the cover 2 scheme his lack of ideal speed won't be a huge issue. Jackson is an outstanding developmental corner who could eventually replace Ronde Barber.

7) Carolina Panthers - Ryne Robinson #118 overall pick

You heard it here first, Robinson could be the Devin Hester of this draft. While Robinson does not have Hester's straight line speed, he is just as electric in the return game, instead using superb vision and patience to burn opponents. Robinson should step right into the NFL and contribute on special teams, but as he proved during his senior season he can also help by catching passes and should develop into an adequate vertical threat like former Raven Jermaine Lewis.

8) Seattle Seahawks - Wil Herring #161 overall pick

When most people look at Will Herring they see a 6'3'' 220 lbs. converted safety who probably isn't athletic enough to play outside linebacker in the NFL. When I look at Will Herring I see all of those things, but I also see a guy who loves football. A guy who will bust his ass in practice every day and make the starters better playes. I see a guy who will play on every single special team, and could eventually command his teammates respect, not to mention a perennial trip to Hawaii, like Larry Izzo. Will Herring is the rare player who may never start in the NFL, but will make his mark on every game.

9) Baltimore Ravens - Troy Smith #174 overall pick

I think I am going to have to devote an entire column to Smith in the near future so I will keep this short. Here's the bottom line....Smith fell this far because of one game. Here we have a guy who was the fastest quarterback at the combine. A guy who improved his accuracy and cut his interceptions every season he was a starter. A guy who beat Michigan 3 times and won every big game his team played except for one. Troy Smith is going to be a very good NFL quarterback, and one day we are going to look back and wonder how guys like Kevin Kolb and Trent Edwards went in front of him.

10) New England Patriots - Oscar Lua #211 overall pick

As a general rule, you can't really go wrong drafting USC players. Lua is a thick player at 6'0'' and 240 lbs. and his lack of athleticism probably scared off most teams. But being a linebacker is not about how fast you can run, it's about how quickly you can get to a ball carrier. The difference is subtle but critical. Lua isn't fast, but he is incredibly instinctive and really knows how to diagnose plays, which allows him to make up for his lack of speed. I wouldn't be shocked to see Lua earn some major playing time by season's end.

Coming tomorrow, 10 Picks I Didn't Love. Draft grades will be out starting on Wednesday!


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