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NFL Draft: Evaluation - Rounds 1 2

NFL fans regard the NFL Draft the way seniors regard nursing home MegaBingo.

Both sit mesmerized for days listening to announcements punctuated by long silences, consult and scribble on various prompts, crib sheets, and fetishes to guarantee vigilance, and punctuate the proceedings with random exclamations of joy, flatulence, fatigue, angina, and hopelessness.

Occasionally, a large black man in a baseball cap walks in front of them and they all cheer mightily. In the case of the NFL Draft, this is a coveted defensive tackle. In the case of the home, that's Keith, and Keith means salisbury steak night!

Ultimately, both proceedings conclude with rubbish everywhere and the vague smell of urine.

Thanks, Jet fans.

I'm going round by round to break down who shat the mattress and what General Managers deserve special release from their Filipina caregiver. My draft evaluation methodology blends relative value, marginal value, need, hair of Kiper, eye of newt, and is informed largely by my world view that football is better when a team has at least one Asian skill player.

Ohhh Herrrroo, Hines Ward!

I will evaluate all QBs in terms of leadership, accuracy, arm strength, and likelihood of imposing their will on comatose women. Actual women. I don't mean the Detroit Lions.

Round 1 Plaudits

Seattle - Earl Thomas #14

At #6, they take a 10 year starter in OT Russell Okung. Solid pick. Workmanlike pick. Blue collar pick. I'm running out of obligatory talking-head offensive line antecedent adjectives...(consults Peter King dictionary)...lofty, lunch-pail, union organizer, Mob run pick.

The surprise Amazon gift certificate in the Seattle stocking was at #14 with Texas safety Earl Thomas. Seattle's Draft Room was visibly shocked he was still available. As if Pete Carroll had willed it through Twitter. Earl is a much needed shot of athleticism for a moribund Seahawk secondary, arguably the best cover corner of the draft, much less safety.

Most crucially, Pete Carroll avoided the common pitfall of former college coaches: overvaluing players from their former school. Say hello, Steve Spurrier and Jimmy Johnson (before you retort Russell Maryland in glib contrarian fashion, please know that you will lose this argument). So stiff upper lip, Taylor Mays.

Cincinnati - Jermaine Gresham #21

Carson Palmer is messin' with Sasquatch. I struggle to recall an important game in college where Gresham didn't come up big. Cincy got no production at TE from Chase Coffman last year, and it was the missing complement to a surprisingly good running game and an OchoCinco or bust receiving corps. Palmer finally has an elite TE red zone threat; that means 6s instead of 3s.

Arizona - Dan Williams - #26

On a blended value and need basis, Tennessee DT Dan Williams is perfect. Arizona needed a strong presence inside to control the line of scrimmage and Williams is it - sort of a Terrence Cody after a Curves class, with a battery life that extends beyond two plays, and less myocardial infarction risk. Go all in on the Cardinals winning their division.

NY Jets - Kyle Wilson #29

I read a few articles wondering why the Jets would draft a cornerback when they already have Revis and Cromartie and it gives you some insight into how unimaginative professional observers of the NFL are.

In a pass oriented league - eleven quarterbacks threw for more than 4,000 yards last year - with division rival, pass-happy New England their primary competition for division supremacy (and for title of most unintentionally amusing fanbase) - the elite nickel back is akin to the stud situational pass rusher of the '90s. Gonna need one.

I watched a lot of Kyle Wilson at Boise and he is a Rex Ryan ass-kicker in every respect.

Honorable Mention: Jerry Hughes, Colts #32.

Round 1 Pans

Jacksonville - Tyson Alualu #10

Jewish American Princess says to her father, "Daddy, can I please have 50 dollars to go shopping."

Father says, "30 dollars!? What do you need 20 dollars for!?"

Jacksonville executed a similar draft tactic, only in reverse.

#13 Philly - Brandon Graham

Nothing against Graham as a player - strong base, good pass rusher, the only bright spot on a horrid Michigan defense - but this was a bad tactical play. The Eagles sacrificed two third rounders in a notably deep draft to move up 11 spots and nab a player that might have made it down to 24 anyway. The next two DEs taken were Jason Pierre Paul and Derrick Morgan, players both of those teams coveted.

They gave up the right to pick up two potential NFL quality starters on the 3rd round cheap because they got all crush-y on Brandon. It almost makes you want to upchuck on a family.

NY Giants - Jason Pierre-Paul #15

Pierre-Paul has all of the indications for failure. Former JUCO. Wyclef Jean music fan. Only one year of FBS football against weakish competition, and an incomplete season at that. Better in pursuit than holding the point of attack, which the Cowboys will murder, to name just one team. Eye popping physical traits (he can do flips! woohoo) with indicators of solely linear athletic ability (see shuttle time). The Giants have had a fine run of DE draft evaluations, but experience and wisdom scream bust.

Denver - Tim Tebow #25

I haven't seen this much of an intangible frenzy since Barbara Hershey in The Entity.

Listen, Alex Smith was the Urban Meyer QB that could actually throw and look at him now. The genius of the Meyer offense is its multitude of incredibly wide open felons and Fijis sprinting around the field while your defense stares dumbly at the pyrotechnics of motion, deception, and tomfoolery swirling about it. This doesn't translate well to the rigid traditionalism of the NFL and 2.7 seconds to throw. Tight windows are bad for average passers. And felons.

McDaniels just staked his coaching career on a jump pass leap of faith.

Pan Honorable Mention: Trent Williams, Washington, #4

Round 2 Plaudits

Oakland Raiders - Lamarr Houston #44

That Oakland had a good draft suggests that Al Davis is already dead and is being propped up by ventriloquist staffers as in Weekend At Bernies. I bet Dead Al gets in madcap situations while being pushed around on a roller chair near trafficky hills. Oh, Hollywood! You're the best.

Houston's quickness will translate to the NFL if they're smart enough to play him as a 3 technique. He dominated the Big 12 as a senior, whipped a physical Alabama OL in the title game, and is a high effort guy. This is one small step towards Raider competence and the improbable siren-song of a 8 win season.

Carolina - Jimmy Clausen #48

From a Roethlisbergerian perspective, I don't see Clausen as a r-a-p-i-s threat. A classic narcissist, Jimmy would probably only try to touch himself up.

Jimmy has a clear-cut NFL arm, reasonable accuracy, played through injury, played in a NFL offense at Notre Dame, received good QB tutelage under Weiss, and is an acceptable overall athlete.

His downside is that he's perceived as a selfish prick. Somewhere Jim McMahon and Phillip Rivers are smiling. I understand that in the age of Brees/Manning/Brady it's seductive to believe that all effective quarterbacks are selfless, but it just ain't so.

Clausen is headed to a team with elite running backs, an exceptional wide receiver, and a great run blocking line. His competition is Matt Moore and a border collie that fetches kicking tees.

Pittsburgh Jason Worilds #52

Oh look everyone: the Steelers drafted another underrated Red-Bull fueled maniac OLB with a nasty disposition, a desire to impale quarterbacks on the crown of his helmet; his jock filled with Icee Hot, rage drippings, and stinging lice.

Wash, rinse, repeat. The jock, specifically.

Cleveland Browns - Montario Hardesty #59

Every time I looked up last year, Montario Hardesty was breaking three tackles to gain four yards against an eight man SEC front brought on by Jonathan Crompton at quarterback and Lane Kiffin coaching.

This is good training for Cleveland.

Hardesty got hard yards and the NFL is league full of those. He was surrounded by gibbering buffoons and still cranked out 1345 yards and 13 TDs. Also, he's named Montario.

Honorable Mention: Golden Tate, Carlos Dunlap, Sergio Kindle, Charles Brown

Round 2 Pans

Tampa Bay - Brian Price #35

He was a good player at UCLA, but I'm not a huge fan of hearing "work ethic issues" and defensive tackle in the same sentence. Throw in that Raheem Morris is the head coach and something less than a commanding presence, and I'm going to set the mini-camp body fat reporting percentage over/under at 20%.

Cleveland Browns - TJ Ward #38

Cleveland struggled mightily against the pass last year, so they drafted a run-stopping safety with an injury history. That's not what the league was expecting.


Honorable Mention: Arrelious Benn, Terrence Cody

Don't miss Rounds 3-7.