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Texans wanted to avoid sticky situation

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The first round of the draft is usually full of intrigue. This year was no exception, thanks largely to the many story lines surrounding USC's top prospects. Reggie Bush, the consensus No. 1 pick throughout the draft process, fell to ...

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Old 04-30-2006, 01:26 PM   #1
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Texans wanted to avoid sticky situation

The first round of the draft is usually full of intrigue. This year was no exception, thanks largely to the many story lines surrounding USC's top prospects.

Reggie Bush, the consensus No. 1 pick throughout the draft process, fell to the Saints at No. 2. Matt Leinart, considered a good bet for the Jets or Titans, ended up in Arizona at No. 10. Then there's LenDale White and Winston Justice, potential top-10 picks who slid out of the first round entirely.

Here are some thoughts on what transpired in Round 1.

Shock of the day
It has to be NC State DE Mario Williams over Bush. It is hard to believe the Texans took the best available player on their board. It appears more like they took the best available player at a position of need.
What happened here? For some reason I don't think we have yet to get the true story. Could it be the potential legal issues that lie ahead for Bush? From what I understand after talking with people around the league, it was not the legal issues.

It also wasn't Houston management's claim that it wanted a player who could help slow down Indianapolis and quarterback Peyton Manning. The Texans would need a lot more than Williams to get that done.

At the end of the day it boiled down to signability. Bush and the Texans could not come to terms and Williams and the Texans could.

The Texans took the easy way out on this deal. Because management did not want to get into a tough negotiation, it took a player who was not the No. 1 guy on its board.

Character issues play a role
The two biggest fallers in the first round were both USC players. At one time, offensive tackle Justice and running back White were expected to be top-10 picks. Neither was picked in the first round.
For White, this should not have been a big surprise. He had a terrible postseason. He never worked out for NFL teams, was overweight all spring and now he has a slight hamstring tear.

Justice's fall from grace was a little more surprising. An off-the-field incident where he solicited a prostitute who ended up being an undercover officer certainly didn't help his cause. But his problems extended beyond his brush with the law.

The other factor was his poor performance during interviews. In his dealings with teams, he came across as arrogant and a guy who might be tough to coach. His laid-back attitude has also been a factor.

ACC well-represented
Two teams from the ACC that made some noise in Round 1 were Florida State and North Carolina State.
Williams was an upset first pick selection over Bush. Williams is the first player from an ACC school to ever be taken with the first overall pick.

N.C. State also had two other defensive linemen selected in the first round. Manny Lawson went to the 49ers at No. 22 and John McCargo to the Bills at No.24.

The Seminoles had four defenders selected in the first round -- Ernie Sims (Detroit), Kamerion Wimbley (Clevleand), Brodrick Bunkley (Philadelphia) and Antonio Cromartie (San Diego).

Cleveland-Baltimore trade
It is a rarity we ever see two teams in the same division make a deal on draft day. The Browns and Ravens did just that on Saturday.
So how did it come to fruition? One would have to assume that the relationship Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome and Browns GM Phil Savage share from their days in Baltimore had to play a key factor.

In the end it was a great deal for both teams as they both got the player they were seeking. However, it will be interesting to see that if the player each passed on comes back to them down the road.

Leinart finds safe landing
It is rare that you can say a player dropping in the draft might be a good thing, but in the case of Leinart, his fall could pay dividends down the road.
Sure, he is going to lose a lot of guaranteed money on his first deal, but if things go well in the desert, he will be able to recoup it.

Of the nine teams that passed on Leinart, few were good fits. Tennessee had its heart set on Vince Young. If he went to the Jets, Leinart would have been under immediate and immense pressure from day one.

Of all the teams in the top 10, Arizona was the best fit. The Cardinals play in a great climate with little wind, meaning his average arm strength will not be as big a factor. He can sit this season behind Kurt Warner and learn from a solid veteran who is a great teacher.

Cardinals head coach Dennis Green knows quarterbacks and does an excellent job of mentoring and training young guys at the position.

With a solid season on the bench learning, Leinart will be poised to take over one of the most explosive offense's in the NFL in 2007.

What were the Bills thinking?
When the Bills address their first day, you can bet it will be with all smiles and everyone will talk about how they were on the same page. However, behind closed doors and when guys are talking to other personnel people around the league, there will be some serious finger pointing.
There were two major reaches in the first round, and the Bills were part of both of them. With the No. 8 pick, Buffalo selected Ohio State safety Donte Whitner, who was projected to go around No. 18. Then the Bills traded the rest of their first-day selections to take McCargo at No. 26. McCargo is a player they could have taken in the bottom half of the second round or early third round.

Marv Levy was a great head coach, but if he is running this draft owner Ralph Wilson has made a huge mistake. Coaching a football team and drafting players are two entirely different things, and the Bills and Levy found that out the hard way Saturday.

Jeremy Green has been an NFL scout for 10 years. Most recently, he was director of pro personnel for the Cleveland Browns.


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