The 2010 NFL Draft came and went with a couple of huge headlines.
The Broncos shocked everyone by taking Florida quarterback Tim Tebow with their first round pick. Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clauson slipped to the second round and became the 48th overall pick, courtesy of the Carolina Panthers.
Pete Carroll made a number of excellent selections in his first official moves as the Seattle Seahawks coach but faced scrutiny from a former player. USC defensive star Taylor Mays said Carroll misled him and questioned the authenticity of Carroll's relationship with his players.
In a scene straight out of Freaky Friday, the Oakland Raiders and New York Giants switched roles. The Raiders made intelligent draft picks based on need, twhile he Giants made ridiculous draft picks based on unproven talent. The Raiders then went out and acquired former Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell, whose production last year was better than all three of the quarterbacks on Oakland’s roster.
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While nobody can determine who an NFL Draft's ultimate winners and losers until the players actually play a down, that doesn't stop me from jumping to wildly speculative conclusions.
And with that, your 2010 NFL Draft winners and losers:
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The Seattle Seahawks had a lot of holes to address going into the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. By the end, they had addressed almost every single one.
With his first pick, Pete Carroll took Oklahoma State's Russell Okung. Okung will serve as the perfect replacement to legendary Seahawks left tackle Walter Jones and will shore up the Seahawks offensive line for years to come. Carroll then took Texas Longhorn safety Earl Thomas with the 14th pick of the draft. The Seahawks ranked 30th in the NFL last season when it came to their passing defense, a problem they likely fixed by drafting the very talented Thomas.
In the second round, the Seahawks focused on skill positions and drafted highly touted Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate. Tate may end up being the Seahawks’ biggest steal in the draft, and the perfect player to complement receiver TJ Houshmanzadeh.
Finally, the Seahawks essentially traded their later round picks to obtain former Tennessee Titan powerback LenDale White and former New York Jets speedster Leon Washington.
The Detroit Lions, a team notorious for stupid picks, had an excellent overall draft.
Ndamukong Suh was arguably the best prospect available in the draft, and he'll secure their defense for years to come. The Lions then traded to get Jahvid Best of California. Best has had injury problems throughout his college career, but he’s a worthwhile gamble for a team desperate for offensive firepower. On pure talent, Best could have been a top-15 draft pick.
The Lions also improved themselves substantially with solid third and fourth round picks in cornerback Amari Spievey and offensive tackle Jason Fox. Spievey could prove to be a force in the secondary for the Lions, and Fox adds more depth to the team’s offensive line.
The Carolina Panthers certainly made the most out of their draft picks. Despite not having a first round pick, the Panthers nabbed free-falling quarterback Jimmy Clausen with their first pick in the second round. Clausen provides them with a first-round talent who will learn, grow, and eventually replace career backup Matt Moore.
The Panthers also grabbed a solid wide receiver Brandon LaFell and talented South Carolina Gamecock linebacker, Eric Norwood. Both players should provide consistency and stability to their respective positions.
The only questionable move of the night by the Panthers was drafting former Appalachian State hero -- and Michigan dream destroyer -- Armanti Edwards. Edwards does not have the ability to be a quarterback at the professional level, and will most likely have to serve as a receiver/wildcat option player in the NFL.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
In the second round, fans really began to question the Bucs’ strategy. They had taken defensive tackle Gerald McCoy with the 3rd overall pick in the draft, only to pick up another defensive tackle in UCLA’s Brian Price in the second round of the draft. It felt like a team with as many holes as Tampa Bay would have been better served focusing some of their high-end picks on the offensive side of the ball after getting a stud in McCoy.
The truth is, however, the Buccaneers made the right call. McCoy and Price allow them to shore up their defense for the next few years, and really showed that Tampa Bay was committed to rebuilding their team the right way.
From that point on, the Bucks switched to the offensive side of the ball picking up receivers Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams. Both Benn and Williams were touted as two of the better run-and-catch receivers in the draft, and should serve as good targets for quarterback Josh Freeman
The Baltimore Ravens are no strangers to winning football. They know that the key to success on the field is a strong fearsome defense, and that applied that philosophy in the 2010 draft.
With the 43rd and 57th picks, the Ravens took linebacker Sergio Kindle and and defensive tackle Terrence Cody, respectively. Kindle is an absolute monster athletically, and arguably was a first round talent. Injury concerns caused him to fall into the Ravens’ lap. Cody could be a steal with a lot of talent, and his only downside is a tendency to ignore proper conditioning routines.
The Ravens also addressed their offensive concerns by drafting two of the best tight ends in this year’s draft in Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta.
It may not seem like it now, but Clausen got very lucky. A talented quarterback who proved in his first year at Notre Dame that he isn’t immune to buckling under expectations, Clausen goes into one of the best possible situations for a player in his position. Matt Moore is a career backup who will get all of the blame and criticism for the Panthers’ problems while Clausen gets a chance to learn. When Clausen does finally get a chance to step on the field, he’ll find himself on a team that can only improve, and is ready for a fresh young leader.
The Jacksonville Jaguars promised that they wouldn’t draft some glitzy big-name player – read: Tim Tebow – just to get fans in the stands.
Well, they weren’t lying.
The Jags pretty much defined "reaching" by taking DE Tyson Aluala. Aluala was not projected to go this high on anyone’s board, and the pick reeked of a reactionary move after the Oakland Raiders stole their player.
The rest of the draft actually wasn’t all bad for the Jaguars. The team did end up with a very good linebacker in Kirk Morrison for a fourth round draft pick, and Morrison will go a long way in improving the Jags’ defense.
However, reaches are a cardinal sin in draft analysis, and as such, they end up on the losers’ list.
New York Giants
The Giants trade picks felt like they were coming out of the old Oakland Raiders playbook.
Amazed by a guy who can do backflips, the New York football Giants selected DE Jason Pierre-Paul. While Pierre-Paul shores up the defense by being a beast physically, he didn't do enough in college. The Giants should have traded down rather than taking him as high as they did.
It also seemed as though the Giants are completely overcompensating with defensive ends because of their past success at the position.
The Giants later selected DT Linval Joseph with the 46th selection, a prospect from the Eastern Carolina University who was also a bit questionable that high.