Pick-by-pick analysis, 17-32

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Czar will analyze each team's draft night war room, the reasoning behind every first-round pick and why teams did or didn't cut a deal.
Live from New York's Radio City Music Hall, Schrager provides an insider's glimpse of the draft-night doings.
CZAR'S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: Well, Jimmy Clausen is still on the board with the 49ers passing on him. By picking Idaho guard Mike Iupati, the 49ers are saying they wanted to shore up their offensive line and that they are plenty happy with quarterback Alex Smith. At one time, Iupati was considered to be the Oakland Raiders' selection in the first round. Iupati may struggle with pass blocking, but he's a monster in the running game and very coachable. This pick means that Clausen could fall to the bottom of the first round or lower.

SCHRAGER ON THE SCENE: The Niners take two offensive linemen with their two top 20 picks and neither is Bryan Bulaga. Interesting. I’d love to tell you that the Niners fans are doing something noteworthy, but they’re not. And that’s because another team is now on the clock. As soon as I even begin to think about the mayhem that’s about to ensue, a "SHE SAID NO" chant breaks out in Radio City. Yep. The Steelers are on the board. "SHE SAID NO" is rocking the place. Just what Roger Goodell wanted to hear.


CZAR'S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: This pick was no surprise. Everyone knew that the Steelers had their sights set on Florida center Maurkice Pouncy, who was ranked between 20 and 30 on most teams' draft boards. Pittsburgh has a long history of having great centers and director of football operations Kevin Colbert made the move, knowing that the Falcons also coveted Pouncy, who worked out privately with the Falcons last week. This pick also means that Coach Mike Tomlin probably wants to return to the power running game, knowing that Ben Roethlisberger will be suspended for at least four games. I don't think the Steelers ever wanted to trade Big Ben and this selection means they are going to stick with him or they would have gone after a quarterback here.

SCHRAGER ON THE SCENE: The Steelers address their interior offensive line needs and take one half of the Pouncey twins from Florida. Some of the comments being tossed around behind me? "Can he protect a bathroom hallway?" Ouch. "Can he watch Ben’s blind side in small towns in Georgia?" Zing! OK, OK. Before I lose my credentials to all NFL events, I’ll just stop writing those down. The Steelers fans in the building look like the guys from "The Hangover" right now. Usually, an energetic crew--they look like they haven’t slept in days. Rings around the eyes; frazzled hair. No tigers, babies or Mike Tyson punches to the face this week for them — but it’s pretty close.


CZAR'S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: The Falcons had two needs -- center and linebacker -- and after losing out on Maurkice Pouncey -- they went for Missouri OLB Sean Weatherspoon, who can rush the passer and also cover running backs out of the backfield. The Falcons will obviously address the center need later in the draft because Todd McClure is 33 and he's started 128 consecutive games. Another possibility here was Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham, who will now be available for the Patriots. Weatherspoon is an ideal 3-4 linebacker.

SCHRAGER ON THE SCENE: I was sent a YouTube video of Weatherspoon dancing in the mirror at an Express clothing store in a local mall. It was two minutes long. Just odd stuff. A guy dancing in a mirror. Why was this not dissected by ESPN like the backflips? Both have the same relevance to playing in the NFL. Weatherspoon put up 400 tackles in college, can play inside or outside, and squats 700 pounds. He’ll be a good fit in Atlanta. Hopefully, they have an Express store in the Lenox Mall.

CZAR'S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: Alabama CB Kareem Jackson was a tad of a reach for the Houston Texans, but he was considered the most physical cornerback in the draft. The Jets were extremely high on Jackson, who fills a big need with Dunta Robinson gone. The Texans believe that Jackson was well-coached at Alabama. The pick does make sense because the Texans have to beat Peyton Manning if they are ever going to be a playoff team.

SCHRAGER ON THE SCENE: Just caught a heck of a move out of Commissioner Goodell. After Kareem Jackson was drafted by Houston, Goodell walks into the crowd, locates a teenage girl in a Steve Slaton Texans jersey, and hands her the Texans draft card. Meanwhile, the Jets and Giants fans are no longer on such great terms. I just saw two groups yelling at each other. All is right in the Big Apple. As for Jackson? Loved him in college. Very physical. I’m concerned about pass interference penalties at the next level.


CZAR'S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: Like his quarterback buddy, Sam Bradford, Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham missed last season with an injury, but many believed he was the draft's best receiving tight end. Gresham suffered a knee injury last year, but he's healthy now and ready to go. Greshman was expected to go the Patriots and that's why the Patriots traded out of their slot.

SCHRAGER ON THE SCENE: The Bengals go with Gresham, announcing the pick on the team’s official Twitter feed. That’s a first. First Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey announce their breakup on Twitter, and now this. Gotta feel for HBO “Hard Knocks” star Chase Coffman. After a six episode arc of being yelled at by coaches and doing next to nothing in his rookie season—the Bengals draft a tight end in the first round the very next year. I swear there was a pack of Bengals fans here earlier. They’re nowhere to be found now. Perhaps they were all rushed to the hospital before their team was on the clock…Too exhausted from screaming obscenities about Ben Roethlisberger. For once, the Bungles are not the butt of the football world's off-the-field jokes. The hated Steelers are.


22. DENVER BRONCOS (from Patriots)
| Highlights
CZAR'S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: The amazing thing about Josh McDaniels' selection of Demaryius Thomas of Georgia Tech isn't that he believes this receiver is faster than his old one, Brandon Marshall. Thomas played in a run-based offense and caught a lot of hitches and short stuff, something that McDaniels likes to do in his offense. The amazing thing is that Dez Bryant is still available, but most teams preferred Thomas over him. Maybe Bryant ends up with the Cowboys? For all his trading today, McDaniels ended up with the player he wanted all along and he deserves high marks for all his dealing and making the most of the day, plus acquiring more picks.

SCHRAGER ON THE SCENE: The Broncos select Thomas and John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” comes on. The entire Thomas family clan is apparently in the building. Thomas over Dez Bryant, huh? Is this Kevin Dyson over Randy Moss all over again? It might be. Meanwhile, Jimmy Clausen still hasn’t been drafted yet. I wonder if Brady Quinn is texting him, giving him the Robin Williams “Good Will Hunting” treatment… “It’s not your fault…You hear me? It’s not your fault.”


CZAR'S FRONT OFFICE TAKE:The Packers feel good about landing Iowa offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga because he fits a specific need at right tackle and they had him rated as a top 10 player. Bulaga was well-coached by Kirk Ferentz and Packers GM Ted Thompson was well aware of all that. This is a solid pick for the Packers, who need to protect Aaron Rodgers (sacked 50 times last season). The Packers had their fingers crossed for the last hour hoping that nobody would take Bulaga.

SCHRAGER ON THE SCENE: The Packers fans are ecstatic with the Bulaga pick. A father-and-son combo in matching Aaron Rodgers jerseys and cheesehead hats exchange high fives. I was with Bulaga on Tuesday night at the EA Sports 2010 NFL Draft party. Large boy. But he’s got short arms! OK, I didn’t measure them and have no idea about that — but that’s what all the media guys murmured in unison when he was selected. "Small arms..." A very attractive young woman in a cheesehead hat just appeared out of nowhere. There’s something special about a woman wearing Styrofoam cheese atop her head, isn’t there?


24. DALLAS COWBOYS (from Patriots)
CZAR'S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: The Cowboys made a trade to get Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant, who was ruled ineligible last season by the NCAA because he lied about meeting with former Cowboy Deion Sanders. A lot of teams were nervous about Bryant's background, but not the Cowboys, knowing that Sanders and Michael Irvin will be around to help the kid adjust to the NFL. Two years ago, Bryant caught 19 touchdown passes and he should be an electric kick returner immediately for the Cowboys. This pick fills a need for the Cowboys, who have been disappointed with Roy Williams' production. At least, this pick should light a fire under Williams. After passing on Randy Moss long ago, owner Jerry Jones told his staff he would never pass again a talented player just because of his background.

SCHRAGER ON THE SCENE: You’ve gotta love Jerry Jones. Bryant’s a top-five talent, but a character PINK flag and completely off most teams’ boards. Available in the 20s? Thank you very much. We’ll take him in Big D. A local kid from tiny Lufkin, Texas, he’ll play for the Cowboys in Dallas. The Cowboys fans are puffing their chests and taunting the Eagles and Giants fans. They’re not taunting the Vikings fans. Not after that NFC Divisional Round whooping. How’s Miles Austin feeling right now? He has an All Pro season and isn’t given an extension, but they’ll give a rookie a monster first round contract. In the past week, I've heard that Bryant forgot to bring his spikes to his workout, blew off a major national radio appearance, and was beyond underwhelming in a meeting with Rams' teams officials. Dallas, hello!

CZAR'S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: Tim Tebow is a perfect fit for Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, who expects his players to show up on time and love the game and work as hard as they can. Everyone has knocked Tebow's throwing delivery, but he did win a national championship and a Heisman Trophy with Florida. The Ravens traded the 25th pick to the Broncos to make this pick happen and many in the NFL are shocked that Tebow went before Clausen and Texas QB Colt McCoy. Tebow can run (56 touchdowns) and throw and he hits like a linebacker. There is no questioning Tebow's leadership and his dedication to the game. McDaniels will use Tebow in the wildcat offense, but also put him into competition with Kyle Orton. Yes, Brady Quinn is also in Denver, but you can believe that Tebow is already ahead of him because this was one guy that McDaniels wanted in this draft.

SCHRAGER ON THE SCENE: And there’s your story of the night. The New York crowd, for whatever reason, responds with a “Tebow Sucks” chant. They’re tired and cranky here. It’s a school night, the Knicks haven’t been good since Nixon was in office, the Giants just took Kerri Strug with their first round pick, and the Jets haven’t made a multi-million dollar transaction in the past three hours. In Florida, there are parades in the streets. A college aged kid in a Florida Tebow jersey is doing the Hulk Hogan "ear to the crowd" thing. He's getting booed too, now. Meanwhile, Tebow’s got tears in his eyes down in Florida. What’s new?


DAN WILLIAMS, DT, TENNESSEE - Profile | Highlights
CZAR'S FRONT OFFICE TAKE:Arizona's obvious need was to replace linebacker Karlos Dansby, who left for Miami during free agency, or a nose tackle because neither Alan Branch nor Gabe Watson have worked out and have been moved to defensive end. Well, they got their nose tackle in Tennessee's Dan Williams. This was a quality selection, considering he ranked higher on most draft boards, but he fit a specific need and many teams didn't need a nose tackle earlier in the draft. This selection also means that Coach Ken Whisenhunt is willing to roll the dice with Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson at quarterback. The amazing story about the draft is that Jimmy Clausen is still available; he is falling farther than Aaron Rodgers did and his non-selection is an embarrassment to ESPN's Mel Kiper, who had Clausen rated ahead of Sam Bradford, the first pick in the draft.

SCHRAGER ON THE SCENE: Williams, a guy I had going in the top 15, slips all the way to 26 to Arizona. In the seven-round mock I did this week, I had Jimmy Clausen slipping out of the top 20 and ending up here. Nope, I guess I underestimated his fall. As for the Cardinals contingent here in New York? I saw two guys earlier — one in an Antrel Rolle jersey; the other in a Kurt Warner jersey. Neither are on the roster anymore. I guess that says something about the current state of the Cardinals.


CZAR'S FRONT OFFICE TAKE:After missing out on tight end Jermaine Gresham, the Patriots traded down and took Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty and not an edge pass rusher like many expected with this selection. McCourty is a great special teams player, but he was a boundary cornerback at Rutgers and he has size and speed and he will hit you. Some teams had McCourty rated as a second-day selection, but who can question Bill Belichick? I know that at least four teams had him rated between 21-30 in the first round. This is the first time in history that two Rutgers players were drafted in the first round.

SCHRAGER ON THE SCENE: Two Rutgers players go in the first round. Interesting to note—McCourty goes before Kyle Wilson, a guy just about all the pundits had rated higher than both he and Alabama’s Kareem Jackson in mock drafts. Within seconds, the Jets fans break out in a collective “Boston Sucks” chant. The Dropkick Murphys’ “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” blares from the speakers and drowns them out. The Jets fans are pooped. They’re not used to their team picking at the end of the draft.


CZAR'S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: With the pick acquired from the Chargers, the Dolphins took Penn State defensive end Jared Odrick, who was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Odrick can play inside on a four-man rush and also end in a 3-4 scheme. Odrick uses his hands very well and is a powerful inside rusher. Odrick's versatility will serve the Dolphins well and the kid has a big motor. Odrick was rated in the bottom of the first round, so this is a solid pick. The main thing is that Bill Parcells wanted to trade out of the top of the draft and he accomplished that by dealing with the Chargers while also picking up the 40th overall pick. The Dolphins have ammunition for Friday.

SCHRAGER ON THE SCENE: Ah, the Radio City speakers break into the Dolphins fight song and the large Miami contingent up here go wild. Miami goes with Odrick, a defensive lineman who I’m not sure fits in a 3-4 scheme at DT. The Jets are now on the clock. Jets guy behind me is suddenly alive and awake. He’s chanting “LaDainian…Tomlinson…” Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. But hey, it’s something. Better than “Boston Sucks,” I guess.


CZAR'S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: The Jets have made a lot of moves this offseason and they got extremely lucky in picking Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson, who has great ball skills. Wilson can also return punts and he stood out at the Senior Bowl. Wilson gives Jets coach Rex Ryan some flexibility on defense because Wilson can cover one-on-one, meaning that Ryan can bring the pass rush with Darrelle Revis as his other starting cornerback. Believe it or not, Wilson grew up in New Jersey even though he played in Boise. Wilson figured to go in the bottom in the first round and he did. This kid has a mean streak and he's a sure tackler.

SCHRAGER ON THE SCENE:The Jets snag a Jersey guy in Boise State’s Wilson. The only senior starter on this year’s Boise Fiesta Bowl team, Wilson dominated at the Senior Bowl and impressed in all his workouts. He slipped in this draft and the Jets are the beneficiaries. The fans react as if their team just drafted Peyton Manning. A guy in a Namath jersey is just chanting “Super Bowl…Super Bowl…Super Bowl.” Meanwhile, that crazy woman who shows up to every NFL event in a wedding dress and a pink headdress? Yeah, she’s here. And she’s still as insane as ever. She just kissed some man in a Cowboys jersey on the lips. Romance at the NFL Draft, folks! It’s in the air!


30. DETROIT LIONS (from Vikings)
CZAR'S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: The best thing coming out of Minneapolis was the team’s scouting guru, Scott Studwell, calling this three-day prime-time draft a joke. “I’m concerned they’ve turned it into a little bit of a three-ring circus,” Studwell said. Knowing that they didn't want to take a quarterback, the Vikings decided to trade the 30th pick to North Division rival Detroit, who coveted Cal running back Javid Best and were afraid to wait until Friday to take him at the top of the second round. Best is a game-breaker and the Lions need playmakers around Matthew Stafford. Best isn't considered a great inside runner, but he has explosive 4.34 speed and he should be great on the inside surface of Ford Field. Now, Best has had injury woes with an ankle and a knee and a concussion last year, but he was he is excellent in the open field, plus the Lions need help at running back. Two great first-day picks for the Lions in Suh and Best!

SCHRAGER ON THE SCENE: Instead of going with Jimmy Clausen — as some experts projected as a worst-case scenario — the Vikings trade the 30th pick to Detroit and the Lions grab Jahvid Best. The house sound system blasts Fedde Le Grand’s “Put Your Hands Up for Detroit.” European house music at Radio City Music Hall. I’ve now seen (and heard) it all. A Tiesto rave is next. Now that the Jets are off the board, Radio City has begun filing out. The excited Jets fan has left the building, Mr. “McCNabb” is long gone, and Alyssa Milano left the joint before the sun went down. Somewhere, Chiefs pajamas guy is walking in his front door.


CZAR'S FRONT OFFICE TAKE:The late word was that Bill Polian had his heart set on drafting offensive tackle Roger Saffold, a three-year starter at Indiana, but that's because Polian thought TCU's Jerry Hughes would be gone by now. Well, Hughes is an undersized defensive end and he collected 26 1/2 sacks over the last two seasons. He's a perfect fit in the Colts' defensive scheme whenever Dwight Freeney needs a rest. Anybody who saw the Super Bowl knows that the Colts really struggled on defense without Freeney at full speed. Hughes can also play outside linebacker, but rushing the passer is his No. 1 skill and this is solid pick for the Colts, who are getting a little old on the defensive front.

SCHRAGER ON THE SCENE: Jerry Hughes, an undersized defensive end, joins a team that seems to hoard every one of them in the NFL. The Colts get a former high school running back and a two-time All-American at TCU. Radio City, meanwhile, is emptying out. The remaining fans are yawning. A young kid in a Bills jersey — no older than 10-years-old — is sleeping on his father’s shoulder. It’s probably the exact same way he’s spent his entire life watching his team on Sundays.


CZAR'S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: The Saints figured to make a defensive selection with the final pick of the first-ever prime-time first round. And what a clever idea it was to have Saints quarterback Drew Brees, the MVP of the Super Bowl, announce Florida State cornerback Patrick Robinson, who has 4.46 speed. Robinson gives the Saints some depth in the secondary, but it is interesting that Minnesota, a team that could use a cornerback, passed on Robinson earlier in the night. Robinson had a productive sophomore season at Florida State, but only had one interception in his last 20 starts. What this means for Friday is that players like Texas OLB Sergio Kindle, USC safety Taylor Mays and Penn State linebacker Sean Lee will be hot names of the top of the draft along with quarterbacks Jimmy Claussen and Colt McCoy.

SCHRAGER ON THE SCENE: Drew Brees is in the house and the crowd — whatever of it is remaining — erupts. How about the difference between the fans’ reception to the past two Super Bowl champion QBs? There’s Drew and worldwide praise and respect. And then there’s Ben … and … well, yeah, you heard the chants earlier. The Saints take Patrick Robinson and we put this first round to bed. Chiefs pajamas guy is asleep in his bed (with Chiefs flannel sheets, I’m sure) somewhere, Jimmy Clausen remains undrafted, and the NFL Network and ESPN crews remain separated by 20 yards. Marvez is off getting player quotes, Schein’s wrapping up his radio stuff (I can hear him calling someone “My Guy!” from 50 yards away), and Glazer is seven places at once. Cheesehead girl is long gone, Tebow kid is back at the TEP house in Gainesville, and Jason Pierre-Paul is doing back flips on the dance floor at a club on South Beach. All is right in the NFL world. Another draft. Another perfect NFL event.




Tagged: Falcons, Bills, Bears, Bengals, Browns, Cowboys, Broncos, Lions, Packers, Titans, Colts, Chiefs, Raiders, Rams, Dolphins, Patriots, Saints, Giants, Jets, Eagles, 49ers, Seahawks, Redskins, Panthers, Ravens, Cardinals, Steelers, Texans, Peyton Manning, Marc Bulger, Jason Taylor, Randy Moss, Donovan McNabb, Thomas Jones, Kyle Vanden Bosch, LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, Walter Jones, Matt Hasselbeck, Roy Williams, Osi Umenyiora, Anthony Davis, Roy Williams, Dunta Robinson, Ben Roethlisberger, Steven Jackson, Ryan Lilja, Aaron Rodgers, Anthony Davis, Kyle Orton, Brandon Marshall, JaMarcus Russell, Marshawn Lynch, Joe Staley, Tyson Jackson

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