Major stars absent, but talent plentiful in NFL draft

Published 2:42 am Friday, April 24, 2009

It’s like a conversion in the huddle with Matthew Stafford talking to Michael Crabtree, “Go deep.”

Deep is the key word for this year’s NFL draft according to Ironton assistant football coach and draft handicapper Bart Burcham.

The NFL will hold its annual draft this weekend on ESPN. Burcham, who regularly has more first round picks on the correct team than the TV draft experts, said a lot of quality players are available.

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“There aren’t as many impact, star power players, but it will be deep. There are guys in the second round who will have the same impact as the first round players,” said Burcham.

With needs so glaring for some teams, Burcham said it’s been a difficult year to determine who will be chosen and where.

“With some teams I’ve switched picks three or four times. A lot of teams are looking to move up and down,” said Burcham.

The first pick is going to the winless Detroit Lions and Burcham said that could be the only sure selection.

He said the Lions could improve themselves a lot with the draft.

“Detroit has three of the top 33 picks, so they should upgrade their team.,” said Burcham.

Here is the first round according to Burcham’s anaysis:

1. Detroit: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia. They’ll get him signed before the draft. They have to go after a quarterback.

2. St. Louis: Jason Smith, OL, Baylor. They liked Andre Smith, but he got in some trouble.

3. Kansas City: The Chiefs are going to start an upward climb. Their new GM knows how to draft. Their defense is going to be much better and they add Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest.

4. Seattle: They can go receiver and offensive lineman, but they go with Mark Sanchez, QB, USC. They more he works out, he grades up higher and Matt Hassleback has been hurt the past few years.

5. Cleveland: First, they trade Braylon Edwards to the Giants for their first pick. They need to trade Derek Anderson, too. They’re looking at WR Michael Crabtree, but that division needs a defensive line so I take B.J. Raji, DL, Boston College. He’s a game changer.

6. Cincinnati: Their first two picks might be offensive linemen. They have to protect Carson Palmer. Eugene Monroe, OL, Virginia. He’s the best pass-blocker in the draft.

7. Oakland: They take Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri. He’s the fastest guy in the draft and that’s what Al Davis likes.

8. Jacksonville: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech. The Jaguars need receivers.

9. Green Bay: Brian Orakpo, DL, Texas. Their sacks went down last year and they’re getting older and they’re switching to a 3-4.

10. San Francisco: Andre Smith, OL, Alabama. He has talent. This could be Sanchez if he falls.

11. Buffalo: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State. They have Lee Evans and Terrell Owens, Pettigrew makes their offense better.

12. Denver: It would be Sanchez if he drops this far, but it will probably be Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU.

13. Washington: If they can’t get Sanchez, they get Aaron Maybin, LB, Penn State. They have to upgrade the DE-LB spot and he can do both.

14. New Orleans: This could be Beanie Wells, but their corners got beat bad last year so they take Malcolm Jenkins, DB, Ohio State.

15. Houston: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee. They need a rush end opposite Mario Williams. They are another team that is getting better.

16. San Diego: It may be offensive line, may be running back, but it is Ray Maualuga, LB, USC.

17. New York Jets: This could be Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State. He’s big with a cannon arm, but his accuracy isn’t good. If not, Darius Hayward-Bey, WR, Maryland. He made a ton of big plays this year.

18. Denver: They come back with Everett Brown, DE, Florida State. He can play outside LB or DE.

19. Tampa Bay: This could be defense, but they go with Freeman. They just signed Leftwich, but he’s not the answer.

20. Detroit: This could be running back, but it’s Michael Oher, OL, Mississippi.

21. Philadelphia: With Michael Westbrook getting hurt so much, this is Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB, Ohio State.

22. Minnesota: They’d like a quarterback but it’s Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers. They’ve got to find a receiver.

23. New England: This might be the best pick for their system: Clay Mathews, LB, USC.

24. Atlanta: Brian Cushing, OLB, USC. This is a need spot. They’d love to get Pettigrew, but he probably won’t fall that far.

25. Miami: James Laurinatis, LB, Ohio State. He’ll fill the role they need.

26. Baltimore: They’ve lost a lot of deensive backs, so it’s Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois. He’s the next best corner behind Jenkins.

27. Indianapolis: It could be DL, but after losing Harrison, they take Percy Harvin, WR, Florida.

28. Buffalo: Eben Britton, OT, Arizona. They just traded Jason Peters and they get the next best lineman.

29. New York Giants: If they don’t trade for Edwards, it’s Akeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina. He can step in and play.

30. Tennessee: They could use a receiver, but if they’re gone it’s Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut. He’s a good athlete.

31. Arizona: They go running back with Knwoshon Moreno, Georgia. If Moreno is go, it’s Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut.

32. Pittsburgh: They’re in a pretty good position with no immediate need, but they always like to have a strong offensive line so they take Eric Wood, C, Louisville.