Friday, April 23, 2010
Graham leads Big Ten's draft contingent
Most mock drafts had Michigan's Brandon Graham, Iowa's Bryan Bulaga and Penn State's Jared Odrick being selected in the first round. So there were no major shockers as the first round played out.
The only mini surprise from Thursday night's NFL draft was the order of Big Ten picks.
Graham, the outstanding Michigan defensive end who will play outside linebacker in the pros, was the first Big Ten player drafted, going at No. 13 to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles landed the Big Ten's most dominant player of 2009, but Graham was surprised Philadelphia wanted him, telling annarbor.com, "The Eagles never showed any interest at all."
Bulaga had been pegged as high as No. 5 on some draft boards, and most prognosticators listed him as the first Big Ten player to be selected. But the Iowa left tackle, who won Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year honors last fall, had to wait until No. 23, when the Green Bay Packers picked him. Bulaga's stock certainly dropped in the days before the first round, but SI.com's Don Banks writes that he had a "soft landing" and should fit in perfectly with Green Bay.
Should Bulaga have stayed another year at Iowa? He could have helped himself a little, but I can't fault him for leaving, especially after his health scare early in the season.
There were too many teams at the bottom of the first round that loved Odrick, and Miami pulled the trigger at No. 28. Here's some reaction from Odrick and analysis from around the media. I'd be stunned if Odrick isn't an excellent pro, and he should be able to help the Dolphins right way in their interior defensive line.
Check out ESPN's analysis of the first round here, here and here.
Indiana left tackle Rodger Saffold and Illinois wide receiver Arrelious Benn were the Big Ten's other first-round possibilities. Their wait should be over early tonight as Round 2 begins.