NFC East: Max Unger
I'm not sure if any draft class in the NFL has caused as many different reactions as the Cowboys' group. Sitting at Radio Music City Hall, I was stunned to see the club select a kicker in the fifth round. Only two years before, the Cowboys had drafted Arizona's Nick Folk, who's quickly turned into one of the league's best clutch kickers.
And on Saturday, the Cowboys came close to "passing" on their only second-round selection when they submitted a trade about two seconds before the deadline. They were desperately trying to trade up from No. 51 to take Oregon center Max Unger, but the Seahawks (No. 49) wanted the Cowboys' third-round pick (No. 69) and that was too steep a price for owner Jerry Jones.
Anyway, Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Randy Galloway wrote a really interesting column (mainly because he mentioned me) today that sort of explains where the Cowboys may have been coming from. And he correctly points out that Jones has had far better moments than his Sunday evening news conference when he delivered that stirring "cost-cutting" speech. There's nothing that fires up a fan base like bottom-line cost-cutting and a bevy of special teams players.
On Friday, I'm planning to stop by Valley Ranch and visit with the Cowboys' Class of '09. If you have any questions for young men such as Jason Williams, Robert Brewster and Stephen McGee, leave them in the "comments" section. I always read the "comments" right before bed time because they're usually so uplifting. Thanks for your continued support. I have to finish up a column and then I'll check back later this afternoon.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
At one point Friday, it sounded like the Eagles and Giants were once again hot and heavy for Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin. But that story flickered out quickly and both teams focused on building through the draft. On Day 1, it was only a three-team division. The Cowboys had the No. 51 pick, but things moved too quickly for them and they were frustrated when center Max Unger came off the board two spots ahead of their pick.
Instead of staying at 51 and picking Oklahoma offensive tackle Phil Loadholt, the Cowboys moved out of the second round and added a couple of Day 2 picks.
The Redskins may have been interested in Mark Sanchez, but they were thrilled to end up with Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo. He was one of the most disruptive players in the Big 12 and he should flourish playing next to defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. In a draft where the Redskins didn't have much ammunition, Orakpo should give the team a boost. And I honestly think most people at Redskins Park (maybe not Dan Snyder) are relieved that Jason Campbell will quarterback the team for another season. Call me crazy, but I'd like to see what he can do in the second season of the Jim Zorn era.
|The Eagles moved up to select Jeremy Maclin.|
I thought taking Orakpo was a no-brainer and the Giants took the best wide receiver left on the board with North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks. But the best move of Day 1 certainly came when the Eagles moved up a couple of spots to take Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. When a player of Maclin's skill level starts to slip (thanks to people like Oakland's Al Davis), you have to take advantage of the situation. Everyone assumed the Eagles would take a running back in the first round, but that was never the case. If Knowshon Moreno had slipped to No. 21, you go ahead and take him. But he was long gone. The Eagles patiently waited until the second round, when they grabbed Pittsburgh running back LeSean McCoy, a perfect fit for their offense. They need an instinctive runner and that's McCoy's best trait. He should prosper in a zone-blocking scheme.
I didn't see any particularly risky picks in the first couple rounds. I guess you could say it was risky for the Cowboys to forfeit their only Day 1 pick. But for a risky pick, let's look at the Giants going after Cal Poly wide receiver Ramses Barden in the third round. It's always interesting to see division rivals trade with each other. The Eagles traded out of the No. 85 slot to allow the Giants to move up and take Barden. He put up amazing numbers at Cal Poly and you have to love his size (6-6, 229), but he didn't play against elite competition. At the Senior Bowl, he really struggled getting off the line of scrimmage against press coverage. He might end up being a nice red-zone threat, but I was just a little surprised to see the Giants go after him that early in the draft -- especially after taking Nicks. To me, the Barden selection speaks volumes about how the club feels about Sinorice Moss and Mario Manningham. I know we keep reading about Manningham's progress, but I still have my doubts about him.
Most surprising move
I thought Jerry Jones was providing comic relief Sunday when he drafted a kicker in the fifth round. USC kicker David Buehler might be the best kicker in the draft, but the Cowboys just happen to have one of the top kickers in the league in Nick Folk. Did they actually want to create some competition in training camp? Honestly, this felt like a throwaway pick to me. Maybe the Cowboys think someone will get desperate before the season and trade a third-rounder for Buehler. But that's a real stretch. Of all the baffling things that Jones did in this draft, put the Buehler pick at the top.
File it away
I'll give you a couple to file away. I think the Eagles got tremendous value with Florida tight end Cornelius Ingram. Yes, I know he missed the entire 2008 season, but he's the type of threat that gives Donovan McNabb another option in the red zone. Ingram was No. 59 on draft guru Rick "Goose" Gosselin's top 100, which is passed around in personnel offices across the league.
He played basketball at Florida and we've seen some former ballers turn into pretty solid tight ends. Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez come to mind. I'm not saying this guy is going to the Pro Bowl in his first season. But in the fifth round, I think the Eagles did really well with Ingram.
The Giants took Sam Houston State quarterback Rhett Bomar in the fifth round. It's probably a sign that the Giants have already soured on Andre Woodson, their sixth-round pick from last season. I used to watch Bomar in high school in Grand Prairie, Texas, and he was on his way to being an excellent quarterback at Oklahoma before running into off-the-field issues. He has plenty of flaws, but I could see the Giants being a great fit for him. My bold prediction of the day is that Bomar will someday be used to land the Giants a second-round pick.
NEW YORK -- Greetings from inside Radio City Music Hall. The New York Jets are on the clock for the first pick of the third round after a trade. But let's talk for a moment about what occurred at Valley Ranch last night. I talked to a Cowboys source late last night who said the club had targeted center Max Unger with their No. 51 pick.
But when Unger was taken, the Cowboys frantically started trying to make a trade. And as we told you, they BARELY got the trade reported in time. In fact, the public address announcer at Radio City announced the Cowboys had "passed." If the Cowboys had stayed at No. 51, I'm told the pick would've been Oklahoma offensive tackle Phil Loadholt.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
NEW YORK -- Bill Parcells and Tom Coughlin are always on the lookout for anyone who played for their good pal Al Groh. Clint Sintim's an excellent pass-rusher for a linebacker and he could be one of those hybrid-type players whom Coughlin likes. I also think the Giants loved taking this kid because they knew the Cowboys were hot for him. There were a few questions about his leadership early in his career, but he really stepped up when Chris Long went to the NFL. Sintim was a team captain, which is something GM Jerry Reese and Coughlin value.
It's not like he'll walk on campus and start for the Giants, but he could be a situational pass-rusher, and he should be a fine special-teams player. Reese feels like he got some great value with this pick. And again, he kept Sintim off the Cowboys' roster. I think the Cowboys have to be thinking Oregon center Max Unger right now with that No. 51 pick. If Unger's not there, I think Jerry Jones will try to trade out of the pick.