I Love Football! This year, I was obsessed with the draft and I can't wait for football season to start, which always culminates in me and Rick forcing David and his wife Shannon to have a Super Bowl party - since they have the house and biggest TV - and TiVo. (editor's note: technically, it's HD-TiVo. Take it.) Here are my 2006 Draft thoughts, slightly colored with a St. Louis Rams and USC bias.
San Francisco 49ers
The only reason I hate the 49ers is because Rick loves them and wants to marry them, but man did I love watching that Joe Montana. I think they got some great ammo with Vernon Davis and Manny Lawson, who will be expected to produce at a high level right away. My prediction? They will definitely not suck as bad last year - but only if Alex Smith can get it together - another one who got paid way more than he was worth. SMART to get veteran Trent Dilfer from Cleveland to help out Smith. If his knee gets healthy, he could be a great asset if he can get his head around the fact that he's not a starter. The 49ers get an "A" for their draft and trades. Again, if Alex Smith, or at least Trent Dilfer, steps up, this team will compete with the Saints to be the most improved and will make the NFC West a 4-way race.
Good to get Darnell Bing (USC again) but I don't know if Aaron Brooks will be your guy. Should have taken Leinart or Jay Cutler. Plus they have a new coach in Art Shell, who could be good, but it's not a positive thing when NO ONE else wanted to work with owner Al Davis. Al needs to chill out, let go, stop picking at his plate and take some risks. The Raiders will be better this year, but, sorry Thorin, Oakland will not be in the playoff hunt this year.
"Deah Buffalo, Just move to LA already. As guhvernuh, I promise to sceah the bejeezus out JP Losman and turn him into the next terminatuh." Love, Arnold. Plus, who wouldn't want to live in LA as opposed to being exiled in Buffalo?
Good signing Jon Kitna, otherwise not a viable threat in their division.
They get the cha-ching! award for getting Matt Leinart for a steal at #10. If Kurt "Thank You Jesus" Warner can stay healthy so Leinart can spend a year learning the ropes that, of course, would be ideal. Let's face it - for the first time since they moved to Arizona, the Cardinals are going to be a VERY good team. The best they've ever been. With the monster receiving team of Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and draftee JJ Arrington - not to mention bringing in Edgerrin James - wow. This team is going to be MAJOR - and I like coach Dennis Green. Even if Warner gets hurt, I predict Leinart will be surprisingly prepared to go - much like Ben Rothlisberger was. You heard me. Everybody said Leinart lost by not coming out last year in the draft where he would have for sure been #1 and made a lot more $. I thought so too - then. But in hindsight I think he was right to stay in school and get the surgery he needed to repair tendons in his throwing elbow. Yes, he could have recovered and probably still been #1 in the draft, but he would have gotten the shit kicked out of him game in and game out in San Fran. I don't think Alex Smith is anywhere near the talent of Leinart. Smith got a big contract, but that's all he'll get, unless he's possessed by the ghosts of Young and Montana - but that won't happen because those guys are still alive. Leinart actually ended up in the perfect place for him - in Arizona with a great coach who has put together a very good team, learning from an MVP, Super Bowl winning quarterback in Warner, who will last just long enough for Leinart to get where he needs to be and along with a spanking new stadium - this team is going to be a contender.
Most everyone has given the Broncos high marks for the draft, but I'm not so sure. The grabbed QB Jay Cutler, a smart move, though I'm still wondering if Cutler isn't very overrated. And I'm sure Jake Plummer is secretly, or not very secretly, very pissed off. Clearly, Cutler is The Snake's replacement. Otherwise, I don't think Denver did very well in the draft and I'm completely up in the air about how they'll fare this coming season, esp with Ashley Lelie's attitude problems.
Don't know much about this team, nothing jumped out in the draft for me. But what did jump out is that they only have 2 QBs on their roster. They need another one, and all signs point to Steve McNair. Otherwise, they'll finish middle to mid/low for the season. Brady Quinn?
Erm. Charlie Frye? Ken Dorsey? Frye could surprise me. The team needs to get healthy (Kellen Winslow - grow up and stay off the motorcycle). And Romeo Crennel does have the best name of all the head coaches.
Much better without T.O. Like the drafting of Winston Justice (there's my SC bias coming out). If McNabb stays healthy they'll possibly be in the playoffs, but I don't think they'll be a bowl contender. Unfortunately, they'll finish too high to get a good QB in the draft next year, which they'll need to start thinking about. But hey, Joe Montana was a 3rd round selection, Tom Brady 6th round, and Kurt Warner came from a Hy-Vee food store. So you never know where the diamond-in-the-rough might be hiding.