Monday, April 27, 2009

the future for our draftees

So tonight I'm here to tell you all about how the draft went, and if we're really lucky, I can get through this whole post without pissing and moaning about the Lions' performance this weekend. (A tight end? Seriously? You rank 33rd of 32 teams in rush defense and you pick up a tight end? Wait, no. Two tight ends?)


Anyway, you know how the draft went, per se. What I'm going to do is take a stab at figuring out whether or not our guys ended up in a good situation and at how much playing time we can expect for them.

Eugene Monroe - 8th overall to the Jaguars

Jacksonville's made no secret at all that they think their line needs upgrading. They've signed like 2 or 3 offensive tackles in the offseason, including aging Pro Bowler LT Tra Thomas, and then went out and drafted two more - after taking Monroe, they took Arizona's Eben Britton in the second round. Clearly, they're not happy about giving up 42 sacks last year. Monroe should be the highest-paid tackle on the roster, but Thomas has a few seasons left in the tank. Left tackle is not a place you want a platoon, so Monroe will face fierce competition in camp from a wily old veteran who simply didn't miss games in Philly and no doubt has absolutely zero intention of missing any with Jacksonville. A shift to right tackle may be in order for Monroe if he plays well but can't beat out Thomas and if the Jags decide they don't want to pay Monroe eight figures to park his happy self on the bench all season.

Clint Sintim - 45th overall to the Giants

This could be interesting to watch because Sintim got drafted to a 4-3 team. The Giants' nominal starters at OLB are Danny Clark, who started for them last year, and Michael Boley, who they signed from the Falcons on a $5 million-a-year deal in the offseason. Chances are, if Sintim plays his way into the starting lineup right out of training camp, it'll be at the expense of Clark. Physically, he's got the tools - right away, he's the Giants' biggest linebacker, just a shade smaller than holy terrors (and DEs) Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka. That's a plus for Sintim because it means he's not stuck at linebacker - if he shows all the skills but can't crack the lineup ahead of the veterans, he could find himself a role on the line in the occasional pass-rush situation. But the main drawback here is the 4-3 - Sintim will have to re-learn a lot of the basics and this could slow his development.

Cedric Peerman - 185th overall to the Ravens

Frankly, Peerman should not have fallen this far. That said, he landed on his feet in Baltimore. Barring any future free agent signings, the Ravens have only five RBs on the roster, including Peerman, which gives him a much better shot than most sixth-round picks at making the roster out of training camp. Where he's going to find the carries is a different story, because the Ravens split the carries last year among Leron McClain, Ray Rice, and Willis McGahee, and all got a substantial amount. There's probably not room for four in the regular rotation. But simply making a roster is a win for a sixth-round pick, and once there, he's probably only one injury away from being called on.

John Phillips - 208th overall to the Cowboys

Another decent landing spot. The Cowboys happen to be a team that likes to use two-TE formations. When it's only one, Jason Witten is the obvious choice, and when it's two, they put Martellus Bennett out there. Bennett was reasonably productive last year with 20 catches; Witten led the team in receptions with 81. Dallas' third TE last year was named Tony Curtis who had eight catches himself; Curtis is off to the Chiefs this year, so Phillips' main competition for that third TE spot will likely be Rodney Hannah, who's been on the Cowboys' practice squad the past two years. Right now that shapes up to be a two-way battle for one backup TE spot on the Cowboys' roster, which again is a situation better than a lot of sixth-round picks find themselves in.

So - four draftees. Stacking up next to the rest of the ACC, that's pretty good. Only UNC and Maryland had more with five each, and Maryland's fifth player taken was Dan Gronkowski, by the Lions, second-to-last overall, and the Lions are retarded, so that doesn't count. Clemson, GT, and Wake each produced four as well. Did you ever think you'd see the day when we put more players into the NFL draft than Miami, FSU, and Virginia Tech combined? Or when Miami produced one measly sixth-round pick after having that streak of first-rounders?

Some other schools that also placed four in the draft: Texas, Alabama
Some other schools that placed less than four in the draft: Michigan, Auburn, Tennessee, Nebraska, Florida(!)

So all in all, if you're looking through the draft through the lens of "UVA is awesome" then you have to be pretty happy about it. We were represented on the podium, well-represented elsewhere, and our guys fell into some pretty good spots. The Giants, Ravens, and Cowboys drafted nobody else at those positions, and they put our guys in position to succeed. I like it.

Tomorrow, we'll see about the undrafted guys. They get their moment too. I was going to do that today, but, it's running late, you guys need a post, and frankly there's no sense in writing one big post when two will do just fine. Saves me from having to rack my brains for ideas. And I'm missing the Tigers game.

1 comment:

Bird said...

What you've got is a legit argument for your coaches to say, "We prepare players for the pros. Look at the draft."