Thursday, May 3, 2007

NFL Draft Wrap Up

In the eyes of the Longhorns, the 2007 NFL draft was a solid success, as the Horns enjoyed 7 Longhorns getting drafted. Then in the days following the draft, two more Longhorns have joined the fraternity of the NFL as undrafted free agents.

Michael Griffin was the first to go as he will join Vince Young in Tennessee as the Titans took him with the 19th pick in the 1st round. Griffin will have a chance to be a starter right off the bat as he will be competing with incumbent starter Lamont Thompson. Thompson, a 6 year veteran, started all 16 games last year with 73 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 2 fumble recoveries. If Griffin can make a quick adjustment to the NFL and play well he should be a starter by the end of the season, if not by the beginning of the season.

Aaron Ross followed Michael Griffin, as he was selected by the New York Giants with the 20th pick. Ross will join a solid group of corners in New York and might not be a starter right away. However, with neither starter playing a full season, Ross will bring much needed depth to NY. He should also get to see the field as a kick and/or punt returner.

Tim Crowder was the third Longhorn off the board as Denver took the defensive end in the 2nd round. Crowder joins the defensive end rotation of the Broncos, and should be one of five to six players that the Broncos will rotate through the position. Crowder will get the opportunity to play and contribute, but his playing time will be determined by his performance.

Justin Blalock joined Crowder in the second round as he was taken by the Atlanta Falcons. With the ability to play guard and tackle, Blalock will immediately help the guard position, as both guards for the Falcons started only 10 games in 2006. Blalock will have a great opportunity to start the season and will be a valuable asset in the Falcons running attack.

Brian Robison joined the party in the fourth round as the Vikings drafted the defensive end. There isn't a lot of depth at defensive end for the Vikings and they didn't get much production from the position last season. Robison should see the field this season, and if he can stay healthy has the chance to be a starter in a year or two.

In the 5th round, the 49ers were able to snatch up Tarell Brown, who has the talent of a first or second round pick, but fell due to durability questions and some off field issues. The 49ers spent a ton of money in the off season to sure up their secondary by bringing in Nate Clements from Buffalo. Brown should get to see some time in Nickel or Dime packages, but will earn his keep for the first season or two on the special teams squad.

Kasey Studdard had his day made by the Houston Texans in the 6th round. The guard will have a chance to see the field because if there's one thing that is sure to be a disaster in Houston, it's the offensive line. Depending on how he does in camp, Studdard has the chance to be a reserve at a few of the offensive line positions.

While he went undrafted, Selvin Young didn't last long as he agreed to terms with the Denver Broncos. Young should be a great fit in Denver and has the chance to make the team. He's a versatile player and will be a solid special teamer and third down back. Denver is a good fit as they will carry a lot of running backs and give everyone a chance to perform, as evidenced by Mike Bell coming out of training camp. Bell and free agent Travis Henry should split time, but Young will compete with Cedric Cobbs, Damien Nash, and Paul Smith for roster spots.

Lyle Sendlein also went undrafted, but was able to come to terms with Arizona shortly after the draft. Sendlein chose Arizona because of the new coaching staff and the current centers under contract for the Cardinals. While the Cardinals have some talent in center Alex Stepanovich, he has been unable to stay healthy for the past two seasons, recording 11 and 5 starts in '05 and 06' respectively. Depending on how he preforms in preseason camp, Sendlein with his durability and experience should be able to make the roster as a backup for center and other line positions.

Texas had a solid draft and most of these Longhorns should have a solid NFL career, with several players having the chance to make Pro Bowls.

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