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Dan Levy
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Dan Levy

The host of On the DL with new episodes every weekday.

Tell You in Five

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Today's question is: who won the draft? I'll tell you who won the draft. I did. I won the draft.

I got to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon at the driving range. Then I got to come home and hang out with my kid on the swings (note: she almost fell off the slide, which would have made me a draft bust in an instant.) I got to fire up the grill and eat outside. And I still caught four hours of draft coverage on Saturday.

I won the draft. That's what you can do when you have a TV you can run back and forth to and a phone with realtime updates on who is picking who. (note #2: I really would have won the draft had I remembered that my Sprint phone gets the NFL Network and I could have been watching the draft while I mowed my lawn on a gorgeous Sunday morning.)

The draft was set up perfectly for viewing this year. You could catch an hour or so before dinner on Saturday and spend the night relaxing while watching player after player realize their dream well into the night. Wake up and the draft is right back in your living room at 10:00 am on Sunday, throwing names at us we've never heard before. In fact, I think the NFL makes up some of the names just to see if Mel Kiper has a profile on the kid. At least that seems to be what the Raiders did on Saturday.

But you know what, we all mocked the Raiders. What if one of the kids they drafted ends up an All-Pro? Will anyone remember they picked Darrius Heyward-Bey ten picks too early if he ends up having a more productive career than Michael Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin? The draft gurus talk about getting value for a pick, but what if a team like the Raiders felt it made more sense to pick the guy they wanted at seven than trade down a few spots, add a late-round pick they didn't need and save a few bucks at the risk of losing him?

What am I talking about? It's the Raiders. I'm surprised Al Davis didn't try to draft Spiderman. I'm sure he's got good hands. And that upside... tremendous.

It's going to take five years to figure out the winners (and losers) in this draft. But I see the point Mel Kiper makes about value and draft position. Half of what Mel talks about is a projection of a college player to the NFL and the other half is where a player should be drafted based on that projection. Which is why he can project Heyward-Bey as a mid-first round pick then grade the pick as an F for the Raiders at seven. Granted, Mel's assessment of a player's talent is as much a product of his own scouting as it is the information he gets from team player personnel executives and scout, but saying a guy was a reach at a certain spot isn't always fair when we don't know if a team tried to trade out of that spot but couldn't, or didn't want to trade too far down at the risk of losing a player they wanted. In other words, drafting a player too high and overpaying for him is better than trading too far down and missing out on him altogether.

Pundits seem to like what the Packers did. People like what the Patriots did. And Philly seems pretty happy with what the Eagles did. So in five years we'll know if they were right. If we have to pick a winner of this weekend's draft TODAY, I'll take the Jets. At least from a PR perspective.

The Jets made a terrible mistake renting Brett Favre for a year. That decision could have stayed with the team for the next five years. But the Jets made a bold move to get the hot name coming into the draft in Mark Sanchez. Everyone on the set of ESPN said that Sanchez will be a solid pro. Everyone said that if they had to choose which player would be a success and which would be a bust between Sanchez and first-overall pick Matthew Stafford, Sanchez would be the guy they'd go with. And Sanchez has that 'it' factor people keep talking about. That'll help him on Broadway.

The Jets are in New York and always take a back seat to the Giants. And Yankees. And Mets. And if they beat the Capitals this week, Rangers. And, not always for the right reasons, Knicks.

The Jets tried that splash with Favre last season and all they ended up with was wet. Maybe Sanchez is the guy who gets them back in the spotlight. At least he's got them on the back page already. So for TODAY, color them winners. In five years we'll see who really won this weekend.

By Dan Levy  |  April 27, 2009; 11:45 AM ET  | Category:  Dan Levy , Draft Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Every year, I hear people say things like "It's going to take five years to figure out the winners (and losers) in this draft" but rarely does anyone follow up down the road. So please tell us, Dan, who were the winners and losers in the 2004 draft?

Posted by: wvu1989 | April 28, 2009 10:16 AM

Winners of course would be the Steelers, Giants and Chargers who all got pro-bowl franchise QBs that year. The Steelers also for Willie Parker as an undrafted rookie. The Colts won big getting Bob Sanders in the 2nd round. Other notables like Nathan Vasher and Jared Allen went in round 4, Michael Turner went in round 5, Also, the Cards got Fitz, Dansby and Dockett that year. Losers would include the Raiders (typical), Jags, Bills (other than undrafted Jason Peters), Niners, Falcons, Bengals, etc.

Posted by: ozpunk | April 28, 2009 3:03 PM

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