2007 Draft, Re-Focused: Steals and such

| November 5, 2010

We’ve already looked at the first round and broken down rounds two and three, so to complete our look at the 2007 draft class we’re turning our eye towards the late round and undrafted free agent rookies.

We’ve broken the analysis down into four parts to help identify the degree of success.

Up first is the self-explanatory Best Value Pick. Followed by this we’re looking at the guys who have succeeded and continue to do so with our Current Success Stories.  After that we’re looking at guys who have had a good impact even if it hasn’t been overly flashy with our Contributing section.  Lastly we look at the guys who have landed starting roles but are having a hard time with it in the Starting But Struggling section.

It’s important to remember we’re only looking at the impact a player is having on the team that drafted them. 



Round 4

Best Value Pick

The Ravens struck fullback gold with Le’Ron McClain.  Our third ranked full back n 2009, McClain has made a contribution as a lead blocker and runner.

Current Success Stories

Cowboys starting left tackle Doug Free has done okay protecting his quarterback’s blindside after a useful 2008 at right tackle (though he gave up his first two sacks of the year against the Jags) … Though he struggles in coverage, Clint Session has graded above average the past two years and is a serviceable starter for the Colts who has proven a useful (if underused) blitzer at times.

Contributing

Jacksonville punter Adam Podlesh hasn’t blown anyone away but hasn’t been terrible … We probably haven’t seen the best of Michael Bush yet but he looks like a good backup … We loved the impact of Brian Robison (27 total pressures) last year, but he’s struggling to get on the field this year in Minnesota. … We like the play of the Falcons’ Stephen Nicholas who did well when he got the chance to start last year, and is a solid replacement seeing time at the moment … Nose tackle Paul Soliai has done a good job of eating up blocks though we’d like more consistency.

Starting but struggling

Titans guard Leroy Harris has got his chance to start this year and is our lowest-ranked left guard in the league … Jermon Bushrod is our worst rated tackle in the entire league, a year after finishing with the 9th lowest grade … For a free safety we really don’t like the coverage skills of Dashon Goldson.  He finished with our lowest ranking for a safety in coverage last year.

Round 5

Best Value Pick

We like our tight ends who can block and catch, so while he may not be the best pass catcher from this draft Kevin Boss has been an invaluable asset for the Giants.  Continues to be one of the most well-rounded TE’s in the league a year after finishing as third overall in our rankings.

Current Success Stories

So he’s not the blocker Boss is, but Brent Celek has added another dimension to the Eagles passing attack.  Would like to see him play a bit better this year, though, with too many dropped passes … After finding his way into the starting lineup at the beginning of last year, Uche Nwaneri has solidified his status (even if he hasn’t quite earned his big contract yet).

Contributing

Weird as it is, thrust into the role of full-time starter Steve Breaston got off a terrible start to the season before getting injured.  Is he getting found out?  Doesn’t negate a good start to his career as the third receiver.

Starting But Struggling

Regardless of what anybody says, the Chargers have missed Vincent Jackson.  Legedu Naanee just hasn’t been up to scratch when he’s started … After finishing in the bottom four of our coverage rankings in 2009, William Gay looks better when he’s not on the field as much this year.

Round 6

Best Value Pick

If Desmond Bishop stays in the starting lineup with Green Bay and can play at anywhere near the level he is now then this is one of the best picks of the draft.  In limited action he’s made so many plays he’s jumped to 6th in our overall rankings for linebackers this year.

Current Success Stories

Jacob Ford found a home in the rotating Titans defensive line .  He has 84 total quarterback pressures since the start of 2008.

Contributing

A bit inconsistent at times, Mason Crosby has worked on his kickoffs and become someone who can be relied on for the most part in Green Bay … Still in Green Bay (what a round they had), full back Korey Hall is having his best year lead blocking so far.

Starting But Struggling

We saw Kasey Studdard a lot last year, and him being replaced by Wade Smith has been one of the reasons for the Texans improved run game.

Round 7

Best Value Pick

How good has Ahmad Bradshaw been this year?  Has gradually earned more playing time while becoming the bonafide starter for the Giants.  Currently our third ranked rusher for the year and a big asset in the passing game, Bradshaw is one of the league’s best.

Current Success Stories

Sticking with the running back theme, Jason Snelling got his chance at the end of last year (9th ranked overall) and has proved a guy who can carry the load and spell Michael Turner … If you’re going to get a punter, get a good one.  The Dolphins got a good one in Brandon Fields … Bengals safety Nedu Nduwke may only start when there are injuries, but the oft-blitzing safety has come along since the back end of last year and probably warrants a starting spot outright given his play.

Contributing

Cardinals tight end Ben Patrick hasn’t ever emerged as a big play threat, but he’s been more than serviceable … While Dallas safety Alan Ball was terrible against Jacksonville (to be frank) he’s been low on mistakes in his first season as a full time starter … We want to see more of Brandon Siler.  He got his chance last year and excelled in every area, finishing 6th in our inside linebacker rankings … It would be nice to see Marvin Mitchell see a bit more playing time.  He’s doing well right now in three defensive back formations and in the nickel.

Starting But Struggling

With injuries and suspensions, more has been asked of Zac Diles and he’s responded by being the most targeted linebacker in the league.  Worse still he’s given up 91.8% of throws and is by some distance our worst coverage linebacker … Keyunta Dawson has replaced Raheem Brock as the hybrid defensive end/ tackle who contributes very, very little.

Undrafted Free Agents

Best Value Pick Up

What a great find Pierre Thomas has proved to be.  The only problem has been getting him on the field enough, but when he’s on it he adds a whole other dimension to the Saints offense.  He’ll be remembered for his Super Bowl performance for a long time.

Current Success Stories

Mike Devito stepped up into the void left by Kris Jenkins the past season-and-a-half and become of the most underrated defensive linemen in the league.  Has added a touch more pass rush this year, but it’s his work when teams run at the Jets that should get people standing up to take notice of his talents …  It’s not hard to be the Cardinals’ best offensive lineman, but Lyle Sendelein has been average on a way below average unit.  He’s the success story of that line, such as it is.

Contributing

He’s proving a serviceable starter this year after struggling in coverage last year, but Melvin Bullitt isn’t a replacement for Bob Sanders by any stretch … Akeem Jordan has always done well as part of the Eagles linebacking group, but hasn’t been able to keep a grip on his starting spot.

Starting But Struggling

It’s amazing to think Washington’s Stephon Heyer was so highly regarded after his rookie year.  Since then he’s lost his starting spot at various times and gave up 51 pressures in 2009.

  • Nathan Jahnke

    Glad to see Desmond Bishop as the Best Value Pick for Round 6.