Pro Football Weekly tracks the action from the college season through NFL draft weekend.
By Matt Feminis
- Cincinnati WR Mardy Gilyard was a good pickup for the Rams at the top of the round. Considered a second-round talent by some, his athletic ability and quickness will be enhanced on artificial turf and the team needed to provide Sam Bradford with more weapons at receiver.
- Rick Spielman understands better than most that you win with difference makers, which is why it was not surprising to see him pounce on enigmatic USC pass rusher Everson Griffin. He has major upside and as a fourth-rounder, the team's minimized risk and financial investment makes the choice that much more palatable. With Jared Allen and Ray Edwards already in place, Griffin can be developed and used in a specialty role, perhaps even rushing from the inside on passing downs, while learning the ropes. If he ever decides he wants to bring consistent intensity, the Vikings will have added another impact player.
- Were the Buccaneers in a position to take a flyer on a character risk such as Syracuse WR Mike Williams that high? Especially considering the repeated issues of Aquib Talib, as well as recent draft busts Dexter Jackson, Gaines Adams and Sabby Piscitelli? With Illinois' Arrelious Benn already in the fold, the addition of Williams is an indication of how uncomfortable the team is with its receiving corps. Sammie Stroughter showed promise as a rookie and Benn has big-time potential, but with a very young head coach and a second-year quarterback, who is guiding the young players?
- The Raiders are putting together an impressive track team, I mean receiving corps, with Darrius Heyward-By, Johnny Lee Higgins, Chaz Schilens and Clemson's Jacoby Ford.
- With the addition of Northwestern DE Corey Wootton, a predictable Jerry Angelo selection, suddenly the Bears have size at the defensive end position. In free-agent acquisition Julius Peppers (6-7, 283), Wootton (6-6, 270) and the dependable Israel Idonije (6-6, 270), the team's edge rushers will be bigger and stronger than in recent years when Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye were asked to slim down. The new group of ends should allow Mark Anderson, a speed rusher, to be used properly: with his ears pinned back on passing downs. At the tail end of his junior season, Wootton was viewed as a possible first-round selection, but did not fully recover from a torn ACL as a senior. The Bears are hoping he regains his health and dominating form.
- The Pats and Ravens are just showing off at this point with the selections of Florida TE Aaron Hernandez and BYU TE Dennis Pitta, respectively. The Pats got one of the biggest steals of the draft in Hernandez, who slipped because of character concerns. Belichick and company are confident they can keep Hernandez's focus in check. If that happens, he will be a big-time receiving weapon for Tom Brady. Meanwhile, Pitta was a pure value selection for the Ravens. After selecting Oregon TE Ed Dickson, another athletic pass catcher, in the third round, Ozzie Newsome loaded up the position by adding Pitta, who has outstanding ball skills. The Ravens are making a concerted effort to surround franchise QB Joe Flacco with the tools he needs to continue developing.
- With a limited number of picks, the Cowboys could have done very well. Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant was beat up in the media, but he has the physical ability to change games at the next level. The second-round selection of LB Sean Lee has a James Laurinaitis-type feel to it and third-round DB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah is raw but has considerable upside. The Cowboys could be pleased with their 2010 draft haul three years from now.