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May 2, 2007

SCS.comNow that the NFL Draft is over, the madness that is grading each teamís draft can begin. Every expert will be throwing in their two cents, saying which teams were winners and which were losers; which teams drafted the pieces necessary to make a playoff push and which teams dropped the ball.

Hereís my question though: why does it always have to be about the teams? If you ask me, the players are winners and losers just as much as the teams that draft them are. Some players went higher than they probably ever should have, while other players, for seemingly no reason, slipped further than they were projected to. So with that said, I give you my winners and losers of the NFL Draft, the playersí edition.


Ted Ginn, Jr. Ė Ohio State

Iím still having a hard time deciphering the Miami Dolphins rationale with this pick. Brady Quinn was on the board, and the Dolphins were in need of a quarterback; instead they go with the talented all-purpose Ginn out of Ohio State. Most scouts were placing Ginn as a mid-to-late first round pick, usually towards the bottom third of the first round, yet somehow he wound up a top-10 selection. So why is Ginn a winner? As the number nine overall pick, Ginn will be able to command a fairly hefty contract from his new team. Of course there will be a tremendous amount of pressure for him to perform well immediately since he was taken in the place of a much needed quarterback.

Anthony Gonzalez Ė Ohio State

Gonzalez may have been the biggest winner of any draft pick on day one. Thereís no denying his talent, as he and Ted Ginn, Jr. were probably the best one-two receiving combo in the country last year, but Gonzalez was widely predicted as a mid-second round selection. Instead he is the last pick of round one, and more importantly he is picked up by the Indianapolis Colts. Gonzalez is going from one winning team to another, from one talented quarterback to another. With the amount of offensive talent on the Colts, and Peyton Manning running the show, thereís no reason to think that Gonzalez canít have a fabulous rookie season.

Kevin Kolb Ė Houston

This was probably the biggest reach of the entire draft in my opinion. Kolb, in my mind, was probably the fifth best quarterback in the draft; instead he goes as the fourth pick in the second round to the Philadelphia Eagles. Kolb is a winner here for a couple of reasons. He went much higher than he should have, and he was selected ahead of better quarterbacks like John Beck and Drew Stanton. Add in the fact that Kolb gets to learn how to quarterback an NFL team under the tutelage of Donavan McNabb, and itís safe to say that the former Houston Cougar was a winner on Saturday.


Chris Leak Ė Florida

Apparently quarterbacking a national championship team isnít enough to get you drafted these days. I was in shock when Leakís name was not called during draft weekend. Itís not as though Leak was an average quarterback who let his offense do the work for him; he was a good player. Leak was top five in the SEC in QB rating, yards, touchdown passes, completion percentage, and completions. For the majority of these categories he was ranked in the top three. The only players in the conference who were consistently better than him were JaMarcus Russel of LSU who went number one in the draft, and Eric Ainge of Tennessee who is back for another year of college ball. Is this to say that Leak wonít be signed as a free agent by someone? No, he probably will. I am just having a hard time figuring out how he could have slipped off the board completely after having a fantastic senior year and winning a national championship.

Troy Smith Ė Ohio St

It was a bad weekend for quarterbacks in the national championship game. It was known that Smith was going to be a third or fourth round pick, and this isnít unusual. Weíve seen big time college quarterbacks fall to the middle rounds in the past. Smith didnít just fall though; he plummeted, all the way to the last pick in the fifth round where he was selected by the Ravens. Sure, Smith is undersized for a pro quarterback and that is a concern, but his mobility and his knowledge of the game make up for that. If nothing else, and I know that awards arenít always everything, but Smith was the Hesiman Trophy winner in a competitive year. He also guided his team to the national championship game. With his speed and ability to make plays on the move, Smith could turn into a solid pro quarterback down the line.

Brady Quinn Ė Notre Dame

Is it clichť to put Quinn on this list? Sure. It is necessary? Yes. Quinn was 2007ís Aaron Rodgers, accept Rodgers went to a team where he could learn under an all-time great quarterback in Brett Favre. Quinn will be the understudy to Charlie Frye in Cleveland. The worst part of the ordeal for Quinn isnít that he fell to the number twenty-two pick, although it was a big surprise. The worst part is that Quinn was drafted by the same team that had a chance to take him as the third pick. Apparently Cleveland felt that drafting OT Joe Thomas was more important than going with Quinn. Then the Miami Dolphins at number nine, a team in need of a quarterback, passed on Quinn to take Ted Ginn, Jr., a much riskier move. Quinnís lack of big time performances in big games came back to hurt him, and as a result, he had a long and awkward wait on Saturday. This isnít to say that Quinn wonít become a solid pro; he is probably more prepared than any other quarterback in the draft to come right in and start for his new team.

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