The third day of the draft was all about the veterans, as a flurry of trades sent many starters to new destinations.
Among those with new addresses, Jason Campbell, Kirk Morrison, LenDale White, Leon Washington and Bryant McFadden were moved in Saturday deals.
|Kirk Morrison leaves Oakland after leading the team in tackles four straight seasons. (US Presswire)|
The Raiders should provide a soft landing for Campbell, whose career has been hindered by coaching and offensive system changes. Oakland's quarterback depth chart before the draft had Bruce Gradkowski and JaMarcus Russell on even footing, and Kyle Boller recently added to the mix. It's expected Campbell, who has the arm strength to stretch the field in the manner Oakland owner Al Davis covets, will earn the Raiders' starting assignment.
Oakland shipped out inside linebacker Kirk Morrison, an underappreciated player who led the Raiders in tackles the past four seasons. He became expendable when the Raiders used the eighth overall pick on Rolando McClain of Alabama.
Morrison went to Jacksonville, which ranked 23rd in the NFL in total defense in 2009 and has spent plenty of time and energy rebuilding its defense in the offseason. The Jaguars gave up fourth- and fifth-round picks in the deal but recouped a fourth-round pick in 2011 in a separate deal with the Saints. Morrison will be a free agent at the end of the 2010 season.
Seattle acquired running backs Washington and White, who will be part of what is shaping up to be a deep rotation of runners for the Seahawks. Coach Pete Carroll said Julius Jones can be a good fit for the zone-running system, but he's much more familiar with White, who was the Thunder to Reggie Bush's Lightning at Southern Cal. Washington can be a jack of all trades, pitching in as a returner, slot receiver and tailback assuming he's fully recovered from a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula. That injury ended his 2009 season in late October.
McFadden signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Cardinals prior to last season. He was shipped back from whence he came -- Pittsburgh -- in order for Arizona to jump up and draft John Skelton, a strong-armed but raw prospect, in the fourth round. He dominated at Fordham but has to learn to use his natural ability to his advantage.
Character doesn't come cheap
Quarterback Tim Tebow's cost to the Broncos will be measurable. As the 25th overall pick, he's likely to earn significantly more than 2009 No. 25 pick Vontae Davis. Davis, a cornerback, signed a rookie deal worth $10.25 million over five years. Tebow can expect roughly $5 million more than that because he's a quarterback.
Inside the Draft: Prisco looks at the 4th round
Inside the Draft: Analyzing Bucs pick McCoy
Rang's Grades: Seahawks, Niners do well
Reuter: Best of the Rest: Undrafted
Draft notes: Campbell deal leads day of shuffling
RapidReports: Team-by-team draft updates
But it might be more interesting for fans in Denver to track Tebow alongside the second-, third- and fourth-round picks the Broncos dealt to Baltimore for the 25th overall pick. The Ravens used those picks to draft outside linebacker Sergio Kindle (43rd) and tight ends Ed Dickson (70) and Dennis Pitta (114) and have a history of many more draft hits than misses.
Small risks, potential big rewards
It was abundantly apparent in the fourth round that teams were ready to roll the dice, beginning at the top of the round with Cincinnati wide receiver Mardy Gilyard. Drafted by the Rams 99th overall, Gilyard is small and lacks elite stopwatch speed. He was a dangerous kick-return threat but also had some significant off-field issues earlier in his Cincinnati career.
The Vikings followed with talented but inconsistent defensive end Everson Griffen (Southern Cal) and Tampa Bay made Mike Williams, the Syracuse receiver who was suspended from the team for academics last season, the 101st overall pick. Williams has immense talent and could be a value if he stays focused.
The fourth round was also the gathering place for workout phenoms. Bruce Campbell (Raiders), Jacoby Ford (Raiders) and Clay Harbor (Eagles) all had stellar workouts before the draft. Players with injuries that could linger into training camp, including Oregon cornerback Walter Thurmond (Seahawks, 111) and outside linebacker O'Brien Schofield (Cardinals, 130), went much lower than they might have if healthy, but didn't make it past the end of the fourth.
Hindsight 20/20 for LeFevour
Quarterback Dan LeFevour was a popular "sleeper" quarterback among analysts. The Central Michigan run-pass threat opted not to throw at the scouting combine in Indianapolis, and that decision seemed to cost him traction with evaluators.
He was selected after Mike Kafka, a one-year starter at Northwestern who played in an offense almost identical to CMU's, and small-school project John Skelton (Fordham). Many expected LeFevour to be drafted about 100 spots higher than 181st overall. He definitely has the chance to stick on the Bears' roster behind Jay Cutler.
• The Texans should have competitive workouts this summer. They drafted arguably the top athlete at tight end, Dorin Dickerson, who has wide receiver speed and caught 10 touchdowns last season. Houston also landed Trindon Holliday, the 5-foot-5 receiver/running back/returner who could become a field-position weapon. Most scouts labeled Holliday the fastest player in the draft after his fastest recorded 40-yard time at the combine was a blistering 4.21 seconds.
• Carolina Panthers quarterback Matt Moore might not be thrilled that the team's draft haul included not one, but two highly rated prospects at his position. The Panthers believe they lucked into Clausen (48th overall) in the second round but also drafted Cincinnati string bean Tony Pike 204th in a draft heavily focused on offense.
• The Rams drafted blocking specialist Michael Hoomanawanui from Illinois -- his nickname, "Uh-Oh," will do -- to add depth to their tight end group. In the next round, St. Louis landed a more intriguing tight end: Fendi Onobun. He played football for just one season at Houston and caught two passes in the high-powered spread offense. But his athletic upside is through the roof. Onobun played basketball for four years at Arizona before he was convinced to use his fifth year of eligibility at UH.
"I'm about to go crabbing. ... Crabbing is an old school way of catching crabs. I'm from the backwoods and we're country folk back here, so we'll be in the backlands or the backwoods here in [Bunnell] Florida not too far from where my parents stay at. It's just old school -- chicken necks, string and netting -- just kind of catching crabs. Go for what you know." -- Rams fourth-round pick Mardy Gilyard on what he planned to do after being drafted 99th overall Saturday morning.
"She's my sugar wooga ooga booga. She's my everything." -- Gilyard on his mother's importance to him.
Jeff Reynolds is an editor for NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange.