Monday, April 27, 2009

Madden's grade of NFL draft: `P' for Patience

John Madden was on KCBS Radio this morning and he was bemoaning the fact that NFL teams that drafted players over the weekend were on Monday being graded by media even though the college players the teams drafted have yet to play a single snap professionally. Madden said it’s best to wait “three years” before giving a grade.

With that in the mind, the winner of the 2006 NFL draft was the Houston Texans. They should get an A+ because they are the only NFL team to have three selections from the draft that ultimately have been selected to play in the Pro Bowl.  And remember how the Texans were hammered in the media for taking North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams over USC Heisman Trophy-winning running back Reggie Bush with the first pick overall? Williams has played in a Pro Bowl. Bush, who was taken second overall by the New Orleans Saints, has yet to go.

The Tennessee Titans selected Texas quarterback Vince Young with the third overall pick and, though he has played in the Pro Bowl, he is now on the bench. The Titans, however, get a B+ grade because in the seventh round with the 215th pick overall, they drafted Cortland Finnegan, a defensive back out of Samford and he has played in as many Pro Bowls as Vince Young.

The 49ers didn’t do too badly. Out of the 2006 draft, they got four starting players (Vernon Davis, Manny Lawson, Michael Robinson and Parys Haralson) and two back-ups currently listed on their depth chart. Give them a solid B.

As for the Raiders? Like this year they had the seventh pick overall in 2006 and took Texas safety Michael Huff. Though Huff is a starter, that pick hasn’t panned out the way the Raiders had hoped because Huff hasn’t been the impact player the Raiders envisioned. The Raiders, however, made a better selection in the second round with UTEP linebacker Thomas Howard, who has a better chance of playing in the Pro Bowl than Huff. He’s the only other starter the Raiders harvested from that draft. Three of the seven players the Raiders drafted in 2006 are no longer on their roster. Grade C-.

So, before we bury Darrius Heyward-Bey as a dumb move by the Raiders and anoint Michael Crabtree as a lucky pick by the 49ers, let’s give them three years instead of three days or three hours to see if they make the grade.


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