With the 16th pick of the 2010 Draft, the Titans took yet another D-lineman, Derrick Morgan. Yawn. Their pass defense was 2nd worst in the league last year and they only dumped the QB 32 times, so this pick makes some sense, I suppose. But it’s a bland selection for a bland team. Morgan sure didn’t set off any cart wheels in the fan’s war room, nor is this guy going to sell even so much as a single season ticket. You’ll never catch the Colts with this kind of business as usual choice.
Titans HC Jeff Fisher is the longest tenured coach in the NFL, going into his seventeenth season now. Last year, the owner had to tell him to bench Kerry Collins and insert Vince Young. Not a good sign. And it worked, as the team immediately went from 0-6 to 6-6 before pooping out. Now their star RB, Chris Johnson, is very unhappy with his contract. The Texans are rising in the division. Tennessee looks like a franchise about ready to bring out the broom and start a new era.
The 49ers drafted next and took Mike Iupati, not only the best guard in the draft, but a fellow that is as dominant on the O-line as Suh was said to be on the D-line. I.E., a Monster tough guy. Contrary to the ho-hum reaction described above for the Titans fans, this pick produced gasps in the 49ers blogosphere. Having sighed with relief that the Niners had finally drafted a RT with pick #11, no one expected them to continue the onslaught by going O-line again and picking a LG.
This was a very good pick, however. Iupati is probably more NFL ready than Davis and will probably be a starter from Day One. The 49er fans have been grumbling about the O-line for a couple of years, but these two picks ripped the zipper across these loud and angry lips. With Staley, Iupati, Rachal, and Davis, the 49ers have a line good to go for five years — ten if they can keep them off the FA list without breaking the bank. This scribe has never seen one core unit of the team so publicly planted in place for the short haul and the long haul.
The Steelers then popped up and took center Maurkice Pouncey. He was the top rated center in the draft, but it’s difficult to imagine him starting this year, unless the line calls will be entrusted to one of the guards and Pouncey will just have to hike and block. When this pick was made, it was presumed that Ben Roethlisberger would be the one sticking his hands under Pouncey’s rear end, but that will not now be the case for the first six games of the season, making his adjustment to the NFL even more difficult.
The Steelers could be in a real mess this year. It would not be surprising to see them finish last in their division. Nevertheless, Pouncey was a good pick for an O-line in bad need of repair. And you have to give it up for the Steelers management, which responds to this sort of disarray by giving HC Mike Tomlin a three year extension on his contract, firmly removing him from job-in-jeopardy speculation.
At pick #19, the Falcons took a LB, Sean Weatherspoon. Okay. Fine. An OLB who appears to be more of an all around guy than a sack maker. Not particularly fast. Not particularly big. I am not particularly impressed. Made a lot of tackles in college. Doubt if Falcon fans were straining their vocal chords one way or the other at this choice. Butts-in-the-seats factor: zero. The Falcons are a good team, though, with a star young QB and a great WR, so the fan base is not in need of much draft day excitement.
Houston closed out the top twenty by picking CB Kareem Jackson. Good thinking for a team that faces Peyton Manning twice each year. The Texans offense is certainly potent enough to be a playoff contender, so this is a solid pick for them. As was evident in the game against the 49ers last year, Houston has trouble closing out games. In fact, they had a habit of getting off to a good start, then choking away the game in the second half. Maybe Kareem will help them with this problem, though not as much as putting out a knee mangle contract on Manning.