We're now at the 32nd pick in the draft, which belongs to the Colts. For the past week, I've tried to trade the 32nd pick to the New York Jets (we're getting a new blogger soon for the J-E-T-S crowd) for their two second round picks. From a value standpoint, it makes sense. It also makes sense because a player like Jon Beason or Michael Griffin may indeed be available at pick #32 for the Jets, while they might not be there in the late second round. I think players like Victor Abiamiri, Anthony Gonzalez, or Ray McDonald will indeed be there in the late second round, and those are players the Colts have targeted, in my opinion.
However, in this mock draft, the Jets did not take my trade offer. So, with the 32nd pick, I have the Colts selecting Justin Harrell, DT from Tennessee.
Why Harrell? Because the DT position is THE most important position in a Cover 2 defense. For all the glamour and praise Derrick Brooks got in Tampa Bay during their great days dominating on defense playing the Cover 2, he was next to nothing without the DT play of guys like Warren Sapp and Booger McFarland (both played DT). The Colts defense did not turn around until the Colts solidified their DT position by trading for Booger McFarland. However, if anything should happen to Booger, the Colts defense is sunk. Traditionally, the Colts have avoided taking DTs in the first round. They have passed on players liked William Joseph and Wendall Bryant, and for good reason. Harrell is different though.
Drafting Harrell makes sense for two reasons: 1) As an insurance policy in case McFarland gets hurt, and 2) Developing strong DT talent for the future. Although Harrell is a little big for Dungy's Cover 2 (310 pounds, 6'3''), but he is very quick, has a burst at the snap of the ball, and can penetrate into the backfield. He's a leader on the field with high intangibles and a strong work ethic. Guys like Joseph and Bryant in previous drafts were known slackers. Harrell works hard, plays hard, and plays hurt.
Durability is a concern, but the Colts are not looking for him to take heavy snaps in 2007. They will use him in their DT rotation, usually as the undertackle. With the loss of Montae Reagor and the eventual cutting of Corey Simon, the Colts are very thin at DT. Harrell immediately elevates the position.
Round one is now complete. Onto round two!
Update [2007-4-13 12:8:48 by BigBlueShoe]: Here is a nice fancy table to illustrate how the first round went (special thanks to BleedGreen):
|1||Oakland Raiders||JaMarcus Russell||QB||LSU||Saint|
|2||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Calvin Johnson||WR||Georgia Tech||JScott|
|3||Cleveland Browns||Joe Thomas||OT||Wisconsin||ChrisPokorny|
|4||Detroit Lions||Gaines Adams||DE||Clemson||Sean Yuille|
|5||Arizona Cardinals||Levi Brown||OT||Penn State||Jeff G|
|6||Washington Redskins||Jamaal Anderson||DE||Arkansas||Skin Patrol|
|7||Minnesota Vikings||Adrian Peterson||RB||Oklahoma||Gonzo|
|8||Atlanta Falcons||LaRon Landry||S||LSU||Dave the Falconer|
|9||Miami Dolphins||Brady Quinn||QB||Notre Dame||Phinatic|
|10||Buffalo Bills||Patrick Willis||LB||Mississippi||Brian G|
|11||San Francisco 49ers||Adam Carriker||DE||Nebraska||Fooch|
|12||Denver Broncos||Alan Branch||DT||Michigan||TheSportsGuru|
|13||St. Louis Rams||Amobi Okoye||DT||Louisville||VanRam|
|14||Carolina Panthers||Reggie Nelson||S||Florida||Jaxon|
|15||Pittsburgh Steelers||Jarvis Moss||DE||Florida||Blitzburgh|
|16||Green Bay Packers||Marshawn Lynch||RB||California||Brandon|
|17||Jacksonville Jaguars||Leon Hall||CB||Michigan||River City Rage|
|18||Cincinnati Bengals||Darrelle Revis||CB||Pittsburgh||Kirkendall|
|19||Tennessee Titans||Robert Meachem||WR||Tennessee||Jimmy|
|20||New York Giants||Paul Posluszny||LB||Penn State||ETVal|
|21||Houston Texans||Joe Staley||OT||Central Michigan||Tim|
|22||Dallas Cowboys||Aaron Ross||CB||Texas||Grizz|
|23||Kansas City Chiefs||Ted Ginn, Jr.||WR||Ohio State||Chris|
|24||New England Patriots||Eric Weddle||S||Utah||tommasse|
|25||New York Jets||Greg Olsen||TE||Miami (FL)||SB Nation|
|26||Philadelphia Eagles||Chris Houston||CB||Arkansas||JasonB|
|27||New Orleans Saints||Dwayne Bowe||WR||LSU||Purple Reign|
|28||New England Patriots||Ben Grubbs||OG||Auburn||tommasse|
|29||Baltimore Ravens||Justin Blalock||OL||Texas||SB Nation|
|30||San Diego Chargers||Dwayne Jarrett||WR||USC||SB Nation|
|31||Chicago Bears||Lawrence Timmons||LB||Florida State||WCG|
|32||Indianapolis Colts||Justin Harrell||DT||Tennessee||BigBlueShoe|
Important notes: Detroit traded down to the #4 spot. Tampa Bay traded up to get the #2 pick. Houston made multiple trades (acquiring several picks in later rounds) to trade down in the first round to #21. Denver traded up to #12 when TheSportsGuru saw DT Alan Branch sitting there.