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NFL DRAFT : Picking the NFL's winners and losers

NFL DRAFT : Picking the NFL's winners and losers

Picking the NFL's winners and losers

NEW YORK -- Let's be honest: It's almost impossible to say which teams are winners and losers in the immediate aftermath of the NFL draft. It takes at least two years to figure out the true diamonds, dogs, reaches, bargains and busts of any draft class.

Only time will tell if Jacksonville gave up too much to leapfrog 17 spots in the first round to take Florida defensive end Derrick Harvey with the eighth pick, or if New England truly got the best special-teams prospect in the draft Sunday by using No. 153 to take UCLA's Matthew Slater.

That said, it's pretty clear some teams should feel good about what they did, whereas others should have their fingers firmly crossed. One man's thoughts on some of the weekend's maneuverings, bold, brash and downright bizarre:

The Jaguars gave up a boatload for Harvey, sending Baltimore their 26th pick, two third-rounders (71 and 89) and a fourth-rounder (125). Plus, they also have to pay him top-10 money. That's too much for a guy who, while admittedly is very good, tended to disappear for stretches in college. . . .

The Ravens made some shrewd moves, jumping back up to 18 to take Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco. There wasn't a lot separating the top four passers in this draft, and a lot of scouts really liked Flacco. The Ravens are praying this isn't another Kyle Boller situation, a good prospect with a huge arm who just doesn't produce at the next level. . . .

Rashard Mendenhall was an absolute steal for Pittsburgh at 23. He's better than every running back in this class but Darren McFadden, and why the Cowboys passed on him at 22 is beyond me. . . .

Felix Jones is a good change-of-speed option for Dallas, but the Cowboys had a chance to get an every-down back. . . .

If Mario Manningham had off-the-field problems in Ann Arbor, it's not going to get any easier for him living in New York City. At least the Giants won't pressure him to produce right away; they've already got some pretty good receivers. . . .

Jacksonville's two new USC players, Thomas Williams and Chauncey Washington, can only hope they'll do as well as UCLA brethren Maurice Jones-Drew and Marcedes Lewis have done there. . . .

The Giants needed a safety to replace Gibril Wilson, so it was logical they would take Miami's Kenny Phillips with the last pick in the first round. But Arkansas State's Tyrell Johnson will be a better pro than Phillips, and Johnson lasted until Minnesota took him in the middle of the second. . . .

Slater was the best special-teamer in the draft, or at least that's what Dallas Morning News writer Rick Gosselin says. Jackie Slater's kid can return kicks, cover kicks and block kicks. There's room on a roster for someone like that. Every year, Gosselin has turned the evaluation of those players into an art, ranking them in 21 different categories. And, yes, NFL teams pay attention to those rankings. . . .

What a great story that Detroit used its seventh-round pick on Army safety Caleb Campbell. Because of a new rule, the Army will allow Campbell to turn pro right away if he makes the team, and fulfill his obligation via recruiting duty and service in the Army Reserve. . . .

Wow, did Michigan's Mike Hart take a tumble. Seventeen running backs were chosen before Hart was taken by Indianapolis in the sixth round. . . .

Using the No. 10 pick on Tennessee linebacker Jerod Mayo seems like a reach, especially when a lot of people had him going closer to the end of the first round. But I guess you have to give the Patriots the benefit of the doubt on that one. Their track record isn't so bad. . . .

The NFL Network's Mike Mayock deserves some credit on forecasting the Mayo pick. He thinks he's great. . . .

Keith Rivers could turn out to be a great pro. But the Bengals have to be disappointed New Orleans was able to swoop in and snag USC's Sedrick Ellis a couple spots ahead of them. After all, Cincinnati needed a defensive tackle a lot more than a linebacker. . . .

Guess teams didn't think as highly of Louisville's Brian Brohm as I thought they might. Or Michigan's Chad Henne, for that matter. . . .

Did the Chiefs clean up or what? Glenn Dorsey fell in their lap at No. 5 -- the LSU defensive tackle could be the best player in this draft -- and they got Virginia guard Branden Albert at 15. Then, early in the second, they got Virginia Tech corner Brandon Flowers, a first-round talent. Getting Texas running back Jamaal Charles in the third round could work out for them too. . . .

If there's a moral to this draft story, it's this: Mamas, let your babies grow up to be offensive linemen. A record seven of them went in the first round.

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