GOLDBERG ON FOOTBALL: Jones cherishes his extra 2008 first-rounder Print
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Monday, 30 April 2007 10:17
NFL Headline News

 Jerry Jones will spend almost as much time next season rooting against Cleveland as he will rooting for his Dallas Cowboys.
That's because the Cowboys now have the Browns' first pick, courtesy of Cleveland's desire to get back into the first round of last weekend's draft to grab Brady Quinn as he went into free-fall. Dallas finally gave the Browns the pick they needed to take the Notre Dame quarterback - for Cleveland's first pick next year.
Good for Jerry. That pick figures to still be high, especially if Quinn is the starting QB ahead of Charlie Frye. That's because almost all rookie quarterbacks struggle, which means the Browns will struggle. And that means Dallas could well have a top-five pick next season - even if they win the Super Bowl. (Dream on about that, Jerry and that portion of fandom that finds something appealing about ``America's Team.'')
There were a lot of strange draft doings, including three deals in which teams gave away 2008 first-rounders.
Two involved the 49ers, who traded theirs to New England to move up and take offensive tackle Joe Staley. Left tackles, even those who play for Central Michigan, are a cherished commodity. The San Francisco got one back - probably a late one- from Indianapolis so the Colts could take Tony Ugoh early in the second round.
Tony Ugoh?
You got it, a left tackle.
Jones, who loves to be the center of attention, certainly was that Saturday. In fact, so were three of the four NFC East teams.
The only exception was the Giants, who plodded along in their usual workmanlike way, picking when they were supposed to and taking whom they were supposed to take (more or less).
Philly and Washington were puzzling. Then again, Washington hasn't known what it's doing since Dan ``The Fan'' Snyder bought the team nearly a decade ago. The Eagles did what is usually unthinkable, trading within the division.
They gave up a pick that allowed Dallas to get back in the first round and get Anthony Spencer, a defensive end/linebacker who should fit Wade Phillips' 3-4 scheme. Then they used their first pick, in the second round, to take quarterback Kevin Kolb of Houston, an indication they're not at all sure Donovan McNabb will last as long as most QBs. McNabb is still just 30, not old for his position, but he's missed time with injuries the last two seasons.
The Redskins finished next to last in defense last season with a league-low 12 takeaways and 19 sacks, a franchise low.
But with the sixth overall pick, they passed on a pass rusher to take LaRon Landry, a safety. Granted, Landry is rated highly and can blitz, but the move demonstrates the disorganized state of Snyder's front office. A year ago, he signed Adam Archuleta to the largest contract given a safety. Archuleta finished the season as a third-stringer and was traded in March to Chicago for a sixth-round draft pick.
After they took Landry, the Skins could do nothing because they didn't have another pick until the fifth round because Snyder prefers giving them up for veterans who have ``name'' value if not playing value.
Who ``won'' the draft?
If you listen to fans, it was New England. The Patriots already had a profitable offseason, then traded their fourth pick to Oakland for Randy Moss. Conventional wisdom (including here) says Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and a locker room filled with other leaders (Rodney Harrison, Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi) won't allow him to dog it the way he did in Minnesota three years go and in Oakland the past two seasons.
But is Moss the same player who caught at least 1,233 yards worth of passes in his first six seasons (111 catches for 1,632 yards and 17 TDs in 2003)? Even if he's trying on every play, a necessity if he's playing for Belichick. Still, if he's half of what he was, the Pats look formidable.
Two other interesting draft tidbits involved the No. 2 wide receivers on national college powers.
The Colts have made few if any mistakes since Bill Polian took over as president and general manager a decade ago. They used the last pick of the first round on Anthony Gonzalez, who was overshadowed the past two seasons at Ohio State by Santonio Holmes and Ted Ginn Jr. Holmes was Pittsburgh's No. 1 pick a year ago and Ginn went ninth overall to Miami, where he was booed by Dolphins fans wanting Quinn.
Easy prediction: Barring injury, Gonzalez will catch more passes from Peyton Manning next season as Indy's third wide receiver (replacing Brandon Stokley) than Ginn will from whoever (Trent Green?) is at QB for the Dolphins. He's a much better route runner than Ginn, who Miami coach Cam Cameron indicated will make his debut as a return man.
The other interesting college No. 2 is Steve Smith, who played with Dwayne Jarrett at Southern Cal. Carolina's star receiver, of course, is Steve Smith. When the Panthers made their pick in the second round, Gene Washington, the NFL VP at the microphone, drew it out: ``The Carolina Panthers take Southern California wide receiver .... Dwayne Jarrett.''
Smith went six picks later to the Giants.
Four hours or so later, after the first round ended, it was suggested to Keyshawn Johnson, a Southern Cal receiver who now plays for Carolina, that it would have been more fun if the Panthers had chosen Smith instead of Jarrett. No, said Johnson, because Smith is similar to yet another Panther from USC, Keary Colbert. Then it hit him: ``Oh, yeah. Old Steve Smith and young Steve Smith. Confusion.''
Confusion is the word for the two days of the draft. It always is.
Because Kevin Kolbs unexpectedly turn out to be Pro Bowl QBs and Brady Quinn might be an instant star, leading the Browns to a Super Bowl victory.
And leaving Jerry Jones with the 32nd pick next year.
Browns fans can dream, can't they?
 

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