NFL draft: Pete Carroll gets some good personnel
Observations in the wake of the 2010 NFL draft, which ended Saturday:
Pete Carroll has long contended the Patriots and Jets teams he coached would have been better had he been given personnel control. Now, he has it in Seattle, and the Seahawks had what looks to be the NFL’s best draft weekend. Not only did they get the two players they’d targeted in Oklahoma State tackle Russell Okung and Texas safety Earl Thomas — having the No. 6 and No. 14 picks sure helped — but also Notre Dame’s Golden Tate was a value pick in the second, and Oregon cornerback Walter Thurmond is a fourth-rounder who’ll probably start. Plus, the Seahawks got running backs LenDale White (Titans) — reuniting Carroll and one of his Trojans standouts — and Leon Washington (Jets) in trades.
Detroit’s move to trade back into the first round to take California running back Jahvid Best might have been one of the smartest moves in the draft. He’s a spectacular player. Minnesota, which traded that pick, could regret helping to strengthen a division opponent. Then again, the Lions haven’t scared anyone for a long time.
Love it or hate it, Denver’s decision to draft Florida quarterback Tim Tebow in the first round is the move that will define the young career of Broncos Coach Josh McDaniels, who now has three questionable quarterbacks in Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn and Tebow.
Nice move by Minnesota to grab Stanford running back Toby Gerhart in the second round. That takes the sting out of losing Chester Taylor to Chicago in free agency. San Diego might have taken Gerhart at No. 28 in the first round had the Chargers not traded up to get Fresno State’s Ryan Mathews.
The only USC player drafted by Carroll? Tight end Anthony McCoy in the sixth round. Some people expected McCoy to go sooner, but there were questions about his character. He was academically ineligible for the Emerald Bowl and, according to various reports, tested positive for marijuana at the scouting combine.
Trojans selected: Taylor Mays (second round, 49ers), offensive tackle Charles Brown (second round, Saints), receiver Damian Williams (third round, Titans), cornerback Kevin Thomas (third round, Colts), defensive end Everson Griffen (fourth round, Vikings), running back Joe McKnight (fourth round, Jets) and McCoy. Not selected: center Jeff Byers, running back Stafon Johnson.
Bruins selected: defensive tackle Brian Price (second round, Buccaneers), cornerback Alterraun Verner (fourth round, Titans), receiver Terrence Austin (seventh round, Redskins). Not selected: linebacker Kyle Bosworth.
Character counts. That’s why, even after 14 running backs were taken, Oregon’s LeGarrette Blount (suspended for punching a Boise State player after the season opener) never heard his name called. He was signed as a free agent by the 49ers.
Don’t look now, but one of the best drafts was turned in by the Oakland Raiders. They really helped their defense with Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain in the first round (making room for him Saturday by trading tackles leader Kirk Morrison to Jacksonville), and Texas defensive tackle Lamar Houston in the second. They also got a couple of interesting players in the fourth: Maryland offensive tackle Bruce Campbell and Clemson receiver Jacoby Ford. Many thought the Raiders might reach for Campbell with the No. 8 pick — most teams had him as a second-round prospect — so to get him where the Raiders did was very good. In Ford, they got the fastest player in the draft. Of course they did — they’re the Raiders.
The Raiders’ most promising move in the short term? They traded for Washington quarterback Jason Campbell. Might be a Band-Aid, but he’s a big upgrade from JaMarcus Russell.
Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen had a long wait but said he couldn’t be happier about being taken by Carolina in the second round. His ears had to perk up, though, when the Panthers took Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike in the sixth round. The battle between Matt Moore, Clausen and Pike will be interesting to watch.
Last year, the Chiefs made an extra-wide jersey featuring No. 256 for the last pick in the draft, better known as Mr. Irrelevant. (The pick, kicker Ryan Succop, wound up making the team.) This year, Detroit had the last pick but didn’t send a special jersey. That prompted Newport Beach’s Paul Salata, the onetime USC and 49ers receiver who celebrates the final pick with “Irrelevant Week,” to take action. Using strips of paper, he fashioned the No. 1 Lions jersey into a capital I for “Irrelevant” for the traditional photo. (This year’s Mr. Irrelevant, Weber State receiver Tim Toone, wasn’t on hand for the celebration.)
When Toone was selected, the fans who stuck around in the balcony jokingly chanted, “Overrated!”