Never has an event been so influenced by misinformation and overkill than the 2006 NFL Draft.
"The Draft has little impact here in Las Vegas," said Jay Kornegay, the highly respected head of Race and Sports at the Hilton SuperBook. "Rookies hardly ever make us change the futures lines. No defensive end will ever change a line. Sure, the Rookie of the Year could be an impact player. Then again, he could be another Ryan Leaf."
Forget Reggie Bush, who did all right for himself landing in New Orleans thanks to the lame excuses of the Houston Texans. And, Matt Leinart fell into a sweet situation at No. 10 with Arizona and their corps of stud receivers. Earlier suitors passed on the USC quarterback for trumped up reasons like lack of arm strength or lack of mobility.
Slighted, yes. But these guys are going to do fine. How about Bush and Leinart’s college mate LenDale White, along with the Virginia Tech "bad boy" Jimmy Williams sliding completely out of the first round. White was reported to be heavy, Williams a trouble maker not worth a big bucks investement.
Williams was lucky. Frank Beamer, his coach at Virginia Tech, had his back and wrote a number of NFL teams to vouch his player would be an asset. The Atlanta Falcons listened and now have a top 15 player in the secondary next to another exHokies DB D’Angelo Hall and on the same team with Michael Vick. The Falcons should play a home game in Blacksburg.
Another smart group are the Carolina Panthers, who continue to draft intelligently year after year. This time they picked up RB DeAngelo Williams from Memphis, who is going to be a star in the NFL and a kid you will see on future United Way ads. He’s a quality individual.
It would be nice if some team owner listened to the fans once in a while, instead of alienating them with bizarre selections. Houston and the New York Jets said no to Bush. While the Jets did well by drafting the two top offensive linemen on the board, management defied public and media outcry to "get Reggie at all odds."
Time will tell whether the Jets did the right thing. However, some first round decisions do deserve to be reviewed on the surface. Here’s our short list of hits and misses, understanding that you really won’t see any picks alter NFL futures odds at your particular sports book.
HITS: Vince Young, Titans; A.J. Hawk, Packers; Vernon Davis, SF 49ers; Jay Cutler, Broncos; Santonio Holmes, Steelers; Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars.
MISSES: Mario Williams, (as the No. 1 overall) Texans; reaches Donte Whitner and John McCargo, Buffalo; Ernie Sims, Detroit (passing up Leinart).