Over the past few months I have had the chance to put forth a number of opinions and I'm proud to say that the vast majority of them, no matter how unpopular, stand the test of time. A few, for whatever reason, after further consideration seem to require more explanation or I just don't feel as strongly about, anymore. A couple weeks ago, in my best and worst of the draft, I made a pick I've since changed my feelings about--albeit slightly.
I called Jarvis Moss one of the worst picks of the first round. I mentioned his uncertain health and how little information had been given to say, definitively, that his staph infection was entirely cured and left no long term damage (like, god forbid, avascular necrosis). My opinion about that hasn't changed. I also said that I doubted his upside merited this sort of gamble in the first round. On that, my opinion has.
Moss is 6'7" with lots of room to fill out. He's a gifted athlete and if his perseverance be any measure, a tough-minded competitor who will do what it takes to be great. Upon further consideration, his upside, especially as a pass rushing OLB, is immense. Enough to justify what might be a bit of a reach in the mid-first round. I stand by my belief that Moss is very high risk, dangerously high, but for a team entering a minor rebuilding phase, the pick makes some sense for the (hated) Steelers.
With that said, Moss has continued to disappoint: Posting back to back poor performances, first at the combine and then at his pro day. A pro day performance one scout described as "a waste of time." For a guy who was touted as agile, with great burst and top end speed plus a 37" vert--something definitely seems to be amiss. The real danger here is that he might be hiding an injury. Declining performance + Injury concerns = Big Giant Red Flag.
Rethinking the first round, I would replace Moss with Teddy Ginn Jr. to round out my "worst picks". Kansas City is an old team barely holding on to respectability. While every draft guide and site I can find has wide receiver listed as a top priority, truthfully, that doesn't justify this selection. First year receivers rarely ever contribute and most don't really take to their craft until their third season. Ginn might take even longer. He's undersized and a poor route runner. Much of his speed will be negated by physical cornerback play until he learns to effectively slip the press. He's about as unfinished a wide receiving prospect as will be drafted in the first two rounds and a player very unlikely to make an impact in anything but special teams this year. Additionally, Ginn put in an underwhelming Pro Day despite running at least ten pounds lighter than he will be expected to play at in the NFL. Barring the exceptionally unlikely scenario where Ginn makes a Devin Hester type impact on special teams, this pick doesn't address the here and now and doesn't adequately address the future.
In two to three seasons, when every major talent without the surname Johnson is either over the hill or traded, Ginn, even if he transforms into Santana Moss, will not make a wins worth of difference for a team likely to be struggling to stay out of the cellar. The Chiefs could use starters on both lines, depth at cornerback and quarterback--a situation that cries "draft best available talent", instead Ginn is drafted above where he is valued in most mock drafts. That's a fatal mistake.
Finally, WRT Ginn, it might seem like I'm bashing the Chiefs just for drafting a player I don't like. Verily, I'm not sold on Ginn, but there are teams and situations I think Ginn would be a good fit for. San Diego being the most sensible. Ginn gives the Chargers a dynamic deep threat out of the slot and a dangerous return man for special teams. San Diego also needs a coverage ILB and a long term replacement for Jamal Williams. This isn't exactly a gangbusters draft for ILB, but in a 3-4, linebacking roles are fluid and more than a few later round OLBs could effectively fill San Diego's needs. For San Diego, Ginn represents that one player that gets them over the hump. A player whose individual value may not be great, but who fills a need so well that he pushes a very good team towards greatness.
In Hawks related news, Niko Koutouvides and D.J. Hackett have signed. No surprise there. Tim Ruskell expects Jackson to be at mini-camps following the draft. Stories of this ilk have been circulating the last few weeks. It's either brinkmanship by Ruskell, or, more likely, a frank assessment of the market for Jackson. The Hawks have too many wide receivers, plain and simple, and unless someone is moved, someone else who deserves to get a chance, won't. As I said before, Ruskell might have decided that he is likely to get better value for Jackson before the start of next season, when rookies are struggling and veterans are injured. It certainly worked for the New England Patriots.