Happy Easter for those celebrate it and good day for those who just gorge themselves with chocolate for the heck of it. What have I done with my time off? Well I heard Ice Cube tell Conan O'Brien that when his kids are rowdy he lets them spend some time with Keith Richards. If you can't connect the dots there, that means he gets `em effed up--Now that's parenting! Besides that I've enjoyed the soaring highs and the agonizing water torture that is waiting on a very cool job offer.
Enough about me, onto the Hawks and our possible newly acquired first round pick. Now, the first round has no special significance, a 32nd pick in the first is much closer to a 10th pick in the second than the #1 overall, both literally and figuratively, but it still puts us in position for some exciting players we might not have been able to otherwise get. Here's a short list and a brief breakdown, with grades.
Ben Grubbs G: Grubbs is considered the best guard in the draft. He's a versatile athlete, a competent pull blocker, but is pretty inexperienced and might not be productive in the NFL for a few seasons. Aside from a good back-story and the ever enticing upside, I'm not too sold on Grubbs. He has short arms, 32 ¾", and has yet to show much of his supposed gifted athleticism in a measurable way. He strikes me as a good project for a team that is rebuilding, but not yet an NFL ready player. B
Justin Blalock G/T: Not much more to say here, but I think the key for the Hawks is that Blalock is NFL ready. Also, Blalock is a very hard worker and a good character guy. A-
Brian Leonard RB: This guy has moved way up a lot of draft boards for being whi...eh, for a great combine performance. Not sure what to think of him. Player's who start at fullback on D2 schools are not what you think of when you think running back prospect, but the tools seem to be there. He's agile (6.88 in the cone) and quick (1.54 on the 40) and his combine numbers compare very favorably to Adrian Peterson, but I can't shake this feeling that he would be a reach at 32. The Hawks need to start thinking long term replacement for Shaun Alexander, Leonard is seemingly the only guy deserving of this pick and he could contribute on third down right away. Honestly, your guess is as good as mine. C+
Justin Harrell DT: Run stopper. Nothing incredibly impressive here, but he does fill a need. I wouldn't draft him. D+
Tank Tyler DT: Powerful single gap defender who got arrested for assaulting a cop. Is a good fit in the Hawks system that employs quick defensive lineman who can assault a cop in a flash. Shows good upper body strength to deflect batons and the grit to play through pepper spray--did I mention he was arrested for assaulting a cop? Actually hurt himself running the 40 at the combine. What's not to like about an injury prone player named Tank who has huge character issues, right Bears fans? F
Jarvis Moss DE: If you're Mr. Magoo you might see Jevon Kearse here, but...wait--someone has already drafted him, in the mid first round? His speed and vertical didn't show up at the combine, he's had lots of injuries and fullbacks and pulling linemen are going to make mincemeat of him, but, hey, he's tall. I imagine he'll fall to the late second, maybe third round in the real draft. Maybe SteelerFan was trying to draft this next guy. D
Lawrence Timmons LB: Not a need, you say? Sometimes you just have to take the best available talent and Simmons looks like a hell-of a young linebacker. Great athleticism, speed, range in coverage and he's young. Oddly, he has somehow shrunk in the last couple of months, previously 6'3", now 6'1". Don't know what that's all about. B+
That's just a spattering of picks, though it seems clear that the Hawks should be targeting a guard at 32, both for purposes of need and because Grubbs and Blalock seemingly represent the best available talent. I'm sticking with my man Justin Blalock, I think he could help the Hawks make another run at it in 2007--more so than any other player. Your thoughts?