By: Taren Vaughan
The NFL draft is always a highly anticipated event that draws millions of viewers nationwide. For those die hard football fans, this year’s draft picks were very pleasing to most but as always there were those that questioned some teams’ selections. Here are a few highlights of some of the players drafted in the first round:
Ndamukong Suh (DT)
Following the first pick of the draft Sam Bradford, the Detroit Lions add to their defense by selecting Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh. The 6’4”, 307 pound defensive tackle made a name for himself as a member of the Huskers football team. Suh was a dominant force on the Huskers’ defensive line which earned him notable recognition including First-team All-Big 12 honors in 2008. He was the University’s first interior defensive lineman to earn those honors since 1999 (Steve Warren). Will Suh be a good fit for the Lions? ESPN.com draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. seems to think so. He was quoted saying Suh “maybe the most dominating defensive tackle I’ve seen in 32 years”.
Gerald McCoy (DT)
The Buccaneers have not seen a dominant defensive tackle since the days of Warren Sapp. But now, they have a chance to bring their defensive line back to the level that it used to be. The Bucs acquired defensive tackle Gerald McCoy from the University of Oklahoma. Known for his speed and athleticism, McCoy is predicted to have a huge impact his rookie season in Tampa Bay. With this pick, Tampa Bay fans will have something to look forward to next season as they finished the 2009 season with a 3-13 record.
Trent Williams (OT)
McCoy was not the only Sooner to be selected in the top ten of the draft. Former teammate Trent Williams came right behind him, joining the Washington Redskins. Williams has often been compared to New Orleans Saints’ offensive tackle Jammal Brown. The Redskins season should be interesting as they just recently acquired Donovan McNabb from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Eric Berry (SS)
Tennessee’s Eric Berry is making his way to Kansas City. Aside from his outstanding football skills, Berry has been said to have exceptional leadership skills. As a sophomore at the University of Tennessee, he was named team captain. During the 2009 season, Berry won the John Thorpe Award and was named All-American. Showing loyalty to his former teammate Inky Johnson whose football career ended after an injury, he chose the jersey number 29 to wear next season. Chiefs’ fans should be very satisfied with their pick as they acquired a player that can motivate his teammates while excelling on the football field as well.
Russell Okung (OT)
College: Oklahoma State
The selection of Russell Okung was memorable for several reasons. He became the second Oklahoma State offensive lineman to be selected in the first round since John Ward in the 1970 draft. Okung also became the highest OSU draft pick since NFL great Barry Sanders who was a first round, 3rd pick of the Detroit Lions. Tony Pauline of Sports Illustrated view Russell Okung as “a complete offensive tackle with a large upside,” who “stands out in pass protection while also dominating as a run blocker”.
Joe Haden (CB)
The Cleveland Browns add cornerback Joe Haden to next year’s roster. As a Florida Gator, Haden was named All-American his freshman year and gave a sound performance in the 2008 National Championship game against the Oklahoma Sooners where he had 10 tackles and three pass break-ups. Although his numbers were not all that impressive for the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, Haden is said to have enough speed and quickness to help gain some wins for the Browns.
Rolando McClain (LB)
Linebacker Rolando McClain is just what the Oakland Raiders’ defense was looking for. McClain will provide a huge physical presence for the team’s inside defense in the middle. During his collegiate career, he helped the Crimson Tide in their victory against the Texas Longhorns for the BCS National Championship Title.
C.J. Spiller (RB)
Spiller was the first ACC player to be selected in this year’s draft. Spiller had an amazing career as a Clemson Tiger being named a 2009 All-American and receiving the 2009 College Football Performance Awards Kickoff Returner Trophy. He was also voted the 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year. The Bills’ offense already has an outstanding wide receiver in Terrell Owens. By gaining Spiller, that will hopefully give them that extra spark to improve their win record.
Tyson Alualu (DE)
This pick was somewhat of a shocker to many football analysts seeing as though players like Jason-Pierre Paul and Derrick Morgan had not yet been selected. But that did not by any means mean that Tyson Alualu was a bad choice for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Although his size is not typical of your average interior lineman, Alualu still possesses great strength that will be greatly appreciated by the Jaguars defensive line.