Guys, Jason Williams isn't an OLB, he's a ILB and was drafted to replace Burnett as the Nickel backer on passing downs initially and the future replacement for Brooking in the middle next to Bradie...I think it was a great pick, I had followed him for a few months prior and I was looking at him in the 3rd, he's a phenomanal athlete that fits perfectly for Wade's attacking style defense.
The two DE's we picked up are going to be OLB's for us, Butler and Williams both...Spencer was a DE at Purdue too, so they'll start out as pass-rushing specialist and see how that goes and who steps up, but getting some youth there allowed us to part ways with Ellis and free up much needed cap space.
Mike Mickens was the best pick of our entire draft, he was a 3rd-4th round corner that fell because of his knee but he's healthy now, has been practicing already, and he'll be our 4th corner this year...He only has Alan Ball to beat out and he's alot more talented then him, Mickens was a steal and he has Orlando Scandrick 2.0 written all over him, corner who goes way too late and plays with a chip on his shoulder...I don't know why you thought he wouldn't contribute for a year or two, but by all accounts he's been ready to play he just needs to work on his conditioning, but he was very easily our best pick, we got him probably 4 rounds later then where he should have gone, he can really play.
Deangelo Smith was also a good pick, he's a rangey FS type, he and Mickens went to school together so they should push eachother, but one thing that stands out about him is he is a play-maker when the ball is in the air...He's been lining up at FS and that's where we intend on him playing, so we got two very solid prospects in Smith(FS), Hamlin(SS), Mickens(CB), two pass rushing OLB's, and Williams(ILB), that's a nice haul on the defensive side of the ball.
I think Williams will be a stud, he runs a 4.4, played some safety, Wade loves LB's that can move like him and are athletic freaks because he does so much stunting and moving on that side, he's going to be able to get very creative on that side of the ball now, and getting a future ILB was very high on the priority list, we can't keep plugging in 34 year old LB's and expecting it to be ok.
Once we got a kicker I was mad, until I found out he was a kickoff specialist then I immediately loved it, honestly we have a crap load of picks so you have this type of luxury, Folk is a great at FG's but can't kick a touchback to save his life, it killed us too many times, I know some people don't care about ST's but as many close games as we were in ST's were the backbreaker and always seem to be.
It's very promising that every single one of these guys will contribute on ST's, ALL of them, and while some outsiders may knock that method it was a huge weakness for us all last year and previous years...Teams getting good field position don't have long to go to score, we couldn't cover punts, it was terrible, and these guys not only love to play ST's, are willing to go balls out to do it, but they have future starter ability at their respective positions(at least a handful of them do)...All these guys won't end up being stars, but they all want to contribute now on ST's, and quite frankly if our ST's unit is better that's enough to make the playoffs, that and a healthy Felix Jones.
It would of been very easy to ignore that, and go into this year with the same problems, at least we are devoted to changing things up and not going for the flashy picks/players, yea we could of traded up for a few guys we wanted but lets see how our own guys pan out before we start to play the wish game...I wanted Sean Smith as a FS, Jarron Gilbert as a DE to replace Spears next year, and I REALLY REALLY wanted William Beatty once he fell all the way to 51 as a future replacement for Flozell...Looks like next year we'll be spending a 1st to get a LT then, but I'm happy with how our class ended up, I'm excited about the 09 season already.
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