Smith goes first in draft

With the 2005 NFL Draft in the books, it is now time to look back and examine the selections that were made, determine the winners and the losers, and look back at the picks that made us scratch our heads.

Going into the draft April 23, only one thing seemed for certain. It was a no-brainer that the San Francisco 49ers were going to draft a quarterback to try lead them back into the playoffs, but nobody was sure which quarterback the 49ers were going to take.

The two prized players to choose from were Alex Smith from Utah, and Aaron Rodgers from the University of California. Both players at some point in the last several weeks have been projected to be the number one pick, and when the 49ers decided to select Smith with the number one pick, it was only supposed to be a matter of time before Rodgers was taken, right?

That was not the case, in the blink of an eye, Rodgers slipped out of the top ten, then the top twenty, before finally landing at number 24 with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers was accepted with raucous cheers from the New York draft crowd, and he already knows what his role will be with the Packers. With future hall-of-famer Brett Favre, who turns 36 in October, on the brink of retirement, Rodgers role in the NFL will be none other than to try and follow in Favre’s gigantic footsteps.

The remainder of the first round was fairly predictable, with the Auburn Tigers being represented very well. Auburn running back Ronnie Brown was taken second by Miami, followed by fellow teammate Carnell Williams being taken fifth by Tampa Bay and former Tiger cornerback Carlos Rogers being selected by Washington with the ninth pick. Besides the freefall of Aaron Rodgers, the other talk of the draft was the strange selection made by the Detroit Lions. Already having a good young core of wide receivers in Roy Williams and Charles Williams, the Lions with the tenth pick selected USC wide receiver Mike Williams.

Now under any other circumstance, this would be considered a smart choice. Williams is an exceptional athlete, with great size and power, but he is not what Detroit needed. With many glaring holes in their defense, and a weak offensive line to protect quarterback Joey Harrington, the Lions gave themselves a luxury in Williams, and did not fill any obvious weakness. This blunder pick will probably be talked about for years to come, unless Detroit has a deal in the works to get rid of one of their receivers.

Closer to home, going into the draft it was pretty clear that the Bengals were going to use their first round pick to select a defensive player. Many mock drafts had Cincinnati taking Wisconsin defensive end Erasmus James with the 17th pick. But the Bengals decided to take a more versatile player in David Pollack. Pollack, a star defensive end at Georgia, first caught the eye of head coach Marvin Lewis two years ago when Lewis was scouting another Georgia player.

Pollack, who is 6’2″ and 262 lbs, is too small to be a DE in the NFL, and will likely be converted into a middle linebacker. In the second round of the draft, the Bengals then selected Pollack’s teammate, inside linebacker Odell Thurman.

In the third round, Cincinnati selected 6’4″ 197 pound Chris Henry, a wide receiver from West Virginia. When the draft resumed on Sunday, the Bengals selected two Central Michigan offensive linemen in Eric Ghiacuic and Adam Kieft, UCLA wide receiver Tab Perry, and finally Utah Defensive End Jonathan Fanene.

Overall, the Bengals did well. They were able to address some of their needs on defense, which they did in taking Pollack and Thurman, who will be expected to contribute right away. And they were also able to select two more young explosive wide receivers and two offensive tackles.

Time will only tell if these players can live up to their billings, but, all Bengal fans can sit back and be satisfied that Marvin Lewis and his draft team were able to select good players who are all capable of bright futures.