So, as you might have seen if you read Adam Rittenberg's blog, or if you follow me on twitter, or if you read the Daily (or read the Daily, or read the Daily), I had a bit of a busy weekend. Because we have FOUR MORE MONTHS until football season, I like to spread things out a bit, so rather than talk to you all today about Wrigley, spring football, the draft, and everything else that's nice and good, I'll probably spend the whole week talking about it, capisce?
But for now, let's recap how the draft turned out for errbody NU related.
Corey Wootton, DE, Chicago Bears
4th round, pick 109.
Happy with that?: Well, not with the timing. 4th round is definitely a bit of a tumble for even post-injury Corey, and I think everybody knows that. He deserved to be late-second, early-third, and I was pretty surprised he dropped as far as he did, definitely shouldn't have been the 11th overall defensive end taken. That's just silly. That said, the Bears were about as good a place as he could end up: he's still here in Chicago, he can probably begin competing for playing time immediately, and NU has a really strong connection with the franchise, so, really all positives about the team.
Good pick, for the team?: Yeah. Wootton in the fourth round is a steal. Just sayin'.
What's playing time look like?: A big question about Corey's draft stock was whether he could play OLB in a 3-4 defense. The Bears use a 4-3, so that's out of the question, and he'll remain a defensive end. Chicago just brought in Julius Peppers over the offseason to shore up one side of the line, but on the other side, I couldn't tell you whether Mark Anderson or Israel Idonije is the favorite at this point in time to pick up more reps, and Corey has a good chance of being able to push one of those guys out of line. At the worst, he'll be a second-stringer for Peppers, as Wootton, like Peppers, is better suited to being a left end. There's also a player under roster named Henry Melton under roster, but, well, raise your hand if you've heard of Henry Melton. Anybody? Anyon- wait, you - are you Henry Melton? Shouldn't you be out getting better at defensive end? Go away. Anyway, point is, nobody's ever heard of Henry Melton. (for those of you wondering, Melton was a backup running back for the Vince Young national championship squad, switched to defensive end, then was drafted in the fourth round by the Bears. Wait, fourth round by the Bears? DUN-DUN-DUUUUNNNN! He has yet to play a single snap in the NFL, which doesn't bode well for Corey.)
Is the dude himself happy?: I spoke to Corey by phone Sunday, and he seemed to echo what I just said up there at the top. He didn't seem very pleased with the con cept of being a fourth-rounder - he actually said "everything happens for a reason", which is code for "this sucks but I'm trying to keep a positive view on things" - but he seems excited about being with Chicago. He couldn't say anything bad about the organization, and seems pumped about being close to his old team, and being with three guys who he used to play with in college.
How close was that stupid jersey mockup I did on Saturday to being accurate?: Close. Chicago doesn't have a #99 under roster. And with Woot a lock to make the roster, that's probably what he'll wear.
What they be sayin'?: Windy City Gridiron is a-lookin and a-likin'.
This article focuses mainly on what Fitz has to say, but also gives you the Bears side of the story.
This Bears blogger is dealing with cognitive dissonance, but likes the pick.
National Football Post:
The Bears get a tall, long-armed defensive end who has the ability to shed blocks vs. both the run and pass, but Wootton has some big medical concerns.
Mike and Sherrick... after the jump!
Mike Kafka, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
4th round, pick 122
Happy with that?: Oh, yeah. Kafka, sixth quarterback taken? Above Tony Pike, Jonathan Crompton, Dan Lefevour? I was worried when no quarterbacks were getting taken in the first few rounds, more worried when Cleveland - supposedly into Kafka - took Colt McCoy instead in the late third. But this worked out about as well as it could. Not to mention that the quarterback situation in Philly is up for grabs.
Good pick, for the team?: The Eagles didn't make a secret about being very interested in Kafka, and they took him higher than they needed to, quite frankly, so I'll go ahead and trust their scouts and say that this is a good pick - although they probably overvalued our boy. Most would say that there were better quarterbacks available, and I wouldn't completely disagree. What matters is that they really like him and were able to get him. But most importantly, it should once again be noted that I called Philly drafting Kafka, which is something you only have a 1-in-32 chance of doing, making me a freaking genius, even if I had three tries to get it right with NU's players.
What's playing time look like?: Really, really tough to say. Everybody seems to have a different opinion about what could go on in Philly with regards to their QB. It'll probably be Kevin Kolb, but they also have Michael Vick there, who could be a starter, could do what he did this year and be a sort of change-of-pace QB. All I know is this: this summer, the Eagles traded away their franchise quarterback, and almost immediately I started hearing about how Philly wanted Kafka. You'd think they'd want to replace their old franchise quarterback with a new one - trade up! draft Tim Tebow to sell jerseys! Pair a pick and Kevin Kolb for someone that isn't Kevin Kolb! - but they didn't. They started talking Kafka and went for it, and it seemed like pretty much everyone around Northwestern, from Pat Fitzgerald to Dan Persa, was expecting Kafka to go Philly. Normally I'd say a fourth-rounder has no chance of competing for a starting role on a team with a former second-rounder they've been grooming for a few years and a former pro-bowler, but everything seems up for grabs, and I'll say it one more time: they really, really like this guy. I don't expect him to start, but I'd be surprised if he doesn't get consideration and a crapload of reps in training camp. Throw darts at pictures of these three, and any combination could give you an Eagles QB depth chart next season.
They picked up Joey Elliott from Purdue as an undrafted free agent after the draft, but, well, remember Joey Elliott? Yeah, he's not making it out of training camp.
Is the dude himself happy?: Everybody seems pretty happy with this pick, and Mike, who I also spoke to via phone yesterday, is not excepted. It's understandable: in a little over a year, Kafka went from a shaky-looking first-year starter for a team seemingly destined for Big Ten mediocrity to a potential factor at quarterback for one of the better teams in the NFL? That's pretty good. He also brought up Andy Reid's reputation for working with quarterbacks, and in a bit of classic coachspeak, said he can't wait both to get better and help his team win. Not insightful, but the guy sounded more excited than your average athlete interview to me.
How close was that stupid mockup jersey I made on Saturday to being accurate?: Once again, very. No #13's for the Eagles, mainly because it's a weird number to wear unless you're a quarterback and Kolb and Vick are too cool for that.
What they be sayin'?:Not that much Philly-based Kafka coverage, maybe because he was their sixth pick in the draft while Wootton was the second for the Bears, and he looks like he might be a third string QB. Also, because SBNation's Eagles blogger is too busy doing boring things like interviewing Roger Goodell.
Most people project Kafka as the No. 3. Okay, paid professionals, don't listen to me, but mark my words.
National Football Post:
A tall, good-looking athlete who has the ability to move around the pocket and create with his legs. Kafka showcases only average arm strength but gets the ball out of his hands quickly.
Is their use of "good-looking" supposed to come off as creepy?
Sherrick McManis, CB, Houston Texans
Fifth round, 144th pick.
Happy with that?: Yeah. Before the draft, I'd have considered any Sherrick McManis pick a good one, much less a fifth-rounder. Really no ifs, ands, or buts on this one.
Good pick, for the team?: I think so. Not to sound like an NU homer in all this category for each player, but McManis got a rough deal with his hamstring injury in the draft run-up. He probably should've been around a 4th-5th rounder in the grand scheme of things, so the Texans taking him higher than I expected evens things out a bit - that being said, they probably could have waited on him, but I feel like he was amongst less talented corners by the time he was selected, so, I'll say good pick.
What's playing time look like? Not much. First of all, Houston is not short of safeties: they had six veterans under roster heading into the draft, and then picked Kareem Jackson from Alabama with the 20th overall pick. McManis will need to exhibit some serious, serious depth chart social climbing to get to be in the mix, but might get some nickel back reps if he's lucky and there's always prevent defenses. He has a better chance of breaking in the rotation as a backup free safety.
Is the dude himself happy?: My bad, didn't talk to him. Sorry.
How close was that stupid mockup jersey I did Saturday to being accurate?: 3-for-3! No #24's on the roster, and Kareem Jackson has already picked #25.
What they be sayin'? Battle Red Blog gives Sherrick a B, and gives his name an A+. I approve of them so much.
This article from out Peoria way would make it seem as if yes, McManis is very, very, very happy. I don't report so others can be original.
This says like, two things about him.
National Football Post:
Fell down some draft boards because of a hamstring pull. But McManis is a smart, technically sound corner who looks like an ideal sub-package guy for the Texans.
So, that's about that. Peace. I'm tired. (I have four midterms in three days.)