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Okay, so maybe my personal Top 10 Draft Picks list from Friday afternoon came up a little short. But you have to admit I was right on the money with three of my Top 10 picks (No. 1 Matt Stafford, No. 2 Jason Smith and No. 9 B.J. Raji) and I did include seven of the actual Top 10 picks in my overall assessment. So maybe I’m not ready to unseat Peter King just yet, but you can’t completely rain on my gridiron parade.
In looking at how this year’s Top 10 list played out, I was even right with regard to the peculiar moves made by the Oakland Raiders brain trust – I just had a running back instead of a wide receiver, that’s all. Instead of my pick – rusher Chris “Beanie” Wells out of Ohio State – the dreaded silver-and-black went with wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey from Maryland. People might have thought my Beanie Wells pick was a little unorthodox, given that the Raiders took Darren McFadden with their top pick last year, but nobody in their right mind could have guessed that Al Davis and company were going to grab Heyward-Bey!
My other four picks that did wind up going in the real Top 10 breakdown were Tyson Jackson, Aaron Curry, Mark Sanchez and Michael Crabtree. None of these guys were a stretch, but you never know what’s going to transpire on NFL Draft Day.
So which team came out as the big winner – and which club(s) came out scratching their heads? Since the Lions had nowhere to go but up, you can say they scored big (and spent big: $78 million, $41 million guaranteed) with Matt Stafford at QB. But I personally see Mark Sanchez making even more of an impact early on in the Big Apple with his selection at No. 5 by the J-E-T-S Jets. Maybe I just like the Jets receiving corps a little more than that of the Lions, but Stafford’s progress will be slow and routine. Plus, Sanchez will immediately be filling a Hall of-Famer’s shoes, whereas Stafford will be stepping in where Daunte Culpepper left off. Like I said – nowhere to go but up. As for head scratchers, you can’t help but wonder about the mindset of both the Raiders and Cowboys. The two pivotal franchises just didn’t seem to do themselves any big favors this year.
Here at Upper Deck, we’ve got something very cool lined up with this year’s top NFL Draft picks. We are currently soliciting football fans and card collectors to send in their submissions for special inscriptions to be scrawled on upcoming Upper Deck football card releases by some of this year’s participating players at the NFL Rookie Premiere Photo Shoot on May 16.
I was at last year’s event and got to interview all 32 of the participating players. In fact, with the exception of No. 2 overall pick Chris Long, each of the big-name guys were there (Jake Long, Matt Ryan, Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, Rashard Mendenhall, etc.), so we expect a similar high-profile turnout at this year’s event. It’s mostly just position players (QBs, WRs and RBs) who get invited, but the occasional lineman does show up and usually winds up adding some solid comic relief to the event. Last year it was defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey out of LSU, all 320 pounds of him! Check out this link if you’re interested in submitting some inscriptions for consideration. But hurry: the date to submit your entries is Monday, May 4!