What will be the surprise of NFL draft's 1st round?

April 22, 2010

Count on the Raiders

Omar Kelly

Sun Sentinel

Raiders owner Al Davis has thrown many drafts off course in his five decades of running the Oakland Raiders' draft room, and this year won't be any different.

Good old Al (and I do mean old) will mock everyone's mock draft by doing something out of the box, coming from left field with a selection such as Darrius Heyward-Bey, whom the Raiders took with the No. 7 pick, making this marginal Maryland receiver the first wideout taken in 2009.

Davis' love affair with speed and promise has led to some miserable drafts for the Raiders Nation, which was forced to stomach another season with quarterback JaMarcus Russell, the No. 1 pick in 2007.

Maybe Davis has taken a liking to Florida quarterback Tim Tebow at No. 8. In Al Davis' world nothing is impossible.

okelly@tribune.com

Solid pick for Chiefs

Dan Pompei

Chicago Tribune

The biggest surprise of the first round will be the Chiefs taking Iowa offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga instead of one of the more heralded offensive tackles or a defensive playmaker like Tennessee safety Eric Berry.

Bulaga might not have as much potential to be great as some of the other players projected to go in the first half of the draft, but the Chiefs will know exactly what they are getting with him. He is a low-risk pick and will be a low-maintenance player, and that will appeal to Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli.

Chiefs offensive line coach Bill Muir likes his blockers to be fundamentally sound, consistent and predictable rather that flashy. The Chiefs will take solid. Bulaga fits the profile.

dpompei@tribune.com

Tebow to Vikings?

Ken Murray

Baltimore Sun

Tim Tebow has his Heisman Trophy and a national championship, but he doesn't have a place in the first round of the NFL draft. Or at least he didn't until teams started interviewing him and getting a sense of the person. Suddenly, in the last two weeks, Tebow has shot up into the first round in some mock drafts, even though his mechanics are horrible and his arm isn't strong enough.

Tebow can't go to a team that needs him to play this year or next year. But he could go to a team that has a quarterback and has time to teach him. It would help if that team had no glaring needs that have to be addressed in the first round.

Which brings me to the Minnesota Vikings, sitting with the 30th pick in the draft, trying to work their way down to the 32nd next April. Brett Favre isn't going to retire until his arm falls off in three or four years, and Tebow could be ready by then.

kmurray@tribune.com

Tebow to Steelers?

Sam Farmer

Los Angeles Times

The biggest shock of the first round? There's a very good chance Florida quarterback Tim Tebow will be in it, despite his unorthodox throwing motion and the questions a lot of teams have about where he fits in the pro game.

Don't be surprised if Minnesota takes him at 30, or if another team trades up or down into that area to select him. Tebow could go even earlier.

Wouldn't jaws hit the floor if Pittsburgh took him at 18? That would be quite a shot over the bow of the just-suspended Ben Roethlisberger, and it would be a resounding message from the Steelers that character counts.

sfarmer@tribune.com

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