Young Runs

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2006 NFL Draft Preview Continued: Picks 6-10

2006 NFL Draft Preview Continued: Picks 6-10

The San Francisco 49ers are excited about Vernon Davis out of Maryland who they grabbed with the 6th pick in this year’s draft. At 6’4”, 253 pounds, Davis has a great NFL body and is one of the best athletes in this year’s draft. Young and Bush have received most of the attention in terms of being the most athletic players coming out in 2006, but Davis might very well be the best. He ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the combine and has a 42 inch vertical jump. He is a receiving tight end who should be a great target for Alex Smith for years to come. His receiving skills remind me of Tony Gonzalez, but he is faster than the Kansas City Chiefs star and more athletic. Despite Davis’ great NFL body, he will need to improve his blocking. If he can do that, I think he has a great chance to be one of the elite tight ends in the game. Great pickup for a team known for having great receivers.

With the 7th overall selection, Oakland surprised some people by taking Michael Huff, a talented safety out of Texas. Many experts speculated that Oakland might take Leinart at number 7, if he slipped that far, hoping for another Kenny Stabler. But I think they got a better player in Huff who will be able to come right in and start contributing as a rookie. He is a big defensive back at 6’1” and 205 pounds with exceptional sub 4.40 speed. He is a big hitter reminding me of Bobby Sanders in Indianapolis. It may not be to his liking, but Huff has experience at the corner position, playing their in the past, and his speed and size could be a good asset matched up 1 on 1 with some of the game’s best wide outs. However, if Oakland decides to play him at corner, they will lose some of his big play making ability.

Donte Whitner probably wasn’t on most peoples top 10 radar, but the Bills snatched him with the 8th pick. At this stage, Michael Huff is further along as a safety prospect as Whitner benefited a great deal playing in a great defensive system at Ohio State in which every player understands their role and rarely is out of position. I liken the Buckeyes defense to that of the Chicago Bears in this regard. I’m not sure I agree with this pick as there were better players still available which could have given the Bills bargaining power with several other teams, but they decided to fill a defensive need. Don’t get me wrong, at 5’ll” and 205 pounds, Whitner is built like a ton of bricks and hits like one too. The thing that gives this kid a great upside in my opinion is that he has a great attitude and never quits until the whistle is blown. He could be very effective in some blitz packages for the Bills. Maybe this surprise pick will be a big surprise in the NFL this season.

This was the year of the linebacker in the Black and Blue division with Green Bay going with A.J. Hawk and Minnesota grabbing Chad Greenway. I’m a little bit surprised that Detroit passed up Greenway with this pick and went with Ernie Sims from Florida State. His numbers don’t even come close to those of Greenway and Hawk, but he has better speed. He is also undersized in a division with so many punishing rushers at just 220 pounds. I think he could be excellent in some delayed blitz packages with his quick burst of speed and great timing, and perhaps Detroit likes his quickness in pass coverage. Sims has a lot of potential and the Lions will hope to tap into it.

Experts were calling Matt Leinart the most NFL ready QB in this year’s draft, and he finally was taken by the Cardinals with the 10th overall selection. He will make a great understudy to Kurt Warner who, as one of the best in the game at recognizing blitzes and getting rid of it quickly to a hot route, will be a great learning tool for Leinart to pick up on the intricacies of one of the toughest things for a young QB to do. I can see Leinart getting some starts this season if Arizona decides half way through that the future is now. Also, Warner has been riddled with injuries the past few years. I love this kids ability to stay in the pocket and deliver the football with accuracy. His speed and mobility are major questions, however, those things were also major questions for Kurt Warner who won a Super Bowl and the league MVP award a couple times. Arizona should be thrilled to get Leinart this late.