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Live Blogging: Covering the 2007 NFL Draft

[UPDATE 4:55]: Geoff Hobson published his first of many pieces this weekend about the Leon Hall selection. The quotes from Hall:

"I'm not disappointed at all (about falling so low). My thing has always been to play in the NFL," Hall said. "I'm definitely excited about going to Cincinnati, and to play over there. I wanted to go as early as possible and that's where I'm going.

"I'm good. I'm relieved. And I'm happy," Hall said.

"I definitely had those two bad reps. That one against Ted Ginn was a mental mistake on my part and then the one against Dwayne Jarrett was an alignment issue," Hall said then. "I (learned) from them, definitely, I went back and watched the film. Those are the type of plays you don't want to have.


"My overall game is good. I'm able to play different coverages," Hall said. "Bump-and-run. Off coverages. Cover Two. I can also help stop up the run. I'm also a good character guy. I know for a fact knowing myself and the people that I put myself around, I'm staying out of trouble. I won't have any problems with that."

[UPDATE 4:50]: Alan Branch is STILL available. Think he'll be around during round 2? ESPN says of Branch's weaknesses:

Lacks ideal explosiveness. He's quick for his size but lacks the speed and closing burst to consistently make an impact as a pass rusher in the NFL. He's mostly a one-dimensional bull rusher type. He needs to improve his arsenal of pass rush moves. He has room to improve in terms of using his hands to play off of blocks. Durability is only a minor concern after missing two games due to a knee injury in 2005.

[UPDATE 4:45]: After spending, roughly, 30 minutes on the roof of my apartment dancing to the prospects of two, potential, shutdown cornerbacks, I wanted to get more reactions from other SBNation sites for their picks.

Jimmy -- Music City Miracles (Titans) -- says of Michael Griffin: "I am shocked."

River City Rage -- Big Cat Country (Jaguars) -- says of the Reggie Nelson selection: "...Jacksonville picked up a 3rd and 6th round pick in order to get exactly who they wanted. You don't get more draft (savvy) than that my friends. Our secondary just got a whole lot nastier, Donovan Darius got a lot happier, and we'll clearly be the number one defense in the league."

Chris -- Dawgs by Nature (Browns) -- is pretty fired up. He's happy they selected both Joe Thomas AND Brady Quinn.

Chris -- Arrowhead Pride (Chiefs) -- says of Dwayne Bowe: "I am satisfied with picking Dwayne Bowe from LSU. Needed a great WR and I think we got one"

[UPDATE 4:33]: Good lord, the quarterback projected to go high falls low story of 2007 is finally over. The Browns have really worked on their offense this year and could score more than zero points in a game against Cincinnati. That, of course, would be improvement. I kid, of course. The Brady Quinn selection broke a string of nine straight defensive players selected.

I'm more than shocked, however, at the total hatred that fans are showing for Brady Quinn. Yes, this guy wasn't big during big-games, but he broke nearly every record held by Joe Montana in college. He's probably the most NFL ready quarterback in the draft and has sustained success -- not becoming a great prospect on a single-season. Then again, now that he's with the Browns, I may join the raging hatred people have for Quinn now.

[UPDATE 4:05]: I updated the poll on the right. What are your thoughts on Leon Hall?

Also, this is where I feature less of the NFL draft and concentrate more on the Bengals.

[UPDATE 3:50]: More reaction with Leon Hall.

Gary Horton says on ESPN's Draft Cast:

...this is a great example of being patient and a guy falling to you that fits a need. They must have been real nervous because he was the only guy left at that position with first round talent.

Hall said in his "Draft Diary"

It was cool to meet the head coaches, especially Marvin Lewis. He was very personable and down to earth. He definitely has a presence when he walks into a room, but at the same time is very approachable. I believe I would be a good fit for the Bengals, as well as the other teams, because I can play all of the coverages and can help support the run defense. Being coachable also helps when having to adapt to various techniques.


On the Clock Draft analyzes Hall:

Leon Hall has a great deal of experience against top competition, having started the past four seasons at cornerback for the Michigan Wolverines in the Big Ten. He is a great all-around corner who does a lot of things well. Hall is a true "playmaker" in the defensive backfield who has excellent cover skills. He is an aggressive, physical corner who has enough speed and athleticism to stay with just about any receiver that lines up across from him and he possesses good ball skills. He locates the ball well and almost always puts himself in good position to make a play on it while it’s in the air. He has good body control when going up for the ball and has soft hands. Hall is also a good on the blitz and is an aggressive run defender with solid tackling technique. He also has the ability to contribute as a punt returner as well. He lacks elite size and speed and will rely too much on his athleticism at times, causing him to give up a big play. At this point Leon Hall is probably the most complete cornerback in the draft. He has a good chance to become the first cornerback selected and a top 10 pick in the 2007 NFL draft.

ESPN Insider

Strengths: An experienced, savvy and solid all-around cornerback prospect. He's a fluid and smooth athlete. Possesses adequate-to-good size and plays even bigger than his size would indicate. An aggressive and tough cornerback. Shows very good instincts and will do an excellent job of reading quarterbacks' eyes in coverage. He is at his best when working with some cushion. Breaks quickly and shows very good burst when closing on the ball in front of him. He won't shy down from a physical matchup. Fills hard versus the run and has developed into a reliable tackler in space. He shows good lateral mobility and fluid hips. He's a natural playmaker. Displays great ball skills in coverage and also does an excellent job of generating fumbles as an open-field tackler. Very consistent performer. Also has good intangibles and work ethic.

Weaknesses: : Lack of ideal turn-and-run skills is biggest knock. Doesn't play as fast as his 40-time indicates. Lacks the acceleration to recover from mistakes versus faster NFL receivers. Seems to be more comfortable coming forward then he is when asked to turn-and-run in press coverage.

Overall: Hall played in all 13 games (three starts) as a true freshman in 2003 finishing the year with 26 total tackles, one tackle for loss, three interceptions, and six pass breakups. In 2004, he saw action in all 12 games (nine starts) and recorded 48 total tackles, one tackle for loss, two interceptions, 10 pass breakups, and two fumble recoveries. Hall then started all 12 games in 2005, registering 61 total tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, four interceptions, nine pass breakups, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. In 2006, Hall started all 13 games, finishing with 45 total tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, three interceptions, 15 pass breakups, and two fumble recoveries. Over the past four seasons, he has also returned 15 punts for 174 yards (11.6 average) and one touchdown.

Despite his excellent 40-time, Hall lacks ideal turn-and-run skills, which was exposed in his 2006 matchup versus Ohio State WR Ted Ginn Jr. However, Hall is a physical cover corner with a very good combination of size, athleticism, instincts and ball skills. He will fit best in a zone-heavy scheme in the NFL but he also can succeed playing mostly man-to-man coverage, so long as he gets deep-support versus upper-echelon speed receivers. Hall is big and strong enough to handle bigger NFL receivers one-on-one and he also does a fine job supporting the run. In our opinion, Hall grades out as a mid-first round prospect but in a weak class of cornerbacks he could come off the board in the top-10 picks.

Excellent pick. Most question his speed. However, the AFC North doesn't have many speed demons so we should be safe there.

[UPDATE 3:34] BENGALS PICK - Leon Hall. How the heck did Hall fall this far. Let's quickly examine. The Bengals lost Tory James to the Patriots. Beat reporters reported concluding last season that Deltha O'Neal's head wasn't in the game anymore. Keiwan Ratliff has fallen off on the depth chart. Greg Brooks is a special teams talent. So going after cornerback was the most logical. With the impressive rookie season by Johnathan Joseph last year and the prospects of Leon Hall drives the potential of this defense through the roof with two highly talented cornerbacks. Very exciting.

[UPDATE 3:32] REACTION: Mile High Report is satisfied with Jarvis Moss: "This guy has been connected to the Broncos since Day 1, and does fulfil a need on the outside, creating any kind of pass rush. The Broncos were able to keep #56 and #70, so all in all, for the Broncos to get the guy they wanted, not a bad trade." Can't blame them. If we didn't have six billion dollars tied up on defensive ends, it might be an entertaining pick for the Bengals. With that said, it makes it more unlikely the Bengals would go after another defensive linemen with Thornton, Myers, Geathers and Smith tied up rather expensive contracts. So Hall?

[UPDATE 3:26]: Denver moved up and selected Jarvis Moss. BENGALS ON THE CLOCK. Still thinking Branch and Hall.

[UPDATE 3:11]: Wow. Justin Harrell, after missing most of 2006 from a ruptured bicep, was selected by the Green Bay Packers. This means, in my honest opinion, that the Bengals will either go Alan Branch or Leon Hall. It's Jacksonville, then the Bengals. The Jaguars are in panic mode hoping they don't pick Brady Quinn. Which means, they probably will.

[UPDATE 3:02]: Behind the Steel Curtain reacts to the Timmons selection: "Excellent choice who fills a need and is well-regarded by all the scouts. Welcome to Pittsburgh, Lawrence!"

[UPDATE 2:58]: I really could have gone all day without a Drew Rosenhaus mug shot -- now I feel the urge to take a shower. Anyway, we dodged a bullet with the Steelers picking up Lawrence Timmons. It means that Leon Hall, Mel Kiper's preference for cornerback this draft, is still available. We still have to dodge the Packers and Jaguars. However, Timmons could be a thorn in our side during game day. But I'm not worried. Levi Jones was more than enough to contain the ambush-artist, Joey Porter. But we'll see. Updating the list after selections and adding a Greg Olson.

  • Alan Branch
  • Jon Beason
  • Leon Hall
  • Reggie Nelson
  • Michael Griffin
  • Jarvis Moss
  • Greg Olson

[UPDATE 2:52]: <whinning>NOOOOOOOOOO. The Jets picked up Darrelle Revis. That, well, sucks. But that's alright. The pool of available defensive players is still rather large. Leon Hall being the best available cornerback, now. Could Hall go to Pittsburgh? If that's the case, then the Bengals could go after Branch, Timmons, Beason, Griffin or Nelson. I hate all things Jets. </whinning>

[UPDATE 2:48]: Brian G -- Buffalo Bills blogger -- reacts to the Marshawn Lynch selection.

[UPDATE 2:45]: Trade. Long story short, the Bengals may have had their cornerback choices reduced with the Jets trading up with Carolina.

[UPDATE 2:41]: I've been one of the few that's adamantly against the Bengals going after a tight end. But that doesn't mean I should eliminate the discussion. With our receiver weapons and only one tight end on the roster from last season, drafting a tight end like Greg Olson isn't too far from the realm of possibility. I don't support it, but I wouldn't be surprised of it.

[UPDATE 2:38]: Another gone from our likely list. After the Rams selected Adam Carriker, our likely list looks like this:

  • Alan Branch
  • Lawrence Timmons
  • Jon Beason
  • Leon Hall
  • Darrelle Revis
  • Reggie Nelson
  • Michael Griffin
  • Jarvis Moss

[UPDATE 2:30]: Oh, character issues. Marshawn Lynch was the first guy drafted labeled with "red flags". I was CONVINCED that the character talking points wouldn't show up until the Bengals drafted. Heck, the Bengals could draft Pope Benedict XVI and still be labeled with character issue discussions. I know, I know. It's what we should expect. However, some people (well, most people) have a hard time stepping outside their limited thinking capacity because of a few bad apples.

[UPDATE 2:26]: Woot. First off, pretty neat to have Bruce Smith introduce the Bills selection. I'm a typical traditionalist, but that was cool. Now, onto the great news... the Bills picked up Marshawn Lynch, a running back. What does that mean? The pool of defensive players available is still pretty high for the Bengals. Woot.

[UPDATE 2:22]: I like Fooch -- blogger at Niners Nation (49ers) -- but he made his own little Maddenism: "If as they say he plays 10 years and goes to Pro bowls I will be quite the happy camper." You don't say? Fooch is very fired up with this pick.

[UPDATE 2:18]: Dag-num-it. Patrick Willis goes to San Francisco. That should update our likely list.

  • Alan Branch
  • Patrick Willis - GONE
    • Lawrence Timmons
    • Jon Beason
  • Leon Hall
  • Darrelle Revis
  • Reggie Nelson
  • Michael Griffin
  • Jarvis Moss
  • Adam Carriker

[UPDATE 2:15]: I'm pleasantly surprised with Keyshawn Johnson. I know most people don't like him because of his ego (WHAT?! an egocentric wide receiver?! bull!!!!), but he's done a fine job and has decent composure and a possible future for television. Then again, I also like Chris Berman and John Madden -- two guys that most people dislike because, well, it's the "in thing".

[UPDATE 2:11] REACTION: Battle Red Blog says of this pick: "More later, but I love this pick.  Trade would have been nice, but I'll definitely take The Phenom at No. 10.  Defense has gotten a lot stronger." However, there's a lot of split within the ESPN guys. Saying his size and weight fluctuations are a concern. His upswing is good, but probably won't contribute immediately.


Players available the Bengals could go after in no particular order.

  • Alan Branch
  • Patrick Willis
  • Leon Hall
  • Darrelle Revis
  • Reggie Nelson
  • Michael Griffin
  • Jarvis Moss
  • Adam Carriker

[UPDATE 2:03] ANOTHER GONE. With the Texans picking up Amobi Okoye, that makes it less likely the Bengals will have one of the top defensive tackles available to them.

[UPDATE 1:56] ANALYSIS: Of the first nine picks, six are offensive players. If this pace maintains, the Bengals should be selecting at 4pm.

[UPDATE 1:55] REACTION: The Phinsider isn't a happy camper: "I'm so angry!! This is terrible!!! How do you pass on Brady Quinn?????? I'm speechless right now. Ted Ginn better be the next coming of Steve Smith because that's the only way you pass on Quinn." The following at Phinsider isn't happy either.

[UPDATE 1:53] BOMBSHELL. A lot of people expected the Miami Dolphins to pick up Brady Quinn... along with trading for Trent Green. The Dolphins fooled everyone picking up Teddy Ginn Jr. But here, from a Bengals perspective, this is good news. It solidifies our likeliness drafting a defensive player. Could Alan Branch be available?

[UPDATE 1:41] REACTION: The Falcoholic reacts with little enthusiasm -- just mean calm: "Talented kid, the logical choice here now that Landry's gone, but hard to get excited about it. Obviously going to make a big impact, but we'll need other quality picks later on in order to make this one really worth it. Still, I have no doubt he'll be a good player for us."

[UPDATE 1:38]: If there's any condolences for Brady Quinn, it's that he could be the next Ben Roethlisberger meaning that he could go to a team that's in the "not bad" category and make a run at the playoffs whereas a player like JaMarcus Russell could be disaster simply because of the cast around the new Raiders quarterback.

[UPDATE 1:30] REACTION: The Vikings select Adrian Peterson and Daily Norsemen says of the pick: "Great pick for the Vikings. We've been over it and over it, but I love this pick. We'll go more in depth into Minnesota's picks after the draft."

[UPDATE 1:20]: For years, I lived in Minnesota -- close to the legendary Prince house. I was a huge Vikings fan when my age was in the single-digits. I grew up watching Tommy Kramer at quarterback and Jerry Burns as the head coach. Everyone has their #2 team and the Vikings are mine. They're on the clock.

[UPDATE 1:18]: From a Bengals perspective, the Redskins picking up LaRon Landry is the first shift in, what I'm sure is, their draft list. Leon Hall and Darrelle Revis are still on the board. I'm very confident that the Bengals will go cornerback... unless Teddy Ginn Jr. is available. We'll see.

[UPDATE 1:13]: Another shout out to The Phinsider -- also live blogging.

[UPDATE 1:07]: Need to give a shout to Stampede Blue -- Vince Young's biggest fan -- who's "live blogging".

[UPDATE 1:00] REACTION: Dawgs by Nature is fired up about Joe Thomas: "I have been calling for Thomas for several months, and it is finally official that he'll be wearing brown and orange, digging in the trenches against teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens." What? No mention of the Bengals? Are we so far ahead of the Browns that there's no mention of our superiority? You take our starting guard and our backup, backup, defensive tackle and no shoutout?

[UPDATE 12:56]: There's an old phrase: "Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey." In case you're short on the 411, that means it's really cold outside. But does anyone really know what a brass monkey means in this phrase? Is it a "euphemism" for, well, testicles? Or does it mean "solid" or "stiff"? No, we're not going there. Who the hell knows? If you do, let us know. However, Pride of Detroit suspects that the ESPN crew is getting a brass monkey on Brady Quinn: "I don't want to hear about what Brady Quinn looks like without a shirt on."

Oh, by the way, Tampa Bay picked up Gaines Adams.

[UPDATE 12:45]: I'm a huge offensive line homer. But the Browns picking up Joe Thomas, after acquiring Eric Steinbach, should make their offensive line, at least 40% better. Anyway, I'm not so sure this will solve the Browns offensive suckage, but building your offensive line, to me, is the surest way to offensive success. Personally, this is a nice pickup.

[UPDATE 12:44]: Life as Brady Quinn isn't so bad.

[UPDATE 12:38]: REACTION. Sean -- Pride of Detroit (Lions blog) -- says in reaction to the Calvin Johnson selection: "Hard to believe it's another receiver, but C.J. is too good to pass up at this point. Don't go away just yet though. Johnson still could be traded."

[UPDATE 12:35]: REACTION. Saint -- Silver and Black (Raiders blog) -- says in reaction to the JaMarcus Russell selection: "What a beautiful 24 hours for the bay area! Warriors bringing back the pride on the court and Al Davis making the only pick that could possibly turn this (franchise) around. Yipee!!!!!!!"

"Yippie" is always a good feeling.

[UPDATE 12:30]: Note to #2 pick, Calvin Johnson: There's no crying in football!

[UPDATE 12:25]: I wanted to take this time to review the local media. The Cincinnati Enquirer is running their live draft coverage through Mark Curnutte's blog. He has yet to update as of 12:11 pm. The Dayton Daily News has articles from the week that discussed the draft. But I'm not sure if they are doing any real-time covering other than the Bengals. The DDN is an awfully annoying site because you have to, at random, log-in for articles or take their geological surveys. (note to DDN: that's when most of us just say, F it and move on to another non-annoying register site). Any-who, Chick Ludwig discusses the team's options. We could go after any position on defense or simply trade down.

However, my friend etabby (in the diaries) counters a point made by Paul Daughtery -- the main sports critic for the Enquirer and the host of the coveted Sports Talk on WLW radio. Excellent post.

[UPDATE 12:19]: Good lord, is JaMarcus Russell going to the Raiders, or what? That's nearly all they've discussed since Oakland went on the clock. Well, I suppose all the reports that the Raiders going after Russell would encourage ESPN to go that route. "OK Raider fans"... Raiders pick up Russell. I have to admit, Roger Goodell saying right before the pick, "OK, Raiders fans.." was cool. Everyone knows I'm not a big fan of the Goodell era, thus far, but that was cool. UPDATE, Bengals selection to come up on July 13th.

[UPDATE 11:58]: The Falcoholic says the same thing I was thinking: "Wow, you gotta love the people booing through the VT tribute." This is typical New York Jets in attendance. I'm convinced. They boo after every pick -- if it's their team or not. They annoy the hell out of us Midwestern, Flyover country folks. Anyway, I honestly believe the NFL Draft should be held in football country. Yes, it should be held at Canton, Ohio -- for obvious reasons.

[UPDATE 11:51]: Niners Nation (49ers) will also be doing live blogging.

[UPDATE 11:50]: I love Suzy Kolber. She's the Pamela Anderson of the NFL -- well, that might be forever reserved for Melissa Stark. But I've never faulted Joe Namath. If I were at a football game, I too, would have a few adult beverages. If I were at a football game, with a lot of adult beverages, I too would have confessed my undying love for this babe. But that's totally not the point here. Here's my point for those that interview draftees. They tire of repetitive answers.

Susie: How do you feel?
Pick one of the following:

  1. I feel good.
  2. I feel nervous
  3. I feel confident

Susie asking top-three picks: How does it feel to be drafted by one of the worst teams in the league?
Most common answer: Wherever I go, I'll do everything I can to make that team better.
Owner's silent voice: You f____ing better.

I've always said that interviewing athletes and coaches is dumb. Why? Because they give you the most political-correct talking points answer. If you've heard one interview, you've nearly heard them all. It's the Bill Parcells, Bobby Knight and Ryan Leaf's of the world that take the talking points memo, crumble it up into a ball of paper, and ditch it outside. I find more respect for those that speak their mind rather than saying, "gave 100%".

But that's a catch 22, isn't it? If you speak your mind, you're on PTI, Around the Horn, SportsCenter and nearly every newspaper publication in the world. The next morning, most guys are forced to publish an apology or enter the Betty Ford clinic. It's nothing new that the media dictates the flow of the story, but asking someone to be honest with responses, then rip the guy the next day is a disservice to intellectual discussions. Then again, are athletes capable of intellectual discussions? Of course they are...

I'm so glad the NFL Draft is here. Honestly. For two simple reasons:

  1. Because it helps define a team and the drama on who will be picked is through the roof.
  2. Because the word "speculation" can disintegrate into the tombs of Nostradamus.

Who will the Bengals pick? Our guess is as good as theirs. But I'm confident the Bengals won't go quarterback the first day.

How's the SBNation handling things? Some fellas actually have lives and families so doing anything non-team related is a stretch for some -- understandably. Some (uh-hum, Redskins) will be enjoying the fruits of life by squashing grapes in buckets and tasting those newly minted wines. Some will actually spend a good portion of the day, with me, blogging, blogging, blogging.

Pride of Detroit
Daily Norseman
Mile High Report
The Falcoholic

The other fellows I'm sure will be updating their team-related selections.

If this is anything like last year, we're not just talking about the NFL draft -- I'm not naive enough to believe you would come here to get my analysis of the draft. I'm, after all, the red-headed step-child of the Mel Kiper Jr. household. But the draft is a long, even boring, process which takes more than just talking about the draft and football to keep the interest above suffocation. Especially as a Bengals fan when their first selection will be made on May 3rd. (voice of Dr. Phil: LETS DO IT)