Phil Savage is a smooth talker, and chooses his words carefully, but at the same time he seems like a guy who couldn't B.S. you if he tried. Savage sounded sincerely surprised and delighted that he was able to land both Kamerion Wimbley and D'Qwell Jackson in today's draft, and it didn't come off as spin. You can listen to his press conference and read some of the things he said about Wimbley here.
"I'm in a little bit of a state of shock that Kamerion and D'Qwell are both Cleveland Browns," Savage said. "If someone had said to me before the draft that we'd get both of them, plus an extra sixth-round pick (as result of a trade with the Ravens earlier in the day), I wouldn't even have gone to the draft meeting. I would have done that right then.
"With what we did in free agency and what we've done so far in the draft, the picture is starting to come together for us."
As to D'Qwell Jackson, consider;
- The first player taken overall was Mario Williams, a defensive end from N.C. State, of the ACC.
- Florida State, also of the ACC, had four defensive players taken in the first round.
- Four other ACC defensive players went in the first round.
- In all, nine ACC defensive players were taken in the first 29 picks in the draft, a pretty amazing stat in itself.
However, the 2005 ACC Defensive Player of the Year was, as they say, none of the above.
It was D'Qwell Jackson.
Jackson is small for an inside linebacker at 6' 0", 230 lbs., but fast, and a vicious tackler. He led the ACC in tackles each of the last two seasons. You know what Phil Savage had to be thinking. It didn't take him long in the Saturday afternoon interview to say the name Ray Lewis, who was taken at about the same position in the draft when he came out of Miami. Obviously, it's way too early to compare the two. Jackson has yet to either win a Super Bowl or oversee the knife murder of two people.
I am scratching my head a bit over Savage's pick of Oklahoma WR Travis Wilson with the 3rd round pick. I was hoping for linemen on both sides of the ball before skill position people.
Wimbley is featured in this Len Pasquarelli piece on the trend toward versatility and playmaking ability in defensive players in this year's draft. It certainly helped Buckeye Donte Whitner shoot up draft boards, all the way to the No. 8 pick.
Speaking of Bucks, five 1st rounders should certainly help recruiting. Their seven first-day picks included a couple of surprises for me. I thought the Jets reached a bit to grab Anthony Schlegel in the 3rd round, and I assumed like most people that CB Ashton Youboty would go long before the 3rd. I expect Rob Sims, Mike Kudla, Josh Huston, and possibly Nate Salley to be drafted on Sunday.
UPDATE Sun. 4/30: Gabe Watson becomes the first Michigan Wolverine selected, in the 4th Round. Just sayin'.
Here are the ESPN player profiles on Wimbley, Jackson, and Wilson.
Fox Sports Pick-by-Pick Analysis of First Round.
Leon Williams, a 6' 3" inside linebacker from Miami U. (FL) is selected with the 110th pick (4th Rd.), Here are some excerpts from Scout.com's report on him (NAWS):
Tremendously gifted athlete with an impressive combination of height, build, speed and athletic ability. Shows good range vs. the run and can be a sideline-to-sideline pursuit ILB when he makes the right reads. He shows good closing burst and power as a tackler...
...He is a powerful tackler but he is too inconsistent in the open field. He will take some false steps and will bite on some play-fakes. He has great speed and athleticism for his size, but his marginal instincts and awareness in coverage make him a liability. In fact, it got so bad at Miami that he was taken out in every obvious passing situation.
D'Qwell Jackson Press Conference report.
Round 4 - Isaac Sowells, OT/OG, Indiana, 6' 3" 323 lbs.
Round 5 - Jerome Harrison, Running Back, Washington St. 5' 9 205 lbs. OBR story.
Round 5 - DeMario Minter, Cornerback, Georgia, 5' 11" 190 lbs.
Round 6 - Lawrence Vickers, Fullback, Colorado, 6' 0", 246 ibs.
Round 6 - Babatunde Oshinowo, Defensive Tackle, Stanford, 6' 1" 305 lbs.
Round 7 - Justin Hamilton, Safety, Virginia Tech, 6' 3" 230 lbs.
PD coverage of Day One here and here
Beacon Journal coverage here and here.
Browns picks as a group from ESPN.com