Late For Work 12/16: Re-draft? Sorry, Michael Oher is Ours!

Also a sneak peak at the Pro Bowl voting, Brandon Marshall’s stock and Browns news.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 at 8:55 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

2009 Re-Draft? Sorry, Michael Oher is Ours!

Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks conducted a 2009 re-draft with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight and 14 weeks of regular season results.  Banks claims that his draft details how things “should have” unfolded in April based on the knowledge we have today.

Guess who became the No. 1 overall pick of the 2009 re-draft? That’s right. Turns out the Detroit Lions should have passed on quarterback Matthew Stafford and instead picked offensive tackle Michael Oher from Mississippi.

“I’m not making the case that Stafford was a mistake,” Banks said. “Only that playing a franchise quarterback before you have an offensive line to protect him is putting the cart before the horse. Stafford has gotten killed this season (24 sacks in 10 games), and it makes more sense for Detroit to have gone for Oher, the draft’s top-performing tackle, to protect someone’s, uh, Blind Side. Oher has played well at both right and left tackle for Baltimore this season, and scouts say he’d be a consensus top 5 pick if the draft were re-held today.”

Essentially what Banks is saying is that Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome is a genius.

It took 14 weeks of NFL action for scouts to see what Ozzie saw with zero. If Oher truly was good enough to be a No. 1 overall pick, a “steal” at No. 23 is an understatement.

And since Oher was gone after the first pick, the Ravens would be forced to use their selection on somebody else.

With the No. 23 re-do pick, the Baltimore Ravens select cornerback Vontae Davis, Illinois.

“The Raven haven’t gotten the play at cornerback they expected all season, and we have to address that in our re-draft,” Banks asserted. “Baltimore would have plenty of good choices here, including Malcolm Jenkins, Sean Smith and the surprising Jerraud Powers. But Davis has been a big-play maker for Miami, with a team-best three interceptions, including one touchdown return and one pickoff of Tom Brady in the end zone.”

Mmmmm…nah, I’m good. Thanks though.

No offense to Vontae Davis, but I’m more than satisfied with Lardarius Webb at the corner position.

Oh and again, at No. 88 in the third round, Webb was a steal. The rookie has started in three games since regular starter Fabian Washington was placed on Injured Reserve, and Webb has done a remarkable job. He is making a case to be a long-term fixture at cornerback, not to mention the skills he brings as a kickoff returner.

In reality, 14 weeks isn’t enough time to determine how successful a draft class is. I would say it takes two years. But clearly the outlook is bright. Well done, Mr. Newsome.

Pro Bowl Voting Sneak Peak

The NFL has given us a sneak peak into the fans’ Pro Bowl voting, and a few results have me thinking…

But first, the good news. Le’Ron McClain is leading at the fullback position with 160,915 votes. Ray Lewis leads the way, again, at inside linebacker with 308,999 and Ed Reed leads the free safety position with 298,069.

Congratulations to all three. Well done, and much deserved.

I’m surprised by the number of votes each player has received. I can tell you the number of unique visitors at www.baltimoreravens.com on a monthly basis far exceeds the number of votes Ed Reed has received, for example.  So even though they play different positions, just based on pride, I’d love to see our website visitors click over to NFL.com and give Reed more votes than the Steelers’ Troy Polomalu.

At least that’s one way to base your votes – simply sticking with your team. Some voters take a more objective point of view and vote for who they feel deserves the nod based on that one year’s performance. If you’re the latter, I suggest giving defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and running back Ray Rice serious looks.

Vince Wilfork leads the defensive tackles with 221,195 votes. Exactly where Ngata ranks is unknown, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s one of the best in the league at the position.

Right now, running backs Cedric Benson and Chris Johnson lead the way at the AFC running back position with 565,763 and 560,479 votes, respectively. We all know what Rice means to the Ravens’ offense and he certainly belongs in the mix.

Who else do you think deserves to be considered for the Pro Bowl?

Fans’ balloting counts for one-third of the makeup of the all-star rosters, with coaches’ and players’ votes getting the other shares. Fans can vote at NFL.com through Monday, Dec. 21.

Quick Hits

  • After setting an NFL record with 21 catches on Sunday, Denver receiver Brandon Marshall’s price is rising. With Marshall’s contract expiring after this season, he could become the league’s highest-paid receiver, says USA Today.
  • NFL players believe commissioner Roger Goodell is doing an above-average job leading the league. In a Sports Illustrated poll of 296 NFL players, 66 percent gave the commissioner either an ‘A’ or ‘B’ as a job-performance rating.
  • The fact that the meeting between Mike Holmgren and the Cleveland Browns to discuss the vacant front-office position didn’t take place weeks ago is “baffling” to ESPN’s James Walker.

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