Draft is over, but Green remains a Chief
Trent Green was hoping to be the third notable veteran traded on Sunday, but the Chiefs and Dolphins could not strike a deal, writes John Clayton.
NEW YORK -- The day started with two trades of veteran receivers, and then the phones went quiet.
Even though several veterans were being shopped in the days leading up to the 2007 NFL draft, teams concentrated on making selections instead of worrying about established players. Though many experts weren't thrilled with the draft as a whole, it was strong on wide receivers along with offensive and defensive linemen. Teams dug heavy into the 2008 draft -- three first-rounders were traded away -- to either fulfill needs or get the best draft choices available.
Randy Moss' trade to the Patriots grabbed the headlines. Darrell Jackson going from the Seahawks to their NFC West rival 49ers was the sidebar. Teams passing on Florida quarterback Chris Leak, whose lack of height hurt his draft stock, was also noteworthy.
Here are five observations from the second day of the draft.
1. No coach has more job security than Mike Shanahan in Denver. Owner Pat Bowlen extended his contract for three more years through 2011, and everyone around the league knows Shanahan can stay in Denver as long as he wants. He's as attached to the franchise as the Broncos nickname. Despite such a comfortable position, Shanahan made the boldest moves of the draft. He selected Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss in the first round and Florida defensive tackle Marcus Thomas in the third round. Both have marijuana incidents in their past. Thomas was considered perhaps the biggest character risk in the draft. The timing was curious. Commissioner Roger Goodell not only wants to come down heavy on problem players, but he wants to come down hard on teams that acquire them and have repeated problems thereafter.
"The commissioner has the right to make a decision based on what he has experienced before," Shanahan said Sunday during his press conference. "I think the policy is good for our league and good for our image. I am very proud to be a part of the National Football League and I support the guidelines. What goes with that is responsibility. If we are going to draft a guy, you have to have a gut feeling."
If the Broncos' gut feeling is wrong, they could stand to lose a lot. Goodell promised to not only fine teams with repeat violators without internal support, but the league could take away a draft choice. The Bengals, for instance, have drafted players who have character risks, and the team has trouble keeping those players out of the headlines. Shanahan rolled the dice. He could come out a big winner. Thomas, in Shanahan's eyes, could be a starter this season. Moss will likely begin his career as a pass-rush specialist and then compete for a starting job. But if these players have troubles off the field.
2. The stare-off between the Chiefs and Dolphins continues. No one blinked. The Chiefs waited to see if the Dolphins would change their position on offering only a sixth-round pick for quarterback Trent Green. They didn't. Round 4 passed without a trade. Round 5 passed without a trade. It came down to Round 6 and nothing happened. Green's agent, Jim Steiner, kept calling the Chiefs, pleading with them to trade his client. He has a restructured contract in place with the Dolphins, the only viable trading partner for the Chiefs. With the draft passing without a trade, this deadlock could continue until June. Green is scheduled to make $7.2 million this season, but if he would lose the starting quarterback job to Damon Huard, he would be the third-stringer behind Brodie Croyle. The Chiefs want Croyle as the backup because he could be their starter in 2008. Miami coach Cam Cameron has an interesting decision to make in the next month. He has to either embrace Daunte Culpepper as his starting quarterback or wait until June when Green will probably be cut.
3. It had to be disappointing for Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith to fall to the bottom of the fifth round, but in many ways, he gets a break. Smith, who was drafted by Baltimore, goes to a good offensive system on a winning team. He has no pressure as the third quarterback behind Steve McNair and Kyle Boller. Boller is in the last year of his contract and could be on the way out, which is why Baltimore might be the perfect team. Though Smith is short and not the most accurate quarterback, he has a gun for an arm. At the combine, the velocity of his throws was about the best among all the quarterbacks who worked out. Good coaching could groom him into a possible backup role next season if Boller leaves.
4. Perhaps the biggest upset of Day 2 was that UCLA kicker Jaustin Medlockwent ahead of Mason Crosby of Colorado as the top kicker in the draft. Medlock went in the fifth round to the Chiefs. Crosby went to the Packers in the sixth round and was actually the third place-kicker selected. Crosby was considered one of the best kicking prospects in years. Heading into the offseason, most people thought he could go as high as the second round. The first sense Medlock could beat out Crosby came at an ESPN skills competition in Florida. Medlock showed more consistency with his stroke and was better on the long field goals. Crosby didn't kick that well at the combine, but most of the place-kickers didn't do as well in Indianapolis. Some wondered if Crosby was a benefactor of the thin air in Colorado. Regardless, Medlock won because of his smooth stroke.
5. Perhaps the best choice of Day 2 was the Raiders' selection of Michael Bush, the running back from Louisville. He went in the fourth round instead of the first because of his problems with his fractured leg. Bush said he should be 100 percent in June. Maybe he will or maybe he won't, but Bush could be the Raiders' back of the future. Oakland coach Lane Kiffin compared him to LenDale White, whom he coached at Southern Cal. If he's healthy this year, he could challenge LaMont Jordan for playing time. The Raiders don't have to rush him. He's a powerful 243-pound back who is in good condition. Kiffin sold Dominic Rhodes on coming to the Raiders to be in a system similar to what Reggie Bush and LenDale White had at USC. If Michael Bush is a hit, he would take the White role and Rhodes would be the Reggie Bush, catching passes and running outside. For a fourth-round pick, you couldn't do much better.
John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
2007 NFL DRAFT
• Kiper: Draft grades
• Clayton: Day 2 observations
• Pasquarelli: Draft wrap
• Matt Mosley blog (Sun.)
• Raiders take Russell No. 1
• Browns move up for Quinn
• Complete draft coverage
• Clayton: Winners and losers
• Pasquarelli: Long first round
• Pasquarelli: Day 2 pass-rushers
• Clayton: Active trade market
• Kiper: Good, bad decisions
• Craziness in NY
• Analysis: 1st | 2nd | 3rd
• Trade tracker
• Draft Q&A
• Complete draft board
• Top-rated prospects
• Team needs: AFC | NFC
• Decision makers: AFC | NFC