This has been one of the least predictable drafts in recent memory. Owners have cleared out the Matt Millens and Marty Hurneys of the world, and general managers and scouting departments are much better. Surprise picks and so-called can't-miss players falling down the draft board look like two more examples of a rapidly evolving league.
Let's try to make some sense of Friday's twists and turns.
Geno and the Jets
The New York Jets are a coal mine, a gritty one from a hundred years ago. Every day of their existence gets drearier. Geno Smith is either a way out or one more awful setback. I'm not really sure. Keep an eye on the strange dichotomy there. Rex Ryan is pretty much a lame duck coach. John Idzik is the new general manager. Whose pick is Smith? And what happens when Idzik and Woody Johnson bring in a new coaching staff?
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is the guy to watch in New York. On the surface, his success with the Eagles bodes well for Smith and the Jets offense. If Rex is out, do they keep him around to prevent Smith from having to learn a second offense in two seasons?
I'll go out on a limb and predict that David Garrard starts Week 1 for the Jets. Mark Sanchez? Sure, it looks like it would be hard to cut him because of so much dead cap space. Keeping him on the roster at this point is dead cap space, too. And Tim Tebow? Does anyone really care at this point?
Honey Badger in the Desert
Sedona seems like the perfect place to dry out. I'm surprised some old-school newspaper columnist hasn't made that connection yet. Then again, I haven't checked to see what Rob Parker's written this morning. Tyrann Mathieu is going to the Phoenix suburbs, not Sedona.
Conventional wisdom is that the Cardinals are a perfect fit for him. He'll be in a secondary with Patrick Peterson, his mentor who helped him get on track in the lead up to the draft. In that sense, Mathieu should be fine. Kids make mistakes, and with a little guidance from the right people they usually turn out fine.
What I wonder about Mathieu to the Cardinals is the actual Xs and Os fit. Beyond Peterson, Arizona is pretty thin in the secondary. They lost both Kerry Rhodes and Adrian Wilson. Jerraud Powers is starting opposite Peterson at corner. Mathieu can be a real playmaker on the ball, but the rest of the secondary has to be wired pretty tight to let him do his thing. On the other hand, if the Cardinals are going to have a chance of winning games against NFC West opponents that are miles ahead, they need big turnovers to do it.
Five Best Picks from Day Two
Tank Carradine, DL, 49ers - You knew San Francisco wasn't going to use all six dozen picks (approximately) they had, so Trent Baalke swung another deal to move up in the second round and snag the Florida State defensive end. He is a pretty raw prospect. Fortunately, the 49ers have no need to lean on their rookies. He gets a limited amount of reps as an understudy to Justin Smith and a world-class defensive front.
Terron Armstead, OT, Saints - Tremendous get by the Saints front office. You probably remember Armstead from his blazing workout at the Combine. Coming from Arkansas Pine Bluff, he'll need some coaching, but his ability should translate well to that offense. Drew Brees has a knack for elevating tackle play on his own. We're not even halfway through the draft, and it looks like the Saints are back on a track.
Damontre Moore, DE, Giants - Finally, some Jerry Reese magic after a head scratcher in the first round. There was a time when many felt like Moore was a first-round pick. The Giants snagged him in the third.
Arthur Brown, LB, Ravens - No more Ray Lewis, no problem. Okay, Moore moves well and doesn't miss many tackles. Yes, he has big shoes to fill, and the scouting reports don't tell us if he has any aptitude for fiery, somewhat bizarre locker room speechs. Ozzie Newsome has done an incredible job of restocking his defense after losing some key starters.
Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers - I wasn't too shocked to see Allen fall this far in the draft, not with lingering injury concerns. When he is healthy, he's a great fit with Philip Rivers throwing him ball.
We learned this week that blaming Lane Kiffin for your shitty senior year, while a valid criticism, does nothing to fool NFL general managers. Sorry, Matt Barkley.
It really is a tough year for signal callers. Then again, there are a fair number of teams right now that have their quarterback. Some of these guys, like Tyler Wilson from Arkansas, could very well turn up as NFL starters after a few years of clipboard duty.
Why has no team drafted Quinton Patton yet? Sure, he has that small school label attached to him, but he looks like he could be a solid possession receiver type in the NFL along with some upside.
There have been 16 offensive linemen drafted so far. Only one of them is a center. Some team is going to get a fantastic bargain when it picks Alabama's Barrett Jones.
Remember when UCLA running back Jonathan Franklin was going to leap into the first round? He's still waiting to be drafted. I get that running backs are valued differently nowadays, but I'm really shocked he didn't get picked in the third round at least.