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The two day NFL marathon is finally over.  Now the talking heads and draftniks are engaged in the totally useless practice of rating the draft.  The Ravens got a “B” from ESPN and a “C-“ from CBS?  Who cares?  You have to wait 3 years from now to truly gauge the job NFL clubs have done.  Nice job, Mel.  Way to go, Todd.  Good analysis, Drew.  Now go away until next November.
As a fan, here are a few things that standout for me from what was the longest NFL draft in history:
Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta constantly talk about staying “true to their (Raven) boards” and not drafting for need.  So what did they do?  After losing Ed Mulitalo and Tony Pashos, the Ravens selected the best guard in the draft, Ben Grubbs, and a guard/tackle hybrid from the Kirk Ferentz School of Offensive Linemanship. 
Got a kick returner in trouble with both the Law and NFL Sheriff Goodell? You say he’s coming off a broken leg and facing free agency after 07?  No problem!  Just draft a wide receiver that had the best 40 time at the NFL Combine who also doubles as a kick returner. 
Lose your lead blocker out of the backfield to free agency?  Just select the best pure fullback and road grader in the draft.  Bonus – he can catch passes, too.
Got Adalius Thomas withdrawal?  Pick up a couple of LB tweeners that will have immediate impact on special teams and can back fill the linebacker positions.  
Looking for quarterback to mentor?  Try drafting the Heisman Trophy winner with the last pick of the 5th round. 
My only disappointment is that the Ravens didn’t address the looming cornerback problem.  But Newsome and DeCosta showed why they’re draft day wizards.  Detail counts.  Big Board and Big Need were successfully melded once again.
My Notes from the Marathon:
Ø       I never thought I’d see the day when Ozzie Newsome would make an Auburn Tiger a Raven 1st round draft choice.  Of course he made up for it by taking Alabama fullback Le’Ron McClain in the 4th round.
Ø       Roger Goodell is getting justifiable props for reigning in some of the NFL bad boys, but he gets another shout out for moving Brady Quinn away from the cameras.  After the 10th round, it was getting brutal.
Ø       Of course, they’re just delirious on the Mistake on the Lake because Quinn, in addition to being a top pick, is a "Cleveland guy."  (Personal note: I’ve never seen a city put more emphasis on where their football players are born.  They’re still pissed off because Art Lerner wouldn’t hire Bernie Kosar into an executive position with the Browns.  Kosar could certainly throw a football in his time, but we don’t know if he can manage his way out of a paper bag.  But that’s OK – he’s a "Cleveland guy!"  Also see Dave Zastudil, Joe Jerevicius, LeCharles Bentley, and too many more to mention.)
Ø       I thought Mel Kiper was going to have a cow right on the air when the Dolphins passed on Quinn and then took OSU’s Ted Ginn.  I definitely saw a few hairs fall out of place on that pompadour. 
Ø       Phil Savage went All In and played his draft cards just right. He probably saved his job on Saturday.  Romeo Crennel? You’re on the Budweiser Hot Seat.
Ø       The Redskins had another bad draft, but oh, wait a minute!  They don’t believe in the draft anyway!  They selected the best d-back in college when they desperately need d-line help.  Just another sign that Joe Gibbs might be in the # 20 crew chief tower watching Tony Stewart making left turns in 08.
Ø       Troy Freaking Smith.  It’s hard to believe that having the single worst game of your career in the BCS championship game coupled with being 2" shorter than ideal could cost you that much money.  But he’s here and he’s ours, and I can’t wait to see how Steve McNair works with Troy this season. 
Ø       Kyle Boller?  Adios, baby.  You can get a head start on that modeling/acting career now.
Ø       Some in the national media are giving the Patriots high draft marks but they get a big raspberry from me.  The Pats drafted Florida International head stomper Brandon Meriweather out of Miami, and then picked up legendary head case & All Pro quitter Randy Moss from the Raiders.  Great character, great work ethic.  Let the Ravens try that and watch the comparisons to Ray and Jamal Lewis’ problems crank up.
Ø       One final thing…. Troy Smith is from Cleveland.  If he doesn’t pan out here, in about 3 years he can probably find work for a football team in Ohio; you know – the one on Lake Erie.

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Fran "The Fan" Vojik

About Fran "The Fan" Vojik

Fran Vojik has been a contributor to the Ravens24X7 site since 2005, first as a regular on the “Letters to T.L.” page, then as the author of the Fran the Fan column. A huge Orioles and Ravens fan, he defines the term “homer.” A former season ticket holder of the Baltimore Colts, he now roots on the Ravens from his corner end zone seat in M&T Bank Stadium. His work makes him a regular traveler to various MLB and NFL cities and he’s watched both the Birds and Purple and Black in a variety of away stadiums. He brings a passionate and humorous perspective to the world of professional sports. Born in Highlandtown, and a graduate of Calvert Hall College and the University of Maryland, he lives on Furnace Creek in northern Anne Arundel County. He and his girlfriend, Sandy, have recently renovated his Man Cave, known as the “The Sports Palace,” which contains many mementos from the Colts, Ravens, and Orioles. On days the Ravens play at home, Fran can usually be found tailgating at the Baltimore Fire Fighters Union Hall Local 734 , supporting the organization’s Widow’s and Orphan’s fund.

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