April 24, 2010

Roundtable: What surprised in the first round?

At the College Football Roundtable each week, we ask members of the coverage staff for their opinions about a topic in college football. This week, we'll have two roundtables, one today and one Sunday.

What surprised you the most about the first round of the NFL draft?

Olin Buchanan's answer:
The biggest surprise was that California defensive lineman Tyson Alualu was a top-10 selection. That's not meant to question Alualu's ability -- he had 7.5 sacks last season and was one of the few bright spots for the Bears' defense. But he wasn't listed on many (any?) mock drafts as a first-round choice, much less a top-10 pick. Jacksonville needed to address its anemic pass rush, but there were players available with higher-profiles (Derrick Morgan, Jason Pierre-Paul and even Brandon Graham). But Alualu is talented. The Jaguars may have made a shrewd selection.

Tom Dienhart's answer:
It is a toss-up between Jimmy Clausen not being picked and Tim Tebow being picked so early. I'll go with Clausen not getting selected. Clausen appeared likely to go at No. 7 to Cleveland, at No. 9 to Buffalo or at No. 11 to San Francisco. It didn't happen. There is no denying Clausen's physical skills, and he played in the most NFL-ready offense among all the top quarterback prospects. Still, he wasn't picked. That only can mean that teams have concerns about Clausen's personality and leadership skills.

David Fox's answer:
California's Tyson Alualu wasn't on my radar as one of the top defensive linemen in college football last season, much less one of the top-10 draft prospects. Of course, maybe that's why I'm sitting behind a desk and not running an NFL franchise. Alualu was a nice college player. He had 16 career sacks and was an all-conference first-teamer in the Pac-10. He's probably a better pick than Everson Griffen and Jason Pierre-Paul, who generated more fanfare than their play dictated. It could turn out to be a good pick, but it seems awfully risky for a franchise struggling to get fans in the stands. Given the Jaguars' recent history in the first round, there's room to doubt if he was the best pick at No. 10.

Mike Huguenin's answer:
A few things about the first round surprised me: Jimmy Clausen and Taylor Mays not being picked, Jahvid Best and Tim Tebow being picked. The biggest, though, was Tyson Alualu going 10th. I always thought Alualu was underrated nationally. But No. 10 in the draft? Wow. Still, he's a better pick at 10 than Jason Pierre-Paul was at No. 15. I think Pierre-Paul is going to be a bust.

Steve Megargee's answer:
I was as surprised as anyone when Florida's Tim Tebow -- and not Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen -- was the second quarterback selected. But there had been some speculation late in the pre-draft process that someone might take a chance on Tebow late in the first round and that Clausen's stock was slipping. But I don't know of anyone who projected California defensive tackle Tyson Alualu to get taken as early as he did. Although Alualu's stock definitely was on the rise, most prognosticators didn't even have him going in the first round, let alone with the 10th overall pick. Alualu could turn out to be an outstanding player. The Jacksonville Jaguars certainly have shown they know a thing or two about defensive tackles, since they enjoyed their most recent successes when John Henderson and Marcus Stroud were plugging the middle. If Alualu plays as well as Henderson in his prime, nobody's going to be complaining about this pick five years from now. But on a night when so many teams were wheeling and dealing, you have to wonder if Jacksonville could have moved down and still gotten him late in the first round.


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