1st Round Review
JaMarcus Russell, 1st overall selection, QB, Oakland Raiders
The LSU product made his first start in the final week of the season against the Chargers. He completed 23 of 31 passes for 224 yards and a touchdown. He also threw an interception, bringing his season totals to two touchdowns to four interceptions. Russell showed flashes of talent, but he still clearly has a lot to learn. He’ll have a chance to win the starting role in Oakland next season.
Calvin Johnson, 2nd overall selection, WR, Detroit Lions
Johnson was considered the cream of the crop by many at the draft, and he didn’t disappointed. He missed a game due to injury, but he was able to total 756 yards on 48 receptions with four touchdowns. Competing for looks with Roy Williams and Shaun McDonald cut into his potential production, but he still managed 15.8 yards per catch, making for a large and athletic down-field target. His best effort came in week fifteen, when he posted 102 receiving yards against San Diego. Johnson had little trouble adapting to the NFL game, and as he gains experience, he should become a fearsome weapon.
Joe Thomas, 3rd overall selection, OT, Cleveland Browns
Thomas plays on the line, a place that often goes overlooked when compared to the “skill” position players, but Thomas has been anything but a slouch. The Cleveland Browns finished a strong 10-6, barely missing the playoffs. Much of the team’s success had to do with the emergence of quarterback Derek Anderson and an improved run game. Thomas helped provide time for Anderson and open holes for the backs, and his presence was a crucial factor in the team’s turnaround from last season. While Peterson and other rookies may garner more attention, many will argue that Thomas had a similar impact and maybe an even greater one.
Gaines Adams, 4th overall selection, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Adams had a solid rookie season, finishing with 38 total tackles, six sacks, and two forced fumbles. In week eleven against Atlanta, he had a pair of sacks in a strong effort. His immediate impact helped the Buccaneers defense live up to its reputation as one of the league’s best, and Tampa Bay was able to make the playoffs. Adams is a large and quick end that has a very bright future in store.
Levi Brown, 5th overall selection, OT, Arizona Cardinals
He made his share of rookie mistakes, and he had an off game or two, but overall Brown was a source of strength on the offensive line. The Cardinals offensive line has struggled in recent seasons, but Brown appears to be the type of player that can turn that around. He has a good deal of room to grow, but if he does, he’ll be an anchor in Arizona.
LaRon Landry, 6th overall selection, S, Washington Redskins
The former LSU safety picked up where he left off in college. He didn’t come away from the regular season with an interception, but Landry was seemingly everywhere at times and made big plays when he had to. He amassed 95 total tackles, as he grew into his role. Landry also had seven passes defensed and 1.5 sacks. Having to deal with the loss of teammate Sean Taylor made for a difficult season across the NFL and for the Redskins, and the Landry and his teammates were able to play inspired football down the stretch. Landry has a nose for the ball, and the Redskins have a solid talent to work with.
Adrian Peterson, 7th overall selection, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Peterson was named offnsive Rookie of the Year. He piled up 1,341 rushing yards and twelve touchdowns, along with 268 receiving yards and another score. And he did it all while missing two games and splitting carries. He finished as the NFC’s top rusher and was second in the entire NFL. Peterson’s huge leap into the spotlight came in a week six victory against the Chicago Bears, when he carried the ball for 224 yards and three touchdowns, averaging more than eleven yards per carry. He was able to top that effort in week nine against the Chargers, when he rushed for a new NFL single game record 296 yards along with three touchdowns. He is also one of three rookies to be elected to the Pro Bowl.
Jamaal Anderson, 8th overall selection, DE, Atlanta Falcons
Anderson finished the season with 30 total tackles and forced a fumble, but the Falcons had to be hoping he would produce more given his draft position. The entire Falcons organization faced some difficult problems this season, though, so Anderson will have a chance to increase his production as the team finds stability.
Ted Ginn, Jr., 9th overall selection, WR, Miami Dolphins
Ginn showed promise this season, and his 420 receiving yards and two touchdowns are decent totals to build on, especially when you consider the injuries his offensive unit battled all season long. Ginn’s biggest contribution came on special teams, though, where he totaled 1,433 kickoff return yards at an average of 22.7 yards per return. He also added 230 punt return yards and took one back for a touchdown. As he adjusts to the NFL game, his athletic talent and instinct will show even more.
Amobi Okoye, 10th, overall selection, DT, Houston Texans
Okoye is very young, but also very good. He tallied 32 tackles, forced a fumble, and found the quarterback for a sack 5.5 times. The Texans had a strong start to the season until injuries and inconsistent play slowed the team, but at times the defense looked much better than in the past, and his work alongside former first-round pick Mario Williams was a reason for it. Okoye’s play tapered off late in the season, but given time, he will adjust to the NFL season and be an even greater force.
Patrick Willis, 11th overall selection, LB, San Francisco 49ers
Willis was named defensive Rookie of the Year and he’s been invited to the Pro Bowl. He patrolled the field for the 49ers in a menacing way all season and was a reason for hope going forward. While the defense struggled at times, Willis was a consistent performer and constantly found the ball and made the play. He’s a solid tackler who makes plays all around the field, and his impressive 174 total tackles back it up. He was also able to force two fumbles and tally four sacks during the course of the season. Willis should be a stud linebacker for a long time to come.
Marshawn Lynch, 12th overall selection, RB, Buffalo Bills
If not for Adrian Peterson, Lynch would be considered the top rookie running back of 2007. He totaled 1,115 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground, in just 13 games. He also added 184 receiving yards. Lynch was one of the few true bright spots for the Bills and his 85.8 rushing yards per game was solid production that could be counted on. In week nine against the Bengals, Lynch has his best game of the year when he ran for 153 yards and a score. Lynch is still developing, of course, but he seems to have the talent necessary to make a sizable impact in the league.
Adam Carriker, 13th overall selection, DE, St. Louis Rams
Carriker was able to total 30 tackles and a pair of sacks on the season, but he’ll need to do more if he wants to impress in the NFL. The Rams are known for having a below average defense, and Carriker was drafted to help that issue, but it didn’t quite work out as the team faced injury and got off to a very slow start.
Darrelle Revis, 14th overall selection, CB, New York Jets
Revis was able to put together a solid season by seeking out the ball and making plays fairly regularly. He made 87 total tackles and came away with three interceptions. He was also credited with 17 passes defensed and a forced fumble, making for a well-rounded effort. While the Jets struggled throughout the season, the play and talent of Revis is something that the team can look forward to.
Lawrence Timmons, 15th overall selection, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Timmons saw limited action for Pittsburgh, making just 13 total tackles on the season. The Steelers have always been known for their linebackers, so Timmons may have to wait to find substantial playing time. As he develops, the team will look to find him a spot to see what they have in the former FSU defender.
Justin Harrell, 16th overall selection, DT, Green Bay Packers
Harrell is another rookie that was limited because of the roster depth at his position. The Packers have one of the league’s better defensive fronts and Harrell was able to register just 16 tackles in parts of seven games played. He has the talent around him to help his development.
Jarvis Moss, 17th overall selection, DE, Denver Broncos
Moss played in six games before injuring breaking a fibula and being placed on injured reserve. In those six games he recorded 12 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. The Broncos look forward to seeing what Moss can do when healthy for an entire season.
Leon Hall, 18th overall selection, CB, Cincinnati Bengals
While playing for one of the lower ranked defenses in the league, Hall managed to have a decent year. He tallied 69 tackles, had 12 passes defensed, and forced a fumble. More impressive, however, is the fact that Hall was able to haul in five interceptions. Given time, Hall should become a very dependable cornerback.
Michael Griffin, 19th overall selection, S, Tennessee Titans
Griffin made 54 tackles and had three interceptions for the playoff bound Titans. Even though the team lost cornerback Pacman Jones before the season started, Griffin was able to step in and help the secondary stay fairly consistent. Griffin also forced a fumble and looks to continue making his early mark in the opening round of the playoffs.
Aaron Ross, 20th overall selection, CB, New York Giants
Ross is another Texas product—Griffin bring the other—playing in the secondary for a playoff team. Ross was able to make 42 tackles while picking off three passes and taking one of them to the endzone. He also had 1.5 sacks and nine passes defensed, making for a decent season overall. Ross has a chance to build on his success in the postseason.
Reggie Nelson, 21st overall selection, S, Jacksonville Jaguars
Nelson was known as a big hitter in college and he brought that same mentality to the Jaguars this season. He came up with five interceptions and a sack to go along with his 62 tackles. Nelson helped Jacksonville’s defense continue to be one of the more respected units in the NFL. He also gets a chance to taste his first playoff play this season.
Brady Quinn, 22nd overall selection, QB, Cleveland Browns
Quinn had his first chance to throw a pass in the team’s final game of the season, as starter Derek Anderson received a rest. Quinn was relegated to the bench because of Anderson’s strong play, and there were even rumors that Quinn may be traded. Quinn threw just eight passes, completing three for 45 yards. Quinn will have to hope for an opportunity next season.
Dwayne Bowe, 23rd overall selection, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs finished tied for last in their division, lost their last nine games, struggled to find a starting quarterback, and lost their star running back for a large portion of the season. Even with all of those issues and obstacles, Bowe was able to finish the season with 995 receiving yards, the third highest total in his division, and score five touchdowns. His breakout performance came in week four against San Diego, when he caught eight passes for 164 yards and a touchdown. Coming into the season, Bowe was overshadowed by fellow rookie receiver Calvin Johnson, but he was able to outperform the second overall pick.
Brandon Meriweather, 24th overall selection, S, New England Patriots
Meriweather can say he played for an undefeated Patriots team during the regular season, but because of the talent and experience in front of him, he didn’t see a lot of playing time. He did have 28 tackles and he has the chance to learn in one of the league’s best environments.
Jon Beason, 25th overall selection, LB, Carolina Panthers
Beason stepped in and got to work right away, accumulating an impressive 140 tackles for the Panthers. The team struggled much of the season, but Beason got his career off on the right foot, consistently posting double-digit tackle totals during games. Beason’s instinct should allow him to create turnovers and improve his overall play.
Anthony Spencer, 26th overall selection, DE, Dallas Cowboys
Spencer and the Cowboys make the playoffs as the top team in the NFC, and Spencer’s help off the end has been a nice contribution. He made 36 tackles and had three sacks, and was able to apply pressure fairly regularly. Spencer seems to have a nice future ahead of him, and the Cowboys are excited to see him reach his potential.
Robert Meachem, 27th overall selection, WR, New Orleans Saints
Some felt that Meachem might earn a starting role, but the Saints never dressed him for a single game this season. Meachem should get his shot next season.
Joe Staley, 28th overall selection, OT, San Francisco 49ers
Staley worked into a starting role and did an adequate job for the most part. The entire 49ers team had their ups and mostly downs this season, so the team can only hope that Staley develops into a quality offensive lineman; he’s on his way.
Ben Grubbs, 29th overall selection, OG, Baltimore Ravens
Grubbs helped open holes for running back Willis McGahee, who posted strong numbers this season. The guard earned a starting spot and kept it by playing fairly well as he adapted to the NFL. While Baltimore struggled, Grubbs is another rookie that has a chance to be a pretty good player.
Craig Davis, 30th overall selection, WR, San Diego Chargers
Davis finished the regular season with 20 receptions for 188 receiving yards and a touchdown. He didn’t see a lot of looks playing behind receiving options like Vincent Jackson, Chris Chambers, and Antonio Gates, but he did look good when he had a chance to get the ball. Davis could develop into a high quality weapon.
Greg Olsen, 31st overall selection, TE, Chicago Bears
The top tight end in the draft lived up to his billing. The Bears had a miserable season by recent standards, but Olsen was a bright spot for the future. He pulled in 39 passes for 391 yards and a pair of scores. Olsen has become an effective target in the Bears’ passing game and he’ll look to build on his success next season. While the Bears’ offense was hit-or-miss, the former Miami player had a midseason stretch of strong play, including a 63 yard effort against Minnesota in week six. He could be one of the best pass-catching tight ends sooner rather than later.
Anthony Gonzalez, 32nd overall selection, WR, Indianapolis Colts
With receiver Marvin Harrison missing most of the season due to injury, Gonzalez was asked to do a bit more than most expected of him. He finished the regular season with a nice 576 receiving yards on 37 receptions and three touchdowns. He also went over the century mark in two games, including a 134 yard, two touchdown effort against Baltimore in week 14. Gonzalez could be a major factor in the playoffs, especially if Harrison is hindered by his injury. The Colts may have found another quality receiving target through the draft.
Click here to read the draft steals from later rounds.