DraftTek.com has put up their review of the first round of the 2009 draft. For the Bucs that draft was significant for one major reason: they picked Josh Freeman in the first round. There's little doubt that Josh Freeman has turned out to be the best quarterback in that class (though if Stafford's healthy he might challenge Freeman for that title). Freeman looks to be the franchise QB the Bucs have been waiting for for a long, long time. The Bucs hit in a major, major way with their first-round selection.
Yet DraftTek claims that the selection of the Kansas State QB with the 17th overall pick was just the 9th best selection in that draft. Here's their top 10 list:
Best 2009 Round 1 Picks
1) Clay Matthews - An All-Pro Sack machine
2) Brian Orakpo - ditto
3) Brian Cushing - DROY, All-Pro tackle machine
4) Alex Mack - Rock solid AllPro center
5) Vontae Davis - Solid young Corner
6) Jeremy Maclin - Highly productive WR
7) Brandon Pettigrew - Blocking and pass-catching
8) Hakeem Nicks - Giants Go-To WR
9) Josh Freeman - Better than Stafford and Sanchez?
10) BJ Raji - Nose Tackle with 6.5 sacks in 2010
I can't really argue with the selection of Clay Matthews and Brian Orakpo. Matthews has been the best player on the Packers defense in his first two seasons, and he won Defensive Player of the Year in the second of those seasons. That's incredibly impressive. Couple that with the fact that the was selected with the 26th overall pick, and the Packers got great value there. A similar comment applies to Brian Orakpo, who has started every game he's played in and has 19.5 sacks in just two years. As the 13th overall pick he doesn't represent quite the value of Clay Matthews, but he's still a very good player.
But then things get....odd. Brian Cushing had a great first year, but he was busted for PEDs, missing the first four games of his second season. And when he came back, he really looked nothing like the impact player he was in his first year, and more like a solid but unspectacular linebacker. Has he really had a bigger impact for the Texans than Freeman has had for the Bucs so far? Then Alex Mack - a good center - but he plays center. And if you draft a center with the 21st overall pick, he'd better be a very good player. Did the Browns really get away with a steal tehre?
Continuing on, there's Vontae Davis. He's been a solid cornerback for the Dolphins, but hardly more than that. Again I ask: has he made a bigger impact than Josh Freeman? And then there are two really weird selections: Maclin and Pettigrew. Maclin is a good WR but he's hardly been a spectacular player, and Pettigrew has just kind of...been there. A good all-around tight, but not someone who has won games single-handedly for the Giants. I can see Hakeem Nicks being ahead of Josh Freeman, though. Despite some injury problems, Nicks has been a gamebreaking wide receiver for the Lions. He's certainly been more valuable for them than Maclin has been for the Eagles.
But the Bucs got a franchise quarterback with the 17th overall pick, someone who has turned into a leader for the Buccaneers, a quarterback who has won the Bucs games all on his own - and that's just the 9th best selection of the 2009 NFL Draft? Really?