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News » Ryan, Flacco paved path for Stafford, Sanchez

Ryan, Flacco paved path for Stafford, Sanchez

Ryan, Flacco paved path for Stafford, Sanchez
JUMPING TO conclusions following the first round of the NFL draft:

n Matt Stafford and Mark Sanchez can thank Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco for their newfound riches.

With Ryan and Flacco guiding the Falcons and Ravens into the postseason, it was easier for the Detroit Lions and New York Jets to convince themselves to be bold.

The Lions pushed a minimum of $41.7 million into the pot on their Stafford gamble despite the quarterback's occasionally erratic history at Georgia.

The Jets could wind up spending more than half that on USC's Sanchez without knowing whether they've gotten Carson Palmer or Matt Leinart, and they also gave up the Nos. 17 and 52 picks and three players to move up 12 spots to get him.

The only sure thing?

Stafford's contract will provide a significant push toward a rookie wage scale.

Looking for a bigger reach than Darrius Heyward-Bey by the Raiders at No. 7 overall?

It doesn't exist, although Denver gets an honorable mention for dealing its first-round pick next season to get Wake Forest corner Alphonso Smith in the second round this year.

Someone suggested on my quot;Inside the Raiders blogquot; the trade was made so Denver could contain Heyward-Bey.

Coach Tom Cable compared Heyward-Bey to Randy Moss. He's got a point in that Heyward-Bey's last college season (42 catches 609 yards) was similar to Moss' second year in Oakland (43 catches, 553 yards).

The beauty of the pick is that they bypassed Michael Crabtree, who ended up in San Francisco, and the picks can be debated for years.

Tampa Bay's selection of Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman at No. 17 means that last year's Josh, Josh Johnson out of Oakland Tech and the University of San Diego, could be looking for a new team at some point during training camp.

Don't look for Freeman to get a lot of help from free-agent acquisition Byron Leftwich.

quot;They told me it was a smokescreen, everybody would think they didn't want a quarterback,'' Freeman said in an NFL.com chat.

Florida wide receiver/running back Percy Harvin was reported to have tested positive for marijuana but had a blazing 40-yard dash time and went in the first round to the Minnesota Vikings.

USC linebacker Rey Maualuga was in the 4.9 range, tested positive for nothing and dropped into the second round when the Bengals got him at No. 38. Maualuga got the most publicity at USC but wound up going behind teammates Brian Cushing at No. 15 to Houston and Clay Matthews at No. 26 to Green Bay.

There's a lesson in there somewhere, but probably not the one the NFL wants repeated.

San Jose State is still waiting for its first draft pick in the first round since Gill Byrd in 1983. Defensive end/tackle Jarron Gilbert wasn't drafted in the second round, either, and should hear his name called sometime early today.

Cable thinks his team is just fine at offensive tackle, and he'd better be right. San Diego got a strong outside pass rusher in Larry English at No. 16 overall and will return a healthy Shawne Merriman to go along with Shaun Phillips.

Arizona wide receiver Anquan Boldin, Cleveland wide receiver Braylon Edwards and Derrick Burgess learned about their market value Saturday, and the news wasn't good.

Donovan McNabb ought to have no complaints about the Eagles draft, as they added Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin to go along with 2008 draft pick DeSean Jackson from Cal and taking Pitt running back LeSean McCoy to reduce the workload of Brian Westbrook.

The Raiders are getting as much abuse for second-round pick Mike Mitchell, a safety from Ohio University, as they are for their first-round pick of Heyward-Bey. I love the idea of taking another shot for an enforcer in the secondary, however, and Mitchell said he's got three knockouts to his credit.

Contact Jerry McDonald at jmcdonald@bayareanewsgroup.com

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 28, 2009

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