By John Helsley
We’re far from Philly here in the heartland, but the still stunning deal that sent Donovan McNabb from the Eagles to the Redskins sent aftershocks our way, or more precisely, Russell Okung’s way.
With the Redskins seemingly no longer looking to the top of the NFL Draft for an impact quarterback, the early slots of the first round are starting to take shape. And that should be good news for Okung, who likely goes by pick No. 5 (at the latest) and as high as No. 2 if the Lions are convinced that protection for quarterback Matthew Stafford is their priority.
Similarly, it’s good news, too, for OU’s Sam Bradford, but that’s a different blog.
Before the McNabb deal, the Redskins were in play to make a move up to grab a QB, which could have altered the outlook of the draft’s early stages and possibly pushed Okung down a few notches.
With McNabb now in the nation’s capitol, some of the smoke has cleared, although it’s always possible another team could find reason to rush to the front and nab one of the elite defensive tackles or Jimmy Clausen or who knows if the Raiders get involved, spinning picks sideways.
It’s just unlikely, leaving the Lions at No. 2 and the Redskins at No. 4 carrying an interest and a need for bolstering the key position of left tackle. And Okung generally is considered the left tackle most ready to play immediately and play well.
ESPN’s popular draft gurus, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, follow along in their latest mock drafts.
Kiper and McShay differ in their assessment of former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, based strictly on character issues.
Kiper shoots down such thoughts in his latest take, pegging Bryant for the Browns at No. 7, saying:
“I’ve talked to people around the league about Dez Bryant, and I can tell you the notion that there are concerns about Bryant’s character is blown out of proportion. Here the Browns get the best WR in the draft, a threat they really need, and a player that, in a football environment, is a workhorse and a producer. I think K.C. will also be looking hard at Bryant at No. 5, but will ultimately pass and allow the Browns to get him.”