Now that the draft is done, and a few of the free-agent contracts have been signed, a two-part question comes to mind:
1. Which Tech draftee will make an immediate impact?
2. Which Tech draftee will have the longest impact?
It would be easy to answer Michael Johnson to both questions. He’s got the size, he’ll play an impact position for the Bengals, he was drafted highest.
However, he may have to learn a new position (OLB), and while his rep of taking plays off may be unfortunate, more than one person, including Cincy’s coaches, referenced him not playing as hard as he needs to all the time. (It should be noted that MJ also played a lot of special teams last year, so I wouldn’t blame him if, every once in a while, he wasn’t going full-bore).
Walker to the Falcons and Richard to the Patriots could both play a lot as rotational players (not to discount their chances of starting), which seems to be the newest trend the NFL has adopted for linemen after the Giants substituted so well in their Super Bowl run two years ago. Of course, if they are in a rotation they may not play as much, which could minimize their impact.
And then there’s Gardner. The Dolphins are seemingly set at tackle. Can Gardner play guard? He’s fast (a sub-5 40 at Tech’s pro day), but is he quick? If he can get out and pull, trap, etc., Gardner could have a long career in the NFL.
So, what do you think, immediate impact, and longest impact?