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Jones pick was good news for Cowboys' Barber

Cold pizza and Chinese food usually make better leftovers than notebook nuggets. But these aren't bad, either.

» When Dallas bypassed Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall in favor of Arkansas running back Felix Jones, it also sent a message that it intends to sign free-agent running back Marion Barber to a long-term contract extension. Mendenhall was considered more of a workhorse, Jones more of a complementary back. If Dallas doesn't resign Barber to a long-term deal, Jones has no one to complement. Barber should be happy the pick was Jones, not Mendenhall. But so should the Cowboys. Dallas coach Wade Phillips already is comparing Jones to a former running back he coached in Buffalo, Thurman Thomas.

» The Panthers had inside information on their first-round pick, running back Jonathan Stewart. The team doctor, Robert Anderson, might be the most renowned foot specialist in the country. He performed the March foot surgery on Stewart. Typically the Panthers are the most conservative team in the league when it comes to passing players on their physicals. But Anderson had no concerns about Stewart's foot, and neither did the Panthers. Carolina pounced on Stewart at No. 13, who is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.

» One reason Denver was able to pass up Stewart at No. 12 was because it felt it would be able to get Arizona State running back Ryan Torian in one of the late rounds. And Denver wound up drafting Torian in the fifth round with the 139th selection -– 57 spots ahead of the spot where the Broncos once picked former Georgia running back Terrell Davis. Denver has the same kind of hopes for Torian as it did for Davis. But April is when hope runs wild; August is when teams find out whether those hopes are affirmed.

» In the another check-out-the-comparison category, Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden believes Tampa Bay's first-round pick Aqib Talib reminds him of a cornerback he used to coach in Oakland, Charles Woodson. He better live up to those comparisons. The Buccaneers passed on local favorite, Mike Jenkins of South Florida. So Talib might draw comparisons to Woodson now, but his career will be measured more often against Jenkins.

» Not that it is any great secret that Michael Vick will not be returning to the Falcons. But this weekend, it became unofficially official. When Atlanta used the third overall pick on Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan, it meant there was no more room on or in the franchise for Vick. Atlanta now will tailor its offense to Ryan's skills, which are diametrically opposed to Vick's. The Falcons' look, offense and feel are changing. And it starts with Ryan.

» Had Atlanta missed on Ryan, it's entirely possible the Falcons could have turned to the Bills for a quarterback. The Falcons offensive coordinator is Mike Mularkey, who drafted quarterback J.P. Losman in Buffalo. And Falcons tight ends coach Chris Scelfo was Losman's head coach at Tulane. So when two of Losman's former head coaches are on the same staff –- and both boosters of his -– there was every chance Atlanta would have made a move for him had Ryan not fallen to No. 3.

» Nobody should be overly surprised that the Dolphins dipped heavily into the University of Michigan for talent. Aside from the fact that Bill Parcells was enamored with the talents of Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long and quarterback Chad Henne, new Dolphins co-owner Stephen M. Ross graduated from Michigan's business school with a degree in accounting in 1962. Only it's not called Michigan's business school, not anymore. In 2004, Ross made the single largest contribution to the school, $100 million, and Michigan named its prestigious business school The Stephen M. Ross School of Business in his honor.

» So now that we know who the Dolphins have taken, is it time to start the clock on the quarterback controversy amongst Henne, John Beck and Josh McCown?

» Giants know something about Michigan wide receivers. Chris Calloway and Amani Toomer worked out pretty well for the Giants, and the feeling within the organization is that Mario Manningham will too.

» It's simple enough to see why the Giants held on to tight end Jeremy Shockey. Why wouldn't they? Shockey has four years remaining on his contract that is scheduled to pay him $1.9 million in base salary this season. He's a superb player at a cap-friendly price. No need to trade anyone like that unless a team gets a fair bounty in return.

» Last time the Bears drafted a quarterback was -– and this is a bit hard to believe -– 2005, when Chicago invested a fourth-round pick on Purdue's Kyle Orton, who might wind up starting this season. But since then, Chicago has acted as if it has Tom Brady, not Rex Grossman, on its roster. Three straight drafts, three straight years without picking a quarterback.

» It just doesn't seem like a draft unless New England drafts an offensive or defensive lineman. In fact, during his time in New England, Patriots coach Bill Belichick and his vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli never have had a draft in which they didn't draft a lineman. But this year they also drafted three linebackers -– Tennessee's Jerod Mayo, Michigan's Shawn Crable, Nebraska's Bo Rudd –- which is one fewer than he had drafted in all his years in New England. And before this year, the highest Belichick ever had drafted a linebacker in New England was the fifth round of the 2005 draft, when UNLV's Ryan Claridge was the pick.

» Both New Orleans and Cincinnati were bidding with Baltimore to move up and draft USC defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis. So the Saints did one better. They moved up to the seventh overall slot to draft Ellis. Kudos to the Saints on their foresight and aggressiveness.

» Tampa Bay plans to bring only five quarterbacks to camp –- Jeff Garcia, Brian Griese, Luke McCown and rookie fifth-round pick Josh Johnson. That leaves one spot remaining for veterans Chris Simms and Bruce Gradkowski. One is going to be traded or released. Smart money is on Simms, who already has checked out of Tampa Bay.

» Jacksonville also pulled off two draft trades to lasso two defensive ends, Florida's Derrick Harvey and Auburn's Quentin Groves. Many teams loved Harvey, but an equal number had significant character questions about Groves. In fact, at least three teams pulled Groves off their boards due to character concerns.

» The NFL loves speed, and it never was more evident than in the time the draft flew by. But even with a quicker draft, teams still completed an NFL record 34 draft weekend trades. Less time meant more advanced planning. And a more pleasant draft experience.

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