NEW YORK -- One man's very preliminary view of the draft's four biggest winners:
Carolina Panthers: After a mostly quiet offseason, the Panthers made a fairly noticeable splash in the draft. They worked out a deal with the New York Jets to trade down from the 14th to 25th overall spot and got former University of Miami linebacker Jon Beason, who at the very least is a nice insurance policy given Dan Morgan's repeated concussions but who should prove to be much more. Former USC receiver Dwayne Jarrett, the second-round pick, is an exceptional talent for the Panthers to acquire with the 45th overall choice. Jarrett isn't particularly fast, but he knows how to get in the end zone with the ball in his hands. He had 41 receiving touchdowns in only three seasons with the Trojans. The Panthers picked up an extra second-rounder that they used on another former Trojan, Ryan Kalil, arguably the best center in the draft and someone who also should help bring much-needed help to their offense. In the third round, they found the eventual replacement for defensive end Mike Rucker in Georgia's Charles Johnson.
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons made perhaps the steal of the draft by getting former Texas guard Justin Blalock seven picks into the second round, 39th overall, with the choice they acquired as part of the trade that sent backup quarterback Matt Schaub to the Houston Texans. Blalock is polished enough to be an instant starter and should prove to be an outstanding player for many years to come. The Falcons also picked up tremendous value with their selection of former Arkansas cornerback Chris Houston, one of the top players at his position and someone capable of making an immediate contribution, two picks later (using a choice they acquired from the Minnesota Vikings). In addition, they did wonders for their depth by picking up former Arkansas defensive end Jamaal Anderson with the eighth overall selection, which they acquired from the Texans.
Indianapolis Colts: This is a case of the rich getting richer. The Colts found an ideal slot receiver for their spread-formation offense at the bottom of the first round in former Ohio State standout Anthony Gonzalez, a savvy route-runner who should find plenty of room to operate between Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. They used the second-round pick they acquired from San Francisco to land one of the top offensive tackles in this year's college crop, Tony Ugoh, formerly of Arkansas. Third-rounder Daymeion Hughes, a former California cornerback who excels in zone coverage, should compete for one of the starting vacancies created by the departures of Nick Harper and Jason David.
Ask Vic! Have a question for Vic on anything NFL related? Don't just sit there -- send it to AskVic@nfl.com, and the best questions will be answered throughout the season right here on NFL.com! Cleveland Browns: Sure, the Browns gave up plenty for the right to acquire former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn in the 22nd spot of the first round after using their original third-overall pick to grab former Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas. The price included their first-round pick in 2008. But so what? The Browns' hierarchy can't afford to be concerned about next year. The focus is on immediate improvement, or at the very least, establishing a legitimate foundation for the hope of the team getting significantly better in the coming years. That process begins with a franchise quarterback, and the Browns are convinced they have one in Quinn. It also requires a tackle that can keep him protected and can help the team to run the ball more effectively, and Thomas is that man.