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Draft King Analysis

January 10, 2008
Lou Pickney,

Reader feedback is always welcomed here at Send your thoughts to me at

From: Matt Segerman
Date: Jan 8, 2008 5:55 AM
Subject: chad johnson and darren mcfadden

with chad wanting out of cincinatti what are the chance that the raiders pick him up and what could we trade.... and if mcfadden long and ellis are on the board at the raiders pick who do they take?

Lou: It appears that Chad Johnson has tried to force a "Marvin Lewis goes or I go" ultimatum on Cincinnati, and how that plays out remains to be seen. Considering that the Bengals appear set to bring Lewis back for 2008, that would complicate things.

For the Raiders, acquiring CJ isn't a simple free agent signing. That would require negotiating a trade with Cincinnati, and that could get very complicated. As per his page on (a great NFL contract resource), Johnson signed a six year, $35.5 million dollar deal in April 2006 with a $5 million signing bonus. Here's the breakdown:

2008: $3 million (with a $250K "workout bonus")
2009: $4.5 million (another $250K "workout bonus")
2010: $5 million (yet another $250K "workout bonus")
2011: *TEAM OPTION* $6 million
2012: Free Agent

The pro-rated remainder of the signing bonus wouldn't be crushing to the cap, even though it would be applied to the current cap year. Johnson just turned 30, and he should remain in prime performing condition in the next few years, barring injury.

Unlike RBs who typically hit the wall at 30, wide receivers can often be successful into their mid-30s, particularly guys with great skills who don't just rely on speed. Though, with 36-year-old speedster Joey Galloway still an NFL force, even the occasional speed guy can stick around.

The interesting situation with the Bengals is that they have two excellent receivers in T.J. Houshmandzadeh (also 30 years old) and the troubled-but-talented WR Chris Henry. If Henry can stay out of trouble, he could become an impact player in 2008, much as he was starting to become toward the end of the 2006 season. So they could trade CJ, but even the Bengals were so inclined, what would the price be to land him? Would a straight-up swap for the Oakland first round pick be enough? It seems highly unlikely to me -- I would think that the Bengals would want considerably more. Chad is one of the league's best wideouts.

Glenn Dorsey
Glenn Dorsey is an impressive player. (Todd Kirkland/Icon SMI)
Something tells me that we haven't heard the last of Johnson's unhappiness in Cincy. Oakland is a team that could clearly use his talent, but would the Raiders give up their #3 or #4 2008 NFL Draft pick for him, and what else would play into the equation? The 2005 Randy Moss trade didn't particularly pan out well for the silver and black, and the Raiders have been thoroughly embarrassed by Moss' incredibly 2007 performance in New England after his poor performance in two years with Oakland.

Bottom line: Chad Johnson can complain long and loud, but Cincinnati is in full control of the situation.

As for who Oakland would take at #3 or #4, unfortunately it's not clear if you mean Jake Long or Chris Long being off the board. But regardless if Darren McFadden, Chris Long, Jake Long, and/or Sedrick Ellis who are gone, it seems a no-brainer to me that the Raiders would take LSU DT Glenn Dorsey if they could. Warren Sapp is retiring, and the Raiders desperately need a run-stuffer like Dorsey.

One point that hasn't been raised much is that defensive tackle and the #1 overall pick has not been a good combo in past years. Consider the evidence from the early 90s, when three of the four drafts had defensive tackles go #1 overall:

1991- Dallas took Miami DT Russell Maryland at #1. He won three Super Bowls with the Cowboys, but he never developed into the superstar that Dallas hoped he would become.
1992- Indianapolis took Nebraska DT Steve Emtman at #1, but his career was derailed by a series of injuries.
1994- Cincinnati took DT "Big Daddy" Dan Wilkinson at #1, and while he had a long career by most standards, the consensus is that he didn't live up to that top pick billing and that his play was inconsistent.

Since then, no defensive tackle has gone #1 overall. That should change this year, but if somehow Oakland is lucky enough to have a chance to draft Dorsey, they should jump all over it.

From: Luis Eduardo Torres García
Date: Jan 9, 2008 5:17 PM
Subject: Dallas Draft Strategy

Dear Mr. Pickney:

This is what I think of Dallas draft strategy:

It looks like Dallas will be picking 22nd and in the 30’s. and with the recent signings of Jay Ratliff to a lucrative extension, and Tank Johnson’s recent development, NT doesn’t look to be a high priority for next year’s draft.

On offense, Dallas running game has worked ok with their combination of backs, but I’m almost convinced that the Cowboys will let Julius Jones walk into free agency, which leaves a major hole in the lineup, but with so many names available through the draft, it makes no sense to use the first pick on a running back… in your mock draft you project Felix Jones, and while I love the pick, I believe that with so much talent available, Dallas will wait for the second round (around 60th) for a guy like James Davis or Chris Johnson.

Flozell Adams is in the last year of his contract, but with a pro bowl season, it is likely that he could get a new deal; if not, last year’s draft brought in James Marteen and Dough Free, which makes very unlikely for them to invest another pick in a OT.

The skill position that bothers me is WR. TO is playing at his best, but Glenn will be seeing his first live action (Washington didn’t count) of the entire season. Yes, Patrick Crayton has done a great job as second receiver, and recently he was signed to a long term contract, but without Glenn, the team has no deep threat. Based on recent drafts, receivers take time to develop, and let’s not forget that both TO & TG are getting up in years, therefore I believe that an investment for the future should be made. Someone like Malcolm Kelly or Devin Thomas could make sense with their first pick, or Doucet or Manningham with their second. I believe that the lack of investment of first round talent on offense in recent drafts require that a pick be made in a quality receiver.

Finally, there’s some need for an interior lineman, a quality Guard/Center backup with starting potential makes sense. Someone like Branden Albert or Heath Benedict could fit the bill.

On defense, CB should be a concern. Terence Newman is one of the league’s best, and his best football is ahead of him; Anthony Henry is well suited for an island and has a knack for the big play. However, both were injured during the season and there’s not a real back up waiting on the wings for the long term. Therefore, a speedy and physical cover man like Mike Jenkins or Leodis McKelvin can be picked in the first round.

What are your thoughts… considering there will be a great amount of talent in this year’s draft?

Lou: I probably receive more correspondence about the Cowboys than any other franchise, and that's particularly been the case this year with Dallas holding two first round picks.

I agree about DT/NT not being a high priority between bringing in Tank Johnson and, more importantly, the emergence of Jay Ratliff this year.

Flozell Adams
Flozell Adams could soon be an unrestricted free agent. (James D. Smith/Icon SMI)

Context clues suggest that Julius Jones is all but gone. Things are working out very nicely for Dallas with so many junior running backs throwing their hat into the draft. This looks to be one of the deepest RB drafts in quite some time, provided that the elites (the Arkansas duo and Oregon's Jonathan Stewart) enter as expected. Dallas can potentially ignore RB in round one, then snag a guy like Kevin Smith or Ray Rice in round two (or perhaps James Davis or Chris Johnson, as you suggested) and potentially be in a spot to do some great things on offense in 2008.

Life after Flozell Adams is going to be a reality for Dallas this off-season, barring something really unexpected happening. With the money that the team paid to bring in Leonard Davis last off-season, it will be difficult to retain Adams without shelling out some big cash, potentially creating a salary cap problem.

You make a good point about who the Cowboys brought in last off-season at tackle. The only counter argument would be the need to have depth at the position, mixed with the strength of the offensive line prospects on the first-tier versus below. Look at how the offensive tackle depth impacted the Steelers down the stretch and what a difference it made for the Colts with and without left OT Tony Ugoh during the regular season.

Leodis McKelvin has been moving up draft boards (though he's been on my radar ever since his punt return for a TD in Troy's win over Oklahoma State, arguably the most overlooked "small conference beats big conference" story this past season) but I don't know if he's really first round material at this point. Some think he is, but Dallas should realistically be able to get him, or another comparable corner (like TSU's Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie), down in round two.

Overall, I think that the Cowboys would be best off taking a receiver in round one and then either look to fill one of their "sort of" need spots with perhaps a player they especially like or, perhaps more realistically, trade down into round two (or perhaps land a 2009 first round pick and hope they have more luck than they did with Cleveland's pick this year.)

One caveat is the assumption that Dallas will find a way to keep Ken Hamlin, who signed a one year contract with Dallas after losing his spot in Seattle in 2006. Hamlin had a fantastic 2007, and he's in a unique position to cash in once unrestricted free agency starts. To me, that seems like a more pressing concern in this thin-at-safety draft than landing a corner who will likely be playing only in nickel situations out of the game.

From: Adam Van Susteren
Date: Jan 9, 2008 6:03 PM

I just wanted to say thank you for putting together such a great website. I hate to admit how often I go to it...

Lou: Thanks Adam -- I thoroughly enjoy what I do with Draft King. It's a blast to do this as a job, and I'm glad that you like it.


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