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Draft King Analysis

January 14, 2008
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com

Reader feedback is always welcomed here at DraftKing.com. Send your thoughts to me at LouPickney@gmail.com.

James Laurinaitis is returning to Ohio State for his senior year -- so please keep that in mind with this mailbag (written before Laurinaitis announced his decision.)


From: Jeff Knoll
To: LouPickney@gmail.com
Date: Jan 12, 2008 1:10 PM
Subject: lions

Long suffering Lions fan here. Know it's kind of early to predict, but how early do you see the Lions going for a RB? I love Kevin Jones, but this guy can't stay healthy to save his life, and I just can't see the Lions re-signing him (Then again, Magilla Gorilla is our GM, so I would'nt be shocked to see him slap the franchise tag on the guy!). Do you think a starter quality RB will be there in the second round, or are we going to have to burn our first rounder on a back?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Lou: Fortunately for you (and Lions fans everywhere), this is gearing up to be an absolutely loaded draft at running back. There's no need to use a day one pick on an RB, as there will be RB talent well into rounds three and four that is much stronger than what you see in typical seasons.

When the time comes for the Lions to draft in round threee, any number of the following running backs could be on the board: Jamaal Charles (Texas), Ray Rice (Rutgers), Mike Hart (Michigan), James Davis (Clemson), Kevin Smith (UCF). And if the Lions want to wait until later, they could possibly still land a player like Tulane RB Matt Forte or Georgia Tech RB Tashard Choice.

Despite having some serious injury problems, Kevin Jones should still be able to give it one more shot for Detroit next year. He tore his ACL on 12/23/07 against the Kansas City Chiefs, and he's not expected to be able to even take part in workouts until late July. That is not good.

One other option may be for Detroit to take a stab at signing forthcoming unrestricted free agent Michael Turner from San Diego, though Turner will command top dollar on the open market.

I would be surprised to see Detroit to use a first round selection on a running back given the team's defensive needs. Since 2000, Detroit has had nine first round picks. Of those, a whopping eight of the nine went toward offensive players; the lone defensive player was Ernie Sims in 2006.


From: Rodrigo Muniz
To: LouPickney@gmail.com
Date: Jan 12, 2008 5:08 PM
Subject: Dallas 1st round picks/Pacman Jones situation

First of all congratulations, this website is the real deal about NFL draft talk.

As I see the Cowboys need to think on using one of the 1st round picks on Malcolm Kelly/WR from Oklahoma, for me he is the best WR on this draft the other pick may be traded down(with a RB pick on 2nd round likely). Also about the CB situation on Dallas, Pacman Jones suspension will be over and the Titans are leaning toward a trade, can the Cowboys or even another team maybe Cleveland or Oakland show interest on P.Jones(knowing the risks of this deal, Dallas showed no fear signing Tank Johnson)? How can he impact the Draft?

Adam Jones
Adam Jones has an uncertain NFL future. (Ed Wolfstein/Icon SMI)

Lou: The Cowboys would appear to be in a good position to trade down with their second of two first round picks. Landing a quality wide receiver in the first round would make sense, but remember that Dallas has gone the veteran WR route for the large part of this decade.

If Ken Hamlin escapes to free agency, Dallas will need to bring in another safety, and besides Kenny Phillips there isn't a first-round grade safety in this draft. But one way or another, the Cowboys will take care of the position.

As for Pacman Jones, his status is uncertain. He was suspended for the 2007 season, and besides the fans who still own (and wear) "P. Jones" Titans jerseys to the games at LP Field, you wouldn't know that Jones ever played for the team by going to a Titans game. The Titans' offseason conditioning program starts March 24, and a decision must be made on Jones by then.

Jones has two years remaining on his contract with the Titans, and the numbers are relatively modest: $1.7425 million for 2008 and $2.192 million for 2009. So, contractually, any team acquiring him wouldn't be breaking the bank in the process. The stumbling block may prove to be what the Titans would demand in return.

Ultimately, Jones will impact the draft if a team that would have otherwise drafted a first or second round corner instead takes a chance on him. It's possible that the Titans will give him one more shot, since in the second half of the 2006 season Pacman broke out as an impact player. It comes down to: how much (if anything) would Jones command via the trade market, and is that enough for the Titans to willingly let him go?

While Dallas brought in Tank Johnson (something that likely would not have happened under Parcells), the Cowboys didn't have to give up anything to Chicago to acquire him. Taking a chance on a free agent is one thing, but giving up players, picks, and/or cash to acquire a troubled player is an entirely different situation.


From: Richard Gonzalez
To: LouPickney@gmail.com
Date: Jan 12, 2008 11:51 PM
Subject: denver broncos

First of all i want to say great job with the site, i ve been following it for two years and am i big fan.

I wanted to know your opinion of what the broncos are gonna do. I know you have keeny phillips as the prospect to pick but i think they need more help against the run specifically denfensive line or linebackers, because i didnt like having the honor of being one of the worst against the run. Do you know if there is any impact defensive takles or middle linebackers in order to switch dj williams back to his orignal position.If there arent any do you know any good second round prospects worth the value. Ive had a thought of possibly broncos trading down to get glenn dorsey but i dont know what the broncos can give in order to make this happen. The reason why ive thought this is that the broncos have done crazy things in the past just look at getting jay cutler when jake plummer was coming off a good year. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Lou: This is a lean year for safeties in the draft, which is why I think Denver would jump on Phillips with the #12 pick and then worry about other needs in subsequent rounds. But there could be other avenues by which the Broncos could improve at safety. Someone like Madieu Williams of the Bengals or Gibril Wilson or the Giants may be an option via free agency. And if John Lynch comes back for the 2008 season, it's possible that the Broncos could put off adding depth there for another year.

The reality for Denver is that they were #7 against the pass (good) but, as you mentioned, they were an embarrassing #30 against the rush. They have some young talent on the defensive line, and Marcus Thomas could turn into a superstar in the league, but ultimately the team needs to do something to improve against the run.

Linebacker may be an option for the Broncos, particularly if they can get someone like James Laurinaitis or Dan Connor. D.J. Williams has been shifted around during his four years in Denver: he started out as the WILL (weak side) LB in 2004, then the Broncos shifted him to the SAM (strong side) in 2005. Williams played the SAM LB role for two years, then in 2007 the Broncos moved him to the middle (MIKE) spot (this article has details on the how and why of it all.) From the MLB position, Williams had a great season. His 141 tackles were second in the NFL to only Patrick Willis.

The Broncos may be able to add depth at OLB via the draft, though there will be linebacker talent available via free agency as well. With Williams being so prolific in 2007 from the middle, I'd be surprised to see him moved yet again.

As for the QB spot, Mike Shanahan made a decision to give Jay Cutler the starting job over Jake Plummer in November 2006, a move that Shanahan made for the long-term. The timing for the was surprising, and it ultimately cost the Broncos a chance at the playoffs. But Cutler improved in 2007, with 20 TD passes and just 14 interceptions, and he may be due for a breakthrough in 2008.


From: Mike Daugherty
To: LouPickney@gmail.com
Date: Jan 13, 2008 12:16 AM
Subject: Good Mock

Finally, a mock that has Quentin Groves going before Derrick Harvey. I swear everyone I see has the latter going higher even though hes lighter and slower.

I love the Lions pick, they need secondary help who can step in and start, and Cason has experience being the number one guy in a pass happy Pac-10.

Jonathan Stewart
Jonathan Stewart may be the second RB taken in the 2008 NFL Draft. (Richard Clement/Icon SMI)

The Texans definitely go for Jonathan Stewart especially after the Sun Bowl.

The only thing I disagree with is Tampa's pick. I think they go for a DT, not Balmer, but Pat Sims from Auburn. He's a 6-4, 316lbs beast that runs a 4.9, definitely first round numbers.

I also think that if Ryan Clady is still available, Denver will take him in light of Matt Lepsis retirement. They need to protect the Cutler investment.

Do you think that if the Jets get Laurinitias, they'll trade Vilma since he isn't really fit for their scheme (Saints might be interested) and they've got Harris to pair Laurinitias up with?

But overall, great mock with great explanations. Will definitely be reading in the future.

Lou: Quentin Groves is a special player who has an amazing ability to cause problems against the run *and* the pass. Derrick Harvey is an excellent player as well, and both should be good NFL players. But, for my money, Groves is the superior prospect of the two.

The Lions need a corner who can start right away, and Cason has the skills to do that. His status seems to fluctuate unexpectedly from time to time, but barring something unexpected happening between now and April, that's a matchup I could easily see happen.

As for Tampa Bay, you may be right about Auburn DT Pat Sims being a serious consideration for the Bucs' first round spot. Sims has moved up the ladder in recent weeks, and if nothing else, it should give the Bucs multiple defensive tackle prospects from which to choose at that spot.


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