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Draft King Analysis

January 16, 2008
Lou Pickney,

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

From: Ken Duke
Date: Jan 14, 2008 1:44 PM
Subject: Bears needs

Hey Lou, great site. I wanted to throw some suspicion on your Bears pick of Andre Woodson. While I'm not saying it won't happen, I don't think it's quite the slam dunk you've made it out to be.

For one, the team's not really in a great position to draft a quarterback. The Bears have some legitimate holes to address now, and don't really have the time to wait on a QB to develop. I doubt they would be willing/able to get a QB who could help them in the first year, anyway. Secondly, it's not a given that Grossman is gone; so far, what I've heard is that both sides are open to a return, although the Bears aren't going to be giving him starter's money or guaranteeing him the job. But with Grossman and Orton, plus Griese, the Bears have enough options at QB to go with that next season. It may not be perfect, but the QB problems were somewhat overstated in this past season, probably due to past problems the team (and players) have had and an overemphasis on QBs in general. In truth, the decline of the offensive line, ineffectiveness of the run game, and overall defensive lapses were as big or bigger problems.

Which gets me to my other point--other holes. The Bears, at the moment, have 3 quarterbacks who are not great but could all be effective in a Trent Dilfer/Tampa Bay-Brad Johnson sort of role. The situation is more dire at other positions, notably the offensive line and safety. The line is old and fell apart this season; an infusion of talent and youth is needed, desperately. Meanwhile, the safeties that ended the season are adequate, but not much more, and Mike Brown can't be counted on. I'd look to either of those areas to be targeted (too bad Jake Long is probably gone by #14).

Obviously, a lot can change from now until then. Free agency can have an effect--WR may become a need if Berrian and/or Muhammed leave; Briggs leaving would change the situation at LB (although the Bears think they already have his replacement); Grossman leaving would change the QB camp; and a RB will have to be added.

Andre Woodson
Andre Woodson may end up being drafted by the Chicago Bears. (John Sommers II/Icon SMI)
Obviously, the Bears could use a great QB, and the team may decide to look for that this draft, given the talent coming out. But I think OL and S are big concerns, too.

Lou: You are right that the Bears have multiple needs that need to be filled, and the team will have to evaluate who is likely to be on the board when they draft and then go from there.

If Kenny Phillips is on the board when the Bears' pick comes up, he might be a strong consideration for Chicago, though the Bears may also be able to fill their safety needs via free agency. While the Bears were middle of the pack as far as points allowed went, they were 27th against the rush and 24th against the pass in 2007. Injuries were in part a factor there, but some fresh blood in the mix would help as well.

As for offensive linemen, there are a number of considerations that could be made. Ole Miss offensive tackle Michael Oher may be a possibility (perhaps in conjunction with trading down), though work is out today that Oher is reconsidering his decision to declare. Oher doesn't have an agent, and players without agents who declare for the draft actually have until Friday to withdraw.

Rex Grossman is an impending unrestricted free agent, and after losing his starting spot this year, the odds of him coming back seem slim. The Bears are not going to use their franchise tag on Grossman, and I imagine he'll be playing elsewhere in 2008.

While I think Woodson to Chicago makes sense, it's true that it's not a slam dunk that the Bears would take him there. If Woodson isn't the goal, or if none of the "top three" QBs (Woodson, Matt Ryan, and Brian Brohm) are on the board when they pick, the Bears may be a strong candidate to trade down.

From: David Nelson
Date: Jan 14, 2008 8:33 PM
Subject: Texans Draft

Love your website. I check it for updates regularly and enjoy your coverage. I'm a big Texans fan and I'm exciting about their steady improvement. I know many are convinced they'll pick a RB in round 1. While it is possible, I doubt they will. Kubiak has indicated sticking with A. Green (I wish he wouldn't!) for next year. Plus, they have lots of depth needs: CB (with D. Robinson out for much of next year), LB, pass rusher, and LT. Plus, in their zone blocking scheme, they tend to find good RB's later in the draft that fit their scheme. If you were the GM of the Texans, how would you improve them? Their division is wickedly tough, as they were 7-3 outside their division and 1-5 inside it. Finally, if the Texans don't go RB in Round 1, who do you see them taking instead?

Dunta Robinson
Dunta Robinson will be difficult to replace. (Bob Levey/Icon SMI)
Lou: You're right about the AFC South being a brutally tough division. There's a reason that three teams from there made the playoffs, and the Texans' 7-3 record outside of the division is proof positive that they may be further along than some might realize.

The Texans are into Ahman Green for a large chunk of change, so they might as well give him another shot at RB. I believe the Texans would be a strong candidate to trade down; since this draft is so loaded at RB, moving down (perhaps even multiple times) the Texans might be able to land one of the talented running backs who will be on the board in round two.

One catch to that might be the value that Houston places on Jonathan Stewart. Darren McFadden is the shooting star #1 RB in the draft, but there might be separation between Stewart and the next tier of the running back field. A 5'11", 235 pound player with sub 4.5 speed might actually make for a nice compliment to Green, if not outright taking his spot.

The injury to CB Dunta Robinson must be addressed, though I would think that free agency might be the best avenue for that. Houston is in the middle of the pack as far as its salary cap goes, and while they might not take a shot at landing Asante Samuel, they will need to bring in a veteran who can play right away at corner. A guy at the end of his career would be okay, since it's a short-term fix that's needed until Robinson heals versus needing someone to play the spot indefinitely.

If you told me that the Texans weren't trading down and weren't drafting a running back at #18, and presuming Kenny Phillips won't be available, I'd say a corner like Kansas' Aqib Talib (who Mel Kiper is really high on, to the point of calling him the top corner prospect in the draft) if he's available. Linebacker may also be a consideration, particularly if Danny Clark escapes to free agency; perhaps a prospect like LSU's Ali Highsmith could be considered in that spot.

From: "Expos Fan" Joseph
Date: Jan 15, 2008 7:26 PM
Subject: Chargers' Draft Selection

I have searched through many different mock draft site and yours is certainly the king of them all (to pardon the awful pun). I like how you address each team's patterns of drafting philosophy and don't rely purely on value and need.

With that said, I have a few suggestions for you on the Chargers's selection. I am a San Diego Charger's season ticket holder and analyze every game of theirs (but I don't follow much college football) so I have a good idea of what positions they need to address more than others. I think it is extremely unlikely that they take any line backer (OLB or ILB) unless the player was a Patrick Wills type which is not going to be there at pick #28 or worse.

The Chargers Linebackers are actually one of our main strengths, and I don't just mean Merriman and Phillips, but also Cooper and Wilhelm, with Cooper being the oldest at only 28. Moreover, in the 2007 draft we took LB Anthony Waters in the 3rd round and LB Brandon Siler in the 7th round. Undrafted LB Jyles Tucker has turned into a nice 3rd down pass rusher this year and we have LB Antwan Applewhite on the practice squad. This tells me that there is almost no chance that we will us our only pick in the first three rounds to take a position where we have so much depend. In other words, Linebacker is out!

The Chargers have two main needs and one is at Nose Tackle. We could seriously address our depth at NT were Jamul Williams is in this 10th season and is 31 years old and has started to miss some games and even some plays/series in the games he plays in. Ryon Bingham is undersized for the position and Brandon McKinney is a rookie and not really that good as he was an undrafted FA in 06’.

From what I have read, I hear there is no way that Kentwan Balmer would fall to us. What do you think of Pat Simms or Frank Okam? Is either a 1st rounder?

The other need is also on defense at Free Safety. This might be the more glaring need as I have seen Marlon McCree take bad angles on tackles, be unable to run slide-line to slide-line, and make some really stupid mistakes overall. I like Eric Weddle, our 2nd round pick from last year, but as of now he plays as the dime-back and close to the line, not in the backfield. In other words, I have yet to see his real “safety” skills, although I am sure he will develop into a solid SS.

I would like you to take this information in to account and think about updating the Chargers' selection.

Take care and thanks for a great site and for all the work you do.

Lou: I've long believed that a fan of a particular team knows more about their team that I do. You go to all of the games, follow them in the local sports media, perhaps pick up tidbits that the mainstream, etc. So I particularly enjoy e-mails from people with that sort of insight.

The problem I've faced with the Chargers is trying to figure out what exactly they're going to need. It wasn't a flippant move to align them with a linebacker in round one; on a team with a 3-4, linebacker is obviously a key position. I'd think that at OLB they'd be better off than ILB, though you seem sold on Stephen Cooper and Matt Wilhelm in the middle.

Perhaps I still have lingering memories of Adrian Peterson slicing and dicing San Diego in the Metrodome burned into my brain, but it was difficulty against the run early that seemed to be a problem for the team. Obviously, down the stretch they tightened up, and both ILBs ended up with 100+ tackles for the year, and you make a good point about the Chargers adding depth in the past draft.

The idea of taking a free safety is interesting, but I'd think it would be a massive stretch to take one in the first round, even at the end of it. The fact that San Diego doesn't have a second, third, or fourth round pick makes me believe that it's a strong possibility that they will trade down in an attempt to add new picks to their lineup.

You may be on track on the Chargers taking a defensive tackle, though this isn't particularly a banner year at the position in the draft. Texas DT Frank Okam would probably be the best of what's around for San Diego's needs in the 3-4, but taking him in the first round would seem like a stretch to me.

Aaron Rodgers
When will Aaron Rodgers become a starting QB in the NFL? (Robert E. Hudson, Jr./Icon SMI)

From: Vic Span
Date: Jan 16, 2008 12:15 AM
Subject: Aaron Rodgers Trade

Do you think any of the teams considering a QB in the 1st round [Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Minnesota] would consider trading their pick to Green Bay for Aaron Rodgers?

He's a former 1st rounder who's learned from a hall of fame QB for the past couple of seasons, and looked great coming off the bench in the Green Bay/Dallas game. He's also a free agent after the 2009 season, and Farve looks like he's not going anywhere for a while. Keep up the good work!

Lou: Poor Aaron Rodgers. He was in the running to be the #1 overall pick in the 2005 Draft, only to free-fall all the way to Green Bay at #24. It appeared that he would finally have his chance to play in 2007... only for Brett Favre to return. And, with Favre making overtures about returning for the 2008 season, it is entirely possible that Green Bay will ship him off to a place where he can play. But, by joining Mark Brunell and Matt Hasselbeck as Favre backup QBs traded away, he would be joining some good company.

If Favre does come back for 2008, then the right move is to trade Rodgers, provided that Green Bay can acquire what they consider to be adequate compensation for him. The grand irony is that two teams that desperately need a QB are in their same division: the Vikings and the Bears.

Baltimore would be a logical destination for Rodgers, but it would be interesting to see what the Packers would demand for a former first round pick who played well in the limited time he saw this year.


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