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Draft King Analysis

January 18, 2008
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com

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


From: Corey (on MySpace)
To: LouPickney@gmail.com
Date: Jan 15, 2008 11:38 PM
Subject: was impressed by "draft king" site

i liked your mock drfats from the past 4 years as well as 08 and 09...i am a cincy fan...im thinking they go after a pass rush specialist this year (gholston at #9) or trade down at get Groves from auburn somewheer in the 15-17 range...i cant see them taking s.ellis when they will be losing j.smith to free agency....keep up the good work with the site!!

Lou: It's very likely that the Bengals will lose Justin Smith to free agency. After franchising Smith to the tune of $8.5 million and keeping him for 2007, he played well for the team this past season, but with only two sacks in '07 it seems unlikely that the Bengals would use the tag on him for a second consecutive year.

As for replacing Smith with someone like Ohio State DE Vernon Gholston, that has to be a consideration. It would seem to me that a player like USC DT Sedrick Ellis would be very tough for Cincinnati to pass up, but there's no guarantee that Ellis will be on the board at that spot.

There will be talent available in free agency at defensive end, including two underrated Titans in Antwan Odom and Travis LaBoy, which might provide the Bengals with moderate-priced options for replacing Smith not involving the draft.

Ultimately, if the Bengals lose Smith, the team will have to deal with needs at both defensive tackle and defensive end. And if the team is really in position to draft either Gholston or Ellis at #9, that should be a win-win situation either way. For now I give the nod to Ellis, but that could change with free agency and what Cincinnati does internally in building its defense for 2008.


From: Christopher Hancock
To: LouPickney@gmail.com
Date: Jan 16, 2008 9:47 AM
Subject: running backs

Ahman Green
Ahman Green is slated to earn $4.5 million from the Texans in '08. (Icon SMI)

With how incredibly deep the draft is, how easily interchangeable (for the most part) running backs are, how obvious it is that the O-line makes the RB (see Alexander, Shaun and Johnson, Larry, both in 2005 vs. 2007), AND the Texans’ needs in the secondary, I think they’d be incredibly stupid to draft a running back in the first round. They don’t have a 2nd-round pick, but you could easily find a good back in the third round this year.

Lou: After giving the Houston situation some thought (and you're not alone in voicing this opinion), I have concluded that Houston going corner over running back in round one makes total sense.

The Texans should be able to get a quality RB in the third round, though the decisions by Brandon Ore and James Davis to return to their respective schools (Virginia Tech and Clemson) for their senior seasons takes a little bit of the depth away. Ahman Green's large contract would make it challenging to use a first round selection on a running back from a financial distribution standpoint, and as it is there are reports out of Houston that the job is Green's to lose in 2008.

Of course, as 2007 revealed, even if the Texans intend to have Green in a primary RB role, one injury is all it takes to cause serious problems. As it is, all "news" between now and the draft should be questioned and doubted to at least some degree, since draft maneuvers and plans are usually done with the utmost of secrecy.

A friend of mine worked as an intern with the Jaguars during the Tom Coughlin era, and he told me that the Jacksonville draft room was strictly off-limits, and even when he had need to go in there, the information on their various boards was all covered up. And rightfully so, since all it takes is a leak to someone like me (or, worse, a team drafting above them) to cause severe headaches for whichever team lets its information slip out.


From: Bruce Haas
To: LouPickney@gmail.com
Date: Jan 17, 2008 3:08 PM
Subject: Denver Broncos

No one in Denver dreamlland wants to admit it but the team is rebuilding.

Desperate is the word for the defensive line- any way Pat Sims moves up into consideration for the 12th pick?Team also needs FS, OLB, WR AND RB AND OL. How would you rebuild this team? I would trade down and pick up extra picks if possible in this talent rich draft, your thoughts.

Lou: Pat Sims will likely be on the board at #12, and while Denver could select him there, it would be a stretch -- and a move that likely wouldn't best serve Denver's long-term needs. The Broncos landed a steal in Florida DT Marcus Thomas as a fourth round pick in 2007; he fell so far because of what has been reported as multiple failed tests for marijuana at UF. If Thomas can stay healthy and pass his drug tests, he could develop into a run-stopping machine for the Broncos.

Denver is very likely going to be best served by either drafting a linebacker or a safety at #12. Penn State LB Dan Connor (who can play multiple LB spots), USC OLB Keith Rivers, and Miami FS Kenny Phillips are two excellent candidates; if all three are off the board, then Denver may want to think about trading down. If I was running the show in Denver, that's how I'd approach the situation.

Yes, the Broncos have been rebuilding ever since Mike Shanahan deep-sixed the 2006 season (in my opinion) by replacing Jake Plummer at QB with Jay Cutler. Remember that they started 7-2 that year, and they were 7-4 before Cutler went into the starting lineup; the Broncos finished 2-3 and ended up out of the playoffs.

But with Cutler showing the improvement and development expected of a first round pick, the Broncos should be back in the mix in 2008.


Jonathan Vilma
Jonathan Vilma is the subject of a great deal of trade talk. (Icon SMI)

From: Vincent Modica
To: LouPickney@gmail.com
Date: Jan 17, 2008 3:34 PM
Subject: Mock Draft

I am a huge Jets fan and i have read your mock draft. I believe that the Jets will trade Jonathan Vilma this offseason but do you think it is possible that they trade Vilma and a 2nd day draft pick for Chad Johnson of the Bengals. This trade would allow for the Bengals to upgrade their defense and add depth to their linebacker corp and the Jets to pick up a big play receiver and allow for Laverneus Coles to leave through a trade for a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th round pick. I also think that the Jets will sign Alan Faneca to help thier pitiful offensive line. This means they need to find people to place on their 3-4 defense. Would the Jets use one of their later picks and their first round pick to trade up and secure that they select either Chris Long or Jake Long? Thank you for reading this responce and I hope to hear from you on what the possibility of all of this happening for the Jets.

Lou: Reports out of the New York area have indicated that Vilma is likely to be traded if he recovers from surgery he had on his right knee to remove bone chips and particles. Vilma turns 26 this off-season, and he would be able to produce an immediate impact at ILB for a team running a 4-3; he's never been a good fit in the Jets' 3-4 defense. He has one year remaining on his contract, a bargain at $1,097,500.

The contract situation might also be a complication, though, if Vilma balks at having to sign a contract extension as any part of a trade. On the open market in 2009, Vilma should be able to command a nice long-term deal, potentially much richer than he would be able to land from a team looking to acquire him from the Jets. The flip-side is that a new deal would begin paying off now, versus the one-year delay (and potential for injury) that could come if he refuses to cooperate in any negotiation process.


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