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Draft King Analysis

January 2, 2008
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com

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


This is part one of a two-part mailbag. Part two is available here.


From: Ken Hone
To: LouPickney@gmail.com
Date: Dec 26, 2007 9:09 PM
Subject: Dolphin Draft -- the only way to improve

The Dolphins need to trade down but will there be any takers. Any of the real top 3 could help them greatly and perhaps equally in different ways, especially if they also get another day 1 pick.

The best options seem to be----The Jets at 3, Falcons at 4 (although parcells may have burned that bridge), and Oakland at 6 look like good options needing a top RB or QB. Miami could get their Round 1 & 2 as well as a second day pick (each option would be a 250-500 point discount which is well worth it for the picks and financial savings). Plus, each option also lets the Dolphins stay above the PATS draft picks.

Dallas is interested as well, however, they will need to include a high quality player in addition to their number 1s. Plus this eliminates their ability to draft several high quality rookies.

Miami can be improved defensively with any of the following:Dorsey, Long, Lauranentis, Gholston, Ellis, Jenkins, Balmer, Connor, and Campbell. Plus their later day one picks could easily add offense such as Brohm, Chenks, Sweed, Brennan, Manningham, Jackson, Jones --the other Ark.).

Lou: Keep in mind that trading into or out of the top five is very difficult for rookie salary cap reasons, which would realistically leave the Dolphins with just four potential trade partners: St. Louis, Oakland, Atlanta, and Kansas City.

I doubt that the Rams would be interested in moving up, not with the talent that should be on the board at #2. Oakland is fresh off of the long negotiation with JaMarcus Russell the past off-season, and I suspect that the Raiders would not be anxious to move into the top spot for a second straight year.

Atlanta should feel fairly confident at three, four, or even five as far as being in a good position to draft the QB of their choice. So, hard feelings for Parcells aside, I doubt that the Falcons would make such a move.

There could be an outside shot at Kansas City wanting to do something crazy by moving up to the top spot and snagging Darren McFadden, but by signing Larry Johnson to a big contract extension this past August, they have made it decidedly difficult to make such a move viable from either a financial or a personnel point.

As it is, I suspect that Miami will sit on the #1 pick and take Glenn Dorsey. Bill Parcells and new GM Jeff Ireland may look to trade down in the second round, where Miami will be sitting on the de facto #32 pick (thanks to the Patriots forfeiting their first round selection.)


From: Jared Gruber
To: LouPickney@gmail.com
Date: Dec 27, 2007 11:01 AM
Subject: Positional Rankings

Have you thought about installing a positional ranking feature on your site? It's much improved since you started giving explanations for your picks, and I think that rankings would improve it that much more. Also, I remember saying that you would soon have player images next to your picks. Do you have an ETA for that?

Lou: I have given some thought to a ranking-by-position setup; I actually tried that when I first launched the site some years ago, but found it to be rather difficult to make work the way I wanted.

There's a fine line to this process: would I be ranking players based on who I think will do best in the NFL, or ranking them based on where I anticipate that they'll go? I'd need to figure that out before I begin.

As for the player images, I've taken the angle (to this point) of including images within columns vs. having 31 pictures on the mock draft page. You might see some pictures worked into the mock draft layout area in the near future, but for now I don't anticipate putting pics of each player in there.


From: Barry Irvin
To: LouPickney@gmail.com
Date: Dec 27, 2007 5:30 PM
Subject: (no subject)

Felix Jones
Will Felix Jones return to Arkansas in 2008? (Thomas B. Shea/Icon SMI)
Lou,
Love your website and mock draft.Sorry about your health problems,hope the pain goes away.I do not think Jonathan Stewart will be going in first round,Felix Jones will probaly be picked before him.The cowboys would like jones that 21, but the 31st pick is way off as dallas found their eventually replacement (I hope) to Flozell Adams in last years draft with James Marten or Doug Free. The cowboys need conerback,running back and wide reciever help.How about Limas Sweed,Reggie Smith,Early Doucet or Leodois Mcelvin.Also,brohm probaly will be a much higher choice than woodson.Have a great new year.

Lou: Thanks for the well-wishes; migraines are pure hell. When you hear about an athlete missing a game because of a migraine, have sympathy for him or her. The migraine headache is the worst pain I've ever endured. But at least medicine exists to handle it.

I realize that you sent your e-mail before both Jonathan Stewart and Felix Jones played in their respective bowl games, but Stewart's huge game against USF in the Sun Bowl was impressive. But, by the same token, it's still too close to call between Stewart and Jones (or others like Rashard Mendenhall), though that process will really pick up once we find out who stays and who goes from that loaded junior RB class.

You may be right about the Cowboys planning ahead as far as offensive tackle goes and anticipating the departure of Adams. As for receivers, I think the Cowboys would benefit from bringing in a young wideout, but they have looked to free agency in recent years to fill their main spots.

As for Brohm over Woodson, I don't know that he would necessarily be a "much higher" pick, but the court of popular opinion has turned a bit against Woodson. I think Woodson is bona fide first round material and that concerns about his release time are correctable, but it could make for an interesting off-season subplot.


From: Robert Bruce
To: LouPickney@gmail.com
Date: Dec 27, 2007 3:13 PM
Subject: Redskins Draft

Lou,

Great site. I have emailed a few times about the Redskins' draft and who you see them taking. You now have the Skins' drafting Harvey out of Florida. I have viewed other drafts who have Cambell from Miami falling to the Skins but I do not see him going down the board that far. I was hoping you could provide some insight to Harvey as a player. I have not had a chance to see many Florida Gators games so I haven't had the chance to see Harvey play and determine whether he will be an impact rookie or someone who would be a situational first year player.

What solid talent at DE do you see on the board for the middle to late part of the second round? I ask this because Shawn Springs is due over $7 million next year and may not be willing to renegotiate that cap number. I know the Redskins have used 1st round picks in recent years on DBs but with the tragic murder of Sean Taylor (RIP) along with the knee injury to Carlos Rogers that may keep him out until the mid point of next season, DB has become a top need along with DE. Thinking the Skins may go CB first round if quality talent is available where they are picking. Or alternatively, what solid DB talent will be available middle to late round 2 if the Skins decide to go DE in the 1st? Thanks Lou, keep up the great work.

Lou: There was a time early in the 2007 college season where Calais Campbell looked like the top DE prospect out there, if not the top defensive prospect overall in the draft.

Calais Campbell
Calais Campbell is a disruptive force on the defensive line. (Gary Rothstein/Icon SMI)

So what happened? The 6'8" 280 pound Campbell faced double-teams and the full attention of blockers this past season, hurting his stats compared with 2006. He runs at best a 4.75 40, so he doesn't have that elite speed off the edge that many teams utilize.

Realistically, Campbell is a prototype 3-4 DE, but even in a 4-3 he could be an effective, disruptive defense force. But with the likes of Chris Long, Vernon Ghoulston, and Derrick Harvey all potentially being part of the mix, there may be less demand for him than once anticipated.

If the Redskins are able to land Campbell at #21, it will be a steal. With him on one end, and Andre Carter bringing the speed from the other end, the Redskins pass rush could receive a major upgrade.

Of course, if Washington ends up with Derrick Harvey, it's not like it's a bad thing; Harvey is a great prospect in his own right. Bottom line: Washington should have a solid DE or two to choose from at #21. Unless, of course, the Redskins run the table in the NFC and make the Super Bowl, in which case they'll draft at #31 or #32.

As for mid-late second round DE talent, it may depend on the decisions by some second-tier juniors like Texas DE Brian Orakpo, Georgia Tech DE Phillip Merling, etc. as far as what they opt to do regarding the draft. I wouldn't hold my breath on Orakpo coming out early; Mack Brown seldom loses guys to early entry in the NFL Draft, and even with today's decision by Jamaal Charles to enter the 2008 NFL Draft, I doubt Orakpo will follow him.

Within the senior class, there are DEs like USC's Lawrence Jackson and TCU's Tommy Blake (who fell from early first round projections entering the 2007 season) who might be there when the Redskins pick in round two. I think passing on DE in round one to take one of those guys in round two would be a major mistake, but perhaps the Redskins will find a sleeper DE who they think will be a strong force for them.

To address the DB situation, Shawn Springs' cap charge in 2008 will be comparable to what it was in 2007. Yes, $7.475 million is a big chunk of change, but I don't forsee the Redskins dropping Springs just because he isn't interested in renegotiating. I suspect that a thick signing bonus might convince Springs (who turns 33 in March) to take the money while he can.

But, even if Springs can be retained, you are right that DB is likely to be a spot of consideration. The tragic, senseless murder of Sean Taylor hurt deeply on a personal and human level for the Redskins. But, painful as it is, someone must fill his spot in 2008, and it's possible that Washington would look to the draft on day one for a DB.

DB prospects in the mid-late second round will be interesting to see, since this looks to be a rather deep year at the position. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (from in my backyard at Tennessee State) might be on the board when the Redskins pick, and if so his blazing sub 4.4 40 speed and 6'2" height might make him a tempting option. DRC also blocked four kicks in 2007 for TSU, which makes him attractive as well from a special teams standpoint. Other prospects (depending on junior early entries) in the mid-late second round include BC's DeJuan Tribble, LSU's Chevis Jackson, Virginia Tech's Brandon Flowers, and Wisconsin's Jack Ikegwuonu.


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