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Draft King Analysis

January 30, 2008
Lou Pickney,

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

From: Chris Spousta
Date: Jan 26, 2008 5:14 PM
Subject: Draft Question

Hey Lou I love your site. I love even more that you use mailbag submissions to change your mock draft when a fan of a team make a logical argument. Well on to the question. Letís say that this draft plays out like the college season, and Mia takes Chris Long, the Rams Glenn Dorsey, and the Raiders Jake Long. Letís also say the Chiefs have the fourth pick by virtue of winning both coin tosses. Who Does KC draft? Do they pick the highest player on the board in McFadden, go after Ryan and fill a need, or address their greatest need and stretch for a OT? Or with the draft unfolding this way would the Chiefs have the opportunity to trade down? I am kind of stuck on what to do with this one.

Thanks for your insight and Go Chiefs!

Lou: What you laid out is a distinct possibility and one that Kansas City will likely be deliberating up through draft day. Jake Long would be ideal, but he seems unlikely to fall to #4. The second-highest rated offensive lineman seems to be Boise State's Ryan Clady, but it would be a reach to take him so high. But, granted the need that Kansas City has on the offensive line and the relative lack of capable free agents who will be out there, this spot makes the most sense for them.

Landing Darren McFadden would be electric; he'd have the extra boost of having been passed on by the Raiders, and him teamed with Larry Johnson would be an almost frightening combination. The problem is money. Johnson, who turns 29 in November, signed a staggering contract extension during a well-timed holdout (as chronicled in the excellent HBO series Hard Knocks. The team signed him to a six-year, $45.05 million contract, one which included a $12.5 million signing bonus and contains $19 million in guarantees.

In other words, the Chiefs are stuck with Johnson, who suffered in 2007 with injuries and a poor performance from his offensive line. The wear and tear of 2006 finally caught up with him, though he might bounce back in fine form in 2008.

The Chiefs could use youth at corner along with a backup RB and a top-shelf offensive linemen in this draft. Kansas City could land a free agent RB, though with such a loaded draft at RB, the Chiefs could kill two birds with one stone by landing a young RB in rounds 2-4. With that reasoning, it seems unlikely that the Chiefs would take McFadden, but it's not an impossibility.

One more consideration: in 2009, Johnson is slated to make upwards of $4.5 million. Kansas City is behind the eight ball to a degree if Johnson falters, since cutting him would accelerate the 2007 signing bonus to hit the current salary cap year, which would be a salary cap nightmare.

If Kansas City takes Clady at #4, it would create an incredible choice for Atlanta at #5: Darren McFadden or Matt Ryan. But let's see how it works out with the coin flips before giving too much time to thinking about such dilemmas.

From: Mike Torbert
Date: Jan 28, 2008 4:32 PM
Subject: No RB in 1st rd for Boys

Marion Barber, III
Marion Barber is a restricted free agent. (Icon SMI)
Magillacuty Jones!!!

The boys arenít going to spend a 1st rounder on a RB unless we lose MB3. Why would we pay a 1st round RB more than our 4th round starter? And I know you have said that the RB depth in this draft is pretty deep, so I believe they will find another RB to spell MB3 in the 2nd-4th rounds.

For the same reason, you wonít see the boys pick up a RB in Free Agency, unless we can steal away Michael Turner at an affordable price Probably unlikely, but Jerry definitely has some room 16 million cap room, to sign 1-2 good Free Agents, and 2 first round picks available for trade.

I believe we will see a CB picked with one of the 1st rd picks. I donít see WR, as Dallas has one more year to develop Sam Hurd and Miles Austin. I anticipate Terry Glenn retiring, but with Patrick Crayton's career year, as well as T.O.ís, I donít think Jerry will consider a WR as a 1st round need this year. Which is why I anticipate him trading one of those picks for a 1st rounder next year.

CB, OL, DL, ILB are our major needs. Hamlin will be resigned, Watkins is still developing at FS and Roy has too big of a salary to trade away.

A backup QB would be nice too!

Keep up the good work. Us Cowboys fan have nothing better to do right now!

Cul-de-sac Boys

Lou: Fans of Bubba the Love Sponge should appreciate the show references. Interestingly, the early days of Draft King began when I worked for Bubba; here's a glance at how it went down in early 2003 if you're curious.

You make a very good point about the Cowboys waiting until after round one to take a running back. I could foresee Dallas signing Marion Barber to a long-term deal soon and then drafting one of the many solid RB prospects in that magic round 2-4 range. The two RB attack is very popular in the NFL, and understandably so since any team is just one play away from losing a high-end RB to injury.

It might be wishful thinking for Dallas to retain Ken Hamlin. With a great 2007 season (Dallas signed him to just a one year deal), Hamlin is in prime form to cash in big-time on the free agent market. Jerry Jones may opt to pay a premium to keep him, but he'll be doing so at the sake of the salary cap. But with this being a weak year in the draft at safety, that might make the most sense for the team.

A backup QB shouldn't be too hard to acquire, should Brad Johnson not be in that role in 2008. Defensive Line as a need remains to be seen; the team came around at nose tackle, which was helped by the acquisition of Tank Johnson.

Dallas is in good shape going into 2008, though long-term wide receiver will be a need to be filled. Can Tony Romo succeed in an offense without Terrell Owens? We'll find out come 2009, unless Owens signs an extension with Dallas.

From: Eric Daniels-Howell
Date: Jan 29, 2008 11:31 PM
Subject: Draft question

Hey Lou -

Love your site - I check on it every day. What a breath of fresh air to find a site that actually LOOKS at players' strengths and weaknesses, as opposed to the countless draft-niks who seem to only be able to imitate one another.

My question: With the Indianapolis Colts without their 2008 First Round pick (via the Tony Ugoh trade), little to no attention has been paid to a very strong team's draft needs. What positions do you see the Colts addressing in the draft? While it seems the Colts almost always have a need for LBs, I feel they have enough depth to focus somewhere else. The benefit of having so many players injured in the 2007 campaign is that we saw the capability of backup LBs in the vein of Tyjuan Hagler and Clint Session. This holds true for the secondary as well - DB Dante (Daymeion) Hughes will return from injury in '08, and there is solid depth at safety with the outstanding play of S Matt Giordano.

The same, however, cannot be said for the offensive line. With RT Ryan Diem and LT Tony Ugoh missing time due to injury, Gs Jake Scott and Ryan Lilja eligible for free agency, and C Jeff Saturday nearing his mid-30s, there is shockingly poor depth behind these starters. Who can the Colts look to in the latter half of the Second Round, in terms of offensive linemen?

Finally, we all saw what happened when Reggie Wayne had to carry the load at WR. Granted, we drafted a dependable slot WR in Anthony Gonzalez in last year's First Round, but there needs to be more depth. I see the Colts needing to identify a big-bodied wideout in the possession-type mold - someone to run those intermediate out-routes. I thought Aromashodu or Moorehead might fill that role, but both looked more than a bit shaky. This is NOT the best year for WRs, but I'm wondering if you've identified anyone who might fit this perceived need - in either the draft or free agency.

Lou: One of the nice things about running a "Tampa Two" defense is that teams that utilize it can pass on huge size and strength in favor of speed and hard hitting. Colts safety Bob Sanders received defensive MVP honors in 2007 and with good reason -- he is a great run-stopper who can deliver a hard hit. Why did he slip to the Colts in the second round of the 2004 draft? He's 5'8". But, in a Tampa Two, that can work.

What went oddly underlooked by the media was the loss of Anthony McFarland and Dwight Freeney to season-ending injuries. Freeney is particular could have a tough time bouncing back in 2008, as the Lisfranc foot injury he endured could take well into the off-season to fully heal.

Depth on the offensive line is a need. Maybe not a high pick (which would be a late second rounder for the Colts), but bringing in at least another quality lineman or two would make sense. Tony Ugoh played quite well at left tackle, as a rookie no less, though the Colts clearly could have used Tarik Glenn for another year -- Glenn opted to retire in the off-season, going out as a champion.

But if the Colts do go offensive line in round two, OT Gosder Cherilus of Boston College and Kansas OT Anthony Collins might be considered if they're on the board. Tennessee OG Eric Young suffered a torn quad that ended his season prematurely, and he might end up being on the board at the end of the third round, which might be the best route for the Colts to go. John Sullivan, a center from Notre Dame, might also be considered in round three.


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