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Draft King Analysis

January 4, 2008
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com

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


The big moves are starting to happen with juniors declaring for the NFL Draft. With less than two weeks to go until 1/15, I suspect that we'll see an avalanche of players entering early after Monday, the day of the BCS Title game between LSU and Ohio State. From that game alone there could easily be a half-dozen juniors entering the draft.

Darren McFadden
Darren McFadden is not easy to tackle. (Brad Schloss/Icon SMI)

My inbox has been exploding lately with e-mails asking about the possibility of Dallas trading with Miami to be able to draft Darren McFadden. Forget about that -- it's not going to happen. Not with Miami, not with St. Louis, not with any of them. The price is simply too high to make the move, not to mention the salary cap ramifications involved.

As much as I would enjoy seeing how Dallas would utilize McFadden in its offense, that won't happen unless either McFadden gets hurt, he fails a piss test at the combine, or he returns to school and Dallas somehow gets a high pick in the 2009 Draft and manages to get him there.

But, if you were Darren McFadden, would you go back to school? Hell, he couldn't even get a new car without receiving a ridiculous amount of media attention about it prior to the Cotton Bowl. His coach left for Ole Miss, he has finished second in the Heisman voting two years in a row, and he really has nothing left to prove. It's telling that new Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino met with Felix Jones (presumably to try convincing Jones to return to Arkansas in 2008) but no such reports have surfaced, at least to my knowledge, of any such conversations held with McFadden.

If you want to look at potential trades involving McFadden, the Rams at #2 likely hold the key. There is the complicated mess involving Oakland, Atlanta, and Kansas City at #3-5, but if one of those teams moved up to #2 with the purpose of drafting McFadden, it wouldn't surprise me at all.

Aqib Talib had a great performance in last night's Orange Bowl. Between his "pick six" interception, his excellent overall coverage (which nearly produced two other pickoffs), and his return of a missed field goal, Talib made an impact on a national stage. The shot of Mark Mangino praising Talib on the sidelines after his interception-turned-touchdown was memorable.

Talib has easily elevated himself into first round territory; I already had him there, but now (in my estimation) you have to talk about him in the same breath as Terrell Thomas and Malcolm Jenkins and Mike Jenkins as the possible top corner in the draft. Talib is a junior, but if he wanted to springboard into the NFL, he sure picked a good time (and venue) from which to do so.

You have to give West Virginia a ton of credit for sticking it to Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, but it's a shame that we didn't get to see WVU against a healthy Oklahoma team. Without Reggie Smith (inactive) and Malcolm Kelly (who left early with an injury and zero receptions), the Sooners were missing a potential 2008 first round pick on both sides of the ball. Those are the breaks, but it would have made for a more interesting matchup to see a fully-loaded OU team in there.

Colt Brennan sacked by Marcus Howard
Marcus Howard delivered one of a number of hits sustained by Colt Brennan in the 2008 Sugar Bowl. (Douglas Jones/Icon SMI)

By the same token, Steve Slaton was injured early in that game and missed the majority of it as a result, so it's not like WVU had all of its guns blazing. The big breakout star from that game was Owen Schmitt; I've known about him for some time now (it helps to have friends who are WVU grads who follow that stuff closely), and he certainly looked impressive. He's this draft's version of Brian Leonard: a bruising blocker who can also handle the bulk of the running game if needed. Schmitt might have played himself into a second round position; before he was looking like more of a third or fourth rounder.

Perhaps the biggest falling star out of the bowl season is Hawaii QB Colt Brennan. To say that Hawaii looked undermatched against Georgia would be a gross understatement. I think that Brennan has taken (and will continue to take) an unfair beating over it; what else was he supposed to do with next to no support from his offensive line? But there are many scouts who have soured on him considerably, to the point where he might not be a day one pick (remember, day one now consists of just the first two rounds.) If so, Brennan will be a steal in round three or below.

Rhetorical question: what does it say if Brennan ends up going after Delaware QB Joe Flacco in the draft? Flacco is an emerging prospect from the national runner-up I-AA team, which lost to Appalachian State in the only Division I college football national game. I write that because the BCS Title game is as arbitrarily set up as a WWE Intercontinental Title match.

In hindsight, the best thing that could have happened for Brennan might have been Hawaii losing to Washington to end the regular season and then beating up on whoever in the Hawaii Bowl, further padding Brennan's stats. But that's not how it played out, and instead Brennan will need to prove himself via his off-season workouts. I suspect it will be a rather hard sell in some circles.


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