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Draft King Analysis

November 21, 2008
Lou Pickney,

Reader feedback is always welcomed here. Send your thoughts to Draft King at

My productivity on here has been limited as of late, and there's a reason for it: I was studying like crazy for the Tennessee state insurance exam. Luckily I passed it on the first try, and once I pass through the background check (including the FBI and TBI running my fingerprints through their system), I will be officially licensed to sell insurance in the state of Tennessee and will do so as an independent associate representing Aflac.

Also, I had the wonderful opportunity last month to be the coordinating producer for an NHL Network shoot in Nashville for the show Voices on Nashville Predators play-by-play man Pete Weber. It was a great experience working with first-class people across the board, and while I know this isn't NFL-related, it was fun to go back to my sports producing roots, albeit on a one day one status.

So things have been busy on this end. With that in mind, here is the latest from the Draft King mailbag.

From: David Oleski
Date: Sun, Nov 16, 2008 at 3:34 PM
Subject: Taylor Mays, S, USC

what about Taylor Mays, S, USC ????? why did you not include him in top 20 or even your first roung?????

Lou: Mays certainly belongs in round one discussion, and you can likely plug him into the slot occupied (as of this writing) by Oklahoma FS Nic Harris, who has seen his draft stock plummet and who has been moved to MLB in a curious move.

Mays is a great combination at 6'3" 230 (or 6'4" 240 depending on who you believe) with lightning speed. That is a frightening prospect on many levels. I've seen his 40 time listed in the 4.5 range, though he's also been said to have run a sub 4.3 40. The NFL combine (be it in 2009 or 2010 for Mays) will tell the official tale on that, but he has high-level pro written all over him.

USC has a tremendous defense, and Mays deserves credit for being part of that. So, my suggestion would be that he could very well end up as a first round draft pick. The next NFL Mock Draft on here will reflect that.

From: Jeff Knoll
Date: Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 9:15 PM
Subject: Lions

It's November, and as a Lions fan, that means it's time to look ahead to the April's draft of course! Know it's early, but assuming the Lions have the #1 or even #2 pick, what are the chances of them trading down? I know some years, you have a number of teams trying to trade up for a coveted player, but I'm not really seeing any players coming out that seems like another team will give up picks to trade up for. you have Matt Stafford #1, but he seems to have alot of questions marks...probably a player who would have been selected 5-10 in last years draft. I just don't see a stud in this years draft a team will trade up for...the guy at #1 (Stafford) doesn't look that much better than the guy at 5-10 (Smith, Oher) to me. your thoughts?

Lou: I concur that there is not a sure-fire prospect at quarterback, or at least one who stands out above the rest. But with the interesting situation of the top four (at least) QB prospects being underclassmen, we won't know until January how many of them (if any) will apply for early entry into the 2009 NFL Draft.

Matthew Stafford
Will we see Matthew Stafford at QB for the Lions? (Icon SMI)
There is a strong argument to be made for Detroit going for a position other than quarterback with a top five pick. This draft will be loaded at offensive tackle (particularly if Andre Smith leaves Alabama early), and there should be a great deal of consideration given toward both that position and defensive end for Detroit.

The question as I see it: does Detroit believe that a quality quarterback can be obtained with the pick acquired from the Cowboys and/or in a later round, or will the Lions determine that they will be best served using a high pick on a QB? I know that the ghost of Joey Harrington still haunts the franchise, but look at the Falcons and how they got past the Michael Vick fiasco by drafting Matt Ryan. That's not to say that there will be a Matt Ryan level quarterback in the draft, but ultimately the Lions must evaluate the quarterback prospects who are in the draft and decide what will work best for them.

Also to be determined is if Drew Stanton can develop into Detroit's starting QB. The team used a second round pick on him in 2007, and while Daunte Culpepper was brought in and earned the starting job over Stanton when Jon Kitna and Dan Orlovsky, suffered injuries Stanton shouldn't be counted out just yet. But the clock is ticking.

It is telling that on Mel Kiper's big board (which refreshingly includes underclassmen this year), there's not a QB to be found among his top 25 as of this writing. What's more, Kiper doesn't even have Stafford in his top five list of QBs. But there are other scouting and draft sources who have Stafford listed not only as the top junior QB prospect, but also as a projected first round pick. At this point, before the post-season evaluations and early entry declarations and the poking and prodding and questioning, it's simply too soon to form any form of definitive projection on that.


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