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Draft King Analysis

February 2, 2008
Lou Pickney,

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

From: Daniel Jakubowski
Date: Jan 31, 2008 8:54 AM
Subject: NFL DRAFT

I really think your Mock Drafts are a notch above others. To keep up with that tradition, I think I should inform you that there is a DE that is climbing up the charts big time. A few months ago I referred you to Vernon Gholston, this time it is DE - Phillip Merling from Clemson, he could go from anywheres around # 10 to # 15 right now and possibly higher after the combines

Lou: It's true that Phillip Merling has nice stats for a defense end. 6'5", 270-280, and 4.75 speed in the 40 is a nice total package.

But will that launch him into the top 15 of the draft? We'll see. There is some stiff competition at defensive end: Chris Long, Vernon Gholston, Derrick Harvey, and Calais Campbell are all in the mix. Even a guy like Quentin Groves (a DE/OLB hybrid) could go ahead of Merling. It's possible that Merling will fight his way into that mix, and there are some lists have have him slated as a possible first rounder, but it is a competitive position for this draft.

Merling didn't put up any eye-popping stats while at Clemson, though he had two sacks on Matt Ryan in Clemson's 20-17 loss to Boston College in November 2007. As a junior, he has some youth on his side, but no reports of immaturity or associated problems that sometimes come with underclassmen.

My anticipation is that Merling will be an early-mid second round pick. If he has a great combine, and/or if one or two of those top-tier DE prospects run into problems (be they injuries or run-ins with the long arm of the law), he could make it higher than anticipated. If Cincinnati doesn't go defensive end in round one, it's possible that the Bengals might take a stab at Merling if he's on the board in round two.

From: Robert Bruce
Date: Feb 1, 2008 8:06 AM
Subject: Redskins Draft

Hey Lou,

Good work on the site and I enjoy checking everyday for new updates. I have emailed you before asking about the possibility of the Skins taking a DE or CB in the first few rounds. I hope that is the way they go but I am seeing more mocks with them taking Oklahoma WR Malcom Kelly or Indians James Hardy. First off, what are your thoughts on them and how do you see this situation working out? I agree they need a big body at WR but I was hoping for someone more like DJ Hackett as a free agent out of Seattle. I figure with Jim Zorn as the new OC of the Skins, he would be familiar with Hackett, he would know the system, and he would be a free agent which means the Skins wouldnt have to give up picks via trade for a WR (Chad Johnson according to WashPost) or drafting one with our 1st round pick. Can you shed some light on this situation for me? Thanks Lou.

Lou: D.J. Hackett going to the Redskins as a free agent makes a great amount of sense to me. With Zorn adding him to Antwan Randle-El and Santana Moss, the team could add a strong third option, and they wouldn't have to use a draft pick to make it happen.

That would, in turn, free up the Redskins to add talent on the defensive line. It would not surprise me to see the Skins go DT/DE (in either order) in the first two rounds.

Alternately, you might see Washington go in round two for an underappreciated but talented WR like Earl Bennett from Vanderbilt. And, of course, trading up or down could give the Skins the latitude to take value players who they want at a particular spot.

Seattle is going to press hard to sign D.J. Hackett to a new deal, but short of franchising him (no way that happens), I don't know what the Seahawks could offer to make Hackett pass on the bidding market of unrestricted free agency.

As for the matter of Washington and who matches up best with them in this WR class, a possession receiver like Early Doucet could be a great addition. What team wants to put a linebacker on an elusive guy like that in a 3 WR set, and if the opposition goes nickel, then a presumably healthy Clinton Portis could tear through some holes.

Sedrick Ellis
USC DT Sedrick Ellis shined at the Senior Bowl. (Icon SMI)
From: Kevin F.
Date: Feb 1, 2008 8:06 AM
Subject: Redskins Draft


I love your site, and you were one of the few who had the bills first round pick correct last year. Your most recent mock has the bills passing on Sedrick Ellis. This would never happen. I suspect he will be gone long before we pick. I am sure you will correct this in your next mock.

Lou: Last year's Marshawn-to-Buffalo pick was the perfect matchup of scenarios: Buffalo needed a top level running back, it looked like a good possibility that Lynch would fall there, and the Bills liked Lynch enough to pick him, filling a huge need. The impact of Lynch in Buffalo this past year is one of the more overlooked stories of the season, in my opinion. If he can stay healthy, he will produce as a great RB.

Speaking of Buffalo, how about the NFL sneaking out word that the Bills will play one home game a year in Toronto for the next five years? The NFL played that one great, getting it out there just in time to be drowned by Super Bowl hype.

I've held off on updating my Mock Draft until after the Super Bowl, since that is where the attention of the United States sporting world is aimed right now. But I do agree that Sedrick Ellis is a stock on the rise, and with a very impressive performance in the Senior Bowl, there are some who have suggested that there isn't much room between Dorsey and Ellis as far as the whole prospect rating process goes.

One thing that has surprised me on here was that there wasn't any backlash over projecting Chris Long at the #1 spot. It's logical, it fits the Parcells mold, both as a quality human being and a defensive force who could make an amazing tandem with Jason Taylor.


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