National Football League
February 26, 2008
Draft King Analysis
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
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The 2008 NFL combine is history, which concludes the final scheduled athletic event at the soon-to-be-shuttered RCA Dome. I remember seeing the then-titled Hoosier Dome during a visit to Indianapolis 20 years ago, and the facility has hosted everything from AFC Title games to NCAA Final Fours. But time moves on, and the Colts will be moving to a brand new facility this fall, a win-win for the teams and its fans.
The worst news to come from the combine was the severe knee injury suffered by Florida State WR De'Cody Fagg. at the combine on Sunday, one that some are calling
career-ending. Sadly, injuries happen from time to time at the combine, such as the one that struck Nebraska center Richie Incognito in 2005. Fagg suffered the injury while running a sideline route.
|De'Cody Fagg may never play organized football again. (Icon SMI)
Darren McFadden's 4.33 40 speed was the talk of the combine, and rightfully so. The initial "unofficial" time of 4.27 was truly jaw-dropping, and even with a six hundredth of a second adjustment, it's still very impressive. Nevermind the so-called "character" knocks on McFadden; I predict those will be found to be of minor consequence. Teams that pass on McFadden will do so at their own peril.
At the same time, I can't envision McFadden going any earlier than #3. When I initially put Chris Long at #1 to Miami, I did so with some hesitation. He's a fantastic player, but there is stiff competition out there. However, over the past few weeks, I've grown more comfortable with the idea. He will be able to start right away as a 3-4 DE opposite Jason Taylor, which is a wonderful opportunity. LSU DT Glenn Dorsey, while an impressive player with great skills and determination to match, still has lingering injury questions related to his right leg from a 2006 injury. He never missed a game at LSU due to injury, but still that question mark will hurt him.
There are some who have projected Matt Ryan to Miami, but I don't see it. Ryan, while impressive as a senior, was not so dominant as to warrant a top slot selection, particularly on a team that used a high second rounder on BYU QB John Beck just last year.
My plan is to update the mock draft on here tomorrow, if for nothing else to remove Kentucky QB Andre Woodson, who didn't work out at the combine and who looks like no better than a second round pick at this point. I'm still bullish on Woodson as a prospect, but the reality is that he's not likely to be a first round pick.
However, despite my plans to update the mock, it will soon be turned upside down by free agency; the gates open for that at midnight on Friday, February 29. This year should prove to be a Leap Day in the sense of teams trying to get the jump on one another for the high-end free agents. And, who knows, maybe some teams will has as enjoyable of a Leap Day as I did the last time we had one, on February 29, 2004.
One forthcoming trade that has become public knowledge is Minnesota shipping underachieving WR Troy Williamson to Jacksonville for a sixth round pick. The tale of Williamson is a cautionary one for NFL teams looking at WR speed in the draft. To be sure, elite speed is an important element for any NFL wideout, but it is but one piece of a puzzle.
|The Vikings plan to trade Troy Williamson to the Jags. (Icon SMI)|
What will happen to Williamson in Jacksonville? We shall see. Often it's not until the third season that NFL wide receivers begin to really break out, due to the learning curve and the adjustments inherent to the position on the pro level. But if the Jaguars wanted to add some speed to their roster, they've managed to do that with Williamson.
Published reports reveal that the Jets have given LB Jonathan Vilma permission to seek a trade with any team... except the Patriots. The hard feelings between the two franchises date back to before the 2007 Spygate scandal, but it's amusing to me that the information was put out there about him being given the green light to work a trade anywhere except for New England. Part of the reason the Jets are trading him is because he isn't a good fit in a 3-4 defense (compared with the success he had pre-Eric Mangini in Herm Edwards' 4-3 defense), so it wouldn't make sense for him to go to New England.
Without knowing anything for sure on how the news came out, I'd speculate that the Jets are sending a "screw you" message at the Patriots with that caveat in the leak to the press on Vilma. Something tells me we haven't seen the last of the bad blood in this rivalry.
One challenge for the Jets is that Vilma, as previously documented on here, is in the final year of his contract, which will make it tougher for them to receive a high draft pick (or picks) in exchange for Vilma. The idea of a Vilma-for-Roy Williams (the Lions WR) trade still makes sense to me on both sides, but indications out of Detroit are that the Lions will hold onto Williams for what will likely be his final year with the team.