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Draft King Analysis

April 22, 2008
Lou Pickney,

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

Lock it in -- the Miami Dolphins have signed University of Michigan OT Jake Long to a five-year, $57.5 million contract, $30 million of which is guaranteed. The talented offensive tackle should be a cornerstone of the team much like Orlando Pace was as the #1 overall pick for the Rams in 1997.

Time for some mailbag questions...

From: Nicholas Gniadek
Date: Thu, Apr 3, 2008 at 11:05 AM
Subject: Pats fan

I found your website this past year and ever since I've found it I've needed to check it every day. The information you post is useful and you mock drafts are perhaps the most accurate to what I believe will happen in this years upcoming draft. I was also sad to hear that you had gotten sick, and I hope you are recovering well.

Aside from that I had a few questions about the Patriots that I hoped you would give your input on. First off everyone knows that they need some help at the linebacker position, and while the draft does offer up some great talent it appears that they would be looking to win now. Are there any free agent linebackers out there who could help this team right now? A few linebackers I would like to see the Pats bring in would be Takeo Spikes, Jeremiah Trotter, and LaVar Arrington(if he has recovered from his accident). Could any of these players be on the Pats radar? I really feel that Trotter would be a huge addition for the team as an inside linebacker, considering how just a year or two ago he was considered one of the best middle linebackers at stopping the run and he is larger so he could fit the 3-4 scheme and allow Thomas to move outside.

These are just some of my opinions. Hope to read your response soon.

Lou: The Patriots have signed only one free agent LB, former Jets OLB Victor Hobson, thus far in the off-season. The team retained Tedy Bruschi and Larry Izzo, and while they have lost Rosevelt Colvin and Junior Seau, I suspect that they will wait until after the draft to bring in any other veteran linebackers.

If nothing else, it could give the Pats reason to consider taking a player like USC OLB Keith Rivers in the first round, particularly if they trade down. ILB is more of a need, but with Ohio State ILB James Laurinaitis and USC ILB Rey Maualuga both opting to return to college for their senior seasons, there is no true inside/middle linebacker that would be worthy of taking at that spot.

Jacob Hester
Jacob Hester may go earlier in the draft than some expect. (Icon SMI)

From: John Dirda
Date: Thu, Apr 10, 2008 at 5:31 PM
Subject: Steelers

Welcome back brother!! Big fan of yours stretching back to 2004, you helped me pick the first 11 picks correctly in a poll with my fraternity brothers. Anyway, I do not understand why you have the Steelers selecting a CB in the first round when the Offensive line is the biggest issue. Currently we have Ike Taylor, B. McFadden, D. Townsend, William Gay, and Anthony Madison under contract. I would like to see us draft a CB in the second round due to McFadden's contract situation and Townsend getting up there in years, but as far as first round talent we have to go O-Line. Taylor is an up and coming CB, McFadden hasn't been given a real chance to perform, and Townsend is a solid vet. William Gay is an up and comer, just like Taylor was when he was a young guy, once again for depth I would like a second round corner. Also what do you think the chances are for us landing Jacob Hester from LSU in the 4th/5th round area. Thanks again for all you do.

Lou: I'm glad I managed to help you out with the pick 'em in '04, John. You make a valid point about the Steelers needing to address their offensive line, though OT Max Starks will make a guaranteed $6.9 million as a result of the transition tag the team placed on Starks before free agency began. Starks' payday will impact just the upcoming year's cap, but it could play at least some role in what the Steelers decide to do on draft day.

As for Jacob Hester, I suspect that he won't make it beyond round four. I've heard whispers of some teams being high on him, but at this point of the year you have to be careful as to what whispers you believe. But Hester proved himself in many clutch situations while at LSU, and he could be a great compliment RB for a team with an established starter. It could be similar to how the Rams drafted Rutgers RB/FB Brian Leonard last year, which ultimately proved valuable when starting RB Steven Jackson missed time with an injury last year.

From: Patrick Pickney
Date: Tue, Apr 15, 2008 at 7:31 PM
Subject: The draft

I know you probably have been getting alot of this, but i wanted to know where you think my Vanderbilt guys will go. Chris Williams and Earl Bennet? Also i wanted to know who you think the titans are going to get in the early rounds and what will they do with pacman?

Lou: OT Chris Williams looks to be a lock as a mid-first round pick. He was under the radar during much of his tenure at Vanderbilt, but while there he faced elite talent on a week-in, week-out basis. My anticipation is that he will battle Pitt OT Jeff Otah in the race for being the third offensive tackle taken (behind Michigan OT Jake Long and Boise State OT Ryan Clady). I don't count Virginia OG Branden Albert in that mix, even though some list him as a guard/tackle hybrid prospect. This is a very deep year for offensive tackles, with many believing it goes three rounds deep with quality, but that shouldn't stop him from being taken in the 12-26 range of round one.

This is a crazy year for wide receivers as far as projecting who will go where and evaluating talent one way, and I suspect that Earl Bennett will end up as either a late second round selection or an early third round pick. He is immensely talented, and in a year where there have been no clear-cut favorite at the wide receiver spot, he could turn out to be a great bargain pickup. We shall see.

As for Adam "Pacman" Jones, he is at the mercy of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. It appears that Jones won't be considered for reinstatement until close to the start of training camp, and until then it's mere speculation. If Jones can keep a low profile between now and late July, then perhaps the Titans can deal him to Dallas for a conditional pick in 2009.

The Titans will likely look to fill defensive line losses in Antwan Odom and Travis LaBoy, but receiver should be given strong consideration. A "surprise" player like Auburn DE/OLB Quentin Groves could end up going to Tennessee in round one, with the team looking for receiver help in round two. Offensive line may also be a consideration, particularly if Tennessee has an opportunity to draft Virginia OG Branden Albert.


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