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Draft King Analysis

April 24, 2008
Lou Pickney,

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

From: Sean Combrink
Date: Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 2:51 PM
Subject: KC Chiefs

Hey Lou
Glad to see you are back and healthy.

With the Jared Allen trade the chiefs gace themselve a lot of options. They now will, in all likelyhood, be able to draft one of the top four tackles left. They also find themselves with another need DE. You have the chiefs drafting Vernon Gholston from the U. I agree that he is an amazing player but he lacks the motor and desire that Herm loves so much. Just look at his two top draft picks (Hali and Bowe). He took Hali because he believed he gave his all everydown and needs no pep talk to make him play. Bowe was picked because not only is he a great playmaking reciever, he gives his all when needed to block (TEAM PLAYERS). Now if Chris Long was available I think the chiefs would jump at him but not Gholston.

If Long is taken then the chiefs will move last years 2nd round choice Turk Mcbride - he was drafted because of his ability to play outside and inside - to the starting line up. Then who will they draft?? I'm thinking either a move down or a stretch for someone like Clady. If the Chiefs do not trade down from the spot (and there are a lot of potential takers - New England for Gholston, Baltimore for Ryan, New Orleans for Sedrick Ellis) then there is the distinct possibilty they will take two tackles in the first round. Remember the chiefs need an entirely new offensive line bar one guard... What do you think???

Cape Town, South Africa

Lou: From most evaluations I've read, Gholston actually has a great motor (to use the oft-applicable automobile comparison). To point, skilled analyst Scott Wright wrote that Gholston has "an outstanding motor", which is along the lines of what I've observed about him.

As for his desire, that is an intangible that can be difficult to quantify. I've not heard anything about him "taking plays off", but his sometimes poor awareness might cause him to appear to be slacking. Gholston's ability to drop into coverage (particularly when backpedalling) has been questioned, but overall he is arguably the best pass rush threat at DE in this draft, something that should make him very valuable to the Chiefs. We'll find out for sure on Saturday.

From: Mike Torbert
Date: Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 4:19 PM
Subject: Dallas Information

Howís the brain piece? I had a killer migraine the other day... I feel for ya brother!

Just noticed your selection at #28. I would support it, but what I read on the website makes me think otherwise. He (Aqib Talib) wasnít even invited back to work out for the (soon to be SB Champs) Dallas Cowboys.

Lou: Thanks for the concern with the cluster headaches. As long as the nortriptyline keeps my neck spasms at bay, I will be a happy man.

Regarding the build-up toward the draft, remember that, many times, a team will intentionally avoid bringing in a given player for an interview despite targeting that player. Why? Because deception is part of the game, as a team may not want to tip its hand toward a particular player, to the point where it will go out of its way to feign disinterest.

You may have a point with Talib, though it might be due to him testing positive to marijuana while at Kansas (though he has notably improved in maturity from 2006 to the end of his run at KU), and also because he might not be observed as a strong punt/kick returner. The Cowboys could use a high-end kick returner, and they'll have one in Adam "Pacman" Jones should he be reinstated, but there are a few reasons why the Cowboys would pass on Talib in favor of other corners.

As it is, there are vastly varying opinions as far as the order of the top five corners in the draft, so perhaps the Cowboys would look elsewhere for their corner need.

From: Ted Hadid
Date: Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 9:07 PM
Subject: James Hardy

James Hardy
James Hardy is expected to be a day one pick in Saturday's NFL Draft. (Icon SMI)

Lou Ė Keep up the good work. Like many, I am yet to find someone that is as accurate and thorough as you are. My question is I donít understand why I donít see a 6í6Ē WR that runs a 4.45 (James Hardy) being drafted in the first round. What do teams/scouts see (or donít see) in him thatís not making him a top WR prospect? I remember when the Steelers drafted Plaxico Burress with the 8th pick and I see this guy as being a gem in this years draft.

Lou: I appreciate the praise, Ted, though there are many great draft analysts out there. As well-respected draft expert Mel Kiper, Jr. said yesterday on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption show (which I think is a fantastic program), there's plenty of room at the table for everyone. My approach with Draft King from the beginning has been to utilize my analytical and research skills and try to best project what will happen (as opposed to what I personally would choose to do in a given spot.)

James Hardy is a player who many might not know much about, as he played his college ball at Indiana. You're right that a 6'6" wideout who runs a 4.45 is enticing, but the biggest knock on him is his strength. He is a risk to be jammed on the line by corners in man coverage, and there are some concerns about his blocking skills.

Also, while he's 6'6", Hardy had 21 of 144 passes thrown his way deflected. That's not necessarily his fault, but it is rather striking for an exceptionally tall receiver. I recall seeing 5'11" Penn State CB Justin King provide great coverage against him in the end zone in 2007, so the 6'6" height might not necessarily be the overwhelming advantage that some perceive, at least not against shorter-but-elite CBs.

Another concern with Hardy is accusations of domestic violence problems, though that shouldn't be an overwhelming red flag based on what I've read. But it's something to keep in mind.

With that written, Hardy projects to be anywhere from a late first round pick to a mid-late second rounder. His rare combo of height and speed makes him an attractive target for a team needing a big target, and he has the potential to develop into a solid NFL wideout. I personally like Hardy more than some other scouts, but ultimately he will need to work on some fundamentals to develop into a top-flight NFL wideout.


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