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Draft King Analysis

April 7, 2008
Lou Pickney,

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

From: Robert Bruce
Date: Mon, Mar 24, 2008 at 7:55 AM
Subject: Welcome Back!

I wanted to say welcome back. I have been checking the site everyday hoping for and update and hoping even more that you didn't decide to say to hell with the draft. Glad to hear you are doing well and I have my go to draft site back up and running. I have one quick question for you regarding the Redskins draft. If Harvey and Merling are off the board by the time the Skins pick, it looks like they will be focusing on a DB or WR with the 21st pick. In your opinion, will there be better player value at #21 at DB or WR bc I have been reading more and more that people are iffy about the WR talent. I was hoping the Skins could land a contributor at CB with their first rounder, a big receiver like Jordy Nelson with their second rounder, and someone who we can develope as a situational player like Kendall Langford in the third. Please let me know what you think the chances of any of this happening are. And again, welcome back.

Lou: Thanks Robert. My neck spasms (and associated cluster headaches) have finally subsided, thanks in no small part to a wonderful drug called nortriptyline. How does it work? I don't know; science isn't my thing. But it's nice to be sitting here typing this and not fearing that a headache is about to completely incompacitate me.

As the draft has drawn closer, there has been more and more disparity among draft experts and talent evaluators about rankings for the top wide receivers in the available talent pool. Perhaps the biggest wild card of the bunch is Cal WR DeSean Jackson, with his elite sub 4.4 speed and amazing return skills earning the attention of football fans nationwide. Strictly as a receiver, it could be argued that his Cal teammate Lavelle Hawkins is a better pro prospect, though Jackson will go long before Hawkins because of the amazing return skills.

There's not a Calvin Johnson breakaway WR talent in the draft, to be sure. Jackson could be the first receiver to go, but that could also happen for Limas Sweed, Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly, or even James Hardy. It's wide open, but that's not a knock at the guys on the board -- there just isn't much separation there at the top.

As for the Redskins, DB, DE, and WR are all logical spots for the club. A big receiver like Kansas State's Jordy Nelson (6'3" 220) could be a great addition to the speedy wideouts already on the club -- though I think he could easily fall to round three, where he'd be a better value pickup. Hampton DE Kendall Langford isn't quick (running a 4.95 40) but at 6'6" he has size and would be a good value pick in round three. He's not a major blitz threat, but Langford on the other side from speedy sack machine Andre Carter would be a nice combo.

Orlando Pace
Rams OT Orlando Pace possesses great balance. (Icon SMI)

From: Jeff Jackson
Date: Wed, Mar 5, 2008 at 10:00 AM
Subject: More about the Rams

I found your site earlier this year and I greatly enjoy reading your insights and mock drafts. One thing I noticed is that my Rams are not getting enough coverage. Yes I am biased. :-) I think Jake Long or Chris Long would be great picks at #2. What about the possibility of trading down with Dallas for their two first-rounders plus others? The Rams could use an big infusion of youth and what do they do with Orlando Pace? If he gets hurt again I think they must release him. Unfortunately I thought the Rams should have let Orlando sign with Houston (who were in desperate for a LT) a couple of years ago or traded him to them for picks and possibly received the #1 pick Houston used to select Mario Williams. Houston made a great pick by the way. Reggie White types do not come along very often and I was convinced before that draft that he would be that type of player. Unfortunately the Rams were not forward thinking enough and it cost them. Defense wins championships, just ask the Giants. I think the Rams newly improved front office will make better decisions, like releasing or not signing high-priced declining veterans. The Rams two free-agent signings I thought were wise. What about the Rams second round pick, the 33rd overall pick? Do you move into predicting more than just round one? I hope you do and soon.

Lou: The Rams are in a very interesting spot at #2. Both Jake Long and Chris Long are viable options for St. Louis, and I think the team will take Chris Long if the Dolphins pass on him. However, one thing working against St. Louis taking an offensive lineman at #2 is that the Rams still have quite a bit of cash tied up in Orlando Pace and Alex Barron, and that coupled with the fact that the Rams could snag an offensive tackle at the top of round two makes defensive end seem like the most logical position for the team to target.

I personally think that DE will be in more demand than OT in the draft, but ultimately who St. Louis invests in with the #2 pick will be based more on player evaluation than it will on filling other team needs in later rounds.

As for not jettisoning Orlando Pace in the past, in hindsight that might have made sense. But had Pace not suffered back-to-back season-ending injuries, things would have been much different.

The only way that Dallas would trade up to #2, in my estimation, is mid-draft if an if/then deal is in place where if Darren McFadden is on the board, then Dallas would give St. Louis two first rounders and whatever else. That actually makes sense if the Rams can pull it off, since they can get a good OT and DE with the #22 and #28 picks and avoid the top five signing bonus trap. But there's no way Jerry Jones will trade for the #2 spot prior to the draft, save for Miami signing a contract ahead of Saturday with who they want at #1, since (in my opinion) he's not going to make that move unless it's a sure thing.

From: Mike Torbert
Date: Fri, Mar 7, 2008 at 3:00 PM
Subject: Calm the draft waters!

Jacques Reeves
Houston signed CB Jacques Reeves away from Dallas in February. (Icon SMI)

I know everyone is all excited about FA, and the draft, but let me calm the waters a little.

Dallas will not draft a RB or a WR in the first round. Not gonna happen. I donít care the rational.

We will pick up another 1st round CB to play the slot and replace Reeves who we lost to the Texans. (best guess)

We will trade down our #28 pick to gather more picks this year or a 2nd 1st rounder next year. No trading up, we were 13-3 last year!

We could get a RB or WR in the 2nd-4th rounds if that makes anyone feel better.

Barber wonít be traded, and we wonít overpay for a FA WR.

Dallas never drafts like I want them too, or like their fans expect them to. We have a new head coach, and new scouting director, and the same ole owner.

I do like Felix Jones with the #22 pick (recently moved up from 28 Ė which is more believable) Ė though I donít think it will happen.

We canít use the information on prev. drafts, cause we have a new scouting director, and coach.

I honestly donít have any clues on who we will draft. Only opinions, that have no supporting evidence.

Keep up the good work on the site, I will be logging on everyday as we get closer to the draft.

Lou: You may be right about the Cowboys opting to pass on RB and WR in round one, though at this point that makes the most sense to me. If Bill Parcells was still there, I'd be much more inclined to agree with that line of thinking. But age is really creeping up on the team's wide receiving core (not counting Patrick Crayton), and a young, tall, and fast wideout could be a great fit.

If Dallas doesn't manage to trade up to get Darren McFadden, I could see them waiting at RB for rounds 2-4 to find a player who could compliment Marion Barber while not being as much of a "sure thing" player. The idea of, say, Barber and Rashard Mendenhall in the same backfield is exciting, but with such a deep RB draft class, the Cowboys may wait at that position.

From: Alex Martin
Date: Sun, Mar 9, 2008 at 10:03 AM
Subject: Buccaneers Draft Strategy

Hey Lou, I really enjoy your site and appreciate you posting and answering my e-mail last year. Last time I wrote you about the Buccaneers draft strategy and I'm back for more of the same this year. You currently have the Bucs slated to take Kenny Phillips out of Miami at the 20th pick in the 1st round. I have to say I disagree with this pick. They got a steal in Tanard Jackson in the 4th round last year who will be a playmaker for years at the free safety slot and his counterpart, Jermaine Phillips, has had an up and down career but appeared to finally fulfill his potential this year becoming a big hitter from the strong safety position. Because they have those two I doubt they go with Phillips at this spot. The Bucs biggest need is playmakers on offense. Their defense is still among the leagues best and added a much needed boost of youth last year (i.e. Barrett Ruud, Tanard Jackson, Gaines Adams) and thats what they need to do in the draft this year. Although I'd like to see them take a QB of the future in the first round (Brohm or Woodson if they're still around at pick 20) I would also gladly accept DeSean Jackson at this pick. Todd McShay and others have Jackson slated to go to the Bucs and I wanted to get your opinion on that possibility. Also, what quarterbacks do you project will be available when their second pick comes around (Chad Henne, Joe Flacco?) I apologize for the essay-like length but I really appreciate your feedback. Thanks!

Lou: The Bucs are in a tough spot at #20 relative to the QB pool. If Brian Brohm falls to them, that would be a great selection, to be sure. But if not, that's too high for Andre Woodson (in all likelihood); Tampa Bay could end up with a shot at Woodson in the second round at #53 overall.

Since you wrote, I changed my mock to have Tampa Bay going with a wide receiver in the form of Malcolm Kelly. Michael Clayton has been unable to regain the magic he showed as a rookie, and Joey Galloway turns 37 in November. While a young QB would be a great pickup for Tampa Bay, they should be able to do so without having to utilize their first round pick to do so.


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