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Old 02-04-2008, 09:26 AM    (permalink
D-Rod
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Default 10 issues

1. Quarterback

We need a franchise Quarterback. If the staff believe that Ryan can be that franchise QB, they will draft him, regardless of value. It may be that the decision-makers in the organisation just don't rate Ryan. In that case, they will get the QB they like best at the top of the 2nd round, or may even trade up for him. However, I think that Ryan is most likely our first round pick. When it comes to drafting a QB, you don't f*** around, you get the best one you can get your hands on.

2. Left tackle

There's no doubt that we need some young blood. However, we are not totally bereft. Todd Weiner, if healthy, can be a functional LT for another year or so. He's more of a natural LT, and was only playing at RT because of our left-handed former QB. That means that we can afford to draft a raw tackle and give him a year to learn, either on the bench or at the less pressurised positions of RT or RG. If Weiner's not healthy, we have a larger problem: we may just need to let a young guy get burned for a year, and hope that he survives it mentally.

3. Offensive line generally

Blalock is set at LG, and will benefit greatly from his tough rookie year. McClure is still a solid C - with strong guards either side of him - but hopefully Datish will start to push him, and should start in 2009. I think that Clabo did a good job at RT, and has a future at either RG or RT. I expect the staff to bring in a free agent RG/RT, like Stacy Andrews, to take the position which Clabo does not. Foster, if recovered, might also compete. It is possible, as discussed above, that a rookie could compete for those positions also. For example, if we got Otah or Nicks, they might push Clabo/Andrews for the RG/RT spot in 2008, and eventually take over at LTin 2009.

4. Wide Receiver

I think that we are set at WR. We finally have a bona fide #1 WR in Roddy White. Joe Horn may be expensive, but he remains a valuable mentor to our young guys. Laurent Robinson should continue to develop nicely, and may well start ahead of Horn. Mike Jenkins has disappointed, but there is no point in cutting him, he is still fairly cheap. If he finally emerges, we can resign him. If not, we just let him go. Adam Jennings has shown some flashes, and is serviceable as a 5th WR. I don't expect much change at this position.

5. Running Back

Given the Mularkey hire, it's obvious that we'll need a powerful back. McFadden is not ideal, especially with a top-5 pick, but I think that he will be a stud. We may well draft him, if we don't like Ryan, as a new face of the franchise. However, I would much prefer - and expect - us to draft a solid, powerful RB in the mid-rounds, like Choice, Rice, Forte, K.Smith. Any of those guys would mesh well with Norwood, and give us a productive (and cheap) combo at the position.

6. Defensive Tackle

UT: I don't think that we will cut Rod Coleman. He's been very productive when healthy. A lot will depend on medical reports, but if he gets a clean bill of health then I'd expect him to stick around. If we end up having to draft Dorsey, then we may let Coleman go, but I wouldn't expect any movement before the draft. I really like Babs, and think that he will get extended. He was a project coming out, and has developed well. We may get a late-round pick or UDFA, as cover in case of injury to Coleman, and to develop as an eventual backup to Babs.

At NT, we have problems. We can't rely on Trey Lewis, coming off a major knee injury. If he comes back healthy and functional, that's a bonus. Stanley is useful depth, but nothing more. I'd be amazed if we didn't address this position in some way in FA, so that we aren't forced to take a NT in the draft. Grady Jackson is a possibility, given the JAX connection. Corey Williams would be the big splash, but there will be huge competition for his signature, and I doubt we win. Again, if we don't like Ryan, Sed Ellis would fill this role to perfection.

7. Defensive End

Anderson will be fine, and Davis is a solid backup. Abraham is great, but we need a reliable guy to give him a rest and back him up in case of injury. I'd like to see us invest a 3rd or 4th rounder in a speed rusher to develop as that guy.

8. Middle Linebacker

Brooking is no longer a great linebacker, but he's not bad at all. Most importantly, he offers veteran leadership on a team with very little. Keeping him around also makes sense from a long-term perspective. There are two options. 1) We draft a guy like Wheeler - either he sits behind Brooking for a year, and Nicholas starts at WLB, or the rookie does well, and starts at MLB, and Brooking shifts back to WLB. 2) We don't draft a MLB this year, and Brooking stays at Mike; in the 2009 draft, we get either Laurinaitis or Maualaga - guys who can come in and contribute straight away.

9. Cornerback

I expect us to re-sign Hall. Mike Smith should be able to keep him happy, and Blank will splash the cash. Houston will be an excellent complement at RCB, and David Irons should push Lewis Sanders for the NCB role. Brent Grimes is a decent developmental project as 5th CB. I'm happy with our CB roster, and don't expect it to change too much.

10. Safety

Will Jimmy Williams PLEASE step up to the plate!! I expect us to re-sign Crocker. If JW continues to disappoint, then Crocker is a decent starter, if no more. If JW finally gets it, then Crocker is a very good backup to both safety spots. Milloy is needed for his leadership, and should still be solid as long as he is not exposed in coverage. That can be achieved by scheme. Long-term, Stone is a decent developmental prospect. I think that the new staff will give JW one more year to show what he's got, and will not do anything major to the S position this offseason. There may, however, be major change in 2009.

Overall, we have a lot of holes, but nothing that can't be fixed.

Limiting myself to two mid-level free agents, I'd sign Stacy Andrews and Grady Jackson. My two dream free-agents - which are not impossible, but unlikely - would be Jordan Gross and Corey Williams.

I'd draft:
1. Matt Ryan QB
2a. Jeff Otah or next best LT prospect
2b. Philip Wheeler MLB
3. Tashard Choice RB
4. Frank Okam DT - and pray that Ray Hamilton and Mike Smith can fire him up
4b. Titus Brown DE
5. KICKER
6-7: Project picks and special teamers.

In my opinion, that would give us a decent balance, and our future would depend, most of all, on the development of Matt Ryan and our new Left Tackle.
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Old 02-04-2008, 09:44 AM    (permalink
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ugh. Ryan isn't even the best QB in this class. he is living off of one good performance in terms of media hype. he isn't higher than the 10th-15th best player on people boards.
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Old 02-04-2008, 11:08 AM    (permalink
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Given that most of those players won't be available at those picks, I'd say that's a pretty bad mock. Or...if you want to look at it...a pretty good one. Wheeler's stock is flying upwards, and after the combine he may even project up into round 1 for a lot of teams. Jeff Otah is battling for the #2 Tackle spot, and a top 15 pick. Frank Okam has a lot of question marks about his work ethic, but coaches think they're always the one who can get those people going. I can see him being very similar to Alan Branch, and falling...but I don't see him making it out of the 3rd. I don't know where 4b comes from, but I also don't know who he is...Kicker in the 5th? Who are we going to take that early? There are 4 good kickers in this draft, that means you pick one late or you take your chance in UDFA...Cotu in the 6th or 7th would be fine...but there is no Mason Crosby in this draft...
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:06 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by iloxygenil View Post
Given that most of those players won't be available at those picks, I'd say that's a pretty bad mock.
Otah, as I acknowledged, may be a stretch - but may fall, given that teams may project him merely as a RT - but all of the others are well within reason. Wheeler is currently a second rounder at best, and Okam is being talked about as a 3rd rounder at absolute best - Branch was a supposedly a top-10 pick right before the draft, and fell to the second round.
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:09 PM    (permalink
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Also, on Ryan's value, you're kidding yourself. Personally, I'm not particularly keen on him, and he certainly has warts - I hate his habit of throwing stupid picks. But if the staff think that he has the best chance in his class of being a franchise QB, then they'll take him, simple as that. If they don't, they won't. Value has nothing to do with it for QBs.
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Old 02-05-2008, 12:11 AM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D-Rod View Post
Otah, as I acknowledged, may be a stretch - but may fall, given that teams may project him merely as a RT - but all of the others are well within reason. Wheeler is currently a second rounder at best, and Okam is being talked about as a 3rd rounder at absolute best - Branch was a supposedly a top-10 pick right before the draft, and fell to the second round.
1.) Otah is a stretch, I'd be shocked if he fell out of the top 15...happy...but shocked.

2.) Wheeler 2nd rounder at BEST? hardly...with a good combine run combined with his new weigh in and height...he could EASILY project into the late first round. Simply running in the 4.5-4.59 range would vault him upwards even more, a showing in the high 4.4s...well...we'd have a new #2 linebacker in the draft (I think Rivers has #1 locked up)

3.) Okam was a first round projection last year, and was at the beginning of this year. The knock on him is work ethic and being lazy, he has tools of a 1st rounder, and we all know DTs generally go higher than projected because of the need for DTs, especially ones with his size and ability (when motivated) so to say he's a 3rd rounder at best...well...it's false. Okam was a top 15 last year and top 15 pre-season this year, possibly top 10 as well...Branch fell also because of injury.
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Old 02-05-2008, 04:05 AM    (permalink
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1.) Otah is a stretch, I'd be shocked if he fell out of the top 15...happy...but shocked.

2.) Wheeler 2nd rounder at BEST? hardly...with a good combine run combined with his new weigh in and height...he could EASILY project into the late first round. Simply running in the 4.5-4.59 range would vault him upwards even more, a showing in the high 4.4s...well...we'd have a new #2 linebacker in the draft (I think Rivers has #1 locked up)

3.) Okam was a first round projection last year, and was at the beginning of this year. The knock on him is work ethic and being lazy, he has tools of a 1st rounder, and we all know DTs generally go higher than projected because of the need for DTs, especially ones with his size and ability (when motivated) so to say he's a 3rd rounder at best...well...it's false. Okam was a top 15 last year and top 15 pre-season this year, possibly top 10 as well...Branch fell also because of injury.
1. Agreed, but given the number of quality tackles, there may well be a surprise faller. And it might be Otah.

2. If you check what I wrote, I said "currently" a second rounder. Yes, if he runs a 4.4 at the combine, he'll go in the 1st. That's a future contingency. It's not unrealistic to peg him late second at the moment, because he hasn't done so.

3. Okam has top 10 potential, sure, but he's never come close to living up to it. Sure, someone may well take a flyer on him, on the premise that they can get him to live up to his tools. Anyway, putting him at the top of the 4th is not entirely unrealistic. Scott's rankings are not the "be all and end all", but they are not unrealistic: and Okam sits at number 12. Coaches hate lazy players, and that is what Okam has shown himself to be thus far.

Anyway, the point of this thread was not a mock draft, or to bicker about the draft values of three prospects. The point was to initiate discussion about 10 principal issues affecting our team.
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Old 02-05-2008, 06:49 AM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iloxygenil View Post
1.) Otah is a stretch, I'd be shocked if he fell out of the top 15...happy...but shocked.

2.) Wheeler 2nd rounder at BEST? hardly...with a good combine run combined with his new weigh in and height...he could EASILY project into the late first round. Simply running in the 4.5-4.59 range would vault him upwards even more, a showing in the high 4.4s...well...we'd have a new #2 linebacker in the draft (I think Rivers has #1 locked up)

3.) Okam was a first round projection last year, and was at the beginning of this year. The knock on him is work ethic and being lazy, he has tools of a 1st rounder, and we all know DTs generally go higher than projected because of the need for DTs, especially ones with his size and ability (when motivated) so to say he's a 3rd rounder at best...well...it's false. Okam was a top 15 last year and top 15 pre-season this year, possibly top 10 as well...Branch fell also because of injury.
2) My buddy Joe Gaston on Tech's team told me Wheeler was 245 last year. they just haven't chanced his listed weight since frosh year. I don't doubt it either.
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:09 AM    (permalink
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Good stuff man...I agree that one of the OT will fall out of the 1st right now Carl Nicks value is going up and if he have a good combine he mightnmove ahead of Jeff Otah but whatever happens I hope we get one of those guys.

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