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    Michael Lombardi believes the Rams prefer Jason Smith over Monroe...

    Sunday At The Post
    By Michael Lombardi
    Posted April 19, 2009

    THINGS WE LEARNED LAST WEEK IN THE NFL …

    1. The Buffalo Bills and Jason Peters finally parted ways. The Bills clearly did not want to sign Peters to a long-term deal, especially for about the same price as Carolina Panthers tackle Jordon Gross, and found a very willing partner in the Eagles — who then made Peters the second-highest-paid lineman in the NFL. Peters did not play consistently well last year, due in large part to missing camp and not being in great football shape. I trust and believe the Eagles can fix the issues about conditioning and inconsistent play with their coaching, and now they have a legitimate left tackle. The Eagles had to fix their offensive line, so this move makes sense.

    Facing Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware twice a year requires you to have a talented left tackle, and Peters can handle the position. I don’t see a downside to this move because the Eagles realized there would not be a left tackle awaiting them in next weekend’s draft at No. 21. Parting with a fourth-round pick this year and a sixth in 2010 is not that costly (this trade leaves them with 10 total picks in this draft). The Eagles had more than $30 million of cap room to spend, and after this deal they can now focus on getting Donavan McNabb redone.

    The Bills now may move their right tackle, Langston Walker, to left tackle and pursue an offensive lineman in the draft. Once the contract issue with Peters couldn’t be resolved, the Bills had to trade him. They couldn’t suffer through another season of poor play resulting from his failure to get a new contract. Their reluctance to pay Peters is the reason for the trade; last year, there were 14 trades made before the draft, and the reason for most of them was contract issues.

    With all the moves they’re making in Buffalo, you have to wonder what head coach Dick Jauron is thinking. He knows his future after next season is solely dependent on becoming a playoff team. But how can the Bills be a playoff team with a huge hole in the left side of their line? This trade seems to favor the Eagles, but with the draft a week away, the Bills might turn the picks into players who can help their team win in ‘09. I’m sure Jauron is hoping the same thing.

    2. NBC’s John Madden announced his retirement from the television booth in order to spend more time with his family. Madden also said he’s not in line for a consulting job with the Raiders, which has always been a rumor floating around the NFL. He wants to get away and is not looking to spend more time around football at this point in his life. Enjoy your retirement, Coach Madden – and don’t forget the words of General Douglas MacArthur:

    3. The Cardinals announced they would be willing to trade Anquan Boldin for the right price, which we later found out was a first- and a third-round pick. The price is steep when you consider a team would be trading for a 28-, soon to be 29-year-old wide receiver who has missed games eight games the past two seasons and has only been healthy for all 16 games twice in his six-year career. Boldin is very talented and is worth a first-round pick in this year’s draft, but when you factor in the cost of a new deal (some say he wants between $8-9 million per year) and his durability, you might get cold feet. Boldin is a power receiver who can make big plays with his ability to run after the catch and has scored 20 touchdowns the last two years. He is very good, but my sense is that he’ll have a hard time finding a team to satisfy his demands along with the Cardinals. The Cardinals might be doing this so they can tell Boldin, “We tried, but no one wanted to match our demands, so you need to be here.” We’ll see what happens this week.

    4. The NFL announced its 2009 full team schedule and our own Matt Bowen shared his thoughts on games that might be appealing as we look forward to next season. The schedule will take a broader light after next weekend when we add the draft to each team’s depth chart.

    5. Torry Holt has an agreement in principle to join the Jacksonville Jaguars, who, based on their depth chart, really need to add wide receivers. Does this mean they won’t draft a wideout in the first round? I doubt this changes their thinking considering they only have Dennis Northcutt as a dependable wideout on the roster. Yes, they have Troy Williamson and Mike Walker, but both are unproven players who combined for 21 receptions last year.


    THINGS I HEARD AROUND THE NFL THIS WEEK …

    1. A report from the Denver Post claims the Broncos will bring in Mark Sanchez for a workout this week, but that can’t be correct. NFL rules state that teams are not allowed to work out a player in the team’s city unless it also happens to be the player’s home town or college town. In the case of Sanchez, the only way the Broncos could work him out this week would be at USC or in his home town, but not in Denver. In addition, no prospects are allowed to travel this week, as all visits have to end on Friday a week before the draft.

    2. For the right price, I hear (and I emphasize hear) the Dolphins might be interested in discussing a trade involving starting running back Ronnie Brown if a team calls and expresses an interest. On the surface, that may come as a surprise to some, but when you look over the tape and Brown’s production, even though he almost had a 1,000-yard season, he only had three games over 100 yards. His longest run (62 yards) came from the wildcat formation against the Patriots, and his next long run was 30 yards. In nine of his 16 games he had fewer than 50 yards rushing, hardly a classic full-time back.

    3. I hear that OLB Aaron Curry might not be a lock in the top three and that the Chiefs might not have him targeted as their pick. The word around the league is the Chiefs are in love with DE Tyson Jackson of LSU and see him as another Richard Seymour type. Teams are worried (as I am) about Curry being a just a Sam Backer and not an effective blitzer. Curry is a fine football player, but it’s hard to pay the high cost of a top-three pick if he can’t rush the passer.

    4. If the Rams go offensive tackle with the second overall pick, it will be Jason Smith of Baylor. They’re still looking to trade down, but it will be very hard to pull off with the cost of these picks so high.

    5. A general manger told me that he expects Cleveland to trade Brady Quinn this week but he’s not sure what team he will be heading to. The prevailing feeling in the NFL is that the Browns like Mark Sanchez and have spent considerable time getting to know everything they can about him.

    6. More on Sanchez: I keep hearing (and not from our own diehard ‘Skins fan Ray Gustini) that Washington is trying to find a way to move up and get the USC quarterback. Sanchez left Washington on Saturday and has spent considerable time with ‘Skins brass.

    7. I hear the reason that Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez is not coming to the offseason program is that he really wants the Chiefs to be motivated to trade him. Guard Brian Waters is also holding a protest and not attending the offseason program.

    8. For all the fans who called me an idiot last week on my mock draft – especially the one who thinks I’m nuts for putting QB Josh Freeman in the first round — I talked to three GMs who told me independently that Freeman might have the biggest upside (and the biggest downside) of all the quarterbacks. However, in spite of it all, he’s a first-round talent.

    9. I’m hearing that there is some declining interest in former Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe heading into next weekend’s draft. Medical concerns regarding Monroe’s knee may limit how high he will be selected.

    If there is some legitimate concern over Eugene Monroe's knee, then the Rams need to pass. I prefer Monroe to Smith, but there's no sense in drafting a prospect that high and giving him nearly $30 million guaranteed if you're not comfortable with his health.

    That being said, I've asked both Howard Balzer and Jim Thomas about this and neither have heard anything about serious concerns over Monroe's knee, so it could simply be smoke about a past injury. Thomas said in his chat last Tuesday that "Monroe had a kneecap problem early in his college career, but it doesn't seem to be viewed as anything that's a big problem." It wouldn't be unusual for pre-draft misinformation about an injury to heat up a week before the draft itself, and there certainly hasn't been any follow-up report that's elaborated on or reinforced the initial rumblings of injury red flags.

    Ultimately it's going to be up to the Rams' doctors and how they've diagnosed the issue. The Detroit News still speculates that Monroe is a possibility for the first overall pick ("Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford remains the front-runner, ahead of Curry, Baylor's Jason Smith and possibly Virginia's Eugene Monroe." - John Niyo, The Detroit News) so who knows for sure at this point.
    Last edited by Nick; -04-19-2009 at 11:21 AM.


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    Re: Michael Lombardi believes the Rams prefer Jason Smith over Monroe...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    If there is some legitimate concern over Eugene Monroe's knee, then the Rams need to pass. I prefer Monroe to Smith, but there's no sense in drafting a prospect that high and giving him nearly $30 million guaranteed if you're not comfortable with his health.
    I agree. If there is any question about Monroe's knee, he shouldn't be the pick. Way too much at stake. That said, there has been plenty of speculation about Monroe's knee, but nothing really substantial or concrete that I've heard. "Concerns" is a very vague term and could be based on his past history or something that showed up in tests at the combine. In any case, I'm sure the Rams doctors will weigh heavily in any decision made on Monroe. It will be interesting to see what shakes out on Saturday.

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    Re: Michael Lombardi believes the Rams prefer Jason Smith over Monroe...

    There was also concern over Anthony Munoz's possible knee problems but he seemed to work out alright for the Bengals. I'm sure whoever they pick will be the right choice.

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    Re: Michael Lombardi believes the Rams prefer Jason Smith over Monroe...

    Quote Originally Posted by jmk321 View Post
    There was also concern over Anthony Munoz's possible knee problems but he seemed to work out alright for the Bengals. I'm sure whoever they pick will be the right choice.
    That's a good point. In Munoz' case, the concern was over past history, not any injury he had at the time of the draft. I'd be fine taking Monroe if the concern was based on his history, but not if there were any tangible signs of an existing injury.

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    Re: Michael Lombardi believes the Rams prefer Jason Smith over Monroe...

    It's like I've been saying all along. If Smith would go #1 overall you gotta take Curry... If Smith is there he's the pick.... Not Monroe....

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    Lombardi: J. Smith will be a Ram

    THINGS I HEARD AROUND THE NFL THIS WEEK …

    1. A report from the Denver Post claims the Broncos will bring in Mark Sanchez for a workout this week, but that can’t be correct. NFL rules state that teams are not allowed to work out a player in the team’s city unless it also happens to be the player’s home town or college town. In the case of Sanchez, the only way the Broncos could work him out this week would be at USC or in his home town, but not in Denver. In addition, no prospects are allowed to travel this week, as all visits have to end on Friday a week before the draft.

    2. For the right price, I hear (and I emphasize hear) the Dolphins might be interested in discussing a trade involving starting running back Ronnie Brown if a team calls and expresses an interest. On the surface, that may come as a surprise to some, but when you look over the tape and Brown’s production, even though he almost had a 1,000-yard season, he only had three games over 100 yards. His longest run (62 yards) came from the wildcat formation against the Patriots, and his next long run was 30 yards. In nine of his 16 games he had fewer than 50 yards rushing, hardly a classic full-time back.

    3. 3. I hear that OLB Aaron Curry might not be a lock in the top three and that the Chiefs might not have him targeted as their pick. The word around the league is the Chiefs are in love with DE Tyson Jackson of LSU and see him as another Richard Seymour type. Teams are worried (as I am) about Curry being a just a Sam Backer and not an effective blitzer. Curry is a fine football player, but it’s hard to pay the high cost of a top-three pick if he can’t rush the passer.

    4. If the Rams go offensive tackle with the second overall pick, it will be Jason Smith of Baylor. They’re still looking to trade down, but it will be very hard to pull off with the cost of these picks so high.

    5. A general manger told me that he expects Cleveland to trade Brady Quinn this week but he’s not sure what team he will be heading to. The prevailing feeling in the NFL is that the Browns like Mark Sanchez and have spent considerable time getting to know everything they can about him.

    6. More on Sanchez: I keep hearing (and not from our own diehard ‘Skins fan Ray Gustini) that Washington is trying to find a way to move up and get the USC quarterback. Sanchez left Washington on Saturday and has spent considerable time with ‘Skins brass.

    7. 7. I hear the reason that Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez is not coming to the offseason program is that he really wants the Chiefs to be motivated to trade him. Guard Brian Waters is also holding a protest and not attending the offseason program.

    8. For all the fans who called me an idiot last week on my mock draft – especially the one who thinks I’m nuts for putting QB Josh Freeman in the first round — I talked to three GMs who told me independently that Freeman might have the biggest upside (and the biggest downside) of all the quarterbacks. However, in spite of it all, he’s a first-round talent.

    9. I’m hearing that there is some declining interest in former Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe heading into next weekend’s draft. Medical concerns regarding Monroe’s knee may limit how high he will be selected.
    This contradicts Jim Thomas' claim that Eugene Monroe is the favourite right now. Who's wrong? If you ask me, Thomas is. I cite everything that happened prior to Spagnuolo getting hired. No one at the PD had any idea he was our target all along and Thomas constantly reported that Frazier was "1A" and our likely choice. IMO, I don't think the Rams brass would be wise to give off any legitimate info to the likes of Bernie or Jim so I have a feeling this media blackout is leaving them in the dark, no pun intended. I'd be thrilled if Jason was our pick, so maybe a little bias creeping in here. Thoughts?

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    Re: Lombardi: J. Smith will be a Ram

    Monroe has a history of knee problems at VA. Also-- many scouting reports say Monroe plays 'soft'.I am biased though-- and I feel marquee defenses are what makes non competative teams, competative.

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    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Lombardi: J. Smith will be a Ram

    Quote Originally Posted by Bald_81 View Post
    IMO, I don't think the Rams brass would be wise to give off any legitimate info to the likes of Bernie or Jim
    But it is wise to give out legitimate info to Michael Lombardi? I don't know who Lombardi's source is for his info, but I kind of doubt the Rams are purposely shutting out local media while keeping Lombardi in the loop. Honestly I don't think anyone knows at this point. Lombardi also called the Rams a "major player" when it came to Leslie Frazier, and two days ago had the Rams taking Eugene Monroe over Jason Smith in his own mock.

    Pat Kirwan also has the Rams choosing Monroe over Smith in his latest mock, posted like ten minutes ago. His reasoning:

    The Rams could easily select Jason Smith here, but St. Louis dipped into Virginia last year for its top pick (DE Chris Long, No. 2 overall) and it looks like the Rams are headed there again. Some say Monroe's knee is an issue, but it doesn't appear to worry the Rams or many other teams.
    I really don't think anyone at this point has any meaningful inside information one way or the other between Smith or Monroe. I suspect the Rams staff is still having the discussion for themselves. Either way I think the team ends up with a high quality tackle, which they desperately need.

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    Re: Lombardi: J. Smith will be a Ram

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    But it is wise to give out legitimate info to Michael Lombardi? I don't know who Lombardi's source is for his info, but I kind of doubt the Rams are purposely shutting out local media while keeping Lombardi in the loop. Honestly I don't think anyone knows at this point. Lombardi also called the Rams a "major player" when it came to Leslie Frazier, and two days ago had the Rams taking Eugene Monroe over Jason Smith in his own mock.
    Are you saying Frazier wasn't a major player in our coaching search? You could argue he finished second to Spags. He didn't say that he was "1A" or the likely choice, however.

    What I was trying to say is I would believe Lombardi in this case over Thomas. I also remember that Bernie conceded the night before it was announced that Spagnuolo was our coach that Garrett was "Billy's guy all the way" and he didn't know why he was getting misinfomration. As you stated, this is the season for misinformation and I would place more merit in Lombardi than Thomas. Only because I'm sure Billy knows that the local media will have its sources and therefore spread false information. Lombardi is someone who doesn't have access to those sources so I tend to believe him more, but that's just me. And one more thing:

    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch indicates that "all signs point towards Glenn Dorsey" being the Rams' pick at number two.
    Chris Long appears to be second, with Vernon Gholston third on the Rams board. Of course this could all be a smokescreen to induce a trade up for Dorsey, but no calls came in about the pick Wednesday. If Long gets past the Rams, he'll probably fall to Kansas City or the Jets.
    I've learned my lesson, as you can tell.
    Last edited by Bald_81; -04-19-2009 at 10:57 PM.

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    Re: Michael Lombardi believes the Rams prefer Jason Smith over Monroe...

    Haa, didn't think Monroe's knee problem would have the negative potential it seems it may have. I hope it doesn't because I kind of favor Eugene Monroe over Smith; but I do not have any good reason for this. Just a pre-draft hunch.

    Go Rams on DRAFT DAY!

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    Re: Lombardi: J. Smith will be a Ram

    Quote Originally Posted by Bald_81 View Post
    Are you saying Frazier wasn't a major player in our coaching search?
    No, I'm saying Thomas wasn't the only one that thought Frazier was among the top candidates for the position. No one seemed to know much when it came to this head coaching search. Heck, Schefter even reported Garrett was the new head coach at one point during the process. Spags took a lot of people by surprise, not just the local media. I can't really fault these writers for not having the correct story when no one at the time seemed to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bald_81 View Post
    I also remember that Bernie conceded the night before it was announced that Spagnuolo was our coach that Garrett was "Billy's guy all the way" and he didn't know why he was getting misinfomration.
    I don't remember Garrett being referenced as Billy's guy. I'd be happy to allow an exception to the "no links" rule if you can link to this. Or if you can find where someone posted that Bernie quote here on the Clan, even better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bald_81 View Post
    As you stated, this is the season for misinformation and I would place more merit in Lombardi than Thomas. Only because I'm sure Billy knows that the local media will have its sources and therefore spread false information. Lombardi is someone who doesn't have access to those sources so I tend to believe him more, but that's just me.
    If Lombardi does not have access to those team sources, where do you think he's getting his more accurate information from? Just two days ago, he projected Eugene Monroe to the Rams in his mock draft. Now he says that if the Rams are taking a tackle, it's Jason Smith. Who did he talk to in two days that changed his mind about the Rams' pick?

    Also, where did Jim Thomas say that Monroe is the favorite right now? In an article he wrote just a couple of hours ago, he states that, "But if the Rams do go offensive tackle at No. 2 overall, it currently looks like a dead heat between Monroe and Jason Smith."

    In his draft chat on Tuesday, Thomas was asked which tackle was rated higher by the Rams, and his response was, "Don't know." He was later asked to assign percentages to prospects (out of 100%) as to their chances of being the Rams' pick, to which he gave Monroe and Smith both 30%.

    In his article from a few days ago, St. Louis Rams mull options at offensive tackle with No. 2 pick, Thomas said, "There are some at Rams Park who like Monroe better — he's generally viewed as a more athletic pass blocker. There are some who favor Jason Smith — he's generally viewed as a more aggressive run blocker." Nothing about a favorite.

    Did I miss something?
    Last edited by Nick; -04-20-2009 at 12:25 AM.

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    Re: Lombardi: J. Smith will be a Ram

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I don't remember Garrett being referenced as Billy's guy. I'd be happy to allow an exception to the "no links" rule if you can link to this. Or if you can find where someone posted that Bernie quote here on the Clan, even better.
    How ironic, since you're the one who did so:

    Garrett arrives in St. Louis for “second interview” with Rams

    It's eleven posts down. And if you re-read his comments, which I'm sure you did, it's riddled with inconsistencies and false information. None of what he said came to fruition the next day, and having read that myself I went to sleep thinking Garrett was the guy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    If Lombardi does not have access to those team sources, where do you think he's getting his more accurate information from? Just two days ago, he projected Eugene Monroe to the Rams in his mock draft. Now he says that if the Rams are taking a tackle, it's Jason Smith. Who did he talk to in two days that changed his mind about the Rams' pick?
    It also only took two days for Chris Long to be our draft pick after having Dorsey being named the favourite. A lot can change, so I'm guessing he's had something pass by him that makes him believe we are leaning towards J. Smith. Smokescreen or not, is that so unbelievable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Also, where did Jim Thomas say that Monroe is the favorite right now? In an article he wrote just a couple of hours ago, he states that, "But if the Rams do go offensive tackle at No. 2 overall, it currently looks like a dead heat between Monroe and Jason Smith."
    He was on ESPN 101 with Bernie (I'm sure you're aware that Bernie switched stations) and told him in his interview that Monroe was the leader. That's where I heard it, and I'm sure others could vouch for me. I'd post a link, but I'm guessing my maximum has been reached for one post. By the way, the person who asked the question where Jim allotted the 30% to both Monroe and Smith was me, so I found it interesting that you pointed it out.

    So yes, you did miss something.
    Last edited by Bald_81; -04-20-2009 at 01:21 AM.

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    Re: Lombardi: J. Smith will be a Ram

    Quote Originally Posted by Bald_81 View Post
    How ironic, since you're the one who did so:

    Garrett arrives in St. Louis for “second interview” with Rams

    It's eleven posts down. And if you re-read his comments, which I'm sure you did, it's riddled with inconsistencies and false information. None of what he said came to fruition the next day, and having read that myself I went to sleep thinking Garrett was the guy.
    Well, whattya know...

    Regardless though, this just goes back to my point - everyone was getting the wrong message on the coaching hire, both local and national. I wouldn't fault Thomas specifically for getting it wrong when so many others did as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bald_81 View Post
    It also only took two days for Chris Long to be our draft pick after having Dorsey being named the favourite. A lot can change, so I'm guessing he's had something pass by him that makes him believe we are leaning towards J. Smith. Smokescreen or not, is that so unbelieveable?
    Actually yes, I find it rather unbelievable that the Rams are making a conscious effort to cut off the local media yet somehow Michael Lombardi has a pipeline into the Rams' inner circle and has gained inside information about who the team is going to take.

    If the local guys aren't getting any scraps, I don't think there's much chance a national guy would. I mean, if the Rams are purposely shutting out the local media, wouldn't they purposely shut out all media? It makes no sense to me to cut off the local guys but allow a national guy to get ahold of legitimate info.

    So yes, with that in mind, I do find it a little unbelievable. My personal take is no one knows at this point who the Rams favor, likely because there isn't a consensus in the Rams' war room.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bald_81 View Post
    He was on ESPN 101 with Bernie (I'm sure you're aware that Bernie switched stations) and told him in his interview that Monroe was the leader. That's where I heard it, and I'm sure others could vouch for me. I'd post a link, but I'm guessing my maximum has been reached for one post. By the way, the person who asked the question where Jim allotted the 30% to both Monroe and Smith was me, so I found that a little interesting you pointed it out.

    So yes, you did miss something.
    Yes, it would appear I did. I guess I'm human after all?

    It seems as if Thomas' radio comments contradict numerous takes he's presented in print, some as recent as a few hours ago. You said you heard the radio interview, could it have been that Thomas was speculating or making a guess on whom he thought was the favorite rather than actually reporting Monroe was the favorite within the organization?

    I dunno, I'm legitimately confused as to why on Tuesday he said it was neck and neck, on Friday he said Monroe is the favorite, and then on Sunday it's back to being neck and neck. To be clear I'm not doubting what you heard, but I'm rather just completely baffled by his inconsistency.

    I guess that would be an additional reason to approach his information with a skeptical eye, but I'm still not convinced Lombardi has any meaningful pipelines or connections either.

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    Re: Michael Lombardi believes the Rams prefer Jason Smith over Monroe...

    Since even Detroit hasn't tipped their hand yet, why would Devaney risk alienating any possible trade partners by giving anyone the real scoop?

    This isn't about irritating fans or making pundits look foolish with inconsistent signals but about keeping as many options open until the last possible moment,imo.

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    Re: Michael Lombardi believes the Rams prefer Jason Smith over Monroe...

    I too like Monore, but would rather not take any chances with that high of and type of pick, if his knee is a legitimate concern.

    My board still looks like this:
    1a. Curry
    1b. Jason Smith

    -- everyone else (if not trading out of the pick)
    Last edited by #39 Fan; -04-20-2009 at 01:28 PM.

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