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    PFW: The Way We Hear It — draft edition (4/8/09)

    The Way We Hear It — draft edition
    Belichick disciples cloud top five; Draft audibles
    By Nolan Nawrocki
    April 8, 2009

    With barely two weeks to go before the draft takes place, most teams have entered final draft meetings to properly set their boards before final character and medical meetings allow the board to bleed, as red strikes are crossed through names, draft cards are flipped upside down or removed altogether.

    The top of the draft is beginning to shape up, with Matthew Stafford and a pair of blind-side protectors — Baylor’s Jason Smith and Virginia’s Eugene Monroe — all in heavy consideration at the top of the draft and expected to fit into the top five.

    However, the presence of new Chiefs GM Scott Pioli and Browns head coach Eric Mangini — two tight-lipped, guarded Bill Belichick disciples — near the top of the draft order has left observers only guessing at what might happen in the top five, creating as much uncertainty at the top of the draft as ever.

    There's a leaguewide perception that Aaron Curry is being prized by the Chiefs at No. 3 because he is such a safe choice. However, the way we hear it, the Chiefs will be in the big-man sweepstakes, with the new regime being driven by the need to draft someone who can protect new QB Matt Cassel and thereby enhance his chance of success.

    If Stafford is selected first overall as expected, it would force either Smith or Monroe into the Chiefs’ hands. Monroe played for Al Groh, who worked with Pioli and new K.C. head coach Todd Haley previously in New York with the Jets, and shares a playing history with Chiefs OLT Branden Albert. Reuniting the two would be a very natural fit. If Smith happened to fall, the Chiefs could leave Albert on the left side and kick ORT Damion McIntosh inside to guard, significantly improving the pocket.

    The way we hear it, the Browns’ new brass, led by Mangini and GM George Kokinis, who was never responsible for running a draft in Baltimore where he served as director of pro personnel, are still scrambling to figure out what to do with the fifth pick, setting up private workouts with many top prospects on campus, including Ohio State’s Malcolm Jenkins and Penn State’s Aaron Maybin.

    Mangini, who recommended drafting Vernon Gholston a year ago, is also believed to be very intrigued by Texas DE-OLB Brian Orakpo, who physically compares very similarly to the Jets' sixth overall pick a year ago.

    However, the Browns have two second-round picks and are expected to be able to land a quality rush LB prospect at No. 36 or No. 50, whereas the CB class is expected to dry out quickly in the first round. The Browns' back seven was a continual issue for former coach Romeo Crennel that GM Phil Savage struggled to address, and Jenkins’ versatility could allow him to help at two positions, moving to safety in nickel situations as he did previously for Ohio State, more so as a junior than as a senior.

    The Browns reportedly are also meeting with USC LB Rey Maualuga and Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno, both of whom would be considered reaches at the fifth spot but could not be ruled out with an inexperienced GM at the helm.


    Draft audibles

    “(Arizona OT) Eben Britton is a lot like (former Bear) John Tait. You might be able to get away with him on the left side for a few years, but he’ll always be best on the right side. He’ll be a 10-year starter in the league.”

    “We always say we don’t use numbers when we are scouting. I guess we’ll find out who truly believes it, because (Tennessee DE Robert) Ayers does not have good numbers (measurable or sack production). We have him in the early second round. I could not justify drafting him where we are picking (in the top 15).”

    “(Alabama OT) Andre Smith scares me to death. The higher up you have to draft him, the more scary he looks. I’m hoping he is off the board by the time we come up. I don’t want to deal with the owner on him. The one thing about that Alabama program, (Nick) Saban controls those kids, lock and key. The team that drafts him better be ready to babysit.”

    “I like (Florida State DE) Everette Brown; I don’t love him. When you can pin his ears back and let him go, he is great, but I wish he played the run better. He’s a bit of a one-trick pony, to me he is.”

    “You start to second-guess yourself with all the time we have before the draft. That’s why the fall grades are the best grades. They lose a little impact in the spring when you get caught up in how fast a guy runs and peek at all these pro days. They mean something, but it’s not as important as what you see in the fall.”

    “I would draft (USC QB) Matt Sanchez and never look back. He’s got the charisma, the mental makeup, the intelligence and all the physical qualities it takes. Drafting a junior scares me when you look at the failure rate and his 16 starts, but I’d roll the dice. All three quarterbacks will be gone in the top 15. If someone wants (Kansas State QB Josh) Freeman, they are going to have to go up to get him.”

    “(LSU DE) Tyson Jackson will be a better pro than college player. You know what you’re getting. He’s always been durable.”

    “(Rutgers WR) Kenny Britt — I don’t know about him. I couldn’t draft him in the first round. I don’t know that I’d want him in the second round. He’s big and physically impressive (when you see him in person), but his hands are iffy. I don’t see any RAC (run-after-the-catch ability). He does not create after the catch. I don’t see the value in him, not up at the top.”


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    Re: PFW: The Way We Hear It — draft edition (4/8/09)

    Interesting read, thanks for the post

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