We are in great position to improve the team this year, and more than likely we should be able to address major need positions in the first two rounds without having to reach. I see a lot of good options, but I also see a few bad ones. Here is a short list of players I'd really rather not see in horns this year:
Darren McFadden, RB Arkansas - Some people are lovers; some are fighters. McFadden is both. He has apparently been involved with and possibly instigated more than one violent incident while clubbing and has at least two or three paternity suits filed against him from different women. This incredibly classy individual apparently injured his toe repeatedly kicking a guy while he was down outside a night club and was just lucky the consequent surgery didn't cost him playing time. On the field, McFadden had 15 fumbles in 304 carries in 2007. That's about 1 fumble in every 20 carries (coincidentally, he'd probably get about 20 carries/game in the NFL), and I'm going to guess that NFL defenders are going to be even better at stripping it. Sure, he is big and fast...but our own Jackson is fast, too, a more bruising back, and a more proven pass catcher. Even if we traded Steven Jackson away, I would be more interested in one of the runningbacks who is less likely to be arrested.
James Hardy, WR Indiana - Linehan won't get away with drafting a tight end, but he might try to pull one over on us. In my opinion, drafting Hardy would be about as good as taking a tight end in the second round. He has all the speed and height of Joe Klopfenstein. Klopf is 6'5" and runs a 4.55 forty. Hardy is 6'5" and runs a 4.49 forty. Neither is a great blocker for his position. So what is the difference? About 40 pounds and a domestic abuse arrest. Hardy does not have the speed or the route running ability to consistently get separation from pro corners. One of these days, Torry Holt will retire. When that day comes, I don't want to watch an offense that revolves around throwing jump balls to Bennett and Hardy all day because neither one can ever get open.
Calais Campbell, DE Miami - He had a bad junior year in 2007 but decided to declare early anyway. He is slow, doesn't have great technique, and wears down in games. He is inconsistent and plays with poor awareness. His draft stock appears to have been in steady decline since the beginning of his junior year. Somebody will draft him too early based on what they wish he was. I hope that is not us.
Josh Barrett, FS Arizona State - Okay, so he's a workout warrior with good intangibles who plays the run well. What is not to like? Well, apparently quite a bit since he got benched in favor of a freshman during his senior year. He tends to give up ground to receivers in coverage and does not do well at play recognition (i.e. identifying play action, misdirection). He only had 38 tackles in 11 games in 2007; by comparison Tyrell Johnson, Thomas DeCould, and DeJuan Morgan all had over 90 tackles in '07. Generally speaking, his coverage skills seem to be fairly lacking, and that is not something you can afford in the NFL today. If his play was bad enough the coaches decided to give a rookie a chance to take over his job, what chance does he have in the NFL?
Antwaun Molden, CB Eastern Kentucky - Everybody loves a speedster with good size, but even at the Division I-AA level (Molden transferred down because he wasn't getting enough playing time at Toledo), he showed poor awareness and got burned deep more than one would like. He cannot deliver a very good jam, and he does not play the ball well. And yet some people are projecting him as high as the second or third round. He doesn't have the skills to be drafted anywhere near that high.
Maurice Purify, WR Nebraska - After being arrested on several counts of assault, trespassing, and resisting arrest, he gets a DUI just weeks later. Just say no.
Re: Red Flags
Josh Barret was hampered by injuries his whole senior year. When healthy his Junior year he was awesome. I haven't seen any film of Molden during the regular season, but in the post season he did a pretty good job just not round 2 good. Couldn't agree more on McFadden, Purify, and Campbell. Hardy smells like Plaxico Burress to me straight up and down
Re: Red Flags
40 pounds and a domestic abuse arrest--
nice. made me laugh. I agree though, I don't really like him that much. I think there will be much better value available when our second pick comes around.