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The quarterback class is scarce in talent and numbers, to say the least. The hype is around Ryan, but I really like Chad Henne in this class. In my opinion, none of the quarterbacks in this draft pool should be a first-round selection. If Brady Quinn was sweating last year, I think Ryan will sweat even more this year.
Yes, McFadden is a great player, but he's a Reggie Bush kind of player. He needs a team with a powerful running back already there in order to thrive. The best situation for him, in my opinion, is the Oakland Raiders. There are some good running backs there and they are not superstars. I don't see Larry Johnson in Kansas City or Thomas Jones, with the Jets, sharing the load with the Arkansas standout. Also, it seems to me Darren McFadden is not the kind of guy to accept supporting roles. -- Cristi A.
I'm inclined to agree with your assessment of the quarterback class. Most NFL talent evaluators consider Ryan the best of the group, although there is no consensus among them that the former Boston College star has what it takes to be an outstanding franchise quarterback. The hype to which you refer is more a reflection of the common opinion that he's the only quarterback in the draft potentially worthy of top-five or top-10 consideration. I have him going fifth to Kansas City. A few projections have him going third to Atlanta. However, it wouldn't shock me in the least if Ryan does the sort of freefall that Quinn did last year. Some scouts give Michigan's Henne and Brian Brohm of Louisville low first-round grades, and I wouldn't be shocked if a deal or two were made by teams seeking a quarterback to get into that area for one or both players.
I don't agree with your take on McFadden. I think he has what it takes to be a major difference-maker as a rookie and to become a more complete back than Bush. And if you have him going to the Raiders, as I do, you're pretty much saying the hype is warranted because Oakland has the fourth overall choice. The last I checked, that is a premier spot to be drafted.
Question: My question is if I were, say, Miami, Atlanta, Kansas City or Baltimore, would it be worthwhile to trade my first-round pick for Brady Quinn? He looked good when he got the opportunity last summer and looks better than what's there this year. In fact, I think if Quinn had been in this year's draft, he would have been right up there. Also, now that Cleveland has a franchise quarterback (Derek Anderson), I am sure they would welcome getting some top round picks back. Maybe Tuna will pull a deal come draft day? -- Robbie M., Scotland
True, the Browns look like Anderson's team for the foreseeable future, but I am not at all convinced that Quinn has no future as a starter in Cleveland.
If Anderson has another strong season, then, yes, the Browns would have to seriously consider moving Quinn next year. But if Anderson struggles or suffers an injury, Quinn is right back in the picture as the No. 1 guy. Consequently, I don't see any of your Quinn trade scenarios playing out this weekend …
Question: How come there has not been any interest in one of the best cornerbacks coming out of college? I'm referring to Larry Williams Jr., a starter at West Virginia. It was obvious that he was well scouted in college, because no opposing team threw to his side and if they did, he handled it gracefully. -- Link W.
Sorry to say this, Link, but based on all of the information I have, Williams is unlikely to be drafted.
Question: Where do you project defensive backs Simeon Castille and Marcus Carter, defensive end Wallace Gillberry, and wide receiver D.J. Hall to be drafted? I am a huge Alabama fan, and these guys made huge impacts while playing for the Crimson Tide. But most scouts aren't seeing what all of us Alabama fans (and most Auburn fans) saw during their respective careers. -- Greg P.
Although Castille was an All-SEC cornerback, he is projected as a safety in the NFL. He has a lot of decent qualities, including his aggressiveness and willingness to help in run support, but the position switch won't be easy and I think that puts him in the sixth- to seventh-round range. Carter is too slow to command even a seventh-round choice.
At 6-foot-2 and 261 pounds, Gillberry is a bit small to be an effective defensive end in the NFL. He also has short arms and struggles to play in space. I see him as a sixth- or seventh-rounder.
Hall is a superb athlete with the ability to make big plays. He does a nice job of avoiding tacklers after the catch. However, he doesn't have the speed that will excite enough teams to take him any higher than maybe the sixth round. Another concern among some scouts is whether Hall is more athlete than football player.
Question: Anthony Morelli, from Penn State, is an inconsistent quarterback, I know. But where could he end up on Draft Day? Or is he a free agent? -- Stacey
He could be a late-round pick for a team that wants to make him a developmental project.
Morelli was a big disappointment as a college player because he seemed to have all of the physical ability to achieve at a high level. He has a strong arm, but he made too many mistakes and struggled too much in reading coverages for any team to feel comfortable with drafting him even in the middle rounds.
Question: I was reading your article about linebackers and I have yet to hear anything about Shawn Crable, an outside linebacker out of Michigan. Looking at his size and speed, you would think he could somewhat be a player at the next level. Where do you think he falls among these linebackers coming out this year? And what do you think leaves him so far behind the others? -- Hussain E.
I don't see him among the better linebackers in the draft, which is why I didn't mention him in the piece you referenced. At Michigan, he played both outside linebacker and defensive end, and didn't exactly excel at either position.
I don't see Crable ending up as much more than a solid backup as a pass-rushing end and a decent contributor on special teams. I see him going somewhere between the fourth and sixth round.
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