Lack of talent in first round, Vick's issues, draft notes
Posted: Friday April 27, 2007 3:34PM; Updated: Friday April 27, 2007 3:41PM
Random thoughts, musings, and the occasional insight as the pick-fest known as the NFL Draft looms less than 24 hours nigh ...
One highly respected NFL personnel man I talked to this week disputes the notion that there are only about 18 players carrying bona fide first-round grades in this draft. "That's high!'' said the personnel executive, who isn't given to hyperbole. "There's only about 15 first-rounders on our board. It's just not a great draft at the top.''
Though there would never be complete consensus as to whom those 15 players are, that means that everyone picking past the No. 15 Steelers might be paying first-round money for second-round talent.
Great. Let the frenzy begin.
You have to chuckle at those who have speculated that Oakland won't have a pre-draft deal done with LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who will be its No. 1 pick barring Al Davis having an 11th-hour change of heart.
I think it's less than 50-50 that the Raiders have a pre-August deal done with Russell, who might command more guaranteed money than Davis has given out combined in his previous 40-years-plus in Oakland.
This much became clear to me after talking with a member of the Cardinals organization the other day: Arizona thinks Penn State offensive tackle Levi Brown will eventually be a better pro than Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas, who is rated higher at the moment and considered more NFL ready.
Whether or not the Cardinals can justify taking Brown in the fifth slot is the question? Arizona wants to move down in the second half of the top 10 and take Brown, but if nobody calls when it's on the clock, the Cards might face a courage-of-their-convictions-type decision.
Could Falcons quarterback Michael Vick really be involved in a dog-fighting ring? Hey, after the story about his water bottle with the secret compartment -- not to mention all his other off-field headlines -- I'm afraid No. 7 isn't going to get the early benefit of the doubt on this one.
I talked to someone in league circles on Friday who knows Vick rather well, and asked him about the plausibility of Vick ultimately being involved with the dog-fighting ring?
"I believe it's absolutely [plausible],'' said the league source. "There's a segment of players in the NFL who just love dog fighting. It's disgraceful, but true.''
How long can the Falcons put up with Vick's shaky decision making, given that they portray him as the face of the franchise?
"The Falcons are determined to stick with him at least one more year,'' the source said. "They're sitting there saying, 'We've got to win, we've got to win.' And winning is the deodorant for all of this stuff. But he's probably got just one more year of that kind of support coming from the Falcons.''
I love the idea that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell floated on Thursday: Cutting the preseason back to three games and adding a 17th regular-season game, in part to aid the league in scheduling as many international games in coming years as possible.
I know the Dolphins would be in favor of the proposal. It'd be that much harder for anyone to match Miami's perfect season of 1972. Don Shula and Co. could keep popping those champagne corks from now until kingdom come.
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