MMQB Mailbag (cont.)
7. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Arizona.
He didn't play last year after injuring his back and having disk surgery last fall. Though he's been given a clean bill of health by two doctors, Gronkowski is still looked upon suspiciously by tight-end-needy teams, at least one of which has told SI.com that he's off their draft board. This team said it suspects spinal stenosis, a potentially crippling injury. "I don't have that,'' Gronkowski told me. "I've heard that, but all I can say is my doctors told me they fixed the problem with my back and it will have no effect on my career. I don't have spinal stenosis.'' I see Gronkowski -- a first-round lock before the injury -- going in the second round, but he could drop to the third if the fears about his back continue to flare.
8. Bruce Allen, GM, Washington.
One pick in the top 100. That's it -- number four overall. The 'Skins are all over the place, trying to trade up to number one to take Sam Bradford (only a faint chance of this), trying to trade back to fatten up the barren second and third rounds. I do know this: If they trade up to take Bradford, they'd better use Donovan McNabb as a chip to get some protection for Bradford.
9. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida.
You know what I've found about Tebow in the past month? Everybody wants him -- until it comes to actually drafting him and doing something with him. Could he go to New England as a tight end? I guess so, but he'd hate that. Could he go to Minnesota, Cleveland, Denver or Philadelphia, with coaches who really like him, and intern for the starting QB for a year or two? Maybe. But he's the story of the draft, like him or not.
10. Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech.
As I detailed in MMQB a couple of weeks ago, teams have a devil of a time projecting who's going to be able to rush the passer in this league, and Morgan added to that debate in Tech's bowl game against Iowa. He had three tackles and no sacks against a good offensive line, most notably tackle Bryan Bulaga (not matched up against him on every snap, but occasionally), and scouts had to go back and wonder if Morgan's the guy who had 31 tackles for loss/sacks in 2009, and whether he might be able to play a 3-4 outside 'backer, or if he's strictly a 4-3 defensive end. Morgan likely would be a better 4-3 end because he's not great in coverage. He enters Thursday as a sure top-half-of-the-first-round pick, probably around 10, 11 or 12. But he won't be a lock. No pass-rushers are.
Now for your e-mail:
STRATEGY AND THE THREE-DAY DRAFT. From Patrick McGovern of Boston: "I was wondering with the draft moving to prime time if it could affect certain teams' normal draft strategy. For instance, normally the Cowboys, at 27, might try and move out of the first round to get more draft picks. But with the draft in primetime, would a team be scared to trade out of the first round knowing they might disappoint a fan base who tuned in for what is now a primetime event.''
The one team I'd suspect wouldn't want to deal out of the round for that exact reason is Jerry Jones' Cowboys. But I think if they get a great offer to deal down six or eight spots, they'd definitely take it -- then be the stars of round two, also in prime time on Friday.
AN EXCELLENT POINT. From John of Jamaica, N.Y.: "A red carpet on draft day? Any wonder why these athletes feel a sense of entitlement? They've accomplished nothing at the professional level. The league demands humility on the field, whereas a red carpet cries, "Look at me!" ''
Your email speaks volumes. This is the NFL. If something can be made into an event, the NFL will figure it out.
I WOULDN'T WORRY ABOUT IT IF I WERE YOU. From Lee of New Orleans: "Is there a risk that if the Steelers trade Ben Roethlisberger that it sets the precedent down the road that if a good player wants out of an organization, all he has to exhibit is some classless behavior and they'll look to deal him?''
Ben Roethlisberger is not being traded, unless he screws up again. Trust me.
DO THE READERS WANT THE NEW DRAFT? From David of Philadelphia: "Do you get the sense that your readers are excited about the new format? I think this is the classic case of "too much of a good thing." One of the charms, I thought, of the NFL draft was that draft Saturday was a perfect mid-point between the end of the last season and the start of the new one -- and a great opportunity to "visit" with the NFL in that time. Moving the opening rounds to Thursday and Friday really ruins that effect.''
I'm on record as saying I loved the Saturday draft. But let's let the fans speak after the weekend, and let's see if the prime-time ratings show such a love for the draft that they don't care when it is -- they're still going to watch the thing in droves.
YES. From Jake Bainbridge of Plainwell, Mich.: "Do you think Jimmy Clausen has more NFL upside than fellow Domer Brady Quinn?''
I do. I think Clausen is a more accurate thrower, and not as frenetic in the pocket as Quinn is.
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