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11 I THINK ... THAT OF all the players in America whom people truly hate, one is going to have a good season: Alex Smith. I'd be very comfortable with him as my backup quarterback. For the first time in his career Smith will run an offense suited to his quick-throwing, rollout talents.
12 I THINK ... KICKERS IN the fantasy game this year will be unpredictable. I like David Akers and might be tempted to pick him. But Akers is going to San Francisco. It's windy there; his game has been in decline anyway; and I guess what I'm saying is that you might as well wait until the last couple of rounds to pick a kicker because you just can't tell.
13 I THINK ... THE NEW Brian Finneran is second-year Falcons wideout Kerry Meier. He won't be a star, but he will be a security blanket for Matt Ryan.
14 I THINK ... I WANTED the Rams to sign Plaxico Burress. Bradford needs an experienced hand who can get open downfield. The disappearing Mardy Gilyard has not shown that ability. The poor man's Plax is St. Louis's Mike Sims-Walker, a low-cost free agent, who, if healthy for 16 games, will catch 60 balls with six or eight touchdowns.
15 I THINK ... THAT IF you want to impress those friends who will laugh at you on draft day when you pick Brad Smith in the 15th round, tell them this: The NFL quietly changed its game-day roster rules in the summer to not restrict the active players. Formerly, the 46th player was the third quarterback, who could not play before the fourth quarter. (If he did get in, the first two quarterbacks were ineligible to return to the game.) That rule is no more. What this means is, if Buffalo coach Chan Gailey wants to use Smith, who previously would have been declared the third quarterback, Smith can play anytime and not risk the eligibility of either of the first two quarterbacks. Gailey told me this was a factor in the Bills' offering Smith such a hefty contract (four years, $15 million).
5 UNSUNG RUNNING BACKS YOU WANT TO TAKE
And where you want to take them
1 Tim HIGHTOWER
REDSKINS ROUND 4