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Draft Day Wish List

April 17, 2001 by Steel Phantom

Draft Day Wish List

Draft Day Wish List.


Christmas, NFL-style, is just a few days away.Here is an outline of what I�d to like to see, and why.Beginning with the Stiller�s immediate needs:


  1. Defensive Line:The weakest unit on the team last year has actually gotten worse.At present, there are only (5) DL on the roster.Of those, none are two-gap players and only one, KVO, exceeds 300#.Last year, the starters wore down because there was little depth; there is less now.Beyond that, this unit has neither any premium pass rusher nor a jumbo run-stuffer.The LB and DB corps would look better if the DL improved; the reverse is not true.The Stillers are at least 2 DL short.


  1. MLB:As long as the Stillers insist on the 3-4, they�ll need two capable MLB.Arguably, they are one short.Cutting Kirkland elevated Fiala; maybe this man can play as well as Jerry O. once did but neither the DL nor DB units today match up with the groups from Jerry�s era.The Stillers of 2001 will need more from this position.There are only (3) MLB on the current roster; none are capable of stepping in if Holmes goes down.The Stillers may need both a coverage ace and a back-up run-stuffer.Possibly, the latter requirement goes away if the glacially slow Clark Haggans moves inside.However, since Haggans is the 1st backup at OLB, there is no net gain attending this move.


  1. Interior OL:There are no developmental prospects on the roster; there is a screaming need for some G/T prospect but this could be addressed on the 2nd day.


  1. Speed:The D-side back 8 is not real fast but the reserves are much slower. Speed at LB and DB is required; if this is not addressed on the 1st day, it must be on day 2.There is essentially no speed at WR.On the 2nd day last year, the Stillers had every opportunity to deal with this but, instead selected a slow WR, a slow OLB, a 3rd string QB, a slight DE and a pass-catching TE.


Looking at the need list above, I count a lot of bulk players.2 DL, 1 OL, 1 back-up run-crushing MLB.This leaves just two speed picks and that is not enough.This strongly suggests that the Stillers trade down, if possible.If not, FA run-stuffer takes a high priority.There is talk about FA Mike Jones but that should be squelched.Jones is a slow player who will be asked to play a fast man�s role; we saw that last year.


Beyond those immediate issues, looms the post-2001 D-side exodus.This weekend some consideration should attend:


  1. Gildon, Washington, Holmes and Scott could be done following this season.Of those, I�d make Holmes and Scott high priority re-signs (along with Joey Porter who will be an RFA following 2001).In 2001, Washington will be entering his 8th season; his next contract would take him through his 11th or 12th.�� Dwayne has been great but, without a very short-term, cap-friendly deal, 2001 should be his last in B&G.The Mill has covered Gildon; suffice to say that the Stillers have some reason to try and get ahead of the curve both at CB and LOLB.


  1. Maybe someday, the Stillers will abandon the 3-4.If that is any part of a long-term strategy, then the D-side class of 2001 should not be selected simply because they fit the current (hopeless and archaic) defensive system.


Turning to draft day, as I�d like it to be.


First Round, by preference:


1.1 Trade with the Rams.I don�t care who is on the board at #16; the fact is that there are no elite prospects this year.The Rams have 20,29, 42 and 54 overall.If, as I believe is true, value is located at the bottom of the 1st and top of the 2nd, then I�d be glad to trade 16 for, say, 29 and 40.I doubt the Rams would make this deal; they�d have to believe that there was no other way to get their preferred speed rusher.Though probably not doable, the best option is to swap 1st round picks and get a high 2nd. This trade is posted at the top to distinguish it from the set of other trades to follow.


1.2 DE/DT Richard Seymour:At the top of my list of players who may be available at 16.Morgan might help more next year but Seymour is an equivalent prospect who plays a position of greater need and has more upside.Seymour has the ideal size to play 3-4 DE; could be either a LDE or DT in the 4-3.


1.3 MLB Dan Morgan:Has great leadership ability and will contribute immediately.Morgan is an ideal 3-4 coverage MLB who could play on the weakside in the 4-3.However, he does not project as a strong side player and, if the Stillers ever go 4-3, that will be the need spot in the LB corp.


1.4 OLB Andre Carter:Like Morgan has great leadership ability.PFW suggests that his ideal position may be at 3-4 OLB.As such, could function as a 3rd down edge rusher this season and replace Gildon in 2002.If the Stillers go 4-3 in 2002, they will have acquired a top RDE this year.


1.5 Trade with any team willing to give a 3rd to swap 1st round picks.�� The Eagles, Bucs, Fins and Lions are, more or less, remote possibilities.


1.6 CB Nate Clements: Best upside of all CB; would be slatted to replace DW in 2002.Carter is about ready now; Clements is not.If not Clements, Will Allen.


1.7 Offensive players:Jeff Backus, Steve Hutchinson or Drew Brees come to mind.Excluding Hutchinson who could start at RG, none of these players meet immediate needs.However, their selection now could free up cap room for post-2001 moves.Backus would function as an G/T this year and could move out to ROT in 2002.This would push Smith to LOT and allow the Stillers to clear additional cap space by cutting Wayne Gandy.I like Gandy but he will have completed his 9th year in 2002.That is John Jackson territory; Gandy will not be a Stiller after 2002 and his cap space could come in handy next off-season.Then too, taking Backus could allow the Stillers to dictate terms to the Bucs.If Kordell does not progress in 2001, Brees�s presence could give the Stillers an alternative.Hutchinson and Brees are players both Seattle and Detroit may covet but a swap of 16 for 17 or 18 would bring little.


Second round:


2.1 Casey Hampton:High effort run-stuffer; selecting Seymour/Hampton would upgrade the weakest link; selecting Morgan/Hampton would both address immediate need and provide D-side leadership through 2009 or so.


2.2 Torrance Marshall:Could play inside in the 3-4 or on the strong side in the 4-3.

2.3 Sedrick Hodge: If Seymour is the 1st pick, there is a premium on speed in the 2nd round.Bell or Hodge may be available; I like Hodge on the basis that he has the frame to move to LOLB when Big Sack leaves town.


2.4 Willie Middlebrooks:Has impact potential.


2.5 Kendrell Bell:Meets the need at coverage MLB; does not project as a future strong side OLB.


2.6 Kris Jenkins:Has everything you want in a 3-4 DL except instinct and consistency.


Second day, prospects that may fall thru:


2.1 Eric Westmoreland:Very good player whose size may keep him out of the first three rounds.Could be a coverage MLB.


2.2 Mario Fatafehi:Tested poorly at the Combine but was more productive than either Rogers or Hampton in the same conference.College teammates Darrin Howard and Mark Simoneau both played above expectations last year.


2.3 Brian Allen: As Westmoreland above.


I�ll file a last Mock Draft, version 3.0 midnight Friday and follow up with a set of second day possibilities early Sunday.









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