We have individual workouts going on now. We'll be monitoring the changes on the Big Board. On to the questions.
What players who were eligible for the 2008 NFL Draft stayed in school who you thought should have entered the draft?
Travis Beckum, TE. I thought he would have come out early. I thought he would have been one of the top TEs. About as good a pass catching TE as you'll see. He did his best against the toughest teams on Wisconsin's schedule. There is a kid right there. I know it's a good TE year, but to play as well as he did, and for this to be a pass catching TE league, I'm surprised that he didn't come out.
I'm a little surprised Duke Robinson from Oklahoma didn't come out. I thought he graded out extremely well. Technique wise, I thought he would have been right up there with Albert and Rachal as one of the top guards in the draft. James Laurinaitis and Rey Maualuga. Malcolm Jenkins. Those were the guys that they elected to go back.
Shane (Lewiston, ID):
Mel, How have the off season moves by the Browns affected what they might be doing in this years draft? Is there any talk of Quinn being delt after Anderson signed his deal?
It has. It changed their needs and focus. Going in, you would have thought DL would be their major priority. But they go out and Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams to play DT. All of a sudden they're 1000% improved. Now they need an OLB and they could use another ILB. Even though they really like Eric Wright, they could use another CB. Offensively, they could use another RB. Now, they don't pick until the fourth round.
Pat (miami, FL):
Who is Parcells going to draft for the fins at #1 and #32? I figure who they draft at one will probably determine who they get at the top of the 2nd round. Your thoughts?
I think if they take Chris Long #1, then at 32, you'd have to think about an OL or DL. A guy that would be pretty interesting at that point, I like Chilo Rachal from USC. On the DL, Dre Moore from Maryland is a kid to look at there. Sam Baker would be another kid.
Brian (Seattle, WA):
Due do seattle's limited cap space, do you see them trying to trade out of their first round pick?
I think Seattle is going to have to look at a couple of things. A TE, they have not been able to find a TE since Holmgren has been there. I think, because of the depth of TE, they can get one in the second or third round. But they have to get one early. Also, a WR. Branch might not be back until midseason. They also could use another DL. But TE and WR are the definite need areas on this football team. I would say Devin Thomas in the first round and then in round 2, Fred Davis, John Carlson, someone like that.
Phillip - Atlanta, GA:
Mel, what's with the love affair with Matt Ryan? not just the 19ints but this guy has average arm strength and is weak on the deep ball. Intangibles are nice, but this guy does not have elite quarterbacking skills...he's not that much better than Brohm and Flacco who are late 1st/early 2nd rounders...Falcons would be insane to overdraft this future "bust".
First of all, Matt Ryan carried a team that didn't have great talent around him. That's No. 1. He's very similar to Eli Manning in that he carried a team. No. 2, his arm strength is more than good enough. He has ideal size. He has excellent football IQ. The bad decisions and INTs were usually caused by him trying to make a play. His OL didn't have a great year. He had no speed at RB, no dymanic player at WR. His INTs were brought by not having talent around him.
Kevin: (Harrisburg, PA):
Mel who is busier right now? Yourself or Joey Brackets?
Oh boy. We get Lunardi on the radio on Saturday. You get to this time of year and he's March Man and I'm an April Fool.
With the Bears having a receiving corps now of Booker, Lloyd, Hester, Bradley, Rideau and Hass...Is there any point in them drafting another (non-#1) receiver at this point...with them needing a RB, OT, OG, S?
The Bears need help in a lot of spots. They need help at QB. I think they'll get someone in round 2. They certainly need a LT. I think their first round pick would be Chris Williams. That would allow them to move John Tate to RT. They also need help at RB and WR. If you say it's QB, LT and WR. There's not going to be a WR at 14 that's going to be intriguing. The best player on the board at 14 is going to be Williams. I would go LT in the first, QB in the second and try to get a WR in the third or fourth round. A couple of guys are Keenan Burton, WR Kentucky; Harry Douglas, Louisville; LaVelle Hawkins, California. I think a guy that could be a second rounder, but if you could get him in the third it would be a good pick is Jerome Simpson from Coastal Carolina.
Jim (Acton, MA):
Everyone knows that this year's crop of Safeties is weak... and that Reggie Smith and Kenny Phillips are the top rated prospects... but who are the top SS Prospects?
I think you look at Reggie Smith. He's a guy out of OK and when you look at what he did as a sophomore. He was a SS in 2006. In 2007, he moved to CB. I like him more as a SS than as a CB. Also, Chris Horton from UCLA.
Ben (Baton Rouge, LA):
If Matt Ryan somehow has just a so-so Pro Day, could he slip out of the top 10 picks?
Very rarely do you see a QB not have a good pro day. You're throwing to your WRs, you dictate what goes on there. Ironically, one of the QBs that didn't have a good work out is Peyton Manning. QB is about a gut feel. It's not about 40 times and all the measureables. The most important thing about a QB is is he mature? Is he businesslike? That's the maturity that you see in terms of preparation, diligence. That's what you want. If he has what you need, then the maturity level is a very important part of it.
Dorian (Troutdale, Or):
Hey Mel what do you think of James Hardy? Do you think he would still be around when the pick and if so do you see them picking him or going a different direction?
James Hardy is going to be a borderline first rounder. I could see him going between 23-45. When you look at him, he's a kid that's one of the best red zone WRs in this draft. At 6-5, 218, with extremely long arms, and that basketball mentality to get position on the ball. He ran better at the combine than people thought he would. He ran in the 4.5s. He ran OK. He had 16 TD catches as a junior.
Mel, Any chance Ellis falls to Bengals?? Might the Bengals trade up for once to get an impact player?
I'd say this. I think Cincinnati is picking at No. 9. If they want him, they're going to have to get ahead of Baltimore. To get him any higher than that is tough. There are a lot of top players in this draft. There's a logjam at the top. There will be an elite player at No. 8. If Ellis drops to 8, it would be like Adrian Peterson dropping to 7.
Do you see Patriots trading out of the top 10?
They need a CB. With Samuel leaving. The guy I have them taking at 7 - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie - I don't think they get him moving down. Whoever they feel is the best CB, they better take him at No. 7.
Who do you think the Eagles will pick?
Their needs are OT, WR, S, RB. I think they look at Jeff Otah. He's the huge OT that they tend to like. He's a late developing player. He did not even play football until his last year in high school. Then he spent two years at the juco level. He has good footwork. He's 6-6, 323. He has long arms. I think for the Eagles, they tend to like those big, athletic OLs.
Frank (Pell Lake, WI):
Mel, is Limas Sweed still available when the Titans pick at #24? If so, do you see him and Vince Young forming a good pair?
I think Limas Sweed is probably more of a second round pick than a first round pick. He hasn't done much since Oct. 6. He struggled at the Senior Bowl practices. It makes sense for Tennessee because they need a WR and he played at Texas with Vince Young, but I don't think he's a first round pick.
Do you see the Denver Broncos going offense tackle or Defense Tackle?
Both. Those are their top two needs. OT, DT, LB, WR. I think OT. Jay Cutler has got to be your focal point. Try to help him out. He's had his good moments and bad moments. I think Ryan Clady from Boise State is a possibility at 12. The problem that the Broncos run into at 12 is that Carolina at 13, I hear, also is interested in Clady.
What do you feel the Chiefs will do if Jake Long is off the board at No. 5? Take Sedrick Ellis, reach for Ryan Clady or scramble to trade down and compile some additional picks?
The Chiefs have a hole at CB. They need multiple OL. Guys talk about Jake Long, but he's being challenged right now by Ryan Clady for the top tackle spot. Clady will grade out higher than Levi Brown, who was the fifth pick overall last year. If Jake Long is gone, Ryan Clady jumps right in there.
I think the Lions have improved their secondary in free agency. I think they must draft the best defensive lineman available. Agree or disagree?
I think the Lions main thing is an RB. They need a pass rushing DE on the defense. For Rod Marinelli, he needs an DE on his team. But I definitely think RB. They're bringing back Tatum Bell, but they need a workhorse RB. Rashard Mendenhall would be a possibility there.
Hey Mel, Connor or Phillips for the Giants?
I thought about Connor, but I ultimately went with the safety spot as their biggest need. So I went with Phillips.
Jason (Morton Grove, IL):
What do you think when top guys at positions run damaging 40's? Ali Highsmith(5.02), Brandon Flowers(4.58), Mario Manningham (4.6), Jeff Carlson (4.89), Calais Campbell (5.04)
I think 40 times are important, but they're not the end-all, be-all. They have to be in a range. Remember, they're going to run again. You'll have an average of two different 40s. As long as it's in a range and it's not in too slow. As long as the measureables are in a range, it all depends on how he plays with the pads on. My catch all and security blanket is if they're in that range. You have to know how to factor the numbers in.
Who do you see as a later round gem? A guy not getting much publicity but has tons of upside.
I like Caleb Haney, QB from Colorado State; Jalen Parmele RB, Toledo; Luke Swan, WR, Wisconsin; Mike Peterson, TE, NW Missouri State; Drew Radovich, OG USC; Brian Johnston, DE, Gardner-Webb; Vince Hall, LB, Virginia Tech; Marcus Buggs, OLB, Vanderbilt; Corey Lynch, S, Appalachain St.
Who is the best return specialists in the draft? Who could be a real gamebreaker?
The best kick returner is Felix Jones from Arkansas. DeSean Jackson from Cal is a good returner. Tracey Porter is a punt returner. Chris Johnson, kick returner. Rudy Burgess from ASU. Eddie Royal, from Virginia Tech.
Who are your top 5 rated WR's and how many do you think will go in the 1st round? Thanks!
Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma. But right now his stock is dropping just a bit. There's a little bit of a knee question. He had a knee injury in his career. DeSean Jackson, I think he could be a pick for Tampa at 20. Kelly, I had going to Buffalo, but he might drop to the 20-25 area. Devin Thomas, I have him going to Seattle. James Hardy, I have him as a late first, early second. Then the fifth one, I have as Limas Sweed, who is a second round pick. My sixth guy is Jerome Simpson from Coastal Carolina.
Mel, Las Vegas:
What player do you potentially see being drafted higher then he should based on where he graded out?
Andre Woodson, QB, Kentucky; Limas Sweed, possibly; Dorien Bryant, Andre Caldwell; Tony Hills; DeMario Pressley, DT, NC State; Keith Rivers, OLB, USC; Xavier Adibi, OLB, Virginia Tech; Shawn Crable, DE/OLB, Michigan.
Shaun (Shoreline, Wa):
Mel, 15 years from now the various experts will agree that they best player to come out of this draft was ____?
Matt Ryan will have a chance to be a Super Bowl winning QB. If you win a Super Bowl, they're going to be talking about you. Gholston, I see Adalius Thomas in him. Obviously, Darren McFadden has a chance. I'm a big fan of Glenn Dorsey, I think he'll be a destructive DT. Those are some of the guys.
From a LT standpoint, Ryan Clady is very intriguing.
Assuming the Packers go corner, who do they pick if Rg-Crm is gone?
He'll be long gone. He won't just be gone, he'll be long gone. The CBs that might be there are Aqib Talib, possibility. Justin King, Brandon Flowers, Mike Jenkins is who I have them taking. Another kid is Tracey Porter from Indiana. Another guy that's underrated is Charles Godfrey from Iowa. Big, athletic kid who will hit ya.
Justin, Houston :
Do you see Houston drafting a running back of the future or a need such as cornerback?
RB is a need. They have a collection of very average RBs. If they want a dynamic RB, Mendenhall, if he drops. Jonathan Stewart is a possibility. If they're going RB, they'll have some opportunities. They need a DE to go opposite Williams. But I deem RB their top need.
Are there any late round speed rushers that Indianapolis will be looking at? They hit gold in the 5th round with Mathis a few years ago.
Yeah, they did. And they will look at that, by the way. When they had injuries with Freeney, they struggled. Some guys that would fit in there, Quentin Groves from Auburn; Darrell Robertson; Bruce Davis from UCLA, I think he's more of an OLB.
mike( San Jose):
The niners own the 29th and 39th pick.. Who do they pick with their first 2 picks?
They need a RT. Gosder Cherlius would be an intriguing guy at 29. They need a RT. Then if they can get a pass rushing OLB. Bruce Davis would be a nice fit. I would look very hard at Davis at that point. Plus they need a WR. RT, OLB and WR are their top needs.
Do you think the Panthers go after an O-Lineman or a Running Back? If so, who?
I think they look at 3 areas that they need to target. First is definitely WR. Then LT. They want to leave Jordan at RT. Then move Travelle Wharton inside from LT to OG. That's why there is speculation that they might try to move up to get Clady. They also need a DE to get heat on the QB. That makes Derrick Harvey a target.
Is their any chance that Dennis Dixon is drafted and makes an impact down the road?
Dennis Dixon would have been a second or third round pick. It's a shame he had that injury late in the year. He would have been a one-year wonder. But he's a gifted athlete. Strong arm. I think as a developmental QB, later in the draft, you take a good hard look at him. You get him in the 5-6 round, if you can get a QB like that, that's not a bad deal.
We covered a lot of ground. The workouts are on going. Individual workout results will be reflected in my Big Board. We'll be back to normal next week at Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET.