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Posts : 790
: March 28, 2009, 12:35:14 PM

t is pretty hard to guess what our FO will do on draft day but I think it may have become clear by now what they are at least considering and what they are definitely not considering with our 1st  pick...I know that many of us want best player available but I think it will come down to best player available at the desired positions for our first pick...Here are the positions that I think they are not considering with the first pick:

1) I don't think we go o-line...The fact that we considered Barnes for depth, tendered Penn, did not cut Mahan and still have Lee and Zuttah means we can go 8 deep right now.  I am not saying that we don't sign an o-lineman with our 4-7 picks put I really doubt we are looking at it at all with our first two picks.  This is a young group with a lot invested in it and I think they will want to see how they adapt to the ZBS before making any dramatic changes to it...

2) Tight-end is out of the question...It has become the deepest position on the team...

3) Running back is out of the question...I do think they will pick up a back somewhere in the later rounds but Ward, Graham, Caddy and Smith are a pretty good bunch to go with and it would not make sense to burn a pick early at this position...The fact that they keep mentioning Smith as more than a special teams ace, I think, is a dead give away.

4) I don't see linebacker with our first pick but maybe with our third...Why move our best safety to linebacker and then sign a LB free agent if you don't intend to give them a shot?  I think we definitely need LB help but it appears that Raheem wants to see what we have in Black and Hayward first as well...which is fine. 

5) I don't think they go DT...The only one worth a 1st round pick that fits Bates system is Raji and he won't be there...They will definitely draft a DT but I think it will be later.  This is a very weak DT class and Brace and Hood are not worth a #19 pick.  Jerry does not seem to fit Bates scheme...If you look at the history of DT busts, it is kind of scary.  Remember how many on this board wanted Balmer last year?  Jackson? 

6) I don't see us going safety...This is a weak safety draft group and it seems that we have had a tradition in finding in quality safeties later in the draft.  I am worried about relying on Sabby to be healthy all year and I wish we still had Phillips back there with Jackson but I trust Morris knows what he is doing...I think we take a flyer on safety later in the draft

This basically leaves 4 positions under consideration for the first pick...I am putting them in order from most to least likely to happen:

1) Defensive end...We made no moves to add anyone in FA at this position...We are in desperate need of a pass rush and there is a good chance that a quality DE could drop to us...I like English and I think Morris may be tempted by M. Johnson's potential... I am not crazy about him but he did have a 8 or 9 sacks his senior year and maybe Morris feels he can get the most out of his seemingly unlimited potential...Ayers and Tyson Jackson are both good players....Maybin is incredibly talented (12 sacks) and has the frame to get bigger...Brown and Orakpo are obviously the best of the group but will most likely be gone by the time we pick...Just like corners last year, this year seems to be the year of 1st round defensive ends...

2) Corner...The only reason I have this here is that the skill set that Bates is looking for from his corners traditionally come from 1st or 2nd round type talents...We don't have a second round pick and so there is a good chance it could be done with our first... We made barely any effort in FA to bring in a corner and basically let Buchanan walk.  We need serious help at this position...Can you imagine if we lost Talib, Barber or Mack to injury?  This is the most pressing need right now and I would not be surprised to see us grab two corners somewhere in this draft...I have this position ranked lower than defensive end only because the talent in the first round does not match our need (Jenkins will be gone by the time we pick)...There is the risk that we could reach here because of need...

3) QB...We obviously are looking to make a big splash here with the attempted trade for Cutler..Initially, I don't think our FO is looking for just another warm body for training camp, no matter how high we may be on McCown and Josh Johnson...but we may have to settle for one if Freeman is not available at #19.  If Mark and Raheem think that Freeman is the real deal then I think they will definitely grab him but it is looking more and more likely that he will be gone by this point...I don't think Stafford will be there and I doubt that they would consider Sanchez...I don't think they will reach though...

4) WR...This looks like a good receiver class and it may be that the best player available when we pick is a receiver...Maclin and Crabtree are studs but most likely won't make it this far...I really like Hakeem Nicks...He runs great routes, has unbelievable hands and is very strong after the catch...This guy could start opposite Bryant right away and be very productive...I prefer Harvin to Heyward_Bey...Pretty interesting group of playmakers though...

I know we throw out all sorts of names we hope our FO draft, but I really think the only positions that are being considered are these four...We can't plug all of our holes in one draft and so BPA at either of these four is fine with me...
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