When rumors get thrown out at this time of the draft year, you have to take them with not a grain of salt, but with a salt-shaker. I usually do. But not when Gil Brandt speaks. He is money on the draft, and he knows things the rest of us don't. And he said something today on our Sirius NFL Radio show that made my eyelids hit the ceiling regarding Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, who most of the western world has already assigned to St. Louis with the first pick in the April 22 first round.
"I think there's a 49-percent chance he ends up in Washington,'' Brandt told me and Randy Cross.
Hmmmm. The Rams, desperate for a quarterback, pick first. The Redskins, desperate for a quarterback, pick fourth. Sound familiar? 2004 draft, Chargers picking first, Giants fourth, and they both need quarterbacks of the future (though, in retrospect, that might have been an invented need for the Chargers, with Drew Brees on the roster). San Diego picked Eli Manning number one, and the Giants chose Philip Rivers number four, and while the Rivers pick was being walked up to the commissioner in New York, the two teams were finishing work on a trade. They swapped quarterbacks, and the Giants sent a third-round pick in 2004, and first- and fifth-round picks in 2005, to San Diego as part of the trade.
The Redskins have an owner willing to do anything to help his team, so he's not going to stand in the way of dealing a ton to St. Louis for the pick -- if football braintrust Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen think it's a smart idea. But if the Rams were to do this, they'd have to be sure Jimmy Clausen (or Tim Tebow or Colt McCoy) would be an adequate replacement for Marc Bulger.
For the record, the Redskins don't have a third- or sixth-round pick this year, and they have no compensatory choices. They have their first-round pick (fourth overall), second (37th), fourth (103rd), fifth (135th) and seventh (211th) in house.
My money's on the 51 percent of Brandt's prediction here. I can't see the Rams passing on a player I hear they absolutely love -- unless the treasure trove they get in return could set them up with the first- and second-rounders here, plus a one next year, and they'd also have to love Clausen. Those are some very big ifs.
But I'll also have my antennae up in the coming weeks, because Brandt is Brandt, the godfather of the draft.
Now onto your e-mail:
WHY DOES EVERYONE LOVE TEBOW? From Jon of Milwaukee: "Why would any team consider taking a project QB in Tim Tebow in the first or second round, when there would be a more accurate, more mechanically sound, and more established NFL ready QB available in Colt McCoy? I see the appeal of Tebow being tough, a strong competitor, and having those intangibles that are needed to win, but doesn't McCoy have all of those attributes as well? I loved the comparison of McCoy to Brees, and think that any team thinking of taking Tebow ahead of McCoy should seriously stop and think about that decision. It just doesn't make any sense.''
I think the reason Tebow has so many fans in the NFL among coaches and GMs is because of what he accomplished in college, and his dogged pursuit of excellence at the next level. Look at how hard he's worked to make himself into a quarterback prospect after the disaster of the Senior Bowl. But I probably would pick McCoy if I had the choice. I think he's getting vastly underrated entering the last round of evaluations of the quarterbacks.
BECAUSE THEY CAN'T TRUST GORE TO STAY HEALTHY. From Gordon of San Antonio: "Why is everyone forecasting a running back as a need for the Niners? Don't they have Frank Gore with a good back up in Glen Coffee?''
Sure, and they love Gore. But he's had four major surgeries in his football career, he's topped out at 260 carries as a peak in his last three years, and they don't really have a speed threat out of the backfield.
KINDLE YES, HUGHES PROBABLY NOT. From Dean Somerville of Balikpapan, Indonesia: "Do you really think with the success of the three OLB pressure guys in 3-4 defenses last year that neither Sergio Kindle nor Jerry Hughes cracks the top 32?''
I had Kindle in my top 32, but not Hughes. Hughes will make someone very happy at the top of the second round. That's my feeling now, but he certainly could squeeze into the last few picks of the first.
BECAUSE THE TICKET HOLDERS AREN'T THE NORMAL TICKET HOLDERS. From Jonathan Sampson of Boston: "You seem to have reservations about playing Super Bowl in a cold weather environment. Why is this? Are we assuming the (presumably) two best teams in the league are unable to deal with the weather? Or are you thinking that somehow the Super Bowl won't completely sell out if it's in a cold climate? Remember that often the games played in the most unfavorable conditions are also the most memorable.''
It has little to do with the teams, because if both are dealing with the same weather, then neither, you'd assume, would have much of an edge. By 2014, I'm guessing the list prices of Super Bowl tickets will be $1,500 and $1,000. I'm making an educated guess that the majority of these tickets are scalped for larger sums, up to $5,000. No fan paying that money is going to want to sit through a sleet storm or a 20-degree day. There's no guarantee that the weather will be inclement, but you guess what the forecast is for Feb. 10, 2014 (or whenever it is). I just think the Super Bowl ought to be scheduled with a reasonable chance for nice weather, which is the best for the teams to play the truest game and the best for the fans.
I AM IN THE MINORITY HERE, EVIDENTLY. From Mark Sakai of Steveston, British Columbia: "Re: Super Bowl in a cold-weather city, by all means, go ahead and set the precedent! You shouldn't be punishing the great fans of Seattle, New England, Cleveland or New York, just because of geography.''
Are you buying a ticket to the game for five grand to sit outside in East Rutherford in February?
IT IS NOT JUST YOU. From Steve Johnson of Charlotte: "Is it just me or does it seem like the Panthers are mailing in the 2010 season already with a lame duck coach and no Peppers and Delhomme? With the impending 2011 lockout, it feels like Mr. Richardson is hedging his bets and paving the way for Coach Cowher to the Panthers for when they DO play, if the season is a lockout. The writers in town say it would take on helluva season for coach Fox to keep his job, but it doesn't feel like they want to do anything to help him have that season. Love the column!''
Thanks, Steve. I get the impression that Jerry Richardson wants to tear up the team and start over, but let's see if the Panthers prove me wrong by signing John Fox (doubt that) or making some big moves around Draft Day (doubt that too).