Jerry Reese doesn't need my advice. In his first two drafts, the Giants general manager re-stocked his team very well, including the 2007 draft, which resulted in all seven of his picks making the team.
Tom Heckert in Philadelphia doesn't need me either. He and Andy Reid have had a few less-than-scintillating first- and second-round gaffes, but they've molded a consistent playoff team.
But I won't understand these teams if they don't trade for Anquan Boldin or Braylon Edwards.
Bob Papa, my Sirius NFL Radio partner, prodded me on this today, and he's right: The chances of drafting a receiver high and having him make an impact in year one are very small. Since 2000, 48 receivers have been among the top 40 picks. A handful have been very good early: Dwayne Bowe, picked 23rd by Kansas City two years ago, was terrific as a rookie; Larry Fitzgerald (third, 2004), Andre Johnson (third, 2003), Lee Evans (13th, 2004), Santana Moss (16th, 2001), Reggie Wayne (30th, 2001) ... and that's it for early impact guys. One out of 11, on average, have been starter-quality as rookies.
On the other hand, there's ... Peter Warrick, Travis Taylor, Sylvester Morris, Todd Pinkston, David Terrell, Quincy Morgan, Ashley Lelie, Josh Reed, Rashaun Woods, Troy Williamson, Mike Williams, Charles Rogers, Mark Bradley, Chad Jackson. Need I go on? There's so much more of a washout factor with these high picks at receivers than at, say, the offensive line. Why, if you're a team with a win-now roster, do you take one of these high-risk guys in the first or second round and hope he pans out when there are two players, Edwards and Boldin, who you know could step in and be big players now?
The Giants and Eagles are Super Bowl contenders. They have veteran teams ready to win now. This is the time when front offices should read the market and act to bring in veterans. The only way I wouldn't do it, frankly, is if I were sure there was an injury factor, or attitude factor, or the compensation was more than, say, first- and fourth-round picks. Then I might shy away.
Just my two cents worth as we get ready for the draft.
Before I get into your e-mail, I Twittered earlier today that Denver coach Josh McDaniels is reportedly ill, which is why hedid not accompany the Broncos when they left Tuesday morning to work out USC quarterback Mark Sanchez in southern California. Instead, GM Brian Xanders and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy will work out Sanchez.
Personally, I don't think the Broncos should be interested in a quarterback in this draft, and if I were them, I would sit at 12 and 18 in the first round and go defense-defense.
Now onto your e-mail:
• I SURE DO. From Tom Oatway of Newport, R.I.: "Do you think Miami (or any team) is really thinking of the Wildcat as a serious option? I believe when Miami played New England the second time last year the Wildcat was almost non-existent.''
Tom, I would call using an offensive formation on five percent of the team's offensive snaps over the course of a season a "serious option.'' That said, I think the Dolphins would be short-sighted to trade the best guy they have to run it, if indeed they're serious about dealing Ronnie Brown.
• RIGHT YOU ARE, MATT. From Matt of Atlanta: "I think all the bad teams are desperate to move down in the draft, especially this year, but who's going to trade up, even if the player has a chance to be better, if it costs two, three, maybe four times as much as your current pick? I think the reason we've had such a disparity in the 2000s within the NFL (e.g. 2008 winless Lions, 2007 unbeaten Patriots) is because the teams that make the playoffs are rewarded with better valued draft choices. It's unfair, period. Why is this not the main story from the media during this year's draft?''
Brilliant point, Matt. The league has appointed a committee -- with interested parties Tom Lewand of the Lions and Scott Pioli of the Chiefs, both of whom have picks in the top three of the draft -- to study the problem of bad teams being penalized by the highest picks making so much money that it's actually a penalty to pick in the top 10. The solution, I believe, is to give the bad teams a choice where they want to pick. That sounds insane, but why wouldn't you allow the worst team to analyze the talent in the draft, and if there's no player the club feels is worth the top pick, allow that team to pick sixth or eighth, for example.
• ANOTHER GOOD QUESTION. From Ben of Decatur, Ga.: "We often hear how quarterbacks and receivers have such a high washout/bust rate for first round picks. What position has the highest success rate?''
I don't know the answer, but it's a great offseason story. I'd guess offensive linemen. Look at the recent crop of tackles, for instance. We all laughed when Sam Baker and Duane Brown got picked in the first round last year. But when Baker played (he was hurt half the season), he was well above-average for the Falcons, and Brown played well under Alex Gibbs' tutelage in Houston.
• I DON'T SEE IT HAPPENING, RAY. From Raymond Neal of Jacksonville: "Any chance the Panthers get a deal done before the draft to remove that Julius Peppers-shaped millstone from around their collective necks? Is there anyone who would give up a good package for this heavy contract and attitude? Maybe the Panthers and Cards could swap disillusioned stars.''
I assume you mean Anquan Boldin. That's actually a good idea. Almost a very good idea. But John Fox and Marty Hurney don't want to trade Peppers, and Peppers is not the kind of guy to hold out of training camp if he doesn't get traded. The problem is not only having to trade a high pick or picks for Peppers, but also having to pay something like $16 million a year to a guy who is supposed to be the best defensive player in football, but who actually averages 10 sacks a year. Who wants to do that?
• EVERYONE'S ENTITLED TO HIS OWN OPINION, BUT I LOVE COLLINSWORTH. From Robert Olear of Bolivar, N.Y.: "I'm always amazed how everyone in the 'business' loves Cris Collinsworth. We must be missing something, because everyone I know can't stand the guy and hates to listen to him. Now granted, I know like 30 people, but I've never understood it. I think he's arrogant and pompous at times, has decent insight on some things but generally is overrated. Why is Collinsworth so loved?''
I can only speak for myself, and obviously I'm prejudiced because I work with the guy. I just think four times a game he tells you something you don't know or something you say, "That's true -- and I wish I'd thought of that.''
I'm in the business, and I hear four or five or six things in the course of a Sunday in the studio that are insightful. I remember last year during the Jets-Patriots game on NFL Network when Collinsworth, before the snap of a play, questioned why Jets cornerback Ty Law was playing off Randy Moss and not bumping him. "I don't know about that one,'' he said dubiously.
There were eight seconds left in the fourth quarter, and the Jets led by a touchdown, and obviously the Patriots were going to look for Moss. Collinsworth presaged what happened. Law had Moss, split wide right, in coverage. Law backed off all the way near the goal line, didn't bump Moss in the five-yard bump zone like he'd been doing all game, and Moss boxed him out near the goal line to make a great touchdown catch, sending the game to overtime. I just think that's why you pay analysts -- to say smart things at important times.
• THE LIONS DON'T WANT TO BE GUINEA PIGS. From Joe of Harrisburg, Pa.: "Peter, let's say the Lions draft Matthew Stafford first and offer him a reasonable amount for what is really a totally unproven quantity, say $2 million or $3 million a year. And of course, Stafford's agent rejects that offer. What happens if the Lions absolutely refuse to raise their offer? How trapped are the teams into paying the hostage prices these early picks demand? Could the Lions simply say the offer is $10 million for five years, and you can take it or leave it? If the player refuses, does he have any recourse to go to another team who is willing to gamble such ridiculous sums on unproven players?''
Joe, that's an interesting question. The problem is the Lions went 0-16 last year. If they make a principled stand, I think a lot of fans would love them, but would the fans of the Lions love it if the team made a good point while not getting any better on the field?
• ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER MADDEN, PERHAPS? From Derik Liberatore of McKeesport, Pa.: "Pete, any talk of John Madden joining forces with the NFL and Roger Goodell's office (even part-time) to potentially ward off a looming work stoppage if the CBA doesn't get worked out next year? I mean, who better in the football universe today has the respect and, probably more important, trust of both players AND owners to advise on "what's best for the game of football" other than Madden?''
It's a novel concept, and I can't say it hasn't happened -- but I would sincerely doubt that the message coming from John Madden would sound any different than the message coming from Goodell. And that's not the part of the game Madden gets into anyway. He hates the business side.