Your AFC East mailbag delivered
Mark in Champaign, Ill., writes: Tim -- With the compensatory picks now allotted, the Pats have 12 picks. In my view, there is no way BB exercises all of those picks. To do so would be tantamount to throwing assets to the wind, simply because there are not 12 openings on this, still a very deep and talented roster. My prediction: The Pats will trade some picks to move up in one or more rounds to acquire a player or players of interest, and will also trade a pick or two for (higher value) choices in future drafts. Bottom Line: Don't be surprised if the Pats acquire only 7 or 8 new players on draft day. Your thoughts?
Tim Graham: The Patriots actually own 11 draft picks at the moment. Some rundowns floating around in cyberspace haven't deducted the fifth-round selection they sent to the Eagles for Greg Lewis.
Eleven draft picks still are a lot, and the Patriots simply won't have enough room on their roster to add that many players. To use them all would be wasting assets. That's why I do agree the Patriots likely will package multiple picks to acquire a player or make trades to push some of those picks into 2010.
Tim in Goodlettsville, Tenn., writes: Tim, As a Vandy follower during the Cutler years I never saw evidence of the player criticisms being leveled. I'd be the one of the first to say to JC, "Shut up and play the game," if it were merited. I also believe that due to his college experience, Jay was better suited to early NFL success than either Young or Leinart. The Hunchback of ND could have won under center at TX and SC. Are you hearing any any positive words floating around about the issue? Thanks, Tim
Tim Graham: You probably won't like my answer, but while I was at the NFL owners' meeting last week in Dana Point, Calif., Jay Cutler might have been the most popular topic of discussion. I spoke with several owners, general managers and coaches. Nobody I talked to came to Cutler's defense. They raved about Cutler's physical ability, but the general perception was that he needed to man up and get over his wounded feelings.
Eric in New York writes: what are the odds of jay cutler reaching the jets? What would be better, to draft a qb or go after cutler?
Tim Graham: If the Jets can go into the draft certain they can land one of the top three quarterbacks -- Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman -- then they should jump on one of them. The more we learn about Cutler, the more toxic he seems. Jets safety Kerry Rhodes this week spoke out against Cutler. Rhodes doesn't respect Cutler and insisted he's not alone in his feelings.
Leroy in Atlanta writes: Do you think that Ted Ginn Jr. can ever live up to the expectations of the Miami fans and Media? I think that because of where he was drafted and because of us passing up Brady Quinn,nothing he ever does, short of being a perinial Pro bowler, will ever validate him.
Tim Graham: Any criticism of the Dolphins' decision to draft Ted Ginn ninth overall is warranted. He doesn't need to be a perennial Pro Bowler. Not even close. Lee Evans hasn't been to one Pro Bowl, yet he's a bona fide No. 1 receiver for the Bills. But Ginn does need to be significantly more productive. He had one more reception than Greg Camarillo, who played only 11 games, and two more than Davone Bess. Neither Camarillo nor Bess was drafted.
Steve in York, Pa., writes: LT Peters - I don't see how giving him more money will help with his production. He gave up 11 sacks last year in only 13 starts. His best year was in 2006, so please, as a Bills fan move on.
Tim Graham: You're not alone, Steve. A lot of Bills fans are fed up with Peters. But he still is a valuable player despite his disappointing season. If the Bills were to move on, replacing a player at such a critical position would be difficult. If I were a Bills fan, I wouldn't be so eager to see Peters split.
Murt in New York writes: I for the life of me cannot understand why the Bills would consider trading Peters. I know a lot of people are down on him but what is the point of trading away a proven commodity for the rights to draft an unproven kid who you most likely would have to give a lot of guaranteed money to? Not to mention we have no Left-side of our line.
Tim Graham: It depends on what the Bills receive in return. If a team were willing to ship some major draft choices and a serviceable lineman, maybe the Bills would bite.
Jay in Atlanta writes: Fans have been complaining about the free agent pickup of CB Eric Green over Pitt CB McFadden, but green was actually rated a better cover corner than mcfadden coming out of college and will show it to be so in Miami's scheme.
Tim Graham: You may be right. But, for the record, Scouts Inc. had Bryant McFadden rated as the fourth-best cornerback behind Nnamdi Asomugha, DeAngelo Hall and Dunta Robinson in this year's free-agency class. Eric Green was rated 12th, four spots behind the man he's replacing in Miami, Andre Goodman.
Bo in Los Angeles writes: Hey Tim. Huge fan of your writing. Thanks for all the hard work. On to my question. A lot of mocks have Laurinitis going to Miami at 25, but when is the last time a Ohio State LB made an impact in the NFL? They are all duds. I'd rather do with Brian Cushing or Clay Matthews. Your thoughts?
Tim Graham: You mean to tell me you're not impressed by the career of Tom Cousineau? Actually, Ohio State has churned out several great linebackers, depending how far you want to go back. Mike Vrabel, Chris Spielman, Pepper Johnson. But I understand your point. There have been a few busts.
But I'm not one to label a player based on the college uniform he wore. Each prospect should be judged as an individual. Remember that James Laurinaitis played 12 games and started in Ohio State's bowl game as a true freshman. He won the Nagurski Award as a sophomore. He would have been a top 10 pick if he had followed through on his plans to turn pro after his junior year. ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper considered Laurinaitis a possible Heisman Trophy candidate after watching him as a junior. Laurinaitis slid because he didn't elevate his game as a senior and other linebackers emerged.
Matt in Wichita, Kan., writes: Hey Tim, Do think Jason Talyor will be signed by NE PATS???...Because heard on Boston radio that. Might Sign
this week and can you get bottom of this rumor.
Tim Graham: I can see Taylor landing with the Patriots, but not any time soon. A source who would know told me Taylor will wait until sometime next month to make up his mind. Taylor wants to spend time with his family, who remained in South Florida, and get involved with his charity, which has raised millions of dollars for local children. Those are the same reasons he wasn't willing to take part in the Redskins offseason program and got released.
Mike in Buffalo writes: When are you (meaning reporters in general) going to get off the T.O. merry-go-round and ask the tough questions of Jauron? Has he changed his procedures on handling replay requests? Has he learned enough about offense that he is competent to overrule Schonert's play calls? Has he drilled on making faster, more well-informed decisions in general? I mean, the players all love him. He seems like a nice guy. He's Ivy league so he's got to have SOME brains, even if his press interviews don't show it. He's a lot like Marv; great Monday thru Saturday and lost on Sunday.
Tim Graham: We asked Jauron those questions a month ago, when he spoke for the first time since the end of the season. Jauron addressed his game management issues at the NFL scouting combine on Feb. 19. He acknowledged he needs to get better.
Stephen from Parts Unknown writes: Good Afternoon Tim, I enjoy your blog/column. I have 3 Pats questions for you: 1) What are you thoughts about the Pats O-line depth? I think they may spend two or three of their top six picks (1st to 3rd rounds) on O-linemen. 2) It would seem that a free-agent like Mike Furrey might be right up their alley. He could be the third or fourth safety (assuming Rodney is not back), back up Welker (he takes so many hits...), and play special teams. Do you agree? 3) Will they sign Patrick Ramsey? Thanks for your time, Stephen
Tim Graham: Thanks for the kind words, Stephen. Glad you enjoy the AFC East blog. Let's tackle these in order. 1) The Patriots are thin on the offensive line, which last year allowed 48 sacks, fifth-most in the NFL. They have Pro Bowlers at left tackle, left guard and center, but the right side and reserves need improvement. They can do that in the draft, especially with three second-round picks. 2) There doesn't appear to be any room for Mike Furrey after the Patriots traded for Greg Lewis and signed Joey Galloway. They also have Sam Aiken and Matthew Slater, who are special-teamers. Furrey would be a luxury. 3) I'll have to confess that I have no inside knowledge on the Patrick Ramsey situation aside from the report from last week he had narrowed his choices to the Patriots and Titans. The Patriots could use the veteran insurance policy for Tom Brady.
Leroy in Hammond, Ind., writes: Tim, can you give us the start dates for the off-season programs in the AFC East? Thanks
Tim Graham: Here is a rundown of minicamps and organized team activities for all 32 clubs.
Luke from Littleton, Colo., writes: tim, we all know that the cutler situation is about to be blown up. can you see a deal that sends cutler to the jets, alan faneca to the lions, AND THE #1 draft pick to denver?
Tim Graham: No, I can't.
Jason in New York City writes: Hello Tim, I was wondering if you had any information regarding the appeals process for a suspension. I'm a Bills fan and we're wondering how long a player has to appeal a suspension. If Marshawn Lynch is suspended in the next week or month, can he wait until just before the season to appeal, thus enabling him to play in week 1? Thanks for your help.
Tim Graham: The NFL's collective bargaining agreement states a player has 10 days to appeal any discipline handed down from the commissioner. The only other recourse Lynch would have to appeal his suspension would be a court injunction. That's how Vikings defensive linemen Pat Williams and Kevin Williams were able to play in the postseason even though the NFL suspended them for performance-enhancing drugs. But those were extenuating circumstances that have required judicial interpretations of league policy. That case is ongoing. Lynch's situation is rather ordinary, and the commissioner has significant administrative latitude that almost certainly won't be challenged.
Shaun in Boston writes: Hey Tim, given the Patriots draft record and there history of moving around draft picks and the rumors surrounding Peppers and Jason Taylor, in your most honest opinion who do you think the Patriots will draft with there first pick? Do you think Clay Matthews will still be on the board? Also do you think it's possible the pick up say Ray Maualuga with the first pick and say Larry English with the second, although it doesn't seem like the Patriots to draft two linebackers with back to back picks that high.
Tim Graham: As Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. told me for my recent breakdown of the Patriots' draft, their roster is deep enough and they're flexible enough with so many first-day picks that the Patriots can afford to draft essentially any position they want. Especially if the Patriots acquire either Julius Peppers or Jason Taylor, they'll have few holes yet plenty of chances to fill them. They can grab the best player on the board without worrying much about where that player will fit.
Alex in Pennsylvania writes: Hi Tim. Ted Ginn was a heck of a defensive player early in his career. Any chance the Phins go old school like the Pats did a few years back and let him play double duty? They're going to draft some WR's, and hopefully pick up a FA, so perhaps it's not such a bad idea considering the matchups we face against the Pats and now Bills. Your take?
Tim Graham: Ginn was named USA Today's national defensive player of the year at Glenville High in Cleveland. But that was because he intercepted eight passes as a senior and returned five of them for touchdowns. But in the NFL, you have to tackle, and based on the way Ginn runs out of bounds to avoid contact as a receiver, I envision him curling into a fetal position sooner than he would deliver a hit on a running back.
Lefty in Iron Mountain, Mich., writes: Now that TO is with the Bills, Trent Edwards's anemic arm strength will be on full display. TO is best as a deep threat, and a weak armed QB won't cut it. At least JP Losman had a great arm, and it's a shame the Bills never treated him right and looked for any reason to get the
ir golden boy Trent in there. As for JP, I hope he winds up with Minnesota. They need an athletic QB, and Jackson hasn't filled that role yet.
Tim Graham: I'm sure J.P. Losman wishes he had the opportunity to throw to Lee Evans and Terrell Owens, too. Look for Losman to sign somewhere after the draft. He wants to know what the situation will be when he signs and doesn't want to take the chance of joining a team that later drafts a quarterback and changes the scenario.