Weekend Mailbag: Part II

May, 3, 2009
5/03/09
12:00
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

As promised....

Jeff of Minneapolis writes: If a rookie pay scale was implemented, do you think players would be more interested in staying in school instead of coming out early? It seems a lot of these players would be better off with another year of experience, rather than rushing into the NFL and maybe getting drafted later than they would if they stayed.

Kevin Seifert: I'm not sure if that's going to be a by-product. Under the current system, I think there is a lot of incentive for promising underclassmen to return to school in hopes of further improving their stock so they can take advantage of the insane money at the very top of the draft.

Say you're a junior who is being projected to go high in the second round or low in the first. Sure, you'd make pretty decent money if you jump in right away. But if you can light it up in your senior season, vaulting yourself into the top 10 of the draft, all of a sudden we're talking about another stratosphere. It could be a $10 million-plus decision.

Of course, the reverse could happen. Your stock could tumble into third- or fourth-round value. But the risk of falling from the second to the fourth round might be worth it when the reward is possibly jumping into the top 10.

But on to the meat of your question. Under a new system, players at the top of the draft would make less money. But it's still going to be a big payday, one that many college players won't be able to resist.

What I am pretty sure about is this: As speculation grows about cutting back rookie salaries, you're going to see more prominent underclassmen declare for 2010 so they can capitalize on the current system.


Robert of Columbus writes: I have been a die-hard Lions fan since birth, but I feel that many fellow Lions fans are not seeing the big picture in terms of where this team is headed. Many comments have been made comparing this draft to the drafts of the Matt Millen era, and I feel these are unjust. Millen failed to draft impact players at so many different positions. In all of Millen's drafts there was not one impact player drafted at QB, TE, OG, OC, DE, MLB, CB or S. On Saturday it appears that the Lions drafted impact players at three of those positions. While it is still early and they have not yet stepped on the field, the Lions appear to have drafted 3 players who should fit the bill. Stafford, Pettigrew and Delmas have the potential to be major players for the Lions for years to come. I think on a team with so many holes getting impact players, regardless of position, was necessary and the correct move.

Kevin Seifert: Robert, the key word is "if." None of us really have any idea if the three players you mentioned will pan out or not. Part of it will depend on whether the Lions' coaching staff can develop them into impact players, something that Martin Mayhew believes the team has fallen short on in recent years.

But in general, this is the danger of trying to judge a draft in its immediate aftermath. Sure, Charles Rogers didn't work out. Neither did Joey Harrington, nor Mike Williams. But in the days and weeks after they drafted, I don't think anyone knew for sure they would fail. If I remember right, people were pretty excited about Rogers and Harrington, at least, and were open-minded about Williams.

So I agree that some of your fellow Lions fans might be reacting a bit emotionally to the number of skill players and the dearth of linemen that were taken in this draft. But I also think it's too early to suggest anything definitive about the future of the players they did take.


Breana of Chicago writes: Kevin, who do you think will have the better passing game this year: The Vikings with their question marks at quarterback and Bernard Berrian, Percy Harvin, Bobby Wade, and Sidney Rice -- OR the Bears with Jay Cutler and their question marks at receiver?

Kevin Seifert: Thanks for the question, Breana. I like it so much I'm going to use it as a the jumping-off point of a debate later this week.

It comes down to this: What situation is better in football: A good quarterback with suspect receivers? Or a suspect quarterback with a deep group of receivers? If anyone wants to get an early word into this discussion, hit the mailbag.

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