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Tuesday, February 22, 2011
ChatWrap: Four highlights ... 'And then'

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Thanks to everyone who participated in Tuesday's SportsNation chat. You had a number of thought-provoking questions that I wanted to post for the larger blog community. To make it worth your while, I've invoked of my all-time favorite movie scenes to provide some additional thoughts.
Eric (Wash, DC)

So Kev, how many new starters do you think the Lions NEED to compete for a playoff spot in 2011? I would argue they need 2 OLBs and 1 CB. Other upgrades (OT, 3rd WR, RB, SS, another CB) would obviously be nice, but I think they are 3 starters away from being relevant.

Kevin Seifert (2:16 PM)

Very interesting. Agree they need two outside linebackers and cornerback, but that's assuming they also re-sign Chris Houston. They'll also need to figure out whether they're going to bring back Cliff Avril and keep their fingers crossed that KVB comes back at full strength.
And then: We're speaking about Kyle Vanden Bosch, of course. I do think one of the fundamental problems with projections is that it often assumes that prior performances will be maintained. How do we know there isn't a starter who played well last season who will take a big step back in 2011? But in general, it speaks well to the Lions' progress to consider them down to a handful of needs, be it three of or five, rather than an entire roster full.
Ben (Sandy, UT)

I keep hearing that the Packers need to draft an OLB from experts in the first round, and yet Walden and Zombo both contributed quite well, not to mention Brad Jones is coming back. Isn't the biggest need an OT?

Kevin Seifert (2:25 PM)

Well, like I said, the need isn't dramatic. And if your worst problem is that you have a committee system at one of our OLB positions, you're OK. But it's hard to go into a season relying on a player to start who couldn't stay on the field the previous year. So it would be nice to find continuity there one way or the other. As for OT, they can probably squeeze another year out of Chad Clifton. If their plan is to eventually move Bulaga out to LT and make Lang the RT, then they're pretty much set.
And then: It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if the Packers patched together another season with Brad Jones, Frank Zombo and Erik Walden. But when you're sitting in your offseason lab, it makes sense to at least pursue a more permanent situation.
Matt (Pa)

Why would any team consider drafting a rookie QB this year if there's a lockout pending. They won't be able to work with coaches, or even learn a new playbook. Wouldn't that basically render a rookie QB worthless this year?

Kevin Seifert (2:26 PM)

You draft a QB in the first round for the long-term, not just for the coming year. I agree there will be a development issue off the bat, but eventually it won't matter.
And then: In some ways, the lockout could be a blessing in disguise. If the lack of an offseason program sets back a quarterback to the point where the team can't start him as a rookie, perhaps the extra development time could be a net positive.
Andy (Arlington, VA)

Kevin, while GB could certainly use some depth at the LB, OL and CB positions, what do you think about using a high draft pick on a one-dimensional return specialist? It was the one missing piece from the GB arsenal, and while teams don't normally waste a 2nd or 3rd round pick on a return specialist, is that a luxury that GB can afford?

Kevin Seifert (2:31 PM)

A really nice point, and one that the Bears proved with Devin Hester. He, of course, was a second-round pick. But I honestly don't know if there is a return guy coming out in this draft who would be worth a pick that high. I'll write that down on my combine list, though.
And then: Knowing what we know now, would Hester have been worth a first-round draft pick? I think you can make that argument.