Monday's mailbag

April, 20, 2009
4/20/09
11:23
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

It's time for a Monday edition of the mailbag.

JM in Charlotte writes: Hey Pat, I heard Mel Kiper Jr say on the radio over the weekend that he expects DE Michael Johnson to drop into the 2nd round. If this happens, do the Panthers draft him?

Pat Yasinskas: If Georgia Tech defensive end Michael Johnson falls all the way to No. 59, I think the Panthers would have to consider taking him, if they're still at that pick. Johnson is similar to Julius Peppers in a lot of ways, including a reputation for taking plays off. Whether Peppers is with the Panthers this year or not, Johnson could be a nice pick because he could either take over for Peppers this year or next. That said, I don't know that Johnson will fall all the way to No. 59.


Josh in Winston Salem writes: Hey Pat, great job on the blog! My question is about Jermaine Phillips moving from safety to linebacker, which I just heard about after reading one fo your mailbags. Why? I have some problems with this move. First, it creates a void at safety and if the move doesn't work out, then there's still a hole at linebacker. Second, he is a 30 year old safety, and these are the years when you begin to lose speed and quickness (especially with the physicality Phillips plays with), and you want him to put on weight to play a whole new position? My list can go on and on, and in my opinion this move doesn't make any sense at all. What do you think?

Pat Yasinskas: I actually kind of like the move of Jermaine Phillips to weak-side linebacker. He really doesn't have to put on weight. He's pretty close to the same size Derrick Brooks was. I don't think the transition will be all that difficult. His job as a strong safety primarily was to make tackles and it will be the same at linebacker. The Bucs are high on Sabby Piscitelli and want him to take over at strong safety. That's part of the reason the move with Phillips is taking place.


Zach in Gretna writes: Pat, you've said Rashad Jennings is a perfect fit for N.O. I agree 100%. Do you think he has potential to become a number one back should they get a second or third to get him? Deuce became the number one guy, why not Rashad, right?

Pat Yasinskas: Yes, I really like Liberty running back Rashad Jennings and think he would be a great fit with the Saints. But landing him will be a challenge. He's viewed as a second- or third-round pick and the Saints don't have a pick in either of those rounds right now. But I say trade down a bit from No. 14, still draft a defensive player later in the first round and use the extra pick to get Jennings. That's all easier said than done, but I'd like to see the Saints do it if it's at all possible.


Brad in parts unknown: Hi,Pat -- What is up with Robert Meachem? Is his effort lacking or does he have trouble picking up the offense? He was very highly touted coming out of Tennessee, but it seems everyone leaps over him on the depth chart. Thanks.

Pat Yasinskas: I'm going to give Robert Meachem the benefit of the doubt for the moment. He was injured much of his rookie year, so last year essentially was his rookie season. I thought he came on a bit at the end of last year and the Saints are hoping he can show some more progress in training camp. It's not uncommon in the NFL for highly-touted receivers to struggle at the start of their careers. In fact, it's a trend in the NFC South. Carolina's Dwayne Jarrett and Tampa Bay's Dexter Jackson have had starts similar to Meachem's, yet they all have tremendous upside. There's still hope for these guys. As evidence, I point to Atlanta's Roddy White and Michael Jenkins. Both of those guys struggled early on, but they've become very good receivers.


Jay in atl writes: hey pat, now that Atl has a set offense with the exception of a TE, why are the falcons even thinking about trading for Tony Gonzalez who'll play for 2 more years at the max? Shouldn't they address that defense which finished 24th last year? They could use a player at every defensive position so why give up a 2nd rounder for a 33 y.o. player?

Pat Yasinskas: I am totally with you on that. I'm not sure the rumors of a possible trade for Tony Gonzalez were anything more than just rumors. The Falcons are committed to building through the draft and a move like that doesn't fit their profile. Something else doesn't fit about that scenario either. Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey never is going to throw a bunch to the tight end. Yes, the Falcons could use a bit more receiving production from the position, but I don't see them making a big move to get it. They can find a tight end in the middle of the draft, who can come in and give them 25 or 30 catches a season.


Blake in Greensboro writes: Did you listen to Hurney the other day with the press? It kind of sounds like Peppers will stay. He even said he was confident he will stay. What do you think?

Pat Yasinskas: Carolina general manager Marty Hurney said what he had to say in his pre-draft press conference. It's the same thing he's been saying all along. But let's face reality. If someone steps up in the next few days and offers a first-round pick and a little more for Peppers, I think there's a very real chance the Panthers take the deal and get rid of a headache.


Pro from College Park, GA writes: Have you heard anything about a draft day trade involvong the Falcons and chiefs including draft picks Gonzales and or Dorsey?

Pat Yasinskas: Only the rumors that are flying among fans and I think that might be wishful thinking. Thomas Dimitroff has said all offseason the Falcons are going to build through the draft. I think he's serious about that.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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