Answering the NFC South mail
Time for a quick trip into the mailbag.
Matt in Boone,NC writes: Hey Pat, I was wondering if their was any interest in Atlanta in acquiring TE Tony Scheffler from Denver. They've already shown interst in Gonzalez and I believe they offered a second round pick for him. Bill Williamson believes the Broncos would let Scheffler go for a second rounder and hes beginning to emerge as a good pass catching TE comparable to Gonzalez as they both stand in at 6 ft 5, 250 pounds. One of the benefits of Scheffler over Gonzalez is his age at 26, while Gonzalez could leave the nfl within the next three years.
Pat Yasinskas: I have not heard anything specifically about the Falcons having any talks with Denver about Scheffler. But your scenario makes lots of sense. Scheffler is younger than Tony Gonzalez, who has been linked to the Falcons in some trade reports, although I'm getting indications Atlanta's interest in Gonzalez is minimal, if it exists at all. Clearly the Falcons are looking at options at tight end and Brandon Pettigrew is an option in the first round. I don't think the Falcons would make a deal for a tight end until after they've used their first-round pick. If they draft Pettigrew, all the trade talk goes out the window. Also, I have a tough time seeing the Falcons, who keep saying they want to build through the draft, parting with a second-round pick.
Joseph in Fayetteville AR writes: I have been keeping up with the mock drafts consistently and one thing that i have wondered about is why haven't the Saints targeted someone like Brian Cushing. If there is one constant theme for the Saints defense the past few years is that the unit has underachieved. From a locker room perspective and athletic perspective (he could be an upgrade over the weak side or strong side LB the Saints have already), wouldn't be prudent to draft an overachiever like Cushing to help with the D? This same logic could apply against drafting a guy like Vontae Davis who has been pegged as a guy who has tremendous ability but lapses in play.
Pat Yasinskas: Good point about the Saints having their share of underachievers on defense. I wouldn't rule out Cushing at all with this pick. But I've seen some mocks where he's gone before No. 14. If he's available, I think the Saints at least have to consider him. They've got some linebackers who are getting up there in age and it wouldn't hurt to bring in some fresh legs.
Kevin in Charlotte writes: I am torn between DE or CB for Tampa at #19. There is a lot of quality DE's that should be there in mid first round, but the CB pool is very small. What do you think?
Pat Yasinskas: More and more, I'm hearing Florida State defensive end Everette Brown could be available at No. 19. If he is, I think the pick comes down to Brown and cornerback Vontae Davis, who would come with some questions. Brown doesn't have a lot of questions. He's also a pass-rusher and I think that's a more valuable commodity.
Jason C. in parts unknown writes: Pat, love your blog. With the draft coming up this weekend, are Gm's going to pass up a quarterback this year seeingthat next years crop of quarterbacks is going to be much better with Colt McCoy, Time Tebow, and Sam Bradford? Also, are there any indications that the Saints will trade away anything to move into the second or third rounds?
Pat Yasinskas: Aside from Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez, this draft isn't very deep for quarterbacks. Some view Josh Freeman highly as well. But if you're looking for a potential franchise quarterback, there's nobody beyond those three. I think that once they're gone, you might not see another quarterback taken until the fourth or fifth round because teams know next year's class of quarterbacks should be a lot stronger. As far as the Saints adding a second- or third-round pick, I think it's very possible, but it won't happen until they're on the clock. If they could trade down a few spots in the first round and get another pick, I think that's something they'll see as very intriguing.
Dakota in Charlotte, NC writes: Hey Pat, Love the blog. Loved it when you used to work for the observer. You guys run these NFL blogs wonderfully. Anyway, I'm a Carolina fan, and I'm curious about the upcoming draft. There's no doubting that Carolina needs help at DE, WR, QB, possibly a young CB or a good recieving TE. But is there any player that if he were to fall enough in the draft Carolina would want to trade up for them? Last year, it was clear that the powers that be were keen on two guys: Stewart and Otah. Once they picked Stewart, they watched and Otah fell below where they thought he would go. They called Philly, and picked him up. Now, instead of a first round pick, they have Peppers to offer for a deal. Is there anyone who is a guaranteed first rounder who Carolina would even think about trading up to get?
Pat Yasinskas: It's very complicated because of Julius Peppers. He hasn't signed his franchise tender, so that means the Panthers can't approach other teams about trades. However, Peppers' agent can solicit trade offers and bring them back to the Panthers. I suspect there will be some interest and I think the Panthers will consider any offer that gives them a first-round pick. I don't think the Panthers can afford to lock in on any one guy because there's no telling where they might end up in the first round if they do get a pick. But I think it's safe to say guys like defensive ends Everette Brown and Michael Johnson and defensive tackle Peria Jerry would be possibilities in this scenario.