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April 8, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Pat Yasinskas

Adam (Asheville)

As a panther fan there's something I'm worried about Pat. So many potential picks with the number 1 and everybody want's something different, my concern is a repeat of when McNabb was drafted and he got booed because people wanted somebody else. I just feel like it would give us panther fans a bad image not to mention that has to feel like a donkey kick to the player.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:48 PM)

Legitimate concearn. Bucs fans at party at stadium booed when Tampa Bay drafted Josh Freeman. But they seem to be over that now.

Tyler (New York)

Pat, what is your view on Steve Smith in Carolina right now? Clearly they need him, and drafting a guy like newton? they'll need him even more to help newton adjust to the NFL

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:50 PM)

Think they try to trade him as soon as lockout ends. You really think it's that important to have him help Newton "adjust"? I mean, he didn't exactly do wonders helping Clausen adjust last year.

mad man (south carolina)

why they cant juz talk bout the cba to get it done asap instead of delaying time. it the fans who made all of them rich so as a fan make the deal already

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:50 PM)

I'm with you. Doesn't have to be like this.

Nisarg (Tarboro, NC)

You simply don't pass up a talent like Cam Newton. Jimmy Clausen may, at his best, become an above-average NFL QB, but he will never be a franchise QB. Cam Newton could be that kind of player for Carolina, don't you agree Pat?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:52 PM)

Agree. There are no guarantees and there is risk with Cam, but the upside is huge and I think Panthers are in a spot where they have to take that chance. I think they're feeling that way too.

Erin (Las Vegas)

Any truth to the Yahoo article that JR is not sold on Cam? Do you think Panthers will take him or trade down?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:54 PM)

I think what the article actually said and how it was framed were slightly different. Think what was actually said was similar to what I've written. Richardson ultimately will let Hurney make the call if he feels Newton is best player to draft. He's seen and heard all background stuff and hasn't come out and said, "We're not taking this guy".

Max (Tampa)

Pat, do you have any pets and what are the names or name?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:54 PM)

I might. You want to take a guess?

Brian (New Orleans)

Will Saints fans see more of P. Robinson at nickel next season? I imagine Greg Williams defenses are tough to learn, but he's a first rounder and we'd like to see more of him.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:55 PM)

Think you will see more of him. He's a talented kid and they want to get him on field. Think back one year earlier to Jenkins and how they wanted to get him on field and that worked out nicely. Now, I'm not saying they'll find a way to start Robinson, but I think he'll be the nickel.

Patrick (Charlotte)

Hey Pat,Loved your work for the Observer. It is good that the whole NFC South gets to enjoy the great work you do.I'm wondering what the odds are that the Panthers will do what Kiper was suggesting, trade down and let someone else take Newton? I personally agree with him. I think that the Panthers would be better served to trade down, add a couple of pick (thinking 2nd round maybe) and still get an impact player. They could bring in a seasoned QB to mentor Jimmy and replace him if necessary.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:57 PM)

In theory, trading down sounds great. In reality, finding someone willing to trade up is very difficult and might be impossible if lockout is still on and teams don't know if there will be a rookie wage scale.

raliegh (fl)

hey pat,, i don't see a top de available for the falcons at 27.. i don't see them going wr there either since top 2 are gone.. think they would move up to get a de or trade back to get more pics?

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:58 PM)

Check out column I wrote yesterday on Dimitroff and how he feels about sitting at No. 27. I could definitely see them trading up -- could also see them trading down a little.

Kouss (Detroit, MI)

Hey Pat everybody has been talking about the Bucs going after Asomougha if Talib is released, but what about Cromartie? He did pretty damn well in Cover 2 the last time I checked and they wouldn't have to break the bank on him, plus he is still young.

Pat Yasinskas
  (12:59 PM)

That would be a legitimate option and you're right that the cost wouldn't be as outrageous.

Wes (Albany, Ny)

Falcons picking up a RB in the draft?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:01 PM)

I would if I were them. Doesn't have to be early. You can get good RBs in third or fourth round.

Wes (Albany, NY)

My question to those who feel the Panthers should trade down - who is there that a team wants to trade UP for???? I don't think anyone is worth what they'd have to give up to get the 1 overall.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:02 PM)

Exactly. It might be impossible for them to trade down because I'm not seeing any reason for anyone to trade up to No. 1.

Wes (Albany, NY)

1 Dog named Julies and 1 cat named Peppers?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:02 PM)

Nah, but you're not all that far off!

Paul (Knoxville)

This whole "Andy Dalton visiting NO" thing....isnt really a thing right?...please tell me this isnt a sign that either A)they're looking for Brees' replacement or B)they're unhappy with Brees' role in the CBA negotiations.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:04 PM)

Never, ever read too much into visits. If anything, they may be looking at Dalton as a potential upgrade over Chase Daniel as a backup. I really don't think Saints are upset with Brees' role in labor situation. He's incredibly close with Payton, Loomis and Benson. I think they realize he's just doing what he has to do.

Gur (London, UK)

Don't see why everyone is calling for Mark Dominik to cut Talib when I'm sure Al Davis would happily give up a 2nd rounder for him

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:05 PM)

You really think any team is going to give up anything for a guy who could be facing a lengthy suspension?

Brandon (VA)

My boy Matty Ice supposedly tied the knot over the weekend I'd like to give a congrats to him on that, I want to get your thoughts on the Atlanta run game. They were good in rushing yards but not great on Yards per Carry, Turner? O-Line? or lack of a homerun back?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:06 PM)

Congrats to Matt, a truly good guy. As far as running game, I'd like to see them add a speed back. Also think those two kids they drafted last year will end up playing this season and add some youth to the o-line, which will help.

CJ (West Lafayette/ IN)

Pat, who is to credit the recent Saints' drafting accomplishments? Payton? Loomis? Or the scouting team?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:09 PM)

All of the above. But college scouting director Rick Reprebish (hope I'm spelling that right) is the one who doesn't get a lot of public credit. He deserves more. He and his scouts are the ones who beat the bushes to find guys like Evans at Bloomsburg and Colston at Hofstra -- and those are only a couple of examples.

Ike (Dayton, Ohio)

So with the current state of the NFL, can any teams trade existing players for draft picks?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

No, players can NOT be traded during lockout.

JM (Charlotte)

Do you think Newton and Gabbert are being elevated into the conversation for #1 simply because there isn't a Luck/Bradford/Stafford level QB this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:10 PM)

Well, let's just say if Luck had come into draft, Panthers already would have made their decision.

Matt (Wilmington, NC)

Pat, I'm really aggravated with the perceived notion by anyone but Carolina fans, that the Panthers are some ho-dunk terrible team, that has always been terrible and will be the Detroit Lions of this decade, based on one terrible year. Also the notion that Jerry Richardson is in the same class as Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder, based on ONE comment that was said behind closed doors. I mainly see this on PFT. It's getting hard to ignore. Am I the one that's wrong?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:13 PM)

The whole Richardson-Manning thing was the result of Jay Feeley saying it on a talk-radio station in Arizona. He wasn't in the room when it supposedly happened. Drew Brees was and he said it didn't happen like that. I've talked to someone else who was in the room who said nothing like that happened.

Dean (Tallahassee, FL)

Is there any chance the Panthers possibly draft Patrick Peterson? There's a good possibility he may be the best overall player in the draft.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:14 PM)

Not happening. Agree he might be best overall player. But he's a CB and he might have hurt his stock with Panthers when he said he didn't want to return kicks. I seriously think they're going the QB route.

Matt (PA)

If Steve Smith is traded like you expect, who do you see being brought in as the replacement?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:16 PM)

They're high on LaFell and Gettis. And they want to start getting Armanti Edwards on the field. That's how you work a youth movement -- let the kids play. It's what Tampa Bay did last year. Fox wouldn't do it, but I think Rivera realizes he's got to start finding out what he's got in the young guys.

Roger Goodell (Music City Hall)

With the 18th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft the Falcons Select???

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:17 PM)

I would not be at all surprised if they moved up into that range to make sure they get one of the pass-rushers. That would get them ahead of Bucs and Saints, who are looking for same thing.

jose (stockton)

will ron rivera be a great coach for the panthers

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:18 PM)

Too early to tell. But the man has built a good reputation and a lot of people think he will succeed.

CandyMan (Spartanburg, SC)

Pat, what have you heard about Jeff Otah. I am really concerned that something serious may be going on because what was supposed to be a minor knee surgery caused him to miss the entire year.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:21 PM)

This has got to be Rob, the attorney/referee!!! How are you, buddy? Yeah, the Otah thing is a real concern. I mean, it was supposed to be minor and it obviously was major. Makes you wonder if they might have to look for OT help in the draft. Hopefully, lockout ends and I'll see you in Spartanburg in August.

Austin (Tampa)

Pat, if Mark Ingram isnt off the board when Atlants picks at 27, do we add that "explosive player" we keep hearing about?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:22 PM)

Not sure Ingram really fits the prototype for "explosive". But I think he's a very good running back. Turner's had a ton of carries last few years. Wouldn't mind seeing Ingram added to mix even though he's similar to Turner. He could split carries with Turner for a year or two and maybe become what Turner was a year or two ago.

John (Charlotte nc)

Hi Pat I see that Panthers are throwing a draft-day party do you think that this is a indications that if they don't trade down that the panthers will take Cam Newton?thanks

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:23 PM)

Think it might be a slight indicator that they aren't planning on trading out of No. 1.

Billy (Tampa)

Da'Quan Bowers' stock is falling, and theres some talk about him dropping all the way to the Bucs at 20. Any merit to this? Especially after Gaines Adams was so much of a disappointment?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:25 PM)

The talk is definitely growing about him falling. Not sure he falls that far, though. If he does, Bucs better have done their homework on why he's falling and know what they're getting into if they take him.

Trevor ( Asheville)

If Newton is drafted #1, is he the starter from day one

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:27 PM)

Different schools of thought on that. Falcons went with Ryan from the start, while Bucs kept Freeman on sidelines for half a season. But my thinking is Carolina has decent running game and offensive line, so why not throw Newton out there. This wouldn't be like David Carr coming into Houston as an expansion team.

John (Charlotte nc)

Pat Ron Rivera was on WFNZ sports radio in Charlotte this morning and he said that said Friday that Cam Newton is worthy of the No. 1 pick, but the Panthers have yet to narrow down their list of eight players at the top of the draft.Do you believe that the panthers have not yet narrow down their list ?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:29 PM)

Oh, I think there list is in order. They might not have made a final decision yet. But, if the draft were tonight, I think they have a guy sitting on top of the board.

CandyMan (Spartanburg, SC)

You got it! One more question, can the owners "legally" communicate with a player through his agent during the lockout. See you at training camp.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

Awesome to hear from you. Note to other readers, "CandyMan" is one of the guys the Panthers bring in to help officiate training camp and he and his buddies do a great job. No, teams are not supposed to be talking to players or their reps in lockouts. Now, many of those same agents represent draft prospects and teams can talk to them about the draft prospects. Do the lines get crossed at times?? I'm thinking there's a chance of that.

Chavez (Greenville, SC)

Hey Pat, when is the NFL schedule release date?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:32 PM)

They've said mid-April, which is getting pretty close. I'm thinking either next week or the week after.

Isaiah (Dayton, OH)

You are aware that the panthers have changed 90% percent of their coaching staff. From a fans perspective im ecstatic about this, which member of the new staff do you think will have the most positive impact?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:33 PM)

I would say Rob Chudzinski for one simple reason -- he is not Jeff Davidson.

Angelo (Hendeson NC)

If we where to pick Newton, how long do you think us to think playoffs? I don't think we are as far from being a playoff team like the so called expects think.

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:35 PM)

Think there's a misconception about the Panthers. Yes, they were 2-14 last year, but that roster is far from bare. They've got players like Beason, Gross, the two RBs, maybe Steve Smith, maybe Thomas Davis, Chris Gamble and some emerging players like Charles Johnson. If they can get a passing game of some sort, they could be competitive right away.

William (Wilmington N.C.)

Pat, will you be at BOA stadium for the draft party ?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:37 PM)

I will be in the media room at BOA Stadium for all three days of the draft. I'd immagine I'll wander out of the media room, which is sort of like a cave, to get some air and take in the atmosphere in the hours leading up to the start of the draft.

Jason (Iowa)

How much longer can Falcons C. Todd McClure keep on going? Is this his last year and do the Falcons think they have his backup/replacement in-house? Bruggeman was a stud @ Iowa but does he have a shot after McClure goes?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:39 PM)

Todd's had a very nice run and I think he plays this year. But there was a reason why Falcons drafted those two kids last year and why they have Bruggeman. They also have a couple potential free agents. But they've already done much of the ground work to make some switches. The two rookies from last year didn't get to play much, but apparently looked good in practice and Falcons have high hopes for them.

Eric O (las vegas)

to all panther fans, dont worry about the experts, the bucs proved last year that they dont always know what a team really has

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:40 PM)

Agree. In my eyes, predictions really mean nothing. That's especially true in NFC South -- last year's Bucs, 2008 Falcons, etc.

Ben (Atlanta GA)

Pat- do you see Armanti Edwards getting some field time and producing this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:41 PM)

Think Rivera and his staff already have orders from high up to make sure he at least gets a chance.

JORGE (CHARLOTTE,NC)

Pat do you have inside sources advising the Panthers are thinking QB or just a feeling? also with proper coaching why cant Newton be like BIG BEN or FREEMAN or maybe better depending on how he developes?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:43 PM)

I wouldn't be writing it if I didn't have some pretty strong vibes that they are seriously considering going with Newton.

J.P. (Kenner, La.)

Any inside word on which Saints free agent could be signed next? Maybe Bush or Lance Moore?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:44 PM)

Can't do anything during lockout. But Sean Payton's comments about Reggie at owners meetings a couple weeks ago lead me, and many others, to believe Saints and Reggie's agent already discussed an extension prior to the lockout and aren't too far apart. Think that probably gets done quickly after lockout.

Eric C (Orlando, FL)

Pat, a report that I heard said that Coach Morris is in love with Cam Jordan and Mark Dominik is in love with Ryan Kerrigan. If both players (though unlikely) are available who would they take?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:45 PM)

Dominik's got final say in that building. But I think he and Raheem can work toward some consensus. Besides, the choice very well could be made by teams ahead of them.

Luke (Tampa)

P-Yiddy, thoughts on Jim Harbaugh saying he wants Josh Johnson in SF? They were together at San Diego....

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:46 PM)

If I'm Dominik and I can get a draft pick for Josh Johnson, I do it immediately. But Raheem likes Josh Johnson a lot, so I'm not so sure they part with him unless it's a pretty good draft pick.

tboy (Arlington TX)

N.O. boy living in tx. hi Pat, which do you think is the Saints biggest need DT,DE or LB? Ever since Fujita left we have't looked quite the same, my vote is strong side LB. What do you think?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:47 PM)

Agree on the need at LB. But I think you can fill that with better value a little later in the draft.

Ben (Atlanta GA)

Pat as far as young WR tandems go, do you think LaFell/Gettis are the future for the Panthers, and will they get better this year?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:48 PM)

I like them. And I know the Panthers are very high on both of them. Give them a QB and they can be pretty good.

Tyler (New York)

Jeff Davidson and John Fox did no favors for Clausen or that predictable offensive. I am not exadgerating, i could call pass, run and which side almost every play. im 17. Will Chudzinski do better? get more creatative and help Clausen(or whoever is QB)

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:49 PM)

Can assure you, part of the reason Rivera got that job was because he convinced ownership/management that he would bring in Chudzinski and run a legitimate NFL offense. And I'm sure he and Chudzinski plan to follow through on that.

JORGE (CHARLOTTE,NC)

I hope this is not a Smokescreen, Also if you had to choose would you keep Stewart or Williams?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:51 PM)

I think they keep both. But, if you made me choose one, I say Williams. Know he was injured last year, but Stewart's had chronic foot problems since he came into the league, so I worry that durability always will be issue there.

Matt (Lynchburg, VA)

Pat, you talk a lot about the three franchise QBs in the NFC south. Would you have ever considered Jake Delhomme to be one at any point in his career?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:52 PM)

No, he was a game manager, mainly because that's all the previous Carolina offense every allowed him to be. At various points of his career, he was a very good game manager. But never a franchise QB.

john Dub (charlotte)

dog nittany, cat lion or Dog Penn and Cat is state

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:53 PM)

No, think closer to your backyard!

Matt (Omaha)

Hey Pat!I heard on an NFL podcast that there were non-Union players. How many are there? And how has this lockout affected them any different than Unionized players, if at all?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:54 PM)

I have not heard anything like that. If you've got a link, please send it to my mailbag and I'll take a look.

Wes (Albany)

Hey - in Delhomme's defense, franchise or not, he did have a winning record (and substantial at that) vs. all 3 "franchise" qb's in the South....

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:56 PM)

Don't get me wrong, I think the world of Jake. But I don't think you can call him a franchise QB. When he was at his best, he was good in what they allowed him to do.

Isaiah (Dayton, OH)

Would Mr.Moon be a good enough QB mentor for Cam Newton without the panthers picking up a veteran? Or do you think they should pick up a veteran to help teach?

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:57 PM)

Think the whole mentor thing is overrated. And not many veterans are truly capable of handling that role because they're competitive and want to be on the field. You have an offensive coordinator and Shula as QBs coach. I think that's enough.

james (los angeles, ca)

why are so many people so ready to get rid of barret ruud? there isn't a better free agent MLB than him, there isn't a better MLB in the draft either. On top of that he produces on the field. According to espn he only had 1 less tackle than job beason and 1 more sack than him and beason is a pro bowler who is widely viewed as one of the top MLB in the league. Ruud is a big time MLB and his stats are comparable to all of th 2010 pro bowl MLB which were urlacher, beason, and the guy in washington, sorry i forgot his name. RUUD IS A TOP MLB STOP COMPLAINING FELLOW TAMPA FANS!

Pat Yasinskas
  (1:58 PM)

Just throwing this out there for other Tampa Bay fans to debate James' opinion. All right, we're getting close to 2 p.m. Few more questions.

Michael (SC)

Will the Falcons ever not CHOKE in the post season?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:00 PM)

We'll see. But that's the next challenge. I know Smith and Dimitroff both got recent contract extensions with nice raises. I think that also comes with increased expectations and pressure to take the next step.

Jason (Birmingham)

James, while the stats aren't bad I don't think that the bucs have ever been happy with ruud's onfield leadership. I guess you get spoiled with guys like Derrick Brooks but it seems that is the biggest knock on Barrett.

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:02 PM)

Jason has a point. Not like Barrett's been a bad influence or anything like that, but he's never stepped up and made this HIS defense. Thought he was close at the end of the Gruden/Kiffin era, but never really progressed after that.

Brandon (new orleans)

your thoughts on jimmy graham being a full time starter in the saints offence

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:03 PM)

Think he's going to be a stud. He came on faster last year than anyone expected and Payton will get more creative with him going forward.

Ron (Manassas, VA)

I feel the Bucs should do whatever it takes to get Nnamdi Asomugha, Do you think there is any chance they feel the same way? Someone who can shut down players like Roddy White are invaluable.

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:05 PM)

Think they might at least poke around on this if and when free agency starts. But not sure they'll try to win a bidding war like this. They could go with somebody like Cromartie at a better salary.

Eric C (Orlando, FL)

Avg. MLB... Vocal Leader, hard hitting, good run stuffer, makes splash plays. Ruud has none of those qualities... Watch where he gets TRUCKED by Chris Ivory and that will tell you all you need to know.

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:05 PM)

Would not disagree too much with any of that.

Thomas Dimitroff (Ga)

Do i trade up in the draft ahead of the saints and the bucs to get a DE like Justin Houston or Ryan Kerrigan?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:06 PM)

You wouldn't surprise me a bit with something like that!!!

james (los angeles, ca)

did you see ruud force that fumble at the goalline last year? i think it was against those same saints you're talking about

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:08 PM)

And we'll give James his shot at rebuttal.

Joe (Virginia)

Are the FALCONS doing any workouts on their own? Or is everyone at home sucking down donuts?

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:10 PM)

Think most players around the league are working out in some capacity. There are groups doing it in home city where they play, some guys are back at their colleges and at their home towns and some are at different locations like some of those big sports academies where they're working out with some former NFL coaches.

Jerry Richardson (Charlotte)

Pat I'm looking forward to see you in Charlotte in 3 weeks have a good weekend my friend

Pat Yasinskas
  (2:11 PM)

All right, when the Big Cat stops in, that's a sign this chat can't get any better. We're already 10 minutes past deadline and we started 15 minutes early. So we'll end it here. Thanks to all for stopping by.