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  • Published: Mar 2nd, 2009
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KC's trade for QB Cassel resulted in some unforeseen repercussions.

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Fryingpan Sports

KC’s trade for QB Cassel resulted in some unforeseen repercussions.

By Bill Smith

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No one was surprised that ex-Patriot personnel guy Scott Pioli traded to get a couple of his former players to add some leadership to the Chiefs. Based on how the team played last year, it can use all the leadership Pioli can gather. When he landed QB Matt Cassel, Pioli caused ripples through the NFL.

The Lions now have some options at 1st choice:

While there are several teams that would like a QB, the Jets at 17 now look like the only one willing to spend a 1st round pick on one of the 2 top QB (Matt Stafford, Georgia and Mark Sanchez, USC).

While the majority of mock drafts have the Lions taking Stafford or Sanchez with the first pick, I am not at all sure that is a lock. I would not be surprised if the Lions took a chance and drafted an OT with the first pick then used the 22nd pick from the Cowboys to take whichever QB is left.

That would give the Lions a chance to keep their QB upright whoever that might be. It would also reduce the risk of taking a junior QB with the first pick. The history of that has not been positive. The risk and the cost of a QB at 22 would be significantly lower.

The NFL may look into the Cassel deal for insider trading:

Ex-Pat Pioli got a heck of a deal—in fact he may have gotten the steal of the century so far. The Chiefs reportedly got Cassel and LB Mike Vrabel for a second round choice. There were several teams that have reported that they would have given the Pats more than that for Cassel alone. The current rumor is that the NFL may look into the deal for the football equivalent of insider trading given the close relationship between Pioli and the Pats.

Ripples shake the Broncos:

New Denver head coach Josh McDaniels who was the OC for the Pats last year also wanted Matt Cassel. He was busy trying to pull off a three team deal that would have sent last year starter for the Broncos Jay Cutler to Tampa or another team in order to bring Cassel to Denver. When that was leaked, the Bronco fans were shocked but Cutler seemed to handle it as well as could be expected.

He was reported to have told the press that he was not shocked but very disappointed that his new coach would trade him away.

My Analysis: It was not a secret that he was very upset at the firing of former HC Mike Shanahan. The fact that McDaniels wanted to trade him has not made Cutler more comfortable in Denver. The relationship between coach and QB was already strained. Now McDaniels has to do something to fix it before the season. This was a stupid move by a rookie coach. You just don’t do something like that to a franchise quarterback and expect it not to get leaked. McDaniels has to engage brain before activating mouth.

New coach, new GM, same old Bucs:

The Bucs are still collecting QBs the way that some people collect stamps. According to reports from several sources, new Tampa Bucs GM Mark Dominik and new HC Raheem Morris made it clear they wanted Cutler. They were one of the trade partners for Denver to help the Broncos get Cassel.

My Analysis: If you have a covey of QBs, you don’t have any. The Bucs had a serviceable QB in Jeff Garcia but he was not what the new staff wanted. Do you really think Brian Griese or Josh Johnson can lead you anywhere but to a high draft choice next year? Probably not.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: Chiefs,Broncos,NFL,NFL Draft,Georgia,USC,College football,Lions,Pioli,McDaniels,Tampa Bay,Bucs,football,Griese,Johnson,Stafford,Sanchez

Should the Lions draft QB Matt Stafford with the first pick?

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Fryingpan Sports

Should the Lions draft QB Matt Stafford with the first pick?

t By Bill Smith

Technorati Tags: Lions, NFL Draft, Stafford, Sanchez, Georgia, USC, Booty, college football, NFL Football

The Lions need a QB badly. The starter on their depth chart is Dan Orlovsky. In 4 seasons he has a QB rating of 71.8 with 8 TDs and 8 picks. Not good. Behind him is second year QB Drew Stanton but he was very inconsistent at Michigan State and has thrown only 17 passes in the NFL. Then there is the 3rd QB Drew Henson. Henson was a better baseball player than QB and was cut by a couple of baseball organizations. His football career included one start for the Pre-Romo Cowboys in 04 but he QB rating of 64.2 doesn’t impress anyone.

So according to reports the team is going to take a QB with the first pick. Maybe that sounded like a good idea when there were 4 good prospects in the race for the top QB in the draft. But Sam Bradford went back to Oklahoma and Colt McCoy went back to Texas. That left only Stafford and one year starter Mark Sanchez from USC as the candidates for the top QB.

When you go 0-16, one guy is not going to turn your team around. So don’t be surprised if they try to trade the pick. Trading first round picks doesn’t happen too often. Trading 1st overall picks almost never happens. There are several problems. First, the amount of assets necessary to give anything close to equal value for a 1st overall pick is overwhelming. According to the draft chart first used by the Cowboys but now accepted as a good guide the 1st pick is worth 3000 points. Even if you have the 10th pick this year, it would cost you your #1, 2, 3, 4, 5 picks this year your 1, 2, and 3 next year and a young veteran starter. The Lions would love to take that but no GM could keep his job and make that deal.

Even if you could get by that problem with a number of quality young starters to replace the draft choices, there is the financial investment in the top overall pick. Jake Long, the OT from Michigan taken 1st overall by the Dolphins in the 08 draft got a contract worth 57 million dollars. A quarterback would be 10 to 15 percent higher. In addition, the 1st pick in 09 will probably get a 12% increase over 08 due to the expected increase in salary cap. That would mean that a QB as #1 should get a 5 year contract worth between 70 and 74.5 million dollars. He had better be another Payton Manning for that kind of coin.

So don’t expect the Lions to trade. Now the question is who do you pick. Miami went O line because you have a much smaller chance of a total bust with that position than QB or D line. Then there is the issue of which QB is the best choice.

Stafford is currently the flavor of the month as the top pick. As a three year starter, Stafford has a lot of college game experience. He played in the Southeast Conference which is a top league. He has great arm strength. He improved his completion percentage each season from 52.7% in 06 to 61.4% in 08. But then you watch film, you come away with some serious doubts.

He makes one throw that is incredible, followed by forcing the ball into tight coverage and an interception. Part of the problem is mechanical. He struggles with footwork and his throwing mechanics are inconsistent. He also does not seem to have the feet to move away from the pass rush and keep the play alive. He will have to learn that or be in serious trouble. The Lions line is not among the best in the NFL to say the least.

There is a question of mental toughness. Several times in the games I saw, he took the sack rather than standing up against the rush. You would like your big strong QB to keep his eyes down field and make the play as he was getting hit. That raises the question does he have the vision to an NFL franchise QB? That question will be answered only as he plays in the regular season.

Mechanics can be corrected with practice. A much more disturbing facet of his game is decision making. He has so much confidence in his arm he tires to make throws in college that are doomed to incompletion or interception before he releases the ball. In the NFL, the windows are much much smaller and the risk of interception is a lot higher. The Bulldogs were much better than all but 2 of the teams they played every year. Even so, he had a very uneven performance against some better teams.

The best corners he faced in the SEC were almost as good as the weakest ones he will face every week in the NFL. As you can tell, I am not convinced he can be a franchise QB at the NFL level and to give him 74 million over 5 years would be a mistake.

So, maybe the Lions should consider taking the other QB rated high in the draft—Mark Sanchez from USC. The NFL is very cautious about drafting a QB that only started 1 season. For Sanchez, my greatest concern is that he sat 2 seasons behind John David Booty who was taken in the 5th round by the Vikings with the 147th pick. If he couldn’t beat out Booty, is he really worthy of a first round pick let alone the first overall pick? I don’t think so. I will detail the scouting report on Sanchez in the future. For now, every time I hear someone talk about Sanchez, I hear the name Akili Smith the third pick in the 1999 draft. He had one great year with Oregon in the Pac10 as well. Look how nicely that turned out.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for NFLDraftDog.com and edits fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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