Pauline's Take: NFL Prospect Philip Rivers

<B>NFL Draft Guru Tony Pauline </b>is one of the most respected analysts in the business, and he talked with StateFans about NC State's former players expected to be chosen in the upcoming draft. Our first discussion focuses on quarterback prospect Philip Rivers.

Tony Pauline is the top NFL Draft Guru on TheInsiders network and has been judging college/NFL talent for 16 years. He started with local papers and publications in the northeast before beginning his own draft service in 1997. His draft reports can now be found at The NFL Insiders where he's recognized as "TFY Draft Preview."


StateFans: First of all, what's the latest you are hearing on Philip Rivers?

Tony Pauline: "New York Giants. The Giants will probably try and trade down with Cleveland and take Rivers in the 7th spot. They could take him in the 4th slot, but I don't think he's worth the 4th pick in the draft. New York's definitely looking to trade with Cleveland and take Rivers later on."

Do you think the Giants have Rivers above Eli Manning on their board or do you just feel they think Eli is not a viable option?

Pauline: "No. I think what the Giants feel is they would be better off moving down and collecting some extra picks to get Rivers then moving up to get Manning."

SF: If New York trades down to No. 7 from No. 4 in the draft what else could the Giants pick up in return?

Pauline: "They would probably get a 3rd [round pick] in return."

SF: Outside of the New York Giants, what other teams do you know of who are interested in Rivers?

Pauline: "Pittsburgh... Pittsburgh really wants him."

SF: Do you believe they will try to make a move up if necessary to take Philip?

Pauline: "No, I don't think they will try to move up. If they don't get him then they'll take one of the cornerbacks available or a Ben Roethlesberger who will probably be there for them at the 11th spot. The fact is Roethlesberger holds more upside potential then Rivers and that's appealing. He's a guy that can carry the team, move the ball down the field, and do a lot of things like that, but he's just not going to give the instant returns that Philip Rivers can probably give."

SF: The Chargers had been rumored as a possible destination for Rivers but you haven't mentioned them. Do you feel that San Diego's interest is falling or are there other factors involved?

Philip Rivers is one of the hottest names in the NFL Draft and teams in the top ten are contemplating moves to select the Wolfpack quarterback. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)

Pauline: "I learned at the [NFL Draft]combines that what the Chargers wanted to do was trade down in the first round and take Philip Rivers. But, the problem with them is their asking price is pretty high. They want a lot in return. The Chargers feel they were burned by the Michael Vick deal when they traded down for Ladanian Tomlinson and didn't get a lot more in return for Vick who was taken by the Falcons.

A few things have now come into play. The Mike Williams situation hurts the Chargers, the fact they are asking too much, and now that the New York Giants really like Philip Rivers. San Diego can't trade down too far or they may miss out on both Eli Manning and Philip Rivers. If the Browns trade up with San Diego then the Giants just might take Rivers at No. 4."

StateFans: What did you like about Philip after watching him play at N.C. State?

Tony Pauline: "The way he was able to lead the offense and win. To be honest, I'm not a big Rivers fan as far as projecting him to the next level, but everytime you want to count him out he does something fantastic. I do a lot of on-site scouting, and I saw N.C. State play against Clemson this year on a Thursday night. You can't discount the fact that Rivers doesn't make mistakes, and that's probably one of the most important things now at the quarterback position. For all the Ryan Leafs and Heath Shulers of the world, you need a guy behind center who makes the right choices and that's what Philip does. It's his decision-making, checking to the short receiver, and leadership qualities that are his definite strengths. Taking a guy like Rivers would be money well-invested."

SF: It now seems like most analysts consider three quarterbacks to be first round locks in Rivers, Eli Manning, and Ben Roethlisberger. How would you compare Philip to Manning and Roethlisberger?

Pauline: "First off Roethlisberger physically is the best quarterback in the draft. Maybe J.P. Losman can compete with him but physically Rivers and Manning cannot.

Manning is a good quarterback but people keep comparing him to his brother, and he doesn't have the attention to detail or do the little things his brother did.

What you are looking at with Rivers is a very mature guy who can lead the team and doesn't have many question marks around him. He's married and with the Ryan Leafs and the Cade McNowns... what those guys do is cost franchises. It makes teams look at Rivers and see that he doesn't have the great upside but he doesn't have the great downside either."

SF: Draft slots would likely come into play, but after briefly discussing all three quarterbacks which would you take if you were an NFL General Manager this Saturday?

Pauline: "Actually it really depends on the situation my franchise is in. If I was building a team from the ground up like Dennis Green at Arizona then I would take Ben Roethlisberger. I would have time to develop him, and he has the potential to be a very good quarterback down the road.

If you're a guy like Marty Schottenheimer who needed to win yesterday then you're going to take Philip Rivers or Eli Manning because they will yield much quicker returns on the field. They'll be able to start soon into their rookie seasons and do an adequate job.

So it depends not so much on the draft slot but the situation a franchise is in.

That's why [Bill] Cowher at Pittsburgh wants Rivers. They have to win right away and his job is on the line. Taking Roethlisberger could be [Pittsburgh owner] Dan Rooney's choice but if it's up to Cowher he wants Rivers because he needs someone who can help him right away."


Stay tuned tomorrow for our exclusive interview with draft guru Tony Pauline regarding ex-NC State Offensive Lineman Sean Locklear and his NFL draft outlook.

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