Steuber's Draft Mailbag's NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber answers questions from readers in his latest mailbag.

My question is basically this: In the early mock drafts, the Raiders were supposedly picking Darren McFadden. Why would they do that? They had a 1,000-yard rusher last year in Justin Fargas. I'm just wondering what you think of this. I personally think they should go with Vernon Gholston or Glenn Dorsey, maybe even Sedrick Ellis if he is still there. Who do you think they should draft?
Mike from Rock Springs, Wy.


We all know Al Davis gets enamored with great athletes, regardless of the position they play. Darren McFadden is the best pure athlete in this draft and he can be a difference maker in an offense. I think when you see McFadden associated with the Raiders, it's because of the unpredictable nature of Davis. If McFadden is still on the board when the Raiders are on the clock — which I expect him to be — he will be hard to pass up even though the running back position isn't a priority.

However, I agree with you that the Raiders should upgrade their defensive line. I believe if Vernon Gholston is still on the board, he provides Davis with the athletic freak he would have if the Raiders select McFadden. But instead of creating a log jam at RB he fills an immediate need on the defensive side of the ball.


Steuber's Draft Mailbag (4/16/08)

Updated Mock Draft

Head 2 Head: Long vs. Gallery

Head 2 Head: Jackson vs. Hester

Pre-Draft Defensive Awards

Pre-Draft Offensive Awards

Pro Day Q&A with Colt Brennan

NFL Draft Q&A with Brian Brohm Part I | Part II

All Sleeper Defensive Team

All Sleeper Offensive Team

Will you please explain how Indiana's James Hardy isn't in the discussion for top receiver? He is 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, ran a 4.47 at the combine, and put up huge numbers during his career. Devin Thomas is a one-year wonder, Desean Jackson is undersized and coming off a bad year, and Malcolm Kelly's pro day says it all.
Anthony from Indianapolis


James Hardy is a tremendous WR with a lot of skills and potential. His size alone makes him an intriguing prospect, but even though he had an outstanding collegiate career, Hardy has a lot to learn about the WR position. He has to work on his route running; a majority his receptions at Indiana were on the outside, due to his inability to run crisp routes over the middle. He's a former basketball recruit and is still learning the game of football. Once he learns all the nuances of the game he has a chance to be dominant.

Will Jerry Jones stay at picks 22 and 28 or will he make the dumb move of trading up?
Jordan from Celina, Texas


I think the Cowboys will ultimately decide to keep their first-round picks and target the best CB, RB or WR on the board. In the end, I think the Cowboys draft a RB and a CB in the first round and select a WR in the second round.

Scouts have completely ruled out a fullback as a first- or even second-round pick and most GMs have did the same. There are systems still out there in the NFL that could use an old-school football player such as Owen Schmitt. If I was a GM I would consider him middle of the second, especially with a team that has a premier back that could use one. What has happened to the "old-school," hard-nosed football players of yesteryear?
Martin from Ripley, WV


The game has changed and teams don't use a fullback in an offense like they used to. A fullback is still important as a lead blocker, but the days of using a fullback as an offensive weapon no longer exists. A player like Owen Schmitt has value, but there's no way he will be a Day 1 selection. As you described in your question, Schmitt is a hard-nosed player who will block anything that moves and that's great, but he doesn't possess the offensive skills that warrant him being a high selection. To me, Arkansas' Peyton Hillis has more value, because he's a legitimate offensive player who can play FB or TE at the next level. Hillis will be the first FB taken in the draft.

I really want to know what the Steelers are going to do. If Brandon Albert isn't there from Virgina do they go WR? Like a James Hardy from Indiana or Limas Sweed from Texas? I really think they should go after Lito Sheppard and get a shutdown corner. I mean I know the offense line is a bit iffy, but with a big receiver Ben Roethlisberger has someone to throw it up to.
Chase from Sharon, Penn.


I don't see Branden Albert falling to the Steelers at this point; he's probably the fastest-rising prospect right now. I could see the Steelers drafting a big WR to give Roethlisberger what he wants and there will be some quality WRs on the board. But the Steelers' offensive line is a concern. I know drafting an OT isn't the attractive selection fans want to see, but a player like Boston College's Gosder Cherilus, a durable OT who can play LT or RT, provides the Steelers with a versatile lineman who will be valuable. Drafting Cherilus at No. 23 may be a reach, but he fills a need and has a lot of experience.

My question is: Do you think Ray Rice is a good second-rounder for the Broncos?
Raymond from Denver


I think Ray Rice will be a second-round pick, but I don't think the Broncos will select a RB that high. Denver has a lot of backs in their stable and their main focus should be upgrading their offensive and defensive line in the first two rounds.

Could Matt Ryan end up in Kansas City and challenge Brodie Croyle for the starting QB job?
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Do you really think there is a good chance at the Chiefs drafting QB Matt Ryan? I've been told he could start from Day 1 and is a true playmaker, but I didn't think we were ready to give up on Croyle since he still hasn't started an entire season.
Claude from Cameron, Mo.


If Matt Ryan is on the board for the Chiefs at No. 5, I think they will strongly consider drafting him. I know the Chiefs have Brodie Croyle and he may have a bright future, but Croyle was a late third-round pick who's unproven and nothing is certain that he will become a quality starter.

Sometimes the best way to find out what you have in a player is to provide that guy with competition. If the Chiefs select Ryan, they're truly challenging Croyle and alerting him that they're not handing him anything and that he will have to earn the starting job.

Jacob Hester was a fantastic football player in college. He played fullback, halfback, special teams, and defense. He had an interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a blocked kick, 1,780 rushing yards, 20 rushing touchdowns, 459 receiving yards, four receiving touchdowns, 35 tackles and only one fumble during his four-year career. Where will he be drafted and what role will he play in the NFL?
Kyle from Orlando


I love Jacob Hester. He does everything well on and off the field and is a high-character guy. I think teams value a player like Hester. He will have an immediate impact on special teams next season and will be used on offense as a situational player. He's not the most talented guy or the best athlete, but he's a hard worker and will have a long career in the NFL. I think Hester will be a fourth-round selection.

Do you think that the Cincinnati has any choice but to trade Chad Johnson, and if they do trade him, who do you see making a move, and what would they have to give up for him? I would love to have him, but I doubt he and T.O. could co-exist.
Jason from Dallas


Could you imagine having T.O. on one side and Chad Johnson on the other? I think Tony Romo would go insane. It's hard to say what's going to happen in Cincinnati with Johnson. He stated that he wants to be traded before the draft, but trading him is difficult because the Bengals would take a huge cap hit.

One destination for Johnson could be Philadelphia, because the Eagles have an All-Pro player of their own, Lito Sheppard, who they're looking to trade. I think the Eagles could get Johnson for Sheppard and a third-round pick, if the Bengals get serious about trading him.

Do you think Terrell Walden (Miami/Lane) will be drafted, and if so, by who? He was one of the best pro 40-yard dashes, and beat Devin Hester in track on a consistant basis. What do you think that chances are that he gets drafted?
Spencer from Orlando


Terrell Walden is an undersized CB prospect, who has great speed and ran a 4.32 in the 40 at his Pro Day, but I don't see him being drafted.

What position will Penn State’s Dan Connor play at the next level; inside linebacker or outside?
Doug Benc/Getty Images

I hear reports about Dan Conner being project as either playing inside or outside linebacker. Where is he best suited to play? He played his final year at PennState in the middle, and was productive, but could he play SLB in the pros?
Liam from Brisbane, Australia


Dan Connor could play inside or outside at the next level, but he's best suited on the outside. Connor is versatile enough to play all three linebacker positions and play them well. It all depends on what system he ends up in. If he's plays in a 4-3 defense in the NFL, he will play outside. If he's in a 3-4 defense, he can play inside or outside. Connor is a value selection at the end of the first round or early in the second round.

The Saints have put a lot into their defense and will in the first round, but what about the offense? What offensive player do you think the Saints would be willing to pick up and what positions?
Spencer from Bunkie, La.


The one offensive position I could see the Saints upgrading is tight end. The Saints have good veterans at the position, but they don't have a legitimate young TE who can develop within their offense. Obviously the Saints won't select a TE in the first round, but it isn't out of the question for them to draft one in the second or third round. This isn't a great TE class, but there will be some talented players available.

Would the Buccaneers take Devin Thomas over DeSean Jackson?
Nick from Tampa


Sure, I could definitely see the Bucs taking Devin Thomas over DeSean Jackson. Thomas is a bigger receiver who has great speed, big-play ability and unlimited potential. Jackson is a smaller receiver who has dynamic skills and speed on offense and special teams, but he translates as a slot receiver at the next level. I think Tampa Bay needs a legitimate playmaker on the outside and Thomas makes the most sense, if he's available.

If Brian Brohm is there at number 30 should the Packers pick him, or do you think it would be a bad move as far as Aaron Rodgers is concerned?
Bill from WhiteLake, Wisc.


It's an interesting question. I think Brian Brohm is the best QB in the draft and I'm still having a hard time realizing that he will most likely be selected in the second round. I think the Packers are in a position where they could draft the best player available, and at No. 30 Brohm may be the best player on the board. But cornerback and tight end are two positions the Packers will look to add depth to, and drafting a QB to backup Aaron Rodgers may not be in the cards until the third or fourth round.


A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.

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