Weekend mailbag: Draft, McNabb, Madden

It's Saturday, which makes it the day I have to take my kids to swim lessons, which makes it the day I understand why some people drink alcoholic beverages before noon.

It also makes it mailbag day.

Andrew from New York, N.Y., admits he's a Philadelphia Eagles fan and therefore likely biased, but he says this to me: "I simply don't understand how you can report what Redskins sources say as the final word on McNabb's work ethic."

Dan Graziano: I didn't, Andrew. I presented and acknowledged both sides. Which Donovan McNabb pointedly did not, even leaving himself and his own win-loss record off his list of failed post-Elway Mike Shanahan quarterbacks. I would welcome a chance to discuss it with McNabb, and I let the producers of First Take know this, but they were not interested in having me on.

Dale from Novato, Calif., asks whether, if the Dallas Cowboys drafted a first-round cornerback, that would mean they're planning to part ways with Mike Jenkins after this season.

DG: Dale, I don't think it would automatically mean that, but as you point out, Jenkins does come with some injury questions. They love the way he played last year when healthy, but he wasn't healthy nearly enough. So if they were to draft a cornerback in the first round this year, they'd obviously be sending a message to Jenkins as well as covering themselves in case he can't get through the year healthy and they decide the best thing is to move on to other options. Better to address this now by thinking ahead then wait until next year when they have a clear problem/need at the position. And in this day and age, there's really no such thing as too many defensive backs.

Chris from Charleston, S.C., tells me that the reason Victor Cruz crushed Brian Orakpo in the Madden 13 cover vote was that Washington Redskins fans were voting against Orakpo because of the "Madden Curse." Chris is of the belief that I've not heard of this "Curse."

DG: Chris, I have heard of the Madden Curse, and of the idea that fans are voting against, rather than for, their favorite players in an effort to avoid having them land on the cover and end up "cursed." I just think it's foolish, and didn't see the need to acknowledge it in my post on the subject. We've reached an odd place in sports-fan history if this is really something about which people feel that strongly.

Tony G from Hamilton, Ontario, wants to know why the Arizona Cardinals are drafting ahead of the Dallas Cowboys when they had identical records and the Cardinals won the head-to-head matchup.

DG: Tony G, head-to-head result is not the tiebreaker for determining draft position. They use relative strength of schedule, and Arizona's was weaker, so their 8-8 record is deemed, for purposes of the draft, to be worse than Dallas' 8-8 record.

Ian from ODU wants to know if I think the Eagles would take Courtney Upshaw, the Alabama LB/DE, with their first-round pick (No. 15 overall) in next month's draft.

DG: Ian, my sense is that Upshaw will be gone by then, making this a moot issue. But if he is there, I'm still not 100 percent sure they take him. Upshaw is being looked at as a pass-rusher, and unless they were going to use him at defensive end in their 4-3 (where they're pretty well stacked with Trent Cole and Jason Babin), he might not be a fit for them. He's probably better suited to a 3-4 team as an outside linebacker who can get after the quarterback. The linebackers in Philadelphia's system aren't responsible for the pass rush.

Paul from Indiana Harbour Beach, Fla., likes Stanford tight end Coby Fleener for the New York Giants when they pick at No. 32 in the first round.

DG: Could definitely happen, Paul, and I agree with you that someone of Fleener's talents could make magic with Eli Manning. But since they've already signed Martellus Bennett and they surely expect Jake Ballard, Travis Beckum or both back at the end of this season if not before, I'm not certain they're looking at tight end as a long-term need position. The Giants will take the best available player still on their board at that spot, and if it's Fleener, I don't think they'd hesitate to do it. But I wouldn't be surprised if the highest player on their board at that point plays offensive tackle or defensive line. They really need a tackle, and they really love to draft defensive linemen.

Ahsen from MD wants to know why the Redskins didn't receive any compensatory draft picks for losing Carlos Rogers in free agency last year.

DG: Ahsen, you only get compensatory picks if your total net loss in free agency is deemed to have exceeded your net gain. So while the Redskins lost Rogers and others last year in free agency, the players they signed -- Stephen Bowen, Barry Cofield, Josh Wilson, etc -- were deemed by the NFL's formula to have been worth more than the total value of the free agents they lost. Hence, no compensatory picks.

Teon Wilson from Richmond, Va., wants to know if it's realistic for the Cowboys to trade for Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel.

DG: A couple of people I spoke with in Palm Beach this week told me they wouldn't be surprised to see the Eagles trade Samuel within the division. Nevertheless, I would. I don't think their need to trade him is so pressing that they'd send him someplace where he'd play against them twice a year. He's still pretty good. My guess is the price for Dallas would be higher than it would be for, say, an AFC team.

Nick from Rutgers wants to know why the Giants aren't at the top of the Breakfast Links posts anymore.

DG: We went back to alphabetical order once the new league year started. New year, standings reset. But I liked doing the links in standings order, and plan to do so again beginning in Week 2 of the 2012 season.

And to answer some questions that came in numerous times from numerous sources:

  • I don't know when the arbitrator will decide about the Redskins/Cowboys cap penalties.

  • No, I am not crazy.

  • Sorry, but unless you're a Redskins fan, I simply do not know which player your team will pick in the first round of the draft.

Enjoy your weekend.