Better late than never, let's take a moment to reflect on the highlights of Tuesday's SportsNation chat. I was too caught up in a whole lot of nothing this week to circle back on our chat, but you brought forth a number of interesting topics to continue mulling.
Topping the list was a surprising number of you who thought the Detroit Lions operated from miscalculated priorities during the draft. We also hit the Minnesota Vikings' quarterback situation, the Chicago Bears' plans for their offensive line and the Green Bay Packers' future returner.
We'll move through the issues one team at a time, adding a few extra smart-aleck comments and commentaries along the way.
Everyone loves the Lions pick of [Nick[ Fairley in the first round. I don't. [Anthony] Castonzo and [Prince] Amukamara were still on the board. The Lions won't be able to afford to pay both [Ndamukong] Suh and Fairley in a few years. I think they blew it. Am I way off base?
Kevin Seifert (2:03 PM)
Well, I wouldn't assume they wouldn't be able to pay both of those guys. Even if there is a cap at that point, your management of it is strategic. You put your money in your priorities. The Lions have clearly prioritized their defensive line. And regardless, they should have at least four years of both guys signed to their rookie deals. Four years is about as far ahead as anyone in the NFL looks. I'm fine with them passing on Castonzo and Amukamara as long as they continue to address their needs in free agency. But I do agree it's a risk.
Andy (Arlington, VA)
Kev, Detroit is getting way too much love for their draft. They took their best position on defense, and bolstered it. They left their dreadful LB corps and secondary intact. I realize media types get all drooly thinking about Suh and Fairley together, but don't you think Mike McCarthy might have an idea how to gameplan that?
Kevin Seifert (2:26 PM)
Well, it's hard to gameplan to get around two monsters in the middle. That's why they're so valuable. They're the closest to the quarterback and the first opportunity to disrupt the play.
Further comment: At some point, the Lions are going to have to address an offensive line that has a 33-year-old left tackle in Jeff Backus and a 32-year-old center in Dominic Raiola. But it's clear the Lions' consternation doesn't equal that of some fans. As for cornerback, the Lions might be prepared to make a significant financial investment in free agency. Don't forget they were willing, according to reports, to give up first-, second- and fourth-round draft picks to trade up for LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson.
The Vikings have taken a lot of heat for there first round pick. I am old school and Bud Grant once told me the closer the player is to the ball the smarter he has to be, center and quarterback is what he is talking about and if you look a Matt Birk and some of the elite quarterbacks they are a lot smarter then they are physical specimens. If you buy into that in which I do ( think we may have the steal of the draft. What am I missing?
Kevin Seifert (2:16 PM)
Well, Ponder has the first part taken care of. There's no doubt he's a book-smart kid. He'll be able to learn the plays and know the reads without a doubt. But does that mean he can play? Two different issues. A smart quarterback can still get rattled in the pocket and can still make poor decisions. Difference between smarts and instincts.
Elliot (Toronto, ON)
Kevin, you may be no [Rick] Spielman, but if you were, would you have traded the 2nd-round pick to Dallas to get Blaine Gabbert? Getting [Kyle] Rudolph was important, but who'd you rather have, him and Ponder or Gabbert?
Kevin Seifert (2:24 PM)
I would have looked at it this way: Is the difference between Gabbert and Ponder worth a second-round pick? I think that's questionable. But if I felt it were, absolutely I would have done it. Drafting a quarterback in the first round should be a once-in-decade thing. You should do everything you need to do to get it right.
Further comment: Ponder's intelligence is particularly important when you realize he'll be asked to absorb the Vikings' playbook after little to no offseason work and, the team hopes, win the starting job out of training camp. As for whether Gabbert is a second-round pick better than Ponder, I think that's questionable at best.
What do you think of [Gabe] Carimi? Does he hold down LT for ten years or will he be shifted over to RT as a nasty run blocker?
Kevin Seifert (2:45 PM)
I'm thinking right tackle, especially this season. But it's incumbent on them finding someone to play left tackle. I wonder if that will be J'Marcus Webb.
I read a draft analysis on Yahoo! that said Carimi is overrated... thoughts?
Kevin Seifert (2:28 PM)
As always, it depends on who you talk to. Seems like a mean, tough guy. The Bears could use some more of that, even if he ends up on right tackle. Other than Olin Kreutz, a lot of the linemen they played last year were pretty passive.
Further comment: When people say Carimi is a "Mike Tice" kind of offensive lineman, referring to the Bears' offensive line coach, they mean he is a blue-collar mountain mover who is strong enough to overpower opponents and thick-skinned enough to absorb Tice's barbs constructively. If he is who we think he is, Carimi will help set an important attitude tone for this line.
Green Bay Packers
Does Randall Cobb instantly become the Packers best option to return punts and Kicks?
Kevin Seifert (2:49 PM)
I would think so, yes. Let's get Tramon Williams as far away from punt returns as possible.
Further comment: The question isn't whether Cobb becomes the Packers' returner. It's the extent to which McCarthy can find an immediate role for him in the offense. Cobb has the potential to be a game-changer.
Peter (Atlanta, GA)
Is Rashard Mendenhall the dumbest athlete on the planet right now?
Kevin Seifert (2:46 PM)
I would say yes. Resoundingly.
Further comment: Is any necessary? More than an intelligence issue, Mendenhall has a judgment issue. Free speech is great. Factual distortion, on the other hand, is not guaranteed by the First Amendment.