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Always look on the bright side of life . . .


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. . . do-do, do-do, do-do, do-do!

Here's my rosey take on the draft. We're all down in the dumps because, repeat after me, "we didn't pick up a starter this year." Well, I'm here to tell you that we're spoiled in that regard, and that I'm actually relieved that our draft has gone as it has so far because it has if anything shown that we're capable of shopping for value, not for glamor, if we need to. I guarantee you that if we had traded up for Harrington, we would have overpaid to do so. Snyder has shown in FA that if he's fixated on a particular player, he'll pay anything to get him. And everyone knows it.

As far as the team at large goes, we're in a good situation to compete this year. If we pick up Matthews as expected, our competitiveness will improve because he's a veteran. Credit goes to our defense for putting us in that position. We have the best LB corps and the best CB tandem in the league, and our defense will be coached by one of the most creative and successful defensive schemers in the league. It may not be exciting stuff, but we'll win more than our share of 13-10 ballgames this year. And with a defense like ours, we are fully capable of going 10-6 or 11-5, with an outside shot at winning 12 or 13 games like the Bears did if some breaks go our way. Our special teams should be solid at least, if not excellent. Even if our offense is only mediocre, no one in the league is looking forwar to facing our squad as they'll have a fight on their hands every Sunday.

Generally speaking, our drafting strategy of trading down for picks was exactly what was needed. We were at a strange middle level in the first round, where many players who fit our needs were available of course, but were players who by and large would be available later. We also lacked picks in the middle rounds because of recent personnel/coaching acquisitions. So it made perfect sense to trade down for those picks. And we got a quality QB who fits our new system very well in Ramsey.

Now, we have had a number of surprises with what we have done with those picks. The Betts pick was a surprise, because, repeat after me, "we have Stephen Davis." However, this may be the most saavy pick that we made (assuming Betts is indeed talented) given the fact that Stephen Davis is well into middle age for a RB, is on the threshhold of a monster salary level in his contract, and is only a decent pass-catcher out of the backfield. Moreover, we have no depth at RB under contract at present. If Betts can spell Davis at RB, we have removed the need to resign Carter or to acquire Levens at much higher cost, and we have reduced the number of carries that Davis has to have. Again, this is all dependent upon Betts being a quality player.

I can't explain the Bauman pick at CB, except that it occurs to me that we need a PR/KR. Does he do this? Same question as to WR Russell - does he return kicks? At least WR is an area of need, and we certainly can use more speed there. If Russell turns into a good #3 WR, this will have been a good pick for us given the number of multiple WR sets that Spurrier will run. Even the #4 WR will seen fairly good action, perhaps as many as 12-15 plays per game, like Proehl in St. Louis has.

What I'm getting at is that pre-draft, we already ensured that we would be competitive this year. We'll do fine, and in the process we'll (hopefully) be developing talent and depth with whom we'll make our championship runs in earnest over the next several years.

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Redman, I like your optimism, and you make a good argument.

But if we have Larry, Curly, and Moe rotating at guard this year, our running backs are gonna be stopped for losses, and our not-so-mobile QB's are gonna be hearing this question: "How many fingers am I holding up?"

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I like our interior line better now with Jones, Moore and [insert name here] than I did two years ago with an injured Sims, Fischer, and Leeuwenburg. And Davis still ran for lots of yardage that year. While we need an OG, I think we'll be all right for now with Brandt or a FA or someone else at LG.

I'm going to reserve judgement on this for now. However, the repeated picks of CB's, and the pick of TE Royal, truly have me baffled.

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My concern is offensive line. Can we protect QB against teams

like Philly? Early last year, I heard that Jansen wants out of

Washington after his contract is up. The game is won in the

trenches. Right now I'd say our O-line looks like nothing more

than a line in the sand.

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