Approaching today's draft, the latest scoop is that the Vikings might nab Claiborne, and the Browns will take Richardson. Which leaves Dom in a position to do one of three things - trade up, trade down, or draft someone else.
If we stay at five, I love the selection of Kuechly. He runs like a corner and, unlike most of our defense last year, is an excellent tackler. Think back to the historic defense of 2002 that won our Superbowl. Who was the most valuable guy there? Of course, Derrick Brooks. Kuechly could step right in as a starter and become the weakside linebacker we've been missing for years.
Kalil? We already have Donald Penn at LT, and he's a pro-bowl caliber player who's paid accordingly. There's no telling if he'd be successful if switched to RT, and frankly, we have too many other needs.
Blackmon? No. He's talented, but the Bucs already have 47 young, promising possession receivers.
Which brings us to trading up or trading down.
If Dominik trades up for Claiborne, he's officially a lame duck. Corners are hard to predict. About 40% of first rounder’s are out-right busts. And unless they're truly elite, they don't tend to stick with the team that drafted them. Think about Johnathan Joseph going to the Texans, to fill a void left when Dunta Robinson went to the Falcons. Who took over for Deangelo Hall, who went to the Redskins. Who allowed them to release Carlos Rogers, who's playing for the 49ers now. There are countless more examples. The fact of the matter is that even average starting corners have a huge market, and if you're not willing to grossly overpay for average talent, 10 other teams will. Just look at the Eric Wright signing. Trading up and losing picks we desperately need is a lousy strategy, when you could trade down and still snag yourself a first-round corner.
If Dominik trades up for Richardson, he's officially a lame duck. With all the holes on this team, he'll trade away the potential to fill them to draft an impact-player to a team that should still be focused on building. And with Blount on a one-year tender, don't kid yourselves. We'll run Richardson 80% of the time, and Blount will likely walk in free agency next year. We'll say it's easier to replace him than spend big money to keep a guy they don't trust on a long-term contract anyway. Which means we'll have to yet again draft a running back in the second or third round to complement Richardson.
Then there's the trade down. What are those 4 positions everyone agrees we have holes at? RB, LB, S, CB. How many high-end draft picks do we have? 3. So a trade down could give us 4 this year. We could draft 4 guys to fill 4 holes, quite a novel concept.
If trading down makes you feel uneasy, just think back to 2007. After losing a coin-toss to the Browns (just like this year), we picked 4th. We didn't trade down. We took the consensus best player available. With Patrick Willis, Darrell Revis, and Adrian Peterson available, we took Gaines Adams. Of course, there was another guy in that draft who was considered an even better pick than Adams, and he went first overall. Jamarcus Russell. If you've fallen in love with Claiborne or Richardson, remember that a lot of picks fail, and being drafted in the top 5 doesn't give you any guaranteed success.
Ultimately, just ask yourself this, what strategy works best, the Al Davis trade up strategy, or the Bill Billicheck trade down strategy? Don't worry, I'll wait. Really, mull it over, because they've both been so successful.
If Dominik trades up, he's officially a lame duck.