So much for Steve McNair being welcomed back with open arms.
One week after a Minnesota Vikings fan called Daunte Culpepper the most overrated quarterback in NFL history, a Tennessee Titans fan suggested Billy Volek could keep Steve McNair on the bench next season. Which leads us to believe that somewhere – in a shack deep in the woods of Foxboro, Mass. – a fan is typing a manifesto on why Rohan Davey should supplant Tom Brady next season.
The feedback has been just that crazy lately. From quarterback controversies to our list of top 10 prospects, we had our largest email turnout in the history of this mailbag, with most of it opining (more like screaming) about the upcoming NFL draft. If it's not half the state of Texas emailing F-bombs because they think we have an axe to grind with Cedric Benson, then it's half the state of Arkansas following suit over our treatment of Matt Jones.
But I digress. At least you folks aren't bashful about showing emotion.
As usual, keep the red-faced and razor-tongued responses coming. And if you want your email considered for publication, include your first and last name as well as your city and state.
To the mail …
In the section addressing quarterback controversies, how you could overlook one of the more intriguing competitions – between the Tennessee Titans' Steve McNair and Billy Volek? With the kind of numbers and confidence Volek operated with last season, how do you keep McNair the starter?
Volek has the skills to develop into a solid starting quarterback, but he doesn't come close to a healthy McNair. Don't give up on the former league MVP just yet.
Detroit and Miami will have quarterback issues, but don't teams such as the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys have bigger issues? Signing Kurt Warner or Drew Bledsoe is not an answer for any team. I can't imagine either of them taking their team to the playoffs, even in the NFC.
Please stop showing your bias toward the newspapers who you covered the NFL for – in Michigan and Florida. Who cares about a quarterback controversy between Jeff Garcia and Joey Harrington, or A.J. Feeley and Gus Frerotte? It is evident what the major problem is for the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins: No running game whatsoever!
San Diego, Calif.
You say A.J. Feeley crumbled under pressure when in fact he played better as the season went along. Feeley was 3-6 as a starter and all of those wins happened after the midpoint of the season. While he had his shortcomings, his touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio was better later in the season.
TOP 10 PROSPECTS
Looks like Mark Clayton is just going to have to surprise NFL people like he did for people who watched Oklahoma football. I have no problem that Mark's not in your top 10. He's just going to make whoever drafts him very happy.
Fort Worth, Texas
I just read your article about Mike Williams being at the top of the heap as far as talent goes for this year's draft. I also saw where you listed the top 10 prospects "based on everything they've shown since the 2004 college season ended." How does Arkansas' Matt Jones not get mentioned in the top 10?
Grand Forks, N.D.
While Jones has had superb workouts leading up to the draft, he's still not polished as a receiver or tight end. At this point, the former Razorbacks quarterback still has to grow into his new position – that keeps him out of the top 10 prospects.
I agree with you on Mike Williams. I think that he will be a good but not great every-down player. But I think he will be a monster in the red zone – he'll turn five to 10 field goals into touchdown each year.
How can you rank Mike Williams so high when he cannot outrun many linemen?
Maybe you emphasized too much offense in your top 10. Alex Smith may be the second best quarterback in the draft, but he shouldn't be in the top 10. Neither should Cedric Benson. One player that should be in there is definitely Maryland linebacker Shawne Merriman.
I just read the top-10 picks for the upcoming graft. For every good thing you mentioned about a player, you followed it with a negative.
No player comes out of college without flaws.
I am a person of above-average intelligence, but I am not a genius. I am also 64, with declining capacities. I just took one of the web versions of the Wonderlic test and scored 100 percent with ease. It is much easier than the SAT or GRE. I am therefore surprised to see words like "very smart" for football players who score 40 out of 50 on this test.
San Francisco, Calif.
How long did you take to complete the test? At the combine, draft prospects have 12 minutes to answer as many questions as they can. A perfect score in only 12 minutes would be quite impressive by any standards.
You should rename your column: "The Top Ten NFL Draft Prospects Based on Their Speed in the 40-Yard Dash."
Fort Worth, Texas
You need to get your facts straight about Cedric Benson. Those off-the-field issues you addressed were insignificant by contemporary standards – misdemeanors. You should exclude this reference from your amateurish column, provide details about the outcome, or convey what scouts are saying about Cedric's character.
During his time at Texas, charges against Cedric for marijuana possession were dismissed on a lack of evidence. He also pleaded down charges of criminal trespassing after kicking down an apartment door (while looking for his stolen plasma screen TV). No, they aren't felonies. But I wouldn't say the NFL considers any arrests "insignificant." I wonder if you would pooh-pooh them if we were talking about a player from Oklahoma or Texas A&M.
Thank you for finally giving Cedric Benson the credit he is due by placing him in your top-10 prospects. The thing he has going for him most is his college production. He can be the every-down back that teams need. Also, Derrick Johnson won't have any problems taking on blockers in the NFL. I think it's more likely they'll have a hard time keeping him in check with his speed.
Ronnie Brown has roughly the same talent as LaDainian Tomlinson, but does he have the intangibles that make LT great – work ethic, determination, etc. We won't know until he gets out on the field with the big boys.
Queens Village, N.Y.
Those who discount a player as a "product of the Jeff Tedford system" have it backwards. Some of those quarterbacks wouldn't have been as attractive to the NFL without Tedford's coaching. Why turn Tedford's coaching genius into a negative? He's a brilliant coach of quarterbacks.
San Francisco, Calif.
It's not a negative. But certain schemes – and even coaches – can help good college football players put up great numbers. That's not saying Aaron Rodgers is simply the product of a system or a coach. The problem is Tedford's quarterbacks seem to peak while they are with him, then struggle to adjust in the NFL. That's where the question arises: Is it Tedford and his system making quarterbacks successful, or is it their talent?
I see that cornerback Carlos Rodgers is finally moving up the ladder in mock drafts. I know Miami's Antrel Rolle and West Virginia's Pac-Man Jones are good corners, but how can you disregard Rodgers' playmaking ability? He tackles better than most college linebackers.
Winter Park, Fla.
Why isn't anyone talking about Jason White as a high draft pick? Is it because all of his stats, wins and even his Heisman Trophy were due to the strong supporting cast at Oklahoma?
Andrew B. Lee
While his success had a lot to do with his teammates, White's past health issues and lack of arm strength are the primary issues hurting his draft stock.
I think the New Orleans Saints might use their first-round pick on a left tackle to back up Wayne Gandy and then step in when Gandy retires. The rookie would have a great teacher, motivator and role model to learn from.
John R. Taylor
Maybe you know something that a diehard 66-year-old Pittsburgh Steelers fan has missed. In your mock draft, the Steelers selected Heath Miller, a tight end WHO CAN'T BLOCK. This is draft blasphemy in the "Burgh."
Ross R. Klingensmith
How can you say the Houston Texans are going to draft an offensive tackle in the first round after they released Jamie Sharper, Jay Foreman and Eric Brown? They weren't stars, but they have been cornerstones to a young defense on a young team. Those positions need to be filled early in the draft.
You may be right about Miami drafting Ronnie Brown, but that would be a huge mistake for the Dolphins. I like Brown and I think he will be a good pro for the right team. The Dolphins aren't that team. Only one running back in the draft could make a difference with the Dolphins the next few years. He's the only one who can make his own holes – and that's Cedric Benson.
- Cedric Benson
- Billy Volek
- Steve McNair
- Matt Jones