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• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud

Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale

Ready For The Long Haul
April 23, 2008

The NFL Draft is under way. Well, not officially, but after Jeff Ireland's 'Freudian slip' about taking a guy who can help their defense, the Miami Dolphins signing Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long anyway. It was a nice smokescreen, but we're getting used to these draft day misdirections.

Now we know where pick No.1 is headed, we can all start speculating about who the St Louis Rams are going to pick at No.2. It's not impossible that the Rams could have their player of choice under contract by Draft Saturday, but considering the machinations necessary for Jake Long and Miami to come to a deal, Miami will probably drag out the announcement for the full fifteen minutes.

Really, couldn't the NFL reduce these selection times? I'd like to think that when the opening bell sounds, we can go straight into the Miami/Jake Long photo opportunity and the Rams' time allocation. Let's see: The first pick is a done deal, the Rams have 15 minutes max, and the Falcons will most likely use every second of theirs. In theory, the Raiders should be on the clock by minute 31. Too much to ask?

Whomever the Rams pick — DEs Chris Long or Vernon Gholston, or DT Glenn Dorsey — the draft should really get interesting at those third and fourth overall picks by the Falcons and Raiders respectively. There are strong rumors that Raiders owner Al Davis is smitten by the garish talent of runner Darren McFadden, to the extent that he would pass over Chris Long, son of Raiders legend Howie Long, were he available at pick number four — even if his coach Lane Kiffin is angling for the defensive end.

The stronger that rumor becomes, the wider the options of draft day tactics for the Atlanta Falcons, picking ahead of them at no.3.

With six picks in the first three rounds (1 in the first, 3 in the second and 2 in the third), the Falcons could elect to stay where they are, take their choice from the defensive line studs mentioned above, and then address desperate needs at cornerback, quarterback and tight end with the rest of the day's selections. On the other hand, with at least two of those studs plus top offensive weapon McFadden still on the board, the Falcons will certainly be listening to any suitors who want to trade in ahead of the unpredictable Raiders. Dallas have two first round picks and are in the market for a running back. Other teams could offer a first round selection and a slew of picks that Atlanta could parlay back into a second 1st round choice. Finally, if the Falcons think Boston College's QB Matt Ryan is far and away THE quarterback of the draft (as opposed to Louisville's Brian Brohm, long speculated as the heir to Michael Vick's throne if Bobby Petrino had stayed as coach), that would be a heck of way to exorcize all the demons of 2007.

The Falcons shouldn't, of course, be going after Darren McFadden themselves, having freed Michael Turner from his role as LaDainian Tomlinson's backup in San Diego. Then again, neither should the Raiders. They still have the potentially explosive Michael Bush, a 2007 fourth round pick who has yet to feature since fully recovering from a serious injury while in college. Oakland also arranged a new contract with RB Justin Fargas. So what happens to Bush if McFadden ends up in Oakland? If I'm a team in search of a good running back for a mid–round pick, I'm straight onto the phone to Al Davis.

Of course, these 'Al Davis 4 Darren McFadden' rumors might have been started by the Falcons in the first place – it wouldn't be the first misdirection of the week.


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