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The Latest "Ask Mike"

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; By Mike Detillier - NFL Draft Analyst - -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mike D. has owned and operated his own private scouting service since 1986. He has also published his "M&D Draft Report " since 86. Mike's private scouting service and comments on ...

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Old 04-08-2003, 01:52 AM   #1
The Dark Overlord
Join Date: Oct 2002
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The Latest "Ask Mike"

By Mike Detillier - NFL Draft Analyst -
Mike D. has owned and operated his own private scouting service since 1986. He has also published his "M&D Draft Report " since 86. Mike's private scouting service and comments on the college and professional game have landed him regular appearances on radio and television stations across the country.

Name: Johnson, Cliff
Handle: ronin2
From: Slidell
Email address: clifflen6711@msn.com
Mike... Are the Safeties we are looking at getting really all that much faster than SAMMY KNIGHT? I'm talking about Lassiter , Jones and Flowers. I looked up each profile and both Flowers and Jones only have 4 INT's to their name in their whole career while Sammy has 28.

Just how slow is knight compared to most safeties in the League, and is it THAT big of a crutch to require letting one of, if not THE most prolific big-play Safety in the NFL get away without an offer?


FROM: Mike Detillier
TO: Cliff Johnson
DATE: 4/6/03

Cliff, I really think the decision to let Sammy Knight test the free agency market had little to do with his speed. Early on, it looked as though Sammy's money demands were not in line in what the Saints were willing to offer and to be honest the football world has changed. The big ticket money players are the safeties, who can line-up one-on-one in pass coverage assignments and that is not what Sammy does best.

Sammy is a real good centerfield safety in pass coverage and he is a very good run defender. He, throughout his career has never been fast, but he has relied more on his football instincts and his smarts.

His outright foot speed is below league average.

I think the Saints feel as though if they will pay big dollars to a safety, they will pay one with better coverage skills than Sammy. In an ideal world, I would have liked to see the Saints keep Knight at strong safety and sign a speedier, much better cover man at free safety.

I believe the Saints and Jim Haslett felt as though they did not want to pay two high priced safeties and they allowed Knight to leave.

This is a personal comment on my part , but I believe that this coaching staff has soured a bit on Knight, just like they did on La'Roi Glover. I know they will not admit it, but I have a feeling they did and this is why they didn't make a big push to re-sign him, along with his contract demands.

I agree with you, Sammy Knight was a hell of a player for this team and a total "team" type player, but this organization made the decision not to try and give him the money he wanted and they are looking elsewhere. Let me say this it will take one heck of a player to fill his moccasins.

The intrigue on this story is that no team so far, has made a big contract offer to Sammy Knight and that is very surprising, when you look at his credentials.


Handle: WeatherNLU
From: Chalmette, LA
Email address: soneil@gmleague.com


Thanks as always for what you do for the site. Can't wait to get my hands on your book, I sent my payment in 3 months ago! Mine was the first check you got!!

My question is......do you think the Saints are "hoarding" cap dollars because of some guys they are very interested in come June 1 cuts? I can't think of any other reason why they have not been more aggressive in FA. If so, who do you think the Saints will have their eyes on?


FROM: Mike Detillier
TO: WeatherNLU
DATE: 4/6/03

WeatherNLU, I appreciate the nice comments and hope you enjoy the book.

Hopefully some of the money savings will go to Joe Horn and to sign him long term. I believe the Saints will sign two players before the draft, at safety and along the defensive line.

The June 1st date always has an intriguing player or two, but it normally doesn't dump a host of really good players on the market.

One player to watch soon is Miami Dolphins restricted strong safety Arturo Freeman. I have a feeling the Saints will try and work out a deal with him very soon.

Arturo was regarded as one of top players in college football as a junior before he tore up his knee in 1998. He had a good 1999 season, but some teams were scared off due to the injury. Before the knee injury most people, including myself, thought he was a 1st round pick.

Freeman is a good athlete, who could play both free and strong safety, and he has very good range out on the field. Arturo is a real strong hitter and a very physical player also. He is a bit too aggressive at times and he will get out of position, but I like his style of play and he is known as a real tough guy. For a fifth round pick, I would make that move.

To be honest, I know he has played strong safety, but I always thought he was a more natural free safety.
I will be honest with you that I have been wondering that same thought myself about the money coffers being filled and I have not come up with a real good answer.


Name: Albert Jackson
Handle: Jackavelli
From: Shreveport, La
Email address: mrjackleg74@aol.com

Hey Mike,

1. What is going on with Horn's contract right now and what is the hold-up with a new one? Will the Saints pay him 6 million a year?

2. What will happen with W.Williams, Pathon, Hand, Smith, and Bellamy this year in relation to their cap number with the Saints?

3. Do you think Tebucky Jones is worth more than a 3rd round pick? Is he the best option at Safety left out there?

Thanks again and looking forward to your draft book!!


FROM: Mike Detillier
TO: Jackavelli
DATE: 4/6/03

Albert it's interesting to say that there has not been much chatter from Joe Horn about a new deal. I would think if there was no progress being made, you would have heard form Horn by now. I have heard nothing to believe that the deal is close to being done, but if there was not progress I am sure Horn and his agent would have let everybody know by now. I feel a little more confident today than say back a few months that this team will get a new deal done with Joe , but again it is a hefty deal and I am sure he is throwing out the figures given to David Boston, Peerless Price and Laverenaues Coles and saying I have put up better numbers than any of those guys and he would be dead-on right.

I still believe there will be some sticky days ahead for Joe and the Saints to come to an agreement, but to be honest I am more opportunistic today than say back in November, that a deal will be done.

The Saints still have plenty money under the cap and so some of those matters may take place later and I really couldn't answer it, not being involved in what happens in negotiations. I think with Wally Williams, the biggest issue is do you want to have him as a high paid back-up behind LeCharles Bentley and Kendyl Jacox? Also if Jerry Fontenot does not return Wally Williams becomes a very valuable reserve guard and center.

On Norman Hand I personally think he will not be back. I think they are buying time until, June to see how well he can get his weight down and etc., but because of his play the past two seasons I can't see him returning. If you wait until after June 1st, you can split up the remaining signing bonus figure.

I don't think anything will happen with Jerome Pathon's deal. He just signed on last season.

I believe the Saints want Darrin Smith back in a "reserve" role basis. At this stage I think he would be very open to that opportunity. I would like the team to move him inside and let the young kids play outside.

In my opinion the Saints should cut loose Jay Bellamy. He has lost a lot of his skills as a football player and I would not bring him back. His cap number is low and it fits well, but his play has been downhill the past 2 seasons and the Saints need to bring in some youth and speed at safety. I do believe they will sign a veteran safety before the draft, but if it were me, I would cut loose Jay Bellamy.

Tebucky Jones is the best option, but I would not pay more than a 3rd round pick to acquire him. He is overvalued at anything more. This is one issue I am 100% in agreement with the Saints on. He is a good solid player, but he has not been anything special. If the Pats are willing to deal him for a 3rd rounder, that would be OK, with me, but nothing more than that. Jacksonville's Donovan Darius is really a better player than Tebucky, but he is a strong safety and not a free safety. He recently signed a one-year deal with Jacksonville.

Kwamie Lassiter is still an option, but he has to come down off his high price. He is not worth $3 million dollars a season and he has really one good year left.

I really like Arturo Freeman from Miami and I hope this team makes a play for him.

Albert, thanks for the nice words and I Hope you enjoy the book.


Name: clb
Handle: n.o saint
From: b'ham,AL
Email address: clb8194@hotmail.com

What do you think of the saints picking up T.J. Slaughter from the Jags. He is not a big name but a solid weakside linebacker... and Adalius Thomas a DE with the Ravens a good pass rusher. They are both restricted free agents.


FROM: Mike Detillier
TO: Clb
DATE: 4/6/03

Clb, I like T.J. Slaughter, but more in the middle than outside. With the Jaguars signing Mike Peterson, that would be the spot for him. I like his aggressive play and he is a "lights-out" hitter and a good athlete. I know he is restricted and so you would have to give up a 3rd round pick to acquire him. To be honest a couple of us in the draft business so to speak, have thought about would may happen to him, but I have heard nothing about the Saints having an interest in him at the present time. It would be well worth some thought process though, because I like his style of play and remember that Rick Mueller helped to select him. He can play both spots and he is a very tough and very instinctive player. I would like to see him play more of a "power" type game and take on blockers better, but he is a good solid player. I think you are the 1st one here to being him up and it's a good question.

I don't think the Saints care too much for Adalius Thomas. Thomas, when he came out was a highly thought of player, but he has been a one-dimensional pass rush specialist. When he came out I spoke to Randy Mueller, who went and along with Jim Haslett saw his workout, but he told me that while he thought plenty of a talent, he questioned his motor and how he would take downs off. Now, it would cost you just a 6th round pick to acquire him, but I have a feeling the Saints based off what Randy told me that they would pass on him. Good questions.


Name: Major,Rogers
Handle: Rog-Joe
From: Opelousas, La
Email address: Lilrog12@yahoo.com

Mike I have read a lot on James Allen, Mel Mitchell, and Sedrick Hodge and I feel they will hold their own this upcoming season. Do you see these three players stepping up and playing up to the expectations that the coaching staff has for them? Can you give me a little analysis of each player? GOOOOOO Hodge!


FROM: Mike Detillier
TO: Major Rogers
DATE: 4/6/03

OK, Rog-Joe,
James Allen is a very fast, very athletic OLB., who plays the game with a reckless attitude and he can cover a lot of ground out on the field. He has a very quick burst off the snap and he is a solid pass rusher. In college , he was considered a bit of a late reactor to what is breaking down in front of him and he needed to improve his recognition skills, but once he saw what was happening he got there in a hurry and he was a real sticker. His weaknesses were that he normally would run around blocks rather than taking people on and he had some back problems. He has worked hard to improve his overall strength and he should be much better taking blockers on. He is a talented player, but he will need plenty of rep time to further advance his skills.

Mel Mitchell is a tough, strong, strong safety, who plays the run well. He has above average foot speed, but he has to adjust better to the overall speed in the NFL and develop into a quick study player. He does not seem to be the type player that picks things up quickly and he needs to go through repetitions a host of times, before he gets it down. He is very athletic and very strong, but his instincts, especially in coverage situations are not where they need to be. I think the Saints will give him every opportunity to be their starting strong safety, but expect him to also make a number of mistakes early on, in play recognition.

Sedrick Hodge is a player that I really expected to play strong in 2002, but he just didn't. He was around a lot of plays, but he just wasn't the guy making them. He seemed to be thinking more than just going all-out and making plays. That may just be the maturing of a young player, but it seemed to bother him last year. He has all the skills to be a very good player, and with the exception of not real god taking on and defeating blocks at the point of attack, he has the physical skills. He still struggles with this aspect, but he is so athletic, you would expect him to be more of a playmaker. He's a smart player and a hard worker, but he struggled to me, assignment wise.

I am hoping he will be less of a thinker and more of an all-out "sick'em" type player this team needs at linebacker. He has the skills and athletic ability to be a very good strong-side LB, but he just seemed to be a step out of line last year.


Name: Pierce, Kipp
From: Thibodaux, LA
Email address: kpierce1@chartercom.com
Hey Mike, I would like to start off by saying you are the hardest working man in the business and a pleasure to talk to. Keep up the great work!

First, I'd like to point out the history behind the Saints' 3rd round choice they received from K.C. (please correct me if I'm wrong.)

In 1986 the Saints made a trade with the Colts, dropping two spots from the 4th pick to 6th overall. The Colts selected Alabama defensive lineman Jon Hand and the Saints picked OT Jim Dombrowski and an extra pick in the third round. That 3rd round selection became Pat Swilling.

After an All-Pro career with the Saints Swilling was traded to Detroit in 1993 for a first and a fourth rounder - William Roaf and FB Lorenzo Neal (both were pro-bowlers this year.)

Last year Roaf was traded to the Chiefs for what became a 3rd rounder.

Have you ever seen anything like this happen before? To drop down only two spots 17 years ago and still have something to show for it.

Anyway, I would also like to know what the Saints would have to give up pick-wise to move up into the latter part of the top ten, or what they could get if the traded down from 17 or 18?

Thanks again! I can't wait to get my 'football bible' known as the M&D Draft Report. More GM's should do the same!


FROM: Mike Detillier
DATE: 4/6/03

Thanks Kipp , I appreciate the kind comments. You got to get me a commercial gig, just kidding!!

Those two deals will go down as two of the very best this football club ever made. Ironically the Dombrowski/Swilling for Jon Hand was one of Jim Finks' first moves and his trade of Swilling for Roaf /L. Neal was really one of the very lasts.

You are right that pick has finally come full circle.

You don't see that much life in a deal. Hopefully this regime will hit on that 3rd round pick.
Kipp, while I feel as though the Saints will try and move up, it will be difficult. Most teams picking in the top 7 to 9 picks don't want to drop to 17 or 18 to pick. They have used up most of their time looking at the top 12 players and none of those are there, so it's a big adjustment. The farther you move back the more it costs.

Consider the fact that last season the Kansas City Chiefs picking (8th overall), sent their 1st round pick and their 3rd round pick in 2002, along with a 6th round pick in the 2003 draft to Dallas to move up 2 slots in the 1st round (6th overall), I don't see it happening. It would be too costly and it's not worth it. While I think they would love to move up, I see them staying with slots 17 and 18.

I could see them maybe trading one of those picks down, especially if someone really was crazy for a player and you could pick up another high pick. You really don't know that up until draft time, but I see this more as a prospect than dealing up.
Take Care.


Name: Gilbert, Clint
From: Atlanta Saints Fan
Email address: cgnbc@att.net
Hi, Mike

Your are the very best.

I love your insight into the Saint's thinking and strategy. You are so right on the mark many, many times. You are really the best draft guru/strategist I have ever heard.

My first question for you is what were your thoughts on the late Mr. Finks ideology about always drafting the big guys on the line first and skill players later on?

I really believe this a good strategy for any draft that Mr. Finks used. He added his big line people early in the draft and got the so called skill positions in the later rounds. That means drafting along the offensive/defensive lines in the first two rounds. Those top notch lineman come off the board early and often. I don't think this draft will be any different. If we added along those lines with our first three picks we could secure some great talent and solidify trouble spots. I believe we should stay in our current slots in the draft and see who falls into our laps. It happens so many times every year (Howard, Grant, McAllister,etc..).

Also, Mike who is most likely to make a reach that no one expects in this years draft is it the Cincinnati Bengals are someone else.


FROM: Mike Detillier
DATE: 4/6/03

Clint, I certainly appreciate the really kind comments.
On Jim Finks , I had tremendous respect for him and we had a couple of very long talks about his philosophy, but I really believe in the free agency world, he would have changed-up his philososohy a bit.

You need to fill needs sometimes and while the philosophy of drafting big men and then filling in with skill players were correct back then, you could always keep those players. In today's world, you can't and free agency will come up and sweep some away.
Jim Finks was a real smart "co-co" and he would have changed up a bit on this type thinking.

When you look back at his history he built those real tough Minnesota Vikings teams with drafting big men, but those teams really didn't hit the hit the heights until, he dealt for QB. Fran Tarkenton in 1972, he acquired WR. John Gilliam in 1972 and he drafted RB. Chuck Foreman in 1973.

With the Bears he did the same building with big linemen, he did get Walter Payton in 1975, but everything feel in place when he drafted MLB. Mike Singletary in 1981, Jim McMahon-QB. in 1982 and then got OT. Jimbo Covert, Willie Gault-WR and Richard Dent-DE. in 1983.

I do believe that had he lived he would have adjusted his thinking a bit, but he would always pick linemen over skilled players at particular spots. He always told me that linemen had such a longer shelf-life than skilled player, he felt as though if you went through some rough years some of those skilled players would have fallen by the sides while you were building up.
I believe today, you have to have mix in drafting. Fill in needs, especially early on and then rely on your draft team to pick the best available players from the fourth round on..

I agree with you my man, pick those players in numbers this year and try to hit upon a bonanza like last year. While I think they would love to move up, in my opinion it will be too costly to move up 8 to 10 spots.

I would have bet the bank before the Wash. Redskins signed Lavernaues Coles, it would have been the Redskins, especially with Dan Snyder making some moves, but without a number one pick, it has to be someone else.

I am very interested to see who the Arizona Cardinals pick with the 6th overall pick.

Those Cardinals are always very hard to figure out.
Also with Bill Parcells making the moves in Dallas, you can rule out the Cowboys making strange picks this season.

With Marvin Lewis making the calls in Cincinnati, I don't see them making too many bad picks. He is one of the best talent evaluating coaches in this game. Some of these coaches are not very good talent evaluators, but Marvin is one of the very best.

Take Care and again thanks for the nice words
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