WWL AM radio sports contributor and college football expert Mike Detillier is the E.F. Hutton of the NFL draft, when he speaks, football fans listen…or at a minimum turn up the volume on their radios.
The Louisiana guru of the NFL Draft is in hot demand in local and national media in the days approaching next Thursday’s first round, though Mr. Detillier found some time to spend with The Onside Kick.
TOK: Is it a given at this point that Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is going to be the first selection in the 2010 NFL Draft?
MD: The Saint Louis Rams (the team with the first overall pick) headquarters has been haunted by the ghosts of Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez. They can’t pass up on Bradford.
TOK: How does Bradford compare to last year’s first selection, Matthew Stafford?
MD: It’s a dead heat. Bradford is the more accurate passer but Stafford is more durable.
TOK: This is considered by many pro-football analysts to be the deepest draft in many years. Do you agree?
MD: This is the deepest Top 100 in my 26 years of doing this. There’s a lot of solid offensive linemen and defensive tackles in this year’s draft.
TOK: What do you think is the reason behind the wealth of talent in this year’s draft?
MD: A lot of juniors decided to come out. I think it’s the “Sam Bradford” effect in addition to the fact that a lot of these guys are hungry to play in the NFL.
TOK: As a follow up to this, do you believe the talk about a rookie salary cap motivated so many players to declare this year?
MD: No. If a salary cap for rookies happens, it won’t be until the 2012 or 2013 season.
TOK: What is your take on the new draft 3-day format? Will it help the New Orleans Saints or hurt?
MD: Since this is the first year, nobody really knows. Though it’s going to make the 2nd round feel like the 1st round. There’s been a lot of pre-draft trades in this off-season and I suspect a lot of late first round teams are going to get phone calls, with the quality quarterback and offensive linemen left on the board triggering the activity. The NFL conducted research on people’s viewing habits and they know that Thursday night is a big stay-at-home television night. That’s why the first round is kicking off on a Thursday and not a Friday.
TOK: Let’s turn to the Saints. What are the team’s biggest needs to be addressed in the draft?
MD: Outside linebacker, defensive end, defensive tackle and tight end. Though people are in love with (tight end Jeremy) Shockey, he’s struggled with injuries during his time with the Saints and when he played in New York. His contact could be another issue for the team.
TOK: Have the Saints adequately addressed the defensive end position in free agency despite the loss of Charles Grant?
MD: The team took a big step by signing (former Chicago Bears defensive end) Alex Brown. I also think they could add (former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end) Jimmy Wilkerson. I’ve heard talks have gone well between the two.
TOK: Will the Saints go for the best player on the board or will target the best player available at the position they need to address the most.
MD: I’ve never been a fan of picking the best player available period. I think that logic is total (bs). If you did that you could end up with a bunch of first round offensive tackles. The draft is about getting what you need for your team.
TOK: Who do you think the Saints will select with the 32nd overall pick in the draft?
MD: Either an outside linebacker or a defensive tackle. I think Jerry Hughes of TCU. He’s a defensive end that’s built like an outside linebacker.
TOK: In light of the Pro Bowl season Houston Texans’ linebacker Brian Cushing had in 2009 and the departure of linebacker Scott Fujita from the New Orleans, do you think the Saints made a mistake passing on Cushing and picking cornerback Malcolm Jenkins in last year’s draft?
MD: Malcolm was the better pick. Granted, Cushing played a lot better than anyone expected. Cushing was nicked up a bit a college. I will say that Malcolm has gotten over he mental part of the game as a young player. It takes some time for players to do that. A good example is (former Louisiana State University and current New York Giants cornerback) Corey Webster. But knowing then what I know now, I would still pick Jenkins.
TOK: The Saints have a lot of depth in their award-winning offensive line and at wide receiver. Do you see the team dealing away one or two players to snag extra picks in the draft?
MD: The most likely to go is (tackle) Jammal Brown. You would want a young guy at left tackle.
TOK: What do you think the Saints could receive from Brown in light of his age and injuries?
MD: Second and fifth round draft picks would be a fair price for a proven veteran left tackle.
TOK: Will the Saints go after Ole Miss wide receiver Dexter McCluster?
MD: That’s an interesting question. If the Saints don’t pick him at the end of the second round they won’t see him at the end of the third round. If the Saints do go after a running back in the second or third round, it’ll be a bigger, power-runner like Anthony Dixon (Mississippi State).
TOK: What are the odds of Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon falling to the 32nd spot?
MD: Less than 20%. There are a lot of teams looking for a linebacker, but if he was still around it would be an easy choice.
TOK: Is your 2010 Draft Guide still available and where can people order it?
MD: I still have a few left. You can go to either mikedetillier.com or saintsreport.com or call 985-532-6220.