The Onside Kick is once again happy to have with us WWL AM radio college football expert and NFL draft analyst Mike Detillier. In this installment of the wide-ranging post-NFL draft interview, Detillier offers his take on the NFC South’s draft class, how he knew the Dirty Birds were going to make a big move in the first round, Saints quarterback rumors and why LSU standout Patrick Peterson, considered by many the best player in the draft, wasn’t selected in the top three slots.
TOK: Before we get to the Saints and the draft in general, I got to ask you a few questions about the Dirty Birds’ draft. Before the Carolina Panthers picked, you announced that a source had reported to you that Atlanta was aiming to trade multiple picks to land either A.J. Green or Julio Jones. The night before the draft you had the story for The Sporting News Radio Network with Todd Wright. Without compromising your source, how did you get that kind of intel?
MD: I originally got the info from an agent on Tuesday night, but I couldn’t confirm it until Wednesday during the day.
That second confirmation was from a strong league source, so I went with it. We spoke about it during the day on WWL-Radio, but I knew the information was accurate. It had many of the earmarks of the Ricky Williams deal and that Atlanta was hunting hard for a partner to deal with, (Cincinnati, Arizona, and then Cleveland) before someone would make the deal. The Saints hunted for days to find a partner in the Ricky Williams trade to ensure that they would get Williams and everyone, but Washington, turned them down, and then you had to make sure Ricky would still be there. It was the same with Atlanta on making sure either A.J. Green or Julio would still be on the board. I would rather keep that league source private. He might get into some trouble if I named him.
TOK: That information was not something being talked about until late, so you had a scoop on that one?
MD: I just got good information on that one. Draft day trades normally don’t happen until that day, but this was brewing a few days earlier.
TOK: Saints GM Mickey Loomis kind of confirmed that by saying Internet reports or forums that teams had talked to the Saints days before the draft about a deal involving a quarterback (Andy Dalton/Ryan Mallett or Colin Kaepernick) on some sites were not accurate and just gossip?
MD: I think there was speculation that some teams may call and Mickey said he expected to get those type calls, but again normally when you pick that far down the call comes on draft day or in the moments leading up to your pick to ensure you that you get your guy. The trade is normally based on the player still being there.
TOK: Now for the ten-million dollar question: did Atlanta pay too much for Julio Jones?
MD: No, I don’t think so. They needed someone else to open up their offense.
The Saints really drew the blueprint up during the season by double-teaming All-Pro wide receiver Roddy White and bracketing TE Tony Gonzalez, forcing the Falcons to beat them with halfback Michael Turner. Green Bay ripped that page right out of the Saints defensive playbook and they were scoring pinball wizard points in that playoff game.
Julio is a tremendous football player and he is an excellent fit for the Falcons. His physicality is a great plus for him and while he needs to focus better when making a grab, he is a real big-time talent. Well worth the cost and when you make a deal like that you have to get concessions from the owner that he will spend a little more money in free agency to fill the gaps. Arthur Blank wants to win now and they got that approval.
TOK: You always say that the final game of the season tells you plenty about what you need to improve upon. Was that shellacking by the Packers the trigger that made Atlanta go for a top-end receiver?
MD: You better believe it. You never forget how the season ended when you are a playoff team or someone close to getting into the playoffs. That whipping was the driving force behind the Julio Jones deal and once free agency starts they will go hard after a top defensive end. They really would like to get Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards, but that will be something determined on who is considered an unrestricted free agent. Edwards is someone I know they really like.
TOK: You said on draft night that you thought that Philadelphia Eagles QB Kevin Kolb would be dealt to Arizona, once this labor stuff gets settled. Do you still feel that way?
MD: Yes, he is the perfect gunslinger for that team. I think Seattle has an interest, but they don’t want to give up what the Eagles are looking for in exchange for Kolb. It will be multiple high draft choices for Kolb and the Cardinals really want him.
TOK: You and a few other media outlets graded LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson as the best player in the draft though he fell to 5th overall. You pegged that right on the money to Arizona, but why did he fall?
MD: It was the position, not the player. Quarterbacks and defensive linemen or pass rushers have premium value in this league. Peterson is one of the four guys that if I had to pick a sure shot performer in the NFL he would be one of them along with A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Von Miller. Peterson is a younger version of Charles Woodson, now in Green Bay.
Great size, quick feet, tremendous recovery speed and Patrick has outstanding ball reaction skills. That is what separates him from the rest. He dropped to the fifth spot because of the position, not the talent.