Two big, obvious questions will affect our draft strategy for next year: 1) do we get the 1st pick in the draft?, and 2) is Manning's career over, or can we expect 3 or 4 more years out of him? I personally think that we'll win some games once we get Costanzo and maybe one more OL back (Pollack or Reitz). So, I will assume we'll end up with a pck between #2 and #5. I also, think Manning will be back, and Painter will be resigned as understudy (obviating the need to draft a QB). Ideally, I would end up trading this pick down to the middle of the 1st round, and hopefully pick up a 2nd and 3rd rounder from someone who wants a QB (Jones of Oklahoma or Barkley of USC or ????). But first things first:
Stand Pat Version:
1) Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford. Costanzo and Martin would be the tackles, and Ijalana could be moved in to OG. Big OL improvement.
2) Chase Minnifield, CB Virginia. I have no idea if he'll last this long, but there seem to be a lot of CBs this year, and we DEFINITELY need some upgrades here. Gilmore (S. Carolina), Hayward (Vandy), Banks (Miss. St.) - all would be welcome additions.
3) Ben Jones, C, Georgia. Saturday will be an aging FA after this year, and football can't be fun for him right now. Retirement is a distinct possibility. But even if he resigns to end on a more positive note, we will need a center-of-the future REALLY soon.
4) Winston Guy Jr., SS, Kentucky. Bullitt can't stay healthy, and I'm not sure that Caldwell or Lefeged is the answer. Add additional depth, b/c Bullitt will more than likely be out every year.
5) Lance Lewis, WR, E. Carolina. Reliable, big WR. He can't stretch the field that much, but he can understudy under Wayne.
6) Dexter Heyman, LB, Louisville. Colt-type LB to add depth.
7) Chaz Powell, CB, Penn St. Converted WR with a lot of upside, but little experience.
Now, the trade scenario:
1) Micke Brewster, C, Ohio St.
2) Chase Minnifield, CB, Vanderbilt (or best available CB)
2) Barrett Jones, OG, Alabama. (Under this scenario, Ijalana comes back as the starting RT.)
3) Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia. (His cover skills are underappreciated because he's small.)
3) Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas. ( I like him more than most - fast, reliable hands and routes.)
4) Winston Guy Jr., SS, Kentucky.
5) Tony Bergstrom, OT, Utah. (Overaged, mature LDS prospect would be like Linkenbach with more athleticism for back-up OT duties.)
6) Dexter Heyman, LB, Louisville.
7) Some TE or DL...