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Insider

First-round fits for Manti Te'o

4/5/2013

Adam Schefter answers reader questions in his mailbag once a week during the NFL season. Got a query of your own? Submit it here.


Q: The Cincinnati Bengals haven't done much in free agency this offseason. Are they simply content to build through the draft? Who do you think they could be looking at in the first round?

-- Ursula (D.C.)

A: Cincinnati is in a great spot, Ursula. For starters, as one scouting director said this week, the player a team can get at No. 50 in the draft is as good as the player it can get at No. 30. So with the Raiders' second-round pick from the Carson Palmer trade, along with their own, Cincinnati has a chance to really make some noise in the upcoming draft. And I think that's just another reason it wasn't overly active in free agency. The Bengals know they're going to be able to inject their roster with some youth and speed. A speedy running back to complement BenJarvus Green-Ellis would be ideal, as would more offensive line help. And it never hurts to bolster the secondary. Cincinnati is going to have good options available.


Q: Adam, I know you probably get Manti Te'o questions all the time, but I have to ask one more. Is he a lock for the first round right now? Where are a couple destinations for him?

-- Rex (New Mexico)

A: I go back to what one personnel man told me in December, before the hoax surfaced and the BCS title game was played. He said that if Luke Kuechly went No. 9 in last year's draft, Te'o should go between 10 and 15 in this year's. And that was after all but one game had been played last season. Too many teams have a need at the inside linebacker position, and he's too good of a player. The New York Giants could use him. The Minnesota Vikings, with two first-round picks, could use him. The Baltimore Ravens could use him. Most teams could use him. I believe he won't get out of the first round, Rex.


Q: The Buffalo Bills really need a franchise quarterback -- and I'm not convinced that Kevin Kolb or Tarvaris Jackson is the answer. Is there any way they reach for Geno Smith at No. 8? Or do you think they wait until the second round to go after a QB?

-- Alex (Ohio)

A: I'm not sure where they'll go for a quarterback, Alex, but your instinct is dead-on. Buffalo could opt for a quarterback at No. 8 -- Smith, Matt Barkley, EJ Manuel or Ryan Nassib -- if the Bills don't want to risk waiting. They also could trade back up to the bottom of the first round, or Buffalo can wait and hope for the best with its second-round pick at No. 41. I'm not sure which of those scenarios will unfold, but I do believe that by the time the second round wraps up, one of those quarterbacks will be in the Bills' rotation, pegged as the hopeful quarterback of the future. Just a hunch, but it would make sense for Buffalo to figure out a way to get Nassib somehow, though it's still too early to say exactly where.


Q: The Dallas Cowboys need help at safety and on the offensive line. What do you think would be a couple good picks in the first two rounds of the 2013 NFL draft for them? What are you hearing about Matt Elam?

-- Wilson (Texas)

A: If Kenny Vaccaro somehow slid down to their spot and was available, that would be an ideal pick, Wilson. But so would a guard that fell to them. What if Alabama guard Chance Warmack is still around at that point in the draft? I know most people don't believe that will be the case, but it wouldn't be completely shocking based on some of the whispers around the league. However it plays out, Dallas could do a lot worse than coming away with a safety and a guard, drafted in either order, in the first two rounds of the draft.


Q: Adam, I'm kind of surprised that no one has signed Charles Woodson yet. Where do you think he could end up?

-- Damon (Nebraska)

A: At this point, Damon, it's tough to find a natural landing spot for Woodson, who did visit the San Francisco 49ers. At this time of year, teams often want to see what they do in the draft before committing money to a veteran. It might just be that there's a team out there with some safety questions, and salary-cap flexibility, that fails to come away with a safety in the draft later this month. Or maybe a team will decide it wants a veteran defensive presence such as Woodson and make a move. But also remember that Woodson is going to have to make his own decision. Clearly nobody is going to be willing to pay him the big money he is used to making. Maybe he winds up deciding that, for what he would make, and what he has saved, it's not worth it to keep playing. Woodson has turned into an incredible philanthropist and it's possible he devotes more and more time to that area instead of football. But clearly this story has yet to be written.