- Adam Schefter, NFL
Adam Schefter answers reader questions every Monday and Friday in his blog. Got a query of your own? Submit it here.
Q: My New York Jets have been so close the past two seasons to getting to the Super Bowl. What should they focus on this draft to get them over the hump?
-- Tyrone (N.Y.)
A: The first thing I'm looking for if I'm the Jets, Tyrone, is another outside linebacker or defensive end to rush the passer. Basically, it's the makeup pick for the player that Vernon Gholston never became -- New York still needs to shore up that weakness. If there is a quality pass-rusher available, such as UCLA's Akeem Ayers, that would make sense for the Jets. Also, New York could use some more help at offensive tackle with Damien Woody not likely to return. And remember: Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Brad Smith all are scheduled to be free agents. So even though the Jets have done remarkably well the past two seasons, they still have some holes to shore up.
Q: Most mock drafts have my New Orleans Saints picking a defensive lineman in the first round. While I agree that the Saints' defense could use a shot in the arm, I think the bigger need is an offensive tackle. Four out of their five regular-season losses came because Drew Brees took too many hits and turned the ball over. I think if Gabe Carimi or Nate Solder is available when New Orleans picks at 24 they have to take one of them. What do you think? Am I being overly critical of the O-line?
-- Will (La.)
A: Not at all, Will. But keep in mind, they won the Super Bowl with decent play out of their offensive line and this team needs to upgrade its defense and running game more than anything. Saying that, I agree with you. The most important thing the Saints can do is protect their franchise quarterback and the best way to do it is with an offensive tackle. But if there's a good defensive lineman available when New Orleans' turn rolls around at No. 24 -- and I think there will be because we're looking at a good dozen defensive linemen being drafted in this first round -- it will be hard for the Saints to pass up.
Q: What have you heard about who the San Francisco 49ers prefer out of the second-tier of QB's (Colin Kaepernick, Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder)? Do you think they would even seriously consider Jake Locker at some point as well?
-- Mike (Calif.)
A: Don't see where Locker fits into their plans, Mike, unless San Francisco trades up from the second round into the middle or bottom half of the first round for another first, which will not be easy to do. More likely, the 49ers will consider one of those alternatives -- but I think that Kaepernick might be the only one remaining when the 49ers' second-round pick rolls around. I think Locker, Ponder and Dalton will be gone by then, but we'll see. Keep in mind -- and this won't be much solace to San Francisco fans, but it matters -- Alex Smith is likely to return to San Francisco, assuming there's a 2011 season. So San Francisco has one quarterback, it will add another in the draft and maybe even another in free agency. But the bottom line is that the 49ers still have to find the long-term answer at that position.
Q: With the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos having QBs that could play this year, why don't they both play them and maybe get a shot at Andrew Luck next year? Neither team is going to win their division this year, even with drafting a QB with their first pick.
-- Bill (Mass.)
A: Interesting thought, Bill, and I think some officials on both teams agree with you. Even though it looks like Carolina is going to pick Cam Newton at No. 1, Panthers general manager Marty Hurney and others in the organization still are high on Jimmy Clausen. And people in the Broncos organization like Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow. I don't see Denver going quarterback in the first round, not with all the defensive needs the Broncos have and the defensive talent that will be available. But the one thing that we can say about both teams is that, however much they like the respective quarterbacks on their roster, they still don't know whether Clausen, Orton or Tebow are championship-caliber quarterbacks. So Carolina is going with a quarterback that one general manager told me has "grand-slam" potential, while the Broncos are likely to pick a quarterback somewhere in the draft -- just not in Round 1.
Q: I just read about Chad Ochocinco's Twitter spat with Ndamukong Suh and the soccer shootout challenge. Do you think this could actually happen? Wouldn't it be a good way to drum up some positive interest in the NFL during the lockout and raise money for charity at the same time?
-- Christina (Ohio)
A: I'd never put anything past Ochocinco, Christina. I love him and he's good for the game. But keep in mind that this is the same guy that tweeted me from Brazil for my shoe size months ago ... and I'm still waiting for those shoes he was going to buy me.