Well first off, I'll say that the team is not talking to Tice to be an asst. coach (per Falcons Insider).
Despite what you may believe, fact is I think the Broncos and Panthers prove that you can win with small lines. The Seahawks have a small line, the Colts have a small line, the Patriots have a small line. Now, are their lines are small as ours? Probably not. But people put way too much emphasis on the discrepancy of 5-10 pounds. It's not size that matters at all, it's ability. This team has made a commitment and has shown great success running the football with guys that move well, get after LBs and DBs quickly, and make cut blocks. Why would you want to change up the formula? Because none of our guys are great pass protectors? What does size really bring to the table in terms of pass protection? Not really a whole lot, just some strength. But again a guy like Denver's Matt Lepsis proves that you can be small and strong. It's more about technique, balance, hand use, etc. in pass protection than it is about strength. Strength definitely helps no doubt, but give me the quick guy that is 300 pounds going against a speed rusher than the massive 320-pound guy who couldn't dream of moving quick enough to stop Simeon Rice! I'm not saying that we should only look at guys 310 pounds or less, because there are big guys out there that would work well in our scheme. George Foster (338), Chad Clifton (330), Tarik Glenn (335) are just a few names. I think weight is a factor when guys are small (its more about upper body strength), but it does become a factor with guys that big and larger, because you have to worry about playing shape. When guys get that big, you're talking about 20% body fat and higher, and frankly that just means that guys are not in great shape. And when you're talking about poor playing shape, you're talking about inconsistent work ethic and effort. We need to focus on upgrading the talent of hte players (not their belt sizes), and need to be looking foremost at guys that fit the scheme. Are they mobile? Can they block downfield? Can they pass protect on an island? Are they smart? Do they make a lot of mistakes? I re-watched that final game vs. the Bucs the other day, and I noticed that Simeon Rice didn't really have an impact in that game. Shaffer had him pretty much locked up. I also noticed on a few plays, Todd McClure driving Booger McFarland off the ball without any help. Does that mean both guys are definite keepers? No, but it shows they have the potential to excel. As we are working to add talent to the line, we need to be finding ways of getting these guys to play to the most of their ability. That's why I advocate both adding players in the draft (for the future), and picking up some veteran free agents that can challenge for starting jobs. If a guy is in June, July, and August fighting for his starting spot, you're assuming he's going to be pushing himself to play his best. That's why a guy like Trey Teague looks like a good FA pickup. He's started at both LT and C in this league, and has the ability and experience to play any position on the line. At the very least, he's a utility backup, at best, he becomes a starter and improves one of the 5 positions up front.
I'll say also I'm not at all a fan of your draft. Besides the selections of Joseph, Maxey, and Reid, you've picked a bunch of players that I would hate to be on this team. Wright is lazy. McNeill is not a bad pick, but when guys get that big (around 340), it's not often you find them in shape and consistent. Edwards is a quitter. Allen might develop into a quality coverage safety, but I have high concerns about his injuries. A rookie kicker is not going to be an upgrade over a 90% field goal kicker, you can bet a million dollars on that. Ross is an in-line blocker and doesn't have the mobility to block in this scheme.
Chris Hope is not an upgrade over our current safety situaiton. Occassionally Hope shows flashes of ability. But he's a liability in run support just as much as Scott/Carpenter/Heard were this past year, and he makes a lot of mental errors. He's only effective if he's lined up beside a Pro Bowler to help cover his mistakes, and even Polamalu is not Superman, and can't do it all.
Davis isn't a bad signing, adds some speed to the No. 4 receiver spot. Hopefully the offensive coaching staff will better try to utilize that speed and that of Roddy White in 2006.
Hall was once a valuable reserve, but I'm not sure he would make our team in 2006 even though I think we missed him this past year. I expect Lavalais and Babs to make significant strides next year.
Also, I agree with DenimJacket. Trading down is an option, but it seems you're trading down for trading down's sake rather than looking at our options at #15. The point of trading down is that if you feel the talent at #15 is as good as it would be if you traded down 5, 10, or 15 spots. In this case, it definitely is not.
Passing up on White, Scott, Maroney, Greenway, Simpson, HIll, Kiwanuka, Carpenter, Pope, and Lewis who are all much better players than Wright, just is a bad move. WHite is a future Pro Bowler. Maroney would be too behind our line. Simpson is a better option at safety than Allen or Hope. Greenway, Carpenter, Pope, and Lewis all play positions that aren't needs, but have Pro Bowl talent. Wright, frankly is a bum. Some team is going to draft him, because his upside is high. But talk about someone who is a #3 DT, you are talking about Wright. He had a great year when he had a real NFL DT playing beside him named Marcus Tubbs. Since then, he is not an impact player. I mean I believe he had ZERO tackles in the Bowl game vs. USC. If you thought Reggie Bush was a disappointment, at least he had an impact on the game. Wright was absolutely invisible. Sure, it's likely that both USC's guards will be drafted this year, and Lutui may even be a 1st round pick, but even if you're facing top competition, if you are truly a top talent, you're going to do something.
Comp, of course you are entitled to your opinions, and I don't mean to bash or rag on your post. But frankly, those moves seem to be the complete opposite of what you're advocating, translating to us taken SEVERAL steps backwards.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.