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Senior College Football Columnist

Mailbag: Good picks, bad picks, the stickiness of the transfer rule

Here is this week's mailbag. As always, send your questions to me via Twitter at BFeldmanCBS:

From @scohencopy: Melvin Ingram = Elvis Dumervil?

He's a little different than Dumervil but has a similar knack for getting into the backfield. Both are relentless, and you love that. Ingram's bigger, although his arm's aren't as long. Ingram did a lot of his damage on third downs when they lined him up inside and he just out-quicked and out-scrapped interior linemen. I wouldn't compare Ingram to Dwight Freeney either. He doesn't have quite the level of Freeney's explosiveness. Still, I like the pick a lot for the Chargers.

Best value picks of Day One: Steelers getting David DeCastro at #24; Patriots getting Don't'a Hightower at #25; Ingram at #18; Arizona getting Michael Floyd at #13, Dallas grabbing Mo Claiborne at #6 and the Colts getting Andrew Luck at #1 because the Stanford QB is a steal anywhere they could've gotten him.

From @wrmfzy: Who made the biggest mistake with their round 1 pick or trade?

I was surprised to see the Seahawks take Bruce Irvin as high as they did. He can be an impact guy because it is a passing league and he can make big plays, but he does have character concerns and he as much of a situational player as you're going to get on defense. Pete Carroll does have plenty of familiarity with Irvin after having tried to recruit him out of junior college to USC (Irvin's transcript didn't help the player's cause). Carroll wants his "Leo" edge rusher to be explosive, and like Clay Matthews and Brian Cushing were for him at USC, Irvin is, but is he is powerful and as focused? We'll see. Is Irvin a guy who, over the next five years will become a double-digit sack guy? He'd better be since he was such a high pick and he really won't give you anything else.

Other picks that I felt like went earlier than I thought they should've: Ryan Tanneyhill to the Dolphins at #8; Dontari Poe at #11 to KC and A.J. Jenkins to the 49ers at #30.

I know many people ripped the Browns taking Brandon Weeden late in Round One, but I'm not quite as skeptical. Weeden has a very good arm. No one in college threw a better fade. He's also very sharp.

I'm less concerned about his age than I would be with his shaky pocket presence but the latter is something that he has become considerably better at in the past year. As for the age factor, keep in mind, that Kurt Warner was 28 in his first full season as an NFL starter. Roger Staubach was 29. Joe Theismann was 27. Jake Delhomme was 28. It's not like he's a running back. QBs can, and often do, thrive in their 30s.

From @foreverseven: how long until a player sues NCAA in order to gain transfer and play right away, how can judge say no with coaches doing it?

It has already happened. Over 20 years ago, top Miami recruit Darren Krein sued the school to let him out of a scholarship he signed just before Jimmy Johnson left Florida. (The suit stalled. Krein went to UM and had a good career there.)

“In the cases I remember the court has given the NLI/NCAA great latitude with the "you sign with a school," and enforcing transfer rules,” explains David Ridpath, an assistant professor of sports administration at Ohio University and the author of Tainted Glory: Marshall University, the NCAA, and One Man's Fight for Justice.

What we have seen in the past year is the power players now have that comes from the pressure put upon schools and coaches who block transfer options. Thanks to the Twitterverse, it didn't take all that long for PR messes to entangle Maryland's Randy Edsall, Tennessee's Derek Dooley or Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan, and eventually, after being called out, each school backed off and allowed their former players more options.

Coaches are realizing or at least they should how thorny these situations can become. You can bet other coaches are using these situations against them in recruiting too.

From @Montlakeend: What is your take on the Aaron Lynch transfer? Hope it works out, but considering NFL, academics, long term, hard to justify...

I think USF got itself a fantastic talent, the type of player who can be a three-and-out. The downside is of that three-and-out dynamic, the Bulls would only get to have him for one season. Still, that would be quite a boost even if he's only there for one year. At 6-6, 270, Lynch is a big, explosive “difference-maker”. He should team with some of the talented young D-linemen in the Bulls program to give Skip Holtz' defense some real nastiness.

As far as the long-term aspect of the move, you have to say the guy needs to do what is best for him, and if he wasn't comfortable in South Bend at Notre Dame, and his heart was in it, and he wanted to be back in Florida, it was the right move. The opportunity of graduating from Notre Dame can be huge for anyone. It is a terrific university with a special network of opportunities. And that is beyond just working towards getting a great degree. Other football players have had doubts about staying at ND, and for a variety of reasons, stuck it out, and it seems like they are much better for it. The example of former ND lineman Chris Stewart comes immediately to mind.

I had this conversation with a friend who is a huge ND fan who reminded me that most of those guys didn't have the pro potential that Lynch does.

Going to USF, certainly wasn't a bad move for Jason Pierre-Paul. If Lynch's primary focus is getting to the NFL, then he needs to get where he is most comfortable. You can say that's a real short-sighted view on college, but the reality is, for probably most of the guys in major college football, the aim is in the NFL first and foremost. Of course, the odds aren't in their favor, but Lynch is a rare talent and everyone knows that.

Lynch's departure from ND was pretty messy, ranging from the tweets from his mom to Brian Kelly saying the DE "quit the football team" to how limited his options were moving forward.

Would Lynch have be better off if he'd ended up at Florida or FSU? Who knows? The key part of getting the release is that without it those other schools really can't pursue the transfer.

A few weeks back, Notre Dame announced that Lynch was transferring. Several schools in Lynch's home state of Florida were interested. The “Big Three” – Florida, FSU and Miami – all requested the release. As I, and Rivals reported, ND blocked some of Lynch's options. Brian Kelly told reporters in South Bend the following day that the school released Lynch to any program that showed interest. But I heard from multiple programs over the next few days that that was not the case. They'd contacted Notre Dame and never received the release and thus couldn't pursue Lynch. Some of them had heard that Lynch had been heavily leaning to USF so he could attend the same college as his girlfriend, but still would've liked the option to make their case.

From @HogeAndrew: What coaches, if any are on the hot seat in the PAC 12?

Oregon State's Mike Riley and Cal's Jeff Tedford are the two on the hot seat going into 2012. Both have had very good runs at their schools and have elevated the programs, but each has backslide of late quite a bit.

Over the past seasons, Cal is three under .500 in conference play. The Golden Bears have not finished in the top 25 in the AP poll once, which given some of the talent on their roster, it feels like they have become a chronic underachiever. Muddled this situation even more is the fact that Cal lost its ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi to Washington. Tedford's team needs a strong season, and he really needs to have a QB emerge in a hurry.

Riley's one of the most well-liked men in the profession, by both his peers and the media. Still, the Beavers are coming off consecutive duds, going 8-16 the past two years. If OSU doesn't get to the post-season in 2012, it's no stretch to think the school may be ready to push the re-set button.

From @Irishbk84: how come everyone bashes ND's schedule?

The only reason why I think some people may have bashed the Notre Dame 2012 schedule is out of habit. Anyone who takes a seriously look at what the Irish will face would have to admit it's a pretty rocky route.

The Irish face five teams that I think will be in the Top 20 this fall (Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford, Oklahoma and USC), and three of those--probably the toughest three—MSU, OU and USC are on the road. Beyond that they have BYU and Miami. BYU should be pretty strong. Miami is still rebuilding, but they have enough athletes to give anyone problems. When Miami might be your seventh-toughest game, you're playing a nasty schedule.

In all there are five games, where ND figures to be a sizable (more than a field goal) favorite: against Navy in Ireland; Purdue, Pitt, at BC and Wake Forest. But none of those opponents are FCS level teams. There are no true cakewalks. Not a single one.

From @elmachogabriel: How many player go in the first round from USC next year, I say five, barkley,woods,khalel,mcdonald,robey.

My guess at this point is four: Matt Barkley, Robert Woods, T.J. McDonald and Khaled Holmes and that is assuming that Woods would come out early. Holmes is solid and pretty athletic for a center but he does play a position that seldom produces first-rounders. Nickell Robey's a terrific little corner, but I suspect his height—about 5-feet-8--will keep him out of the first-round.

 
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