Engel's Mailbag: Keepers and Sleepers

Bob, Chicago: I can keep three players, as long as they were not drafted in the top two rounds last year. We also have to give up a draft spot two rounds higher than the player was selected last year. I'm going to keep Frank Gore for a second rounder, DeAngelo Williams for a ninth rounder and Marques Colston for a 16th rounder. The first round of the draft is easy, as I will either take Peyton Manning or the best available running back. The third round is a bit more difficult. I have the 11th pick, so for my third rounder I'm thinking about taking Antonio Gates, as he should still be on the board. Or would it be wiser to take the best available wide receiver?

Engel: It seems very unlikely that Manning would fall to you at No. 11 in the first round -- unless most of the guys ahead of you froze last year's third round picks, of course -- so you are taking the proper approach by preparing to take a running back instead. You should have a similar mind-set about your third-rounder. You can't assume at all that Gates will be available, because you never know for sure what other owners are thinking or what needs they will seek to fill. Targeting specific players ahead of time often leads to disappointments. Simply be ready with a short list of the best remaining wide receivers in the third round so you know who your ideal pick is if Gates is gone. If Gates does indeed slip to you, consider it a bonus to have the best player available at a thin position. If you have two wide receivers on your roster after the third round, you can begin to consider a starting quarterback in the fourth or fifth round, depending on how many starting slots you are allowed for running backs and wide receivers. If you don't get Gates, you can wait a few more rounds to look at starting tight ends.

Christopher, Portland, Ore.: I can keep three of the following: Willis McGahee, Brandon Jacobs, Cedric Benson, Chester Taylor, Ladell Betts, Vince Young and Lee Evans.