Pre Draft Outlook (entire NFL)
This is a first cut at this year�s draft. I will try to update this periodically before the draft as time permits. Note that this is NOT what I want to happen, but rather what I think will happen.
1. Cleveland WR Peter Warrick Fla St
Drafting Warrick and signing RB James Stewart would solidify the Browns at the offensive skill positions for years. Arrington and Courtney Brown have to be tempting, but Warrick is a special player. The Browns still have a honeymoon period in Cleveland and the defense can be addressed in the future.
2. Washington (from NO) LB Lavar Arrington Penn St
Arrington has the speed and playmaking ability that the Redskins desperately need to add to the corner of their front seven. Norv Turner should send Charlie Casserly a thank you card for this pick.
3. San Fransisco DE Courtney Brown Penn St
The 49ers have a well documented need for a young QB to groom, but they have an even more desperate need for a defensive playmaker. Courtney Brown is a complete DE who can rush the passer and stop the run. If the 49ers reach for a QB or trade down, the likelyhood is they would target Chad Pennington over Chris Redman. Pennington was solid in the Senior Bowl and showed the type of read/react skills the 49ers covet for the west coast offense.
4. Cincinatti DT Corey Simon Fla St
The Bengals have to hope that the 49ers select Chad Pennington and one of the top 2 defensive players fall into their lap. Barring that miracle, the Bengals will probably use this pick for an offensive or defensive lineman. With Willie Anderson likely to be resigned long term, the hunch here is that the Bengals will look to the defensive side of the ball. Simon has the size and speed to collapse the pocket and there is a major drop in talent from him to the third best DL in the draft. However, there are some concerns associated with picking Simon. He has had surgery on each shoulder twice and on a knee. Also, because of the depth at Florida State he was part of a DL rotation throughout his career. If the Bengals are scared away, they will probably select OT Chris Samuels.
5. Baltimore (from Atl) RB Thomas Jones Virginia
This seems to be a natural spot for Pennington or Redman, but the Ravens are rumored to be considering resigning Tony Banks or signing Jeff George. Thomas Jones is considered by most scouts to be the most complete back in the draft. Jones never missed a game or practice at Virginia and graduated in 3 years. He combines the power to effectively run between the tackles with the speed to get outside. He has good hands in the passing game, rarely fumbles, and can return kicks. If Billick decides to wait till the 14th pick to select a back because of the drafts depth, this pick could be used on Plaxico Burress or one of the QBs.
6. Philadelphia WR Plaxico Burress Mich St
The Eagles have a huge need at WR and Burress has the most talent at the position. Burress is a big, physical receiver with speed who has been compared to Randy Moss. Unfortunately, Burress has an off the field reputation that is similar to Moss coming out of college. If Burress is taken by the Ravens or the Eagles are scared by his off the field reputation, this pick could be used on Chris Samuels.
7. Arizona RB Ron Dayne Wisconsin
Dayne is the wild card of this draft. With the recent success of Marshall Faulk and Edgerrin James, teams seem to be looking toward multiple threat run/pass RBs instead of one dimensional big backs. After failing to integrate Adrian Murrell into their offense, the Cards seem to be the most logical team to buck this trend. If the Cards pass on Dayne for Chris Samuels or Shaun Alexander, Dayne would fall to the Giants at 11, Chiefs at 19, or all the way to the Lions at 21.
8. Pittsburgh OT Chris Samuels Alabama
The Steelers strongly want Samuels with this pick. Considered the next Anthony Munoz, the only reason Samuels has a chance to fall to 8 is a knee scope that kept him out of the college all star games. Samuels injury is not considered serious and he is actually very durable having started over 40 straight games at Alabama. If Samuels is taken earlier, the Steelers will probably try to move down in the draft. Despite a need at QB, the Steelers do not seem to be enamored with Pennington or Redman. There have been some rumors that this pick could be traded for a starting QB, (like Trent Green.), which given the stodgy nature of the Stillers front office, is highly unlikely.
9. Chicago CB Mario Edwards Fla St
The Bears are looking for a pure cover CB and Edwards fits the need. Edwards is coming off a sub-par season and could be a reach with this pick. He is often rated as only the 4th or 5th best CB in the draft. However, Edwards is a man-on-man cover specialist with the best physical skills at the position in the draft.
10. Denver TE Bubba Franks Miami
A great athlete, Franks is moving up draft boards. He has good hands, runs well after the catch, and has shown improvement as a blocker. Franks especially makes sense with this selection since Shannon Sharpe will not be resigned by the Broncos.
11. NY Giants RB Shaun Alexander Alabama
The Giants have a stable of mediocre, one dimensional RBs that lack game breaking ability. Alexander is a versatile threat that had a spectacular season and showed he could play hurt with a severe ankle sprain at the Senior Bowl. A lack of talent on the offensive line could also lead the Giants to take Chris McIntosh or Stockar McDougal with this selection.
12. Washington (from Car) S Deion Grant Tennessee
Grant is a physically gifted DB that would have benefited from remaining in school for his senior season. Grant has good hands and even saw some double duty at WR for the Volunteers. Grant needs work on tackling fundamentals, but has the athletic ability to succeed. There are also rumors that the Redskins will try to package this pick with the 24th selection and a third rounder to the 49ers for a chance to add both Lavar Arrington and Courtney Brown to their defense.
13. Tampa Bay (from SD) OT Chris McIntosh Wisconsin
McIntosh is a physical power blocker that would fit into the Bucs offensive scheme. Paul Gruber has been rumored to be retiring which makes OL a need area for the Bucs. The Bucs could also use this selection on even bigger T Stockar McDougal, WR Travis Taylor, or Bubba Franks if he is still available.
14. Baltimore QB Chad Pennington Marshall
Usually, QBs tend to move up as the draft approaches. Having the first QB picked slip this far might be unrealistic. The Ravens could even decide to select Pennington or Chris Redman with the 5th pick of the draft. Pennington is a tall, classic pocket passer that seems to have moved ahead of Redman because of his feel for the game. The 49ers are said to be very high on Pennington and could try to move down to the 8-12 range to select him.
15. Green Bay WR Travis Taylor Florida
The Packers have many needs, but adding a gamebreaking WR would help the offense and satisfy Brett Favre. Taylor followed up a solid year with an 11 catch, 156 yard, 3 TD effort in the Citrus Bowl. He has prototypical size, speed, and hands. The Packers could also select a DL, OL, or LB with the selection. Also, Bubba Franks would fill a major need if he fell to this pick.
16. NY Jets (from NE) DE Shaun Ellis Tennessee
The Jets get this pick for allowing Bill Belicheck to take the Patriots job. With severe cap constraints, the Jets will probably either try to package their two first rounders to move up in the draft or deal one of the picks for a second rounder and a future 1. Barring a deal, the Jets are in desperate need of DL help. Even with rumors they will sign DT Sam Adams away from the Seahawks, a DE is a dire necessity. Ellis is a good athlete with strong upside potential. Although he is listed at 265 lbs, he has a frame that could carry 280 lbs. The Jets could also consider DEs John Engleberger or Darren Howard with this pick. Bubba Franks would fill a need, but the likelyhood of him falling to 16 is slim.
17. Oakland QB Chris Redman Louisville
The Raiders need a young QB for Jon Gruden to groom and Redman will be very difficult to pass if he drops this far. Redman is more physically gifted than Pennington, but has a tendency to make mental mistakes. If Redman is taken, the Raiders could take an impact defender such as Brian Urlacher or a WR as insurance against the possibility of Tim Brown leaving via free agency.
18. NY Jets LB Brian Urlacher New Mexico St
Urlacher is a pure talent that played rover/SS in college and is projected as an OLB in the pros. He would add athleticism to the defense and fill a need if unrestricted FA Mo Lewis is allowed to leave for the Cowboys as rumored. However, as mentioned with the comments on the Jets 16th pick, a more likely scenario is a trade of one or both of the Jets first round picks.
19. Kansas City RB Shyrone Stith Va Tech
Bam Morris has retired and the Chiefs are left with Donnell Bennett, Rashaan Shehee, and Mike Cloud at HB. This collection of backs proves that quantity is not a substitute for quality. Stith is a short, powerful runner with a nice burst. Some originally thought Stith made a mistake leaving college early, but his stock now seems to be rising. This pick could also be used on Jamaal Lewis, or if the Cheifs decide they can live with their current stable of backs a WR such as Dez White or Sylvester Morris.
20. Dallas WR Dez White Georgia Tech
White is strong and explosive with great size, speed numbers. The main knock on White is he dropped to many passes in college and needs to work on the consistency of his hands. Besides giving the Cowboys another home run threat on offense, White would also help in the return game. The Cowboys could use this pick for help in the secondary if they address their WR problems through free agency.
21. Detriot CB Ahmed Plummer Ohio St
Plummer is a workmanlike, smart, instinctive CB that is rarely caught out of position. Plummer's workout numbers are not impressive, but his on the field play should make his selection him a bargain with the 21st pick. The Lions could also use this pick for a RB, but they are expected to address that area through free agency.
22. Seattle OT Marvel Smith Arizona St
Smith is Paul Holmgren's type of lineman. He is a fluid athlete with good lateral movement, fundamentals, and pass blocking skills. The knock on Smith is a perceived lack of intensity.
23. Carolina (from Mia) OT Stockar McDougal Oklahoma
McDougal is a huge, physical player that showed surprisingly good footwork and pass blocking skills at 350+ lbs. He would be paired with last years second rounder Chris Terry to provide the Panthers with a set of young, talented bookend tackles.
24. Washington DE John Engelberger Va Tech
Engleberger is a weight room warrior with excellent measurables that turned himself from a college walk on to a possible first round pick. There are rumors the Redskins will offer this pick to the Seahawks for Joey Galloway. As mentioned in the comments on the 12th pick, there are also rumors that the Redskins will try to package this pick to move up in the draft.
25. Minnesota CB Dwayne Goodrich Tennessee
The Vikings disappointing 10-6 season and second round playoff loss were a direct result of poor secondary play. Goodrich is a physically gifted CB coming off a poor senior season. Selecting him in the first round is a major gamble, but the Vikings have a major need for athletes in the secondary.
26. Buffalo RB Jamaal Lewis Tennessee
The Bills are in desperate need of offensive weapons and almost have to take a RB or WR. Before knee surgery as a sophmore, Lewis was an explosive back with an impressive combination of size and speed. He was a bit tentative last year upon his return and could have increased his stock by returning to Tennessee for his senior season. Still, most players take two season to recover from serious knee surgery and Lewis is a good value with this pick. Of course, predraft knee exams could drop him out of the first round.
27. Tampa Bay LB Brandon Short Penn St
Short is a smart, aggresive middle linebacker with a good feel for the game. He would be groomed as a replacement for the aging Hardy Nickerson. Another possibility is MLB Rob Morris from BYU. Morris is considered the premier run stuffer in the draft, but turned 25 in January which will probably drop him into the second round.
28. Indianapolis DT Chris Hovan Boston College
Hovan is a high motor, inside run stuffer with average measurables. He is the type of tough player that could start immediately and provide solid, unspectacular play for years.
29. Jacksonville WR Sylvester Morris Jackson St
This selection could be affected by the Jaguars ability to sign unrestricted free agents Aaron Beasley and Tony Brackens. If Beasley and Brackens return, the Jaguars would simply be adding depth to a solid team. Morris is the fastest of the top receivers in the draft and has prototypical size. He could be broken in slowly as a third receiver behind Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell. Another possibility at WR is West Virginia's Jerry Porter. Porter split time between safety and receiver in college, but impressed in the all star games with his fluid route running and soft hands. The Jaguars could also look to add a run stuffing MLB such as Brandon Short or Rob Morris to their defense.
30. Tennessee LB Raynoch Thompson Tennessee
Although Thompson is a bit undersized, he is an athletic player with an aggressive, fearless attitude. Used mostly as a pass rusher in college Thompson showed the ability to drop into coverage at the Senior Bowl.
31. St. Louis OG/OT Cosey Coleman Tennessee
With these final two selections, 6 Tennessee Volunteers are taken in the first round. Coleman is a solid drive blocker with a powerful lower body. The Rams don't have any pressing needs and adding depth to the offensive line is always a good idea. The Rams could also use this selection on Brandon Short or Rob Morris to upgrade the MLB position.
The Still Mill