Never has there been so much talk about doing the sort of trading down that Bill Walsh did so well in the 1986 draft. The Chargers are considering dealing their No. 5 pick for a package of draft choices, and the Bears are interested in trading down from No. 6. So are the Chiefs (No. 13), the Bills (No. 16) and at least three other teams. "The real depth is in the second round," says Kansas City general manager Carl Peterson. "It makes sense to give up your first pick if you can get a bunch of seconds."
There's depth in this year's draft, thanks to the influx of more than 35 juniors, as many as four of whom (Illinois quarterback Jeff George, Southern Cal linebacker Junior Seau, Alabama linebacker Keith McCants and Florida running back Emmitt Smith) should crack the top 10 picks. But after that, it's a guessing game. Major trades could include Atlanta's sending the first selection in the draft to Indianapolis, which covets George and doesn't have a first-round pick, for wide receiver Andre Rison, first-rounders in '91 and '92, and a second-round choice.
1. FALCONS (or Colts in a trade), Jeff George, QB, ILLINOIS
Stock soared with a brilliant, exclusive two-hour workout this month.
2. JETS, Blair Thomas, RB, PENN STATE
McCants is tempting, but new general manager Dick Steinberg wants a sure thing.
3. PATRIOTS, Junior Seau, LB, SOUTHERN CAL
Chosen strictly for his pass-rush ability. The other stuff will come later.
4. BUCS, Cortez Kennedy, DT-NT, MIAMI
Bears will celebrate if Bucs switch gears and go for a running back.
5. CHARGERS, Richmond Webb, T, TEXAS A&M
A need pick, though they could trade down and select a runner.
6. BEARS (or trade the pick), Keith McCants, LB-DE, ALABAMA
Several teams are talking of making a move upward for McCants in this spot.
7. LIONS, James Francis, LB, BAYLOR
Heisman winner Andre Ware a natural here, but they say they want defense.
8. SEAHAWKS, Ray Agnew, DE, NORTH CAROLINA STATE
Dolphins, picking in the next spot, would love to get him.
9. DOLPHINS, Renaldo Turnbull, DE, WEST VIRGINIA
Pass rush is Don Shula's main concern. Turnbull can motor upfield.
10. SEAHAWKS (from Colts), Emmitt Smith, RB, FLORIDA
Must cover for the Plan B loss of Curt Warner to the Rams.
11. RAIDERS, Chris Singleton, LB, ARIZONA
A two-way shot. Can play up but also rush passer from DE.
12. BENGALS, Terry Wooden, LB, SYRACUSE
Senior Bowl knee injury was scary, but he made a quick recovery.
13. CHIEFS, Percy Snow, LB, MICHIGAN STATE
Wide receivers enticing, but they loved Snow's private workout.
14. SAINTS, Rodney Hampton, RB, GEORGIA
To share the work load with Dalton Hilliard, who has taken too many hits.
15. OILERS, Andre Ware, QB, HOUSTON
Scouts shrug, but new coach Jack Pardee had him in college.
16. BILLS, J.D. Williams, CB, FRESNO STATE
Must replace retired Derrick Burroughs. Williams can fly.
17. STEELERS, Greg McMurtry, WR, MICHIGAN
Not as fast as some others, but solid in every phase of the game.
18. PACKERS (from Browns), Darrell Thompson, RB, MINNESOTA
Highly productive 220-pounder with 4.5 speed.
19. PACKERS, Lamar Lathon, LB, HOUSTON
Answered knee rehab question with a 4.51 at workouts.
20. FALCONS (from Redskins), Ron Cox, LB, FRESNO STATE
Brilliant pass rusher gives Falcons another first-round LB.
21. COWBOYS (from Vikings), Harold Green, RB, SOUTH CAROLINA
Slashing runner and fine receiver to fortify ball-control offense.
22. EAGLES, Ben Smith, CB, GEORGIA
Eagles gave up too many long TDs in '89. Smith can also play free safety.
23. RAMS, Bern Brostek, c, WASHINGTON
Big, tough and mean. Ram offensive line is showing its mileage.
24. GIANTS, Eric Green, TE, LIBERTY
Mark Bavaro is coming off knee surgery, and Zeke Mowatt went Plan B.
25. 49ERS, Peter Tom Willis, QB, FLORIDA STATE
If Steve Young is traded; if not, they'll take West Virginia WR Reggie Rembert.
There are only 25 first-round-selections, because the original first, fourth and 27th choices were used by Dallas, Phoenix and Denver in last July's supplemental draft to acquire Miami quarterback Steve Walsh, Washington State quarterback Timm Rosenbach and Alabama running back Bobby Humphrey, respectively.