It's a great time to be a defensive lineman. Eight went in the
first round last year. Nine were chosen that early in 2001. "In
this era you can't get by with just four or even five defensive
linemen," Giants vice president and general manager Ernie Accorsi
says. "You need to keep the rotation going. If your pass rush
tires late in the game, you get killed. That's what happened to
us against the 49ers in the playoffs." This year, I see as many
as 11 going in the first round.
1 BENGALS CARSON PALMER, QB, Southern Cal
New coach, new quarterback. Marvin Lewis ushers in what he hopes
will be a brighter era in Cincinnati with the highest-rated
passer on the board.
2 LIONS CHARLES ROGERS, WR, Michigan State
Detroit's worst fear: Houston trades into the top spot to get
this talented 200-pounder who covers the 40 in the 4.30s.
3 TEXANS ANDRE JOHNSON, WR, Miami
Last year they loaded up on defense; now they get help for young
QB David Carr. Johnson's numbers--230 pounds, 4.28 speed--are out
4 BEARS DEWAYNE ROBERTSON, DT, Kentucky
Great workouts made him one of the hottest players in the weeks
leading up to the draft. This short (6'1") and explosive
324-pounder has run a 4.84.
5 SAINTS* TERENCE NEWMAN, CB, Kansas State
Desperate for a cornerback, Jim Haslett engineers a trade with
Dallas, giving up his two first-round choices (Nos. 17 and 18) to
get the flashiest defensive back on the board.
6 CARDINALS TERRELL SUGGS, DE, Arizona State
Big-time sacker. "We've got to put the QB on the ground," says
coach Dave McGinnis, whose team had only 65 sacks over the past
7 VIKINGS JIMMY KENNEDY, DT, Penn State
"We've got a 6'8", 285-pound coach and 250-pound linemen," says
coach Mike Tice. "We've got to get big." The 323-pound Kennedy
8 JAGUARS BYRON LEFTWICH, QB, Marshall
Jacksonville is getting ready to say goodbye to the Mark Brunell
era. Some rate Leftwich as the nation's best pure passer.
9 PANTHERS JORDAN GROSS, T, Utah
If Leftwich is still there, he could be the pick, but nobody's
complaining about getting the quickest and most athletic tackle.
10 COWBOYS* MARCUS TRUFANT, CB, Washington State
Dallas trades back up from No. 17 with Baltimore to select
Trufant, a talented pass defender who's coveted by several teams.
11 SEAHAWKS KEVIN WILLIAMS, DT, Oklahoma State
Mike Holmgren might still trade up so he can grab Trufant, but if
he's gone Seattle will settle for muscle up front.
12 RAMS KWAME HARRIS, T, Stanford
Can play guard or tackle to help rebuild the wall in front of
Kurt Warner. But Trufant is the guy St. Louis really wants.
13 JETS (from Skins) JOHNATHAN SULLIVAN, DT, Georgia
They want serious defensive muscle with their first pick and then
will go for a wideout at No. 22.
14 PATRIOTS (from Bills) TY WARREN, DT, Texas A&M
It'll be defense all the way for New England. First the Pats take
care of the line, then the secondary five spots later.
15 CHARGERS WILLIAM JOSEPH, DT, Miami
San Diego's still a bit nervous about the return of Jamal
Williams, who dislocated his ankle last year. Joseph's a pocket
pusher, a force if needed.
16 CHIEFS BOSS BAILEY, LB, Georgia
His workouts were impressive, but a knee injury drops him to the
middle of the round. Dick Vermeil wants him on the strong side.
17 RAVENS* KYLE BOLLER, QB, California
The quarterback they really want is Leftwich, but they'll trade
down from No. 10 and gamble that Boller is still on the board.
18 COWBOYS* ERIC STEINBACH, G, Iowa
Taking a guard in the first round is unusual for Bill Parcells,
but Steinbach, the speediest interior lineman in the draft, is
too good an athlete to pass up.
19 PATRIOTS SAMMY DAVIS, CB, Texas A&M
They had the oldest defense in the NFL last season, but the draft
will give them youth, and Davis provides 4.41 speed.
20 BRONCOS JEROME MCDOUGLE, DE, Miami
A pass rusher for the right side, and if newly acquired DT Daryl
Gardener is on his game, Denver will have an impressive front
21 BROWNS JEFF FAINE, C, Notre Dame
Too high for a center? Butch Davis doesn't think so. Picture a
young Dermontti Dawson--quick off the ball, exceptional blocking
range--and that's Faine.
22 JETS TAYLOR JACOBS, WR, Florida
Strictly a need pick to cover the departure of Laveranues Coles.
Good size (6 feet, 205) and speed (4.37). Set school record with
246 yards receiving against UAB.
23 BILLS (FROM FALCONS) MICHAEL HAYNES, DE, Penn State
The Senior Bowl defensive MVP will fit nicely into a unit that
has added such big league talent as LBs Takeo Spikes and Jeff
24 COLTS TROY POLAMALU, SS, Southern Cal
Another player whose stock soared late. Polamalu, with 4.34
speed, reminds some of storied Trojans Ronnie Lott and Dennis
25 GIANTS KENNY PETERSON, DT-DE, Ohio State
Texas A&M's Ty Warren or Nebraska's Chris Kelsay could go here.
So could Harris, the Stanford tackle, if the D-linemen are gone.
26 49ERS CHRIS KELSAY, DE, Nebraska
With free agent Chike Okeafor off to Seattle, San Francisco needs
a strongside wingman to take the heat off DE Andre Carter.
27 STEELERS LARRY JOHNSON, RB, Penn State
A running back finally gets picked. There is sentiment in the
Pittsburgh draft room for QB Rex Grossman, but the talented
Johnson represents excellent value here.
28 TITANS EUGENE WILSON, CB, Illinois
Tennessee took three DBs in the first four rounds last year, but
the Titans won't quit until they get it right. Wilson has good
coverage instincts in man and zone defenses.
29 PACKERS REX GROSSMAN, QB, Florida
Obviously not a need pick, but another one of those "we can't
believe he's still there" selections.
30 EAGLES WILLIS MCGAHEE, RB, Miami
"We're playing a pat hand," Andy Reid says. "We can afford to
look to the future." Serious knee rehab probably will keep this
dynamic back out until 2004.
31 RAIDERS L.J. SMITH, TE, Rutgers
Never look for the obvious when Oakland's on the clock. A workout
wonder with real upside, Smith will combine with Doug Jolley to
provide a double threat at tight end.
32 RAIDERS (from Bucs) VINCE MANUWAI, G, Hawaii
A roughneck type, sturdy and tough. Oakland can't forget how its
line was manhandled in the Super Bowl. --Paul Zimmerman
* Projected trade