- Mock Draft
April 18, 2002
by Sports Illustrated senior
writer Paul Zimmerman
This is what is known as a mock draft.
I draft, everyone else mocks. The problem is that I had to write mine,
my original one, for the magazine last Friday, eight days prior to the
actual event. Lots of things can happen in the interim. So I bite my nails
for a week, hoping that whatever happens doesn't occur near the top of
the board because then the whole progression goes out of whack. You will
find perhaps one or two changes between this one and the one that's now
on the newsstand. Additional information. Paralysis by analysis. Most of
the time the original one is better.
I have, for instance, Oregon quarterback
Joey Harrington projected to Kansas City in the eighth spot. There
has been a strange silence regarding this guy who, a few months ago, was
a tossup with David Carr for the top spot. Harrington seems to have
dropped. But I just know in my heart that the team or teams that really
want him are playing it close to the vest and getting a package together
for a move upward and a chance to grab him. I just don't know which team
it is. It's maddening.
Enough whining. Time for some drafting.
Z's NFL Mock Draft
David Carr, QB, Fresno State
Casserly made it very easy for us poor draftniks by announcing his
choice early on.
Julius Peppers, DE, North Carolina
a while the race was between Peppers and cornerback Quentin Jammer.
There was also a little talk about moving down because so much help was
needed, particularly on defense. John Fox, the new coach, wanted
the pass rusher, though. Peppers has the incredible size-speed numbers
but he's an outside rusher who still has to perfect his moves. Last year
Jamal Reynolds was the same type of player, although smaller, and
he didn't do much until the end of the season for the Packers. "Peppers
is going to have trouble," said one personnel man who didn't want his name
used in case he proves to be spectacularly wrong. "He's a wide rusher and
those NFL tackles will overset him and take away his best stuff." Overset
means to swing out wide and defy the guy to go inside. We'll see. He's
explosive -- and expensive.
Quentin Jammer, CB, Texas
where the trade-up action might take place. Detroit likes Jammer, a big,
physical corner, but the Lions don't love him. Marty Mornhinweg
was kind of intrigued by Harrington, but the personnel people aren't not
so sure he's better than the guy they have, Mike McMahon. The Lions
don't want to move down much lower than No. 6 (for a while Dallas talked
to them about trading up from that spot for Jammer, but now the Cowboys
seem to have found the guy they want). Detroit could pull a double drop,
trade down twice and pick up a lot of people, or maybe even somehow end
up with Oakland's two No. 1 choices. Or maybe none of the above.
Mike Williams, T, Texas
March, people were giving Harrington to Buffalo, slam dunk. The only problem
was that the Bills didn't like his arm strength. Then Buffalo picked up
former Denver tackle Trey Teague. That takes care of one side of
the line. But the Bills are worried about left tackle John Fina,
whose body is finally starting to wear down, and they've never wavered
from their strong feelings about Williams, a powerhouse but slightly overweight
at 375. With a strict diet and a serious workout regimen they feel they
can get him down to 372.
||San Diego Chargers
Donte Stallworth, WR, Tennessee
4.27 burner who is projected a little farther down on other people's boards.
For most of the week I had either cornerback Phillip Buchanon or
Bryant McKinnie penciled in at this spot. The only question
was which way the Chargers would go. Then out of the blue a very solid
informant told me the guy was Stallworth. "They want speed," he said. "LaDainian
Tomlinson, Donte Stallworth, blue and gold down the field and away
we go." Doesn't seem to make sense to me, but who am I to argue?
Roy Williams, S, Oklahoma
first it was Jammer on a trade-up. Then it was defensive tackle Albert
Haynesworth. Then it was a tossup between Haynesworth and Buchanon.
Last word I had out of the Cowboys camp was the safetyman, an unusual choice
for this high up, but the study they did on him blew their minds. "The
best athlete in the whole draft," said their scouting director, Larry
Bryant McKinnie, DT, Miami
knock is that this 6-foot-8, 343-pound giant plays a bit soft. The plus
is that his potential is unlimited. New coach Mike Tice is simply
nuts about defensive tackle Ryan Sims, and I have a sneaking suspicion
that this will actually be the pick. So why have I selected McKinnie? Beats
me. Too much analysis. Too much study. Not enough instinct.
Joey Harrington, QB, Oregon
he dies, Lamar Hunt wants to say that he saw the Chiefs draft a
really good QB. This has never happened. I guess the closest might be
Blackledge, for a while a terrific prospect. (Don't forget that
Dawson originally was drafted by the Steelers.) Reason No. 2 is that
I think they're ready to give up on Trent Green. Just in case there's
a switch, though, I'll throw another couple of names at you: Stallworth,
if he's still there, and defensive tackle John Henderson.
Albert Haynesworth, DT, Tennessee
I talked to Tom Coughlin he said he wanted a DT to cover for the
loss of both of last year's starters because of cap dollars. I informed
him that at least two of them would be gone. He started crying. Now I find
that none of them are gone. A happy fella is Tom, getting pick of the litter.
Now watch him go take a wideout or something.
Phillip Buchanon, CB, Miami
lot of people are giving them Harrington. Actually, the Bengals are not
sure about him, but they know that if they don't pick him, it could
come back to haunt them. They mentioned a few other names, none with much
conviction. But Buchanon, a terrific deep cover guy, is a very comfortable
pick for the Bengals. The only problem is that his arrogance in his workouts
(or non-workouts) for the scouts has turned off a lot of people. "I wouldn't
take him in any round," said one personnel director.
Ryan Sims, DT, North Carolina
figured to last this long and he probably won't. Tony Dungy wants
a defensive tackle and this guy, dedicated, talented, hard-working, is
almost too good to be true.
John Henderson, DT, Tennessee
they come, folks. This is what the late George Young once called
"the dance of the elephants." DTs are dropping like boulders. Henderson
is actually Dave McGinnis' favorite of the bunch, but he'll take
either of the other blue-chippers I've named.
Charles Grant, DE, Georgia
Haslett said that his first pick would be a defensive lineman and that
his remaining first-round choice would be a wideout. Everyone else has
it the other way around, possibly because the Saints picked up Grady
Jackson in free agency. But they still need an end to cover the loss
of Joe Johnson and Grant is tops on their board at this point. Haslett
loves Henderson, though, and he could go against logic and take the tackle
if he's still there.
Wendell Bryant, DT-DE, Wisconsin
last member of the Big Four defensive tackles. The snapper is that he could
be converted to an outside guy, and that's what Tennessee wants.
||New York Giants
Jeremy Shockey, TE, Miami
no secret that New York is after this gifted receiver. The only question
is if he'll be there. It's a tossup. Fallback position is offensive tackle
Jones. And if he's gone, then it's a grab bag. Wideout, I'd guess.
T.J. Duckett, RB, Michigan State
pick for Cleveland. Weighs 254, runs in the 4.5's. Has moved ahead of Boston
College's William Green as the No. 1 back. Cleveland finished last
in the NFL in rushing in 2001.
Ashley Lelie, WR, Hawaii
he's a terrific receiver. Yes, he ran under 4.3 in his fast-track workouts,
and he'll run away from people on the Falcons' artificial turf. But first
he has to learn to get off a jam. He's a bit on the wispy side. "A guy
Dale Carter will put a hole in his chest," one scout said.
Speed always goes fast in the draft, though (did I really write that?),
and Lelie could be gone. Next candidate? Wideout Jabar Gaffney.
Andre Gurode, G, Colorado
red light. I've pulled a switch. In the magazine, I gave them Toniu
Fonoti, the guard from Nebraska. At least I kept the position the same.
Here's the story. Joe Mendes and his scouts are trying to talk Dan
Snyder into taking the best guard on their board, Fonoti at first but
now Gurode. Snyder -- and I didn't actually hear him say this but it was
reported to me by a very honorable gentleman -- said he wants a "sexy pick,
a guy who excites you." Who's more exciting than a quarterback? Step up,
Patrick Ramsey of Tulane. But wait a minute, Steve Spurrier's
homeboy is Danny Wuerffel. Does the owner want to get his new coach
mad at him, too? Well, wideouts are also exciting. How about Gaffney? I
can't tell you who's going to win this star wars thing, but it's interesting,
Levi Jones, WR, Arizona State
conceded to be the third best tackle in the draft. The Broncos lost their
left tackle, Teague. "Don't forget that we signed Ephraim Salaam
from Atlanta," Mike Shanahan said. Sorry, I forgot it already. He
mentioned wideouts. Three of them. Lelie, Gaffney, Antonio Bryant.
I'm doing a dumb thing, neglecting solid information to go with the guy
I think they should draft. This has killed me in the past and it will continue
to do so.
Daniel Graham, TE, Colorado
Holmgren doesn't mess around. He wants a tight end and likes Graham
after Shockey. If they're gone, and the good DTs are, too, he says he'll
try to put a package together and move up to get one.
(from Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Napoleon Harris, LB, Northwestern
thing you must learn about the Raiders: Anyone they mention by name, well,
that's a guy they won't take. They didn't mention Harris, except
with a snort. "You might as well join the party. Everyone else is giving
him to us, too," my Raiders, uh, informant said.
||New York Jets
Mike Rumph, CB, Miami
still looking for a big wideout to take the place of Keyshawn. They
also need a corner, since right now they've got only one, Ray Mickens.
He's a little guy and usually they match up small corner vs. small receiver,
big guy vs. big guy. Rumph, at 6-2, 205, seems like a natural fit here.
At least he was one of the people I mentioned to Herm Edwards in
whom he seemed rather interested. This is the Reed part of the draft,
when the names of wideout Josh and safety Ed come up. Edwards
didn't seem too excited about either one.
Jabar Gaffney, WR, Florida
never right about the Raiders, anyway, so I have to admit I got a little
silly here in assigning them their remaining first rounder. Josh Reed,
WR, LSU. The Fred Biletnikoff Award winner. Even wore Freddy's old number,
25. Pure poetry, I reasoned. But wait a minute. An Oakland guy was the
one who told me about Reed. He mentioned him by name. Goodbye Josh.
William Green, RB, Boston College
talked to their player personnel director, Ozzie Newsome. He mentioned
Shockey and Levi Jones and a few DTs he knew would be gone. Then I dropped
Green's name on him. "You're kidding," Newsome said. "He's still gonna
be there?" Well, he probably won't, but his slow workout times turned people
off, and you never know. Besides, the Ravens might figure out a way to
trade up for him. My theory is that when a team really likes somebody,
make the club happy and give him to it.
Saints (from Miami Dolphins)
Antonio Bryant, WR, Pitt
is Haslett's wideout pick. Bryant is a talented, feisty guy with an attitude.
Just the same as Haslett when he was a player. "Immature" is the euphemism
the NFL uses for someone who's kind of a jerk, but that doesn't seem to
make much difference here.
Marc Colombo, T, Boston College
Eagles say that at this position, they're picking for down-the-road help.
They're looking for projects, rather than trying to fill a need. Both Reeds
are impatiently waiting their turn, and so is DeShaun Foster, the
flashy UCLA running back, but Andy Reid mentioned Colombo as a rough
nugget who could be a top-notch lineman some day.
Lito Sheppard, CB, Florida
stock is rising. Third best corner in the draft, people are saying. The
Niners like him. Foster would be an interesting pick here, too. There are
Reeds out there. OK, we're guessing, but I like the guess.
||Green Bay Packers
Anthony Weaver, DT, Notre Dame
is where a Reed, probably the defensive variety, has been projected. When
the Packers guy I talked to mentioned Weaver, I reminded him that 10 d-linemen
all saw service last year in Green Bay. "This guy is special," he said.
But, in fairness, he also mentioned that all the voting wasn't in yet and
either Reed might be attractive.
Dwight Freeney, DE, Syracuse
has the same thing to say about the collegiate sack leader: Intriguing.
He's a pure edge rusher and Chicago has one -- Rosevelt Colvin --
but not two. This is a pick so logical that I just know it won't happen.
Kalimba Edwards, DE-LB, South
I brought up his name, Billy Cowher laughed at me. "Yeah, sure,
he'll be there," he said. Well, I just can't find a spot for the player
who some people have tabbed as the No. 2 DE on the board. "Edwards would
be a great pick for us," Cowher said. "Bring him in as a situation rusher,
to give Gildon and Porter a break. Keep the pressure on.
Keep hitting them with rushers. Oh, man."
||St. Louis Rams
Javon Walker, WR, Florida State
Reed. Ed Reed. There, I've said it for the last time. Another logical home
for either one. But look at Walker. Time in the high 4.3's. Inconsistent,
yes, but Mike Martz has a way with inconsistent receivers. Plus,
and here's the clincher, he likes the guy.
Clinton Portis, RB, Miami
Patriots like bigger, pounding backs. Portis isn't that big, but he's a
relentless type of runner. Plus, he's one of the few guys I mentioned about
whom GM Scott Pioli didn't say, "Not in this spot." What he said
was, "Interesting." At No. 32, that's all you need to hear.