Sunday, February 16, 2003

Top pick means possibilities

Trading down could result in help on 'D'

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The NFL draft is April 26-27, and top college players will get a thorough examination beginning Tuesday at the annual scouting combine in Indianapolis.

The Bengals have the first overall pick, as a result of their league-worst 2-14 record in 2002.

Here are two possible scenarios of how the top four picks could unfold - one if the Bengals trade the top pick, and the other if they keep it.

If they trade it

1. Chicago: The Bears are desperate for a quarterback. Dissatisfied with the free agents available, they trade their fourth picks in the first and second rounds to the Bengals in exchange for the first overall pick. They take Southern Cal quarterback Carson Palmer.

2. Detroit: The Lions need a top wide receiver for second-year quarterback Joey Harrington. The Lions will stay in state to take early-entry junior Charles Rogers of Michigan State, who is the best WR available.

3. Houston: The Texans, entering their second season, are built around quarterback David Carr. Although Houston needs a big-play receiver, and even though Miami's Andre Johnson is available, the Texans should take Utah left tackle Jordan Gross. Carr was sacked an NFL-record 77 times last season; he can't throw when he's on his back or running for his life.

4. Cincinnati: Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has talked about quarterbacks Palmer and Byron Leftwich of Marshall and wide receiver Rogers, but - as a defensive specialist - Lewis knows the Bengals need help on the defensive line as much as anything. Penn State defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, at almost 6feet5, 335 pounds, is a dominating run-stuffer. Lewis' defense for the Super Bowl-winning Ravens in 2000 didn't get super until he put Sam Adams and Tony Siragusa at the defensive tackle.

If they keep it

1. Cincinnati: Palmer would be the pick and would not be rushed as a rookie. He would play behind Jon Kitna, already named the starter by Lewis.

2. Detroit: WR Rogers.

3. Houston: OT Gross.

4. Chicago: The Bears, like many NFL teams, consider Palmer and Leftwich two of the best pure passers coming out of college in many years. Leftwich would be the Bears' strong-armed quarterback.

Washington, which picks at No.13 in the first round, also reportedly likes Palmer and might be a possible trading partner with the Bengals.


Bengals will mine combine for prospects
Top pick means possibilities
Lewis knows how to win; it's his way
NFL Notebook: Bears might pursue free agent QB

Changes few, expectations many for Reds
Central Division rundown
Reds Notebook: Anderson seeks No. 5 spot
Reds E-mail: Readers lower boom on Boone
Cards move Ankiel to bullpen

Xavier 93, Rhode Island 70
XU Notebook: Chalmers rides pine after fouls
XU women run past La Salle

Charlotte 74, UC 64

Preview to Selection Sunday
The Enquirer's projected NCAA field
NCAA Tournament sites, dates
Postseason ticket information

Miami 69, Marshall 49
Kentucky 68, LSU 57
UK Notebook: Barbour coming around
Louisville 73, Marquette 70
Kentucky Wesleyan 71, NKU 68
Local college basketball games
Michigan 70, Ohio State 54
Wisconsin 71, Indiana 59
Hunter's dream depends on dirty work

Austin loses IBF bantamweight crown

Ducks, Cyclones lose
Miami blanks Buckeyes in hockey
Hyde Park man set to run 800-mile Iditarod
World's most psychotic sporting events
Enquirer Power Rankings
Sports on TV-Radio

Sweep in Earnhardt Jr.'s reach
Tiger, Mickelson go one-on-one today
NBA Games: Blazers back on track
Agassi, Sanguinetti meet in finals
Trust N Luck wins Derby prep

Revised basketball schedule
Alter tries to beat LeBron
Boys Games: No. 1 Withrow finishes undefeated
Girls Games: Ursuline ousts Princeton
Ky. Games: Dixie duo hit milestones
Indian Hill, Ursuline swimmers win districts
Girls swimming results
St. X, Western Brown win wrestling sectionals
Campbell tops Ryle for wrestling title
Schaffer trades appendix for assists
N.Ky. skater aims for nationals

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