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.
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