Sunday, April 27, 2003

Rating the draft: Winners & losers

How well teams filled their needs on the first day

By Barry Wilner
The Associated Press


Two teams desperately needing a playmaker on offense got them, as Detroit went for WR Charles Rogers and Houston grabbed WR Andre Johnson. Last year, both clubs got their franchise quarterbacks, Joey Harrington in Detroit, David Carr in Houston.

Baltimore found a nice fit for its defensive schemes in DE Terrell Suggs, whose pass-rushing skills will fit well in front of Ray Lewis. Then the Ravens made up for not getting Byron Leftwich by selecting QB Kyle Boller to fill a major hole - even if it cost them their 2004 first-rounder.

Dallas bolstered its emerging secondary with CB Terence Newman, a nice addition to a young unit that got safety Roy Williams a year ago.

Jacksonville needed a quarterback for the future, and Leftwich fits nicely behind Mark Brunell - for a while. Plus, the Jaguars stole him away from the Ravens.

Carolina, whose offensive line has been in flux for years, will get some stability from tackle Jordan Gross, the highest-rated blocker in the field.

St. Louis couldn't have expected DT Jimmy Kennedy to fall to 12th overall. When he did, the Rams pounced on what should be a rare defensive playmaker for them.

Pittsburgh's secondary has been a sieve, and an aggressive safety was needed. The Steelers moved up 11 positions and got the right guy in Troy Polamalu.

Chicago played the bartering game well, moving down from No. 4, yet winding up with a likely starter in DE Michael Haynes and a future QB in Rex Grossman.

The Giants were happy to see DT William Joseph slip to No. 25; New York has an uncertain situation at the position with Keith Hamilton coming off a torn Achilles' tendon.

After addressing some of their many defensive needs in free agency, the Chiefs showed their concern about Priest Holmes' recovery from a hip injury by taking RB Larry Johnson. Getting him at No. 27 after trading down was a strong move.

Tennessee lost out on Larry Johnson, who would have been a good fit to groom behind Eddie George, but immediately turned to another weak area in taking CB Andre Woolfolk.

Green Bay's linebacking unit was decimated this offseason, so quick LB Nick Barnett was a good fit.

Miami, concerned about getting younger and more efficient at outside linebacker, was fortunate was find Eddie Moore on the board at No. 49. Moore's quickness should help.


Minnesota couldn't swing a deal or make a pick in its allotted 15 minutes, a faux pas rarely seen in the opening round. Although the Vikings didn't get burned too badly by taking DT Kevin Williams of Oklahoma State, they were playing a dangerous game. The deal they thought they had done - with Baltimore - came with 32 seconds left on the clock, not enough time to get it approved.

Arizona traded down from sixth overall to get the 17th and 18th choices from New Orleans. The Cardinals, who need a wide receiver, chose Bryant Johnson of Penn State, who figured to be available much lower in the round, and DE Calvin Pace, who probably would have been available in the second round. Or the third.

Moving up to No. 6 to get one of the many quality DTs made sense for New Orleans. But taking Johnathan Sullivan, who likely would have been around at the Saints' original position of 17, was strange.

For the second straight year, San Diego went for a cornerback, Sammy Davis, at No. 30. They had bigger needs at safety, on both lines and perhaps even at wideout.


Carson Palmer is a hot prospect coming off a superb year, but there are enough questions about him being a franchise quarterback that taking him No. 1 overall was a dicey move for Cincinnati. Trading down in a draft full of trades might have been wiser, but did anyone else really want the top spot?

Buffalo might have made the biggest gamble of the draft by taking RB Willis McGahee, who comes off a serious knee injury in January and may not be ready for this season. But the Bills have Travis Henry and can be patient with McGahee.

The Jets dealt two first-rounders to move up to fourth overall, where they got the versatile DT they need in Dewayne Robertson. But they might have been better served holding onto both picks and helping themselves at linebacker or receiver, too.

Seattle probably got a starter in CB Marcus Trufant, but the Seahawks need bulk on their defensive line and passed on several tackles.

Philadelphia, looking for a replacement for departed free agent DE Hugh Douglas, probably didn't need to move up all the way to No. 15 to get Jerome McDougle of Miami.

New England wanted DT Ty Warren so much it traded a sixth-round spot to move up one position for him. That was it in the first round as the Patriots traded their other choice to Baltimore and got that 2004 first-rounder.

Cleveland bolstered what has been an inconsistent offensive line with Notre Dame center Jeff Faine, who also might have lasted longer than 21 spots.

Tackle George Foster should help the Broncos down the road as the No. 20 pick, but he is raw and has had a history of injuries.

Although the Colts had a need in the secondary, they opted for a second tight end in Dallas Clark. Indianapolis felt its offense was hurt by an inability to run two-tight-end formations for Peyton Manning in 2002.

Stanford tackle Kwame Harris should invigorate San Francisco's aging offensive line. But the 49ers passed on one of the top wideouts available.

Unconventional as always, the Raiders took two projected second-rounders in California safety Nnamdi Asomugha and Colorado DE Tyler Brayton. Maybe they were reaches, but both address problem areas.

Washington coach Steve Spurrier has been criticized for his devotion to players from his former job at the University of Florida. Yet he took another Gator, WR Taylor Jacobs, with the Redskins' first choice, 44th overall, even though most of the others did not play well for him last year.

BENGALS DRAFT ( Complete draft coverage )
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Bengals all offense on draft's Day 1
Guard Steinbach slips out of first round
Size, speed make WR Washington a threat
Palmer glad fuss is over

Rating the draft: Winners & losers
Draft picks by team | By number
Defensive line dominates first round
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Ravens, Steelers trade up to fill needs
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Jags get Leftwich; big questions to come
Newman goes to Cowboys
Jets trade up for UK's Robertson
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Phillies' Millwood no-hits Giants

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Reds' Minor League Notebook
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Other Derby Week Events
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UC defense bares teeth
Three UC players picked in NFL draft

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NHL: Ducks take 2-0 lead on Stars

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Vogelgesang cracks PBA top 60
College Update: For NKU, winning starts with pitching
Enquirer Power Rankings
Sports on TV-Radio

Mayo billed as next LeBron
Saturday's High School Results

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