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NFL Draft

By DARRELL FRY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 14, 2002


HOUSTON TEXANS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 1.

BIG NEEDS: QB, WR, LB, RB.

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: OT Tony Boselli (Jaguars), WR Jermaine Lewis (Ravens), LB Jamie Sharper (Ravens), DT Gary Walker (Jaguars), CB Jacoby Shepherd (Rams), RB James Allen (Bears), QB Kent Graham (Redskins).

THE HUNCH: Team officials have said they'll take Frenso State quarterback David Carr with the first pick. As with all expansion teams, however, there are a lot of other holes left to fill. The most pressing are receiver and running back.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 2.

BIG NEEDS: DE, CB, WR, TE.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: RB Tshimanga Biakabutuka, CB Doug Evans, WR Donald Hayes (Patriots).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: RB Lamar Smith (Dolphins), LB Mark Fields (Rams), DL Shane Burton (Dolphins).

THE HUNCH: Because of free-agency losses, the Panthers would love a great cornerback such as Texas CB Quentin Jammer, but that would mean passing on North Carolina star defensive lineman Julius Peppers. Ain't gonna happen. But after that, they'll turn to offense and pick someone to replace Hayes, their leading receiver last season.

DETROIT LIONS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 3.

BIG NEEDS: DB, RB, OL, WR.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: WR Johnnie Morton (Chiefs), CB Bryant Westbrook (Cowboys), S Ron Rice.

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: WR Az-Zahir Hakim (Rams), WR Bill Schroeder (Packers), S Corey Harris (Ravens).

THE HUNCH: The Lions have a promising young quarterback in Mike McMahon, so they likely will pass on Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington and go for Texas CB Quentin Jammer. They also could trade down to get more bodies to fill their many needs, particularly in the secondary and running game.

BUFFALO BILLS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 4.

BIG NEEDS: DL, DB, QB, OL.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: QB Rob Johnson (Bucs), LB Sam Cowart (Jets), S Ken Carpenter.

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: LB London Fletcher (Rams), TE Dave Moore (Bucs), OT Trey Teague (Broncos).

THE HUNCH: Oregon AB Joey Harrington would be a great backup to Alex Van Pelt. But this team needs its top pick to play right away. For that reason, Texas CB Quentin Jammer or offensive tackle Mike Williams seem to be the smart choices; particularly Jammer, who would fit well into the team's man-to-man coverage scheme. Trading down is possible. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 5.

BIG NEEDS: OT, WR, LB.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: WR Jeff Graham, TE Freddie Jones (Cardinals), DT John Parrella (Raiders).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: TE Stephen Alexander (Redskins), C Cory Raymer (Redskins), DT Jason Fisk (Titans).

THE HUNCH: Miami's massive offensive tackle, Bryant McKinnie, is a strong possibility. But the Chargers haven't found anyone impressive in free agency to replace Graham. So don't be surprised if they grab Tennessee's Donte Stallworth.

DALLAS COWBOYS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 6.

BIG NEEDS: DB, RB, WR, DT, TE.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: C Mark Stepnoski, S George Teague, S Izell Reese (Broncos).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: DT La'Roi Glover (Saints), CB Bryant Westbrook (Lions), S Izell Reese (Broncos).

THE HUNCH: They would love to get Texas CB Quentin Jammer. Oregon QB Joey Harrington also would be attractive if he falls this far. Otherwise, they'll get help in the secondary by taking Oklahoma safety Roy Williams or Miami cornerback Phillip Buchanon. Don't count out Tennessee's Donte Stallworth because the team needs depth at receiver.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 7.

BIG NEEDS: DL, OT, WR, DB.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: WR Cris Carter, S Robert Griffith (Browns), LB Kailee Wong (Texans), LB Ed McDaniel.

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: DE Kenny Mixon (Dolphins), LB Henri Crockett (Falcons).

THE HUNCH: The departure of Carter, a Pro Bowl player, leaves a huge hole the team did not address through free agency. Tennessee's Donte Stallworth would fit nicely. After that, they'll go for defense, defense and more defense after losing several defensive free agents. If Stallworth is gone, they might pick Miami CB Phillip Buchanon.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 8.

BIG NEEDS: QB, WR, LB, DL.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: LB Donnie Edwards, K Todd Peterson (Steelers), DE Tyrone Williams.

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: WR Johnnie Morton (Lions), OT William Roaf (Saints), K Morten Andersen (Giants).

THE HUNCH: Morton needs a solid receiver on the opposite side. But if Oregon QB Joey Harrington drops, he's their man. Otherwise, they'll go with a receiver such as Tennessee's Donte Stallworth or a big, gap-filling defensive lineman such as Tennessee's Albert Haynesworth or John Henderson, North Carolina's Ryan Simms or Wisconsin's Wendell Bryant.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 9.

BIG NEEDS: DL, OL, LB, WR.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: OT Tony Boselli (Texans), LB Kevin Hardy, CB Aaron Beasley (Jets), DT Gary Walker (Texans).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: TE Pete Mitchell (Lions), WR Bobby Shaw (Steelers).

THE HUNCH: They likely will need to replace receiver Keenan McCardell, who figures to be released after June1. But they can get a decent one later, perhaps Florida State's Javon Walker. But first, it must get a run-stopper to pair with last year's top pick, DT Marcus Stroud. North Carolina's Ryan Simms or Tennessee's John Henderson would be perfect.

CINCINNATI BENGALS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 10.

BIG NEEDS: QB, CB, WR, OL.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: None.

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: CB Jeff Burris (Colts).

THE HUNCH: Jon Kitna isn't going to cut it for another season. If they could get Oregon's Joey Harrington this far down, they would be in heaven. But chances are, he won't, and no other quarterback will be worth taking this high. So they'll go after offensive line help for an aging unit. Take your pick between Arizona State's Levi Jones or Texas' Mike Williams, if he still is around. Miami cornerback Phillip Buchanon also would be intriguing if available.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 11.

BIG NEEDS: S, DL, FB, TE, CB.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: TE Ken Dilger, S Chad Cota, DT Christian Peter, G Steve McKinney (Texans).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: WR Qadry Ismail (Ravens), CB Walt Harris (Bears), LB Greg Favors (Titans).

THE HUNCH: No surprise where new coach Tony Dungy will look first. Defense is his specialty, and the Colts need a lot of it. Roy Williams, an Oklahoma safety, could be the John Lynch Dungy had with the Bucs. If he's gone, Dungy could go after a defensive lineman such as Tennessee's John Henderson or Wisconsin's Wendell Bryant.

ARIZONA CARDINALS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 12.

BIG NEEDS: DT, CB, RB, WR.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: RB Michael Pittman (Bucs), WR Rob Moore (Broncos), DB Corey Chavous (Vikings).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: CB Duane Starks (Ravens), TE Freddie Jones (Chargers).

THE HUNCH: Thomas Jones likely replaces Pittman, but depth is needed. Boston College's William Green is possible. But a running back can wait. Upgrading the run defense can't. Team hopes at least one tackle will be left among Tennessee's Albert Haynesworth and John Henderson, Wisconsin's Wendell Bryant and North Carolina's Ryan Simms.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

FIRST-ROUND POSITIONS: 13, 25.

BIG NEEDS: DL, DB, QB, WR, OL.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: QB Jeff Blake, RB Ricky Williams (Dolphins), DT La'Roi Glover (Cowboys), DE Joe Johnson (Packers), LT Willie Roaf (Chiefs).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: LB Bryan Cox (Patriots), CB Dale Carter (Vikings), WR Jake Reed (Vikings).

THE HUNCH: This team has more holes than Augusta National. It must get a suitable replacement for Roaf to open holes for running back Deuce McAllister. Arizona's Levi Jones or Nebraska guard Toniu Fonoti would do. It will go after a receiver or cornerback at No.25.

TENNESSEE TITANS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 14.

BIG NEEDS: CB, S, DT, RB.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: S Blaine Bishop (Eagles), WR Chris Sanders (Browns), LB Eddie Robinson.

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: None.

THE HUNCH: Last season exposed a weak secondary. If Oklahoma's Roy Williams or Miami's Phillip Buchanon are available, they'll be grabbed. If not, the team might address defensive line needs (Wisconsin's Wendell Bryant, perhaps?) and get secondary help later. It also could go after an offensive lineman such as Arizona State's Levi Jones to help Eddie George avoid another sour season like the last one.

NEW YORK GIANTS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 15.

BIG NEEDS: DT, LB, TE, WR, OL.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: LB Jessie Armstead (Redskins), K Morten Andersen (Chiefs), WR Joe Jurevicius (to Bucs).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: None.

THE HUNCH: Some analysts have the team picking Miami tight end Jeremy Shockey, but replacing Armstead seems more crucial. Northwestern linebacker Napoleon Harris, who has athleticism and speed, could start right away. Suitable tight ends such as BYU's Doug Jolley and Georgia's Randy McMichael will be available later, as will help for an aging offensive line.

CLEVELAND BROWNS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 16.

BIG NEEDS: RB, WR, OL.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: OG Jeremy McKinney (Texans), DE Greg Spires (Bucs), OT Romen Oben.

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: LB Earl Holmes (Steelers), RB J.J. Johnson (Dolphins), WR Chris Sanders (Titans) S Robert Griffith (Vikings), DE Kenard Lang (Redskins), OT Ryan Tucker (Rams).

THE HUNCH: The team addressed needs in free agency but still needs to add depth, especially at offensive line. It might pick running backs William Green of Boston College or T.J. Duckett of Michigan State to push James Jackson.

ATLANTA FALCONS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 17.

BIG NEEDS: DT, S, OG, LB, WR.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: QB Chris Chandler (Bears), WR Terance Mathis, LB Henri Crockett (Vikings).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: RB Warrick Dunn (Bucs), OT Todd Weiner (Seahawks), CB Allen Rossum (Packers), WR Travis McGriff (Broncos).

THE HUNCH: After signing impressive free agents, the team figures to go with the best available player. That could be Miami tight end Jeremy Shockey or Nebraska guard Toniu Fonoti. Don't be surprised if it gets more speedy targets for AB Michael Vick. Hawaii's Ashley Lelie comes to mind.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 18.

BIG NEEDS: QB, DL, TE.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: TE Stephen Alexander (Chargers), LB Shawn Barber (Eagles), DE Kenard Lang (Browns), G Dave Szott (Jets), C Cory Raymer (to Chargers).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: LB Jessie Armstead (Giants), WR Jacquez Green (Bucs), G Larry Moore (Colts), DE Renaldo Wynn (Jaguars).

THE HUNCH: After signing several free-agent receivers, coach Steve Spurrier likely will go for defense. He needs players who can stop the run such as Notre Dame tackle Anthony Weaver or South Carolina end Kalimba Evans.

DENVER BRONCOS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 19.

BIG NEEDS: WR, DB, LB.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: LB Bill Romanowski (Raiders), DT Leon Lett, T Trey Teague (Bills).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: WR Rob Moore (Cardinals), S Izell Reese (Cowboys), LB Terry Killens (49ers).

THE HUNCH: Will injured receiver Ed McCaffrey (broken leg) be 100 percent next season? The Broncos probably aren't sure, so they might want a receiver as insurance. Several should be waiting, including Florida's Jabar Gaffney, LSU's Josh Reed and Hawaii's Ashley Lelie. Then look for them to turn to defense, particularly the secondary.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 20.

BIG NEEDS: TE, DE.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: OT Todd Weiner (Falcons), DE Michael Sinclair, TE Christian Fauria (Patriots).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: None.

THE HUNCH: The defensive line was ineffective getting to the passer last season, which probably will make the team lean toward someone with speed. The best available with speed figures to be South Carolina's Kalimba Evans. If he's gone, Syracuse defensive end Dwight Freeney will do just fine. Colorado tight end Daniel Graham also could figure into the plans if Evans and Freeney are gone.

OAKLAND RAIDERS

FIRST-ROUND POSITIONS: 21, 23.

BIG NEEDS: DL, LB, WR, S, OL.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: OG Steve Wisniewski, LB William Thomas, S Marquez Pope.

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: LB Bill Romanowski (Broncos), CB Terrance Shaw (Patriots), QB Rick Mirer (49ers).

THE HUNCH: The Raiders were constantly gashed by opposing runners last season and must get help immediately with their two first-round picks. Several top-flight defensive linemen will be on the board, but the Raiders could opt for Northwestern linebacker Napoleon Harris at No.21 and get a defensive lineman at No.23.

NEW YORK JETS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 22.

BIG NEEDS: DT, LB, OL.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: G Kerry Jenkins (Bucs), LB James Farrior (Steelers), CB Aaron Glenn (Texans), S Victor Green, P Tom Tupa, OT Ryan Young (Texans), CB Marcus Coleman (Texans).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: DE Steve White (Bucs), CB Aaron Beasley (Jaguars), OG Dave Szott (Redskins), LB Sam Cowart (Bills).

THE HUNCH: Even with the signing of Cowart, this team is hurting for depth at linebacker. Still, the Jets also need a defensive tackle for their 4-3 scheme and might not be able to resist Norte Dame's Anthony Weaver if he's there.

BALTIMORE RAVENS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 24.

BIG NEEDS: QB, OT, WR, RB, DB.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: TE Shannon Sharpe (Broncos), DT Tony Siragusa, QB Elvis Grbac, WR Jermaine Lewis (Texans), WR Qadry Ismail (Colts), LB Jamie Sharper (Texans), DB Rod Woodson, S Corey Harris (Lions).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: None.

THE HUNCH: With so many free-agent losses, it's hard to tell what area the team will address first. There are only a few quality running backs, and the Ravens need one. So they probably will pluck Michigan State's T.J. Duckett, then go with the best available players after that.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 26.

BIG NEEDS: LB, DL, OL, WR, DB.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: LB Mike Caldwell (Bears), OT Ryan Schau (Texans).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: S Blaine Bishop (Titans), LB Shawn Barber (Redskins).

THE HUNCH: The team will hope for a top-flight defensive tackle to fall. When it doesn't happen, it might go after an end, such as Syracuse's Dwight Freeney. It will add much-needed depth on defense with two second-round picks, which could be used on Alabama linebacker Saleem Rasheed or Pitt safety Ramon Walker.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 27.

BIG NEEDS: OL, DB, LB.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: QB Rick Mirer (Raiders), LB Terry Killens (Broncos), TE Greg Clark.

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: S Tony Parrish (Bears), DL Sean Moran (Rams).

THE HUNCH: With few weaknesses, the emphasis is on depth, especially on the offensive line. Colorado's Andre Gurode fits the bill because he has size (320 pounds) and speed (5.1 in the 40). The secondary is another target area, meaning Florida cornerback Lito Sheppard or Miami safety Edward Reed could head west.

GREEN BAY PACKERS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 28.

BIG NEEDS: WR, RB, LB, DT.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: RB Dorsey Levens, DT Santana Dotson, PR/DB Allen Rossum (Falcons), WR Bill Schroeder (Lions), WR Corey Bradford (Texans).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: WR Terry Glenn (Patriots), DE Joe Johnson (Saints), QB Josh Heupel.

THE HUNCH: The Pack always drafts well, so it will get a stud somehow. With so many receivers leaving, the need is for a receiver who can play right away with Glenn. Michigan's 6-foot-3 Marquise Walker has size the Packers like, but Florida's Reche Caldwell and LSU's Josh Reed are faster.

CHICAGO BEARS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 29.

BIG NEEDS: DE, TE, CB, QB, OT.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: RB James Allen (Texans), OT Blake Brockermeyer, CB Walt Harris (Colts), S Tony Parrish (49ers), LB Greg Jones (Texans).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: LB Mike Caldwell (Eagles), DL Jason Wiltz (Jets), RB Rabih Abdullah (Bucs).

THE HUNCH: A tight end would be great, but a decent one can be had later, perhaps BYU's Doug Jolley. At No. 29, the Bears probably will look for a pass rusher such as Syracuse defensive end Dwight Freeney (NCAA single-season record 17 1/2 sacks) or Kentucky defensive end Dennis Johnson.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 30.

BIG NEEDS: S, OT, LB, S.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: LB Earl Holmes (Browns), K Kris Brown (Texans), WR Bobby Shaw (Jaguars).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: LB James Farrior (Jets), K Todd Peterson (Chiefs).

THE HUNCH: There are not many holes to fill after getting Farrior soon after losing Holmes. The team still could use another linebacker, safety or, possibly, a tight end. If Miami safety Edward Reed is still around, he could be the man. Otherwise, the team likes the quickness of Colorado safety Michael Lewis, who could push its starters.

ST. LOUIS RAMS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 31.

BIG NEEDS: WR, LB, OL.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: WR Az-Zahir Hakim (Lions), LB London Fletcher (Bills), LB Mark Fields (Panthers), OT Ryan Tucker (Browns).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: LB Jamie Duncan (Bucs).

THE HUNCH: Florida's Reche Caldwell, who is skilled at short crossing routes and running after the catch, would seem like the perfect replacement for Hakim. But the team might opt for the best player available and hope it gets a decent receiver/returner in the second round. With the talent it has, it can afford to gamble.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: 32.

BIG NEEDS: OL, WR, DB, DE.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: WR Terry Glenn (Packers), LB Bryan Cox (Saints), CB Terrance Shaw (Raiders).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: WR Donald Hayes (Panthers), TE Cam Cleeland (Saints), CB Tom Knight (Cardinals), DT Steve Martin (Jets).

THE HUNCH: The team needs an impact player in case the smoke-and-mirrors trick from last season doesn't work. Kentucky defensive end Dennis Johnson or Auburn guard Kendall Simmons could be the choice. Don't be surprised if it works a deal for quarterback Drew Bledsoe to move up.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: None. Don't select until third round.

BIG NEEDS: WR, RB, LB, TE.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: WR Warrick Dunn (Falcons), CB Donnie Abraham, LB Jamie Duncan (Rams), WR Jacquez Green (Redskins), OG Randall McDaniel.

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: OG Kerry Jenkins (Jets), RB Michael Pittman (Cardinals), QB Rob Johnson (Bills), WR Joe Jurevicius (Giants).

THE HUNCH: Michigan receiver Marquise Walker would be a gift in the third round. Utah receiver Cliff Russell probably is more realistic. So is Ohio State running back Jonathan Wells.

MIAMI DOLPHINS

FIRST-ROUND POSITION: None. Don't select until third round.

BIG NEEDS: OL, CB, TE, WR.

KEY OFFSEASON LOSSES: RB Lamar Smith (Panthers), WR O.J. McDuffie, DE Kenny Mixon (Vikings), S Brian Walker (Lions).

BIGGEST ACQUISITIONS: RB Ricky Williams (Saints), G Leon Searcy (Ravens).

THE HUNCH: The team would love to get Florida tackle Mike Pearson but will take the best player left. That might be Georgia Southern running back Adrian Peterson, who could back up Ricky Williams. It also could look at Tuskegee cornerback Roosevelt Williams if he drops.

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