tampabay.com

Personnel needs will drive draft selections

By ROGER MILLS
Published March 6, 2005


After weeks of film review and five days of poking and prodding at the Scouting Combine, NFL gurus insist that this year's draft is deep and that when it comes to a top group, nothing is guaranteed.

"I think the top is hazier from the standpoint that if you were to ask 10 different general managers or (personnel) directors as to the top three or four or five players, you might get 50 different answers," Titans general manager Floyd Reese told the Tennessean. "Part of that has to do with the fact that the draft, from an overall scheme, is moving toward need."

So, if you need a quarterback, either Utah's Alex Smith or California's Aaron Rodgers will do just fine. If you need a running back, there's Auburn's Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams. Looking for an offensive lineman, relax there's lots.

"I don't think there's probably a consensus of, these are the top five players in the country," Reese said. "You would take them in any order. ... If you're looking for a tackle, the kid at FSU ( Alex Barron), looks better than if you're looking for a receiver where the kid at Michigan ( Braylon Edwards) might look better."

BACK TRACKING: The question is, does former Titans receiver Derrick Mason, who signed with the Ravens this week, feel the same way about his new coach as he did one year ago?

After a 20-17 win over the Ravens on Jan. 3, Mason was upset about the Ravens walking off the field without shaking hands with the Titans. He promptly fired off a few shots at the Ravens and, in particular, coach Brian Billick.

"I remember when I was younger and the Chicago Bulls finally beat the Detroit Pistons and half of them ran off the (court) and didn't want to shake their hands," Mason said at the time. "Be a good sport about it, shake our hands. ... That just goes to show how truly arrogant (the Ravens) truly are."

And as for Billick? "Not only them, I think their coach was rather arrogant," Mason said.

Information from other news organizations was used in this report.