Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 22, 2001
2000 RECORD: 5-11.
2001 OUTLOOK: The Bears got the Wolverines' top receiver and running back, but they would have been even happier getting Michigan QB Drew Henson. Chicago has to get more consistency out of Cade McNown. Defensively, the secondary remains in question with Walt Harris possibly leaving in free agency.
DRAFT PICKS: David Terrell, WR, Michigan (1/8); Anthony Thomas, RB, Michigan (2/38); Mike Gandy, G, Notre Dame (3/68).
EARLY LINE: Chicago should get off to a good start. Six of Bears' first eight opponents had losing records last year.
2000 RECORD: 6-10.
2001 OUTLOOK: The Niners have to play better defense because with Charlie Garner with the Raiders, scoring is going to be more difficult. Andre Carter and Jamie Winborn, a player the Bucs coveted, may be part of the answer. The team has to hope either Kevan Barlow or a healthy Garrison Hearst can supplant Garner.
DRAFT PICKS: Andre Carter, DE, California (1/7); Jamie Winborn, LB, Vanderbilt (2/47); Kevan Barlow, RB, Pitt (3/80).
EARLY LINE: San Francisco won't be legitimate until it escapes its salary-cap woes.
2000 RECORD: 7-9.
2001 OUTLOOK: The Jaguars can argue they got the tackle they needed in the second round, and some had Maurice Williams going in the first. But if Georgia's Marcus Stroud is a bust and Florida's Kenyatta Walker plays 10 years, Gators in Jacksonville will never stop crying foul.
DRAFT PICKS: Marcus Stroud, DT, Georgia (1/13); Maurice Williams, OT, Michigan (2/43); Eric Westmoreland, LB, Tennessee (3/73); James Boyd, S, Penn State (3/94).
EARLY LINE: If Tom Coughlin can't manage this schedule, which has three consecutive road games, this could be his last season.
2001 OUTLOOK: The addition of Chad Johnson and Sean Brewer will help the passing game as long as the Bengals get good quarterback play out of Akili Smith or Jon Kitna. If that sounds like trying to squeeze water out of a rock, you understand their dilemma. Cincy's defense would be better if they could sell free agents on the league's worst franchise.
DRAFT PICKS: Justin Smith, DE, Missouri (1/4); Chad Johnson, WR, Oregon State (2/36); Sean Brewer, TE, San Jose St. (3/66).
EARLY LINE: A healthy and happy Corey Dillon could make this season tolerable.
2000 RECORD: 7-9.
2001 OUTLOOK: The top half of the Chiefs' draft was decimated by pre-draft deals. They gave up a first-round pick to get Rams quarterback Trent Green and a second-round choice had already gone to St. Louis as compensation for coach Dick Vermeil. Vermeil will be worth the pick if he can recreate St. Louis' prolific offense in Kansas City, but can recently acquired Priest Holmes carry the load?
DRAFT PICKS: Eric Downing, DT, Syracuse (3/75); Marvin Minnis, WR, Florida State (3/77).
EARLY LINE: Better hope Green stays healthy.
2000 RECORD: 1-15.
2001 OUTLOOK: The quality of this draft hinges on how well Michael Vick performs for Atlanta. If Vick doesn't emerge, San Diego GM John Butler will be labeled a genius. Passing on Vick gives the Chargers a chance to improve in a hurry. Seven of the Chargers' first eight opponents finished 2000 at .500 or below.
DRAFT PICKS: LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, TCU (1/5); Drew Brees, QB, Purdue (2/32); Tay Cody, CB, Florida State (3/67).
EARLY LINE: The improvements on offense may be too late for an aging defense.
2000 RECORD: 4-12.
2001 OUTLOOK: Michael Vick is at least a year away, maybe two. Meanwhile, Atlanta is still searching for a pass rush, and the need for a game-breaking receiver is greater now that Tim Dwight is in San Diego. The Falcons seem obsessed with tight ends instead of receivers, having drafted three in the past five years.
DRAFT PICKS: Michael Vick, QB, Virginia Tech (1/1); Alge Crumpler, TE, North Carolina (2/35).
EARLY LINE: This team will be cursed by Dan Reeves' series of bad drafts.
2000 RECORD: 5-11.
2001 OUTLOOK: The Patriots' personnel decisions seem to be on the upswing. It got some cheap talent through free agency, and Matt Light should take a load off QB Drew Bledsoe. But New England could have used another playmaker on offense.
DRAFT PICKS: Richard Seymour, DL, Georgia (1/6); Matt Light, OT, Purdue (2/48); Brock Williams, CB, Notre Dame (3/84).
EARLY LINE: Bill Belichick's credentials as a head coach are still in question, and the Pats have a dreaded three-game road swing: at Indy, at Atlanta and at Denver.
2001 OUTLOOK: The Cardinals' defensive line was decimated by free agency and injury, and Kyle Vanden Bosch won't be enough to stem the tide. Arizona also will miss the leadership of CB Aeneas Williams, who was traded to St. Louis.
DRAFT PICKS: Leonard Davis, OT, Texas (1/2); Kyle Vanden Bosch, DE, Nebraska (2/34); Michael Stone, CB, Memphis (2/54); Adrian Wilson, DT, Miami (3/64).
EARLY LINE: With an erratic quarterback and a bad defense, the Cards will struggle to find an identity.
2000 RECORD: 5-11.
2001 OUTLOOK: This team desperately needs to hire a personnel guru. Even if the Cowboys thought Quincy Carter was good at reading defenses, the choice made no sense because they could have picked him up in the later rounds.
DRAFT PICKS: Quincy Carter, QB, Georgia (2/53); Tony Dixon, S, Alabama (2/56); Willie Blade, DT, Mississippi State (3/93).
EARLY LINE: A team that allowed a record four backs to rush for more than 200 yards last year took a QB and S with its first two picks. What else do you need to know?
2000 RECORD: 3-13.
2001 OUTLOOK: The Browns have an opportunity to improve if coach Butch Davis can adjust to the NFL game. With needs all over the field, he inherits problems created by Carmen Policy and Dwight Clark, but he should build more confidence than predecessor Chris Palmer.
DRAFT PICKS: Gerard Warren, DT, Florida (1/3); Quincy Morgan, WR, Kansas State (2/33); James Jackson, RB, Miami (3/65).
EARLY LINE: With eight of their first nine games against teams that failed to make the playoffs, Cleveland has a chance to get off to a good start.
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