Eyes on the prize
Who'll end up where at today's NFL Draft
By John Allen Caller-Times Sports Editor
April 24, 2004
Since this will probably be the final draft for general manager A.J. Smith with the San Diego Chargers, I felt why not follow in his footsteps and put together a mock first round of today's NFL draft with every possible scenario working out. Every trade finished in 15 minutes. Every team creative with its pick.
I mean, the chances of Smith being around next year for the Chargers probably walked out the door about the time the words were leaving his lips that Eli Manning and his family didn't want San Diego to pick the Mississippi QB.
The firestorm that started late Wednesday and picked up momentum Thursday will come to a head when the Chargers start the 2004 NFL draft around 11 a.m. today. Then Smith will have three choices:
1. Draft Manning and face the chance that he will sit out the 2004 season and re-enter the 2005 draft.
2. Select Iowa offensive tackle Robert Gallery - their second choice - and risk Manning being selected by AFC West division rival Oakland.
3. Work out a trade with the New York Giants to allow them to select Manning, give up pretty much any shot at Gallery and settle for their second choice at quarterback, N.C. State's Philip Rivers.
Anyway you slice it, Smith is in a much worse position than he would have been had he done something most NFL front offices learned years ago - kept his mouth shut when the draft comes around.
If Smith doesn't make_Manning's position known to the NFL, then he still holds all the cards. He could approach the Giants with a deal he is willing to make only because they need more picks to improve the Chargers' roster. Instead, he will have to ask the Giants for whatever they would be willing to give up for a player who will not be their selection, which on Sunday may look a lot more like a third-round pick instead of two second-round picks.
With that in mind, here's my mock draft:
1. New York Giants (from_San Diego) - Eli Manning, QB, Mississippi. For San Diego, it comes down to whether they are better off facing Gallery or Manning. I'd rather face Gallery, so dealing the top pick to the Giants for anything is better than watching Manning go to the Raiders. It also gives them the chance to trade back again.
2. Cleveland Browns (from Oakland) - Robert Gallery, OT, Iowa. Cleveland wants Gallery pretty badly, and the Raiders have bigger problems than their offensive line. If Cleveland gives up a second-rounder in this and the 2005 draft, it's a deal.
3. Arizona Cardinals, Larry Fitzgerald - WR, Pittsburgh. If this takes 15 minutes to decide, the Cardinals should be kicked out of the league.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (from San Diego through N.Y. Giants) - Roy Williams, WR, Texas. San Diego saves a lot of face by dealing this pick and hurting the Raiders - who really want Williams - in the process.
5. Washington Redskins - Sean Taylor, S, Miami (Fla.). Many people think Miami tight end Kellen Winslow is a natural fit for Joe Gibbs' tight end-dominated offense, but Gibbs has used tight ends who block first and catch a couple of short passes later. That's not Winslow, who is a headache and has agents who have given the Redskins headaches in the past. Taylor is a sure thing - a difference-maker on a defense that lacks them.
6. Detroit Lions - Kellen Winslow, TE, Miami (Fla.). The Lions have been talking trade for weeks, but without Roy Williams available, not many teams want this pick. The Texans and Falcons may call for a shot at DeAngelo Hall.
7. Atlanta Falcons (from_Oakland through Cleveland) - DeAngelo Hall, CB, Virginia Tech. The Texans were going to get this pick, but the Falcons make a better offer to get Michael Vick's Hokie buddy on their defense.
8. Oakland Raiders (from Atlanta) - Kenechi Udeze, DE, USC. Owner Al Davis likes speed and a guy who can take the quarterback down, and take the quarterback down hard. Udeze (23 sacks in past two seasons) can do that.
9. San Diego Chargers (from Jacksonville) - Philip Rivers, QB, N.C. State. Grab the quarterback that coach Marty Schottenheimer_guided to MVP honors at_the Senior Bowl.
10. Buffalo Bills (from Houston) - Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Miami (Ohio). Bills GM Tom Donahue said he was getting a franchise quarterback. Well, unless he thinks J.P. Losman is a franchise quarterback, he needs to get in front of Pittsburgh to get one.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers - Dunta Robinson, CB, South Carolina. After losing out on their quarterback, the Steelers refocus with defense.
12. New York Jets - D.J. Williams, LB, Miami (Fla.). Jets could push for a cornerback and go with Ohio State's Chris Gamble, but Williams is a player who can play now, and GM Terry Bradway and coach Herman Edwards need to win now.
13. New Orleans Saints (from Houston through Buffalo) - Jonathan Vilma, LB, Miami. The Saints need a tackling machine and a leader in the middle of their defense and think Tampa Bay or Denver will pick him. The Texans have 10 guys rated about the same, and they add picks.
14. Chicago Bears - Tommie Harris, DL, Oklahoma. A sub-300 pound, quick defensive tackle would make a lot of sense in new coach Lovie Smith's system.
15. Dallas Cowboys (from Tampa Bay) - Steven Jackson, RB, Oregon State. The Cowboys really need Jackson, and this is a spot they can trade into, while the Bucs would like to trade back to recoup a second-round pick. If the Cowboys give up a first and second and get back a first and fourth, they should make the trade.
16. Tennessee Titans (from San Francisco) - Will Smith, DE, Ohio State. The 49ers want out of this pick desperately. Tennessee needs defensive linemen and has an extra second-round pick.
17. Denver Broncos (from Cincinnati) - Vince Wilfolk, DT, Miami (Fla.). Big surprise to the Broncos that Wilfolk is still available.
18. Houston Texans (from New Orleans) - Chris Gamble, CB, Ohio State. The Texans get a big cornerback and extra picks in a series of great moves.
19. Minnesota Vikings - Karlos Dansby, LB, Auburn. The Vikings also could go with the board and pick a receiver such as Lee Evans.
20. Miami Dolphins - Shawn Andrews, OT, Arkansas. It makes too much sense for the Dolphins to stray and land a top receiver instead.
21. New England Patriots, (from Baltimore) - Michael Jenkins, WR, Ohio State. New England lacks a big, fast receiver, and Jenkins is used to the cold - unlike LSU's Michael Clayton.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Dallas) - Rashaun Woods, WR, Oklahoma State. The Buccaneers will have their pick of receivers, and Woods is the best fit.
23. Seattle Seahawks - Marcus Tubbs, DT, Texas. He needs some more work but has the size and strength to be a good run stopper.
24. Cincinnati Bengals (from Denver) - Will Poole, CB, USC. Poole is rough around the edges, but he has the instincts to be a ball hawk.
25. Oakland Raiders (from Green Bay) - Lee Evans, WR, Wisconsin. The Packers can get their player later, and the Raiders, who want a receiver before the run is over, get the fastest of this talented WR corps.
26. St. Louis Rams - Kevin Jones, RB, Virginia Tech. Coach Mike Martz loves speed and needs someone to replace Marshall Faulk sooner or later. They could surprise by grabbing Oklahoma State's Tatum Bell.
27. San Francisco 49ers (from Tennessee) - Reggie Williams, WR, Washington. San Francisco gets the receiver it could have selected at 16 and picks up a second-rounder.
28. Philadelphia Eagles - Michael Clayton, WR, LSU. The Eagles need receivers to take pressure off newly acquired Terrell Owens.
29. Indianapolis Colts - Ahmad Carroll, CB, Arkansas. After losing two cornerbacks in free agency, the Colts start to rebuild the secondary. They could surprise and select Michigan running back Chris Perry since_leading rusher Edgerrin James is a free agent at the end of the season.
30. San Diego (from Kansas City) - Vernon Carey, OL, Miami (Fla.). The Chargers will not get Carey if they wait until after the Patriots, and the Chiefs save some money by getting out of the first round.
31. Carolina Panthers, Ben Troupe, TE, Florida. The Panthers would like to add another offensive threat, and this terrific all-around tight end would fit the bill.
32. New England, Justin Smiley, G, Alabama. Early entry has nice feet and toughness for the interior line slugfest.
Contact John Allen at 886-3745 or email@example.com
Houston (from Oakland - Exercised in_Supplemental draft
34. N.Y. Giants
35. San Diego
41. Denver (from Washington)
42. Tennessee (from N.Y. Jets
45. Oakland (from Tampa Bay
46. San Francisco
48. New Orleans
51. Baltimore (re-acquired from San Francisco)
55. Green Bay
56. Cincinnati (from Miami through New England)
60. New Orleans (from St. Louis)
61. Kansas City
63. New England
65. N.Y. Giants
66. San Diego
72. Jacksonville (from Washington)
76. N.Y. Jets
77. San Francisco
79. Tampa Bay
81. New Orleans
86. Green Bay
91. St. Louis
93. Kansas City
95. New England
96. Cincinnati (Compensatory Selection)
97 N.Y. Giants
98. San Diego
104. Chicago (from Washington through N.E.)
108. N.Y. Jets
111. Tampa Bay
112. San Francisco
113. New England (from New Orleans)
117. Cincinnati (from Denver)
118. Green Bay
122. Houston (from Indianapolis)
123. St. Louis
125. Atlanta (from Philadelphia)
126. Kansas City
128. New England
129. Philadelphia (Compensatory Selection)
130. St. Louis (Compensatory Selection)
131. Philadelphia (Compensatory Selection)
132. N.Y. Jets (Compensatory Selection)
133. San Diego
136. N.Y. Giants
143. N.Y. Jets
146. Tampa Bay
147. San Francisco
150. Jacksonville (from New Orleans)
153. Green Bay
154. San Diego (from Miami)
158. St. Louis
160. Baltimore (from Philadelphia)
162. Kansas City
164. New England
165.Tennessee (Compensatory selections
168. N.Y. Giants
169. San Diego
171. Denver (from Washington)
176. Cleveland (from Buffalo)
178. N.Y. Jets
179, San Francisco
180. Washington (from Chicago)
181. Tampa Bay
182. New Orleans
185. Philadelphia (from Green Bay)
188. Green Bay (from Dallas)
194. Pittsburgh (from St. Louis)
195. Kansas City
197. Pittsburgh (from New England)
198. San Francisco (Compensatory selection)
199. Baltimore (Compensatory selection)
200. Houston (Compensatory selection)
201. St. Louis (Compensatory selection)
203. N.Y. Giants
204. San Diego
206. New Orleans (from Washington)
207. Buffalo (from Detroit)
209. San Diego (from Atlanta)
213. N.Y. Jets
216. Tampa Bay
217. San Francisco
219. Miami (from New Orleans)
223. Oakland (from Dallas)
226. Green Bay
228. Tampa Bay (from Indianapolis)
229. Indianapolis (from St. Louis)
231. Kansas City
233. New England
234. N.Y. Jets (Compensatory selection)
235. N.Y. Jets (Compensatory selection)
236. N.Y. Jets (Compensatory selection)
237. St. Louis (Compensatory selection)
238. St. Louis (Compensatory selection)
239. Tennesse (Compensatory selection)
240. New Orleans (Compensatory selection)
241. Tennesse (Compensatory selection)
242. Philadelphia (Compensatory selection)
243. Philadelphia (Compensatory selection)
244. Baltimore (Compensatory selection)
245. Oakland (Compensatory selection)
246. Baltimore (Compensatory selection)
247. Denver (Compensatory selection)
248. Houston (Compensatory selection)
249. Jacksonville (Compensatory selection)
250. Denver (Compensatory selection)
251. Green Bay (Compensatory selection)
252. Tampa Bay (Compensatory selection)
253. N.Y. Giants (Compensatory selection)
254. San Diego (Compensatory selection)
255. Oakland (Compensatory selection)
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