Warning: The following column contains a mock draft. Scientists have shown that for 99 percent of the population, mock drafts are completely uninteresting. Even those lucky few who appreciate this over-educated guesstimate will lose complete interest in its contents twenty-some hours from now.
Consider yourselves warned. Without further ado, I present to you my April Opus, the Quick Slants 2002 Mock Draft.
1. Houston Texans — David Carr, QB, Fresno St. According to league sources, Carr and the Texans have already worked out a contract. He is as much of a lock for the first pick as anyone in the history of the draft. Will he become Bledsoe or Mirer? Manning or Leaf? Cross your fingers, Texan fans.
2. Carolina Panthers — Julius Peppers, DE, North Carolina. Newly hired Panthers head coach John Fox ran the D for the Giants last season. Peppers has the physical tools to be the next Michael Strahan, plus he’s a native of Tobacco Road. Should be a no-brainer.
3. Detroit Lions — Quentin Jammer, CB, Texas. The Lions have a lot of holes to fill, but with Favre and Culpepper still in the division, they could use a shut down corner. Could pick Joey Harrington, but they really believe in Mike McMahon.
4. Buffalo Bills — Ryan Sims, DT, North Carolina. Losing Ted Washington to the Bears hurt the Bills more than they’d like to admit. Tennessee DT Albert Haynesworth has more upside, but Sims stock has soared in the last couple of weeks.
5. San Diego Chargers — Bryant McKinnie, OT, Miami. Hasn’t given up a sack in six years. Soft spoken nature has some scouts doubting his aggression, and love of the game. With their O-line, San Diego could care less.
6. Dallas Cowboys — Roy Williams, S, Oklahoma. Williams wants to play with the ‘Boys, and Jerry Jones loves brash winners like him. With his addition, half of “America’s” team becomes respectable in 2002.
7. Washington Redskins (from Minnesota) — Joey Harrington, QB, Oregon. Here’s my sleeper special. Minnesota has eyes for Roy Williams. If Dallas takes him off the board they could very well decide to trade down and get a few more picks. Washington owner Daniel Snyder should force the move despite any of Steve Spurrier’s protestations that he can win with Danny Wuerffel.
8. Kansas City Chiefs — Albert Haynesworth, DT, Tennessee. Dick Vermeil has figured out by now that he can’t win with tears and Trent Green, so he has to get some defensive help. Haynesworth is a project, but he has huge amounts of potential.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars — Mike Williams, OT, Texas. Jags have been looking for a DT, but with Williams falling to them in the ninth slot, they won’t be able to resist the massive masher. He reports his weight at 380-ish. Yikes.
10. Cincinnati Bengals — John Henderson, DT, Tennessee. They would’ve liked to pile Harrington in with their other QB corpses, but with him off the board they’ll go for a big middle plugger.
11. Indianaplolis Colts — Wendell Bryant, DT, Wisconsin – Since “Indianapolis Defense” is an oxymoron, Tony Dungy will continue the run on DT’s.
12. Arizona Cardinals — Phillip Buchanon, CB, Miami. Ever since Aeneas Williams left the crumbling walls of Phoenix to build the foundations of a new defensive empire in far away St. Louis, the Cards have been looking for a new epic hero … er, cornerback.
13. New Orleans Saints — Donte Stallworth, WR, Tennessee. Saints need a complement to Joe Horn in their receiving corps. They’ll be happy if Stallworth falls into their laps.
14. Tennessee Titans — Ashley Lelie, WR, Hawaii. Titans would have liked to pick up the hometown boy in Stallworth, but they’ll take Lelie and hope there’s a pot of gold at the end of this Rainbow Warrior.
15. New York Giants — Jeremy Shockey, TE, Miami. Shockey is the cr*me of a nice crop of TE’s. G-Men can only hope he lives up to Tony Gonzalez comparisons.
16. Cleveland Browns — T.J. Duckett, RB, Michigan St. Considered a runner in the Jerome Bettis mold, Duckett has a bruising style and surprising quickness.
17. Atlanta Falcons — Antonio Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh. Had off the field problems in 2001, but has the physical tools to be a great one down the line. Echoes of Randy Moss, anyone?
18. Minnesota Vikings (from Washington) — Charles Grant, DE, Georgia. Vikings are in desperate need of defensive help, especially at end. Trading down with the Redskins would allow them to get Grant and pick up more bodies in the later rounds.
19. Denver Broncos — Napoleon Harris, LB, Northwestern. Harris is the only linebacker expected to go in the first round, and the Broncos should be the ones to get him.
20. Seattle Seahawks — Daniel Graham, TE, Colorado. The Hawks tried to sign both Shannon Sharpe and Ken Dilger, and failed. That makes TE their number one need area.
21. Oakland Raiders — Jabar Gaffney, WR, Florida. Tim Brown and Jerry Rice probably only have a few years left. Their presence allows Gaffney to study under the best.
22. New York Jets — Lito Sheppard, CB, Florida . After losing both Aaron Glenn and Marcus Coleman to the Texans, the Jets need a corner.
23. Oakland Raiders — William Green, RB, Boston College. The Raiders already have two solid backs, but Al Davis likes RB’s, and Green is too good to pass up.
24. Baltimore Ravens — Toniu Fonoti, G, Nebraska. The Ravens would’ve liked to get some insurance for Jamal Lewis, but they’ll settle for some extra help up front.
25. New Orleans Saints — Levi Jones, OT, Arizona St. With the loss of Willie Roaf, the Saints need to restock the O-line.
26. Philadelphia Eagles — Edward Reed, S, Miami. Philly’s secondary is already feared, but the addition of Reed will make it even scarier.
27. San Francisco 49ers — Mike Rumph, CB, Miami. The 49ers’ defense keeps getting younger and better.
28. Green Bay Packers — Josh Reed, WR, LSU. Despite the addition of Terry Glenn, the Pack still desperately needs help at wideout.
29. Chicago Bears — Kalimba Edwards, DE, South Carolina. If Edwards falls into the Bears lap, they’ll have to snatch him up.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers — Jerramy Stevens, TE, Washington. Stevens should be a nice complement to fellow ex-Husky Mark Bruener at TE.
31. St. Louis Rams — Dwight Freeney, DE, Syracuse. Mike Martz values speed above all else, and Freeney’s got plenty of it.
32. New England Patriots — Mike Pearson, OT, Florida. The Pats’ line did a good job protecting Brady in the postseason, but Bledsoe got injured because of their weakness.