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B. Duane Cross Inside the NFL

Mike'd up

USC receiver Williams enters, shuffles the board only slightly

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Riddle me this: Why is so much emphasis placed on the Scouting Combine?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but football isn't played in shorts and T-shirts. Touchdowns aren't the end result of a 4.4 time in the 40. Sacks aren't measured in how many bench-press lifts a D-lineman can do.

Football is played in pads, which is where scouting and breaking down game film enters the equation. Teams that can best judge talent on the field are the ones most likely to succeed.

All that leads me to this: How can any NFL front office type openly admit that he does not have a handle on USC receiver Mike Williams? Only those people wall-eyed from watching 11 uninterrupted hours of Lord of the Rings don't have a clue as to what Williams brings to the field.

There are a few changes to the mock this time, including two projected trades. New to the list are Williams, DT Darnell Duckett, CB DeAngelo Hall and CB Ahmad Carroll. And that means four players have fallen from the first mock draft board: LBs Karlos Dansby and Dontarrious Thomas, CB Derrick Strait and RB Chris Perry.

So, without further ado, here is how Williams' entry will affect the 2004 NFL Draft:

SI.com's 2004 Mock Draft -- Take 2
Pick Team Pos. Player College Ht. Wt. Class
1 WR Larry Fitzgerald Pittsburgh 6'3" 210 Soph.
  • San Diego trades down (swapping with with Arizona) and picks up a third-rounder.
    I am on record as saying USC's Mike Williams is the No. 1 receiver available. But in this case, blood is thicker than water; 'Zona head coach Dennis Green knows Fitz. Call it the comfort factor -- comfortable with the player and comfortable in implementing the three-receiver set.
  • 2 QB Eli Manning Ole Miss 6'4" 215 Sr.
    I'm not going to give you the spiel on how Al Davis loves the vertical passing game, stretching the field, yada yada yada. However, with the Cards leaping to the top spot, the speed merchant that Oakland wants will be off the board. Hence, the Raiders "settle" for a franchise QB.
    3 WR Mike Williams USC 6'5" 230 Soph.
  • Arizona trades up (swapping with San Diego) and also yields a third-rounder.
    So much for the hand-wringing over taking a QB with the No. 1 pick. The Chargers move down, pick up an extra first-day draft pick and land a difference-maker at receiver. Now the pressure is squarely on Marty Schottenheimer to elevate the game of QB Drew Brees.
  • 4 T Robert Gallery Iowa 6'7 1/2" 320 Sr.
    There have been some rumblings that Oakland could take Gallery with the No. 2 pick. If he is off the board when the G-Men select, expect Manning -- Southern drawl and all -- to be the next big thing in the Big Apple. (Check out Dr. Z's take on Manning.)
    5 S Sean Taylor Miami (Fla.) 6'3" 225 Jr.
  • Washington trades down (swapping with Houston) and picks up a third- and fourth-rounder.
    The Texans need a mauler in the defensive backfield -- and Taylor is being compared to some of the game's greats. Houston signed free-agent DT Robaire Smith; adding Taylor may springboard the Texans into bona fide contender status in the AFC South.
  • 6 RB Steven Jackson Oregon State 6'3" 233 Jr.
    OK, so Detroit loses out on a big-play safety after the Texans-Skins swap. Luckily for the Lions, the team has several need positions, including running back. Jackson is quick on his feet and he's also good at catching the ball -- and a perfect match for Steve Mariucci's offense.
    7 TE Kellen Winslow Jr. Miami (Fla.) 6'5" 250 Jr.
    Winslow is the complete package -- size, speed, hands -- and he'll be a good addition to any offense. And he's benefitting from the Hurricane hype; Ben Troupe is equally as talented. Now if the Browns can just settle on someone at quarterback.
    8 DT Tommie Harris Oklahoma 6'3" 288 Jr.
    Head coach Jim Mora Jr. would like to shore up the Falcons' O-line and get Michael Vick another option, but Atlanta has serious deficiencies on defense. Harris is the best of a good crop of down linemen; he can play off the end as well as inside.
    9 WR Roy Williams Texas 6'4" 210 Sr.
    The knock is that Williams' senior season wasn't a collection of highlight-reel material. You try putting up big numbers with Chance Mock and Vince Young throwing the ball. Expect "Leftwich-to-Williams" to be the Jags' calling card for many years.
    10 DE Kenechi Udeze USC 6'3" 270 Soph.
  • Houston trades up (swapping with Washington) and also yields a third- and fourth-rounder.
    The Redskins have two -- count 'em -- draft picks as we speak. So exactly when did George Allen take over Joe Gibbs' body? Dropping five spots and picking up two extra picks is worth it for a guy who had 16 1/2 sacks and virtually lived in the opponents' backfield last year.
  • 11 QB Ben Roethlisberger Miami (Ohio) 6'5" 240 Jr.
    If it were only this easy. ... Steelers fans would storm the Roberto Clemente Bridge if Big Ben fell into their laps at No. 11. It's possible -- and very probable.
    12 LB Jonathan Vilma Miami (Fla.) 6'2" 225 Sr.
    Now that Mo Lewis and Marvin Jones have been cut loose, the Jets' priority is restocking their 'backer corps. Vilma is a playmaking machine despite his relatively diminutive size.
    13 WR Michael Clayton LSU 6'4" 200 Jr.
    Put Clayton and Washington's Reggie Williams in a bag, shake it up and pull out a name; either player could go here. If the Bills opt for speed, Williams will be the pick.
    14 DE Will Smith Ohio State 6'4" 263 Sr.
    Adding Thomas Jones via free agency takes the Bears out of the hunt for a running back, so adding a pass-rush specialist like Smith is the likeliest choice.
    15 T Shawn Andrews Arkansas 6'5" 330 Jr.
    Tampa Bay's O-line has been a point of contention with Bucs fans for many years. Plugging in Andrews will immediately improve the running game, which needs all the help it can get.
    16 WR Reggie Williams Washington 6'4" 220 Jr.
    Hey, I like Brandon Lloyd as much as the next guy, but the Niners must upgrade their receivers after the loss of Terrell Owens. D-line help is there for the taking with Nos. 46, 51 and 77.
    17 CB Chris Gamble Ohio State 6'2" 180 Jr.
    Fact: Ohio State is the top supplier of college talent to the Bengals (18), including five former Pro Bowlers. Gamble would be an immediate starter and special teams standout.
    18 CB Dunta Robinson South Carolina 5'11" 180 Sr.
    Here's where the CB market gets a bit muddy: Robinson, Will Poole and DeAngelo Hall all are a tick below Gamble. Any of the three could be selected here; Robinson is coming on strong.
    19 DE Antwan Odom Alabama 6'5" 277 Jr.
    Minnesota must improve its lowly total of 37 sacks. The Vikes need DB help, but that can be done in free agency. The pass-rush market is minimal now that Jevon Kearse has been signed.
    20 QB Philip Rivers N.C. State 6'5" 236 Sr.
    Jay Fielder or A.J. Feeley? You can have 'em both. Why not really throw open the Dolphins' QB competition with a guy who can be the starter for the next 10 years?
    21 RB Kevin Jones Virginia Tech 6'0" 225 Jr.
    While Michigan's Chris Perry is a mudder and accustomed to playing in less than ideal conditions, Jones is a dual-purpose runner who eliminates the need for a third-down back.
    22 DT Randy Starks Maryland 6'4" 312 Jr.
    If the Cowboys go defense with Starks, RBs Perry or Tatum Bell of Oklahoma State or Florida State's Greg Jones will be available at No. 52 in the second round. It's a win-win situation.
    23 DT Vince Wilfork Miami (Fla.) 6'2" 325 Jr.
    Defensive line is the Seahawks' biggest need (even after signing free-agent DE Grant Wistrom). Showing up at the Scouting Combine at a svelte 323 was a big plus for Wilfork.
    24 WR Rashaun Woods Oklahoma State 6'2" 190 Sr.
    Considering the WR depth ths year, Woods' place as the sixth receiver off the board is a boon for the Broncos. Even more so if Denver lands Georgia TE Ben Watson with the No. 41 pick.
    25 DE Marquise Hill LSU 6'7" 294 Jr.
    In a perfect world, the Packers get Hill then trade their second- and third-round picks to get Tulane QB J.P. Losman very early in Round 2. Of course, this isn't a perfect world.
    26 TE Ben Troupe Florida 6'4" 262 Sr.
    Losing Wistrom in free agency is a big blow. If the Rams don't address the D-line on the open market, this pick becomes a wild card. D-linemen can be found; game-breaking TEs are gems.
    27 DT Darnell Dockett Florida State 6'4" 280 Sr.
    The losses of DE Jevon Kearse (Eagles) and DT Robaire Smith (Texans) is a huge setback for the Titans. Getting Dockett to play alongside Albert Haynesworth is a rebuilding block.
    28 CB Will Poole USC 6'0" 190 Sr.
    Again, it could be Poole or DeAngelo Hall, depending on what the Eagles' taste is. Either will start and it should be a seamless transition from the days of Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent.
    29 LB D.J. Williams Miami (Fla.) 6'2" 245 Sr.
    With only one LB off the board, Tony Dungy will have a wide range of versatile talents from which to choose. Williams is athletic and fast, more so than the other available 'backers.
    30 CB DeAngelo Hall Virginia Tech 5'11" 195 Jr.
    The Chiefs' biggest offseason move was signing Gunther Cunningham as defensive coordinator. He'll improve the play of the current LBs; drafting a difference-making CB is the choice.
    31 CB Ahmad Carroll Arkansas 5'11" 190 Jr.
    A good Combine workout has Carroll moving up the board. He was the Razorbacks' top corner and could be a much-needed blanket-type DB for the NFC champs.
    32 T Vernon Carey Miami (Fla.) 6'5" 360 Sr.
    Mea culpa: Va. Tech's Jake Grove was slotted here; Pats fans were quick to remind me Dan Koppen will be the O-line anchor for many years. Carey can play guard or tackle, as needed.


    B. Duane Cross is a senior producer for SI.com.

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