NFL Draft 2002


Draft Analysis: Round 1

Pat Kirwan has spent many a draft in the war room as an NFL scout and assistant personnel director. Here is his pick-by-pick analysis for the first and second rounds of the 2002 NFL Draft:

Round 2 Analysis

32: Washington Redskins | Patrick Ramsey | QB | Tulane Green Wave
There's no doubt Steve Spurrier had to get a quarterback in this draft and he knew Ramsey would not be available at the bottom of the second round, so get him now. He's accurate, smart and has learned the quarterback position at Tulane when they were the inferior talent on the field, forcing them into many more passing situations, which is great experience for a quarterback. He does not have the mobility of Carr or Harrington but demonstrated at the Senior Bowl he has all the throws, and when you're with Spurrier, brains and arm strength are more important than foot speed. My concern about Pat was the 13 interceptions when you consider Harrington threw five and Carr threw seven. It will be Steve Spurrier's job to clean that up.
31: St. Louis Rams | Robert Thomas | ILB | UCLA Bruins
He's a guy who runs a 4.5 and is a tackling machine and will fit into the defense as a weakside linebacker. Add him to a team that used their four picks on defensive players and team him up with Jamie Duncan, who will be a middle linebacker, and the Rams, known as an offensive scoring machine, are building a great defense. The dilemma they face at this point was if they didn't take Thomas now, he wouldn't be there when they selected again at the end of the second round. The problem trading down at the end of the first round is that no one wants to go up there and pay the extra money in salary and signing bonus.
30: Pittsburgh Steelers | Kendall Simmons | OG | Auburn Tigers
A former left tackle that is being moved to guard only because of his height. He can pass block, he is physical and can fit nicely with Pittsburgh first as a utility lineman and eventually settle in as one of the guards. He is tough, forget about the height at 6-2, he can be a left tackle in a pinch and is a typical Pittsburgh Steelers selection.
29: Chicago Bears | Marc Colombo | OT | Boston College Eagles
He's probably one of the most competitive linemen in the draft and the Bears absolutely had to replace Blake Brockemeyer, who was cut when he didn't renegotiate his contract. Coach Bob Wylie has done excellent things with young linemen to get them ready quickly. They have one or two players that can start out the season for them until Mark is ready, but Colombo will be on the field in October. It won't look pretty, but he will battle and is a lot like Brockemeyer, who is no longer there. The Bears are running the ball now than they did two years ago, and that will help Colombo. His problems will surface when it's more pass than run, when he has to deal with the very athletic pass rushers from the right side.
28: Seattle Seahawks | Jerramy Stevens | TE | Washington Huskies
As a talent, he's the whole package. He's big, he can catch, he can block, he can be a vertical threat and was considered a second-round pick because of off-the-field issues. If his head's on straight, Seattle got a great player. When the Seahawks moved down and the Patriots moved up, Seattle lost a chance at Daniel Graham. One coach I spoke with felt Stevens can become an All-Pro or a bust. That's too much risk for the first round.
27: San Francisco 49ers | Mike Rumph | CB | Miami (FL) Hurricanes
Every football team needs a big corner to match up with the NBA-type wide receivers in this league. No team knows better about this than the 49ers with Terrell Owens and J.J. Stokes on the team. Mike rose from the second-round area to the late first round in the last month when the coaches studied him on film and worked him out. A solid pick who could some day move to safety if need be. Ronnie Lott came to the Niners as a corner and moved to safety. Bill Walsh still has influence in the draft room and like big, smart defensive backs, and he also plays them early. You never have enough good corners when you're in the same division as the Rams.
26: Philadelphia Eagles | Lito Sheppard | CB | Florida Gators
This is an interesting pick since they already have two great corners. Lito was the third-best cover corner in the draft and he joined the perfect system for him. DC Jim Johnson loves pressure package defenses with pure man-to-man coverage from corners with no help. Sheppard has the chance to succeed in that defense. The Eagles never put themselves in jeopardy with people holding them hostage in contract negotations. They had a replacement for Trotter, and in a few years will have a replacement for one of their corners should that happen. This pick is a classic example of a good team getting better by getting depth in an era where other teams can't do this because of players lost. The Eagles are ahead in most of the games they play and consequently play more nickel and dime situations. He will play more in his first year than most other teams.
25: New Orleans Saints | Charles Grant | DE | Georgia Bulldogs
The Saints have let it be known that they were interested in Grant. Critics say that all of his sack production came in one game. People who like Grant feel he has the ability to be another Joe Johnson, the player the Saints just lost in free agency. Why did Charles Grant's stock rise when he was considered a second-round pick last month? He gained 20 pounds and didn't lose any speed. Coaches say he has the hip flexibility and explosiveness to be a force in the league. Critics say he's 6-3 and doesn't have special skills required to be a 10-plus sack player in the league. Jim Haslett has liked him all along, and as a defensive coach, knew what he wanted all along.
24: Baltimore Ravens | Edward Reed | S | Miami (FL) Hurricanes
He's one of the better safeties in this draft but not loved by all secondary coaches who scouted him, but he is a big playmaker. The Ravens are in the middle of reconstructing their defense under a new coordinator and could be interested in playing more cover-2, and he'll be a good fit for that. The Ravens have other needs at more important positions like defensive tackle. They relieved some pressure by going to a 3-4 front, and if they don't re-sign Sam Adams, taking Reed at this pick could be a risk.
23: Oakland Raiders | Napoleon Harris | OLB | Northwestern Wildcats
Ranked as the best linebacker in this draft and is considered a sam linebacker (strong side over the tight end). The Raiders signed Bill Romanowski, who also plays that position but is getting on in age. They are grooming Harris to take over for him next year. Harris has some speed to play weak-side backer for the time being. The Raiders like to play man-to-man and blitz, and he will be a factor in the Raiders package right away. His coverage skills are good and his tackling is outstanding. A little bit of a surprise pick considering they still need a defensive tackle to go along with John Pirella. But they have two second-round picks and have their eye on someone there like Larry Triplett or Eddie Freeman.
22: New York Jets | Bryan Thomas | DE | UAB Blazers
He has the size at 280 pounds and the speed at 4.5 to play either end. With John Abraham as a Pro Bowl right end, it sounds like Thomas will be the left end. That leaves me with the question about Shaun Ellis, who was a good defensive end as a rookie and tailed off last year after a failed experiment at tackle. I would get on the phone with the Jets if I needed a defensive end and inquire about Ellis. Thomas has an excellent motor, can play the run and will be a terror against the quarterbacks in pass coverage. He should have the luxury of single-team blocks with people worrying about Abraham. Thomas rose from the middle of the second round to the middle of the first since the combine. Coaches I know that went into Birmingham to work him out came away with the impression that he was the second-best defensive end in the draft.
21: New England Patriots | Dan Graham | TE | Colorado Buffaloes
The second-best tight end in the draft and at 6-3, 245, will give the Patriots a Shannon Sharpe-type weapon on the field. They can open him up and play him in a wide receiver position and force the strong safety to have to cover him. That will cause problems and offensive coordinator Charlie Weiss knows how to do it. He's tough enough to lineup next to the tackle and be a good blocker. He can be a great blocker some day. It's ironic that the Patriots signed tight ends Cam Cleeland and Christian Fauria during the offseason. It's apparent to me that they will line up in the two tight-end sets often, and will need all probably need all three. Look for offensive coordinator Charlie Weiss to get back into bunch-set formations. They're easy reads for Tom Brady and they now have the weapons to make that a very dangerous package. Matchups in the AFC East put a lot of pressure on safeties with Graham in the game. For example, Sam Garnes, now with the Jets, will get forced into coverage. These are the kinds of matchups Bill Belichick loves. Seattle moved down and probably felt Graham would be there for them. New England took advantage of that and jumped up to get this coveted tight end.
20: Green Bay Packers | Javon Walker | WR | Florida St. Seminoles
Former junior college receiver that went to the Senior Bowl and demonstrated skills and experience from two years at Florida State to fit in as one of the premier receivers. A month ago, he was a second-round pick, but a 4.35 40 at the combine and an excellent campus workout changed people's opinion of him. He's big, he can get vertical, he can run excellent routes, and get involved underneath. He will fit in nicely and have a good quarterback who will force him to run the correct routes. He needs to practice his Lambeau Leap because he will be in the end zone plenty of times this year. The Packers made a commitment in December to get younger at the receiver position, and this is an excellent addition. A bit surprised they moved up to get him but it tells you how much momentum he had created for himself from his spring workouts.
19: Denver Broncos | Ashley Lelie | WR | Hawaii Warriors
Extremely fast wide receiver with size. The fear was that his numbers were inflated by a run-and-shoot offense. But his personal workouts proved he was a legitimate speed receiver. He has been timed under 4.2 by some position coaches. The head coach at Hawaii is June Jones and a former NFL head coach, and his endorsement has carried a lot of weight with offensive coordinators. I had the chance to work with a run-and-shoot receiver when we got Wayne Chrebet from Hofstra, and they do understand coverages. He will have no problem going into the NFL passing game. Lelie's opportunity to learn the pro game from Ed McCaffrey and Rod Smith with accelerate his learning curve and he will be the starting receiver in two years.
18: Atlanta Falcons | T.J. Duckett | HB | Michigan St. Spartans
A true inside power back in the mold of Jamal Anderson, and you don't need two like that. Duckett's stock rose when he ran 4.4. at 260 pounds during his personal workout, and some teams had him ahead of William Green. One coach I spoke with said Duckett ran fast but didn't play that fast. The best way to describe this player: He's not as good as Jerome Bettis but he may be better than Ron Dayne. He will be the physical, pounding back that will get the Falcons to third and short rather than third and long. That is the kind of thing that helps Michael Vick and his feet a chance to be a weapon. If Michael has to rely on his arm and reading defenses, he's not going to be ready. Duckett helps Michael Vick than anyone else they can get right now.
17: Oakland Raiders | Phillip Buchanon | CB | Miami (FL) Hurricanes
He may be the best corner when the ball is in the air. He has great athletic skill and acts more like a receiver than a DB when tracking the ball. He has played a lot of press-man coverage. He has very fluid hips and can mirror quality wide receivers. He's going to team up with Charles Woodson to give the Raiders the best corner tandem in the NFL a year from now. In the meantime, he'll learn a lot of football from Eric Allen, who still plays at a very high level, allowing Philip to line up against slot receivers, taking the pressure off him his first year. Al Davis loves man-to-man coverage, and to get this player, this late in the first round with three more picks in the first two round, puts the Raiders in a good position. While playing as the nickel corner, Buchanon can give the Raiders all of his return skills. This is a great place for Buchanon to be going. They won't be wasting his skill on cover-2 zones. Who better for Buchanon to learn the skills of covering wide receivers than Jerry Rice and Tim Brown.
16: Cleveland Browns | William Green | HB | Boston College Eagles
He is the best running back in the draft. As one running back coach said to me, he loves football and is a combination of a power back and a breakaway runner. He has excellent hands and is what we call a bell-cow back: capable of 25 carries a game and talented enough to stay on the field in third-down packages. At one point, it sounded like T.J. Duckett would be their choice, but he is more one-dimensional than Green. Green has overcome great problems in his personal life and is the player Cleveland has needed for three years. With James Jackson now as the backup, their running back situation has gone from bad to excellent. There was concern over the winter that he was a 4.6 40 guy. He is faster than that, he plays a lot faster than that, and Butch Davis will find many ways to get the ball in his hands 30 times a game.
15: Tennessee Titans | Albert Haynesworth | DT | Tennessee Volunteers
Albert Haynesworth was considered a better player than John Henderson. A very athletic tackle who is talented enough to play left defensive end, if needed. He had some off the field issues that caused him to drop to this spot. On talent alone, he might be considered the best tackle. His availability is a direct effect of the Bengals taking Levi Jones and having quality players available. With Haynesworth on a line with Kevin Carter and Jevon Kearse, he will be single-blocked and he has no excuse to be a productive player in his first year.
14: New York Giants | Jeremy Shockey | TE | Miami (FL) Hurricanes
He is the complete tight end. He's big enough to become a great blocker. He's already a great receiver and dangerous after the catch. He's flexible enough to reach for a bad pass. He has enough skill to beat a strong safety in man-to-man coverage, and it will be no contest if teams send a linebacker on him. The Giants desperately needed ta tight end. With Levi Jones off the board, this was a no-brainer pick. Moving up one pick guaranteed Seattle would not get ahead of them and take Shockey. Mike Holmgren said he would have made some moves today. In the national championship game, he solidified that he was the best tight end in the draft. I was involved in taking a tight end in the first round twice with Johnny Mitchell and Kyle Brady. He's better than both of them, and he should work out better for the Giants than they did for me.
13: New Orleans Saints | Donte Stallworth | WR | Tennessee Volunteers
Stallworth clearly moved up the wide receiver board during the winter and culminated his rise to the top with his outstanding workout at his school. He has legitimate 4.2 speed, he's big and he has receiving skills to go along with the track speed. Vertical threats like him are hard to find and without them, the Saints could not open up the offense. The young quarterback Aaron Brooks now has a legitimate deep threat target that will take the pressure off him. In my discussions with offensive coordinators and receiver coaches, he was the consensus top receiver. New Orleans is lucky someone did not move up to grab him.
12: Arizona Cardinals | Wendell Bryant | DT | Wisconsin Badgers
A very athletic tackle. Can definitely play at left defensive end. He's run 4.8 at 300 pounds. There were some earlier questions about his motor. If he operated with intensity all the time, coaches who studied him were comfortable that he played hard. He's an extremely talented athlete who will give Dave McGinnis the inside player he wanted the whole time. The team is ecstatic he's available, and figured he would've gone to Jacksonville or Indianapolis. To get him without moving up is cause for celebration in Arizona. He will defend the run as well as he rushes the passer. He reminds me a lot of Corey Simon, the outstanding young tackle for the Eagles.
11: Indianapolis Colts | Dwight Freeney | OLB | Syracuse Orangemen
A classic 'tweener that is undersized and many teams were scared off as a top-15 pick. He has great explosion and is a pass-rush specialist extraordinaire. The problem these undersized pass rushers face is that the athletic left tackles in the NFL have the ability to get their hands on them. If he does he beat the tackle, he can close and make sacks. With their needs at defensive tackle, you could consider this a slight surprise, but Bill Polian loves hard-nosed football players, and they will scheme him to be effective. I will pay close attention to where they line him up on first and second downs. With Tony Dungy as the head coach, I expect him to be a 10-sack player next year.
10: Cincinnati Bengals | Levi Jones | OT | Arizona St. Sun Devils
This is a surprise pick for the Bengals. They had indicated to me during the week that they were thinking about a defensive lineman or a cornerback. With Philip Buchanon still on the board, I wonder the Bengals took Jones. He's an outstanding athletic tackle who moved up with a great Senior Bowl performance, especially in practice. This is high where to select Levi, and Mike Brown could've considered moving down if this was his player. They won't be displeased by the effort they get from Jones. I like Jones as a pass blocker and, with his movement skills, can pull and will be excellent downfield as a screen blocker. I was impressed with him when I interviewed him at the Senior Bowl.
9: Jacksonville Jaguars | John Henderson | DT | Tennessee Volunteers
This is a surprise pick by Jacksonville. John started out in September as the No. 1 tackle in this draft, but by the end of the combine, ended up fourth on almost every board. He's tall and perceived as stiff, especially during his workouts on the floor of the RCA Dome. One d-line coach I spoke to compared him to Jon Harris, formerly of Virginia and former first-round pick of the Eagles. He's not that bad, but Albert Haynesworth and Wendell Bryant were considered better players and more athletic. There are some off-field questions about Haynesworth and I'm sure Tom Coughlin weighed that heavily in his decision. John will be a good player, not sure if he'll be a great player. But a major need has been filled because they lost both starting tackles in the expansion draft to Houston.
8: Dallas Cowboys | Roy Williams | S | Oklahoma Sooners
He was the right pick in their original spot. To get the player they wanted and the 75th pick in the draft is a great move for Jerry Jones, who doesn't have a good history of trading at the NFL Draft. In my mind, this makes up for trading up for Quincy Carter last year. Williams may be a bit high for a safety unless you've studied Williams. He's the best safety to come out of the draft in a few years. He plays like Ronnie Lott - he's physical, can tackle at the line of scrimmage or in space. He's athletic enough to get in the middle and play like a free safety. At 220 pounds, when he blitzes, he will have the same effect as a will linebacker. Uncontested as the best safety in the draft. Dave Campo, the head coach, is a defensive coach by trade and will find multiple ways to feature Roy, who should be a Pro Bowl player in a very short period of time. If a club tries to force Roy into lining up against a wide receiver or running back, they'll be surprised how well he can do that. He is a complete player.
7: Minnesota Vikings | Bryant McKinnie | OT | Miami (FL) Hurricanes
By far, the biggest tackle in the draft. He never gave up a sack in college. He has long arms and great feet. He's run 5.1 in the 40 at 385 pounds. He also is a better run blocker than advertised. His critics think he leans on players. Let me make two points on that. 1. At 6-8, it's hard to get your pads to get under a 6-1 pass rusher. 2. From the film I watched, when he leaned on them, he went down. He has a lot of pride in his play, is not considered as good as Jonathan Ogden or Tony Boselli, but will be just below them for 10 years. It will be tremendous for him that he's going to a team where the head coach is an offensive line coach by trade. The Vikings didn't have a left tackle on the roster, so this is an example of value meeting need, with the Vikings getting the best of this situation.
6: Kansas City Chiefs | Ryan Sims | DT | North Carolina Tar Heels
Kansas City has wanted Ryan Sims since the Senior Bowl. The head coach had indicated he was taking a defensive tackle since the season ended and the defensive staff arrived at the position of rating Sims No. 1. His performance at the Senior Bowl was outstanding, and in Greg Robinson's 4-3 defense, the three-technique tackle must be a penetrator. Secondly, North Carolina head coach John Bunting was the defensive coordinator for the Rams when Dick Vermeil was there and assured coach Vermeil he was a consummate pro.
5: San Diego Chargers | Quentin Jammer | CB | Texas Longhorns
San Diego is ecstatic that the Detroit Lions decided to go with Harrington and give them the opportunity to select Jammer, the best corner in this draft. He can play press-man coverage on the top receivers. He's an excellent tackler, an instant starter and would've been the top corner selected if he came out last year. He has size and maturity, and did not give up a touchdown last year. With Jerry Rice, Tim Brown and Ed McCaffrey in San Diego's division, this is the shutdown corner they needed.
4: Buffalo Bills | Mike Williams | OT | Texas Longhorns
Agent David Dunn represents Joey Harrington and Williams, so he has plenty of work to do. Williams is the best right tackle in the draft and what is important to remember is that he played with a lefthanded quarterback and consequently was the backside blocker much like a left tackle is for a righthanded quarterback. Mike is the best run-blocking tackle in the draft who can get movement on a defensive lineman. He has an outstanding punch which will help him against big left defensive ends in the NFL. There are some issues about his pass blocking against speed rushers from the outside, but they're minimal. This is a solid, safe pick who will start for 10-15 years. Only negative I heard is his ability to take care of his weight. Some think he could become Aaron Gibson and eat himself out of the league. I don't share that view. This is exactly how Tom Donahoe builds a football team. Now, Williams teams up with free-agent signing Trey Teague at left tackle to give the Bills the best tackle tandems in the league. They'll run the ball better and the protection will be better, and the Bills, with 11 picks in this draft, are on their way to a recovery in 2002.
3: Detroit Lions | Joey Harrington | QB | Oregon Ducks
Detroit finally came to their senses and took the right player to rebuild the Lions franchise. Many of the quarterback coaches I talked to feel he has the intangibles of Brett Favre and Joe Montana. Nine fourth-quarter comebacks is proof of what this guy is all about. My close friend Pete Carroll, now the head coach at USC, was one of the victims of those comebacks and said them to me he had the presence of Jim Kelly on the field with two minutes to play. Questions about his arm strength were answered at the combine in front of all the coaches and personnel people. He's mechanically more sound than David Carr. And this is a great pick for Matt Millen. He was undefeated in bowl games, proving to coaches he can play big in big games.
2: Carolina Panthers | Julius Peppers | DE | North Carolina Tar Heels
Julius Peppers is the most intriguing pass rusher/defensive end in this draft. He has all the tools and is a tremendous athlete who could become the next Bruce Smith. Only time will tell if passing on Joey Harrington was the right move for this franchise. There are some questions about Peppers' motor and his ability to play hard all the time. I know John Fox very well and John will get everything out of Peppers he has to give. John coaches with enthusiasm and it's contagious - just ask Michael Strahan. I'm sure Fox believes Peppers will do everything for the Panthers that Strahan did for the Giants. 30 sacks in college is a good indication that he can be a 15-sack-a-year player in the NFL in a year or two. His college coaches say Ryan Sims, the tackle, is more ready for pro football. And as long as Julius realizes that he has a lot more to learn he'll be OK. If he gets frustrated in the learning process, this could be a questionable pick down the road.
1: Houston Texans | David Carr | QB | Fresno St. Bulldogs
I spent an awful lot of time with the Texans this winter and I'm close friends with Chris Palmer and they've been in love with Carr since the Senior Bowl. He has all the intangibles. The three-quarter arm motion is not a serious problem. And what intrigues Charley Casserly the most is the maturity and the stability to withstand the pressures of being the first pick in the NFL Draft. You cannot deny the 46 TDs and over 4,000 yards of passing as the most productive quarterback in the country last year. Many coaches like Harrington as much but not many indicated to me they liked him more. This is the kind of player you want to build a franchise around.

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