NFL Draft 2002's 2003 NFL Draft preview

QBs Leftwich, Ragone, Manning, Simms could go high

Posted: Monday April 22, 2002 5:16 PM
Updated: Tuesday April 23, 2002 12:52 AM

By Stewart Mandel,

History will eventually show that NFL teams erred in their evaluations of some of the prospects selected in last weekend's draft.

So just imagine how bad this projection will look, having been done a year in advance!

Actually, looking back at's first 2002 mock draft, done a year ago, one sees many of the same names who did become first-rounders: John Henderson, Julius Peppers, Bryant McKinnie, Quentin Jammer, Joey Harrington. Unfortunately, there wasn't a single mention of No. 1 pick David Carr.

But Carr didn't really explode until this past season, proving an important point that there is indeed a full season of evaluation ahead that will drastically alter the below projections. While that year made millions for Carr, three of our original first-round picks, Northwestern's Damien Anderson, Georgia Tech's Kelly Campbell and Colorado's Jashon Sykes, wound up not getting drafted at all.

But enough with the exceptions. Taking an early look at next year's class, there's a possibility of four "franchise" quarterbacks, enough receivers to make even Steve Spurrier happy and a possible emphasis on underclassmen.

On the flip side, teams might not want to count on filling their offensive lines in 2003, and running backs are at a premium.

Here now is our early look at next year's first round:

2003 NFL Mock Draft
Pick  Player  Pos.  School  Comment 
1.  Byron Leftwich  QB  Marshall  He's 6-6 and threw for 4,131 yards, 38 TDs and only 7 INTs last year. 
2.  Dave Ragone  QB  Louisville  Similarly massive (6-4, 255) yet nimble (4.7 40) and extremely accurate. 
3.  Roy Williams *  WR  Texas  Nicknamed "Legend," scouts will drool over this 6-4, 210-pound specimen. 
4.  William Joseph  DT  Miami (Fla.)  The 'Canes had 11 drafted this year; next year should be similar. 
5.  Charles Rogers *  WR  Mich. St.  In just first season after sitting out, dazzled with 1,470 yards, 21.9 per catch. 
6.  Eli Manning *  QB  Ole Miss  Another QB with fabled genes, many feel he has more pure talent than Peyton. 
7.  Chris Simms  QB  Texas  NFL folks remain enamored despite his propensity for flubbing up the biggest games. 
8.  E.J. Henderson  LB  Maryland  Nation's top returning defender has a big motor that led him to 150 tackles. 
9.  Jimmy Kennedy  DT  Penn State  The 6-5, 330-pound beast is PSU's best pro prospect since Arrington/Brown. 
10.  Brett Williams  Fla. St.  Four-year starter first gained recognition in FSU's '99 national title season. 
11.  Mike Doss  Ohio St.  Hard-hitter who easily could have been a high pick had he come out early. 
12.  Dennis Weathersby  CB  Oregon St.  Two time All-Pac-10 selection has broken up 44 passes. 
13.  Bernard Berrian  WR  Fresno St.  David Carr's No. 2 receiver last year also shined as a punt returner. 
14.  Vince Wilfork *  DT  Miami (Fla.)  A 6-2, 346-pound sophomore, he's barely scratched the surface but is poised for a breakout. 
15.  Dewayne White *  DE  Louisville  The nation's leading returnee in sacks (15), No. 2 in tackles for loss (24). 
16.  D.J. Williams *  LB  Miami (Fla.)  Former No. 1 recruit has blossomed into one of Miami's top defensive players. 
17.  Darnell Dockett *  DT  Fla. St.  Became a starter as a true freshman and garnered All-ACC as a sophomore. 
18.  Andre Woolfolk  CB/WR  Oklahoma  Two-way player emerged as one of the nation's best cover corners last year. 
19.  Kendyll Pope *  LB  Fla. St.  Highly athletic standout was FSU's No. 2 tackler as a sophomore. 
20.  Lee Evans * *  WR  Wisconsin  Nation's No. 2 returning receiver (1,545 yards) injured his knee at spring game.  
21.  Andre Johnson *  WR  Miami (Fla.)  The Rose Bowl co-MVP (7 catches, 199 yards) is 6-3 with 4.4 speed. 
22.  Lee Suggs * *  RB  Va. Tech  Went into last year a Heisman candidate before tearing his ACL in the first game. 
23.  Jon Stinchcomb  Georgia  Looks to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Matt (Oakland Raiders). 
24.  Ricky Manning  CB  UCLA  A starter for 32 straight games who excels in one-on-one coverage. 
25.  Kelley Washington*  WR  Tennessee  Had explosive debut season after four years in minor-league baseball. 
26.  Cory Redding  DE  Texas  Top defensive recruit four years ago could use an impressive senior season. 
27.  B.J. Johnson *  WR  Texas  Not quite as explosive as classmate Williams but approaches his productivity. 
28.  Montrae Holland  Fla. St.  One of five projected senior starters on FSU's offensive line. 
29.  Greg Gathers  DE  Ga. Tech  Already the Yellow Jackets' all-time career sacks leader with 30.  
30.  Teyo Johnson*  WR  Stanford  Basketball player puts up modest numbers, but he also happens to be 6-7. 
31.  Dahrran Diedrick  RB  Nebraska  Generally regarded as the Huskers' best back since Ahman Green. 
32.  Kindal Moorehead  DE  Alabama  Has had 16 sacks and 29 tackles for loss in three seasons. 
* -- underclassman
* * -- ranked lower because of injury

Other possible first round picks

Rex Grossman *, QB, Florida; Ken Dorsey, QB, Miami; Carson Palmer, QB, USC; Jason Thomas, QB, UNLV; Onterrio Smith *, RB, Oregon; Clarence Farmer *, RB, Arizona; LaBrandon Toefield *, RB, LSU; Cedric Cobbs *, RB, Arkansas; Kareem Kelly, WR, USC; Paul Arnold, WR, Washington; Kwame Harris *, OL, Stanford; Kenny King, DE, Alabama; Terrell Suggs *, DE, Arizona State; Bradie James, LB, LSU; Boss Bailey, LB, Georgia; Victor Hobson, LB, Michigan; Jonathan Vilma *, LB, Miami; Sammy Davis, CB, Texas A&M, Bryant McFadden *, CB, Florida State; Anthony Floyd, S, Louisville.

Related information
Stories's Offseason Beat: A call to arms
Peter King's Monday Morning QB: Scaling the NFL Draft
SI's Dr. Z: Ready for your grades?
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