SI.com 2003 NFL Draft 2003 NFL Draft


Shake, rattle and roll

First round takes new shape as free agency molds rosters

Posted: Thursday March 20, 2003 3:11 PM
  Kyle Boller Kyle Boller's stock continues to rise -- even into a possible top-10 pick. Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

By B. Duane Cross, SI.com

Two months ago, it was easy to wax poetic about a team's needs. Atlanta needed a go-to receiver. Arizona needed a pass-rushing end. Chicago needed a quarterback.

Well, the Bears still need a quarterback. Kordell Stewart? Please.

Nonetheless, while free agency has shuffled the rosters of all 32 teams, everyone is still working toward the April 26-27 draft. For it is there that franchises are built for championship runs.

Well, unless you're Cincinnati. Or Arizona.

The Bengals need several pieces to solve the postseason puzzle, and the Cardinals -- now minus Jake Plummer and David Boston -- have their work cut out for them before commissioner Paul Tagliabue calls Madison Square Garden to order.

Hey, you J-E-T-S fans in the balcony, hush up. And you Eagles fanatics, calm down.

Taking into consideration offseason moves, here's how we think the first round of 32 will shake out:

SI.com's 2003 Mock Draft
Pick Team Pos. Player College Ht. Wt. Class
1 CB Terence Newman Kansas St. 5'10" 189 Sr.
Reading between the lines, we consider the Bengals' decision to give QB Jon Kitna a $1.6M performance bonus as a bone to keep him happy. New head coach Marvin Lewis will go defense with the speedy Newman (4.38 in the 40).
2 WR Charles Rogers Michigan St. 6'2" 202Jr.
WR Az-Zahir Hakim missed six games in 2002, but a return to health -- and Rogers -- gives Detroit a potent wideout duo. Toss in WR Bill Schroeder and TE Mikhael Ricks, and the Lions' offense doesn't look so cowardly.
3 WR Andre Johnson Miami (Fla.) 6'2" 230Jr.
With a first-rounder acquired from Washington as compensation for Laveranues Coles, the Jets trade at least the No. 13 pick and their third rounder (No. 85 overall) to take a difference-maker -- something the 5-11, 196-pound Coles isn't.
4 DE Terrell Suggs Arizona St. 6'3" 262Jr.
Chicago should've spent the $5M to sign Kordell Stewart to up the ante and retain LB Rosevelt Colvin. The mindset: A No. 1 QB (Carson Palmer, Byron Leftwich) isn't necessary to win it all (Kurt Warner, Trent Dilfer, Tom Brady).
5 CB Marcus Trufant Washington St. 5'11" 199Sr.
The Bengals nabbed Newman and the Bears' move for Stewart took Suggs off the board, so the 'Boys trade down (getting no less than the Saints' Nos. 1 and 3 (No. 78 overall). New Orleans then shores up its secondary.
6 QB Carson Palmer USC 6'5" 232Sr.
The Cardinals opt for QB Jake Plummer's replacement. Not exactly how Arizona saw this draft unfolding; improving the defense will have to be done via free agency (S Dexter Jackson, LB James Darling).
7 DT Jimmy Kennedy Penn State 6'4" 322Sr.
The signing of CB Denard Walker helps the defensive backfield, and the addition of DT Billy Lyon is a nice piece to the puzzle. However, Kennedy is the premier D-lineman available; imagine teaming him with Chris Hovan ...
8 DT Dewayne Robertson Kentucky 6'1" 317Jr.
Swapping at least a No. 1 and 3 (No. 75 overall) with the Jags, teaming Robertson with DT Richard Seymour would give the Pats an enviable interior. Toss in LB Colvin and S Rodney Harrison, and the Pats are improved.
9 DT Kevin Williams Oklahoma State 6'4" 304Sr.
The Panthers rolled the dice by signing free agent Jake Delhomme, so a QB doesn't figure into Carolina's draft-day plans. The best available D-lineman, Williams will be a first-year starter.
10 QB Kyle Boller California 6'3" 234Sr.
Chris Redman's back injury is a concern for the Ravens, who would throw the first major curveball of the draft by snagging Boller -- and not Byron Leftwich or even Rex Grossman. Head coach Brian Billick will stake his reputation on Boller.
11 DT William Joseph Miami (Fla.) 6'5" 308Sr.
One of the top five DTs in the draft, Joseph is the tallest and has the frame to add weight and still be effective in the middle.
12 CB Andre Woolfolk Oklahoma 6'1" 197Sr.
The Rams begin rebuilding after losing CBs Dré Bly and Dexter McCleon -- and though they re-signed Aeneas Williams, he isn't getting any younger.
13 T Jordan Gross Utah 6'4" 300Sr.
Moving down, the Texans still get sought-after O-line anchor, more picks (a stated desire of GM Charley Casserly) and eventual replacement for Tony Boselli.
14 WR Taylor Jacobs Florida 6'0" 205Sr.
After beefing up the defense in free agency, offense is the draft's top priority. However, Taylor is one of the shortest among the top 10 receivers available.
15 DE Jerome McDougle Miami (Fla.) 6'2" 264Sr.
The Chargers take 10-year veteran Raylee Johnson's eventual replacement, injecting more youth into a defense that could prove playoff-worthy in 2003.
16 DE Cory Redding Texas 6'4" 279Sr.
Bigger than incumbent RDE Gary Stills and an pass-rush improvement, Redding would be a welcomed addition to the NFL's 32nd-ranked defense.
17 DT Johnathan Sullivan Georgia 6'3" 313Jr.
This isn't a glamour pick, but it's a definite need after the departures of DTs Brandon Noble and Michael Myers. Maybe even another trade down?
18 LB Boss Bailey Georgia 6'3" 233Sr.
Imagine Brian Urlacher -- but with more speed (and room to grow). Bailey could be another one of those freak LBs who gets measured on the field.
19 DE Kenny Peterson Ohio State 6'3" 298Sr.
The Pats continue their defensive theme, adding youth on the corner to eventually supplant Rick Lyle, Anthony Pleasant, Bobby Hamilton and Willie McGinest.
20 DE Chris Kelsay Nebraska 6'4" 273Sr.
The Broncos improve their pass rush with this pick, something that Keith Washington and Kavika Pittman -- both released this offseason -- didn't do.
21 LB E.J. Henderson Maryland 6'0" 245Sr.
Henderson slid a bit from pre-combine hype, but he's a quality pick. Others argue that the Browns need to retool the O-line. Defense wins ... you know the rest.
22 T Kwame Harris Stanford 6'7" 310Jr.
Chad Pennington stands tall behind this O-line: Harris (6-7), Tom Nutten (6-5), Kevin Mawae (6-4), Kareem McKenzie (6-6) and Jason Fabini (6-7).
23 DT Ty Warren Texas A&M 6'4" 307Sr.
This pick from the Falcons for Peerless Price helps bolster the defense. The Bills haven't had a bona fide DT since Ted Washington left after the 2000 season.
24 S Ken Hamlin Arkansas 6'2" 209Jr.
A couple of other safeties could prove enticing, including Rashean Mathis and Mike Doss, but Hamlin is bigger than both. Mathis is rising on many draft boards.
25 S Rashean Mathis Bethune-Cookman 6'0" 202Sr.
Though Shaun Williams and Omar Stoutmire are under contract, Mathis (4.43 in the 40) could be enticing enough for the Giants to make him part of the mix.
26 CB Dennis Weathersby Oregon State 6'0' 204Sr.
Given the 49ers' secondary woes, this seems to be a sensible selection. Then again, there's not a CB on the team with more than four years' experience.
27 QB Byron Leftwich Marshall 6'5' 241Sr.
Should the draft shake out so that Leftwich is available, the Steelers should spend less than a nanosecond getting the card into Tags' hands.
28 WR Bryant Johnson Penn State 6'2" 214Sr.
Receiver is a need pick without question. What remains to be seen: Do the Titans gamble with Tyrone Calico (6-4, 220, 4.34 in the 40) from MTSU?
29 DT Rien Long Washington St. 6'6' 302Jr.
Among the second tier of DTs, Long ranks with Kenny King, Jarret Johnson and Nick Eason. A trade up looks unlikely, but it isn't out of the question.
30 TE Jason Witten Tennessee 6'5' 264Jr.
Witten is a pass-catcher, and he's a good fit -- if the Eagles find a free-agent replacement for DE Hugh Douglas. If not, Philly could package picks to move up.
31 WR Brandon Lloyd Illinois 6'0" 184Sr.
Jerry Rice and Tim Brown are getting long in the tooth, and finding a complement to Jerry Porter is a priority. Kelley Washington (6-2, 223) is another possibility.
32 S Julian Battle Tennessee 6'2' 205Sr.
The Raiders missed on free-agent S Rodney Harrison, but Battle or Troy Polamalu of USC would be a better long-term fit for this middle-aged defense.

React

You've seen our third version of the 2003 Mock Draft, now give us yours.

From the Bengals at No. 1 through the Raiders at No. 32, take your best shot at predicting what will go down during the first round April 26 in New York.

Feel free to trade picks and then have that team draft for need.

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