What's in a name?
College standouts among those selected on SundayPosted: Sunday April 27, 2003 7:01 PM
Updated: Sunday April 27, 2003 7:51 PM
NEW YORK (AP) -- The second day of the NFL Draft provided the usual assortment of highly regarded players who had just enough questions about them to cause their status to fall.
One early pick Sunday was wounded in a drive-by shooting, and another is the undersized son of a former NFL star. A third player is a quarterback who runs as well as he throws, and a fourth is a running back coming off a serious knee injury.
There also was a baseball player, Drew Henson, who was chosen in the sixth round by the Houston Texans, adding to the team's collection of young quarterbacks that also includes David Carr, the No. 1 overall pick last year, and Dave Ragone, chosen Saturday in the third round.
And finally, there is Ken Dorsey, who lost only two games in his career as Miami's quarterback but wasn't chosen until San Francisco drafted him 21 picks from the end. He did better than Heisman runner-up Brad Banks of Iowa and Jason Gesser of Washington State, two star QBs who weren't taken at all.
It started when Dennis Weathersby (the wounded player), Dan Klecko (son of the NFL star), Seneca Wallace (the versatile QB) and Lee Suggs (knee) went quickly in the fourth round in the second day of the NFL Draft instead of on the first.
So did other well-known college players like running backs Quentin Griffin of Oklahoma (undersized) and Onterrio Smith of Oregon (questionable durability), offensive tackle Brett Williams of Florida State (mobility), and Outland Trophy-winning defensive tackle Rien Long of Washington State (injuries and attitude).
All can take heart in the fact that players chosen lower have turned into stars: Zach Thomas was a fifth-rounder and Terrell Davis and Tom Brady went in the sixth. And Troy Brown and Jessie Armstead, both were chosen in 1993 in the eighth round, which no longer exists.
Weathersby was the first to go, taken by Cincinnati a week after a bullet went through his torso and lodged in his arm. The cornerback from Oregon State wasn't hurt badly enough to affect his career, but the shooting raised questions among some teams about his character, and he dropped from the early rounds.
"To get a guy of his caliber at this round of the draft is a coup for us," said Leslie Frazier, Cincinnati's defensive coordinator.
"You've got to think that without that incident, he wouldn't have been on the board this morning. I think that had a lot to do with his fall to the fourth round. we had him as a second-rounder."
Klecko, son of former New York Jet Joe Klecko, was Big East defensive player of the year, even though he played for lowly Temple. But at a quarter-inch under 6 feet, he is considered too short. He was taken by Houston.
The surprise on Wallace, the Iowa State quarterback, is that he went to Seattle rather than Pittsburgh, which has selected players of his type -- Kordell Stewart, Hines Ward and Antwaan Randle El. A scrambler under 6 feet tall, he has insisted he wants to remain at QB in the NFL.
Suggs, a star at Virginia Tech in 2000, injured his knee in 2001 and split time when he returned last season. He went to Cleveland.
The 5-7 Griffin was chosen by Denver, which has a history of succeeding with middle- and low-round running backs. Smith was taken by Minnesota, Williams by Kansas City and Long by Tennessee.
"This is an opportunity for him to start over," Titans head coach Jeff Fisher said of Long, who dropped in part because of questions about his attitude.
The Henson pick came in the sixth round. It had been expected; Henson is hitting under .200 at Triple-A Columbus after leaving Michigan and signing with the New York Yankees for seven figures.
At Michigan, he alternated with Brady, the MVP of the 2002 Super Bowl for New England.
"I am concentrating on baseball right now," he said through a spokesman for the Columbus Clippers.
Houston GM Charley Casserly said he wasn't worried about a QB glut.
"I think with Drew Henson, it's simple," Casserly said. "If Drew Henson came out when he was scheduled to, he certainly would have been a first-round pick."
The last pick, No. 262, was Ryan Hoag, a wide receiver from Gustavus Adolphus. He will be honored as Mr. Irrelevant at the same time Southern California quarterback Carson Palmer is honored as No. 1 in the draft.