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NFL Draft '99

Sports Illustrated's Peter King stopped by the CNN/SI Chat Center on the first day of the NFL Draft to answer user questions. Peter King is covering his 16th NFL Draft.

CNNSI_Host : Welcome to's chat with Sport Illustrated's Peter King. Peter King is spending Draft Day with the Washington Redskins.
Peter King : Hello, everyone.

CNNSI_Host : What's with the Colts picking Edgerrin James over Ricky Williams? Where did that come from?
Peter King : Now, understand one thing: I'm not a big college football watcher. But I think the Colts made a serious mistake. James started half the games that Ricky Williams did in college football, against vastly inferior opposition, and is smaller. I think it goes to one of the biggest problems there is with the draft these days. Front office people -- and I respect Bill Polian a lot -- have three and a half months after the college football season to sit around and out-think themselves. I find it very hard to believe that James will be a better pro than Williams.

CNNSI_Host : Why did the Bengals turn down the New Orleans Saints' offer of all those picks? Did anyone else turn it down?
Peter King : From the top: Cleveland several days ago turned down the Saints mega-pick offer, and just before noon Saturday, Philadelphia and Cincinnati turned down mountainous offers. Cincinnati simply feels that its quarterback of the future was not on the roster before the draft. Akili Smith has a rare deep arm. I think he'll start for the Bengals by October 1.

CNNSI_Host : Is Elway coming back? What should the Broncos do with their first-round pick?
Peter King : The Broncos should take the best defensive player on the board. As far as Elway goes, in a conversation with a friend less than two weeks ago, he was absolutely waffling about what he wants to do. Unless he has gained some clarity in the last week or so, I think he is sincerely on the fence about whether he wants to come back.

CNNSI_Host : What good is Troy Edwards to the Steelers if Kordell Stewart plays like he did last year?
Peter King : I think Troy Edwards is a reach. He played in a wide-open offense against less than stellar opposition. And, you're right: Stewart has done nothing to allow people to have faith in him. I was talking to Dan Rooney, the club owner, this week, and he told me that Stewart has really rededicated himself under new coordinator Kevin Gilbride. But I have to see it to believe it. Right now, I'm not a big Stewart guy.

CNNSI_Host : Is David Boston the kind of receiver that Jake Plummer can win with?
Peter King : Great pick. In fact, taking David Boston and L.J. Shelton in the first round should give the Cardinals a two-starter draft. I will say this about Boston: He's probably the most confident receiver, and maybe player, in this draft. I think he and Plummer are going to make sweet music.

CNNSI_Host : Sushant Rao asks: Can you explain why Indianapolis only got 2nd & 5th round picks for Faulk? I know Faulk wants a new contract, but he was a pro bowler and one of the top five AFC (maybe NFL) offensive players last year. Is he worth only a 2nd and 5th rounder?
Peter King : I asked the same question to a lot of people around the league in the last two days, and here was the answer: Faulk is a fairly small back and has had over 1,300 carries in the NFL. That equates to about 4 1/2 seasons. A guy who was the mail carrier in a very productive college career, and then for four or five years in the NFL is not going to have the value. Also, he's looking for more than a doubling of his current contract of just over $2 million a year. That deal has two years left. I agree with you. Last year, Marshall Faulk was the running back on my AP All-Pro team. I think he had a better year than Terrell Davis. But that doesn't mean he's going to have high first-round value.

CNNSI_Host : Jim Miller asks: Boston College's Mike Cloud had a great year, better than some backs slated to go before him. Why don't scouts look at guys who can play -- not guys who fit in a formula?
Peter King : Excellent question. One of the big problems in scouting today is -- over-scouting. I find it hard to believe -- and I don't just mean about Mike Cloud -- that productive college players against big-time schedules all of a sudden become lesser players in three or four months of off-season analysis. I look for Cloud to go by the middle of the second round.

CNNSI_Host : Luke asks: How would Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf rate among the 1999 QB class?
Peter King : Well, let me begin answering that question by assuming that you mean where would they rank had we not seen them with one year of pro football. But assuming you mean coming out of college football, how would they have ranked. Here's how I would have seen them: 1. Peyton Manning, by a long shot. He was the most experienced and most mature quarterback to come out of college football in the 16 years I've covered the game.
2. Cade McNown, UCLA, because I think that an experienced great player and great thinker is hugely valuable in the NFL. 3. Tim Couch, Kentucky, because his competitiveness, smarts and coachability will make him a great pro. 4. Ryan Leaf, Washington State, and not just because of his off-the-field immaturity. I just like the other guys better. 5. Dnoovan McNabb, Syracuse, by a nose over this year's other guys.

CNNSI_Host : Guest32345 asks: Why aren't the Bears pursing Jamir Miller to upgrade at LB. Why doesn't anyone else?
Peter King : Good question. Seems like everyone in the league is waiting for Miller's price tag to go way down. Miller and Derrick Alexander are good edge pass rushers who right now are overvaluing themselves in an overpriced market.

CNNSI_Host : Guest50839 asks: Peter, how do you feel about the Lions picking Claiborne with their first pick instead of an OT like Tait or Shelton?
Peter King : I really like Claiborne as a player, and think, at No. 9, he's a good bargain. But the Lions have a boatload of needs and I thought linebacker and receiver were probably the strongest positions on their team. So I'm not a big fan of them taking a guy to make a good position better when they have so many other holes.

CNNSI_Host : Guest67446 asks: What do you think of the Vikings taking Culpepper?
Peter King : Very, very smart. In the middle of the college football season, for a while, Couch and Culpepper seemed neck and neck to be the No. 1 pick. And now Minnesota gets him at No. 11, the booty from the Brad Johnson trade with Washington. I really like Minnesota's philosophy that has them taking the best player many times in the first round, then drafting for need thereafter. It got them Randy Moss last year and one of the biggest and strongest quarterbacks to come out of college football in years this year.

CNNSI_Host : Guest32345 asks: Can the Rams finally contend with all of their new offensive weapons, at least for a wild-card?
Peter King : If they can stop anybody, sure. The Rams still have holes all over their defense, and I'm surprised -- no, shocked -- that they picked Torry Holt over Champ Bailey. I think the Rams clearly have improved themselves on offense, if Marshall Faulk isn't a holdout into the season come contract time.

CNNSI_Host : Thank you for participating in today's chat with Sports Illustrated's Peter King. Be sure log into for more reports and analysis by Peter King.

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