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CNN/SI's Pat Kirwan Analysis: Round 1

 
Pat Kirwan has spent many a draft in the war room as an NFL scout and assistant personnel director. Check back throughout the day as he provides us pick-by-pick analysis.

31. St. Louis Rams - Trung Canidate - HB - St. Louis Rams
Distinguished himself at the combines when he ran a 4.4 40 at 193 lbs. His name was brought up to me by two head coaches. That surprised me in the last days because of the interest in him. Most people didn't think he was first-round material, but according to these coaches, they were considering him early in the 2nd round, which is what the 31 pick really is anyway.

Most people felt they would take Todd Wade to replace Fred Miller. A Rams coach said that someone in the organization could take his place.

30. Tennessee Titans - Keith Bulluck - OLB - Syracuse
I spent time with him this winter. Very talented athlete - enough to play safety. He's grown into an outstanding OLB. People liked his athleticism and he's got chance to be special. Others thought he wasn't productive all the time. However, I think he'll be an outstanding pro - can rush the passer, can be in man coverage, can go from sideline to sideline, which is what you want from a linebacker.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars - R. Jay Soward - WR - USC
An ideal pick to complement their WRs in Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith. He'll be a slot receiver who's got exceptional speed and quickness and will present problems for defenses on third down. In time, he can be the No. 2 receiver.

His off-field history a question mark as well as his offseason desires to work out in the East because he's a West Coast guy. However, he'll be in a warm climate in Jacksonville. He gets the opportunity to go to an excellent football team.

28. Indianapolis Colts - Rob Morris - ILB - Brigham Young
Has been the No. 1 ILB prospect in this draft since the fall. He's a fine football player and no one has been able to compete with him. He's one of the missing pieces to a strong, young Colts team. Some say he's talented to stay on the field in nickel and dime packages, but that remains to be seen. He'll be the signal caller in this defense.
27. New York Jets - Anthony Becht - TE - West Virginia
I know him very well and spent time with him this winter. He's a former walk-on. He's the type of tight end Al Groh and Bill Parcells have been looking for. Bill's been the most successful when he's got a great TE in the red zone - Mark Bavaro with the Giants and Ben Coates with the Patriots. They didn't have that dimension with Eric Green. Becht is a lot like Bavaro. Those are big shoes to fill but he's got the talent and the temperament to do so.
26. Buffalo Bills - Erik Flowers - DE - Arizona State
He was one of the hottest players the last two weeks leading up to the draft. People weren't too sure to consider him an OLB or DE. He got weight his weight up to 270 and there's more room for growth, which excites the Bills.

Marcellus Wiley takes over for Bruce Smith and would be unfair to think Marcellus would play every down. This would be a nice complement and a good job by John Butler and the Bills. Many felt Buffalo would take a corner at this position, but the run on corners the few picks before caused Butler to look for the best value at the pick.

25. Minnesota Vikings - Chris Hovan - DT - Boston College
Some call him an overachiever. That might misrepresent who Chris really is. He's a hard worker and has a great motor. He's a guy Minnesota definitely needs to play on the defensive line with John Randle.

He's what most coaches call a "football player." He performed well in the postseason and drafted where he was expected - late in the first round.

He can play every run down and has enough effort to play most pass downs. Early in his career he should be in a rotation. In a year or two, he could be an every down player.

24. San Francisco 49ers - Ahmed Plummer - CB - Ohio State
A complete CB who was first on a number of teams' boards because on the highest level of competition, he could play the pass and support the run. Many feel he was a safe pick and it's obvious people took some chances on other corners that might have more upside. However, Plummer can be plugged into the lineup right away and have a successful NFL career.
23. Carolina Panthers - Rashard Anderson - CB - Jackson State
He's well-liked by the secondary coaches I spoke with. Very athletic and the biggest attribute he brings to the table is his ability to match up with the big receivers. He's 6-2, 204 and runs the 4.4 40, gives George Seifert the match up corner he wants in his secondary to counter the Niners' Terrell Owens and J.J. Stokes. There's lots of upside potential for him.
22. Seattle Seahawks - Chris McIntosh - OT - Wisconsin
His stock slipped slightly in the last month because of outstanding performances by other top linemen. He's a solid football player who will play for quite a long time and is a good pick this late in the draft.
21. Kansas City Chiefs - Sylvester Morris - WR - Jackson State
He's a coaches' favorite. Many people believe he needs time to develop because of his small-college experience. But many believe he'll turn into a solid pro player. He has the size to be a big receiver as well as the athletic ability to get in and out of breaks like a smaller guy. The Chiefs had their eye on him for a while. While they wanted a RB, they're happy to have Sylvester.
20. Detroit Lions - Stockar McDougle - OT - Oklahoma
He's a tremendous force as a tackle. I've been told by many coaches that he' s the best run-blocking offensive lineman and will dominate the run game at the NFL level.

He had an outstanding Senior Bowl and in the last month separated himself from M. Smith and McIntosh as the No. 2 rated OT in most coaches' eyes.

He gives the Lions, who had a poor offensive line last year, flexibility and a great opportunity to improve. He's another guy like Samuels who will play 10-12 years in the NFL. Also, he's 360 pounds but he is not fat.

19. Seattle Seahawks - Shaun Alexander - HB - Alabama
He was the No. 2 ranked RB on most people's boards. He has speed, size and had his best games in the big games. He also catches the ball very well. I was impressed with Alexander at the Senior Bowl.

Seattle provided us a clue that they were thinking of taking an RB by trading Ahman Green to Green Bay last night. They helped to disrupt Kansas City's plans.

Right now, Seattle has great depth at RB and can replace Ricky Watters in the near future with an equal talent and not miss a beat.

18. New York Jets - Chad Pennington - QB - Marshall
Clearly the best QB in the draft and the only one worthy of a first-round pick. Combines athleticism and mobility with a very accurate arm. All concerns about him as a smaller-college player were answered at the Senior Bowl and at least four teams were thinking about him in the first round.

When you study next year's draft, it doesn't appear at this time to be a good draft for QBs. This makes this selection even more important.

He gets an opportunity with the Jets not to play right away. He'll sit behind Vinny and will learn. He enters a very tough market. In a year or two from now, they'll demand he plays and then he'll have to perform well to stay. I'm sure the Jets were very happy to find him available at 18.

17. Oakland Raiders - Sebastian Janikowski - PK - Florida State
I am so happy someone in the NFL broke the traditional mode of not taking a kicker early. Two special teams coaches I spoke with said he would break the NFL record for the longest field goal and most 50-yard field goals. He will eliminate the kickoff returns from opponents.

The NFL becoming an 8-8 league. The difference between 10-6 and the playoffs, and 6-10 and getting fired, is the kicker.

For all who thought, or think , that this is an Al Davis pick because of Ray Guy, it got the consensus of the entire coaching staff minutes after the pick was made. It will change the play-calling with the Oakland Raiders because of the kicker they have on the sideline.

16. San Francisco 49ers - Julian Peterson - OLB - Michigan State
Outstanding OLB who will help rebuild the 49er defense. Lee Woodall was let go for cap reasons and was a good football player.

At 6-foot-5, he should be able to stay on the field on third down passing situations. Peterson got hot in this draft about two weeks ago. It's no surprise to NFL defensive coaches that he was selected in the mid-first round. One potential negative is understanding the running game and the coaches I spoke with thought he would be fine in this area.

15. Denver Broncos - Deltha O'Neal - CB - California
One of the shorter good corners in this draft. The Broncos like to play press-man coverage. O'Neal has the speed and athletic ability to play in that scheme. He can help out as a nickel back if he doesn't earn a starting role in September. He's also a good punt/kick returner and gives the Broncos a multiple position player.

Ignore draft lists that rank this player 3rd, 4th or 5th in the CB position. Teams select players that fit their scheme and defensive coordinator Greg Robinson understands how well O'Neal will fit for him.

One of the reason they moved down to 15 because the player they liked (O'Neal) would be available there. It's good business on Shanahan's part to get the player they want at the lowest spot possible.

14. Green Bay Packers - Daniel Franks - TE - Miami (FL)
He was considered the top tight end this whole year. He combines size with speed. He's a legitimate in-line blocker and a legitimate threat down the field. The only monkey wrench in this was a slow 40-yard dash time at his individual workout, which Ron Wolf was smart enough to ignore.

He's a complete player and, in Green Bay, there are a multitude of reasons to take a tight end. Mark Chmura's off-field problems have to be addressed as well as his health. Also, new head coach Mike Sherman knows the West Coast offense and the importance of the tight end in that package. Unlike other lightweight tight ends some teams use, Bubba can block, and the running game will be enhanced by his presence.

13. New York Jets - John Abraham - OLB - South Carolina
He's a 'tweener. He's a 3-4 outside backer and a 4-3 right end. They like this player for months now. Critics say he's taken too high. However, the word is that he's been moving up the board for a while and he's a favorite of the coaches.

It gives Al Groh the flexibility to play the 3-4 or 4-3, much like the pick of Shaun Ellis. Both Abraham and Ellis can stay on the field all the time.

This could bring into question how long Mo Lewis stays with the Jets. He could easily be the Sam linebacker while the Jets hold a $4.1 million franchise tag on Lewis, who hasn't signed yet.

The Jets have a tight end they do like, Anthony Becht of West Virginia. But they didn't have to take him this high.

12. New York Jets - Shaun Ellis - DE - Tennessee
A complete defensive end who two defensive coordinators told me he could start Day One and stay in the game in all situations. He's got multiple pass-rush techniques and he's big enough to play against the run.

He comes to the Jets at a time when they are desperate for defensive line help. Whether they are in the 3-4 or 4-3 defense, he fits.

11. New York Giants - Ron Dayne - HB - Wisconsin
I think Ron Dayne was the Giants man all along. They already have an elusive back in Tiki Barber. And to get a great 1st and 2nd down back is what they were looking for. For run down positions, this is the best pick of the draft.

Forget that he caught one pass as a senior. He said that on 3rd-and-6 the best thing to do was to have him run the ball. In a similar situation with the Giants, Tiki Barber will be in the game.

the NFC east has brought two of the great backs into their division. It will make it hard for their opponents to stop the running game.

As a HS shot putter, he was an Olympic qualifier, it shows his great power and explosion. Giants fans should expect a combination of Jerome Bettis and Earl Campbell.

10. Baltimore Ravens - Travis Taylor - WR - Florida
The 2nd most complete receiver in the draft after Peter Warrick. Coaches love his maturity, the understanding of routes, understanding of coverage. And should be a first-day starter. His critics are concerned if he can stay healthy. I think this is a great pick.

He will come into a system run by Brian Billick and will take the role that Cris Carter has in the Vikings' defense. His Florida background will really help him in his preparation for pro football.

The Ravens have really helped their offense with Taylor and Lewis, and must turn their attention to a defense that may have lost Larry Webster to a drug suspension and midde linebacker Ray Lewis to other problems.

9. Chicago Bears - Brian Urlacher - OLB - New Mexico
Chicago very much wanted one of two players, either Burress or Urlacher. They contemplated trading up but held their ground as the Jamal Lewis pick presented the opportunity that the pick without making a deal. They surrendered no other picks to get their player.

Brian is multitalented. He can line up as a LB. Defensive coordinators that he's a legitimate safety. He will line up as a tight end in goal line situations and can even score some TDs. He has return ability, and I'm not joking about that. Chicago puts another piece in the foundation of Mark Hatley's rebuilding process.

Head coach Dick Jauron, a former defensive coordinator, will understand all the different ways to use Brian on defense. Matchups with outstanding RBs that split out as wideouts won't be a problem anymore. He should be able to stay in the game as middle linebacker on dime packages.

Most personnel people feel if your first-round pick stays on the field most of the time, you've gotten a lot of value from him. Brian can play both offense and defense.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers - Plaxico Burress - WR - Michigan State
He's an outstanding physical specimen. Some people say he's like Keyshawn Johnson. He's not Keyshawn, but he's could become like Keyshawn in time. Keyshawn was the complete package when he came out of college.

Burress needs work, but he could be a great one. His route running raw and he still has too many drops. He also hasn't played hard all the time. He appears big and physical enough to handle press coverage.

Kevin Gilbride, who runs the offense there, has done run-and-shoot with the Oilers, been in Jacksonville with two great receivers as well as being in San Diego. He understands how to use this guy.

7. Arizona Cardinals - Thomas Jones - HB - Virginia
Multi-talented back, excellent hands, excellent speed. The stars of the NFL running game are the guys who can cut back and Jones can cut back.

The one area of concern is his size (204 pounds). He's expected to be the every-down back. No one doubts his character or talent. But if he gets into a scenario that needs 25 carries per game, his critics say he'll wear down. I don't think so.

I've always felt in watching him play, he's a cross between Barry Sanders and a smaller Fred Taylor.

Already, NFC East opponents are talking about Jones in the backfield in three-wide receiver sets. Getting teams to nickel defenses and running the draw play, which will be hard to defend.

6. Philadelphia Eagles - Corey Simon - DT - Florida State
They felt he wasn't going to be there at 6. And they were going to take Travis Taylor with the pick. They are happy they he was available for them at their pick. He's the best DT in the draft. He's a rare combination of 300 lb bulk, speed, 4.89 40. The most impressive measurable is his 41-inch vertical leap. That kind of measurable usually belongs to a great WR or DB, not a DT. It's more than rare.

He gives the Eagles an inside dominator that will quickly have to be double teamed. When that happens, Hugh Douglas and Mike Mamula will be single-blocked and should have a rise in their production. As for his shoulder, he's been given a clean bill of health and is ready to go. His impact on the Eagles defense will be similar to Warren Sapp's when he went to Tampa.

5. Baltimore Ravens - Jamal Lewis - HB - Tennessee
This is a controversial pick. The Ravens thought the Cardinals were going to take him. My info was that the Cards liked Thomas Jones and had Lewis 4th on the board. He was a great frosh and soph and a horrible senior. A running back coach told me that if you looked at his film, he wasn't the same back as he was before the surgery. This could be a risk pick much like Blair Thomas when I was with the Jets.
4. Cinncinati Bengals - Peter Warrick - WR - Florida State
He went fourth not just because he dropped, but he didn't drop. It's a deep draft at wide receiver. The Browns realized they could get one they liked at 32.

The reason the Redskins passed on Peter is that left tackles of the stature of Chris Samuels are hard to find. And their football team has good receivers in Westbrook and Albert Connell.

This is a good spot for him I coached with Coslet for four years and he knows how to get the ball to his receivers down the field. Coslet has all sorts of reverse packages, which will get the ball in his hands more. He is like Jerry Rice in his on-field performances. In the next few years, he and QB Akili Smith (last year's first-round pick) could team up like Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison have.

3. Washington Redskins - Chris Samuels - OT - Alabama
Washington Redskins have been looking for a tackle like this and the opportunity to draft him. Andy Heck is on his last legs and Joe Patton was released last year. The opportunity to draft Chris Samuels excited them way back in February, knowing they wanted him. I spoke to GM Vinny Cerrato about Samuels in February and hasnít changed his opinion about him. Heís a Jonathan Ogden-type left tackle Ė athletic and powerful. Barring injury will start for 12 years.
2. Washington Redskins - LaVar Arrington - OLB - Penn St.
Arrington was a junior when he left Penn State. Itís always a risk to come out early. But if youíre a top 10 pick, itís worth the risk. People are calling him the next Lawrence Taylor and heís got time to prove that. Bill Polian has called him a ďdifference makerĒ and I agree. He can rush the passer and stop the running game that comes to him. Heís special when the running game goes away from him, in his pursuit. Heís also athletic enough to drop into pass coverage and play man-to-man.

I spent 5 years coaching with Foge Fazio, the Redskins linebackers coach. Itís scary to think of some of Fogeís schemes -- getting people to double on Bruce Smith and leave him on a running back on his pass rush. Foge, all the way back to his college days, when he had Hugh Green and Rickey Jackson, understands all too well how to get the most out of LaVarís skills. By the end of the season, he should be thought of as Jevon Kearse was this year.

1. Cleveland Browns - Courtney Brown - DE - Penn St.
They worked through the night to get the deal done. Coach Palmer and I spoke this morning and the deal was not done. By 11:30 this morning, the deal was done. The deal is $36 million for six years but could go to $45 million for six years if Courtney plays in one Pro Bowl.

At one point yesterday, Cleveland was entertaining the idea of LaVar Arrington, who they like just as much. Coach Palmerís point about Courtney being a down lineman (something much harder to find than outside backers) broke the tie as to which player they would take.

He enters the NFL as a Kevin Carter-type end and many NFL insiders feel he could become the next Bruce Smith. The selection of Courtney gives Cleveland the opportunity to move Orpheus Roye, an outstanding free agent pickup from the Steelers inside to defensive tackle where many feel he can become an All-Pro.

In the next round, look for Cleveland to come back with the 32nd pick to get a big, fast wide receiver.


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