Work in Sports
Raiders opt for another kicking specialist in 5th round
Posted: Monday April 17, 2000 12:25 AM
NEW YORK (AP) -- The Oakland Raiders might not have much else. But they should have the NFL's best kicking game next season.
And certainly the youngest.
After pulling the biggest surprise of the first round by choosing kicker Sebastian Janikowski with the 17th overall pick, the Raiders went for a punter in the fifth round Sunday when they took Shane Lechler of Texas A&M, who averaged nearly 47 yards per kick last season.
"This is something we needed to improve on," coach Jon Gruden said of his team's kicking game.
So he went out and took two kickers with his first four picks.
Believe it or not, the Raiders aren't the first team to spend relatively high picks on kickers. In 1976, its first year in the NFL, Seattle spent two third-round picks on kickers -- punter Rick Engles and place kicker Don Bitterlich.
The other 30 teams spent the second day of this draft improving in more conventional ways.
While most of the sure things went on the first day, a lot of big-time players went on the second day.
Tee Martin, the Tennessee quarterback, went to Pittsburgh late in the fifth round, the 160th player chosen and the fourth quarterback. Two picks later, Minnesota chose Stanford's Troy Walters, who won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's best wide receiver but who is only 5-foot-6 1/2 and 171 pounds.
Quarterback Joe Hamilton of Georgia Tech, runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, wasn't taken until the seventh and last round, with the 234th overall pick. Hamilton, who is just 5-10, joins Shaun King, the 6-footer who was taken in the second round by the Bucs last year and got them to the NFC title game as a rookie.
The likes of UCLA wide receiver Danny Farmer (to the Steelers); Penn State linebacker Brandon Short (Giants); and Minnesota safety Tyrone Carter (Vikings) went in the fourth round; and Virginia Tech safety Anthony Midget (Falcons); Nebraska cornerback Ralph Brown; Miami guard Richard Mercier (Baltimore); Ohio State running back Michael Wiley (Dallas, where he will be tried at wide receiver), and Kentucky tight end James Whalen (Tampa Bay) were chosen in the fifth.
Running back Frank Murphy of Kansas State went to Chicago in the sixth round, and Philadelphia used the next pick on Minnesota running back Thomas Hamner. Murphy, who has fumbling problems, also has a record of minor crimes going back seven years, when he was arrested for carjacking.
There was a milestone of sorts in the fourth round when linebacker Isiah Kacyvenski was chosen by Seattle, the highest any player from Harvard had ever been chosen.
One pick of interest came in the sixth round, when Denver chose Utah running back Mike Anderson, a former Marine who will turn 27 in September. But he has history in his favor. Terrell Davis, the league and Super Bowl MVP two years ago was a sixth-round pick in 1995 and Olandis Gary, who replaced Davis last year when he was injured and ran for more than 1,000 yards, was a fourth-rounder a year ago.
Later in the sixth, New England took Michigan quarterback Tom Brady and Washington took Stanford QB Todd Husak late in that round. San Francisco, which took quarterback Giovanni Carmazzi of Hofstra in the third round, took another QB, Louisiana Tech's Tim Rattay in the seventh.
Then Denver took Notre Dame quarterback Jarious Jackson, the first member of the Fighting Irish selected.
The last pick, by Chicago, was Michael Green of Northwestern State. He will be honored at the 25th Irrelevant week in June in Newport Beach, Calif.