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Falling into line

First round goes according to plan

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Posted: Sunday April 16, 2000 04:16 PM


SANTA CLARA, Calif -- Never in recent history has an NFL Draft gone so according to form. Saturday's NFL lottery was strange by its sheer normalcy. There wasn't a trade in the first seven hours.

The day's only stunner was that the Raiders refused to risk trading down from their 17th slot in the first round and picked a kicker, Sebastian Janikowski, there. It's too high, but the Raiders need him desparately. They missed 11 field goals and had but eight touchbacks in their kicking game last year.

In New York, the Jets failed to pry the fifth overall pick from Baltimore, and thus failed to get the wide receiver they really wanted, Michigan State's Plaxico Burress, to be Keyshawn Johnson' heir. They did get a great value pick, quarterback Chad Pennington, the best passer in the draft, at No. 18.

And this will also go down as a relatively unfamous draft. Five running backs and one quarterback in the first 60 -- that's not even as many as the number of Tennessee players picked among the first 60 overall.

Sports Illustrated senior writer Peter King covers the NFL and appears regularly on CNN/Sports Illustrated and CNN's NFL Preview.

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