If Indy steals Leaf, will San Diego charge after Wadsworth?
From The War Room
Posted: Wed April 15, 1997 at 07:30 AM ET
If Leaf blows over to Indy, don't be shocked if the Chargers pass on Manning (above) to grab Florida State defensive lineman Andre Wadsworth
PHOENIX (CNN/SI) -- There is an increasing rumbling out of San Diego that the Chargers may be leaning toward snagging Florida State defensive end Andre Wadsworth with the No. 2 pick in Saturday's NFL Draft.
That's if, and probably only if, the Indianapolis Colts take the player the Chargers really covet, quarterback Ryan Leaf, with the No. 1 selection.
The Chargers, in desperate need of a quarterback, want Washington State's Leaf in the worst of ways. If Indy grabs him, that leaves San Diego with a difficult decision -- take Wadsworth, the best player on most everyone's draft board but a guy who doesn't fill as critical a need, or go with Tennessee QB Peyton Manning, who the Chargers simply don't like as much as Leaf.
If that scenario plays out, then the Arizona Cardinals, at No. 3, are sitting super pretty. They already have a young quarterback they think can play in Jake Plummer. So they don't need Manning. But lots of other teams do, and the offers the Cardinals will get in that 15 minutes of picking time could be head-spinning.
Not convinced the Chargers would pass on Manning when they so badly need a QB? Consider this: Green Bay Packers general manager Ron Wolf has said that Wadsworth is the best player in the draft, a guy maybe worth four draft picks or more. One of Wolf's best friends in the NFL is San Diego GM Bobby Beathard, who already has said publicly he thinks the Colts will steal away Leaf.
Don't underestimate the willingness of teams to make blockbuster trades come Draft Day. One NFL GM speculated Tuesday the reason the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins haven't consummated the deal that would send disgruntled defensive lineman Sean Gilbert to the Panthers is that Carolina wants to leave its options open for a possible trade up in the draft.
The Panthers won't have that option if they finalize the deal for Gilbert because it will cost them, in all likelihood, at least a first- and third-round pick because Gilbert was named the Redskins' franchise player. If the two teams don't agree and the deal falls through, Carolina would have those picks to toss around.
One scenario if the deal for Gilbert falls through: The Panthers could package a few picks, maybe a couple marquee players - say, throw in QB Kerry Collins -- and trade to the No. 1 spot to get Manning or Leaf.
This one's not totally farfetched, either. Colts president Bill Polian always has liked Collins, and if he can get a quarterback he fancies, several proven players and a couple key draft picks, the Colts could get rebuilt in a hurry. . . .
There's still lots swirling around Oakland's Chester McGlockton, too. Word is the Raiders are trying their best to move him, somehow. The Raiders don't have enough salary cap room to pay him franchise-player money, even though that's the designation they've put on him. Instead, they're hoping someone else will take a run at him and they'd get some draft picks as compensation.
What they'd get is unclear, considering it's all tied up in the new extension to the collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players. Maybe the best Oakland can hope for is that the NFL would let a team sign McGlockton for a second-round pick and then the league would give the Raiders a compensatory first-rounder.
Oakland would probably jump at the chance to unload McGlockton for that -- and the Raiders could save more than $2 million of cap money this season. Anything more than a second-rounder probably would scare teams away.
The Panthers might enter into this fray, too. If they decide to back out on Gilbert, they'd need a guy like McGlockton. And, let's not forget, McGlockton went to Clemson. . . .
The one team that still seems most likely to move around in Round 1 may be the Chicago Bears at No. 5.
What's up with Da Bears? Well, they may flop spots with St. Louis (at No. 6), possibly getting receiver Eddie Kennison in the deal. St. Louis would love to be at No. 5 to take Penn State running back Curtis Enis.
The Bears may stay put to take Enis, which would put Raymont Harris on the trading block.
The Bears reportedly are trying to get their paws on St. Louis receiver Kennison and deal down to the sixth spot for the No. 5 pick
But the best bet is that the Bears will continue to trade down in this draft, maybe with Jacksonville (at picks 9 and 25), which also likes Enis. It's well known around Chicago that the Bears are trying to get as many draft picks as they can for their No. 5. . . .
And this late-breaker: The Bears have suggested two trades with the Rams and St. Louis has rejected both. The first was to flop picks and the Rams would trade Kennison to the Bears. The second move the Bears suggested was to flop first-rounders for the Rams' second-round pick.
The Rams seem resigned to stay at No. 6 and hope nobody grabs Enis . . .
As reported here, it's becoming clearer every day that New England (at No. 18) is liable to take a good cornerback or two before even worrying about running back. Two likely choices are safety Shaun Williams of UCLA or CB Duane Starks of Miami. . . .
Is any team more nervous in this draft than the Minnesota Vikings? After losing corner Dwayne Washington to free agency and being turned back at a chance to sign Washington corner Darryl Pounds (the Redskins matched the Vikes' offer), Minnesota desperately needs help in the defensive backfield. Corey Fuller is the only guy they have with any experience.
The Vikings don't pick until No. 21, and they're afraid that a run on corners in the mid- to late- first round could leave them high and dry. The guys they like are Starks and Corey Chavous of Vanderbilt. It could be close. . . .
Finally, there's a stronger feeling around the league every day that talented but troubled Marshall wide receiver Randy Moss is dropping like a rock through the draft. In the wildest case, he could fall as far as Seattle at No. 15.
He's liable to be the story of Draft Day.
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April 13: Something is cooking in Oakland