Work in Sports
Eight is enough
Potential yield is literally offensive for rookie class
Posted: Wednesday May 10, 2000 04:02 PM
By B. Duane Cross, CNNSI.com
New York Giants fans finally have located Lambuth University, alma mater of third-round choice Ron Dixon. The St. Louis faithful still are wondering, "Why Trung Canidate?" And in Baltimore, coach Brian Billick is sleeping soundly with visions of Jamal Lewis and Travis Taylor dancing in his head.
The draft-day dust has settled, and whether your favorite team took a sleeper (Dixon), a keeper (Lewis) or left you scratching your head (Candidate), one thing is clear: There are no fewer than eight offensive players whose presence could be markedly measured this season.
Warrick can thank the New Orleans Saints -- not his well-documented off-field problems -- for falling to the Bengals. If the Saints hadn't gutted the future of the franchise on Draft Day '99, Warrick would be suiting up in New Orleans.
Remember, you read it here first: Analysts will hail the return of Jamal Anderson in Atlanta as the Falcons' saving grace -- one year after shredding his knee.
So why are the same talking heads knocking Lewis? He is two years removed from the same type of surgery. In this case, isn't more better, as in more recovery time being better for the long run?
Lewis is the backfield piece around which the Ravens build their title hopes.
Jake Plummer now has a backfield mate to hand the ball to 25 times a game -- if the diminutive Jones (5-foot-10, 215 pounds) can handle the bulk of the workload.
In a three-receiver set, Jones could wreak havoc on the ends -- something no other back in the NFC East can promise on a consistent, game-breaking basis. Is it any wonder Dallas and Washington are so defensive-minded?
A player with an unlimited upside, Burress will find out what the other Steelers receivers already know: Without someone to throw the ball to you, talent amounts to zilch.
Until the Steelers land a quarterback, Burress & Co. are decoys for Jerome Bettis.
But if the Steelers get a QB, he's a difference-maker to the nth degree.
Certainly a game-breaking receiver, Taylor may prove to be one of the most memorable names of the 2000 Draft.
His injury problems at Florida raise some eyebrows, but playing 16 games in the NFL is akin to a season in the SEC. The point: He's already a three-year veteran.
A great fit for Dayne, the Giants will strap their postseason hopes to his broad nape.
Dayne is not a receiving threat; he caught one pass as a senior. He is, however, a bruising runner who will be another in the long list of quality NFC East backs who've lead their teams to the playoffs.
A "must" choice for the Packers because of Mark Chmura's legal problems, Franks will thrive in first-year coach Mike Sherman's West Coast offense. It doesn't hurt that he'll have three-time MVP Brett Favre in the huddle, either.
Franks will immediately step into the starting lineup and could re-write the record books before he's through.
The early word is that Janikowski will break the league record for longest field goal. Fantasy-league owners must be salivating at the thought ...
If Janikowski lives up to his billing as the end-all of kickers, that'll mean one thing: The Raiders' offense sputtered.
Silver & Black fans, when you think of Jon Gruden, think well.
Best o' the rest