Players watch their draft position rise and fall leading up to the draft, often for no reason at all. It may be hard to justify dropping a player or pushing a player up the draft board at a time of year when there is no way to judge the physical, tangible skills that the players will bring to the NFL gridiron on Sundays this fall.
That will all change Feb. 22 when the NFL's Scouting Combine kicks off in Indianapolis. Players will be pinched, poked, prodded and pushed for information by teams which are about to make a multimillion dollar investment in their skills.
As much as the first round changes from day to day and month to month leading up to the draft, it changes even more during the previous college season. Our stab at calling this year's first round 52 weeks in advance of the 2001 NFL Draft looked like this. The top of our draft hasn't changed too much, but if anyone has seen Ennis Davis or Roylin Bradley, please alert the authorities.
Here is our second Mock Draft of the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft, compiled by a panel of seven CNNSI.com "draftniks." We will update it monthly leading up to the April 21 draft, reflecting changes in team needs due to free-agent signings, as well as the rising or falling of a player's stock due to their individual workouts and performance at the Combine.
Here's our updated glimpse at what the first round could look like come draft day. Also, please feel free to compare that to our previous version with a look back at our first Mock Draft from January, as well as user Reactions to our January Mock Draft.
|CNNSI.com's 2001 NFL Mock Draft|
|1 || San Diego Chargers 1-15 |
* Michael Vick QB Virginia Tech
| Vick looks to be a faster version of Steve McNair.
|2 || Arizona Cardinals 3-13 |
* David Terrell WR Michigan
| Has rare combo of size, speed and hands.
|3 || || Cleveland Browns 3-13 |
Deuce McAllister RB Ole Miss
| Deuce would get loose often in Browns' West Coast system.
|4 || || Cincinnati Bengals 4-12 |
Jamal Reynolds DE Florida State
| Latest FSU star more talented than Reinard Wilson.
|5 || || Atlanta Falcons 4-12 |
Andre Carter DE California
| Falcons badly need to upgrade their pass rush.
|6 || || New England Patriots 5-11 |
Leonard Davis OT Texas
| Drew Bledsoe needs a big lug to slow the sack parade.
|7 || || (1) Seattle Seahawks 6-10 |
* Justin Smith DE Missouri
| Mike Holmgren needs Smith to live up to "Godzilla" nickname.
|8 || || Chicago Bears 5-11 |
* Gerard Warren DT Florida
| Bears haven't had DT this talented since Dan Hampton.
|9 || || San Francisco 49ers 6-10 |
* Jamar Fletcher CB Wisconsin
| JFletch would team with Ahmed Plummer for years.
|10 || || Seattle Seahawks 6-10 |
Richard Seymour DT Georgia
| Would plug the middle and let Justin Smith rush the passer.
|11 || || Carolina Panthers 7-9 |
LaDainian Tomlinson RB TCU
| LT would add needed speed to Panthers' backfield.
|12 || || Kansas City Chiefs 7-9 |
* Kenyatta Walker OT Florida
| Meaty pass blocker to protect not-so-nimble Elvis Grbac.
|13 || || Jacksonville Jaguars 7-9 |
Dan Morgan LB Miami (Fla.)
| Morgan could be this year's Brian Urlacher.
|14 || || Buffalo Bills 8-8 |
Damione Lewis DT Miami (Fla.)
| Bills may need Lewis to start if Ted Washington leaves.
|15 || || Washington Redskins 8-8 |
* Koren Robinson WR N.C. State
| Jeff George needs a go-to guy with Albert Connell gone.
|16 || || Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7 |
Drew Brees QB Purdue
| Have I mentioned lately they should've taken Pennington?
|17 || || Green Bay Packers 9-7 |
Chad Johnson WR Oregon State
| Stood out at Senior Bowl and is shooting up the charts.
|18 || || Detroit Lions 9-7 |
Santana Moss WR Miami (Fla.)
| Big-play threat to complement Germane Crowell's skills.
|19 || || New York Jets 9-7 |
Rod Gardner WR Clemson
| May not be Keyshawn, but he is a big target for Vinny.
|20 || || St. Louis Rams 10-6 |
Marcus Stroud DT Georgia
| Would add beef to St. Louis' front four.
|21 || || Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6 |
Jeff Backus OT Michigan
| Need a LT to give King time to throw over the D line.
|22 || || Indianapolis Colts 10-6 |
* Jamie Winborn LB Vanderbilt
| Speedy MLB continues strong Vandy LB tradition.
|23 || || New Orleans Saints 10-6 |
Fred Smoot CB Mississippi State
| Talented corner may talk Jim Haslett's ear off.
|24 || || Denver Broncos 11-5 |
* Todd Heap TE Arizona State
| Would take pressure off Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey.
|25 || || Philadelphia Eagles 11-5 |
Reggie Wayne WR Miami (Fla.)
| That would make four former 'Canes joining Davis in NFL.
|26 || || Miami Dolphins 11-5 |
* Freddie Mitchell WR UCLA
| Need some weapons to make Jay Fiedler dangerous.
|27 || || Minnesota Vikings 11-5 |
* Michael Bennett RB Wisconsin
| Style is reminiscent of Robert Smith coming out of OSU.
|28 || || Oakland Raiders 12-4 |
Maurice Williams OT Michigan
| Big Blue tackle would add a lot to the Silver and Black.
|29 || || Tennessee Titans 13-3 |
Steve Hutchinson G Michigan
| That would make three Wolverines OL in first round.
|30 || || New York Giants 12-4 |
Gary Baxter CB Baylor
| Super Bowl struggles exposed lack of depth at corner.
|31 || || Baltimore Ravens 12-4 |
Willie Howard DT Stanford
| Champs don't need much, just depth behind Adams, Goose.
|* -- Underclassman|
(1) -- From Dallas in Joey Galloway trade