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The Pick-Six LOTTERY
Peter King
April 29, 1996
Tainted back Lawrence Phillips slipped to the Rams' spot in the NFL draft, but that was about the only surprise during a weekend of predictable picks
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April 29, 1996

The Pick-six Lottery

Tainted back Lawrence Phillips slipped to the Rams' spot in the NFL draft, but that was about the only surprise during a weekend of predictable picks

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Bears. Chicago outbid the Denver Broncos for the Rams' second pick in the first round, No. 13 overall, and used it to get cornerback Walt Harris of Mississippi State. Then, with the 52nd pick, they stole Engram. Engram was hurt by a 4.56 time in the 40, but remember what Jerry Rice says about a receiver's speed: He only has to be fast enough to outrun the defense.

"This guy's [Penn State's] alltime receptions, receiving-yards and receiving-touchdowns leader, and he's the second-best punt returner in school history," Bears coach Dave Wannstedt said on Sunday. "He played in our climate—cold, windy, rainy—on grass, in front of 80,000 people. We solved about three needs with this kid."

THE DUBIOUS

Chargers. San Diego fans have to keep repeating, "In Bobby we trust" and hope Beathard's strangest draft ever—and that's saying something—doesn't turn out to be a disaster. With that 41st pick, San Diego took Virginia Tech wideout Bryan Still, who has good speed (4.38 in the 40) but caught only 74 passes in four years. He still would have been on the board when the Chargers were due to pick nine slots later. Then, with the 50th pick, San Diego took quarterback turned outside linebacker Patrick Sapp, a project from Clemson.

49ers. Let's see if we have this straight. The Niners, with gaping holes along the offensive line, and having already signed former All-Pro defensive end Chris Doleman to a five-year, $12.5 million contract, trade up to pick a 25-year-old defensive end who put on a football uniform for the first time in 1992. He is Israel Ifeanyi, a Nigerian who is fluent in Ibo and English and who had eight sacks in his two-year USC career. San Francisco led the league in Nigerians drafted this year by adding wideout Iheanyi Uwaezuoke from Cal in round 5.

Patriots. New England owner Bob Kraft may have created an irreparable chasm between coach Bill Parcells and the front office when he insisted that the Pats follow the draft board as it was laid out by director of player personnel Bobby Grier and his staff. Parcells won two Super Bowls with the Giants, had called the draft and free-agent shots for three years in New England and desperately wanted to use the Pats' pick, seventh overall, to take a player who would fit into their defensive front seven. But the board had Phillips and Ohio State wideout Terry Glenn ranked first and second, respectively. That's why Glenn is a Patriot. That's also why this will be Parcells's last year coaching in New England.

"We spent millions in scouting and developing a system," Kraft said on Saturday. "We can't ignore the system when it comes to making a pick if we believe in our system."

Kraft will tell you that the player went where he was supposed to go. Fitting for a most predictable draft.

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