Two big guys, Ohio State tackle Orlando Pace and Southern Cal defensive tackle Darrell Russell, plus a small one, Ohio State cornerback Shawn Springs, will be the first three picks in this weekend's NFL draft, but nobody can quite figure out in what order they'll be chosen and which teams will be there to take them. Several trades have already shuffled the draft order, and a frenzy of last-minute deals could be in the works.
The New York Jets, at No. 1, want to trade down to collect extra choices and maybe a veteran or two. Same goes for the Oakland Raiders, who have already moved from 10th to the second spot in a deal with the New Orleans Saints. The Seattle Seahawks, another team that moved up early, from 11th to third in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons, will stay put and take whichever of the top three players falls to them.
But Seattle still has another first-round pick, at No. 12, and here's where it gets interesting: Look for the Jets to move down to the St. Louis Rams' spot at No. 6, then trade that choice to the Seahawks, who will want to move up from 12th to get a first-rate cornerback if Springs isn't available at No. 3. Here's how Paul Zimmerman thinks the first round will play out. (Asterisk indicates a projected trade.)
1 RAMS* (FROM JETS)
Orlando Pace T, Ohio state
It'll cost St. Louis a lot, maybe even its No. 1 next year, but the Pancake Man is a rare talent; the Rams need help up front anyway.
2 LIONS* (FROM RAIDERS)
Shawn Springs CB, Ohio state
Detroit will make the trade after the first pick only if Springs, a gifted cover man, is still on the board.
3 SEAHAWKS (FROM FALCONS)
Darrell Russell DT, Southern Cal
The 322-pound Russell, who runs the 40 in 4.85, will replace Cortez Kennedy, who will be shipped to the Jets in a later move.
Peter Boulware DE-LB, Honda state
Baltimore eyes him as a linebacker, but the Giants covet this spot for a shot at Florida State tackle Walter Jones.
5 RAIDERS* (FROM LIONS)
Walter Jones T, Florida state
With its double move, Oakland gets higher picks in the first two rounds plus a terrific blocker at little cost.
6 SEAHAWKS* (FROM JETS)
Bryant Westbrook CB, Texas
Cornerback is a priority, and Seattle gets a hard hitter and a cover guy almost as good as Springs.
Rae Carruth WR, Colorado
Rookie coach Jim Fassel gets some say in the action, and he likes Carruth's sub-4.40 speed in the 40.