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Dr. Z's Draft Report Card
Paul Zimmerman
April 27, 1998
It's hard to say that anyone had a bad draft. That's how good the talent was. There were no first-round head-scratchers. Form held up, needs were addressed. Here then, are the six teams I believe fared best, listed alphabetically.
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April 27, 1998

Dr. Z's Draft Report Card

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It's hard to say that anyone had a bad draft. That's how good the talent was. There were no first-round head-scratchers. Form held up, needs were addressed. Here then, are the six teams I believe fared best, listed alphabetically.

Bengals. Their top four picks were all on defense, including a pair of swift linebackers taken in the first round, Takeo Spikes and Brian Simmons. Those two players could make Dick LeBeau's 3-4 zone blitz effective. I particularly like the fourth-round choice, Michigan defensive end Glen Steele, an overachiever who has the kind of fire that was missing in a defense that ranked 28th last year.

Cardinals. Arizona will get a tremendous boost from defensive end Andre Wads-worth and defensive back Corey Chavous, who has superb coverage instincts. Running back Michael Pittman is a banger and a nifty receiver, and defensive end Jomo Cousins, a seventh-round choice, is a gifted athlete with unlimited potential. The key, though, may be second-round selection Anthony Clement, a 6'7", 355-pound tackle who can pass-block. If he comes through, this draft could make the Cardinals into playoff contenders.

Dolphins. Here's a prediction: As Jimmy Johnson's offense commits itself to the ground game, first-rounder John Avery, a diminutive tailback with 4.37 speed, will make more of an impact than any other runner in the draft. Elsewhere among Miami's 10 selections is the usual Johnson mix of athletes, sleepers and hand-picked gems that slipped through the cracks.

Jaguars. With all due respect to my colleague Peter King, I like what they did. Jacksonville plugged in some athletes: running backs Fred Taylor and Tavian Banks; cornerback Cordell Taylor, who has run a 4.43; safety Donovin Darius; even quarterback Jonathan Quinn, who has run a 4-59-Keep an eye on center John Wade, an excellent drive-blocker who was a fifth-round pickup.

Patriots. Call it saturation bombing. New England made six of the draft's first 83 picks. With Robert Edwards running behind fullback Chris Floyd, the athletic Tebucky Jones spicing up the secondary and Greg Spires adding muscle and speed to the defensive line, things are looking good in Foxboro.

Steelers. True to its character, Pittsburgh went for big, hardworking, lunch-pail types: Alan Faneca and Chris Conrad on the offensive front, Jeremy Staat for the defensive line. Then there's Georgia's little utility back/wideout, Hines Ward, who does everything well. Call him Slash Jr.

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