The Patriots had offered four high draft picks, including the 20th and 28th selections, to Washington in an attempt to move up to fifth. The Dolphins had dangled most of this year's picks and next year's first-rounder to jump from 24th. "We had a scenario where we'd trade up twice, to Baltimore at 10 and then to Chicago at seven," Miami coach Jimmy Johnson said last Saturday night. "That's how badly we wanted him. Peyton Manning with Edgerrin James. Two great, young players together. Unfortunately, they're in our division."
The night before the draft Johnson had tried to trade for Marshall Faulk, the Pro Bowl back whom the Colts had dealt to the Rams last Thursday. St. Louis coach Dick Vermeil said no thanks. Finally, on draft day, Johnson traded out of the first round and took Mississippi State's James Johnson with the 39th pick, passing on troubled but talented McNeese State runner Cecil Collins. "Such a high risk," Jimmy Johnson said of Collins, who has been dogged by off-field problems. But on Sunday, with the stakes not as high, Johnson did take Collins with the first pick in the fifth round.
McNabb, Big Kat Under the Gun
A minute after disappointing a city that had screamed for him to draft Ricky Williams, first-year Eagles coach Andy Reid telephoned quarterback Donovan McNabb, the player the team had taken with the second pick. "Hey," Reid told McNabb, "understand one thing: You're the man, and this city will love you as time goes on."
The campaigning for Williams in Philadelphia was feverish and continued long after the Eagles had made it clear they planned to take a quarterback with their first pick. When Reid was introduced at a recent Flyers game, the crowd booed him and chanted, "Rick-EE! Rick-EE!" Last Thursday the city council voted on a resolution for the club to draft Williams. The measure failed. A day later Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell went on sports talk radio station WIP to campaign for Williams.
McNabb seemed unconcerned about the poor reception he initially received from Eagles supporters. "If you make plays and the team wins, the fans will be fine," he said after arriving in Philadelphia late last Saturday. "I don't worry about the fans."
Another first-round pick who is sure to get an earful from the home crowd if he doesn't live up to expectations is Ohio State linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer. Coming off a disappointing junior year, Katzenmoyer dropped to No. 28, where New England selected him with the last of the four draft picks it was awarded as compensation for the Jets' signing of coach Bill Parcells in 1997. None of the other players the Pats drafted with the Parcells payoff—running back Sedrick Shaw (1997 draft), guard Damon Denson ('97) and wideout Tony Simmons ('98)—have made an impact.
Arizona Stacks The Deck
Arizona had a heated debate in its war room over whether to take Ohio State wideout David Boston or BYU tackle John Tait with the eighth selection. The Cardinals settled on Boston, then tackle L.J. Shelton of Eastern Michigan fell into Arizona's lap with the 21st pick. When was the last time you heard this? The Cardinals should be the favorite in the NFC East....
Southpaw quarterback Cade McNown, who wore number 18 at UCLA, will don number 8 with the Bears. "Three great lefties—Mark Brunell, Steve Young and Carl Yastrzemski—wore 8," McNown said. "That's the number for me."