AFTER THE FLASHY
names-- Bush, Leinart, Young, Cutler, Ferguson, Davis--are gone, the offensive
drought will set in. The depth in this draft is on defense. Half a dozen
linebackers could go in the first round; Cowboys coach Bill Parcells says,
"In the middle of the round you'll see a great defensive back
stampede." Here's how the first round will play out.
1 TEXANS Reggie
Bush, RB, USC The most explosive offensive performer in years. Interest in
Leinart could produce a late trade, but the Texans would have to be assured
they'd get Bush, plus a draft choice, to make the deal.
2 SAINTS Mario
Williams, DE, North Carolina State The NFC's worst sacking team in '05 will add
a 6'7", 295-pound wingman with 4.66 speed--a disruptive force who had a
total of 41 1/2 sacks and tackles for loss last year.
3 TITANS Matt
Leinart, QB, USC The debate will rage right up to the deadline: Leinart, fully
versed in coordinator Norm Chow's offense, versus the fireworks of Rose Bowl
D'Brickashaw Ferguson, T, Virginia Amid fans' cries for a QB is the sober voice
of one Jets assistant: "We've got a veteran at one tackle and air at the
other." This superior, quick-footed pass protector is just the guy to fill
5 PACKERS A.J.
Hawk, LB, Ohio State Linebackers rarely go so high, but it's been years since
we've seen one with his speed (4.59), bulk (6'1", 248), strength,
athleticism and intensity.
6 49ERS Vernon
Davis, TE, Maryland The Broncos desperately wanted to trade up for this
250-pounder who ran a 4.38 40 at the combine. A weapon like that slicing the
heart out of the two-deep zone could solve a lot of problems.
7 RAIDERS Vince
Young, QB, Texas Warning: Al Davis was overheard mentioning Young's name, which
usually means the club will go for almost anyone else. But how can he pass on a
player with unlimited upside?
8 BILLS Michael
Huff, DB, Texas Maybe he's a strong safety, maybe a corner. With 4.34 speed
he'll certainly get a look on the outside. Best of all, he's a solid player who
flies to the ball.
9 LIONS Ernie
Sims, LB, Florida State "I want a disrupter, a playmaker," says club
president Matt Millen. Huff would have been perfect. Sims is an action guy
inside, but five concussions make drafting him a little scary.