Archive for Friday, April 20, 2001

Vick locked in as No. 1 pick

But remainder of Saturday’s pro football selections difficult to predict

April 20, 2001


— First comes Michael Vick. After that, intrigue.

That seems to be the scenario for Saturday's NFL draft, where the Virginia Tech quarterback, who played only 20 college games, is almost sure to be taken by the San Diego Chargers with the first pick.

Negotiations already have taken place between Vick and the Chargers, but whether he's signed or not, he's almost certain to be headed to San Diego.

Then come the questions:

l Will Cleveland, which has the third pick, trade down with Green Bay, which has the 10th, and use the pick on linebacker Dan Morgan, whom new Cleveland coach Butch Davis coached in college at Miami? The glitch: San Francisco, which picks ninth, may want Morgan.

l If that's the case, would the Packers, who want defensive tackle Gerard Warren of Florida, trade with Arizona, which has the second choice? Or will the Cardinals take offensive tackle Leonard Davis of Texas and allow Green Bay to deal with Cincinnati, which chooses fourth?

l Will St. Louis and Kansas City finally make the deal that will send quarterback Trent Green to the Chiefs? About all that seems to be holding up that trade, which would give the Rams Kansas City's first-rounder and 12th overall, is the antagonism lingering from former St. Louis coach Dick Vermeil's return after one year of retirement to coach the Chiefs.

l How many more trades will there be in a draft in which almost everyone from 15 to 45 is relatively equal?

"There are probably as many good players from 15 to 25 or 30 as there are from 5 to 15," said Marty Schottenheimer, the Redskins' new GM and coach, who would like to trade down from the 15 spot, in large measure to alleviate cap problems.

"A very deep draft, from top to bottom," says Gil Brandt, the NFL's draft consultant.

It starts with Vick, who is leaving Virginia Tech after his sophomore season because, frankly, he discovered he was the clear No. 1 pick.

The first pick in the draft, particularly if he's a quarterback, should be set for life with a contract that this year will probably run between $50 million-$60 million over six years or so. The two sides are currently haggling over where in between the number will fall.

After Vick come a dozen topflight prospects, led by Warren, a 325-pound tackle from Florida; Davis, a 370-pound offensive tackle from Texas; Kenyatta Walker, a 311-pound offensive tackle from Florida; and Justin Smith, a 267-pound defensive end from Missouri.

The top skill players are running backs LaDanian Tomlinson of TCU and Deuce McAllister of Mississippi, and a flock of wide receivers led by Koren Robinson of North Carolina State, Nate Gardner of Clemson and David Terrell of Michigan. The Wolverines also have three offensive linemen who could be taken in the first round guard Steve Hutchinson and tackles Jeff Backus and Maurice Williams.

The only other quarterback who's a first-rounder is Drew Brees of Purdue. Heisman winner Chris Weinke of Florida State will be picked later and Josh Heupel, who led Oklahoma to the national title, is projected as a late-round pick.

Much of the intrigue centers on Morgan, a middle linebacker who has moved from a late-round pick to a top-tenner. Davis compares him with Ray Lewis, the 2000 season and Super Bowl MVP.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.