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Archive for Monday, April 23, 2001

Panthers pick Weinke in fourth round

April 23, 2001

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— This time Chris Weinke was the Heisman Trophy quarterback who waited.

The Florida State QB was chosen by the Carolina Panthers with the 11th pick of the fourth round on Sunday and instantly became the oldest QB on the Panthers' roster.

"I kind of figured that would be the case with a lot of different teams. That's just part of it," said Weinke, the former minor league baseball player who will turn 29 in July. "I feel I did the things necessary to be successful at this level."

That he did, leading Florida State to the national championship in 1999, then to the title game last season, where the Seminoles lost to Oklahoma. But Weinke won the Heisman over the Sooners' QB, Josh Heupel.

Heupel had to wait even longer to be picked, going to Miami in the sixth round, the 177th overall choice and the 11th quarterback taken. Among those chosen before Heupel: Oregon's A.J. Feeley, who was 5-for-13 for 87 yards in the only game he played last season.

The raps on Weinke were his age he didn't enter Florida State until giving up baseball age 25 and his inconsistency. But he improved his standing by staying in college for his senior year.

Sunday's quarterbacks were a mixed bag. After Weinke, Josh Rosenfels of Iowa State went to Washington and Jesse Palmer of Florida to the New York Giants on the fourth round.

The rest of the second day was devoted to long shots and small school players. The first three players of the fourth round were all from South Florida. One of them was Bill Gramatica, brother of Tampa Bay kicker Martin Gramatica, who was taken by Arizona as the first kicker chosen.

On the seventh round, Chicago took Olympic sprinter John Capel, who played very little at Florida. He was favored in the Olympic 200-meter final but got a late start and finished eighth.

In the seventh and final round came a mini-run on Ivy Leaguers offensive tackle Dennis Norman of Princeton by Seattle, and two Yale Players were picked: defensive back Than Merrill to Tampa Bay and tight end Eric Johnson to San Francisco. Jacksonville used a compensatory pick in the seventh round on Randy Chevrier, a defensive tackle from McGill University in Montreal.

The last player chosen was Brigham Young's Tevita Ofahengaue, who will be honored as this year's "Mr. Irrelevant."

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