Mocking the draft

4-18-01, 6:20 p.m.

Here is Bengals.com's first annual mock draft in anticipation of Saturday's first round in the NFL Draft.

The Bengals' web site appreciates the time taken by the panel of pro football writers who made the selections during their busiest week of the year.

The team's picks are followed by who made the selection and Hobson's comment. **

  1. San Diego _ Michael Vick, QB, Virginia Tech.** Jim Trotter, San Diego Union-Tribune.

The Chargers were willing to trade the pick, but only for a blockbuster. Pre-draft negotiations are going slow with Vick, but they look to be ready to make the move just three years after the Ryan Leaf disaster.

2. Arizona _ Leonard Davis, LT, Texas. Kent Somers, Arizona Republic.

Smokescreen? There has been buzz that the Cardinals are even talking about putting him at right guard for the first year. They have been reportedly shopping this pick and the word is Davis is the only one with whom the Cards feel comfortable handing a $10 million bonus.

3. Cleveland _ LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, TCU. Tony Grossi, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

If they go offense, the thinking is running back. Of course, they could go with Michigan wide receiver David Terrell here and get a good running back in the second round. But if the Browns can't trade down for linebacker and Butch Davis favorite Dan Morgan, the thinking is they'll get the running back they like the best.

4. Cincinnati _ Kenyatta Walker, RT, Florida. A conference call of local beat reporters from around the NFL made the pick.

This isn't a lock. Not from a team also thinking about Drew Brees and Koren Robinson this high and Terrell and Justin Smith still around. They think Walker has big-time athleticism, but he didn't play left tackle in college.

5.Atlanta _ Justin Smith, DE, Missouri. Len Pasquarelli, CBS Sportsline.com.

The Falcons

had just 31 sacks last season with tackle Travis Hall the team leader at 4.5. Since there is no active player in the NFL with a 10-sack season for Cincinnati, the Bengals are also taking a long look at Smith.

6. New England _ Gerard Warren, DT, Florida. Kevin Mannix, The Boston Herald.

With left tackle Bruce Armstrong mothballed to the Pats' Hall of Fame with 15 years of service, they need to put another guy like him over there until the JFK Centennial in 2017. But Davis or Walker might not be there. They also need people at tackle with the free-agent departure of Chad Eaton.

7. Seattle _ Richard Seymour, DT, Georgia. Mike Sando, Tacoma News Tribune.

You would think after signing tackles Eaton, John Randle and end Jeremy Staat, Seattle would have enough. But Mike Holmgren seems determined to revive the league's worst total defense and fourth worst rush defense.

8. Chicago _ Andre Carter, DE, California. John Mullin, Chicago Tribune.

If the Bears want the best running back, they will have to trade up to get him. They won't get him here. Carter, son of former Broncos nose tackle Rubin Carter, would be a good addition to a Bears' outfit that had just 36 sacks, three below the NFL average last season.

9. San Francisco _ Jamal Reynolds, DE, Florida State. Clark Judge, FOXSports.com.

They really want Carter, but Reynolds could prove to be an effective pass rusher in this league. Some are down on his 265 pounds, but ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. points to how Jaguars sack artist Tony Brackens slid to the second round because of size.

10. Green Bay _ David Terrell, WR, Michigan. Bob McGinn, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The Packers are looking for defense in the Carter-Morgan mold. But if a guy like Terrell is there, the thinking is he's not going to slide much farther than this.

11. Carolina _ Dan Morgan, LB, Miami. Pat Yasinskas, Charlotte Observer.

At the moment, their three starting linebackers are Lester Towns, Dean Wells and Hannibal Navies. Safe to say they're looking for help from the Army, too. A durable running back would be nice because of the oft-nicked Tim Biakabutuka, but the biggest question about Deuce McAllister is his own durability.

12. Kansas City _ Deuce McAllister, RB, Mississippi State. Len Pasquarelli, CBS Sportsline.

Is Tony Richardson the answer? They can't afford to find out.

13. Jacksonville _ Marcus Stroud, DT. John Oehser, Florida Times-Union.

The Jags want to beef up the middle of a defense that already finished 11th against the rush last season.

14. Buffalo _ Steve Hutchinson, G, Michigan. Mark Gaughan, Buffalo News.

The Bills would probably take Stroud if he's there. But Hutchinson, like his Michigan teammate Terrell, is a gem if you've got a shot to get him this late. Hutchinson, called by some the most dominating left guard in Big Ten history, could even play right tackle in a pinch.

15. Washington _ Santana Moss, WR, Miami of Florida.Vito Stellino, The Sports Exchange.

This guy is flying up the board faster than the 36 punts he returned for 18.2 yard per return. Some are scared off by his size (5-9, 185 pounds), but his 16.6 yards per his 45 catches is big enough. Remember, the Redskins' leading receiver last year was fullback Larry Centers.

16. Pittsburgh _ Nate Clements, CB, Ohio State. Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

The Steelers are thinking defense all the way, as if captain Levon Kirkland's departure is a symbol to re-tool. They like people such as Stroud and Morgan and will probably take a look at Miami of Florida tackle Damione Lewis.

But they need to freshen up their corner supply. The last time they took one in the first two rounds was four years ago when Chad Scott came in the first round.

17. Seattle _ Reggie Wayne, WR, Miami of Florida. Mike Sando, Tacoma News Tribune.

Once upon a time the Bengals fancied themselves getting a shot at Wayne in the second round. Not any more.

18. Detroit _ Jeff Backus, LT, Michigan. Mike O'Hara, The Detroit News.

Can it be that Herman Moore and Johnnie Morton are suddenly 31 and 30 years old, respectively? So the Lions may have a wide receiver in the back of their heads (Moss, Koren Robinson?), but in this scenario they'd go for the best left tackle before the second round dawns.

19. Jets _ Koren Robinson, WR, North Carolina State. Peter King, Sports Illustrated.

King is miffed the way this draft came down. He thinks Moss will be here for the Jets to snap up. Anyway, think receiver for the post- Keyshawn era.

20. St. Louis _ Damione Lewis, DT, Miami of Florida. Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Rams will be delighted if he's here because Lewis is a quick guy who would excel in their one-gap scheme. They envision Ray Agnew as a third-tackle role player and they need to respond to D'Marco Farr's release.

21. Tampa Bay _ Todd Heap, TE, Arizona State. Ernest Hooper, St. Petersburg Times.

The departed Patrick Hape played a lot of time for the Bucs. He was on the field 43 percent of the time. Hooper's solution: "Give Heap the same jersey and re-arrange the letters."

22. Indianapolis _ Jamar Fletcher, CB, Wisconsin. Mike Chappell, Indianapolis Star.

Fletcher is just 5-8, 180 pounds, but has shown a terrific knack at making plays in returning five of his 20 career interceptions for touchdowns. Colts GM Bill Polian has no problem drafting small corners as long as they make plays. With all 11 offensive starters under contract, Indy is thinking defense.

23.New Orleans – Freddie Mitchell, WR, UCLA. Jeff Duncan, New Orleans Times-Picayune.

They're thinking wideout here with Willie Jackson gone and no No. 3 guy behind Joe Horn and Albert Connell. Mitchell has a certain swagger that should be appreciated by Saints fiery head coach Jim Haslett.

24. Denver – Willie Middlebrooks, CB, Minnesota. Lee Rasizer, Rocky Mountain News.

The Broncos keep it about as tight as it gets. But two and two should put it together.

Denver had the worst pass defense in the league last year. That says cornerback. And Middlebrooks' college secondary coach and defensive coordinator, David Gibbs, is now on Denver's staff. We'll find out if he liked him. Plus, Middlebrooks is the kind of 6-1,200-pound physical corner new coordinator Ray Rhodes likes.

25. Philadelphia _ Chad Johnson, WR, Oregon State. Phil Sheridan, Philadelphia Inquirer.

Sheridan has christened this one "Drafting for Donovan." After finishing 20th in passing last season, the Eagles are looking to surround quarterback Donovan McNabb with weapons that can stretch the field. The 6-1, 190-pound Johnson can fly, but played just one year of Division I ball.

26. Miami _ Rod Gardner, WR, Clemson. Alex Marvez, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, and Todd Archer, Palm Beach Post.

The 6-2, 217-pound Gardner is a highly-regarded leaper who can get into position to fry cornerbacks in one-on-one situations. The Dolphins had a brutal passing game last season (ranked 27th in the league), but Archer makes a good point.

Purdue quarterback Drew Brees is sitting there one spot ahead of where the Dolphins took Marino in 1983 and he thinks there's a chance that could happen. And didn't Dolphins Hall-of-Fame quarterback Bob Griese play at Purdue?

But Marvez believes a big, fast game-breaking receiver will be too much to pass up at that point for a team that hasn't had one in years.

27. Minnesota _ Fred Smoot, CB, Mississippi State. Don Banks, CNN/Sports Illustrated.

Smoot has had off-field problems that no doubt have sent his stock sliding, but Vikings head coach Dennis Green has shown an ability to control that kind of stuff.

Still, Banks won't be surprised if the offensive-minded Green tries to fill the retired shoes of running back Robert Smith with Wisconsin's Michael Bennett at this spot. That will no doubt elicit a Twins Cities roar in the wake of the 41-0 debacle to the Giants in the NFC title game.

28. Oakland _ Adam Archuleta, S Arizona State. Clark Judge, FOXSports.com.

Brees is a possibility here, but the Raiders' 25th pass defense is in need and quarterback Rich Gannon is coming off a Pro Bowl season at age 35.

29. St. Louis _ Shaun Rogers, DT, Texas. Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Rams hope Archuleta will be there because they think this spot is a bit high for safety Derrick Gibson and outside linebacker Tommy Polley. Rogers has been limping on a bad ankle for months, but doctors have assured teams like the Bengals he'll be ready to play. Before the injury, he was rated a sure-fire top 15 pick. A great pick this late.

30. Giants _ Will Allen, CB, Syracuse. Peter King, Sports Illustrated.

King says it pretty crisply. "In the first eight weeks, they play Brett Favre, Donovan McNabb, Kurt Warner and Jeff George twice. Wouldn't you draft a corner, too?"

31. Baltimore _ Alge Crumpler, TE, North Carolina. Len Pasquarelli, CBS Sportsline.

Hey, Shannon Sharpe turns 31 and while he can talk forever, he can't play forever. Crumpler has a great future as a well-rounded player. Scouts think his best asset is his power as a blocker, but he's also got the hands of a guy who caught 43 balls in his last two seasons. Crumpler's blocking makes him a nice fit in the Ravens' smash-mouth offense.

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