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ESPN Insider - Scouting Inc.: Mel Kiper Jr. :Draft Break Down


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Editor's note: For Insiders only, Mel Kiper Jr. and our friends at Scouts, Inc., break down each first-round pick of the 2004 NFL draft.


Analysis: Second round | Third round| Day 2 preview

1. San Diego Chargers: Eli Manning | QB | Ole Miss

Scouts' take: The Manning family clearly didn't want Eli to go to San Diego, but it took until four picks later before a trade between the Chargers and Giants was sealed. Make no mistake -- San Diego made this pick knowing full well it might not be able to trade Manning and instead would be facing a major task to repair the relationship and get him signed.

Mel Kiper's take: Eli Manning has ideal size and a stronger arm and more mobility than his older brother Peyton. Eli's pure passing skills are outstanding, and he can make every throw. But what stands out most is the way he elevated a team that would otherwise have been mediocre. He also became more of a leader during his senior season, but it remains to be seen how he will handle the expectations that go with his name and the pressure generated by the controversey surrounding his trade from San Diego.

2. Oakland Raiders: Robert Gallery | OT | Iowa

Scouts' take: Originally, the Raiders were targeting Roy Wiliiams in trade-down scenario, but they realized that moving to seven would result in the Jaguars leap-frogging them and taking Williams with the No. 6 pick. They then made the wise decision to stay put and draft the best player available -- Gallery. While they obviously needed a receiver more, Gallery helps solidify their offensive line for years to come. He'll take over as the starting left tackle, moving Barry Sims inside to guard. As a result, adding Gallery potentially gives the Raiders one of the stronger offensive lines in the league.

Mel Kiper's take: Gallery is a safe pick for the Raiders because he will be able to step in and become an immediate starter and contributor. He is a tough, rugged football player who has terrific strength and tremendous mobility for a player his size, getting to the second level to spring long runs. Gallery dominated on a weekly basis against some of the best DEs in the country, and the experience he gained under offensive line guru Kirk Ferentz was invaluable. In the end, Gallery's skills could make him a dominant left tackle in the mold of Tony Boselli, Jonathan Ogden and Orlando Pace.

3. Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald* | WR | Pittsburgh

Scouts' take: The addition of Fitzgerald gives Denny Green two playmakers at receiver, much like he had with Randy Moss and Cris Carter in Minnesota. Moss and Carter made several quartebacks appear better than they were while Green was coaching the Vikings. The hope is that adding Fitzgerald to complement Anquan Boldin will acomplish the same thing in Ariizona, as QB Josh McNown is just a marginal starter at this point. The addition of Fitzgerald also allows Boldin to move to the X receiver, where he should be mnoe effecttive.

Mel Kiper's take: Fitzgerald is the top player on my board. He has excellent size and Lynn Swann-like acrobatic ability to go up and get the ball. His body control is outstanding, and Fitzgerald has maybe the best hands I've ever seen on a college wideout. His skills will allow him to step in and play a major role as a rookie, giving Dennis Green a third wideout to team with Anquan Boldin and Bryant Johnson and create matchup problems for defenses. Considering Fitzgerald's humble approach and great work ethic, the need to work on beating the jam at the line of scrimmage and getting away from press coverage is not much of a concern.

4. New York Giants: Philip Rivers | QB | North Carolina State

Scouts' take: This pick was the most interesting of the draft so far. We hear the Browns had a deal done with the Giants to move up and take S Sean Taylor, with New York dropping down to No. 7 to take Ben Roethlisberger. But the Giants backed out at the last minute -- while they were on the clock -- and struck the deal with San Diego. They took Rivers with the express purpose of trading him to the Chargers.

Mel Kiper's take: Philip Rivers is a QB in the Bernie Kosar mold. He has a super-quick release, a cerebral approach and is always prepared. Rivers is a mature, experienced player with a great track record at N.C. State, going 4-0 in bowl games and winning MVP honors at the Senior Bowl. His arm strength is above average, and despite a low-slung delivery he had few passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. Rivers is not exceptionally mobile, but he has great instincts in the pocket and a knack for finding the open player. I expect his career will follow the same path as Kosar's.

5. Washington Redskins: Sean Taylor* | S | Miami (Fla.)

Scouts' take: We've said along Washington may have problems signing TE Kellen Winslow and that they would not select him if they were not sure they could get a deal done. As a result, selecting Taylor may be more a result of stalled negotiations with Winslow than player preference. That said, Taylor fills the Redskins' biggest need after tight end. Adding Taylor will help soften the blow of the departure of Champ Bailey, and he could make the biggest impact of any defensive player from this draft. Not only can he line up like an extra linebacker in the box, but he is aslo a terrific playmaker while playing deep and has the cover skills to stay with slot receivers in man coverage.

Mel Kiper's take: Taylor has the highest grade of any safety I've graded in the last 15 years. He runs like a cornerback and is a tough, physical player with a Ray Lewis-type passion for the game. Taylor is a trememdous ballhawk and former running back who can make things happen after picking off passes. He will be a tremendous addition to a defense that has upgraded during the offseason, and he will be a huge help to a unit that has to neutralize the Giants' Jeremy Shockey twice a year.

6. Cleveland Browns: Kellen Winslow Jr.* | TE | Miami (Fla.)

Scouts' take: After Robert Gallery and Sean Taylor went off the board, the Browns were desperate for Kellen Winslow. He actually was the player they wanted second behind Gallery, which is why they gave away their second-round pick just to move up one spot for him. It's an awful lot to give up in order to move up just one spot, but if the Lions or another team trading up got Winslow, the Browns were stuck -- there was not another player they were excited about drafting, and they would have had to take DeAngelo Hall, which did not address one of their major needs -- OT, DS, TE. Winslow gives them an element on offense they have been searching for the past few seasons. If he can keep his temper in check, he has a chance to quickly develop into the best tight end in the NFL.

Mel Kiper's take: Winslow is a remarkable athlete with a tremendous passion for the game. He can stretch the middle of the field or split out wide, and Winslow wants the ball in big situations. He was hurt a bit by inconsistent quarterback play last season, but Winslow made clutch catches throughout his career. Some mistake his swagger for arrogance, but teams always covet players with that kind of confidence in their ability. Winslow can be careless with the ball at times when running in the open field, but that can be worked on, and he should be an impact player for the Browns from Day 1.

7. Detroit Lions: Roy Williams | WR | Texas

Scouts' take: This was a surprise. For starters, the Lions made out like bandits when they got the Browns' second-round pick (No. 37) in order to move down one spot. At that point we expected the Lions to move down again in order to acquire more picks from the Jaguars, then draft RB Steven Jackson at No. 9. While Williams certainly doesn't address the Lions' need at running back, he does give the Lions' offense an element that it did not have last year. With Charles Rogers and Roy Williams, the Lions have one of the best young wide receiving corps in the NFL. Both players are playmakers with excellent speed. If Joey Harrington can't get it done with these two receivers on the perimeter, he probably isn't going to get it done anywhere in the NFL. Next up for the Lions is to use one of their two second-round picks on a running back.

Mel Kiper's take: Williams was the top player on some draft boards and was my top-rated overall player as a sophomore. He has it all physically and is a strong, tough player. His numbers were hurt by the conservative offense at Texas, but Williams works hard on his game and during the course of his senior year went from a humble, quiet player to an assertive, confident force. Teaming him with Charles Rogers gives the Lions one of the fastest groups of wideouts in the league.

8. Atlanta Falcons: DeAngelo Hall* | CB | Virginia Tech

Scouts' take: The Falcons did a smart thing by drafting for the best value in Hall rather than reaching for need. They already have upgraded their cornerback position in free agency with Jason Webster, Aaron Beasley and Derek Ross, but Hall has the potential to be the team's best cornerback very soon. He also is one of the most explosive punt returners in this draft. Look for Hall to quickly take over as a starter opposite Tod McBride, with Webster, Beasley and Ross battling for the nickel and dime roles.

Mel Kiper's take: Hall has world-class speed that allows him to close on just about any passs and the confidence needed to be a shutdown corner at the NFL level. Some worry about his lack of height, but he is chiseled and strong and is a good tackler in the open field. With his speed, Hall can also affect the game in other ways as a game-breaking punt returner.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Reggie Williams* | WR | Washington

Scouts' take: This was a surprise and somewhat of a reach, in our opinion. The Jaguars tried to trade up to draft Roy Williams but were unable. We thought they would go with one of the only two legitimate defensive end propsects with this pick after Fitzgerald and Roy Williams were gone, but they chose to address their top need at wide receiver with Reggie Williams. In the Jaguars' defense, Reggie would have been a good value in the top-10 in most other years of the draft, but because of Fitzgerald and Roy, Reggie was considered a better value between 10 and 15. The good news is the Jaguars desperately needed a young receiver to become QB Byron Leftwich's primary target. They should have that now. Williams doesn't have elite speed, and his focus catching the football can be inconsistent at times, but he is a big, physical receiver with good running skills after the catch.

Mel Kiper's take: Reggie Williams has the size to create matchup problems for even the biggest NFL cornerbacks. Erratic quarterback play hurt his numbers, and he lacks impressive speed in the 40, but with the athletic ability and consistent performances he put up, Williams was a terrific player who should help young Jacksonville QB Byron Leftwich.

10. Houston Texans: Dunta Robinson | CB | South Carolina

Scouts' take: The Texans had a difficult decision between Vince Wilfork, who could have filled in nicely at the nose tackle position, and Robinson. We think they made the right choice. There is a big drop-off in talent at cornerback after Robinson, so they were able to get one of only two blue-chip cornerback prospects. By drafting Robinson, the team actually addresses two positions of need. They will plug Robinson in at cornerback and subsequently move Marcus Coleman inside to free safety, which will be an upgrade at that position, as well. Robinson doesn't have the return ability of DeAngelo Hall, but he has similar speed, is more physical and might be more polished at corner. Hall has more upside, but Robinson might be ready to play as a starter in the NFL more quickly.

Mel Kiper's take: There is no debating Robinson's cover skills with his 4.3 speed and instincts in man coverage. He can locate the ball and make plays against the passing game, but Robinson is also one of the top tackling corners to come out over the last five years. His toughness in run support is one of the things that made him a team leader and captain last season.

11. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger* | QB | Miami-Ohio

Scouts' take: The Steelers would have prefered Philip Rivers with this pick, but they still got what they wanted -- a future starting QB. Roethlisberger won't be ready to contribute as quickly as Rivers will be, but we think his upside is tremendously higher. In fact, Roethlisberger has the most upside of any quarterback in this draft -- including Manning. By drafting Roethlisberger, the Steelers will need to keep Tommy Maddox as their starter for at least one more year while Roethlisberger makes the big jump from the Mid-American Conference to the NFL. If developed properly and not thrown into the fire too early, Roethlisberger has the size, arm strength, competitiveness and athleticism to become the best quarterback out of this class when all is said and done.

Mel Kiper's take: Roethlisberger has a ton of upside. His arm strength is outstanding, and he is mobile for a 6-5, 240-pounder. His overall athletic ability will help him make the adjustment from the Mid-America conference, but he saw plenty of wide-open receivers at Miami-Ohio and will have to adjust to sticking the ball into tight spots. Still, he is a smart, accountable player who takes responsibility for everything he does, and I predict that he will not be a bust at the pro level.

12. New York Jets: Jonathan Vilma | ILB | Miami-Fla.

Scouts' take: The Jets got a great player at a position of need, but they still can't be happy. If the Jets had their way, South Carolina DC Dunta Robinson would have fallen to them. When both top cornerbacks came off the board, the Jets decided to keep their pick and draft the best linebacker in this class. Vilma had slipped a little bit in recent days because of concerns about possible knee problems, but clearly he checked out physically. Vilma played inside for the Hurricanes but is an undersized inside linebacker prospect who can play either inside or outside in the NFL. The Jets desperately wanted to upgrade their speed at linebacker, and this completes the process. If Vilma plays outside, he will play opposite newly acquired Eric Barton. If he plays inside, Sam Cowart will move back outside.

Mel Kiper's take: The most instinctive linebacker to come out of college in the last several years, Vilma became more of a force in the backfield last season, slipping through traffic to get to the ball. But with less-than-ideal size, he will need to be protected from blockers by the defensive line. Still, he fills the Jets' biggest need, which is speed on defense.

13. Buffalo Bills: Lee Evans | WR | Wisconsin

Scouts' take: The Bills reached here for a need. Evans has terrific speed and has a chance to develop into an excellent starter in the NFL, but he is a tad undersized and has some long-term durability concerns because of his 2002 season-ending knee injury. With that said, the Bills addressed what we believe was their No. 1 need. Now they have a vertical presence in Evans, who can play outside opposite Eric Moulds, which means Josh Reed can move back inside to the slot position, where he was so productive as a rookie.

Mel Kiper's take: Evans showed over the course of the college season that he can consistently produce big plays, and with his impressive workouts, he showed that there are no lingering effects from a serious knee injury suffered in 2002. He will be a force to be reckoned with as a deep threat, and his presence should put some pressure on Eric Moulds and Josh Reed to step up their games.

14. Chicago Bears: Tommie Harris* | DT | Oklahoma

Scouts' take: The Bears had to be thrilled when both Harris and Miami DT Vince Wilfork fell to them at No. 14. Wilfork could have played in their new one-gap scheme, but probably because of the problems he had with his weight, the team decided to go with the smaller Harris for fear Wilfork would lose some of his quickness if he is unable to keep his weight down. Harris' value dropped this past season as a result of inconsistent play, but he is still the most explosive defensive lineman in this class. He has tremendous initial quickness and is a perfect fit for what the Bears are trying to do -- increase their overall speed on defense.

Mel Kiper's take: A big-time lineman with the explosiveness and quickness to get into the backfield and disrupt offenses. Harris can create a pass rush up the middle and has the athleticism to throw off the running game and pursue the ball. He was not on the field for as many plays as other top DTs, because of Oklahoma's rotation system, but with his weight up to about 295 Harris has all the necessary skills to be a Warren Sapp-type player at the 3-technique in Lovie Smith's defense.

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Michael Clayton*| WR | LSU

Scouts' take: While Keenan McCardell has been productive, that is bound to slip beacuse of his age. He probably will start the season as the No. 2 receiver, with Clayton seeing time in three-receiver sets. However, Clayton should eventually replace McCardell and develop into an excellent complement to Joey Galloway. Clayton is one of the best blocking receivers to come out of college in some time; he isn't afraid to go over the middle; and he is a good route-runner. With Galloway stretching the field, Clayton should be able to exploit the underneath. Head coach Jon Gruden really liked Clayon's agressiveness and inteligence.

Mel Kiper's take: Clayton does not have a huge vertical jump or blazing speed in the 40, but neither is a real concern. He has tremendous body control and can adjust to poorly-thrown balls, and he is a tremendous route-runner with great quickness out of his breaks. He also makes things happen after the catch, despite his lack of top-notch speed. Clayton displayed his toughness by playing some at safety during his career, and LSU coach Nick Saban thought enough of his natural football skills to say Clayton could have been All-America at that position.

16. Philadelphia Eagles: Shawn Andrews* | OT | Arkansas

Scouts' take: This was another surprise in the middle of the first round. We were expecting the Eagles to move up, but not for Andrews. What this tells us is they are more concerned about Jon Runyan's durability than they let on. For the immediate future, they could try to move Andrews inside to guard, but he really doesn't fit inside. In fact, if there is a concern about Andrews, it is his ability to keep weight off when he gets to the NFL. His ideal spot is at right tackle, where he can be absolutely dominant when he is in shape.

Mel Kiper's take: Andrews is the consummate right tackle and one of the most dominant run blockers to come out of the college ranks in recent years. He has dealt with weight issues but is now down to around 340 and has light feet for a man his size. Andrews can collapse the defensive line and open huge holes, but his ability to manage his weight will go along way toward determining how successful he can be and how long his career will last.

17. Denver Broncos: D.J. Williams | OLB | Miami (Fla.)

Scouts' take: This is what we suspected the Broncos were moving up for all along. They drafted Williams to fill the void left by Ian Gold, who has not re-signed as an unrestricted free agent. The Broncos rely on speed and athleticism at the linebacker position, and that's exactly what Williams provides. In our opinion, he's a good value at the biggest position of need. Williams will upgrade their defense significantly.

Mel Kiper's take: This is a risky pick for Denver, because Williams is a former running back who switched to linebacker in college. Speed is his forte, and his size will allow him to play the strong side or the weak side in the NFL, but he is still raw and will need to be coached up. Williams is not as instinctive as his college teammate, Jonathan Vilma, and he does not navigate as well in traffic. But there is plenty of upside there. Certainly a roll of the dice.

18. New Orleans Saints: Will Smith | DE | Ohio State

Scouts' take: This was the most bizarre choice to this point in the first round. We understand Smith is a terrific value this late in the first round, but for a team that has Darren Howard and Charles Grant at the defensive end position but also has huge needs at cornerback, inside linebacker and defensive tackle?

Mel Kiper's take: The best value pick of the first round. Smith was consistently dominating on a week-to-week basis against some of the best competition in the country in the Big Ten. With his quickness and mean streak, he could be a guy who lines up wide and comes off the edge to get 12-15 sacks a year.

19. Miami Dolphins (from Minnesota): Vernon Carey | OG | Miami-Fla.

Scouts' take: The Dolphins moved up one spot for fear the Vikings were going to draft Carey themselves with the pick. In doing so, they gave away their fourth-round pick. In our opinion, the Dolphins panicked. The Vikings actually talked them into the deal, because Minnesota was planning to take Kenechi Udeze, anyway. That said, Carey was the best offensive lineman available at that spot, and the Dolphins knew they abosultely had to get him. Carey likely will start his career as the Dolphins' starting right guard over Taylor Whitley, but in time he could push John St. Clair for the starting right tackle position. We think he's a much better fit inside, but the Dolphins have needs at both positions.

Mel Kiper's take: Carey is the most versatile lineman in the draft, having played both guard spots and both tackle spots at Miami. He played against top-notch competition and was consistently dominating, although his performance suffered at times during his senior year due to an ankle injury. But he was a top performer at right tackle as a junior and will definitely be in the mix for a starting position as a rookie. A battle-tested Carey will definitely be an asset.

20. Minnesota Vikings (from Miami): Kenechi Udeze *| DE | USC

Scouts' take: After a couple of years of being scrutinized on draft day, Mike Tice and the Vikings made one of the better deals of the day so far by talking the Dolphins into giving them a fourth-round pick in order to move up one spot. The Vikings liked Carey, but not nearly as much as they liked Udeze, who slipped because of rumors of a shoulder injury but was a top-10 pick on a lot of team's boards. The Vikings' biggest position of need was defensive end, and they got arguably the best one in this class at the 20th pick. That's great drafting.

Mel Kiper's take: A shoulder injury suffered in USC's final game raised some questions and dropped him down the board, but there is no mistaking Udeze's ability to impact what offenses can do. He dropped weight to move from tackle to end, and from that spot he creates havoc in the backfield and is always looking to strip the ball. Udeze dominated against some of the best teams in the country and definitely fills the Vikings' need for speed off the edge.

21. New England Patriots (from Baltimore): Vince Wilfork | DT | Miami (Fla.)

Scouts' take: The Patriots did exactly what they always do -- draft the best available player regardless of position. As a result of the run on wide receivers earlier in the round, Wilfork dropped. In our opinion, he's still a top 15 prospect whom the Patriots got at 21. The team didn't break the bank for Keith Traylor at the nose tackle position, and now they have insurance should Traylor not bounce back and stay healthy. If nothing else, it makes the Patriots extremely deep at the all-important nose tackle position in their 3-4 scheme. It also will allow them to play more four-man fronts, if they want to, with Wilfork and Traylor plugging the middle on obvious run downs. This was an absolute steal for the Pats.

Mel Kiper's take: A tremendous value for the Patriots. Wilfork is an athletically-gifted 330-pounder who got his weight down to a manageable level and is earning comparisons to Keith Traylor, whom the Patriots signed in free agency. Wilfork has short arms and may miss a tackle now and then, but he showed stamina and durability by logging upwards of 50 plays in most games and had his best games in Miami's biggest games.

22. Buffallo Bills (from Dallas): J.P. Losman | QB | Tulane

Scouts' take: For the second year in a row, Buffalo drafted a player in the first round who isn't expected to contribute during his rookie season. With Drew Bledsoe stuggling mightily last year and the Bills unable to sign Billy Volek as an insurance policy, they felt pressure to bring in Bledsoe's heir apparent. The problem is they reached for Losman. While he has great atheltic ability and arm strength, he doesn't have great intangibles, and his attitiude can be abrasive at times.

Mel Kiper's take: Losman has the strongest arm in the draft and snaps his delivery off from the ear. He has 4.6 speed and is very mobile, and he showed his toughness while taking a pounding behind a bad offensive line. He is confident, some say ****y, and knows he can get the the job done. He will get the coaching he needs on small fundamentals, and with a year to learn behind Drew Bledsoe, Losman is in a good position.

23. Seattle Seahawks: Marcus Tubbs | DT | Texas

Scouts' take: Seattle made John Randle, Norman Hand and Chad Eaton cap casualties, leaving Cedric Woodard and Rashad Moore as the starters and little depth. Woodard and Moore played well in releif last year, but they are overachivers. Tubbs has had some problems keeping his weight down in the past, and his effort has been inconsistent, but if the Seahawks can get the most out of him, this will prove to be an excellent pick. He has the bulk to anchor against double teams, drawing attention away from the rest of the defensive line and helping keep blockers off the linebackers. He will move into the starting lineup on Day 1.

Mel Kiper's take: Tubbs has good size and strength and was very productive as a senior after battling minor injuries during his junior campaign. The only knock on him is that he seemed to lose his intensity at times, and he will have to turn it up a notch to have an impact at the NFL level. If he can dial up the effort and be consistent for four quarters, Tubbs has the talent be a good pro and one of the cornerstones of Seattle's defensive restructuring.

24. St. Louis Rams: Steven Jackson* | RB | Oregon State

Scouts' take: St. Louis has Marshall Faulk and Lamar Gordon returning. While the Rams didn't give a lot away to trade up, it's somewhat of a suprise they made a move to acquire a player who won't give them much production as a rookie. However, the Rams need to start grooming a replacement for Faulk, who is aging and has had some problems staying healthy. Jackson was the best back available, and he should be an upgrade over Gordon, who hasn't played all that well in relief of Faulk in the past. If Faulk should miss any time with injuries, Jackson gives St. Louis a great insurnace policy, and he should get enough touches to help keep Faulk fresh late in the season.

Mel Kiper's take: Jackson is the most complete back in the draft. He can run downhill through tackles and has the speed to bounce outside, is an excellent blocker and will catch a ton of passes out of the backfield. Jackson earned much of his yardage on his own, playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the nation, so his toughness is not a question, and his phenomenal attitude rounds out the package.

25. Green Bay Packers: Ahmad Carroll* | CB | Arkansas

Scouts' take: Al Harris is an adequate starter, but his lack of speed makes him a target in the vertical passing game, and he may be a better fit at nickel back. While Carroll probabaly won't replace Harris as a starter right away, he has the speed to develop into an excellent complement to Mike McKenzie while significantly improving Green Bay's nickel package. His aggressiveness and ability to recover when he gets caught out of position also makes him a good fit for the Packers, who like to run press coverage.

Mel Kiper's take: A pesky, in-your-face corner, Carroll has the speed and athleticism to overcome the mistakes he sometimes makes by being overly aggressive when jumping routes. He is experienced against elite competition in the SEC and has as many physical tools as any cover man in the draft.

26. Cincinnati Bengals: Chris Perry | RB | Michigan

Scouts' take: After moving down twice for extra picks, the Bengals finally decided on Perry. In our opinion, they made a couple of smart decisions by moving down and acquiring extra selections, but they wound up drafting the third-rated back over the second-rated back -- Virginia Tech's Kevin Jones. While drafting a running back makes sense, because of Corey Dillon's departure and the fact Rudi Johnson will be an unrestricted free agent after next season, the team has bigger needs at cornerback and defensive tackle they could have addressed with guys like Maryland DT Randy Starks or Ohio State DC Chris Gamble. Perry would have been a great value early in Round 2, but he was a little bit of a reach here. With that said, his 40 time was better than Jones', and he catches the ball more fluidly than Jones does. With the team really looking to spread it out offensively, that could have been the deciding factor in taking Perry over Jones.

Mel Kiper's take: Perry is a solid all-around back who can block and catch the ball out of the backfield, but he is not a flashy, dynamic player. With his compact frame, he is good in short-yardage situations, and his multi-dimensional game allows him to be on the field for all downs, which helped him be a consistent performer in the Big Ten. He does not have the skills to be a full-time feature back, but in Cincinnati he will share the load with Rudi Johnson and give the Bengals a terrific 1-2 punch.

27. Houston Texans: Jason Babin | DE | Western Michigan

Scouts' take: The Texans got a good value and an even better fit with Babin. He was a late-first-round prospect who could have bulked up and played a traditional end spot in a 4-3 scheme, but in our opinion he's an even better fit as a rush linebacker in the 3-4 scheme. He will provide the pass rush the Texans were missing a year ago, and he also is an attacking upfield player against the run who led Division I-A in tackles for loss. The only problem we have with this pick is what the Texans gave away for him. Giving away picks No. 40, 71, 103 and 138 is entirely too much when you get back only one player late in the first round and a fifth-round pick.

Mel Kiper's take: A great selection for the Texans. Babin dominated the Mid-America Conference with 30 sacks over the last two years and is the first No. 1 selection ever to come out of Western Michigan. He also stepped up against big-name competition like Michigan and Michigan State and was a destructive force at the East-West Shrine Game. Babin's workout numbers were impressive, and he showed the speed and explosiveness to fill Houston's need for a pass-rushing outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. He is a former high school wrestling champ and understands leverage, and he uses his hands as well as any defensive lineman in the draft.

28. Carolina Panthers: Chris Gamble* | CB | Ohio State

Scouts' take: We like this move a lot. The Panthers didn't give up much -- a fourth-round pick -- in order to move up a few spots to secure Gamble. While Gamble understandably slipped as a result of character concerns and poor individual workouts, he still has loads of upside. Gamble struggled a little bit as a junior and has work to do in terms of his recognition in coverage, but he is a terrific natural athlete with the potential to develop into a starting cornerback and punt return man in the NFL. As a rookie, expect Gamble to begin his season as the team's nickel cornerback, but if he can make strides and earn trust, he could become a starter opposite Ricky Manning Jr. by the end of the season.

Mel Kiper's take: There is some risk in this pick, because Gamble has only been a full-time corner for one full season. He is a supreme athlete but loses sight of the ball at times and needs to work on his run-support skills. That athleticism could have him contributing as more than a defender, though, with Gamble's ability to affect games on special teams. The Panthers will have to be patient with Gamble as he is coached up and learns the technique and sublteties of the position, but at this point in the first round, the risk of him not responding to that is acceptable.

29. Atlanta Falcons: Mike Jenkins | WR | Ohio State

Scouts' take: This move makes a lot of sense for both the Falcons and Colts. While the Falcons gave away a lot in terms of picks, they needed to draft a receiver that can step in right away as a starter and take attention away from Peerless Price. Jenkins is a great value here. He has terrific size, soft hands and better speed then anticipated. He should start immediately on the outside for the Falcons, which will allow them to move Brian Finneran to the No. 3 receiver spot, where he is a much better fit.

Mel Kiper's take: A smart player with great size, Jenkins uses his big frame to go up and get the ball in traffic and can make things happen after the catch. He does not have spinter's speed but is fast enough to be a deep threat, and with his size and strength is very good at getting off the jam and beating press coverage. A tremendous value.

30. Detroit Lions: Kevin Jones* | RB | Virginia Tech

Scouts' take: The Lions are off to a great start. After ignoring the running back position for WR Roy WIlliams with their first pick, they moved back into the first round to draft RB Jones, who in our opinion is the second-rated back behind Steven Jackson in this class. Jones' stock dropped a bit because of his poor 40-time (he ran in the 4.6s), but he plays faster than that time indicates. He is a quick and explosive back who shows a second gear when he breaks into the open field. With Rogers and Roy Williams at receiver and Jones at running back, QB Joey Harrington has to be sitting at home smiling.

Mel Kiper's take: Jones was the No. 1 running back on many draft boards and gives the Lions a flashy runner with good change of direction and enough speed to hit the home run. He also has a stong, chiseled frame but needs to work on his blocking and pass catching. His running style is a bit upright, and he will need to run through more arm tackles than he did in college, but Jones is still a great pickup for a team that has struggled mightily in the running game in recent years.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Rashaun Woods | WR | Oklahoma State

Scouts' take: The 49ers gambled a little bit, and it paid off. By moving down twice in the first round, they were able to acquire several extra picks while still getting a quality first-round receiver in Woods. There were lots of questions about Woods' speed until he ran in the low 4.5s at his Pro Day. Woods should be a starter from Day 1, and he will line up opposite second-year pro Brandon Lloyd. Woods has the potential to develop into a solid starter, but he is not going to be a premier No. 1 like Fitzgerald, Roy and Reggie Williams.

Mel Kiper's take: Another excellent value pick at the wide receover spot. Woods has excellent size and natural receiving skills and caught nearly every ball thrown in his direction at Oklahoma State. He is not a burner who gets a lot of separation, but overall he may be the most polished wideout in the draft. He also has an agressive attitude and could step in and contribute immediately as a starter.

32. New England Patriots: Ben Watson | TE | Georgia

Scouts' take: Not only do we not understand selecting a tight end; we don't understand drafting Watson over Ben Troupe. Watson has a lot of upside, because of his 4.4 40-speed, but he is rough around the edges. Troupe is a much more polished receiver. With an outside linebacker like Karlos Dansby and a guard like Alabama's Justin Smiley still on the board, drafting a tight end made no sense.

Mel Kiper's take: Watson has excellent workout numbers but was not extremely productive last season due to an ankle injury. But with good speed and excellent strength, he was able to make himself some money by putting on impressive performances during Senior Bowl week and at the combine. Watson made some nice grabs against good teams in the SEC and could turn into a solid performer in New England.


1. (33) Arizona Cardinals: Karlos Dansby | OLB | Auburn

Scouts' take: Arizona needs to add both speed and playmaking ability to its front seven. Dansby has the burst to get to the quarterback, is effective dropping into coverage and has the range to make plays from sideline-to-sidleline. He also was the best player available, and selecting him is a clear indication the Cardinals are making better decsions in the front office with Dennis Green as head coach.

Mel Kiper's take: Arizona needed to strengthen the outside linebacker position and did a good job of that with Dansby. He is a big-play guy whose forte is using his speed to get after the quarterback, but despite putting on some weight, he needs to get better playing in the box against the run.

2. (34) New York Giants: Chris Snee *| OG | Boston College

Scouts' take: The Gaints clearly need to address issues along the offensive line, and Snee should help, as he has the potential to develop into a quality starter. However, the Giants needed a tackle more than they needed a guard, and we believe Justin Smiley is a better overall value than Chris Snee at that pick. While Snee is a mauler who plays with a mean streak, he is a much better run blocker than he is a pass blocker at this point.

Mel Kiper's take: Doesn't always play up to his computer numbers, but Snee is a hard-nosed former defensive lineman who will go hard for 60 minutes. He sometimes gets out of control and off-balance, but he is tenacious and strong with the qualities teams look for in pure guards.

3. (35) San Diego Chargers: Igor Olshansky* | DT | Oregon

Scouts' take: The Chargers like Olshansky because of his upside, strength and versatility. The problem is, he was a little bit of a reach. They could have drafted other defensive linemen such as Junior Sivaii, Isaac Sapoaga, Dwan Edwards or Marquise Hill. All but Sivaii were rated above Olshansky, and all could have played similar roles and fit well in San Diego's scheme.

Mel Kiper's take: Did not play organized football until his junior year in high school, but that lack of experience is pretty much his only weakness. He has improved rapidly in a short amount of time, and with a little more seasoning at the pro level, the little things about his game will improve in a hurry. Olshansky is strong, athletic and has a huge wingspan, giving him the versatility to step in and play pretty much anywhere along the defensive line as a rookie.

4. (36) Kansas City Chiefs: Junior Siavii | DT | Oregon

Scouts' take: Defenstive tackle was the Chiefs' biggest need coming in, and they addressed it with their first pick of the 2004 draft. Siavii and Ryan Sims are similar players in the sesnse they have the size to hold their ground at the point of attack and the quickness to make some plays in the backfield. It will take some time for Siavii to develop, but he and Sims should become an excellent starting tandem.

Mel Kiper's take: Flew under the radar a bit, but Siavii is an immovable force on the interior who is quick enough to pursue the ball or the passer. He is tremendously strong in the lower body, has the toughness and tenacity required to play in the trenches and at 25 years old has a little more maturity than most of his fellow draftees.

5. (37) Detroit Lions: Teddy Lehman | OLB | Oklahoma

Scouts' take: Drafting Lehman will soften the blow of losing both Barett Green and Jeff Gooch through free agency. Lehman will push for the starting job opposite Boss Bailey, and he should replace James Davis. Lehman will never be the playmaker Bailey has become, but he should be an excellent complement. He is tough, relentless and consistent.

Mel Kiper's take: Lehman seemingly has won every defensive award in college football thanks to great size and speed and a terrific football mentality. He did not have an extremely impressive performance at the Senior Bowl, but you cannot question the heart, toughness and dedication he showed at Oklahoma. The only question is whether the Detroit defensive line can protect him from blockers and allow him to stay on his feet and flow to the ball.

6. (38) Pittsburgh Steelers: Ricardo Colclough | CB | Tusculum

Scouts' take: Colclough is a good value at this pick, as he has the atheltic ability to stay with receivers undrneath and the speed to run with them downfield. He also is a very dangerous return man, but he will need some time to develop.

Mel Kiper's take: Colclough showed the ability to react to the ball and close on throws, and he had a good showing at the Senior Bowl. He is also a great return man who will help set up the offense with good field position, but his overall cover skills need time to develop, and Colclough will not step in and be an immediate hole-filler on defense.

7. (39) Jacksonville Jaguars: Daryl Smith | ILB | Georgia Tech

Scouts' take: Smith is an atheltic linebacker who was extemely productive, consistent and durable at the college level. He played on the inside in college but will move to the outside unless Jacksonville moves Mike Peterson to the outside. Smith will immediately improve depth, and he should push for playing time as a rookie.

Mel Kiper's take: A four-year starter who made the quick transition from high school to college, Smith should be able to make the same kind of jump from college to the pros. He was consistently productive every season and had his biggest games against Tech's top competition. Smith has excellent strength and runs to the ball well, so he should be able to make an immediate impact in Jacksonville.

8. (40) Tennessee Titans: Ben Troupe | TE | Florida

Scouts' take: Tennessee couldn't have done better with this pick, as it was a shock Troupe lasted as long as he did. He will replace Frank Wycheck, who retired during the offseason, in the two-tight-end sets the Titans often run. In addition, Troupe actually will be an upgrade over Wycheck in terms of speed and athletic ability.

Mel Kiper's take: Troupe is an outstanding natural receiver with Shannon Sharpe-type ability to stretch the deep middle and make plays after the catch. His blocking is suspect, though, and he will not be much of a factor in the running game.

9. (41) Denver Broncos: Tatum Bell | RB | Oklahoma State

Scouts' take: The Broncos made an interesting move trading up for Bell when Greg Jones was still on the board, but we like it a lot. Instead of drafting a two-down, between-the-tackles, road-grader in Jones, they took a chance on Bell, who runs the 40 in the 4.4s and got significantly tougher and more patient in his senior season. The team can afford to bring Bell along slowly, with Garrison Hearst, Mike Anderson and Quentin Griffin already in their stable. If Bell pans out, he'll become Hearst's replacement in 2005, and he could be a great value as a result.

Mel Kiper's take: The fastest, most explosive back in the draft, Bell can hit the big-gainer at any time. He needs work on his receiving skills, though, and fumble problems kept him out of the first round. He is the best pure runner in the draft, though, and is a good fit for the Broncos.

10. (42) Tennessee Titans: Travis Laboy | DE | Hawaii

Scouts' take: Laboy becomes the Titans' pass-rush specialist as a rookie, rotating in and out with Kevin Carter and Carlos Hall. This will allow Carter to move inside to rush the passer on obvious passing downs. However, defensive tackle remains a substantial need, unless Tenessee plans to move Carter inside permanently.

Mel Kiper's take: Originally a situational pass rusher, Laboy has shown the ability to hold up for an entire season. He is sometimes a liability against the run because he gets too far upfield looking to get to the passer, but he will be an asset early on as a situational rusher because of his outstanding closing speed.

11. (43) Dallas Cowboys: Julius Jones | RB | Notre Dame

Scouts' take: The Cowboys finally made their first pick of the day, and they did so at the position they needed the most -- running back. While some people will question why they took Julius Jones over Greg Jones, Julius doesn't have the durability concerns that Greg has, and Julius also provides more quickness and versatility. Julius Jones never reached his full potential in college after missing the entire 2002 season due to academics, but he has lots of upside. Jones was drafted to carry the load at running back, but at the very least he can be a change-of-pace back and kickoff return specialist as a rookie if he takes longer to develop than expected.

Mel Kiper's take: Jones came back from academic difficulties and had a huge senior season. He showed the ability to go the distance with the ball and was an effective pass-catching threat out of the backfield. Jones also has great balance and stays on his feet very well. Tremendous value at this juncture. Came back from academic problems and showed home-run speed in games and at the combine. He has good balance and keeps his feet; catches the ball effectively; good value here.

12. (44) Indianapolis Colts: Robert Sanders | S | Iowa

Scouts' take: We have Sean Jones ranked higher, but Sanders is an excellent pick here, as he is a better fit for the Colts' scheme than Jones. While undersized, Sanders has the range to excel in the cover-2 . He is an intimidating presence over the middle, and he'll provide the occasional big play. He also adds an element of toughness that this secondary has been missing.

Mel Kiper's take: Sanders has some height limitations but plays bigger than his 5-foot-9 because of his strength, athleticism and attitude. He is a lights-out hitter who will earn comparisons to Blaine Bishop, and with his alert, active style of play he should fit in well in the back end of the Colts defense.

13. (45) Oakland Raiders: Jake Grove | C | Virginia Tech

Scouts' take: Oakland continued to improve its offensive line with a great value for this pick. With Grove on the roster, the Raiders can now cut Barrett Robbins, who obvioulsy has had his problems with the organizatrion in the past. If they don't cut Robbins, Grove is capable of pushing him for playing time, which will force Robbins to stay focused. The only problem is Oakland needs speed at receiver, and they have yet to draft any.

Mel Kiper's take: A rare first-round caliber center, Grove is a fiery player with a big mean streak. He butted heads with some of the best defensive tackles in the country while at Virginia Tech and got after them all. Grove has the Raider mentality and all the necessary physical skills, so he should be a solid contributor right off the bat.

14. (46) San Francisco 49ers: Justin Smiley | OG | Alabama

Scouts' take: Smiley does't have great experience in pass protection, but he has run the 40 in 4.9 and he has the athletic ability to eventually excel as a pass blocker. We have him ranked as the second-best guard avilable in this year's draft, and he will replace Ron Stone, who the 49ers made a cap casualty, as the starting right guard.

Mel Kiper's take: My top-rated guard, Smiley rose to the challenge against some of the top defensive tackles in the nation, and his game day grades are outstanding. He has all the necessary physical skills and measurable numbers to be a good NFL player.

15. (47) Chicago Bears: Terry Johnson| DT | Washington

Scouts' take: Chicago clearly needed to overhaul the interior line with the group expected to play more of a one-gap scheme, and this is an excellent pick. Tommie Harris should immediately replace Alphonso Boone opposite Bryan Robinson. Although we don't expect Johnson to start early on, he gives the Bears a quality three-tackle rotation, and he has the burst to eventually replace Robinson.

Mel Kiper's take: Showed his explosiveness and athleticism during individual workouts but is not always as dominant as his computer numbers indicate he should be. Still, his experience in the Pac-10 and his great leverage and leg drive should make him a contributor alongside Tommie Harris.

16. (48) Minnesota Vikings: Dontarrious Thomas | ILB | Auburn

Scouts' take: Thomas should be an excellent fit playing on the strong side opposite Chris Claiborne. He played on the inside as well as the outside at Auburn, but Minnesota is expected to move him outside, with E.J. Henderson in the middle. If Thomas doesn't replace Henri Crockett as a rookie, he should by his second season, and he should be an excellent special teams contributor.

Mel Kiper's take: A very consistent player who is fast for his size, Thomas did have trouble at times working his way through congestion to get to the ball. He does not look like a top prospect, but don't underestimate too much a player who is one of the most productive defenders in Auburn history.

17. (49) Cincinnati Bengals: Keiwan Ratliff | CB | Florida

Scouts' take: Selecting Ratliff helps fill a need at corner, but the Bengals may have reached for him in the second round. He didn't run a great 40 time, and the concern is he is going to struggle to turn and run with receivers at the next level. While he has great athletic ability and he is a return man who played some receiver at college, he would have been a much better pick in the third round.

Mel Kiper's take: He does not have tremendous recovery speed, but Ratliff is polished, instinctive and has great hands. He has an intuitive way about him that always puts him around the ball, but there are questions about whether he can hold up effectively to the rigors of the NFL.

18. (50) New Orleans Saints: Devery Henderson | WR | LSU

Scouts' take: For the second time today, the Saints ignored more pressing needs at linebacker, corner and defensive tackle. However, drafting Henderson prepares them for the possibility they won't be able to sign Joe Horn to a long-term deal. Henderson is a former running back who moved to receiver in the middle of his college career. He is still somewhat raw as a route-runner, and he lacks great defensive recognition skills, but he seemed to get better with every game. He also could be the fastest receiver in this year's draft, as he has run the 40 in 4.3.

Mel Kiper's take: His hands need some work, but Henderson has great speed and good moves that make him an excellent option on the shorter pass routes. He impressed a lot of people with a good week at the Senior Bowl, and while he still has periods of inconsistency, his overall receiving skills have improved noticeably over the last couple of season.

19. (51) Baltimore Ravens: Dwan Edwards | DT | Oregon State

Scouts' take: We were somewhat surprised the Ravens didn't draft Keary Colbert at receiver. Drafting Edwards helps fill a need, but we thought they'd draft a prototypical nose tackle with the bulk to hold his ground the two-gap, 3-4 scheme.

Mel Kiper's take: His weight is up to 300 pounds, yet Edwards still exhibited terrific stamina and durability. He never took a down off and could have been a first-round pick, and working with defensive line coach Rex Ryan should do plenty to improve his technique and fundamentals.

20. (52) Dallas Cowboys: Jacob Rogers| OT | USC

Scouts' take: Kurt Vollers did an admirable job in relief last year, and the coaching staff likes Torrin Tucker, but Vollers lacks the athletic ability to start on the outside, and Tucker lacks ideal strength. While Rogers has some durability concerns, we had him as our third-ranked tackle, and he is solid all-around player. With him starting at right tackle, Tucker can provide quality depth and Vollers can move to guard.

Mel Kiper's take: Has the size and skills to be a quality NFL bookend, but durability was a concern for him at USC. If Rogers can stay healthy, though, he could eventually become a solid force along the offensive front .

21. (53) Seattle Seahawks: Michael Boulware | OLB | Florida State

Scouts' take: Boulware lacks ideal size for a middle linebacker, and that appeared to be a greater need then outside linebacker. However, Seattle can move Chad Brown to the inside with Boulware on the roster. Boulware is athletic enough to play safety if needed, and he should develop into an excellent complement to SLB Anthony Simmons.

Mel Kiper's take: Smart and fundamentally sound, Boulware is not very big but has the speed to chase the ball and plays well in space. He is a finesse linebacker who will be able to play the weak side because of his excellent pass coverage skills, and he will also be a quality contributor on special teams.

22. (54) Denver Broncos: Darius Watts | WR | Marshall

Scouts' take: Darius Watts was a good fit in terms of position need for the Broncos, but we think it was a little bit of a reach taking him in the second round when other receivers -- such as USC's Keary Colbert, Florida State's P.K. Sam, Fresno State's Bernard Berrian or Clemson's Derrick Hamilton -- were still available. Watts should develop into at least a very good No. 3 receiver in the NFL and has the potential to possibly develop into a possession No. 2, but his durability (shoulder) is a concern, and he needs to bulk up if he's going to last in the NFL.

Mel Kiper's take: Watts has a lean frame and needs to get stronger in order to get off the jam at the line of scrimmage. He could have trouble with physical NFL corners initially, but with a wide receivers coach who can mold his game, Watts could become a solid wideout. He has a good knowledge of the game but has battled periods of inconsistency.

23. (55) Jacksonville Jaguars: Greg Jones | RB | Florida State

Scouts' take: The Jaguars got a great value with Jones late in the second round. He obviously doesn't fit a high need, but he'll be an upgrade over LaBrandon Toefield as Fred Taylor's backup, and he'll have time to improve his skills in the passing game before he is asked to take over as Taylor's replacement. Jones slipped because of his durability (knee) issues, but we had him as a second-round prospect, so he didn't slip that far.

Mel Kiper's take: A terrific natural runner, Jones can run over tacklers and showed some moves at the Senior Bowl. He is one of the most physically imposing running backs in the draft and could have been a first-round selection if he had shown better hands during Senior Bowl practices. But Jones is ready to contribute right now.

24. (56) Cincinnati Bengals: Madieu Williams | S | Maryland

Scouts' take: Williams has excllent range and the ball skills to provide some big plays. He should develop into an excellent starter, and he will have time to do so with aging Kim Herring starting in front of him this year. Giving him that year to progress is important, because while he may have more upside than Sean Jones, we had Jones ranked higher because Williams isn't as polished yet.

Mel Kiper's take: He leveled off some during his senior year but turned things up a notch during Senior Bowl week. He is an excellent tackler coming up to the box in run support and is not afraid to deliver big hits, but Williams has just average speed. His underachievement as a senior hurt him on draft day.

25. (57) Tennessee Titans: Antwan Odom* | DE | Alabama

Scouts' take: This is an interesting pick, because it tips the Titans' hand concerning how they'll handle the personnel along the defensive line since losing both Jevon Kearse and Robaire Smith. Drafting two defensive ends means Tennessee most likely will move Kevin Carter inside, allowing Travis LaBoy to compete with Odom for the starting job opposite Carlos Hall. Odom has the potential to develop into one of the best ends in this year's class, but he needs to get bigger, stronger and, most importantly, tougher.

Mel Kiper's take: A big, athletic pass rusher who has good closing speed and big potential. He needs to improve his stamina and consistency, though, and give solid efforts for four quarters. Anoher year at Alabama would likely have put Odom into the first round, but his natural talent likely will get him into the rotation this year.

26. (58) San Francisco 49ers: Shawntae Spencer | CB | Pittsburgh

Scouts' take: This is a great pick for the 49ers. We had some other cornerbacks rated a little bit higher than Spencer, but he was the fastest rising player in the entire draft over the course of the last month. He is a 6-1 cornerback who ran a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash and also held up extremely well as a three-year starter at Pittsburgh. The 49ers desperately needed to find their nickel cornerback in this draft, and Spencer will fill that role.

Mel Kiper's take: A tall, angular corner, Spencer can run with just about any wide receiver he lines up against. He also shows terrific ball skills and has the intsintcs to know when to look for the ball. He had excellent film grades as a senior, and an eye-catching workout moved him up in a hurry.

27. (59) Cleveland Browns: Sean Jones | S | Georgia

Scouts' take: If Kellen Winslow and Sean Taylor had both been on the board at the sixth pick overall, it would have been a difficult decision for the Browns, because they had great needs at both positions. With Taylor gone to Washington, they were more than happy to draft Winslow, and the move has paid off in a big way. It was shocking Jones slipped this far, because he has the natural ability to push for a starting role as soon as this year.

Mel Kiper's take: A physicallly gifted, rover-type player who improved steadily throughout his career with the Bulldogs. He has the size, speed and skills of a first-rounder and has not played his best football, so the Browns get a player with a tremendous amount of upside.

28. (60) New Orleans Saints: Courtney Watson | ILB | Notre Dame

Scouts' take: Orlando Ruff is a marginal starter who lacks range and needs to be replaced on passing downs. Watson is an adequate athlete, and he is a relaible tackle-to-tackle player. He is an upgrade over Ruff in terms of athleticism, and he has the potential to solidify this postion for years to come.

Mel Kiper's take: The top-rated middle linebacker in my rankings, Watson is smart and productive but is more of a finesse linebacker who finds and flows to the ball well but is not extremely physical. He is an alert and active athlete, though, and at some point he should get an opportunity to contribute.

29. (61) Kansas City Chiefs: Kris Wilson | TE | Pittsburgh

Scouts' take: Adding Wilson improves depth behind Tony Gonzalez, but more importantly he makes the Chiefs' two-tight end sets that much more dangerous. Like Gonzalez, Wilson has the speed to stretch the field, and Kanas City should be able to create more single-coverage matchups when he is on the field.

Mel Kiper's take: An excellent pass receiver who is an underrated major-college performer. Wilson would have gotten much more attention if he were a little taller, but he has similar size to Shannon Sharpe and Alge Crumpler. He is an adequate blocker and a fine overall project pick.

30. (62) Carolina Panthers: Keary Colbert | WR | USC

Scouts' take: The writing appears to be on the wall for Muhsin Muhammad, who likley will be a June 1 cut. Colbert is similar to Steve Smith in the sesne that he is a quick receiver with the hands to make the tough catch in traffic. He doesn't have Smith's speed, but he should be able to work the undrneath with Smith stretching the field.

Mel Kiper's take: One of the fastest risers leading up to the draft, Colbert is a Keenan McCardell-type possession receiver who has good pass-catching skills and will grab just about everthing thrown his way. Colbert is does not have blazing speed, but he is the kind of guy who should be able to keep the chains moving.

31. (63) New England Patriots: Marquise Hill | DE | LSU

Scouts' take: New England continues to find players that can play versatile roles. The 297-pound Hill can line up at defensive end when the Patriots line up in the 3-4 scheme, and he can move inside to rush the paser when they line up in the 4-3 scheme.

Mel Kiper's take: A good athlete who is very strong, Hill was not a solid week-to-week performer, and he would have done well to head back to LSU for another season. With more seasoning under Nick Saban, he could have been a top-20 pick next year, but his natural ability will allow Bill Belichick to coach him up and get as much as possible out of him.

Round #3

Editor's note: Our friends at Scouts, Inc., break down the third round of the 2004 NFL draft.

Analysis: First round | Second round| Day 2 preview

# San Diego has substantial needs along the offensive line, but they didn't draft an offensive lineman until selecting Nick Hardwick. He played center at the college level, but the Chargers will likely move him to guard.

# There were some giggles and gasps in the room when San Diego selected PK Nick Kaeding early in the second round, but this was an excellent pick. Kaeding is by far the best kicker available this year, and there was a good chance Minnesota would have drafted him if the Chargers didn't.

# Tennessee needed to find help along the defensive line with the departures of Robaire Smith and Jevon Kearse through free agency. They had already added DEs Antwan Odom and Travis Laboy when they drafted Randy Starks, who we projected as a second-round pick, in the third round. Starks should replace Rien Long as the starter opposite Albert Haynesworth. There is still some question about whether the Titans will move Carter inside, but they have made great strides towards replenishing this line.

# Mike McKenzie is unhappy in Green Bay, and the Packers prepared for the possibility he won't return by adding their second corner of the day in the third round. Joey Thomas had some character problems early and transferred to a Division I-AA school. He is still a little bit inconsistent, but he has the athletic ability and cover skills to develop into a quality nickel back should Ahmad Carroll have to replace McKenzie as the starter opposite Al Harris.

# Oakland found a possible future replacement for Rod Woodson when it drafted Stuart Schweigert in the third round. Schweigert doesn't have great man-to-man cover skills, but he shows great range, is willing in run support and is capable of providing the occasional big play.

# After reaching for defensive linemen over the past few years, Arizona drafted a second-round value player in the third round. There are concerns about Darnell Dockett's work ethic, but he shows great athletic ability for his size. He should develop into an excellent starter if he stays focused.

# With Marcus Robinson leaving through free agency, Terrell Owens signing with Philadelphia and Cleveland unlikely to trade Dennis Northcutt to them, the Baltimore Ravens desperately need a receiver. As a result, they traded the 88th and 155th picks to move up and take Devard Darling, who has good speed and the ability to make some big plays downfield. He was a great value for where the Ravens got him, but he is inconsistent on short-to-intermediate routes, which is a concern because Baltimore needs Darling to contribute next year. His stock also dropped some because of a hereditary sickle-cell anemia disease from which his brother passed away while the two were at Florida State.

# In another third-round trade, the Redskins sent the 81st and 151st picks overall to New Orleans so they could acquire TE Chris Cooley with the 139th pick overall. Although Cooley doesn't have anywhere near Winslow's explosiveness or playmaking ability, he rarely drops a pas he should catch, and his size causes matchup problems. He should develop into reliable safety valve.

# Green Bay's decision to draft P B.J. Sander in the third round shocked us. We believe Sander was the best punter available this year, but the Packers could have picked him up in the later rounds.

# Matt Ware was one of the better picks of the third round, because Philadelphia got great value at the pick while filling a need. With the departures of physical DC's Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor, the Eagles needed an aggressive corner with the strength and cover skills to excel in this scheme. Ware fits that mold.

# The Falcons' decision to draft Virginia QB Matt Schaub was a deceptively wise one. Last year's backups, Doug Johnson and Kurt Kittner, miserably failed when they were forced to play when Michael Vick was hurt. Ty Detmer, listed as the No. 2, is really nothing more than a coach/mentor. Schaub is an intelligent QB who ran the West Coast at Virginia offense under current Jaguars offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. He will probably be the No. 3 as a rookie but if he develops between his rookie and second season as expected, he should become Vick's backup.

Day 2 Preview

Editor's note: As we close out Day 1, our friends at Scouts, Inc., look ahead at Day 2 of the 2004 NFL draft and list the top remaining players by position and what position each NFL team still needs to fill when we resume on Sunday.

Analysis: First round | Second round| Third round

Who's left?

# Quarterback: Josh Harris, Bowling Green; Cody Pickett, Washington; Luke McCown, La. Tech.

# Running Back: Mewelde Moore, Tulane; Cedric Cobbs, Arkansas; Michael Turner, Northern Illinois.

# Wide Receiver: P.K. Sam, Florida State; Ernest Wilford, Va. Tech; Johnnie Morant, Syracuse.

# Tight End: Jason Peters, Arkansas; Ben Utecht, Minnesota; Courtney Anderson, San Jose State.

# Offensive Tackle: Kelly Butler, Purdue; Nat Dorsey, Georgia Tech; Adrian Jones, Kansas.

# Offensive Guard: Alan Reuber, Texas A&M; Jacob Bell, Miami of Ohio; Anthony Herrera, Tennessee.

# Center: Alex Stepanovich, Ohio State; Nick Leckey, Kansas State ; Scott Wells, Tennessee.

# Defensive End: Dave Ball, UCLA; Isaac Hilton, Hampton; Bo Schobel, TCU; Shaun Phillips, Purdue.

# Defensive Tackle: Isaac Sopoaga, Hawaii; Matthias Askew, Michigan State; Tim Anderson, Ohio State.

# Inside Linebacker: Richard Seigler, Oregon State; Niko Koutouvides, Purdue; Rod Davis, Southern Miss.

# Outside Linebacker: Demorrio Williams, Nebraska; Brandon Chillar, UCLA; Lewis Moore, Pittsburgh.

# Cornerback: Will Poole, Ohio State; Nathan Vasher, Texas; Chris Thompson, Nicholls State.

# Safety: Will Allen, Ohio State; Jason Shivers, Arizona State; Etric Pruitt, Southern Miss.

What do teams still need?

Arizona Quarterback; Cornerback; Defensive Safety.

Atlanta: Offensive Tackle; Defensive Tackle; Defensive End.

Baltimore: Wide Receiver; Defensive Safety; Offensive Guard.

Buffalo: Tight End; Cornerback; Offensive Guard.

Carolina: Defensive Safety; Inside Linebacker; Quarterback.

Chicago: Offensive Tackle; Defensive End; Tight End.

Cincinnati: Defensive Tackle; Defensive End; Center.

Cleveland: Offensive Tackle; Defensive Safety; Wide Receiver.

Dallas: Cornerback; Defensive Tackle; Defensive End.

Denver: Defensive Tackle; Tight End; Defensive End.

Detroit: Tight End; Defensive End; Defensive Safety.

Green Bay: Defensive End; Quarterback; Defensive Tackle.

Houston: Nose Tackle; Wide Receiver; Defensive Safety.

Indianapolis: Cornerback; Defensive Tackle; Defensive End.

Jacksonville: Tight End; Defensive Tackle; Defensive Corner.

Kansas City: Wide Receiver; Cornerback; Defensive End.

Miami: Defensive End; Outside Linebacker; Safety.

Minnesota: Offensive Guard; Safety; Wide Receiver.

New England: Inside Linebacker; Offensive Guard; Wide Receiver.

New Orleans: Cornerback; Outside Linebacker; Safety.

New York Giants: Inside Linebacker; Defensive Tackle; Safety.

New York Jets: Offensive Guard; Wide Receiver; Safety.

Oakland: Wide Receiver; Outside Linebacker; Quarterback.

Philadelphia: Offensive Guard; Inside Linebacker; Defensive Tackle.

Pittsburgh: Outside Linebacker; Tight End; Running Back.

St. Louis: Safety; Tight End; Outside Linebacker.

San Diego: Offensive Tackle; Wide Receiver; Offensive Guard.

San Francisco: Defensive Tackle; Defensive End; Offensive Tackle.

Seattle: Safety; Cornerback; Wide Receiver.

Tampa Bay: Tight End; Cornerback; Safety.

Tennessee: Offensive Tackle; Center; Running Back.

Washington: Defensive Tackle; Defensive End; Inside Linebacker.

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Mel Kiper's take: Taylor has the highest grade of any safety I've graded in the last 15 years. He runs like a cornerback and is a tough, physical player with a Ray Lewis-type passion for the game. Taylor is a trememdous ballhawk and former running back who can make things happen after picking off passes. He will be a tremendous addition to a defense that has upgraded during the offseason, and he will be a huge help to a unit that has to neutralize the Giants' Jeremy Shockey twice a year.

And people want to trade down, collect a bunch of 4th and 5th rounders and add Udeze ???? :doh:

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"Matt Ware was one of the better picks of the third round, because Philadelphia got great value at the pick while filling a need. With the departures of physical DB's Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor, the Eagles needed an aggressive corner with the strength and cover skills to excel in this scheme. Ware fits that mold."


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