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Sporting News: Draft Dish: How they did in the draft


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How they did in the draft


How teams addressed their needs in the first round of the NFL draft Saturday:

San Diego got itself out of a bind after Eli Manning said he didn't want to play for the Chargers. They took him at No. 1 anyway, then dealt him to the Giants for another highly rated quarterback, Philip Rivers, plus a third-rounder this year AND a first- and fifth-rounder in 2005. That's plenty of value to get for a player the Chargers really liked - and they might wind up not having to pay the same bonus a No. 1 overall pick gets.

Oakland turned aside several offers for the second slot and took Robert Gallery, who should be a fixture on the offensive line for a decade. The Raiders have plenty of holes elsewhere and could use a QB, but Gallery is the best tackle prospect in years.

Larry Fitzgerald is a nice fit in Arizona, particularly because new coach Dennis Green has had success with untested quarterbacks throwing to standout receivers. Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin make a formidable pair.

Under Steve Spurrier, Washington probably would have traded the fifth overall pick. Joe Gibbs wisely saw the chance to get safety Sean Taylor, who has drawn comparisons to Ronnie Lott and will help ease woes in the secondary after the trading of Champ Bailey.

Detroit acquired the 37th overall pick for sliding down one place, then solidified its receiving corps with Roy Williams, a nice fit with last year's second overall selection, Charles Rogers. Williams might be the Lions' No. 1 receiver this season.

Even better, the Lions seized a chance to get the running back they badly need, trading three picks for Kansas City's first-rounder, 30th overall. Virginia Tech's breakaway threat, Kevin Jones, was the choice.

DeAngelo Hall brings game-breaking skills as a kick returner to Atlanta, and he says he'll be the best cornerback the Falcons have had since Deion Sanders. Perhaps, but he also is a buddy of QB Michael Vick, which can't hurt.

Nor can Michael Jenkins, a solid possession receiver the Falcons got by dealing for the 29th pick. Vick will like throwing to him.

Wisely, the Steelers let QB Ben Roethlisberger fall to them at No. 11 rather than panicking to move up. He might even beat out Tommy Maddox this year.

Tommie Harris is the best defensive tackle in this draft, and the Bears need someone to give Brian Urlacher room to roam.

The Eagles realized none of their most pressing needs could be filled if they stayed put at No. 28. So they traded up with San Francisco to get the second-best OL, 360-pounder Shawn Andrews, who won't be pressured to play immediately.

Denver needs outside linebackers and got the best of the bunch in D.J. Williams. The Broncos got value for having previously moved up to 17th overall.

New Orleans sought a pass rusher and got one of the better prospects in Will Smith at 18.

All Miami surrendered to move up from 20th to 19th and get a needed blocker in tackle-guard Vernon Carey was a fourth-rounder. If he stays in shape - he's been called Mount Vernon for adding too much weight - he could start.

Seattle sat still and got the bulky defensive tackle it needed in Marcus Tubbs, whose stock soared in offseason workouts. The Seahawks are building a solid contender.

Cincinnati not only acquired a second-round choice for Corey Dillon last week, but it replaced him with Chris Perry, who was at his best in big games for Michigan.

San Francisco liked Reggie Williams, but when he was gone early, the 49ers traded down from 16 to 28 to 31 and still got a WR, Rashaun Woods of Oklahoma State, who might start this year.

Tennessee, with salary cap problems, dropped out of the first round and got much of what it needed in the second with tight end Ben Troupe to replace retired Frank Wycheck, and DE Travis LaBoy to fill the void caused by Jevon Kearse signing with the Eagles.

While the Giants got the guy they wanted in Manning, they also paid a very steep price. If they struggle again this season, the 2005 No. 1 could be an impact spot in the draft.

Still, Manning will be a big name in the big media market and probably can handle it. So what happens to Kerry Collins, due about $8 million in the final year of his contract?

Cleveland also paid more than usual to move up just one spot, from seventh to sixth to select TE Kellen Winslow. Browns coach Butch Davis gave up a second-rounder to draft the son of Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow. Davis also recruited Winslow to the University of Miami and was convinced the Lions would take him, forcing the Browns to give up the second-rounder.

Buffalo must believe J.P. Losman of Tulane is the next Jim Kelly, because the Bills surrendered their 2005 first-rounder and a second and a fifth this year to get the 22nd overall slot. After giving up so much, the Bills better be getting a future star.

And they also made a serious reach for WR Lee Evans at 13th overall. That shows how badly new coach Mike Mularkey wants to upgrade the offense immediately.

Jacksonville needs a receiver to groom behind and eventually replace Jimmy Smith. The Jaguars got him in Reggie Williams, but taking him ninth overall was a stretch.

Houston needed anything defensively and Dunta Robinson is a cover cornerback who appears ready to start. But he also might have been a reach at No. 10.

Then the Texans sent their second, third, fourth and fifth spots in this draft to Tennessee to get Jason Babin of Western Michigan at No. 27. He was considered a second-rounder, at best, at DE, but the Texans see him as an outside LB in their 3-4 alignment. The Texans felt he wouldn't last until 40th overall.

Jonathan Vilma fills a linebacking need for the Jets. They took him at 12, and probably could have gotten him by trading down a few spots.

Jon Gruden showed again why he is an offense-first coach by taking WR Michael Clayton with the 15th selection. This was another case of a team not trading down for someone who probably would have been there for a while.

After dropping down a spot and adding a fourth-rounder, Minnesota found DE Kenechi Udeze available. He fits a need, but some scouts say he has shoulder problems.

Is Marshall Faulk fading so badly that St. Louis needed to trade up two spots and yield a fourth-rounder to get Steven Jackson, the first running back chosen? Jackson provides the power runner the Rams lack, but coach Mike Martz rarely looks for power.

Beaten out for Losman and the two linebackers it needed, Green Bay took CB Ahmad Carroll, a good player, but not one filling a hole.

NFC champion Carolina is lacking at cornerback and wide receiver. Its choice after trading up to 28th (in exchange for a fourth-rounder) was Chris Gamble, who played both positions at Ohio State. Pencil him in the secondary, although his stock fell because of poor tackling.

New England - no surprise here - found another anchor on the defensive line to replace aircraft carrier Ted Washington in Vince Wilfork. He'll rotate this season, just as All-Pro Richard Seymour did at the same position early in his career.

But the final pick of the opening round, tight end Ben Watson of Georgia, joins a crowded field in Foxboro.

Dallas also traded out of the first round, skipping a chance to get any of the top three RBs. They used the second-rounder obtained from Buffalo for Notre Dame running back Julius Jones, who'll offer big-play skills but is inconsistent.

When Indianapolis finally picked, at No. 44, it got a feisty safety in Iowa's Bob Sanders, who should fit well in the cover-2 defense.

The final team to make its first selection was Baltimore at No. 51. Selecting there, with no top WR prospects available, the Ravens took Dwan Edwards, a defensive tackle from Oregon State some rated as a late first-rounder.

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