Saints' choice offer to move up in draft hasn't wowed anybody

Team willing to trade all its '99 picks to get Williams

April 09, 1999|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

The New Orleans Saints aren't likely to get a warm reception this weekend when they offer their entire 1999 draft in an attempt to trade up to get Texas running back Ricky Williams in the NFL college draft April 17.

Bill Kuharich, the general manager of the Saints, said yesterday that he'll start contacting the teams at the top of the round this weekend to see whether any are interested in trading down. The Saints have the 12th pick.

Kuharich and coach Mike Ditka have indicated they'd offer their six picks this year plus "future considerations," which could mean players or picks in 2000.

Cincinnati Bengals president Mike Brown and Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian, who have the third and fourth picks in the draft, respectively, don't seem impressed with the Saints' proposal.

The problem is the Saints don't have a second-round pick, and, as Polian said, the fifth-, sixth- and seventh-round selections tend to be "camp guys" who fill out the training-camp roster.

"That means they'd be offering a three and a fourth for what they say is the best player in the draft," Polian said. "Clearly, that's not enough."

Kuharich responded: "The last time I checked, Terrell Davis was a sixth-rounder and Jamal Anderson was a seventh-rounder. Sometimes, those picks are worth something."

Polian wouldn't say if the Colts will take Williams if he falls to them in the fourth spot. He said they're considering a half-dozen players, but didn't rule out selecting Williams. He said the fact the Colts already have Marshall Faulk wouldn't preclude taking Williams.

Brown all but ruled out the Bengals taking Williams at No. 3. He noted they have running back Corey Dillon and said they're interested in a quarterback or cornerback Champ Bailey.

Brown said of the lack of a second-round pick: "That's an important omission."

Kuharich said he'd start by calling the first two teams in the draft -- the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles -- but both want quarterbacks and don't appear likely to move down.

Williams visited the Saints Tuesday and seemed skeptical the Saints can pull off a trade for him.

"I don't think it's going to happen," Williams said. "I want it to, but I don't think so."

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