The top three at each position

NFL draft

April 16, 1999|By Vito Stellino

The top three at each position


Tim Couch, Kentucky, 6-4, 225: Put up big numbers in college, but he doesn't have a big arm.

Akili Smith, Oregon, 6-2, 223: Has a big arm, had just one big year in college after playing baseball.

Donovan McNabb, Syracuse, 6-2, 220: Very athletic, but he ran the option in college and has to make the adjustment to the pro offense.

Running backs

Ricky Williams, Texas, 5-11, 240: Most productive runner in college history, he may be an Earl Campbell with speed.

Edgerrin James, Miami (Fla.), 6-0, 216: A likely top 10 pick, he won't be 21 until August and should improve as he matures.

Cecil Collins, McNeese St., 5-8, 210: Plagued with personal problems, he's this year's Lawrence Phillips or Randy Moss.

Wide receivers

Torry Holt, North Carolina St., 6-0, 186: Recovered from knee injury suffered in a bowl game to become a likely top 10 pick.

David Boston, Ohio State, 6-1, 215: The son of an NFL official, he has a lot of talent, but needs to improve his work habits.

Troy Edwards, Louisiana Tech, 5-9, 190: In this era of big receivers, his size is a problem, but he can catch the ball.

Offensive linemen

John Tait, Brigham Young, 6-6, 310: After spending two years on a church mission, he played well enough for three years to become a first-round pick.

L.J. Shelton, Eastern Michigan, 6-4, 307: Son of former NBA player Lonnie Shelton, he developed fast after playing just three games in high school.

Aaron Gibson, Wisconsin, 6-6, 386: A man mountain at close to 400 pounds, he has to make sure he doesn't eat his way out of the league.

Tight ends

Jim Kleinsasser, North Dakota, 6-2, 268: The best of an average lot, he won't be picked before the second round.

Reggie Kelly, Mississippi, St., 6-4, 251: A solid blocker who has to prove he can catch after hauling in just 12 passes last year.

Dan Campbell, Texas A&M, 6-5, 247: Another good blocker who's a question mark as a receiver after making seven catches last year.

Defensive linemen

Anthony McFarland, LSU, 6-0, 290: A tackle, he lacks height but can use his quickness to get into the backfield.

Patrick Kerney, Virginia, 6-5, 265: Recruited as a lacrosse player, he turned to football and became a good rusher with his speed.

Ebenezer Ekuban, N. Carolina, 6-3, 274: A native of Ghana, he's still developing, but could emerge as a solid pass rusher.


Chris Claiborne, USC, 6-2, 248: The Butkus Award winner grew up in California as an Indianapolis fan and could wind up playing for the Colts.

Jevon Kearse, Florida, 6-5, 262: Could be another Peter Boulware who can rush the passer and drop back in coverage.

Al Wilson, Tennessee, 5-11, 239: He's short and isn't the best athlete but he makes up for his physical limitations with a fiery style.

Defensive backs

Champ Bailey, Georgia, 5-11, 184: Could be another Deion Sanders, a cover corner who can play wide receiver if needed.

Chris McAlister, Arizona, 6-1, 203: Son of former UCLA standout James McAlister, he has so much talent that he tends to lose his concentration at times.

Antoine Winfield, Ohio State, 5-8, 176: His lack of height and size worry the scouts, but he is a big-time competitor.


Martin Gramatica, Kansas State, 5-8, 166: Grew up playing soccer in Argentina and developed into a kicker who made a 65-yard field goal last year.

Kris Brown, Nebraska, 5-10, 205: Kicked for four years at a big school, but was only 4-for-8 between the 30 and 39 last year.

Hunter Smith, Notre Dame, 6-2, 212: The best punter in the draft, he averaged 41.7 yards last year, but tends to be erratic.

Pub Date: 4/16/99

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