NFL Draft

April 23, 2001|By Sun staff writer Ken Murray

AFC East


Pick to watch: The Bills believe Schobel can replace departed pass rusher Marcellus Wiley on the right side.

Analysis: GM Tom Donahoe put his imprint on the Bills with two probable starters in Clements and Schobel. He also got potential starters at running back in Henry, who followed Jamal Lewis at Tennessee, and offensive tackle in Jennings. Donahoe tried to replace defensive tackle Ted Washington with an underachiever in Edwards, though, and did not get a backup quarterback for Rob Johnson.

Grade: C+


Pick to watch: Wayne, a possession receiver, could be a perfect complement to Marvin Harrison.

Analysis: The Colts could have had cornerback Will Allen - a need - at the 22nd spot, but traded down for Wayne. They didn't get the corner until the fifth round. But they did come away with a number of options at safety, the best of which is Bashir. The Colts also needed to improve their run defense, which they feel they did by getting a deal with free-agent defensive tackle Christian Peter.

Grade: C-


Pick to watch: On a team desperate for wide receivers, Chambers will get a great opportunity to play.

Analysis: The Dolphins upgraded a good secondary by adding Fletcher as a nickel back. They got a speed receiver in Chambers, who drew first-round grades on some boards, and a quick, third-down back in Minor. They passed on the chance to get quarterback Drew Brees with the 26th pick but took Heupel in the sixth round. They used fifth- and sixth-round picks on another need position, offensive tackle.

Grade: C+

New England

Pick to watch: Seymour shores up the Patriots' run defense and is a player to build around.

Analysis: With needs everywhere, the Patriots did a decent job of plugging. They improved the offensive line with Light and Jones, and they drafted a pair of tight ends. They also took three defensive backs, although Akbar, a safety, might turn out to be the best.

Grade: C+

New York Jets

Pick to watch: The Jets traded up to get Moss and fill at least two spots - punt returner and third wide-out.

Analysis: Moss is a risk pick because of his size, but at the least, he should make a contribution in the return game. Jordan was the fifth running back taken and will play behind Curtis Martin. The Jets got some value in McKenzie in the third round, but didn't get a defensive lineman until the seventh round. That was a need.

Grade: C-

AFC Central


Pick to watch: Smith needs to have a significant impact in the pass rush, an area of great need.

Analysis: Not everyone in the league was sold on Smith, and the Bengals can hardly afford any more first-round mistakes. They gambled in the second round on a speedy receiver, Chad Johnson, who has attitude issues. And although they say they'll re-sign Corey Dillon, they took a running back in the fourth as insurance.

Grade: D


Pick to watch: Warren gives the Browns a major force in run defense in a division that requires heavy doses of it.

Analysis: Warren was an excellent pick, and Morgan is a significant upgrade in the passing game. But Jackson, the Browns' third-round pick, isn't the answer at running back, a wound that continues to fester. The Browns went for defense with their next three picks.

Grade: B


Pick to watch: Williams has to start and do well at right tackle to protect quarterback Mark Brunell's right side.

Analysis: Stroud improves the Jaguars' run defense, but two linebacker picks did not appreciably upgrade the position. Boyd, at safety, is a hitter. On offense, the Jaguars got a right tackle in Williams in the second round, and picked a guard late. Leaverton replaces unrestricted free agent Bryan Barker, who went to Washington.

Grade: C


Pick to watch: Bell sometimes plays recklessly but has a chance to be an impact player at Levon Kirkland's old spot.

Analysis: Hampton and Bell are the key picks for a depleted defense. The Steelers drafted an athletic tackle in Nkwenti in the fourth round and a powerful 315-pound center in Okobi in the fifth. Both are projects. The Steelers went back to defense with two picks in the sixth round.

Grade: C-


Pick to watch: Dyson, the brother of wide receiver Kevin Dyson, will get a chance to replace departed Denard Walker.

Analysis: The Titans made the most of what they had, getting a corner with their first pick and offensive help on the next five picks. McCareins and Berlin have a chance to help, and Alexander was a good pick in the sixth round.

Grade: B-

AFC West


Pick to watch: Middlebrooks upgrades a position where the Broncos will have a lot of options.

Analysis: The Broncos attacked their defensive needs in the first three rounds with Middlebrooks and a pair of quick but smallish ends. Both Toviessi and Hayward have pass-rush promise but need work. The Broncos took Harris, generally regarded as the best punter in the draft, in the fourth round.

Grade: B.

Kansas City

Pick to watch: Minus first- and second-round picks, Minnis gives new quarterback Trent Green another weapon.

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