Need draft answers? Some are right here

Pro Football

April 23, 2005|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

At last, the draft. Here are five final questions to mull over:

Which teams will be dangling first-round picks today?

A lot of them in the first round. Teams with the first three picks - 49ers, Dolphins and Browns - all want to trade back for more picks. All three have new decision makers, too.

Teams in the top 10 are generally looking to bail on their picks to avoid huge signing bonuses. Teams in the bottom 10 also are looking to drop out of the round.

Of the four teams with multiple picks in the first round, only the Vikings (7, 18) and the Redskins (9, 25) have indicated a desire to trade up. The Vikings aren't willing to give the 18th pick, so they'll likely sit at 7.

What players will those teams be chasing?

Teams considering moving into the top 5 are looking at wide receiver Braylon Edwards of Michigan, wide receiver Mike Williams of USC or running back Ronnie Brown of Auburn.

There probably will be some attempts in the middle of the round to snag offensive tackle Jammal Brown of Oklahoma or one of the pass-rushing defensive ends. The Rams, Ravens and Eagles all like Brown.

Which players are rising and falling coming into the draft?

Cornerback Fabian Washington of Nebraska thrust himself into first-round contention when he ran a 4.29-second 40-yard dash at the combine. Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones, who projects to a receiver in the NFL, made the most dramatic rise. He ran a 4.37 40 and could go at the bottom of the first round.

First-round candidates who lost ground were defensive tackle Anttaj Hawthorne of Wisconsin (positive marijuana test) and cornerback Justin Miller of Clemson (charged with disorderly conduct last week). Miller had his driver's license suspended in 2002 after pleading guilty to a drunk-driving charge.

Will there be any trades for veteran players?

Some prominent vets are available - running backs Edgerrin James of the Colts and Shaun Alexander of the Seahawks, and cornerback Charles Woodson of the Raiders are among them - but none is likely to be dealt.

The Dolphins opened the trade mart by moving cornerback Patrick Surtain to the Chiefs yesterday for a second-round pick. Other players who probably will be traded are running back Travis Henry of the Bills, defensive end Darren Howard of the Saints, and wide receiver Freddie Mitchell of the Eagles.

At which positions will there be first-round runs?

There are always runs on receivers and cornerbacks, but this year there should be a run on pass-rushing defensive ends as well.

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