Previewing the draft by Ken Murray

April 28, 2007|By Ken Murray

Who's No. 1?

If it's not quarterback JaMarcus Russell, it might mean that the Raiders' Al Davis has lost it. Even if the Raiders trade for the Lions' Josh McCown or end up with the Dolphins' Daunte Culpepper, they still should pick Russell. They've already passed on Matt Leinart, Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger in the past three drafts. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson might be the safest pick in today's first round, but he'll get the ball only half a dozen times each week. Russell will get it 50 times each game.

The battle for Johnson

A pair of NFC South opponents are poised to make a play for Johnson. The Buccaneers have enough picks - nine total, the fourth overall, and two second-round choices - to trade up for the Lions' No. 2 pick. The Falcons have the eighth pick overall and 10 total picks. If they don't outbid the Bucs for Johnson, they'll be facing him for the next 10 years. Detroit GM Matt Millen will never have more leverage on draft day.

Hitting the cutoff man

The consensus is that there are about 10 players in the first round who can make an impact on a team right away, and only about 18 or so who carry legitimate first-round grades. That suggests a lot of teams will want to trade out of the bottom portion of the draft, if they can find teams who want to move up.

Free fall prospect

Unless the Raiders, Lions or Browns take Brady Quinn, the Notre Dame quarterback could drop to the seventh pick (Vikings) or even the ninth (Dolphins). While most experts think it's unlikely Quinn will last until Miami picks, the key could be at No. 3, where the Browns will have their choice of some very good players.

Smoke screens

Remember, much of what you've heard from NFL executives has been offered to mislead the opponents. Today is show and tell.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.