Going into the draft many pundits and NFL GMs had Chris Perry rated third amongst the top tier of backs available. Joining him in that group were Oregon State’s Steven Jackson and Virginia Tech’s Kevin Jones. It shocked many observers when the first ball carrier wasn’t taken until the 24th pick when the St. Louis Rams nabbed Jackson. The Cincinnati Bengals took Perry just two slots later at #26.
The All-American runningback enters a favorable situation with Marvin Lewis’ up and coming Bengals squad. Cincinnati recently shipped a disgruntled Corey Dillon to the New England Patriots, leaving former Auburn Tiger Rudi Johnson to shoulder the load. Perry will be able to go right in and spell the bruising runner while also giving the Bengals a viable third down threat out of the backfield with his receiving skills. The pick of was surprising to many, but Coach Lewis indicated that they had Perry rated as the top back on their board.
LeSueur slid a little on draft day, but he may not have been able to pick a better situation. After failed cornerback experiments in Delthea O ‘ Neal and Lenny Walls, the Broncos traded their franchise runningback Clinton Portis for the NFL’s best corner in former Washington Redskin Champ Bailey. Head Coach Mike Shanahan is seeking to improve the position even more with the selection of LeSueur. He may have slid down some draft boards after he ran a slower forty time than expected (in the 4.5 range). A strong senior bowl and knowledge that he slipped while running the forty kept him high on some charts.
The former Michigan corner will be able to challenge immediately for the nickel spot and may even make a run for the spot opposite Bailey. Many scouts also suggest that LeSueur may project as a better free safety than corner, so that may be in the cards somewhere down the line.