First Pick could have Chain Reaction

A week ago it appeared the 49ers would take Cal QB Aaron Rodgers, but San Francisco has turned their attention to another quarterback and that decision will shape the top of the draft.

It appears Ronnie Brown would be the second player off the board, unless the Dolphins decide to trade out of the pick. There are rumblings that the Minnesota Vikings are trying to move up from the seventh slot in order to select WR Braylon Edwards.

Cleveland, like most teams at the top of the draft, is trying to trade down to acquire more picks. However, there are few willing partners to move up. If forced to take a player the Browns would likely go with talent over need best because they have holes on both sides of the ball, which means Edwards.

The Bears want a running back or a wide receiver, but if the top rated one at each position is off the board by the fourth selection they will have to rely on their scouts. Mike Williams is not the speed threat the Bears desire opposite Muhsin Muhammad, but could come in and start as a rookie.

Running backs Carnell Williams and Cedric Benson both have their strengths and weaknesses.

Carnell Williams is the best pure runner of the trio of backs, but is on the light side. While durability is the question with the 5-foot-11, 217-pounder, sharing carries with Thomas Jones would give the Bears speed out of the backfield.

Benson is a bruising runner in the mold of Anthony Thomas. He had well over 1,000 carries in four years at Texas, which has some concerned that the early wear and tear could lead to a shortened NFL career.

Ideally the Bears want to move back at least a few slots to acquire an additional first day selection.

GM Jerry Angelo puts South Carolina wideout Troy Williamson in the same class as Edwards and Williams.

"I see it more than just those two," Angelo said when asked about the top receivers in the draft. "If you poll around the league you would come up with a top three. I think that Edwards, Mike Williams, Williamson at South Carolina are very, very good players.

"I think they're quality players and I think they're going to be excellent pros."

Going after Williamson would allow the Bears to trade back and still get an impact receiver. However, Angelo will come under immediate scrutiny because it would have been the second time in three years that he traded out of the fourth pick in the draft.

In 2003 Angelo turned the fourth selection into Michael Haynes, Rex Grossman and Ian Scott. The jury is still out on the trade, but will depend largely on Grossman's ability to stay healthy and produce.

In three previous drafts, Angelo has only selected two skill position players on the first day. Neither Grossman nor Bernard Berrian have done much for Angelo's reputation for finding offensive talent. The need to hit a homerun this time around is obvious.


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