The move means that Detroit won't have to look for a right tackle quite so high in Saturday's 2005 NFL draft and will instead be free to mine talent for the left defensive end position currently occupied by former third round pick Cory Redding of Texas. While Redding has shown flashes, he has not developed into a dominating pass rusher or run stuffer. Detroit would like to upgrade the position, but not in the first round.
One player Detroit knows will not be available is Alex Smith, the quarterback from Utah that they secretly brought into Allen Park for a workout. Smith has received a contract offer from the San Francisco 49ers who hold the #1 overall pick in the draft. The 49ers hope to secure a contract with Smith prior to the draft in order to avoid a protracted holdout like the one the San Diego Chargers endured with quarterback Phillip Rivers. With Smith entrenched as the top pick, what will happen to California's Aaron Rodgers?
Some believe that Rodgers could slide all the way down to the middle of the first round. The USA Today yesterday featured a group of quarterbacks - from Detroit's Joey Harrington, Oregon's Akili Smith, California's Kyle Boller, Fresno State's Trent Dilfer, etc. - who had been tutored by Cal head coach Jeff Tedford, detailing how few have had major NFL success and asked if Rodgers is just a product of Tedford's outstanding system.
If Rodgers slid to Detroit would they be interested?
Probably not. Detroit believes that Smith is a special player who will be a star in the NFL, they're not so sure about Rodgers. Still, his presence is likely to cause a ripple in the first round of the draft. That means Detroit will likely have a choice between Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson and Southern California wide receiver Mike Williams.
With San Francisco grabbing Smith, let's look at how the rest of the draft might shake out:
2. Miami Dolphins (4-12) ***
Ronnie Brown | RB | Auburn
Since Miami has not completed the trade for Travis Henry at this date, Brown appears to still be the guy to take over as the feature back in South Florida.
3. Cleveland Browns (4-12) **
Travis Johnson | DT | Florida State
With Smith off the board, this become a prime trading position. Teams coveting Michigan's Braylon Edwards will be jockeying furiously to get here, knowing its their last shot at landing the draft's best player.
4. Chicago Bears (5-11)
Braylon Edwards | WR | UM
The Bears were hoping beyond hope to pair flashy reciever Braylon Edwards with free agent acquisition Mushin Muhammad and are slapping high fives all over the place at their good fortune. Visions of two play making wide recievers catching balls from strong armed Rex Grossman has the Windy City salivating.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cadillac Williams | RB | Auburn
Jon Gruden gets the pass catching, slashing back he favors as he makes over a team two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance. Williams immediately becomes the feature back in the Chris Simms era.
6. Tennessee Titans
Antrel Rolle | CB | Florida State
With the Titans losing both their starting corners, Rolle is too good to pass up. Watch him show why he's the best corner/safety in the draft by making a pro bowl appearance as a rookie.
7. Minnesota Vikings (from Oakland)
Troy Williamson | WR | South Carolina
Look for the Vikings to find a big play man to take the play of departed Randy Moss. Williamson's rep as a deep ball threat fills the bill here.
8. Arizona Cardinals
Aaron Rodgers | QB | California
Rodgers may be the best QB in the draft, but he isn't as good as past QB prospects. Still, Dennis Green is always looking for the next great arm and decides that with the running backs off the board, he'll go for the QB.
9. Washington Redskins
Adam Jones | CB | West Virginia
Redskins are still feeling the pinch from trading away Champ Bailey and need a shut down corner. Jones has the reputation but somehow I get the feeling he's going to be the draft's big disappointement.
10. Detroit Lions**
Mike Williams | WR | USC
Some feel Detroit doesn't need another wide receiver, but after being bit by the injury bug two years in a row to would-be star Charles Rogers and trotting out a severely hobbled Roy Williams, Detroit wants insurance for an offense that is predicated on throwing the football. Williams may not be the burner everyone wants, but he has great hands and has been extremely durable. This pick means Detroit boasts the best set of receivers in the NFL.
INSIDE TRACK: What were the Washington Redskins officials thinking? Washington gave up their third round pick this season and their first rounder in 2006 to move up to the 25th overall pick in order to acquire, according to published reports, Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell. Washington has the 9th pick in the first round, but no pick in the second round of the draft. They paid a heavy price to draft a player most experts feel would have been available in the second round.
If the reports are true, that could push another talented player who's on the bubble into the second round like Oklahoma tackle Jamaal Brown, tight end Heath Miller of Virginia and Alex Smith of Stanford or a defensive end like Wisconsin's Erasmus James or Virginia's Chris Canty right into the waiting hands of the Lions.