NFL draft news 'n' notes

Houston Texans owner and chief executive officer ROBERT MC NAIR and Texans vice chairman CHUCK WATSON will join five top 2002 NFL Draft prospects - Fresno State quarterback DAVID CARR, Texas cornerback QUENTIN JAMMER, Miami tackle BRYANT MC KINNIE, North Carolina defensive end JULIUS PEPPERS and Texas tackle MIKE WILLIAMS - in ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange this Friday, April 19 at 4:00 PM ET.<p>

On Saturday, McNair will be at The Theater at Madison Square Garden to personally make the expansion team's first NFL Draft pick, which the Texans have said will be Carr. "Our first pick sends a message about the makeup of our team," says McNair. "We have to set the tone and character of our organization. It is very important for me to be in New York for this important occasion."

Earlier in the day, the draft prospects will make a visit to the Ladder 3 firehouse in New York City. Ladder 3 lost 12 men last September 11 and is home to firefighter JIMMY ANDRUZZI, brother of New England Patriots guard JOE ANDRUZZI. The draftees will bring NFL toys for the children of Ladder 3 firemen who died on September 11.

MOSS WORKING HARD: One position the Minnesota Vikings will not be looking to improve upon in this weekend's draft is their No. 1 wide-receiver slo held by one of the NFL's stellar players, RANDY MOSS. Despite his early career success - Moss is the only player in league history with 1,000 yards receiving in each of his first four seasons -- Moss has spent more time than ever this offseason working at the Vikings' training facility in preparation for the 2002 season.

"We've got 40 guys in town working out throughout the offseason and Randy is leading the pack," says Vikings strength and conditioning coach Steve Wetzel. "He is committed to having the best season of his career."

EAGLES WORK MAGIC: Want to turn a fifth-round pick into a second-rounder? It's no problem if you're the Philadelphia Eagles. In 1999, Philadelphia traded its fifth-round selection to Detroit for a fourth-rounder in 2000. Similar trades in subsequent years have yielded the Eagles' second-round choice this year, the 59th overall in the draft. The real question is not how the Eagles did it, but will they actually draft someone this year, or trade the pick for a 2003 first-rounder? Following is how the Eagles turned a 1999 fifth-round selection into a 2002 second-rounder:

1999 Traded 5th-round pick to Detroit for Lions' 4th-rounder in 2000 (Lions selected S Ty Talton).

2000 Traded the 4th-round pick to San Diego for Chargers' 3rd-rounder in 2001 (Chargers selected WR Trevor Gaylor).

2001 Selected DE Derrick Burgess with the 3rd-rounder from San Diego, but traded own 3rd-rounder and 6th-rounder to Dolphins for 2nd-rounder in 2002 (Dolphins selected LB Morlon Greenwood and DE Otis Leverette).

2002 Eagles own Dolphins' former 2nd-rounder, which is 59th overall.

DENVER D-LINE SHIFT: TREVOR PRYCE has been named to the past three AFC All-Star squads as a defensive tackle. This season he seeks to earn a fourth Pro Bowl trip, albeit at a different position - defensive end.

"At the end of training camp, I want to be 285 pounds at the most," says Pryce, who was listed at 295 last season. "The change is my idea. I'm welcoming the change. When I get up on a tight end, I'll lick my chops. He's outmatched."

PEPPERS PREVIEWS "NFL EQUIPMENT": North Carolina defensive end JULIUS PEPPERS, in addition to being in New York City for the draft, will appear nationwide on ESPN's draft telecast in a high-action TV spot with three NFL stars for the new "NFL Equipment" apparel line, created by Reebok.

Joining Peppers in the NFL Films-produced spot are Kansas City's TONY GONZALEZ, Tennessee's JEVON KEARSE and Chicago's ANTHONY THOMAS. Peppers will be seen sprinting in the high-tech workout apparel amid a futuristic football environment.

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