Saturday Spotlight

With one week until the 2004 NFL Draft, kicks off its draft coverage with R.L. Rigmaiden's expert analysis.

Untitled Document The Draft is only a week away and things are taking more shape each day. Here’s a list of my updated player rankings. This is not how I predict them to come off the board, but rather the order I have them ranked.

I will make one more Mock Draft and it’ll be up on Thursday, April 22. It will also have 3 full Rounds.

R.L.’s Updated Position Rankings

1. Eli Manning, Ole Miss
2. Ben Roethlisberger, Miami (OH)
3. Philip Rivers, N.C. State
4. J.P. Lossman, Tulane
5. Matt Schaub, Virginia

1. Steven Jackson, Oregon State
2. Kevin Jones, Virginia Tech
3. Greg Jones, Florida State
4. Tatum Bell, Oklahoma State
5. Chris Perry, Michigan
6. Michael Turner, Northern Illinois
7. Maurice Clarett, Ohio State
8. Julius Jones, Notre Dame
9. Cedric Cobbs, Arkansas
10. Quincy Wilson, West Virginia

1. Larry Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh
2. Roy Williams, Texas
3. Mike Williams, USC
4. Reggie Williams, Washington
5. Lee Evans, Wisconsin
6. Michael Clayton, LSU
7. Rashaun Woods, Oklahoma State
8. Michael Jenkins, Ohio State
9. Devery Henderson, LSU
10. Keary Colbert, USC
11. P.K. Sam, Florida State
12. Ernest Wilford, Virginia Teach
13. Devard Darling, Washington State
14. Johnnie Morant, WR Syracuse
15. Derrick Hamilton, Clemson

1. Kellen Winslow, Jr., Miami
2. Ben Troupe, Florida
3. Ben Watson, Georgia
4. Ben Utecht, Minnesota
5. Chris Cooley, Utah State

1. Robert Gallery, Iowa
2. Shawn Andrews, Arkansas
3. Nat Dorsey, Georgia Tech
4. Jacob Rogers, USC
5. Max Starks, Florida
6. Kelly Butler, Purdue
7. Brian Rimpf, East Carolina
8. Tony Pape, Michigan
9. Stacy Andrews, Ole Miss
10. Adrian Jones, Kansas

1. Vernon Carey, Miami
2. Justin Smiley, Alabama
3. Chris Snee, Boston College
4. Travelle Wharton, South Carolina
5. Sean Locklear, N.C. State

1. Jake Grove, Virginia Tech
2. Alex Stepanovich, Ohio State

1. Keneche Udeze, USC
2. Will Smith, Ohio State
3. Antwan Odom, Alabama
4. Jasin Babin, Western Michigan
5. Bobby McCray, Florida

1. Vince Wilfork, Miami
2. Tommy Harris, Oklahoma
3. Marcus Tubbs, Texas
4. Darnell Dockett, Florida State
5. Dwan Edwards, DT Oregon State
6. Donnell Washington, Clemson
7. Igor Olshansky, Oregon
8. DeMarco McNeil, Auburn
9. Isaac Sopoaga, Hawaii
10. Chad Lavalais, LSU

1. D.J. Williams, Miami
2. Karlos Dansby, Auburn
3. Michael Boulware, Florida State
4. Teddy Lehman, Oklahoma
5. Demorrio Williams, Nebraska

1. Jonathan Vilma, Miami
2. Daryl Smith, Georgia Tech
3. Dontarrious Thomas, Auburn
4. Richard Seigler, Oregon State
5. Niko Koutouvides, Purdue

1. DeAngelo Hall, Virginia Tech
2. Dunta Robinson, South Carolina
3. Chris Gamble, Ohio State
4. Will Poole, USC
5. Ricardo Coclough, Tusculum
6. Derrick Strait, Oklahoma
7. Ahmad Carroll, Arkansas
8. Matt Ware, UCLA
9. Keith Smith, McNeese State
10. Joey Thomas, Montana State
11. Keiwan Ratliff, Florida
12. Nathan Vasher, Texas
13. Jeremy LeSeuer, Michigan
14. Shawntae Spencer, Pittsburgh
15. Greg Brooks, Southern Mississippi

1. Sean Taylor, Miami
2. Sean Jones, Georgia
3. Bob Sanders, Iowa
4. Stuart Schweigert, Purdue
5. Will Allen, Ohio State

2004 NFL Mock Draft (First Two Rounds)

1. New York Giants (from San Diego)- Eli Manning, QB Ole Miss
New York trades their 1st and 2nd Round picks in ‘04 and their 2nd Round pick in ‘05 to San Diego for their 1st Round pick (1st overall) in ‘04.

This is the hot trade rumor right now, but unlike most, it actually has substance to it. The Giants are preparing for life after QB Kerry Collins, one of the most streaky and inconsistent QB’s in the NFL. While taking a OT like Robert Gallery makes much more sense for the immediate future, the Giants are thinking long-term. Manning has a good arm, solid intangibles and a premium NFL pedigree. He’ll be starting in ‘05.

2. Cleveland (from Oakland)- Robert Gallery, OT Iowa
The Browns trade their 1st and 3rd Round picks in 2004 as well as an additional 2nd Round pick in ‘05 for Oakland’s Round 1 pick in ‘04 (2nd overall).

That’s right, another trade. Check out Cleveland’s recent Round 1 disasters. QB Tim Couch (1st overall) - this guy would be our #3 QB. He appears to be the definition of a total bust. DE Courtney Brown (1st overall), hasn’t been healthy for one full season and has been a non-factor. DT Gerard Warren (3rd overall), has been labeled an underachiever and had to take a pay cut to stay with the team this year. RB William Green (16th overall), has shown flashes, but apparently likes to smoke some herb on the weekends. He faces NFL suspension this year. Add all that up and you’ve got one sketchy franchise. Because of this, the Brownies are willing to give up a few picks in order to get the guy they want (and need). Gallery’s a Pro Bowl LT capable of starting for the next decade. He’s already better than any other O-lineman Cleveland has.

3. Arizona- Larry Fitzgerald, WR Pittsburgh
I’d be looking very hard at QB Ben Roethlisberger, but Dennis Green has made no secret of his wanting Fitzgerald, who’s at the top of the most talented and deep WR class in NFL history. Fitzgerald’s big, strong, has good speed and possesses elite body control. He constantly wins jump-ball scenarios and is a true deep threat. Paired with last year’s R.O.Y., Anquan Boldin, the Cardinals would post one of the best WR corps in the NFL.

4. San Diego (from New York Giants)- Ben Roethlisberger, QB Miami (OH)
I believe that Marty Schottenheimer likes Roethy better anyway, so this trade is a big win for a franchise in need of a major make-over. At 6'5" 240, Roethlisberger is the classic drop-back passer. He has a cannon for an arm, can move surprisingly well and has put up great numbers at Miami. Some question his competition while playing there, but take a look at Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich. Both of them seem to be legit NFL QB’s. Roethlisberger’s next in line.

5. Washington- Sean Taylor, S Miami
The Redskins have had a decent offseason and will likely select the best-player-available if they’re not able to trade up and select LT Robert Gallery. Taylor didn’t have the best personal workout at his Pro Day, but it’s clear he’s one of the best defenders in this Draft. He’s big, fast, strong and capable of making plays all over the field.

6. Detroit- Kellen Winslow, TE Miami
Personally, I think Winslow’s Miami teammate Sean Taylor should be the guy, but Steve Mariucci can’t resist adding a TE like Winslow to his offense. Winslow has WR speed and hands, but can also block. He could have a Heap/Gonzalez/Shockey-type impact as a rookie.

7. Oakland (from Cleveland)- Roy Williams, WR Texas
If the Raiders pull off this trade, consider them the early favorites to be voted “best team Draft”. Oakland has holes everywhere and needs every pick they can, but if the Draft ends up going down like this, they’ll have added additional picks as well as selecting their #1 target, Williams. He’s the fastest of the elite WR’s, is great after the catch and has tremendous physical skills.

8. Atlanta- Mike Williams, WR USC
I think it’s too early for him here, but I think the Falcons may roll the dice on Williams at this spot. With his size and ability to out-muscle DB’s for the ball, he’d be a great compliment to WR Peerless Price and give QB Michael Vick a great weapon.

9. Jacksonville- Keneche Udeze, DE USC
A receiver is tempting here, but the Jags can grab a good one in Round 2. Udeze is battling Will Smith for the first DE to come off the board, and either would be a nice pick here. At 280 pounds, Udeze is more attractive to the Jags and should have an immediate impact as a nickel pass rusher or pass rushing DT. He racked up 16.5 sacks last year and still has a ton of potential.

10. Houston- DeAngelo Hall, CB Virginia Tech
Marcus Coleman’s recent move from CB to FS forces the Texans to grab a CB early on Day 1. Hall’s personal workout was terrific. He ran 4.3 40 times, looked awesome in agility drills and showed that he could be a shut-down CB in the NFL. Hall might be the best athlete in the class and, at worst, would be Houston’s nickel corner in 2004.

11. Pittsburgh- Phillip Rivers, QB N.C. State
The Steelers have a hard decision between Rivers or RB Steven Jackson. Rivers will get the call because they just picked up Duce Staley at RB and because the chance to acquire franchise QBs doesn’t come along that often. Rivers’ side-arm delivery turned me off about him early in the season, but he’s proved it isn’t as big an issue as some made it out to be. He’s tall, strong, can read defenses and has put up gigantic numbers at N.C. State. Rivers will start in ‘05.

12. New England (from New York Jets)- Steven Jackson, RB Oregon State
The Patriots trade the 21st overall pick and their two 2nd Rounders (56th overall and 63rd overall) plus next year’s 3rd Round pick for New York’s 12th overall selection this year.

To be sure they get their guy, the Patriots make an aggressive move and trade up with the Jets. The Patriot offense has been very good, but imagine how good they’d be if they had a reliable runner. Jackson, who has impressive 235-pound size, is also quick enough to turn the corner and has solid hands coming out of the backfield.

13. Buffalo- Will Smith, DE Ohio State
Getting a receiver is a much bigger need, but the Bills should be able to get a good one in Round 2. Smith ran 4.6 40 times at 270 pounds and has been a beast for the past two years. He’s played elite competition in the Big-10 and is as good, if not better, than any DE currently on Buffalo’s roster.

14. Chicago- Vince Wilfork, DT Miami
WR Mike Williams could go here, but I’m betting new head coach Lovie Smith will add Wilfork in hopes of getting the most out of his defense. Wilfork’s down to 320 pounds and has tremendous quickness for a man his size. Adding him to DEs Michael Haynes and Alex Brown is a nice move for the future.

15. Tampa Bay- Tommie Harris, DT Oklahoma
Harris, a player once said to be a lock as a top-5 pick, has seen his stock drop considerably. He’s a great penetrating DT that has awesome quickness, but his lack of weight has some teams backpedaling. Having said that, Harris is still an elite player that would be an asset on any NFL team and definitely deserves this pick. Harris, Anthony McFarland and Simeon Rice will be an imposing defensive line.

16. San Francisco- Reggie Williams, WR Washington
Hmmm, let’s see. The Niners lost WR’s Terrell Owens and Tai Streets. They lost QB Jeff Garcia and also lost two starting O-lineman. Nice work, Bay-Area front office personnel! Williams is 6'4" 225, is extremely physical and can get deep. In any other Draft, he’d be a lock to go in the top-10, but because of the talent around him he’ll slip a bit. Williams is almost guaranteed to start if he’s taken here.

17. Denver (from Cincinnati)- Jonathan Vilma, LB Miami
RB Steven Jackson would be very tempting here, but the Broncos will stick to their plan and take Vilma, one of the most instinctive LB’s in the game. He’s a bit undersized, but Denver’s had a ton of success using fast, undersized LBs to flow to the ball. Vilma could replace OLB Ian Gold immediately.

18. New Orleans- Dunta Robinson, CB South Carolina
Robinson could, and probably will, go higher than this pick. But if he’s still on the board here, the Saints will be sprinting up to the commissioner with this pick. Robinson has good size, awesome speed and the athleticism and ball skills to be a great corner. Given New Orleans’ shaky secondary, Robinson could start as a rookie.

19. Minnesota- D.J. Williams, OLB Miami
The Vikes will probably grab the best available defender at #19. At this point, it’s Williams, who’s one of the most athletic LB’s to come out in years. At 6'3" 250, Williams has impressive size, but he also runs legit 4.5 40's, making him an ideal NFL ‘backer.

20. Miami- Shawn Andrews, OT Arkansas
The acquisitions of QB A.J. Feeley and WR David Boston give the ‘Phins flexibility to take the highest rated player on their board. At this point, it’s Andrews, a massive RT who’s specialty is drive-blocking. Given that Miami’s offense is geared towards RB Ricky Williams, Andrews makes a ton of sense. He’s capable of starting as a rookie and would give the Dolphins some stability along an offensive line that’s been a revolving door for the past few years.

21. New York Jets (from Baltimore, through New England) - Karlos Dansby, OLB Auburn
The Jets are set to upgrade their LB unit and acquiring Dansby is nice step in the right direction. Dansby, like D.J. Williams, has awesome size and speed, but Dansby’s also a solid edge rusher. His versatility will be a huge bonus for an up-and-coming defense.

22. Dallas- Kevin Jones, RB Virginia Tech
I’m not sold on Jones as a “Parcells guy”, but he clearly fills a huge hole for the Cowboys and is already better than any RB Dallas has. Jones was victimized by poor 40 times at his Pro Day, but make no mistake about it, he’s still an elite RB and probably this year’s most dangerous player out of the backfield.

23. Seattle- Marcus Tubbs, DT Texas
Even after adding DE Grant Wistrom, Seattle is looking to add some defensive line help, especially at DT. Veterans Jon Randle and Chad Eaton are no longer with the team and the ‘Hawks need some more talent to solidify a defense that is on the verge of becoming a good one. Tubbs weighs 335 pounds and is a huge run-stopper. If he stays focused, Tubbs is capable of making a few trips to Hawaii.

24. Cincinnati (from Denver)- Chris Gamble, CB Ohio State
The Bungles were planning to take a different player, but Gamble’s way too good to pass on here. Cincy’s had CB problems for years and thought they were in better shape when they acquired Deltha O’Neal from Denver, but CB Dennis Weathlersby (last year’s 4th Round pick), was recently hospitalized after a car accident and things don’t look good. Gamble is raw, but he’s also 6'1", 190, is incredibly athletic and has the highest upside out of any CB in this Draft. If anyone can mold him into a star, it’s Marvin Lewis.

25. Green Bay- J.P. Lossman, QB Tulane
Unable to get QB Tim Couch via a trade, the Pack will be forced to get Brett Favre’s heir apparent in the Draft. Lossman has a cannon for an arm, is athletic and put up good numbers behind a terrible offensive line and without the help of a star receiver. He can learn a lot from watching Favre for a year or two, but after that, it’s his show.

26. St. Louis- Ben Troupe, TE Florida
The Rams definitely have bigger needs, but Troupe’s way too talented to pass up here. Mike Martz’s vaunted offense hasn’t had a legitimate TE threat in years. Adding Troupe would give their offense a Pro Bowl-talented target in the middle of the field and take pressure off of which ever QB is starting next year (Bulger or Warner).

27. Tennessee- Randy Starks, DT Maryland
Starks’ stock is slipping a bit, but he’s still a very solid player. After losing DT Robaire Smith and DE Jevon Kearse, the Titans are in desperate need for D-lineman. Starks, who’s played DE in a 3-4 defense and DT in a 4-3, is a versatile lineman who can contribute as a rookie.

28. Philadelphia- Will Poole, CB USC
Because of illness, Poole had a terrible personal workout and slipped a bit. But Poole’s second workout went much better and he’s put himself back into the 1st Round. Letting veteran CBs Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent go have left the Eagles a bit thin at that position, so selecting Poole will help ease the transition.

29. Indianapolis- Derrick Strait, CB Oklahoma
Indy’s CB unit has been torn apart by free agency, but wasn’t that good to begin with anyway. This pick will probably come down to Strait, or USC’s Will Poole. While Poole may have a higher upside, Strait’s been a very solid CB for the Sooners the past two years. He’s not fantastic in any one area, but he’s as steady and reliable as they come.

30. Kansas City- Antwan Odom, DE Alabama
As tempting as a receiver may be here, the fact is that KC’s defense can’t stop anyone, and until they can, they’ll remain a team that’s a bit short of a championship. Odom has more potential than any DE in this class, but he’s still a bit raw and needs time to develop. If KC’s coaches can get him going, Odom could be a difference-maker in the NFL.

31. Carolina- Michael Clayton, WR LSU
At 6'4" and 200, Clayton’s the perfect compliment to WR Steve Smith. The Panthers need a physical receiver who can catch passes over the middle and draw some attention away from Smith. If Clayton’s on the board here, the Panthers shouldn’t wait too long to make the pick.

32. New England- Daryl Smith, ILB Georgia Tech
This pick may surprise a few people, but Smith’s an absolute stud. He’s big, fast and has tremendous range. Everyone knows that a 3-4 defense requires plenty of LBs. New England has some good ones, but a few have a bunch of miles on them and are beginning to wear down. Smith is definitely an ILB, but because he’s so fast (4.6), he’s capable of playing outside as well.

Round 2

33. Arizona- Ahmad Carroll, CB Arkansas
34. San Diego (from New York Giants)- Michael Jenkins, WR Ohio State
35. San Diego- Jacob Rogers, OT USC
36. Detroit- Chris Perry, RB Michigan
37. Cleveland- Sean Jones, S Georgia
38. Atlanta- Darnell Dockett, DT Florida State
39. Jacksonville- Lee Evans, WR Wisconsin
40. Houston- Igor Olshansky, DT Oregon
41. Denver (from Washington)- Rashaun Woods, WR Oklahoma State
42. Tennessee (from New York Jets)- Jason Babin, DE Western Michigan
43. Buffalo- Devery Henderson, WR LSU
44. Pittsburgh- Ricardo Coclough, Tusculum
45. Oakland- Jake Grove, C Virginia Tech
46. San Francisco- Justin Smiley, G Alabama
47. Chicago- Michael Boulware, LB Florida State
48. New Orleans- Ben Watson, TE Georgia
49. Cincinnati- Donnell Washington, DT Clemson
50. Minnesota- Matt Ware, CB/S UCLA
51. Baltimore- Nat Dorsey, OT Georgia Tech
52. Dallas- Maurice Clarett, RB Ohio State
53. Seattle- Dontarrious Thomas, ILB Auburn
54. Denver- Bob Sanders, S Iowa
55. Green Bay- Shawntae Spencer, CB Pittsburgh
56. New York Jets (from Miami, through New England)- Joey Thomas, CB Montana State
57. Tennessee- Max Starks, OT Florida
58. Philadelphia- Teddy Lehman, OLB Oklahoma
59. Indianapolis- Isaac Sopoaga, DT Hawaii
60. New Orleans (from St. Louis)- Dwan Edwards, Oregon State
61. Kansas City- Keith Smith, CB McNeese State
62. Carolina- Jeremy LeSeuer, CB Michigan
63. New York Jets (from New England)- Keary Colbert, WR USC

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