OVERVIEW: With all the jockeying for position in the first round, with some players going earlier than anticipated and some going later, the second round of the draft has become just as critical. There have been very few trades made to date because of the depth of this year's draft, as teams aren't willing to part with picks in the second round to move up a few spaces in the first round. Because of that, more teams than in recent memory have been holding on to their picks in order to make selections while the getting is still good.
While the first round is often a "best athlete available" selection process, the second round is where many teams address their greatest immediate concerns — these players aren't the guys getting the grip-and-grin photos with Paul Tagliabue, but they are expected to make an immediate contribution.
Here is how we see the second
round falling ... for now:
1. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
LaMont Jordan, RB, Maryland The Chargers running game was nonexistent last year and, with the first choice locked up on Michael Vick, San Diego knew that just three running backs would be off the board when they came up in the second round. While San Diego would be jumping out of windows if somehow Michael Bennett was still on the board, they'll be more than happy to take Jordan in this spot .
2. CLEVELAND BROWNS
Chris Chambers, WR, Wisconsin Our belief that the Browns would not take David Terrell is more because of this pick that because they're convinced LaDanian Tomlinson is the second coming of Emmitt Smith. The depth of the wide receiver crop has made this draft deeper and several teams that didn't address the position in the first round will do so now, starting with the Browns — who give Tim Couch a big target he's lacked in the past.
Todd Heap, TE, Arizona State A pick that makes too much sense. While the Cardinals could use some help on both lines, Heap is a local product that the fans know, has been compared to Kellen Winslow and will give the Cardinals offense something it has never had in Arizona — a tight end who can be used as an offensive weapon. Heap should have gone on the first round, but, when he made it past Oakland and the Giants, he fell right into Arizona's lap and will be a good value pick at this point.
4. ATLANTA FALCONS
Reggie Wayne, WR, Miami — The Falcons were a tough call in the first round, because, while David Terrell would clearly give them the offensive gamebreaker they've craved since Tony Martin went away, the lure of big time non-skill position players like Justin Smith and Leonard Davis proved too enticing. However, they can justify it by getting an exciting receiver like Wayne, who many saw as a first-round prospect, with this pick. He can fill a void and give the Falcons offense another weapon along with the help they already got on defense.
DeLawrence Grant, DE, Oregon State — When we initially had the Bengals taking Justin Smith over Leonard Davis in the first round, it was because pass rusher is one of the biggest gaping voids on the Bengals team and they needed to address it. But their gamble that a player like Grant would still be available paid off and the team walks away with two trench players that can help change an improving franchise around — now all they have do is find a way to keep Corey Dillon.
6. DALLAS COWBOYS
Shaun Rogers, DT, Texas Welcome to draft day, Dallas. Thanks to trading for Joey Galloway, the cap-strapped Pokes had no first-round pick and need help on the defensive line in the worst way. Word we've heard is that the Cowboys like two Texas DTs — Rogers and Casey Hampton — and may opt to take Hampton because he's a harder worker. However, Rogers has more pure talent and, if harnessed, could be like having a mid- to late-first round pick anyway.
7. CHICAGO BEARS
Quincy Morgan, WR, Kansas State — The Bears want to improve their offense and, with LaDanien Tomlinson off the board, running back got scrapped in the early rounds in favor of defense. Now the Bears hit one of their weakest links and add a wide receiver that can stretch the field and make the rag-tag Chicago offense a little more impressive. There is some thought that they make take a running back here, but James Allen can hold down the fort for one season and see if he can get it done on a regular basis. Wide receiver is the most glaring need and Morgan helps fill some of that gap.
8. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Alge Crumpler, TE, North Carolina Like the Bears, the Patriots didn't take a running back on the first round and now the value pick is no longer there. Since Ben Coates' career went south, the Patriots and Drew Bledsoe have lacked that critical part of the offense and, while Crumpler's numbers don't leap out you, he has the physical ability and pass- catching savvy to return the tight end to being a key part of the Patriots offensive attack.
9. SEATTLE SEAWAHKS
Ken Lucas, CB, Mississippi — Seattle has been begged to take a wide receiver, but continues to ignore that chant — simply because, once again, there is a player Mike Holmgren views as being too talented to still be on the board available to the Seahawks when their next pick comes on the clock. Lucas was viewed by us as a first rounder until Friday's trades and Seattle will be more than happy to accept him at this point on the second round.
10. GREEN BAY PACKERS (from Seattle)
Casey Hampton, DT, Texas — The Packers need help up front and, thanks to a deal with the Niners Friday to exchange a bunch of picks, they're able to snag a player many believe could be the diamond in the rough of the defensive tackle crop this season. Hampton is an incredibly hard worker who has outshined the more talented Shaun Rogers for just that reason with the Longhorns. Expect to see him step into lineup immediately as a supporting player for Gilbert Brown to start and an every down player by year's end.
11. ST. LOUIS RAMS (from Kansas City)
Tommy Polley, LB, Florida State — With three defensive picks in the first round, it would seem to be pushing it for the Rams to go to the D-well one more time, but Polley fills an immediate need and is a player we have been told the Rams really like — not bad for a pick the team got by simply ridding itself of Dick Vermeil. If this pick gets traded to Arizona, it's doubtful Polley will be available when the Rams pick later in the round, but, at this point, he is a solid choice and gives the Rams a lot less defensive headaches than they had in the 2000 regular season.
12. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Maurice Williams, OT, Michigan — In our earlier mock drafts, we had Kenyatta Walker falling all the way to the Jags. When the other teams' needs pointed out the fact that Walker likely wouldn't make it there, the Jags took a different approach and helped their defense first. Now they go after the replacement for Leon Searcy. As a pure right tackle, Williams can give the Jags immediate help and not only protect lefty Mark Brunell's blind side, but help Fred Taylor in the rushing game as well.
13. CAROLINA PANTHERS
Anthony Thomas, RB, Michigan A lot of people thought the Panthers might jump on Michael Bennett in the first round, but, if you're concerned about Michigan grad Tshimanga Biakabutuka, why not bring in another Michigan back to take the heat off him? Thomas is much more durable and, while he doesn't have the breakaway speed of Biakabutuka, their styles could be a perfect complement to each other and answer some of the lingering doubts Carolina coaches have had about Biakabutuka's long-term health.
14. WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Mike Gandy, G, Notre Dame We went on a limb — sort of — by pointing out that Marty Schottenheimer had never taken a wide receiver on the first round of a draft, until we picked him to do it. Now Schottenheimer reverts to form and takes the position of greatest need-to-availability ratio. If he hadn't taken Moss in the first round, we're convinced he would have gone with guard Steve Hutchinson. Since then, no guards have gone off the board and Schottenheimer gets the best of both worlds — a wide receiver and kick returner who can break a game open and a guard he can plug into a starting spot immediately.
15. BUFFALO BILLS
Willie Howard, DT/DE, Stanford The Bills defensive coaches have to feel a little like Robert Stack in the movie "Airplane." After potentially losing all the starters on a three-man defensive line, the Bills are going to a four-man front and they're saying, "I picked a bad week to quit heroin." Because of that, Buffalo goes two boots on defensive line, adding Howard to defensive tackle Damione Lewis up front. Howard can play both DT and DE, something he may have to do as the Bills switch personnel on the fly and makes sense, since the Bills not only need starters on the DL, they need depth, too.
SAN FRANCISCO (from Green Bay)
Kris Jennings, DL, Maryland — Many disagree with our selection of Deuce McAllister on the first round, but the 49ers needed to get him in the fold before addressing the needs on defense. Jennings has the versatility to play either tackle or end, something he may have to do as the 49ers continue to re-tool their defense.
17. DETROIT LIONS
Kendrell Bell, LB, Georgia The Lions continue to address defense and Bell can give the linebacker corps some much needed assistance. He can play both inside and outside and will likely be asked to make an impact right away. The Lions have many of the component pieces in place to again be a playoff contender and Bell could add a needed piece to that puzzle.
18. NEW YORK JETS
Aaron Schoebel, DE/OLB, Texas Christian The Jets went offense on the first round, now they look to add a player to the linebacker corps that got gutted in the offseason. Although he played DE in college, Schoebel is more likely to be a big pass rushing linebacker in the pros and gives the Jets a motor that they need in the middle of their defense.
19. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Quinton Caver, LB, Arkansas — With Levon Kirkland gone, the Steelers need more help in the middle of their defense and Caver is a guy who the Steelers are lucky to get, since more teams didn't have an immediate need for linebackers than they did for positions like wide receiver and cornerback. It was that needs scenario that allowed a player like Caver to drop to the 50th pick of the draft and makes the Steelers very happy.
20. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Michael Stone, CB, Memphis Tony Dungy had a hard time letting a corner go on the first round, but is not going to let that happen again. With the pass-happy NFC Central, the Bucs need to add some depth to one of the best defenses in the last 20 years in the NFL and Dungy will be able to help Stone come along quickly — starting as a nickel back and seeing more time as his comfort level improves.
21. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Kyle Vanden Bosch, DE/LB, Nebraska — The Colts continue to try to pile up defensive draft picks to take some of the heat off the Triplets on offense. It didn't work last year, but the Colts are confident adding a cornerback and a versatile "tweener" pass rushing lineman/linebacker like Vanden Bosch can give their defense a spark of life and once again put them in the position to do some damage in January.
22. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Robert Ferguson, WR, Texas A & M The Saints added Joe Horn before last season and Albert Connell this offseason, but still want more in the wide receiver position. Ferguson can be a dangerous, spread the field guy who has the size the other Saints receivers lack since Jake Reed was released. Ferguson will likely be a third receiver to start and, depending on how quickly he matures in the pro game, you may be seeing a lot more three-receiver sets from the Saints.
23. ST. LOUIS RAMS
Ken-Yon Rambo, WR, Ohio State — Enough already with the defensive picks. The Rams lost Tony Horne to free agency and need someone to return kickoffs, as well as provide depth to the receiver corps. Rambo is a gamebreaker with return experience, so he will give the offensive coaches for the Rams a feeling of purpose on draft day.
24. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Torrance Marshall, LB, Oklahoma — The Eagles have already addressed the weak line (goodbye) of their offense, it's now time to look at the defense that helped carry them deep into the playoffs last year. Marshall is an active linebacker who can step in right away and make plays to keep the Eagles in the hunt for a division title and playoff bound once again. There is some sentiment that the Eagles should grab a running back here, but unless Duce Staley is guaranteed to be on the shelf, a player like Marshall can provide more immediate help than a potential pine-riding RB.
25. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Reggie Germany, WR, Ohio State — The Dolphins added their QB of the future, so now it makes sense to try to add a wide receiver of the present. Miami rid itself of too many wideouts that were helpful last year and getting a youngster like Germany in to fight for playing time makes sense. The dropoff at wideout begins after him, so it was either grab him now or get a project receiver later — something Miami doesn't need in 2001.
26. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Andre Dyson, CB, Utah — The Vikings need a corner in the worst way and Dyson has an NFL bloodline with his brother Kevin, who was taken ahead of Randy Moss by the Tennessee Titans. He has the speed to be a cover guy that the Vikings have lacked in the recent past and, with the glaring need at the position, he makes too much sense to pass up.
Bhawoh Jue, CB, Penn State — The Broncos went wideout on the first round and, while many people may have missed Jue in 2000 because Penn State fell on hard times, he is a skilled player who can help fill the void that will be created when Dale Carter is officially given his walking papers June 1. The Broncos are said to like him and will put him over players like Memphis' Michael Stone for just that reason.
28. OAKLAND RAIDERS
Sedrick Hodge, LB, North Carolina — The Raiders have abandoned offense for the best defensive players available for the second time. Hodge is one player who has slipped through the cracks in the second round and, instead of grabbing a wide receiver in the second half-dozen available — they could well get the same player on the third round since several teams have felt satisfied by filling that need already — a player like Hodge fits into what the Raiders need to remain at the top of the AFC.
29. TENNESSEE TITANS
Alex Bannister, WR, Eastern Kentucky — Tennessee joins the draft looking to address the most grievous and immediate need. With Yancey Thigpen and Carl Pickens cast adrift, the Titans need to build some depth back at wide receiver and, while several marquee players have already been taken, the local product is seen as a guy who can contribute to the Titans and keep them a viable passing offense this year. Bannister doesn't get the ink that players like David Terrell or Koren Robinson did, but, in this situation, he could thrive and be an immediate contributor.
30. NEW YORK GIANTS
Kareem McKenzie, OT, Penn State The Giants starting OTs were peeps of Moses back in the day and need to be replaced soon. McKenzie will have the ideal scenario of learning under them for a year or two and eventually when the grooming process is over, taking one of the tackle spots for his own without the G-Men missing a beat.
31. BALTIMORE RAVENS
Hakim Akbar, S, Washington — We originally had the Ravens taking Derrick Gibson on the first round, but, when he got bumped up to Oakland, the Ravens took center Dominic Raiola as a value pick as well as filling a pressing need. With the NFL's best defense already intact, the only weakness could be safety, where Kim Herring signed away and Rod Woodson has yet to re-sign. While Woodson is expected back, Akbar is a big hitter that will fit in perfectly with the Ravens style and give Brian Billick another guy that can give Baltimore a solid early draft despite having the last pick of both rounds.