NFL DRAFT: For the Raiders: a receiver or someone to throw him the ball? Print
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Wednesday, 25 April 2007 09:29
NFL Headline News

 NEW YORK (AP) -No one in the NFL disputes that Calvin Johnson, the wide receiver from Georgia Tech, is the one ``can't-miss'' prospect in this weekend's draft.
The problem is wide receivers are not normally worth the first overall pick. That honor is usually reserved for a harder-to-find star: a franchise quarterback or a pass-rushing defensive end like Mario Williams, whom Houston took No. 1 last year, bypassing Vince Young and Reggie Bush.
So far, that looks like a Texas-size mistake. So have been some No. 1 QBs, notably Tim Couch, taken by Cleveland in 1999, its first year back in the NFL as an expansion team. (No, Ryan Leaf wasn't No. 1 overall in 1998, although being No. 2 is bad enough.)
This year's top pick belongs to Oakland.
The Raiders could take Johnson and are considering it. But if they do, they have only Andrew Walter to throw him the ball and little hope for the future. Their offense scored just 12 touchdowns last season.
That means, most likely, JaMarcus Russell of LSU, who moved into the ``best quarterback available'' spot in the Sugar Bowl by outplaying the previously designated No. 1, Brady Quinn of Notre Dame. It was a very quick transition, certainly abetted by the fact Russell's teammates on both offense and defense were a lot better than Quinn's - at least two more LSU players are likely to go in the first round.
Russell fits the profile for an Al Davis quarterback - he reportedly can throw the ball 80 yards in the air. Not that anyone completes passes like that in a game, but it fits the ``vertical'' offense Davis has been fond of since he coached the team 40 years ago and Daryle Lamonica was going deep on nearly every play.
So assuming Johnson can't throw the ball to himself, Oakland takes ...
JAMARCUS RUSSELL, QB, LSU.

2. DETROIT.
If anyone at the top trades down, it will be Detroit because Matt Millen took wide receivers three years in a row (2002-2004) and two of them were busts. So he probably doesn't take Johnson, but might dangle him for Tampa Bay or Washington. Then he could go down and choose DE Gaines Adams of Clemson, the pass rusher he covets.
Because we don't do trades here ...
GAINES ADAMS, DE, Clemson.

3. CLEVELAND.
Does anyone think Jamal Lewis, who shows every sign of being worn down, is really an every-down back? Charlie Frye may not be a long-term QB, but ADRIAN PETERSON, RB, Oklahoma is a 1,500-yard per season guy.

4. TAMPA BAY.
Jon Gruden REALLY wants Johnson. He also needs a stud left tackle like Joe Thomas. Can Jeff Garcia or Chris Simms find Calvin if they're getting buried? Gruden might have to trade up to get him if Davis or Millen feints taking him. But in any event ... CALVIN JOHNSON, WR, Georgia Tech.

5. ARIZONA.
The logical need is offensive line. And the ``word'' is that new coach Ken Whisenhunt and sidekick Russ Grimm aren't sold on Thomas. Disinformation to get Thomas to fall this far? JOE THOMAS, OT, Wisconsin.

6. WASHINGTON.
The Redskins are picking this high because Dan ``The Fan'' Snyder tries to run the draft, something an owner should never do. If someone tells him that he needs youthful AMOBI OKOYE, DT, and Dan takes that advice, he'll probably be doing the right thing.

7. MINNESOTA.
Brady Quinn could go here. But the Vikings still like Tarvaris Jackson, last year's drafted quarterback, and LEON HALL, CB, Michigan is a need for a secondary that got torched a lot last season.

8. ATLANTA.
The Falcons need a pass rusher to replace Patrick Kerney. JAMAAL ANDERSON, DE, Arkansas.

9. MIAMI.
The Dolphins have been looking for a QB since Dan Marino retired a decade ago. BRADY QUINN, QB, Notre Dame isn't Marino. But he's not Joey Harrington either. Especially if the Dolphins get Trent Green to stand in for a year.

10. HOUSTON.
The Texans can hope that Peterson slides here, a possibility that would help them overcome the ridicule they got when they passed last year on Bush. But they also must protect new QB Matt Schaub. LEVI BROWN, T, Penn State.

11. SAN FRANCISCO.
The 49ers spent a lot of money on a lot of free agents, overpaying for all of them. They still need defense and ADAM CARRIKER, DE, Nebraska, can play either 3-4 or 4-3, a good player for Mike Nolan's schemes.

12. BUFFALO.
The Bills have done some strange things in the offseason. But they can finish at .500, which seems to be their level, with defense. PATRICK WILLIS, LB, Mississippi.

13. ST. LOUIS.
The Rams have taken a lot of defensive tackles high and none have really panned out. ALAN BRANCH, DT, Michigan, has the ability, although there are questions about his work ethic.

14. CAROLINA.
For confusion's sake, it would be fun if the Panthers took Southern Cal receiver Steve Smith to team with incumbent Steve Smith. Except that the younger Steve is pegged 20-30 picks lower. Besides, LaRON LANDRY, S, LSU is a top-10 quality pick.

15. PITTSBURGH.
A lot of folks think they'll take undersized linebacker Lawrence Timmons because he's a lot like the departed Joey Porter. But the Steelers like locals, as long as they're good. PAUL POSLUSZNY, LB Penn State.
16. GREEN BAY.
Vernand Morency, Brandon Miree, Noah Herron? MARSHAWN LYNCH, RB, California.
17. JACKSONVILLE.
He's still here, so REGGIE NELSON, S, Florida is the perfect fit.

18. CINCINNATI.
Two Bengals CBs are on the team's deep arrest list. DARRELLE REVIS, CB, Pitt, hasn't had any off-field problems. He also can cover and return kicks.

19. TENNESSEE.
OK, Vince Young is the future. But he needs someone to catch the ball. DWAYNE BOWE, WR, LSU.

20. NEW YORK GIANTS.
The Giants really need cornerbacks and can use linebackers, too. But it's harder to find a left tackle. JOE STALEY, OT, Central Michigan.

21. DENVER.
One reason the Broncos missed the playoffs last season was the decision to start Jay Cutler at QB and let him develop. But they also had no pass rush. JARVIS MOSS, DE, Florida.

22. DALLAS.
Terry Glenn is aging and Terrell Owens is, well, Terrell Owens. TED GINN Jr., WR, Ohio State can return kicks until he learns to run routes.

23. KANSAS CITY.
Yes, the Chiefs need a wide receiver and replacements for Will Shields and Willie Roaf, the rocks of an offensive line that carried them for so long. ERIC WRIGHT, CB, UNLV, who has had off-field issues, but may be the most talented player at his position in this draft.

24. NEW ENGLAND.
Bill Belichick got this pick from Seattle for Deion Branch. ``We couldn't get anyone as good as Deion here,'' Seattle's Mike Holmgren says. With Asante Samuel, the franchise player, sounding like Branch did last season, take AARON ROSS, CB, Arkansas.

25. NEW YORK JETS.
The Jets are moving their training base to New Jersey. GREG OLSEN, TE, Miami, comes from New Jersey. Good reason to mock draft him, and let him play in the same stadium as another Miami TE, Jeremy Shockey.

26. PHILADELPHIA.
The Eagles don't like taking linebackers this early. So they take a safety. BRANDON MERIWEATHER, S, Miami, who has some behavioral damage that might keep him from going higher.

27. NEW ORLEANS.
It's good to be drafting this low because it means you won a lot. Does Jason David solve their problems at CB? Maybe. So try LAWRENCE TIMMONS, LB, Florida State.

28. NEW ENGLAND.
The Patriots have a small draft board made up of players who fit Belichick's schemes. It might contain ANTHONY SPENCER, DE-LB, Purdue, a guy like Willie McGinest and Adalius Thomas from the school that produced Rosevelt Colvin.

29. BALTIMORE.
Edwin Mulitalo is gone. Jonathan Ogden may be going. OL help is critical. JUSTIN BLALOCK, G, Texas.

30. SAN DIEGO.
The Chargers don't have many needs, but one is at safety. MICHAEL GRIFFIN, S, Texas.

31. CHICAGO.
What are the odds that Tank Johnson will play next season after he gets out of the Cook County Jail and faces Roger Goodell? JUSTIN HARRELL, DT, Tennessee.

32. INDIANAPOLIS.
The Colts always draft good linebackers. Then they let them go as free agents so they can pay offensive players. JON BEASON, LB, Miami.
 

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