Elite players in upcoming NFL draft
Here are the elite players in the NFL draft, scheduled for April 20-21 in New York.
Outsider information comes from NFL draft publications, mainly The drugstore list NFL Draft Ratings, authored by Jerry Jones (no relation to the Dallas Cowboys owner).
Insider information is provided by various NFL scouts, who requested anonymity.
The number listed after each player indicates the round the player is projected to be taken. The letter indicates the position in the round (A between 1-10, B 11-20; C 21 or later).
RATING: "A lot of numbers. I don't know if you can compare it to the class when you had the (Eagles) Donovan McNabbs, (Vikings) Daunte Culpeppers. But you have enough legitimate guys who will eventually play, function and probably start in this league," Green Bay scout John Dorsey said.
David Carr 1A
Fresno State, 6-3 3/8, 223, 4.74.
Outsider: Good size, strong arm, reads coverage quickly.
Insider: "The only negative I had against him is a side-arm thrower. To me, he's the best one, by far."
Joey Harrington 1A
Oregon, 6-4, 215, 4.89.
Outsider: Solid arm, quick setup and release ... tough performer when game on line.
Insider: "He's a good football player. I personally don't see him as a first-rounder."
RATING: "Running backs don't seem to me to be a real (strong position) ... a couple of good ones," said Larry Bryan, West Region scout of the Houston Texans.
"Nothing special. The juniors helped the running backs," said Bruce Kebric, Oakland Raiders scout.
William Green 1B
Boston College, 6-0 1/4, 221, 4.63.
Outsider: Fine run instincts ... can power up inside or burst to outside ... both fast and quick with powerful legs.
Insider: "Green is a legit top pick."
T.J. DUCKETT 1C
Michigan State, 6-0, 254, 4.47.
Outsider: Mostly an inside power guy ... not really elusive but has some moves.
Insider: "Big, strong guy, but I don't know how quick he is. I don't know how well he catches the ball."
DeSHAUN FOSTER 2A
UCLA, 6-0 5/8, 220, 4.52.
Outsider: Good vision, body control, quickness, burst and moves.
Insider: "Foster is a first-round pick. Foster just has problems with fumbling."
CLINTON PORTIS 2A
Miami (Fla.), 5-10 7/8, 204, 4.41.
Outsider: Good speed and balance, quick, nice moves, dangerous outside runner.
Insider: "I really like him. This guy runs bigger than his size."
RATING: "It's the best wide receiver class I've seen in a long time ... probably the last five years," said Jerry Jones of the drugstore list NFL Draft Ratings.
Said Dorsey: "I think wide receiver is the big position this year."
DONTE STALLWORTH 1A
Tennessee, 6-0 1/8, 197, 4.26.
Outsider: Talented receiver with fine combination of size and speed ... dangerous runner after the catch ... 20 yards per catch in 2001.
JABAR GAFFNEY 1B
Florida, 6-1/, 193, 4.47
Outsider: Good size, great quickness and speed, catches well in crowds, good runner after the catch, 27 TDs over last two years.
Insider: "He's the best receiver that I saw."
ASHLEY LELIE (Radford) 1C
Hawai'i, 6-2 5/8, 197, 4.38.
Outsider: Great speed and natural feel for getting open ... quick, good hands, dependable patterns ... 30 TDs over last two seasons.
Insider: "He brings size, speed, hands, concentration. Big plays in big games. Plus he has the size to take advantage of the corners."
ANTONIO BRYANT 1C
Pittsburgh, 6-1 3/4, 188, 4.54.
Outsider: Excellent receiver, fine hands, crisp patterns.
Insider: "If you watched him last year (2000), he's sensational. This year, he was hurt, in the doghouse; they changed systems."
JOSH REED 1C
LSU, 5-10 1/4, 210, 4.53.
Outsider: Not a real burner, but has quickness and a good burst ... former tailback ... 94 receptions, 18.5 yards per catch in 2001.
Insider: "He's built like a running back but gets separation."
CLIFFORD RUSSELL 2C
Utah (Campbell H.S.), 5-11 3/8, 185, 4.40.
Outsider: Outstanding speed, burst and quickness ... still drops some easy ones.
Insider: "He's come on and has shown that he can play in this league, and he'll be a first-day selection."
RATING: "A lot of tight ends this year. Not many great ones, but guys that can play and that's what it takes," said Oscar Lofton, San Francisco 49ers scout.
DANIEL GRAHAM 1B
Colorado, 6-3 1/8, 248, 4.62
Outsider: Fast, quick, excellent hands, tough runner after the catch, steadily improving blocker.
Insider: "The problem with him is he's probably 6-foot-2 plus."
JEREMY SHOCKEY 1B
Miami (Florida), 6-4 1/4, 254, 4.63
Outsider: Sure hands, good TD speed, quick line release, can find open areas, should add strength and bulk for pro play.
Insider: "Shockey is a great receiver. (But) he doesn't block."
JERRAMY STEVENS 2B
Washington, 6-6 1/2, 265, 4.77
Outsider: Quick line release, pretty good routes, runs well, good speed, adequate blocker.
Insider: "Probably has the talent to be the best of them (all tight ends). He's tall, he can run, he can catch. If you go through his background from high school, it's a really shaky background."
RATING: "Without question, you get them early or forget it," Jones said. "After that you're truly picking a name."
BRYANT MCKINNIE 1A
Miami (Florida), 6-8, 340, 5.38.
Outsider: Dominant pass protector with exceptional size, long arms, good feet and balance ... a top-five selection.
Insider: "Can certainly be a dominate right tackle. He needs a lot of technique work to be a left tackle, but he has the feet and the movement to be a good tackle."
MIKE WILLIAMS 1A
Texas, 6-5 5/8, 375, 5.28
Outsider: Outstanding run blocker, excellent size and strength, wide based, holds his ground, good mobility.
Insider: "He's a natural left tackle. He gets lazy at times, but he's got a lot of talent."
MIKE PEARSON 1C
Florida, 6-6 1/2, 304, 5.17.
Outsider: Talented pass protector ... starter at critical LT position in Steve Spurrier system since freshman year.
Insider: "Lean body, but not a big person."
RATING: "It's deep, good depth," Jones said. "Down in the third round, there'll be good players (available)."
Toniu Fonoti (Kahuku) 1B
Nebraska, 6-3 7/8, 347, 5.42.
Outsider: Devastating run blocker ... moves well in limited area ... Husker starter since freshman year.
Insider: "He's a big physical kid who's going to get better when he gets into a pass-type scheme. He's a real fine run-blocker and got tremendous size and strength."
ANDRE GURODE 1C
Colorado, 6-4 3/8, 316, 5.32.
Outsider: Versatile, has played both center and guard.
Insider: "He is just huge."
LEVI JONES 1C
Arizona State, 6-5 1/2, 304, 5.17.
Outsider: Big man with a wide base and long arms ... effective pass protector with good footwork and body control.
Insider: "Good athlete but I question his toughness."
ED TA'AMU (Iolani) 4B
Utah, 6-1 7/8, 335, 5.22.
Outsider: Aggressive run blocker, good strength, compact build, pretty quick.
Insider: "This guy might be one of the most powerful linemen I've seen in a while. And he's made the transition from a defensive lineman over to offense. He needs to really polish up some of his pass-blocking techniques. But he's tough, competitive. I venture to say he'll have a real fine career ahead of him."
RATING: "One of the better groups we've had in a long time," Jones said. "They're normally aren't many ... when centers come into the league, they're long term ... others (positions) get beat up ... over three drafts... a total of 12 centers have been drafted. Bentley's the top guy.
Lecharles bentley 2B
Ohio State, 6-2 3/8, 299, 5.10.
Outsider: Solid run blocker with good technique ... wide base ... aggressive style.
RATING: "It's probably about normal," Jones said. "A couple good guys at top and some pretty good depth."
JULIUS PEPPERS 1A
North Carolina, 6-6 1/4, 283, 4.68.
Outsider: Outstanding athlete, great size, speed and quickness ... strong, long arms, agile, has played Tar Heel basketball.
Insider: "Peppers is a great athlete; he's really not a great football player now. You're taking him on the come. ... I scouted him the first part of the season and he played a game against Texas and he did not make a play. I've watched a lot of tape on him. People are going to take a big chance on him. But if they hit, they're going to have something special because he's such a good athlete."
KALIMBA EDWARDS 1B
South Carolina, 6-5 3/8, 265, 4.71.
Outsider: Fast and lightning quick off the edge ... very athletic.
Insider: "He's hurt."
DWIGHT FREENEY 1C
Syracuse, 6-0 7/8, 266, 4.45.
Outsider: Nightmare for QBs, 17.5 sacks, 25.5 tackles for losses, 8 fumbles forced in 2001 ... high motor, relentless in pursuit.
ALEX BROWN 2A
Florida, 6-3 1/2, 260, 4.74.
Outsider: Explosive pass rusher off the edge ... good moves and hand use.
Insider: "I think he's highly overrated ... he's explosive, but he just disappears."
DENNIS JOHNSON 2A
Kentucky, 6-4 5/8, 258, 4.85.
Outsider: Led SEC with 11 sacks, 19 tackles for losses, five fumbles forced ... very quick initial move ... reads the action well.
Insider: "I really like him. I think he is a top guy."
RATING: I think it's pretty decent through the early rounds and with Albert Haynesworth of Tennessee coming in, it's going to upgrade that area," Bryan said.
Jones said the good ones will be "gone by the 15th pick" and after that "throw all in a hat and pick 'em."
ALBERT HAYNESWORTH 1A
Tennessee, 6-5 5/8, 318, 4.85
Outsider: Stuffs the inside run ... appears strong and fairly quick.
Insider: "Haynesworth is an underachiever. He's a better athlete than Henderson (teammate)."
JOHN HENDERSON 1B
Tennessee, 6-7 7/8, 306, 4.98.
Outsider: Slowed by high ankle sprain and a lot of double teams in 2001 ... can stop the run at the point of attack or rush the passer.
Insider: "He's a strong powerful guy and he runs well. But he's really stiff."
WENDELL BRYANT 1B
Wisconsin, 6-4 1/4, 307, 4.85.
Outsider: Smart, reads the action well, quick charge ... might need some added strength to bust through double-teams at pro level.
Insider: "He is a good player; he's a first-round pick."
RYAN SIMS 1B
North Carolina, 6-4 1/8, 311, 5.12.
Outsider: Big, strong, quick, agile mobile, good instincts, intense style ... draft stock on the rise.
Insider: "Sims is a good football player. He's not really spectacular."
ANTHONY WEAVER 1C
Notre Dame, 6-3 1/2, 296, 4.95.
Outsider: Blue-collar type ... consistent ... works hard to improve.
LARRY TRIPPLETT 2B
Washington, 6-1 3/4, 305, 4.92.
Outsider: Compact defender ... very quick ... agile, mobile, strong, explosive charge ... very effective shutting down the inside run.
RATING: "If you want a linebacker, you've come to the wrong draft," said Jones.
SALEEM RASHEED (INSIDE) 2B
Alabama, 6-2 5/8, 229, 4.58.
Outsider: Heavy hitter in run defense ... instinctive, quick, good speed and pursuit.
Insider: "I do not like him at all. I gave him a free-agent grade."
NAPOLEON HARRIS 1C (OUTSIDE)
Northwestern, 6-2 7/8, 253, 4.53.
Outsider: Instinctive backer with good size, speed and strength ... aggressive style.
Insider: "He's very good."
LEVAR FISHER (OUTSIDE) 2B
North Carolina St., 6-0 7/8, 233, 4.59.
Outsider: Very productive, 311 tackles in last two years ... high intensity ... solid ball instincts ... both fast and quick ... strong (450 bench press).
Insider: "He's a short guy."
ROBERT THOMAS (INSIDE) 2C
UCLA, 6-0, 229, 4.49.
Outsider: Reads action well ... quick, mobile, dangerous blitzer.
Insider: "Good football player; he's just short."
RATING: "Strong at the top (with Jammer and Buchanon) but probably ordinary (overall)," Jones said.
QUENTIN JAMMER 1A
Texas, 5-11 7/8, 204, 4.48.
Outsider: Skilled cover man who also shines in run support ... good size, fast, quick, smooth.
Insider: "A good football player."
PHILLIP BUCHANON 1A
Miami (Florida), 5-9 7/8, 186, 4.36.
Outsider: Solid in man-to-man, effective in bump and run ... swift and very quick.
Insider: "Buchanon is very good. Buchanon and Jammer will be your top two corners."
LITO SHEPPARD 1C
Florida, 5-10, 194, 4.46.
Outsider: Skilled in one-on-one coverage ... has speed to stay with burners.
Insider: "Shephard is a good athlete, but a real inconsistent player. Plus he's short."
KEYUO CRAVER 1C
Nebraska, 5-10 3/4, 201, 4.55.
Outsider: Fast, quick, very agile, great leaper ... shadows receivers and closes fast.
Insider: "Is talented but inconsistent."
RATING: "I think we see more safeties than we did last year," Dorsey said.
"Defensive backs are good, with the safeties particularly," Kebric said.
ROY WILLIAMS 1A
Oklahoma, 6-0 3/8, 219, 4.50.
Outsider: Well-sized, tough, solid ball instincts, covers well ... heavy hitter, dangerous blitzer.
EDWARD REED 1B
Miami (Florida), 5-11 1/4, 194, 4.46.
Outsider: Heavy hitter in run support ... average speed and change of direction for coverage, compensates with fine anticipation and timing.
Insider: "Reed is a very instinctive guy; I don't know how fast he is."