Monday, April 23|
Seahawks were biggest Day 1 winners
By Mel Kiper
Here is my look back at the first three rounds of the 2001 NFL draft:
Seattle Seahawks: They did a great job on the heels of free agency. They got the receiver they needed in Koren Robinson, who can be a weapon for new quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Guard Steve Hutchinson was a steal, considering he was projected among the top five or six players in the draft. They got a solid cornerback in Ken Lucas in the second round. The Seahawks finished off the day with the highest-rated fullback in the draft, Heath Evans. The fullback is an integral part of the West Coast offense. Robinson is explosive and will be a factor opposite second-year receiver Darrell Jackson. Hutchinson should start as a rookie and will be a major hole-filler for Seattle. Lucas should be either the third cornerback or shoot for a starting job opposite Shawn Springs.
Washington Redskins: They only had two picks. But they got receiver Rod Gardner and got cornerback Fred Smoot, who has off-the-field concerns but has a ton of talent. I rated him the No. 1 cornerback in the draft. They needed both a receiver and a cornerback and got both.
Baltimore Ravens: They got Todd Heap, who will be a factor as the team's No. 2 tight end under Shannon Sharpe. They got Gary Baxter, who had a high grade going into the year. He dropped because he didn't play that well, but he could be their third cornerback or play free safety. He can help out on special teams. The Ravens finished with Casey Rabach, who was a center/guard and can be a guard who starts right away.
St. Louis Rams: They filled their need for defense, with Damione Lewis, Adam Archuleta and Ryan Pickett in the first round.
Dallas Cowboys:They reached for quarterback Quincy Carter, who I thought would be a sixth- or seventh-round pick. But the Cowboys took him in the second round. They took safety Tony Dixon, who I projected as a fifth- or sixth-round pick. That's what they have been doing in recent years, and they are fast becoming much like the old Arizona Cardinals with their very questionable draft choices. They have been doing it since Jimmy Johnson left. I used to be critical of the Cardinals; now it seems like I'm critical of the Cowboys every year -- and for good reason. I'd give them an "F" grade.
MOST SURPRISING FIRST-ROUND PICK
DT Marcus Stroud to Jacksonville at No. 13: It was a surprise since Steve Hutchinson and Kenyatta Walker were still on the board. Quarterback Mark Brunell has had a knee injury, and they need to keep him healthy. I thought passing on Hutchinson or Walker to take Stroud was a mistake.
RB Deuce McAllister to New Orleans at No. 23: I was surprised Jim Haslett would send a wake-up call to Ricky Williams for not participating in offseason workouts. If Williams is talking about baseball and is not committed to the football team, then Haslett is saying the Saints are ready to move on. I like the pick, but it was surprising they didn't try to fill another need area.
RB Michael Bennett to Minnesota at No. 27: The Vikings needed a running back, but they could have found another suitable one later in the draft. They have no defense. St. Louis went all defense, whereas Minnesota's first pick was a running back.
POKER FACE AWARD
Cleveland Browns: The Browns had been saying all week that they would trade down and maybe take Richard Seymour or David Terrell. Butch Davis never mentioned Gerard Warren's name. That was a great move on Davis' part to not let it be known that they wanted Warren.
BLABBER MOUTH AWARD
Chicago Bears: I don't know how it happened, but everybody knew they wanted Andre Carter because LaDainian Tomlinson was gone. So the 49ers traded one spot ahead of the Bears and took Carter at No. 7. Teams can't let one name be associated with them.
STEALS OF THE DAY
OT Kenyatta Walker to Tampa Bay at No. 14
WR Rod Gardner to Washington at No. 15
OG Steve Hutchinson to Seattle at No. 17
RB Deuce McAllister to New Orleans at No. 23
TE Todd Heap to Baltimore at No. 31
WR Chad Johnson to Cincinnati at No. 36
WR Robert Ferguson to Green Bay at No. 41
OT Maurice Williams to Jacksonville at No. 43
DT Kris Jenkins to Carolina at No. 44
CB Fred Smoot to Washington at No. 45
DE Aaron Schobel to Buffalo at No. 46
WR Chris Chambers to Miami at No. 52
DT Shaun Rogers to Detroit at No. 61
CB William Peterson to NY Giants at No. 78
RB Kevan Barlow to San Francisco at No. 80
FB Heath Evans to Seattle at No. 82
C Casey Rabach to Baltimore at No. 92
OT Leonard Davis to Arizona at No. 2
DT Marcus Stroud to Jacksonville at No. 13
S Derrick Gibson to Oakland at No. 28
DT Ryan Pickett to St. Louis at No. 29
QB Quincy Carter to Dallas at No. 53
DB Tony Dixon to Dallas at No. 56
DE Kyle Vanden Bosch to Arizona at No. 34
RB Travis Henry to Buffalo at No. 58
DE Derrick Burgess to Philadelphia at No. 63
TE Sean Brewer to Cincinnati at No. 66
DB Tay Cody to San Diego at No. 67
DB Eric Kelly to Minnesota at No. 69
DT Eric Browning to Kansas City at No. 75
RB Travis Minor to Miami at No. 85
DE Reggie Hayward to Denver at No. 87
DB Cory Bird to Indianapolis at No. 91
Players I thought would be drafted on the first day:
Jesse Palmer, QB, Florida
Robert Garza, C, Texas A&M-Kingsville
Kevin Kasper, WR, Iowa
Hakim Akbar, S, Washington
Milton Wynn, WR, Washington State
Mike McMahon, QB, Rutgers
Correll Buckhalter, RB, Nebraska
Karon Riley, DE, Minnesota
Reggie Germany, WR, Ohio State
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