ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. breaks down the quality at the top of the draft.
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How did Michael Vick's individual workout affect his status in the draft? ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. answers.
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Monday, April 23

First-round commentary

Here's what ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. had to say about the first-round draft picks in the 2001 NFL draft:

1. Atlanta -- Michael Vick, QB, Virginia Tech
He's a leader. He can rally the troops. The team will galvanize behind Vick. He will work at his game and technique, spending time breaking down film, evaluating and working hard. He will add the work ethic you need to develop those skills. But I still think he is a roll-of-the-dice pick for the Falcons.

2. Arizona -- Leonard Davis, OT, Texas
With the Davis pick, the Cardinals need to jump-start the career of Thomas Jones as well as protect Jake Plummer. The Cardinals need to outscore people. The defensive line is really suspect. They still need to stop somebody. The game that really showed Davis' ability was the one he had against Justin Smith. Davis needs to work on his skills as a pro-style pass blocker. If he gets his hands on a defender, he can maul him in the running game, but he has a long way to go in pass protection. .

3. Cleveland -- Gerard Warren, DT, Florida
With his 6-4, 325-pound frame, Warren has cat-like quickness and an ability to wreak havoc along the interior. Last season, he led the Gators with 23 QB hurries, with his effort against Tennessee a real attention-getter. In that game, Warren recorded 10 tackles, one stop behind the line, two QB hurries and also caused two fumbles. He helps solidify the Cleveland defensive line and is a solid complement inside to Courtney Brown, the Browns' top pick last year.

4. Cincinnati -- Justin Smith, DE, Missouri
Based on his dominating junior campaign that saw the 6-foot-4, 268-pounder lead the Tigers with 97 tackles and set a Missouri single-season record with 11 sacks, Smith is now regarded as the elite defensive player in the draft along with Florida DT Gerard Warren. Not only does Smith close quickly from the outside with his 4.6 speed, but he also has the strength necessary to make him a complete performer at the DE spot.

5. San Diego -- LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, San Diego
He ran 49 times in one game last season, and had 36 carries in one game as a junior. He played against bad defenses, and Rashaam Salaam and LeShon Johnson are the last option running backs to be drafted. But Tomlinson impressed with solid combine numbers and an outstanding week at the Senior Bowl. He gives the Chargers a potential home-run-hitting running back to go with the improvisional play of new quarterback Doug Flutie.

6. New England -- Richard Seymour, DT, Georgia
He has a tremendous wingspan. Against Tennessee as a sophomore, he had 12 tackles. The Vols are glad to see him go to the NFL. He played next to Marcus Stroud on the Georgia defensive line. He must be more of a finisher with the Patriots.

7. San Francisco -- Andre Carter, DE, Cal
He weighs in the 250-265-pound range. You have to look at his four-year career at Cal, where he was consistently productive as a pass rusher. Cal moved him around and teams tried to take him out of the game, but they couldn't do it.

8. Chicago -- David Terrell, WR, Michigan
He was able to beat Big Ten cornerbacks like Nate Clements and Jamar Fletcher with his size and physical ability. He can block downfield. He scored 14 touchdowns his junior year after scoring seven his sophomore year. So he stepped up his game. The only question was about his stress fracture and whether or not that was a concern.

9. Seattle -- Koren Robinson, WR, N.C. State
He's a great return man, and is smooth and explosive. He played tailback in high school and once gained 389 yards in a game. But he moved to receiver and had Torry Holt as his mentor. He didn't run at the combine and then had a 4.6 40 at a personal workout, although he had a hamstring injury. I've never seen a third-year sophomore who came out without an accurate 40 time. He's not as mature as Holt was when Holt was drafted, but Robinson should develop as a receiver.

10. Green Bay -- Jamal Reynolds, DE, Florida State
He sacked Michael Vick three times in the national championship game two years ago, and was also able to chase down Joe Hamilton. He had 10 sacks in five games last year before a knee sprain that limited him to two sacks the rest of the way. But when he's 100 percent, he's a pure outside pass rusher with 4.5-4.6 speed. He's at 268 pounds. I'm impressed with him. He reminds me of Tony Brackens; he has the same kind of ability. The only question is whether he can hold up against the run in the NFL.

11. Carolina -- Dan Morgan, MLB, Miami (Fla.)
Although he played middle linebacker last year, he played three years at outside linebacker. He started out being 212 pounds as a freshman and is now over 250. He says he's faster than he's ever been. He has good vision and reacts well. He's a real warrior. He was an outstanding outside linebacker, so he's experienced and should transition well to that position for the Panthers.

12. St. Louis -- Damione Lewis, DE, Miami (Fla.)
Lewis is a great athlete. He averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds a game as a basket ball player in high school. He's an instinctive, quick penetrator who led Miami with 72 tackles as a redshirt freshman. He broke his foot against Washington. If he weren't injured, he could have been a top-five pick.

13. Jacksonville -- Marcus Stroud, DT, Georgia
Stroud didn't play up to the level of his talent. I think this pick was a stretch for the Jaguars. They could have gotten something better, like a Kenyatta Walker or Steve Hutchinson for their offensive line. Mark Brunell has to be protected because of his knees. This is a shocking first-round pick.

14. Tampa Bay -- Kenyatta Walker, OT, Florida
Walker is the immediate help they need along the offensive line to help get the Bucs to the Super Bowl. He has good feet and balance. He was experienced at protecting the quarterback in the Florida offense. He should provided solid pass protection for Brad Johnson.

15. Washington -- Rod Gardner, WR, Clemson
He's the best Clemson receiver since Jerry Butler, who was taken by Buffalo with the fifth pick overall in the 1979 draft. He's a physical receiver with great body control and hand-eye coordination. He attacks the football. He should make a major impact. He's equal to the other receivers in the draft.

16. NY Jets -- Santana Moss, WR, Miami (Fla.)
It's amazing that Moss was a former walk-on. He's made big-league catches against major competition at the college level.

17. Seattle -- Steve Hutchinson, OG, Michigan
As a left guard, he did it all at Michigan -- on running plays, in pass protection. He has great agility and quickness for a 6-foot-5 player. He can get downfield 30 yards and block for the running back, as he did for Anthony Thomas. He was equal to any player in the draft.

18. Detroit -- Jeff Backus, OT, Michigan
With this pick, you can see the Lions' commitment to Charlie Batch. They are trying to surround him. He's an experienced left tackle who played 49 straight games. He has a combativeness in his approach. He's like team president Matt Millen in how he plays the game.

19. Pittsburgh -- Casey Hampton, DT, Texas
I had Hampton projected to the Colts. I'm surprised they didn't go with a cornerback because they were all on the board. At Texas, he had a season-ending injury in '97, but he came back and put up big numbers. And when Shaun Rogers was hurt, Hampton continued to produce. He was still the Defensive Player of the Year in the Big 12.

20. St. Louis -- Adam Archuleta, S, Arizona State
I thought he could have been the perfect Oakland Raider, especially since a missed tackle in the AFC championship game hurt their chances of going to the Super Bowl. The Rams have added Kim Herring, so Archuleta will be the strong safety. He was a rover at Arizona State, just like Darren Woodson and Pat Tillman, who both made a nice transition to the NFL.

21. Buffalo -- Nate Clements, CB, Ohio State
Clements has great physical ability and recovery speed. He ran a 4.37 in the 40 and had 20 reps, so he has strength as well. Where he struggles sometimes is in man coverage where he tends to gamble. But he offers great run support and is an excellent kickoff returner.

22. NY Giants -- Will Allen, CB, Syracuse
His junior season, he was blanketing receivers. He dropped off a little last season. But at 5-10, 193 pounds, he has good strength and runs consistently in the 4.35 range. Plus, he averaged more than 24 yards a kickoff return. My qauestion is that he wasn't always able to come down with the ball and make the interception.

23. New Orleans -- Deuce McAllister, RB, Mississippi
He's a good pass-receiving option out of the backfield. He also has great return skills. battled back from injuries to still produce solid numbers. Against Arkansas, he wasn't 100 percent, but he still had a big game. I've liked him all year. Even if the Saints have Ricky Williams, McAllister gives the Saints someone who can run, catch out of the backfield, and return kicks. He's a multi-talented player.

24. Denver -- Willie Middlebrooks, CB, Minnesota
There is mixed opinion about Middlebrooks. He came out early as a junior, and then missed the later part of the season with the ankle injury. After he went out, teams put up big numbers against the Golden Gophers, and Koren Robinson went wild for N.C. State in the bowl game with Middlebrooks on the sidelines. He was the MVP of Minnesota's defense. But the question is still whether his ankle is 100 percent.

25. Philadelphia -- Freddie Mitchell, WR, UCLA
He believes he's the best receiver in the country and that he can dominate anyone. And in the NFL, you can't shy away from anything. A player has to be aggressive. And Mitchell goes up and gets the football. He ran at the combine when others didn't, and ran a 4.44. At first he was Fast-Talking Freddie. Now he's just Fast Freddie.

26. Miami -- Jamar Fletcher, CB, Wisconsin
He's in the right division, since the Dolphins have to play both Peyton Manning in Indianapolis and Drew Bledsoe in New England. He's a solid cover corner, although he doesn't have great recovery speed. He's also physical and tough. He was an option quarterback in high school. And he intercepted Drew Brees twice. After the interception, Fletcher will make you pay.

27. Minnesota -- Michael Bennett, RB, Wisconsin
The Vikings needed a back to take the place of Robert Smith, and Bennett has great breakaway ability. Bennett was a track star, and he took his track ability and translated it to the football field. I question, however, his shiftiness and his pass-receiving ability, since he only caught four passes with the Badgers.

28. Oakland -- Derrick Gibson, S, Florida State
He's not as good as Adam Archuleta, who is a tackling machine. Gibson has been inconsistent. He shows flashes and has had some big games. In some games, he looks like a first-rounder; in others, he looks like a third-rounder. I think the Raiders could have picked tight end Todd Heap.

29. St. Louis -- Ryan Pickett, DT, Ohio State
I had him projected as an early second-round pick. He came out early as a junior. He's physical at the point of attack. With another year at Ohio State, I thought we could have been talking about him in the same breath with Richard Seymour or Marcus Stroud. It's a need area for the Rams despite what they have already done, taking Damione Lewis. Having Lewis takes the pressure off Pickett.

30. Indianapolis -- Reggie Wayne, WR, Miami (Fla.)
He's the best route-runner of any receiver in the draft. He also has the strongest hands of any receiver I've probably ever graded. He has excellent size, although his speed (at 4.58) wasn't ideal in his individual workout. Marvin Harrison will remain the Colts' deep threat, but Wayne gives Peyton Manning another receiver he can count on to make the catch. He's a polished receiver.

31. Baltimore -- Todd Heap, TE, Arizona State
At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Heap has great hands. He's an adequate inline blocker, but his value is an ability to get down the field as another great option for the quarterback. He can make the highlight-film catch. I compare him to Kellen Winslow as a receiver and to Tony Gonzalez in terms of the impact Heap can make. With Heap and Shannon Sharpe, tight end is a solid position for Brian Billick.

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