November 12, 2001
Mock It To Me
Slowly but surely, the 2002 Draft is starting take shape. NFL teams are beginning to jockey for position and reveal their many needs while, on the college front, the cream is beginning to rise to the top among the many prospects.
With that in mind, Ric and Keith spent the weekend hammering out the first of what they hope will be a monthly look at who’s likely to go when and where next April. For now, the duo is starting slow, focusing on the first 32 players, but they hope to add a round each month, leading up to a full-blown, “sleep? we don’t need no stinkin’ sleep,” seven round mock draft extravaganza on the eve of the actual draft. Which means, of course, you can look forward to five more clever headlines using the word, “mock.” Now we ask you: does it get any better than that?
Real quick, here were the ground rules for this go around: Draft order was determined by team record through the first eight weeks of the NFL season; underclassmen expected to declare for the draft were fair game; and no trades were made. By virtue of a coin flip, Keith drew the odd-numbered picks, Ric handled the even. Their comments follow each pick.
HPF.com’s 2002 Mock Draft
* denotes underclassman
1. Texans – Julius Peppers*, DE, North Carolina
Keith says: Assuming the Texans don’t trade down, Peppers is the most feared defensive end to come out in a long time, drawing comparisons even to Bruce Smith and Lawrence Taylor. Most scary for offensive coordinators? He’s still learning!
2. Lions – John Henderson, DT, Tennessee
Ric says: Detroit’s giving up 146.9 rushing yards a game, second worst in the NFL, and could use a big force inside to help clog rushing lanes.
3. Panthers – Wendell Bryant, DT, Wisconsin
Keith says: Panthers need just about everything, but they would love for Bryant to take on some double teams to help clear some space for their linebackers.
4. Bills – Bryant McKinnie, OT, Miami
Ric says: As Rob Johnson can surely attest, the Bills’ offensive line needs big time help, and they don’t come much bigger (or more talented) than McKinnie.
5. Chiefs – Antonio Bryant*, WR, Pittsburgh
Keith says: The Chiefs could be reaching by taking Bryant, the receiver with the biggest upside (and maybe the biggest downside) on the board, but you know what they say about desperate times…
6. Cardinals – Kalimba Edwards, DE/LB, South Carolina
Ric says: With DeShaun Foster still on the board, would Arizona dare use a second first round pick in three years on a RB? No, because they also need defensive playmakers, and Edwards can certainly make plays.
7. Cowboys – Quentin Jammer, CB, Texas
Keith says: Ol’ Yella Teeth stands behind his QB du jour (Carter? Leaf?) and fills a big need in the secondary. Now, if Jones can just draft a chin and trade for a nose to be named later…
8. Jaguars – Lito Sheppard*, CB, Florida
Ric says: Jacksonville’s D has allowed a league-worst 68.4% completion percentage; Sheppard helps address that concern. As an added bonus, he also provides a spark for a mediocre return game.
9. Redskins – David Carr, QB, Fresno State
Keith says: The Tony Banks era is officially over for Lil’ Danny. Time to rebuild the franchise around Carr’s strong arm.
10. Vikings – Dwight Freeney, DE, Syracuse
Ric says: Freeney can get after the QB, something not many current Vikings can do, and is the prototypical unconventional first round pick we’ve all come to expect from Dennis Green.
11. Seahawks – Mike Williams, OT, Texas
Keith says: Mike Holmgren will continue to build his offensive line, plugging in Williams after taking OG Steve Hutchinson a year ago.
12. Falcons – Jabar Gaffney*, WR, Florida
Ric says: With fingers crossed, regarding Anderson’s health, Atlanta looks for a playmaker to team with Vick.
13. Buccaneers – Alex Brown, DE, Florida
Keith says: After Sapp’s sack record prediction goes completely south, look for the Bucs to find someone to take the pressure off of him on the D-line.
14. Titans – Mike Pearson*, OT, Florida
Ric says: Tennessee could use a playmaking WR and/or CB, but Pearson’s simply too good a prospect for run-first Fisher to pass up.
15. Giants – Levar Fisher, OLB, N.C. State
Keith says: Giants make a good defense even better by taking Fisher, who, at NC State, was a tackling machine.
16. Broncos – Roy Williams*, S, Oklahoma
Ric says: Williams plays the run like a LB and can cover the field like a CB — simply too talented a prospect to pass up.
17. Patriots – DeShaun Foster, RB, UCLA
Keith says: The Pats have had some bad luck with young RB’s of late. They have some big holes to fill at LB, but they won’t let Foster slip past them. If Foster is gone, William Green is a possibility.
18. Eagles – Javon Walker, WR, Florida State
Ric says: Philly continues to build around McNabb, scoring a big, posession-type WR who might be a reach this early but should fit in well with the West Coast offense.
19. Saints – Mike Rumph, CB, Miami
Keith says: The Saints need a corner to shore up their only defensive weakness. Rumph’s height is an added bonus.
20. Bengals – Larry Tripplett, DT, Washington
Ric says: Tripplett’s an inside force on run defense who they hope will be able to free up last year’s top pick, Justin Smith, on the outside.
21. Browns – Ed Reed, S, Miami
Keith says: The Browns lack a star player in their secondary, and Butch Davis knows Reed well.
22. Colts – Anthony Weaver, DL, Notre Dame
Ric says: The versatile Weaver can stop the rush and get after the quarterback, two areas where the Colts are lacking.
23. Chargers – Andre Davis, WR, Virginia Tech
Keith says: The Chargers lack a go-to WR to round out their offense. Davis is a good returner, too, though with Tim Dwight still in the fold, might not be that big of a plus.
24. Jets – William Joseph*, DL, Miami
Ric says: Joseph figures to be the next great Hurricane defensive tackle and New York is desperate for someone to clog the middle and shore up a pathetic run defense. Also likely talented enough to play outside, if needed.
25. Ravens – T.J. Duckett*, RB, Michigan State
Keith says: Fool me once… The Ravens consider some interior O-line help here, but figure it’ll be available in later rounds. This time, they won’t forget the Jamal Lewis insurance as they pick up a big back that will fit right into their offensive gameplan.
26. Packers – Josh Reed*, WR, LSU
Ric says: Packers take a gamble on a potential big-time playmaker who could add several years to Brett Favre’s NFL career.
27. Steelers – Joey Harrington, QB, Oregon
Keith says: Pittsburgh finally gives up on Kordell Stewart taking the Steelers back to the promise land. Harrington adds life and late game heroics to an offense that needs it.
28. 49ers – Robert Thomas, LB, UCLA
Ric says: The Niners grab a playmaker in the middle that they can add to a young, up-and-coming defense.
29. Dolphins – Terrence Metcalf, OL, Ole Miss
Keith says: Miami adds more depth on the offensive line. Metcalf has experience playing both tackle and guard, though he is better suited as a guard.
30. Bears – Keyou Craver, CB, Nebraska
Ric says: With a solid front seven already in place, the talented Craver helps bolster a suspect Chicago secondary.
31. Rams – Seth McKinney, C/OG, Texas A&M
Keith says: Rams looking only for depth, and they have the luxury to groom and reload offensive lineman while they’re still on the top of the league.
32. Raiders – LeCharles Bentley, OL, Ohio State
Ric says: The volatile Bentley fits the Raiders to a T, and provides depth along a solid, but aging offensive line.
Depite an apparent lack of a franchise quarterback, the 2002 draft is deeper than expected, especially in defensive linemen. And plenty of talent would still be on the board for the Texans’ next pick, particularly at running back (BC’s William Green, Miami’s Najeh Davenport, and S. Georgia’s Adrian Peterson), linebacker (OU’s Rocky Calmus and Florida State’s Bradley Jennings), tackle (Arizona State’s Levi Jones and BC’s Marc Colombo), and wide receiver (Georgia Tech’s Kelly Campbell and Minnesota’s Ron Johnson).
In fact, with two picks in the round – the first and fifteenth – the Texans should be able to draft as many as three impact players when all is said and done. Who might they take? Find out next month.
Julius Peppers Return to The War Room