April 21, 2003
There’s Only One Way To Mock
by Warren DeLuca and Keith Weiland
The home stretch is upon us; we are now down to a few days of rumor, disinformation, and speculation until Commissioner Paul Tagliabue steps up to the podium in New York and calls the NFL’s annual selection meeting to order. With the big day on the horizon, Keith and Warren gathered their depth charts and scouting reports for one of the most cherished rites of the season: the mock draft.
The ground rules were about as simple as they could get: project whom each team will pick for the first 36 selections (which, not coincidentally, ends with the Texans’ second-round choice) of the 2003 NFL Draft. No projected trades were allowed. In a situation reminiscent of the film classic, Twelve Angry Men, Keith and Warren discussed, deliberated, kicked around, and hashed out each pick until they came to an agreement. Since each selection was a collaborative effort, the credit or blame is shared regardless of who wrote the comments following each.
HPF’s 2003 Mock Draft, Round 1 Cincinnati Bengals 1 Carson Palmer QB USC Warren says: The Bengals would love to trade down but no one wants to offer them a decent deal. Palmer is a big, strong pocket passer coming off a great season who says he actually wants to play for the Bengals. Detroit Lions 2 Charles Rogers WR MSU Keith says: Despite the "leaking" of the news that Rogers’ urine contained a masking agent, the Lions won’t piss away this pick. If focused and mature, Rogers can be one of the best receivers in the game. Houston Texans 3 Andre’ Johnson WR UM Warren says: Johnson is a sprint champion who will outweigh most corners by 30 lbs. He had over 1,000 yards receiving and averaged over a 21 YPC in 2002. Rogers may be a more polished player right now, but Johnson has the tools to become a great one, too. Chicago Bears 4 DeWayne Robertson DT UK Keith says: Bears pass on Terrell Suggs and may live to regret it. Certainly wouldn’t be the first time in the past decade that the Bears missed on their first rounder, but the run-stuffing Robertson has been climbing boards since the season ended. Dallas Cowboys 5 Terence Newman CB KSU Warren says: Every year, Jerry Jones crows about how he stole the best player in the draft. This year, he may be right. Speedster Newman bolsters Parcells’ secondary, kick return, and kick coverage units. Arizona Cardinals 6 Terrell Suggs DE ASU Keith says: Suggs stays home with a team that looks to build its roster with players that will help them sell tickets. Will he be the next star, or will be the second-coming of Shante Carver? That he’ll be playing for owner Bill Bidwell doesn’t bode well. Minnesota Vikings 7 Jimmy Kennedy DT PSU Warren says: The Vikes still need a defensive tackle after missing on Ryan Sims last year when they lost a race to the podium, so they grab the beefy Kennedy to pair with the active Chris Hovan inside. Jacksonville Jaguars 8 Marcus Trufant CB WSU Keith says: Mark Brunell dodges a bullet here if the Jags zig to take Trufant instead of plucking their quarterback of the future at this spot. Trufant reinforces a Jacksonville secondary in need of a shutdown corner. Carolina Panthers 9 Jordan Gross OT Utah Warren says: The Panthers may have had the second worst o-line in the NFL last year, ranking near the bottom in most rushing and sacks allowed stats. John Fox resists the urge to take Byron Leftwich in order to shore up the blocking with Gross. Baltimore Ravens 10 Byron Leftwich QB Marsh. Keith says: Remains to be seen if Leftwich really falls this far, but if he does, the Ravens will swoop in for some QB insurance for the injured Chris Redman. Brian Billick finally finds his next Daunte Culpepper in Leftwich, someone able to make the Ravens into passing juggernaut that he’s been cravin’. Seattle Seahawks 11 Kevin Williams DT Ok. St. Warren says: The only thing in Seattle last year more dreary than the Seahawks’ new uniforms was the play of their run defense. Williams gives Seattle a youngster to spell and eventually replace aging defensive tackles John Randle and Chad Eaton, and he may also be able to contribute at defensive end. St. Louis Rams 12 E.J. Henderson LB Mary. Keith says: Rams ignore Henderson’s back troubles and will use him to fill the middle of their defense, something the team has been unable to accomplish since London Fletcher’s departure. Last year’s #1, Robert Thomas fills the strongside to make the room for the most NFL-ready of the college linebackers available. New York Jets 13 William Joseph DT UM Warren says: The cat-quick Joseph has drawn some comparisons to one of his predecessors at Miami, Warren Sapp. Former Bucs assistant Herman Edwards will use Joseph to shoot the inside gaps like Tampa Bay does with Sapp. New England Patriots 14 Johnathan Sullivan DT UGA Keith says: The Pats go for the best defensive player on their board. Sullivan will free Richard Seymour from frequent double teams to shore up a lackluster run defense. San Diego Chargers 15 Kwame Harris OT Stan. Warren says: The Bolts aren’t able to draft a replacement for their biggest loss of the offseason, late GM John Butler. Harris, who isn’t even old enough to legally celebrate being selected with a glass of champagne, will be protecting Drew Brees’ back and busting open holes for LaDainian Tomlinson for years to come. Kansas City Chiefs 16 Chris Kelsay DE Neb. Keith says: Dick Vermeil’s misty-eyed memories hearken him back to St. Louis and the time when he picked a Husker lineman to bolster his pass rush. The Chiefs were 31st in the league in pass defense last year, so Kelsay should be able to make an immediate impact. New Orleans Saints 17 Dennis Weathersby CB Ore. St. Warren says: The Saints would love to move up to get Newman or Trufant. Weathersby is among the next tier of corners and perhaps a recommendation from new Oregon State coach Mike Riley, the New Orleans secondary coach last year who recruited and briefly coached Weathersby during an earlier stint with the Beavers, earns Weathersby the nod from the Saints. New Orleans Saints 18 Jason Witten TE Tenn. Keith says: The Saints add another weapon on offense with part two of their first round selections. Witten may not be Jeremy Shockey, but he is a good blocker with great hands, and he’s the best tight end available this year. New England Patriots 19 Boss Bailey LB UGA Warren says: Bill Belichick can’t wait to get to the blackboard to start dreaming up ways to use the super-athletic Bailey and his other new toy, free agent signee Rosevelt Colvin. Denver Broncos 20 Jerome McDougle DT UM Keith says: With Trevor Pryce on one side of the line, the Broncos add another pass rushing threat to the other side in drafting McDougle. Cleveland Browns 21 Eric Steinbach OL Iowa Warren says: The Browns have needs at guard and tackle, so they take a guy who can play both in the athletic Steinbach. They try him at left tackle first, moving incumbent Ross Verba inside. New York Jets 22 Taylor Jacobs WR UF Keith says: Signing Curtis Conway in the wake of Laveranues Coles’ departure is just a short-term fix to allow the team to ease a rookie like Jacobs into the offense. Buffalo Bills 23 Michael Haynes DE PSU Warren says: Tom Donahoe signed Sam Adams to get an inside push, and now he hopes that Haynes can bring some heat from the edge. Indianapolis Colts 24 Rashean Mathis DB BC Keith says: Colts need a defensive back in the worst way. If Tony Dungy somehow fails to make Mathis into a corner, then he would gladly start Mathis at safety. New York Giants 25 Kenny Peterson DT OSU Warren says: Peterson gives a more physical presence to a defensive line that was trampled last year. San Francisco 49ers 26 Tyler Brayton DL CU Keith says: Niners look to take the best defensive lineman off the board. Brayton is versatile enough to play either tackle or end, helping the team’s D-line rotation to keep everyone fresh into the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Andre Woolfolk CB OU Warren says: The Steelers take a hard look at Rex Grossman and Kyle Boller, but decide to stick with Tommy Maddox for another year at least. The Pittsburgh pass defense gave up too many big plays in 2002, so they take the best cornerback available. Tennessee Titans 28 Kelley Washington WR Tenn. Keith says: Titans select the local product to electrify the passing offense in the absence of Kevin Dyson. GM Floyd Reese rolls the dice on Washington’s health. Sometimes the highest risks produce the biggest rewards… or get you fired. Green Bay Packers 29 Rex Grossman QB UF Warren says: Ironman Brett Favre can’t last forever, so the Packers anoint his heir apparent and put off their major defensive needs for later rounds. Philadelphia Eagles 30 Cory Redding DE UT Keith says: The loss of Hugh Douglas makes defensive end a need position in the draft for the Eagles. Redding could flourish under the tutelage of Andy Reid and his coaching staff. Oakland Raiders 31 DeWayne White DE L’ville Warren says: Veteran Trace Armstrong nearly qualifies for Social Security benefits, so the Raiders take White, who has pass rush ability and a Raider-esque tough guy attitude. Oakland Raiders 32 Willis McGahee RB UM Keith says: Never one to shy away from controversy on draft day (or any other day for that matter), the Raiders put an answer to the question of how high McGahee will be selected. McGahee won’t be hurried into the lineup with incumbent Charlie Garner already there. HPF’s 2003 Mock Draft, Round 2 Cincinnati Bengals 1 Jeff Faine C ND Warren says: While Marvin Lewis would like to draft some help for his new defense, the Bengals have a big hole at center and Faine is too good to pass up. Detroit Lions 2 Larry Johnson RB PSU Keith says: Lions ignore their needs at nearly every position on the defense to finalize their trio of stars at the skill positions. Johnson will take the pressure off Rogers and Joey Harrington to make it all happen on their own. Chicago Bears 3 Kyle Boller QB Cal Warren says: After the way Boller’s stock had risen since the end of the season, the Bears are thrilled to find him still on the board. Houston Texans 4 Lee Suggs RB VT Keith says: Actually, as Ric might say, Carr may be watching the draft pantsless if he sees his team select Johnson then Suggs with their first two picks. Though he comes with some durability questions, Suggs is a complete back that will please Dom Capers since he rarely puts the ball on the ground. Andre Johnson Return to Houston Pro Football