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THE INSIDE TRACK | SECOND THOUGHTS

Please Stop Me if You've Heard This Once Before

April 23, 2001|CHRIS DUFRESNE

Due to a cable outage--the repair guy swore he'd be out sometime between Mel Kiper's 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. hair combings--I confess to missing most of Saturday's NFL draft, yet suspect every team, as always, got the players it wanted and moved a significant step closer to winning the Super Bowl.

Fact is, first-round busts are about as common as turf toe, but has there ever been a bad pick on draft day?

Here's guessing the composite first-round reviews emanating from the mouths of babes/owners/coaches/general managers/agents went something like this:

1. Atlanta Falcons. Michael Vick. Quarterback. Would have traded CNN to San Diego to get this guy. Scouting department says he's a combination of Steve Young and Col. Steve Austin.

2. Arizona. Leonard Davis. Tackle. A human eclipse at 6-6 and 370 pounds. Team will run training laps around him. Makes Anthony Munoz look like one of the Lollypop Kids.

3. Cleveland. Gerard Warren. Defensive tackle. Can't believe he fell this far. Built like a bank vault. Will literally be a pillar in his community.

4. Cincinnati. Justin Smith. Defensive end. Meld his ability to his future earnings and you're looking at a combination of Deacon and Dow Jones.

5. San Diego. LaDainian Tomlinson. Tailback. Runs like Barry Sanders, sings like Barry White. Clear a spot in Canton.

6. New England: Richard Seymour. Defensive lineman. Ran a 5-flat 40 for us in Army boots. That calling-card scam at Georgia? Not a concern. We'll give him his own switchboard.

7. San Francisco: Andre Carter. Defensive end. Dedicated, determined. More coach-able than a walk-on. Zorba the Greek didn't have this much enthusiasm.

8. Chicago. David Terrell. Receiver. What a steal. Big, strong, agile, athletic. Smoothest thing Motown has produced since Marvin Gaye.

9. Seattle. Koren Robinson. Receiver. Reputation as a problem is overblown. Expect him to thrive in our family atmosphere. Team will hire a bellman to carry his off-field baggage.

10. Green Bay. Jamal Reynolds. Defensive end. How could we not take a guy who won the Lombardi Award? Comes off the blocks like Edwin Moses. Quick as a cat--and he loves animals.

11. Carolina. Dan Morgan. Linebacker. He's Dick Butkus with longer hair. Plays hard. Plays hurt. Can't believe he lasted his long. Our starting linebacker for 15 years.

12. St. Louis. Damione Lewis. Defensive tackle. Most important Lewis to come down the Missouri since Meriwether. Has already volunteered to lead Bible study.

13. Jacksonville. Marcus Stroud. Defensive tackle. More upside than the Sears Tower. Player's player. Man's man. Better long-term potential than Treasury bonds.

14. Tampa Bay. Kenyatta Walker. Tackle. Can't miss. Wide load. Tougher to circumnavigate than Lake Okeechobee.

15. Washington. Rod Gardner. Receiver. Can bench-press a moose. Not a sprinter, but sneaky fast. Big, powerful. You thought Mary Lou Retton had balance?

16. New York Jets. Santana Moss. Receiver. Can't believe he lasted this long. Boasts a 42-inch vertical leap (from his knees!) Game breaker. Peacemaker. Has more gears than a 16-wheeler.

17. Seattle. Steve Hutchinson. Guard. Mean, nasty, powerful, built like a Zamboni. Can't believe he fell in our laps.

18. Detroit. Jeff Backus. Tackle. What a steal. Has the work ethic of a coal miner. Durable, reliable, lovable. Understands blocking angles. Aced our hypotenuse triangle test.

19. Pittsburgh. Casey Hampton. Defensive tackle. Some say his was a reach, but Robert Browning said, "Man's reach should exceed his grasp." Or was it Jack Lambert who said that?

20. St. Louis. Adam Archuleta. Safety. Georgia Frontiere thought it would be neat if we drafted a guy with "Arch" in his name.

21. Buffalo. Nate Clements. Cornerback. Big, powerful, 200-pound corner. Quick. Smart. Funny. Does card tricks. We see him standing on the corner (left) for a decade.

22. New York Giants. Will Allen. Cornerback. Ran a 4.3 40 . . . in the shallow end of a swimming pool. Quick and fast. Most talented Will since Smith.

23. New Orleans. Deuce McAllister. Running back. Can run, catch, block and do the Macarena. Our little Deuce coup. We think he and Ricky Williams may become bridge partners.

24. Denver. Willie Middlebrooks. Cornerback. Good character guy. Have already penciled him for our United Way spots.

25. Philadelphia. Freddie Mitchell. Receiver. No, his leg does not have more fissures than the Liberty Bell. Our X-ray tech says you can hardly see the calcium deposits.

26. Miami. Jamar Fletcher. Cornerback. Not fast, but we weren't really looking for speed at cornerback. Great jumper, smooth, fluid. Great shoe connections at Wisconsin.

27. Minnesota. Michael Bennett. Tailback. You see kicking down his girlfriend's apartment door as a problem, we see it as great upper leg strength.

28. Oakland. Derrick Gibson. Safety. Big enough to take on tight ends and escort owner Al Davis to court proceedings.

29. St. Louis. Ryan Pickett. Defensive tackle. A second-rounder to some, but No. 4 on our board. Defensive front will soon be known as "Pickett's Charge."

30. Indianapolis. Reggie Wayne. Receiver. Top athlete. Good in traffic? He caught a ball from our scout on Main Street . . . at Disneyland . . . on a Saturday.

31. Baltimore. Todd Heap. Tight end. Top of the Heap. We had him in the top 10. A devoted Mormon who can't wait to meet Ray Lewis.

Hmmm. Any chance some of these picks won't work out?

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