In-depth NFL Draft Report
By Steve Goldman, staff writer
Saturday and Sunday, April 17-18, 1999
1. Tim Couch, QB- Cleveland Browns
The first pick in the history of the second version of the Browns is this tall (6-4) quarterback who they hope will be the cornerstone of their future. At Kentucky, he ran the run-and-shoot, piling up huge numbers in his two years as the top gun, then elected to turn pro after his junior year. He has a quick release, throws a catchable ball, is deadly accurate and very smart. There has been a knock on him about not having great arm strength, but the Browns believe it is good enough. Doesn’t have great running ability, but can elude the rush.
One concern is that he needs to work on his grip, but he adjusted well in the second of two workouts, which impressed the Browns. They say he will have a shot at being the opening-day quarterback. He’ll have to beat out Ty Detmer for that honor. "The difference in the workouts was night and day," Browns coach Chris Palmer said. "He wiped out any doubts we had, and we walked away from that workout thinking that this was our guy."
"I think (April 11th’s) workout was what put me over the top," Couch said. "I threw the ball with a lot of velocity, and I think they saw what they wanted to." The Browns signed Couch to a lucrative contract in the early morning the day of the draft. Couch connected on more than 72 percent (400 for 553) of his passes in 1998 for more than 4,275 yards, including 36 TDs, while being intercepted just 15 times..
2. Donovan McNabb, QB- Philadelphia Eagles
An incredible athlete who started four years at Syracuse. Extremely elusive and a good runner; he scored 19 TDs himself while throwing for 77 in his career with the Orangemen. Very strong arm and can throw on the run, but has a few technical points to work on, including receiving the snap from center without fumbling. Also, he played in an option offense, which could delay his development.
McNabb was 157-251-2,134 in 1998. Moreover, he threw for 22 TDs and was picked off only five times. "(Ricky Williams) was intriguing," coach Andy Reid said. "But I wanted to get the quarterback into this offense. We feel very strong about this. We went through the early process and ( McNabb ) was a top candidate." Reid said that the team was impressed with McNabb both on the field and off. "We said character was important to us and we meant it," he said. "I don't want to compare him to any of the other quarterbacks out there, but I just felt he was a tremendous, solid person." McNabb could become the starting QB quickly, but Reid says that Doug Pedersen will be the starter initially.
3. Akili Smith, QB- Cincinnati Bengals
After sharing the starting role at Oregon University in his junior year, Smith raised his value tremendously in 1998, as he threw for more than 3,700 yards and 32 TDs with just eight picks. One of the strongest arms available, Smith has a quick release and has the ability to run. Akili’s heels may be his age (24 at the start of the upcoming season, because his college career was delayed while he tried his hand at professional baseball), and lack of experience. Also had some off-the-field problems in the past.
The Browns considered Smith very seriously before going with Couch. He impressed them in the interview sessions as well as on the field. "We have gone a long time here trying to solve our quarterback problem" Cincinnati GM Mike Brown said. "I am convinced that this is our principal problem. We’ve got to get it resolved some point on a satisfactory basis." Smith probably will not start at first, but is definitely the one the Bengals want in that role in the future. He’ll start as soon as they feel he is ready.
4. Edgerrin James, RB- Indianapolis Colts
After the trade which sent Marshall Faulk to St. Louis for their second and fifth-round picks, many assumed the Colts would take Ricky Williams. Indy liked both Williams and James, but felt the latter fit into their offense better because of his receiving ability. "Last year Marshall caught 80-some passes and we like to throw to our backs," head coach Jim Mora said. "This guy can catch and make some yards after he catches the ball."
"He's got exceptional hands, catches the ball very easily and runs nice routes," President Bill Polian said "He has the ability to be very similar to Marshall in terms of running, catching the ball and doing something with it after the catch. We felt he was the right fit with Peyton Manning." James will start from day one, and will be the featured back. He is a powerful back who can run up the middle, and stands to set up the play-action pass for Peyton Manning. But he also has 4.45 speed, and is a breakaway threat. He has stamina, and is a good blocker.
James came out after his junior year, after rushing for more than 1,000 yards in his last two seasons at Miami, FL. Went 242-1416-17 in 1998, the second straight year he averaged just under six yards a carry.
5. Ricky Williams, RB- New Orleans Saints
How much do the Saints think of the Heisman Trophy winner? Enough to part with all of their other picks in the draft, and first and third-round-choices next year, which they traded to Washington. Considered by many to be the best player in the draft, Williams is the NCAA’s all-time rushing leader (6,279 yards) and also holds the mark for touchdowns (72) and yards per carry (6.2). He has all the tools you would want: size (244 pounds), speed (times have been varied, but his true 40-yard time is probably about 4.5 seconds), determination, power and strength, and can break the big one. He can also catch the football.
Many are already ticketing him for the Hall of Fame. Not unlikely, but you never know. One of the knocks on him is that he has small hands, which some feel will give him fumble problems in the NFL. "I said from day one he was the player we wanted," Saints coach Mike Ditka said. "We did the thing we thought would make us best, fastest. He gives us what Walter Payton gave us in Chicago." Williams will be an immediate starter in New Orleans.
6. Torry Holt, WR- St. Louis Rams
The first wide receiver taken, most considered him to be the top player available at that position. He should start right away as Isaac Bruce’s running mate. Holt seems to be almost a perfect fit for the position. He has the physical skills, including better than adequate, albeit not top-notch, size and speed. He also has the smarts and determination to excel. Had 191 career catches for 3,379 yards and 31 TDs at North Carolina State. Went 88-1,604-10 in 1998 despite being double-covered often. Has breakaway capability.
"This guy is the best (pass) catcher in the draft," VP of player personnel Charley Armey said. "He has Terry Glenn-type hands, but he is a much better runner than Terry Glenn. He is much more consistent than any receiver that has come out probably since the Jets made Keyshawn Johnson their No. 1 pick a few years ago. From a personnel standpoint, we strip these players down and look at everything -- intelligence, character, hands, quickness in and out of cuts, speed, toughness. There are no missing parts from this player." Holt is also a fine punt returner, and can return kickoffs as well.
8. David Boston, WR- Arizona Cardinals
At Ohio State, Boston broke Cris Carter’s single-season reception record with 73 catches in 1997, then raised the mark higher with 85 in his junior year, before electing to turn pro. Three-year career numbers are 181-2744-34. At 6-2, 215, he’s a fine target, and has all the physical tools. He can run after the catch, and has a knack for the big play and finding the end zone. He seemed to mature a lot between his sophomore and junior years. Needs work on running routes. A fine punt returner.
Head coach Vince Tobin said the team had Boston and Holt rated about even. Of course, with the Cardinals taking Holt two picks earlier, they did not have to decide between the two. "They were very, very close," Tobin said. "Holt is a guy who has done it for one more year, his senior year. He is a little bit more mature than David Boston, but, really, David Boston has more measurables than Torry Holt. He's bigger and stronger and he's faster. "It's kind of like Ricky Williams and Edgerrin James. It's a kind of pick-'em type thing, depending on who you talk with." Boston should get into the mix early, but might not start right away. He is also an excellent punt return man.
11. Daunte Culpepper, QB- Minnesota Vikings
The heir-apparent to Randall Cunningham’s job, Culpepper is big (6-4, 255), strong, and tough. Set an NCAA record as a senior at Central Florida, with a completion percentage of 73.6. Great poise in the pocket, and tough to sack. Went 296-402-3,690 as a senior, with 28 TDs and just 7 interceptions. He’s also fast for a signal-caller, and can avoid the rush and run for yardage.
Of the five quarterbacks taken among the first 12 picks, head coach Dennis Green said that the Vikes thought Culpepper rated at the top. "We felt that he was the best of the quarterbacks," he said. "Let's just say (his rating was) about as high as you can get. He's the fastest of the five quarterbacks, he's the quickest of the five quarterbacks, he's the biggest of the five quarterbacks. Good teams rarely have a chance to pick the No. 1 quarterback." With Cunningham ahead of him, Culpepper will be broken in slowly.
12. Cade McNown, QB- Chicago Bears
Originally projected as a late first-round or early second-round pick, but his stock rose in the off-season. Posted 188-323-3,130 in his senior season at UCLA, with 23 TDs and 10 INTs. Plusses are that he is very strong technically, can read defenses, throws a nice pass, has great mobility, has shown the ability to win and has the heart of a champion. Minuses are that he is not big or tall (6-0 ½, 213), does not have a particularly strong arm, and throws sidearm.
"We knew we were going to get an impact player defensively at the 12 pick or we were going to get a quarterback," VP of personnel Hatley said. "That's why we did the deal (in which they traded down for the pick, with Washington).We felt good about him all along. We felt Cade had the knowledge, the arm and the ability to take us where we want to go." The lefty will probably get a shot to start, but will have to beat out Eric Kramer.
13. Troy Edwards, WR- Pittsburgh Steelers
Relatively small (5-9 ½, 191), and has adequate, not great, speed (4.50). But he is very strong, extremely quick, is deadly in the open field, knows how to get open and can catch the ball. Flourished at Louisiana Tech in the run-and-shoot, averaging about 15 grabs per contest as a senior. He has breakaway ability, and is considered a top prospect. Does need to work on his concentration. "Somebody said a long time ago, 'It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog,'" Director of football operations Tom Donahoe said. "This dog can fight." A converted running back, but Edwards should move right into the Pittsburgh starting lineup. He is also a very good kick returner.
32. Kevin Johnson, WR- Cleveland Browns
The first draft pick in the second round, Johnson is a late-bloomer of sorts, in that he entered Syracuse University as a quarterback. McNabb’s development meant a switch to the wide receiver position, however. He responded, and rose to a 60-894-9 output as a senior. Johnson is one of the fastest receivers in the 1999 draft. He is smart and dedicated, but needs some polish. Needs work on his blocking too. Excellent kickoff and punt returner. "I like his versatility," Palmer said. "He is a receiver first, but he has real good running ability. He is not a polished receiver, but the fact that he can play a number of positions will help us." Johnson, who can also hold for place kicks, will be given the opportunity to earn a starting role at receiver. He may also return kickoffs, where he did an outstanding job for the Orangemen. He can also return punts.
39. J.J. Johnson, RB- Miami Dolphins
Played at Mississippi State for two years, after playing at East Mississippi Community College. Also spent time in the Navy. Ran for more than 1,000 yards both years, though he only started four games as a junior. Set the MSU single-season rushing record as a senior (1,383 yards). Rushed for 12 scores and a 5.9 average in that campaign. Mostly a punishing-style runner, although he does have some moves. Good size, at 6-1 ¼, 227. But lacks speed, and tends to run straight up, which could be a problem. Didn’t catch too many passes, but looked good when he did. Missed two games in his senior year because of a groin injury. The Dolphins are high on Johnson, but he’ll still have to battle Karim Abdul-Jabbar for a starting role.
42. Reggie Kelly, TE- Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons traded up to take Kelly, who was the first tight end selected. Kelly is a very fine blocker, who spent a lot of time creating holes for James Johnson at Mississippi State. He has shown ability as a receiver as well, but was not used very much in that regard, as the Bulldogs preferred the run. Consequently, he needs work on his receiving skills.
43. Rob Konrad, FB- Miami Dolphins
The first fullback selected, Konrad showed ability in all facets of his game at Syracuse. However, whether he does anything well enough to succeed in the NFL is a question. He also has been beset by injuries, including a knee injury suffered as a junior that required surgery. Has had some fumbling problems. Went 95-437-7 as a senior. Has some ability as a blocker and pass-catcher, but needs to work on both. Good speed (4.60) for a fullback. "You would think we're now a power football team," running backs coach Joel Collier said about the fact the Dolphins took Johnson and Konrad. "Big doesn't always get you mean but you figure we'll have plenty of that. You can't imagine how fired up I am right now." Konrad has an excellent chance to move right into the starting lineup.
44. Jim Kleinsasser, TE- Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings traded up to get this tight end, who they hope will add to their already-potent attack. Kleinsasser showed he can catch the ball at North Dakota, going 47-742-5 in 1998, his fourth year as a starter. He is strong and fast for his position, and is a fine blocker. But the fact he played at Division II is a concern, as whether he can perform against better competition is unknown. Kleinsasser doesn’t figure to be of much fantasy value, at least in his rookie year.
46. Kevin Faulk, RB- New England Patriots
Wasn’t the feature back until late in his college career at LSU because the Tigers had a loaded backfield. Still managed to set school rushing record with more than 4,500 yards. Ran for 5.6 yards per carry in his senior year, for a total of 1,279 and had 12 TDs. A capable running back who has become a good pass receiver. Tough to bring down, but has had some problems with fumbles. Height (5-8) is also a disadvantage. Excellent kickoff and punt returner. Brother of Marshall Faulk. With Robert Edwards’ injury, the door is open for Faulk to step in as the starter.
49. Joe Montgomery, RB- New York Giants
Amassed 670 yards while averaging more than six yards per carry, despite the fact he was Ohio State’s backup tailback. A strong runner who relies on the inside game. Good blocker, but not very fast and not a good receiver. Has had injury problems, the most serious of which involved reconstructive knee surgery. Montgomery should battle for playing time with Gary Brown.
50. Shaun King, QB- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Capped a fine career by leading Tulane to an undefeated season. A very accurate passer who threw for 3,219 yards and 36 TDs in 1998, while being intercepted just six times. Can run, and can throw on the run. Excellent attitude. Won’t have much fantasy value in 1999, but could in the future.
53. Peerless Price, WR- Buffalo Bills
A fast (4.43) receiver with a knack for getting open, he caught 109 passes in his final two years combined at Tennessee. Has risen to the occasion in big games and at important times. Good kickoff returner. Very confident athlete. Has had trouble dropping a few passes.
54. Mike Cloud, RB- Kansas City Chiefs
A 308-1,726-14 senior campaign set a Boston College season rushing record, and made him the school’s career rushing leader. Consistently high yards per carry, but not a breakaway threat. Good pass receiver. He's an up-the-field runner; he's not a side-to-side guy looking for cracks," Chiefs coach Gunther Cunningham said. "He takes the ball down the field, and he has excellent speed. He's got the ability to change directions and the other thing is he catches the ball. On blitzes, he'll step up inside and block the linebackers, block the defensive backs. "A lot of guys can lug the ball, but you have to do other things, catch and block." Cloud will likely get a chance to start with KC.
60. Jermaine Fazande, FB- San Diego Chargers
Big (260 pounds) and strong. Has shown the ability to run when given the chance. He had much more of that opportunity in his junior year (491 yards) than in 1998 (161 yards). Was used more as a blocker in the latter campaign, though he has shown better ability as a runner. Will need to upgrade his blocking, as well as his receiving skills.
69. Steve Heiden, TE- San Diego Chargers
Good pass catcher (caught 46 passes in senior year at South Dakota State), but is not quick or fast, or a great blocker. Doubles as a long snapper.
71. D’Wayne Bates, WR- Chicago Bears
Went 75-1,196-12 and 83-1,245-9 in his sophomore and senior years, respectively at Northwestern, but his junior year was ruined by leg and knee injuries. Showed the ability to get open in College, but is not terribly quick or fast. Excellent leaping ability.
77. Brock Huard, QB- Seattle Seahawks
Decided to stay at the University of Washington after a tremendous sophomore year, but his stats declined in 1998. Still, he elected to turn pro. He throws a nice pass and has a good arm, though he struggled with a separated shoulder in 1998. He also sat out two contests with an ankle injury. Many of his struggles last year were not his fault, as the team around him declined. Not a scrambler.
78. Marty Booker, WR- Chicago Bears
A former quarterback who made the transition successfully, his stats improved each year, peaking at 75-1,168-11 as a senior. Good hands and can run after the catch, but is not very big or fast. Needs work on his technique, partially because of his relative lack of experience.
79. Dan Campbell, TE- New York Giants
One of the best blocking tight ends available, he was used mostly in that role at Texas A&M. Showed he has the ability to catch the ball, but was used very little that way; his season-best was 12 catches, as a junior in 1997. Fine leadership abilities.
80. Martin Gramatica, K- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The third round is pretty high for a kicker to be drafted, so it is clear that Tampa Bay intends to make this Kansas State grad their regular placekicker. Has a very strong leg; he booted a 65-yarder last season. But after a very accurate (19-20) junior year, slipped a bit in 1998 (22-31).
82. Karsten Bailey, WR- Seattle Seahawks
A fast receiver who can jump and run after the catch, but needs to work on his technique. Auburn’s all-time leader in receptions, with 150.
86. Shawn Bryson, FB- Buffalo Bills
A converted tailback who developed into a good blocker at Tennessee. Didn’t run much as a senior, but had great success (21-200-4) when he did. A good receiver who has excellent speed for a fullback.
92. Jeff Paulk, FB- Atlanta Falcons
An outstanding lead blocker who earned the nickname "Jurassic Paulk." Showed some ability to run, though had limited attempts in his career at Arizona State. Not a receiving threat at all.
93. Travis McGriff, WR- Denver Broncos
Set a Florida record with more than 19 yards per catch in his senior year, when he exploded for 70 receptions. Great hands; good at finding the seams in the defense. Can return punts. Serious knee injury, which required reconstructive surgery in his sophomore campaign, is a concern.
95. Amos Zereoue, RB- Pittsburgh Steelers
A workhorse who topped 1,000 yards in three straight seasons at West Virginia, then elected to come out early. Strong, quick and has good balance. Good receiver who can block, but could use some improvement in the latter area. Was nagged by various injuries throughout his career, but usually played through them.
98. Craig Yeast, WR- Cincinnati Bengals
Fast and explosive and a fine runner after the catch. But at 5-7 ½, he’s viewed as a prospect for a third receiver. Also a fine kick returner. Tim Couch’s favorite target at Kentucky, he went 85-1,311-14 as a senior and is the Southeastern Conference’s all-time leader in receptions (208).
101. Joe Germaine, QB- St. Louis Rams
One of the major cogs in Ohio State’s attack, Germaine hit on 60 percent of his passes in 1998, for 3,102 yards, 24 TDs and only & INTs. Very accurate passer and smart player, but doesn’t have a very strong arm.
102. Dameane Douglas, WR- Oakland Raiders
At California, set the PAC-10 record for catches in a season as a senior, with 100. Not particularly fast, but quick. Good runner after the catch. Intense competitor. Has had problems with knee injuries in the past.
103. Sedrick Irvin, RB- Detroit Lions
Entered the draft after his junior year. A clever, quick runner who exceeded 1,000 yards every year at Michigan State. Not a breakaway threat. The main knock on him is his lack of speed.
104. Brandon Stokley, WR- Baltimore Ravens
A prolific receiver at Southwestern Louisiana; averaged 18 yards per catch over his 65 grabs in his senior year. Rises to the occasion, but not a deep threat. Suffered a torn ACL as a junior.
108. Larry Parker, WR- Kansas City Chiefs
Averaged 20 yards per catch over his 29 receptions as USC’s third receiver in 1998. Fast and talented, though his college career was marred by a number of foot and leg injuries.
112. Sean Bennett, RB- New York Giants
Piled up yardage as a breakaway threat at Evansville, before it dropped football. Didn’t see the ball much in his one year at Northwestern. Can return kicks. The Giants are high on him, but most consider him a reach.
116. Joel Mackovicka, FB- Arizona Cardinals
A fine blocker but can also run. Not a receiving threat. A team captain at Nebraska.
118. Wane McGarity, WR- Dallas Cowboys
Caught 58 passes for Texas last year at almost 19 yards per grab. A fast receiver who utilizes his speed. Down sides are lack of experience at the position (he’s a converted tailback) and a history of serious knee injuries.
122. Bobby Collins, TE- Buffalo Bills
Showed he can catch and run with the pigskin with a program (North Alabama) that centered its offense around the run. Great speed for his position. Has shown he can block. But played mostly against smaller opponents.
127. Olandis Gary, RB- Denver Broncos
Strong runner who can break tackles, but is not fast. Went 143-698-10 at Georgia in 1998. Can block and catch passes. Didn’t get a lot of experience running the football at Marshall or Georgia. Good goal line back.
130. Na Brown, WR- Philadelphia Eagles
North Carolina’s all-time leading receiver (165 catches); hauled down more than 50 in each of the last three years. Went 55-897-6 as a senior; the yardage total was a big increase, as he became more of a deep threat, although his time in the 40 (4.53) is not all that great. Good hands.
131. Aaron Brooks, QB- Green Bay Packers
Very strong arm and can run. Came on strong at the end of his senior year at Virginia. But relatively inexperienced and needs work on many technical points. A project.
134. Cecil Collins, RB- Miami Dolphins
The ultimate example in risk/return. Nicknamed "The Diesel." Has all the tools, and showed the ability to be a top-notch running back, but his main problems have been off the field. He was let go from both LSU and McNeese State because of a parole violation and drug-related incidents. He also went down with a serious injury in 1997. If Collins can put his act together, he could be the steal of the draft. It is also possible he may never play in the NFL.
135. Nick Williams, FB- Cincinnati Bengals
Edgerrin James’ lead blocker at Miami, and he was very good in that role. Wasn’t asked to handle the ball much, but did show some ability to run and catch when he did. Relatively inexperienced.
136. Jerame Tuman, TE- Pittsburgh Steelers
A reliable receiver at Michigan, where he caught about 30 passes in each of his last three years. Needs work on his blocking.
147. Jerry Azumah, RB- Chicago Bears
At New Hampshire, became the NCAA Div. I-AA’s all-time leading career rusher with 6,139 yards. Scored 60 rushing TDs to set another mark. A fine athlete. A workhorse who is fast, strong and durable.
148. Darrin Chiaverini, WR- Cleveland Browns
A sure-handed possession receiver, he went 52-629-5 as a senior at Colorado. Excellent hands and great attitude.
151. Kevin Daft, QB- Tennessee Titans
Coachable athlete who started two years at Cal-Davis, and improved greatly during that time. Threw for 30 TDs and eight INTs as a senior.
152. Charlie Rogers, WR- Seattle Seahawks
Also played running back at Georgia Tech, where he caught 21 passes as a senior. Fast, but small. Good punt returner.
157. Terry Jackson, RB- San Francisco 49ers
Showed he can run while at Florida State, but has been hammered by injuries including a torn ACL. Good blocker and receiver. A leader.
159. De’Mond Parker, RB- Green Bay Packers
Rushed for more than 1,000 yards three times at Oklahoma. Fast and elusive, but smallish. Doesn’t break many tackles. Hangs onto the ball. Can catch it too, but is inexperienced in that area.
164. Eugene Baker, WR- Atlanta Falcons
A prolific receiver at Kent State, where he caught 221 passes in 2 ½ years, before a broken collarbone finished him. An accomplished and smart receiver, but his 6-0, 167-pound frame is a concern.
166. Malcolm Johnson, WR- Pittsburgh Steelers
Finished a good career at Notre Dame with 43 catches for more than 700 yards as a senior. His 6-5, 215-pound frame makes for a nice target, but he does not have good speed.
171. Tai Streets, WR- San Francisco 49ers
Rebounded from an injury-marred junior year to post 60-906-11 numbers for Michigan in 1998. Has speed and the right size, but needs to develop quickness.
172. Cecil Martin, FB- Philadelphia Eagles
Excellent blocker with a good attitude. Not much of a runner. Good hands, but not a diverse receiver.
179. Desmond Clark, WR/TE- Denver Broncos
The Atlantic Coast Conference’s record-holder in receptions with 216, including 192 during his last three years at Wake Forest. At 6-3, 255 and without much speed, he’s probably better suited to be a tight end than a wideout, but he needs to improve his blocking. Can hold for placekicks.
181. Jeff Hall, K- Washington Redskins
The Southeastern Conference’s record-holder in career scoring. In his senior year at Tennessee, Hall connected on 19 of 24 field goals and converted all 47 extra point tries. Will compete with Brett Conway and Cary Blanchard for the job. Had back surgery during his college career.
186. Darran Hall, WR- Tennessee Titans
Small but fast receiver. Size is a concern, and his hands have been inconsistent. Good punt returner. Has had some off-the-field problems in the past.
191. James Dearth, TE- Cleveland Browns
A converted quarterback, Dearth caught 31 passes in his senior year at Tarleton State, though he missed three contests. Slow-footed. Can double as a long snapper.
193. Martay Jenkins, WR- Dallas Cowboys
Fast, quick and able receiver, who did not get much experience catching the ball at Nebraska-Omaha because they favored the run. Also has had injury problems.
195. Lamarr Glenn, FB- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Good blocker, but that’s about all he did at Florida State. Missed time in his senior year with an Achilles injury.
196. Dee Miller, WR- Green Bay Packers
As David Boston’s running mate at Ohio State, caught 58 passes in both his junior and senior seasons. Good athlete, although not exceptional physical tools. Fine blocker. Had a serious knee injury as a freshman.
201. Troy Smith, WR- Philadelphia Eagles
A possession receiver with good hands but not good speed. Reception total dropped from 54 in 1997 to 44 in 1998, but that was because of a depletion of talent around him.
204. Chad Plummer, WR- Denver Broncos
Converted from quarterback in his senior year at Cincinnati and caught 61 passes. Has the physical tools, but his inexperience at the position makes him a project.
206. Dennis McKinley, FB- Arizona Cardinals
6-1, 241 athlete, who was used mostly as a blocker at Mississippi State. Needs work at everything else.
207. Madre Hill, RB, Cleveland Browns
Had a stellar 1995 campaign at Arkansas (1,387 yards), then suffered torn ACLs in both knees the next two years. Came back to post 160-669-7 numbers in 1998. Rarely fumbles. Has speed, but was not all the way back to his prior ability as a senior.
208. Jed Weaver, TE- Philadelphia Eagles
Caught 36 passes for Oregon in his only year as a starter. Great hands, but lacks speed. Has some blocking ability, but could improve. Also a long snapper.
213. Donald Driver, WR- Green Bay Packers
A former track athlete, Driver averaged more than 20 yards per catch throughout his career at Alcorn State. Reception total jumped to 55 in his senior year, with 10 scores. Fast and athletic, but still learning.
217. Tim Alexander, WR- Washington Redskins
Converted from quarterback, and only has one year of experience as a wideout. Did catch 52 passes in that one year with Oregon State, though. A project.
218. Billy Miller, WR- Denver Broncos
Caught 105 passes in his final two years at USC. A possession receiver.
221. Sulecio Sanford, WR- Chicago Bears
A converted running back. Had 54 receptions for more than 600 yards and seven TDs as a senior at Middle Tennessee State.. A possession-type receiver who is still learning the possession, and sometimes has trouble hanging onto the ball.
227. Michael Bishop, QB- New England Patriots
Went 164-295-2,844 in 1998, while throwing for 23 TDs and just four picks—a big improvement from his junior year at Kansas State. Very strong arm, but not used to a pro-style offense. Could be utilized in several different roles this year.
228. Kris Brown, K- Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers drafted him with the intent of making him their regular placekicker. He holds the NCAA record with 217 extra points, but was only 47 of 77 in field goal accuracy at Nebraska. Hit just four of eight attempts between 30 and 39 yards last year. Very good on kickoffs.
229. Mike Lucky, TE- Dallas Cowboys
Mostly used to block for Arizona’s runners. He did show some ability as a pass-catcher, but needs to work at it. Lack of speed is a detriment.
230. Sheldon Jackson, TE- Buffalo Bills
Caught 19 passes for an excellent 18.1-yard average in 1998 at Nebraska. Good speed for his position. Needs a lot of work on his blocking.
233. Autry Denson, RB- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Notre Dame’s all-time leading rusher, with more than 4,300 yards. Caught 30 passes in his junior year. Not flashy or fast. Durability a plus. Has had fumbling problems. Can return kicks.
238. Justin Swift, TE- Denver Broncos
Caught 23 passes in his senior year at Kansas State. In doing so, showed some of the skills necessary for the position. Can block, but could improve in that department.
239. Chris Greisen, QB- Arizona Cardinals
Little fantasy value. Led Northwest Missouri State to a perfect season. Recovered from a knee injury suffered in high school.
240. Darnell McDonald, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Set a Kansas State record with 75 catches as a senior. Good attitude. Lack of speed is a concern.
241. Sean Morey, WR- New England Patriots
Caught 83 passes in his senior campaign at Brown. A possession receiver who can also return kickoffs.
245. Scott Covington, QB- Cincinnati Bengals
Started in only his senior year at Miami, Florida, and turned in a solid campaign. Strong arm. Needs work on some technical points, and lack of experience is a concern.
247. Rondel Menendez, WR- Atlanta Falcons
A small target at 5-9, 178, but he is speedy—he has been timed at 4.24. Averaged close to 20 yards per catch at Eastern Kentucky. At absolute best, a contender for a #3 receiver.
253. James Finn, RB- Chicago Bears
Ivy League Player of the Year as a senior, when he went 323-1,450-17. Played both running back positions at Penn. Aggressive blue-collar runner. Blocking and receiving need work.