Trades make NFL Draft hard to figure

Friday, April 23, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:52 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

In one of the most active weeks leading up to the NFL Draft in recent memory, there has been one trade.

Most of the action has been in courtrooms and general manager’s offices around the country. The draft starts at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg ruled Thursday against tailback Maurice Clarett’s attempt to circumvent the NFL’s age limit for draftees. That ruling also made USC receiver Mike Williams ineligible and shook up the draft boards for many teams.

Even with Williams out of the draft, receiver is the deepest position. NFL scouts are comparing it to the 1983 quarterback class that produced six in the first round, including John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.

Aside from the courtroom proceedings, many teams are attempting to trade up or down to get the player they want in the appropriate spot.

Archie Manning, former NFL quarterback and father of Eli Manning, the expected No. 1 pick, let it be known his son didn’t want to play for San Diego, which holds the top choice. The New York Giants are talking with the Chargers about moving up and a deal might be done before San Diego is on the clock.

Other possible trades include Cleveland’s attempts at moving into position to take Iowa tackle Robert Gallery and Philadelphia’s efforts to move up for one of the top defensive backs. Barry Reeves, NFL Draft analyst for the Sporting News, said he expects as many as 10 trades in the first round.

If that happens, a team might want to draft Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who will be in great shape after his constant trips to the podium, announcing trades and selections.

Mock Draft

1. New York Giants (VIA TRADE WITH San Diego)

Eli Manning,

QB, Mississippi

The Giants jump up to take Manning after father Archie tells San Diego his son doesn't want to play for them. Manning could start for New York from day one.

2. Cleveland (VIA TRADE WITH Oakland)

Robert Gallery,

OT, Iowa

The Browns desperately want Gallery to anchor their offense for the next decade or so. They will do whatever it takes to move up to grab the guy many believe will be the best player from this class.

3. Arizona

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Pittsburgh

Coach Dennis Green believes second-year quarterback Josh McCown can be a star, so he goes for his former ball boy and Heisman Trophy runner-up.

4. San Diego (VIA TRADE WITH New York Giants)

Philip Rivers, QB, North Carolina State

The Chargers add a few extra choices by moving down and get the guy coach Marty Schottenheimer really wants. Don’t be surprised if they move down again and grab Rivers a few spots lower. Rivers is college football’s second-most productive quarterback and would probably start from the first day.

5. Washington

Kellen Winslow Jr., TE, Miami

Winslow might be the best tight end prospect to enter the draft, perhaps ever. Redskins coach Joe Gibbs might want Winslow’s teammate, Sean Taylor, but opts for one of the draft’s premiere players.

6. Detroit

Sean Taylor, S, Miami

The Lions are ecstatic that Taylor falls to them. Taylor reminds many of a young Ronnie Lott.

7. Oakland (VIA TRADE WITH Cleveland)

Roy Williams, WR, Texas

The Raiders get their man after moving down five spots. Jerry Rice and Tim Brown aren’t getting younger, and owner Al Davis loves this talented playmaker.

8. Atlanta

Vince Wilfork, DT, Miami

A 6-2, 344-pound behemoth, Wilfork fills a gaping hole in the middle of the Falcons’ porous run defense.

9. Jacksonville

Kenechi Udeze, DE, USC

Udeze’s relentless pass rush and strength make him a perfect fit for coach Jack Del Rio’s defense.

10. Houston

DeAngelo Hall, CB, Virginia Tech

Too small? Too flamboyant? So what? Hall is one of the fastest players in the draft and backs up all of his talk on the field as a legitimate shutdown corner, despite his generously listed 5-11 frame.

11. Pittsburgh

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Miami (Ohio)

The Steelers must move on a quarterback and Roethlisberger is the best available. His strong arm and athletic ability make him a steal at this spot.

12. New York Jets

Jonathan Vilma, LB, Miami

The Jets want to trade down, but if they stay here, it will be hard to pass on the best linebacker in the draft.

13. Buffalo

Will Smith, DE, Ohio State

The Bills have lacked a pass rusher since Bruce Smith departed. This Smith could be the new pass rushing prince in town.

14. Chicago

Tommie Harris, DT, Oklahoma

At one time, Harris, a junior, was a candidate to be the top player in whichever draft he entered. His stock has fallen, but the Bears would be thrilled with this run-stuffer at this stage of the draft.

15. Tampa Bay

Reggie Williams, WR, Washington

The Buccaneers have little youth at receiver and Williams has game-breaking potential.

16. Philadelphia (via trade with San Francisco)

Chris Gamble, CB, Ohio State

A former wide receiver, Gamble lives up to his name in coverage. He takes chances, but more often than not, he makes a big play.

17. Denver

Steven Jackson, RB, Oregon State

The best running back in the draft falls to one of the best running teams in the league. Jackson could step in immediately and make Broncos’ fans say “Clinton who?”

18. New Orleans

Dunta Robinson, CB, South Carolina

Robinson is the total package with size, speed and intelligence, qualities the Saints are sorely lacking in the secondary.

19. Minnesota

Lee Evans, WR, Wisconsin

The Vikings need a tag-team partner for Randy Moss, and Evans is the perfect complement. Minnesota grabs him if it remembers to wake up in time for its pick.

20. Miami

Shawn Andrews, OT, Arkansas

Andrews skipped the Independence Bowl to prepare for draft workouts. The extra work paid off and Andrews is “down” to about 360 pounds.

21. New England

D.J. Williams, LB, Miami

The Patriots get perhaps one of the steals of the first round with the best outside linebacker in the draft. Williams would give New England’s defense the speed to blitz and the strength to stop the run.

22. Dallas

Kevin Jones, RB, Virginia Tech

Bill Parcells got his star receiver in the Keyshawn Johnson trade. With Jones, the Cowboys take the workhorse running back they desperately need.

23. Seattle

Randy Starks, DT, Maryland

The Seahawks added former Rams end Grant Wistrom to boost the pass rush. Starks gives them a run stopper in the middle that can free up Wistrom to blitz.

24. Cincinnati

Will Poole, CB, USC

The Bengals are so desperate for help in the secondary they traded for Deltha O’Neal. Poole should help cure Cincinnati’s secondary ailments.

25. Green Bay

Sean Jones, S, Georgia

The Packers would like a quarterback to replace Brett Favre in a couple of years. None is worth it at this stage, and Jones could boost their secondary.

26. St. Louis

Ben Troupe, TE, Florida

The Rams have drafted defense in the first round each year Mike Martz has been coach. Martz gets his way and takes a new player for his offense.

27. Tennessee

Ben Watson, TE, Georgia

Frank Wycheck’s retirement makes this a serious need.

28. San Francisco (VIA TRADE WITH Philadelphia)

Michael Clayton, WR, LSU

The 49ers move down and get one of the guys they wanted anyway. Clayton would go much higher in most drafts, but the depth at the position drops him to here.

29. Indianapolis

Matt Ware, S, UCLA

The Colts were a solid secondary away from going to the Super Bowl. At 6-3, Ware can play corner or safety and gives the Colts options in the defensive backfield.

30. Kansas City

Darnell Dockett, DT, Florida State

The Chiefs need help on defense and at receiver. They go with one of the most experienced linemen in the draft in a bit of a reach.

31. Carolina

Derrick Strait, CB, Oklahoma

A stout Panthers’ defense gets help for one of its weaker positions. Strait was a standout in college and could help in nickel and dime coverages as a rookie.

32. New England

Vernon Carey, OG, Miami

Carey is the best interior lineman in the draft with starting potential from the moment he hears his name.

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