Teams look to fill needs with this year#039;s NFL draft

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 29, 2005

Help for the needy.

Local NFL draft handicapper Bart Burcham said this year's NFL draft may not have a lot of impact players, but he said they will fill the direct needs.

"(Dallas coach) Bill Parcells graded out the draft and said there isn't one position that grades out higher than last year. That's why the Jets and Denver traded out of the first round," Burcham said.

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Despite all the negative talk about the players available in this year's draft, Burcham said there is still plenty of talent available.

"I still think there are some pretty good players. This draft will help the better teams more than the weaker teams. This is more of a role or special needs draft," Burcham said.

Burcham has compiled a list of needs for each team and has the first round handicapped. Here are his predictions for the first round of the NFL draft to be held Saturday and Sunday in New York:

1. SAN FRANCISCO - Alex Smith. That's the best guy they can get. Not a Manning or Vick, but he's better than who they have now.

2. MIAMI - I think they'll trade which means it could be QB Aaron Rodgers or WR Braylon Edwards, but the pick is Ronnie Brown, RB, Auburn.

3. CLEVELAND - The pick is WR Braylon Edwards, Michigan. I think he's the best receiver. It gives the Browns a great receiving corps and opens up the running game. Defenses will have to double someone.

4. CHICAGO - This will be WR or maybe QB. The Bears stick with Rex Grossman at QB and pick Cedric Benson, RB, Texas.

5. TAMPA BAY - It's going to be QB or RB. This is a tough choice, but I'll stick with Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, RB, Auburn.

6. TENNESSEE - Mike Williams could go here, but losing both cornerbacks means the Titans take Antrel Rolle, CB, Miami.

7. MINNESOTA - It'll be Troy Williamson, WR, South Carolina. They have to replace Randy Moss. He gives the Vikings three good receivers.

8. ARIZONA - The Cards want a running back, but they'll probably take QB Aaron Rodgers because the other options on the roster aren't very good.

9. WASHINGTON - With the loss of CB Fred Smoot, the Redskins go with Carolos Rodgers, CB, Auburn.

10. DETROIT - The pick is LB Derrick Johnson, LB, Texas. The offense is good, so they help the defense.

11. DALLAS – With the switch to the 3-4 on defense, Parcells Shawne Merriman, LB-DE, Maryland. The Cowboys need a pass rusher.

12. SAN DIEGO – This is where Mike Williams, WR, Southern Cal, will go. The Chargers need wide receivers and Williams should be available.

13. HOUSTON – Alex Barron, OT, Florida State. The Texans want a big tackle to help protect Carr.

14. CAROLINA -Jammal Brown, OT, Oklahoma. They want to run the ball and the offensive line was a shambles last season.

15. KANSAS CITY – No suprise if they take offense, but the need is defense so go with Demarcus Ware, OLB, Troy State.

16. NEW ORLEANS – They went defense last two years, so this is Thomas Davis, S, Georgia. He's a big guy and a big hitter.

17. CINCINNATI – The Bengals go with Adam Jones, CB, West Virginia. He can return kicks and help in the secondary.

18. MINNESOTA – Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin. If he doesn't get hurt in the past two years, he would have been a top 10 pick.

19. ST. LOUIS – The loss of some defensive linemen has the Rams picking Marcus Spears, DE, LSU.

20. DALLAS – Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma. With the defensive need filled, it's time to patch the offense.

21. JACKSONVILLE – Marlin Jackson, CB, Michigan. He fills a need.

22. BALTIMORE – Roddy White, WR, Alabama-Birmingham. He's one of the fastest receivers in the draft and a playmaker.

23. SEATTLE – David Pollack, DE, Georgia. He always makes plays no matter what game you watched Georgia play.

24. GREEN BAY – Shaun Cody, DE-DT, Southern Cal. The Packers need defensive line in the worse way. They got nothing from the DL last year.

25. WASHINGTON – The Redskins like Jason Campbell, QB, Auburn. To deal away a No. 1 for next year to get this spot says something about how the team feels about Campbell.

26. OAKLAND – As much as Al Davis loves speed, the Raiders pick Fabian Washington, CB, Nebraska. He had a 4.2 time in the 40.

27. ATLANTA – This could go anywhere, but it's Khalis Barnes, OT, Washington.

28. SAN DIEGO – This will be a defensive pick, so go with Brodney Pool, S, Oklahoma.

29. INDIANAPOLIS – Matt Roth, DE, Iowa. He's rated a little higher on the board at DE and he's a very good pass rusher.

30. PITTSBURGH – Could be WR, could be OL, but it should be Heath Miller, TE, Virginia. He had more catches against Florida State than the Steelers starting TE has all of last season. But don't be surprised if it's Matt Jones, QB, at Arkansas, who has been moved to WR.

31. PHILADELPHIA – This will be Matt Jones, QB-WR, Arkansas. Freddy Mitchell was criticized all last season and he is 6-4 and runs a 4.5 time.

32. NEW ENGLAND – Who knows? Losing Troy Brown and cutting Ty Law, it will probably be Corey Webster, CB, LSU.