NFL draft lacking difference makers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 3, 2007

Don’t expect greatness.

Bart Burcham, who handicaps the NFL draft each year for the Tribune, sees good talent but not great players as this weekend’s NFL draft approaches.

“It has some talented players, but I don’t know if there are any difference makers,” Burcham said. “There are one, maybe two guys capable of being a franchise player. There’s only eight to 10 players who will make a difference.”

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Burcham said there could be a lot of trades that will disrupt the order of selection and he’s skeptical of the drafting ability of Oakland and Detroit.

“The first two picks are Oakland and Detroit and they mess up the draft more than anyone,” Burcham said.

Base on the current situation, Burcham made the following predictions.

1. Oakland: JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU. Unless they trade for a quarterback, they’ll take go with Russell. They threw 12 touchdown passes last year.

2. Detroit: They’ll trade the pick, or take Calvin Johnson and trade him. Johnson’s the best player in this draft. They will probably take Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson, but probably in the fourth spot.

3. Cleveland: Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame. I would take Adrian Peterson. Quinn has the skills and he’s a top 10 player, but he’s 2-8 against the better teams like Michigan and Southern Cal.

4. Tampa Bay: They’ll trade up for Calvin Johnson, WR, George Tech, or watch Detroit pass on him and wait to grab him.

5. Arizona: They’ll go for offensive line help. They’ll take Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin, unless Detroit passes on Adams.

6. Washington: They’d love to trade up for Johnson, or if Quinn is still there they’ll trade down to get more picks. Otherwise, the pick is Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville.

7. Minnesota: They’d like to trade down, especially if Quinn is still available. If they stay, they take Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma. He’s too good to pass on.

8. Atlanta (from Houston): They’ll try to trade up for Johnson, but if they stay they take LaRon Landry, S, LSU.

9. Miami: They would love for Quinn to fall here, but the offensive line is so bad they take Levi Brown, OT, Penn State.

10. Houston (from Atlanta): They, too, want to trade up to get Peterson. But if he’s gone, they take Leon Hall, CB, Michigan.

11. San Francisco: Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska. The 49ers want to build the defense up. They have the offense going in the right direction.

12. Buffalo: Patrick Willis, LB, Mississippi. They would love to trade up for Peterson. Willis is on everybody’s board.

13. St. Louis: Jamal Anderson, DE, Arkansas. They’ve lost some defensive ends the last few years. They need his speed and size on the outside.

14. Carolina: Reggie Nelson, S, Florida. The safeties are getting older and he’s the second best safety on the board.

15. Pittsburgh: They’ll take a linebacker or corner, but it will be defense. As of now, it’s Darrelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh.

16. Green Bay: Marshawn Lynch, RB, California. He’s the next best back behind Peterson. The Packers need a running back.

17: Jacksonville: Jarvis Moss, DE, Florida. They have defensive tackles and this gives them some speed on the outside.

18. Cincinnati: The pick should be Greg Olsen to make a great offense. But the pick will probably be Alan Branch, DT, Michigan.

19. Tennessee: Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Ohio State. Losing Drew Bennett, they need some weapons for Vince Young.

20. New York Giants: Joe Staley, OT, Central Michigan. He’s huge and the Giants need a tackle.

21. Denver: They’d like to trade up for Moss, but if they stay they take Justin Herrell, DT, Tennessee.

22. Dallas: Dwayne Jarrett, WR, Southern Cal. The Cowboys have to go wide receiver with their WR getting older. Owens is 34 and Glenn 33.

23. Kansas City: Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee. He’s a burner and he can help the return game after trading Dante Hall to the Rams.

24. New England (from Seattle): They would love to get Nelson, but it will be probably be Aaron Ross, CB, Texas.

25. New York Jets: If he’s still available, Greg Olsen, TE, Miami. The tight end is what the offense is missing.

26. Philadelphia: The Eagles will go defense, probably Brandon Meriweather, S, Purdue. He’s has tremendous skills, but he has some baggage.

27. New Orleans: Paul Posluszny, LB, Penn State. The offense is good, but the linebackers are awful.

28. New England: If they get a CB the first time, the take Jon Beason, LB, Miami, because he has the size to play inside or outside.

29. Baltimore: Justin Blalock, OT, Texas.

He has tremendous size.

30. San Diego: They had the most talent last season, but the one place they’re not up to par is wide receiver so they take Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU.

31. Chicago: Lawrence Timmons, LB, Florida State. He could go earlier to Cincinnati or Pittsburgh. He would be the replacement if they trade Lance Briggs.

32. Indianapolis: The Colts should go defense, but they take Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Ohio State. He’s the perfect third receiver to take Brandon Stokely’s place.