The 2000 NFL draft is still a month away, but the Washington Redskins are already the off-season's biggest winners.
The Redskins have positioned themselves nicely by acquiring San Francisco's first-round pick(# 3 overall) and the first-round pick(#2 overall) from the Saints last year in the Ricky Williams deal. There's a good chance the Redskins could end up with two of the draft's top three prospects. The top prospects include FSU wide receiver Peter Warrick, Penn State defensive end Courtney Brown, and Penn State linebacker LaVar Arrington.
Top Draft Picks for 2000
The following is a list, by position, of some of the other potential top picks in the draft:
Running Back: Thomas Jones, Virginia; Shaun Alexander, Alabama; Ron Dayne, Wisconsin; Jamal Lewis, Tennessee. Sleeper: Curtis Keaton, James Madison. Dayne won the 1999 Heisman Trophy, but Jones and Alexander are considered by draft experts to be the top two backs in the draft. Lewis is coming off an injury, which will likely keep him out of the first round.
Wide Receiver: Plaxico Burress, Michigan State; Dennis Northcutt, Arizona; Sylvester Morris, Jackson State; Dez White, Georgia Tech. Sleeper: R.J. Soward, USC.
Although Warrick is unquestionably the best wide receiver in the draft, the players listed above could also make an impact in the NFL. Burress opened eyes with his performance in the 1999 Citrus Bowl and is a near lock as a top-ten pick. Soward was touted as a first-round pick after his junior season, but the hype tailed off after a mediocre senior season. His performance at February's scouting combine vaulted him back into the upper echelon.
Quarterback: Chad Pennington, Marshall; Chris Redman, Louisville. Sleeper: Joe Hamilton, Georgia Tech.
This year's quarterback class is relatively small and unheralded compared to the 1998 draft (especially with Purdue's Drew Brees decision to stay in school for his senior year). Pennington and Redman could both develop into NFL stars. The recent success of smaller QB's like Buffalo's Doug Flutie and Tampa Bay's Shawn King has caused scouts to take a second look at Hamilton.
Offensive Line: Chris Samuels, Alabama; Stockar McDougle, Oklahoma; Chris McIntosh, Wisconsin. Sleeper: Adrian Klemm, Hawaii.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that two of the top running backs in the draft ran behind two of the top offensive lineman available. Samuels should go in the top five.
Tight End: Bubba Franks, Miami. Sleeper: Anthony Becht, West Virginia.
Franks could be an impact tight end on par with Ricky Dudley in Oakland and Tony Gonzalez in Kansas City.
Linebacker: Brian Urlacher, New Mexico; Julian Peterson, Michigan State; Keith Bullock, Syracuse. Sleeper: Rob Morris, BYU.
In addition to his linebacking duties, Urlacher lined up at safety, tight end, and also returned kicks. A probable top-ten pick.
Defensive Line: Corey Simon, Florida State; Shaun Ellis, Tennessee; Darren Howard, Kansas State; John Engelberger, Virginia Tech. Sleeper: Adewale Ogunleye, Indiana.
Simon anchored the Seminoles stifling defense during its run to the national title. Ogunleye would have been a first-round pick had he left Bloomington after his junior season. He hurt his knee in the middle of his senior season and could be a steal in a later round.
Defensive Backs: Deon Grant, Tennessee; Rashard Anderson, Jackson State. Sleeper: Hank Poteat, Pittsburgh.
Grant is the top DB available in a weak year at this position.