Lawson rises, Kiwanuka falls in latest projections

Originally Published: April 12, 2006
By Mel Kiper Jr. | Special to ESPN Insider
With the NFL draft two weeks away, the one hot spot in the first round remains with the New Orleans Saints and second overall pick. While I still have North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams going to New Orleans, the outlook of the first round could change significantly if the Saints trade the pick.

My first-round projections remain nearly the same, with the one newcomer being NC State defensive end Manny Lawson. Overshadowed by Williams at NC State, Lawson had a very good senior season then performed exceptionally well at the NFL scouting combine. Right now I am projecting the Jets will use their second first-round pick on Lawson, where he will be used as a pass-rushing defensive end/outside linebacker.

New this week are my projections for the second, third and fourth rounds. You will be surprised to see some players initially projected as first-round picks have slipped to the second round in recent weeks.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst