- Todd McShay, Scouts Inc.
Postseason all-star games and the annual scouting combine are long gone, and more than a month full of pro day workouts have come to a close. Furthermore, what was a whirlwind of a free-agency period has tapered off considerably in recent weeks.
What does it all mean? The 2006 NFL draft is rapidly approaching. With less than three weeks remaining before draft weekend kicks off on April 29, here's an updated look at how the first two rounds are shaping up:
+ = Underclassman
x = Still to be determined by coin flip
1. Houston Texans (2-14)
Top five needs: WR, OT, OG, CB, MLB
The pick: +Reggie Bush, RB, USC
It would take a blockbuster trade offer to entice the Texans to pass on Bush, who cemented his status as the clear-cut No. 1 prospect in the 2006 draft class by running a 4.33 40-yard dash at USC's recent pro day. Running back is not one of the Texans' top positional needs, but Bush is far more than just a running back. He's the most explosive runner, receiver and return man that this year's class has to offer. No other rookie will make a bigger impact than Bush will for the Texans next season.
2. New Orleans Saints (3-13)
Top five needs: DT, OC, CB, OLB, DE
The pick: Matt Leinart, QB, USC
The Saints have put this pick up for public auction and are likely to deal to the highest bidder. If that's the case, the team moving into this pick (Jets?) will do so for Leinart's services. Plan B is a bit trickier. The popular belief is that the Saints would make a tough decision between OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson (Virginia) and DE Mario Williams (NC State). After the recent trade of last year's starting left tackle, Wayne Gandy (Falcons), drafting Ferguson with this pick makes even more sense. However, there's still an outside shot that the Saints snatch Leinart up here. They are concerned about QB Drew Brees' long-term durability (shoulder) and structured his contract in a manner that would let them off the hook a year from now should they choose. Either way you slice it, Leinart has a better than 50-50 chance of coming off the board at pick No. 2.
Scouts Inc.'s latest mock draft details all of the Saints' first-round options, which include taking Matt Leinart with the No. 2 pick.