- Mel Kiper Jr., Football analyst
In my latest first-round projection, I have underclassmen making up half of the top 32 picks, including 12 of the first 20 spots on the board.
I still have LSU junior QB JaMarcus Russell going with the first overall pick to Oakland. However, the biggest buzz could center around Oklahoma junior RB Adrian Peterson (6-1½, 223 pounds). His workout numbers at the NFL combine should look something like this: 4.37 in the 40-yard dash; 38-inch vertical leap; and eight percent body fat. I have Peterson going to Cleveland, which will have either the third or fourth pick, depending on a coin flip tiebreaker with Tampa Bay; but there also could be several teams interested in trading up to get Peterson.
If Peterson does go to Cleveland, Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn could slide to the Dolphins with the ninth pick. The reason Quinn would fall to Miami? Teams picking after Cleveland (possibly Tampa Bay, Arizona, Washington, Minnesota and Houston) don't need a quarterback. You could make a case for the Texans or Vikings to draft Quinn, but I don't expect that to happen.
The Seattle Seahawks are the only team that does not have a first-round pick because of the trade they made with the Patriots to acquire WR Deion Branch. Seattle could use another wide receiver and, ironically, this draft has a lot of great pass catchers. (I'm projecting seven wide receivers will go in the first round.)
My next first-round projection will be the first week of March following the NFL combine.
(Note: a coin flip between the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will determine which team has the third pick and which team has the fourth choice.)
In his latest first-round draft projection, Mel Kiper writes teams could be looking to make a deal with the Cleveland Browns in order to move up and draft Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson.