• Footballs Future

  • The Race for Number One
    By Robert Davis

    Whoever ends up with the first overall pick this year, is going to have a big decision to make. There is no real clear-cut player who deserves the top spot in the draft. The battle for the top spot this year is a five-player race. Here's a look at the players who could potentially be taken with the first pick in the 2001 NFL Draft:

    Deuce McAllister, RB, Mississippi - At this point, Deuce seems to be the popular choice for the top pick. He is clearly the best back in the draft, and the Chargers are in desperate need for a starting running back. However, McAllister's talent is not worth the #1 overall pick. He is a very good, potentially great prospect, but he isn't a #1 pick type of player. He does combine a nice combination of skills, from speed and power, to receiving and return capabilities. However, he is not a franchise type back, which normally would exclude him from consideration, but with no clear pick, he is right in the mix. He does have some flaws too. The most pressing is his inability to stay healthy. Despite sharing the carries at Ole Miss with teammate Joe Gunn, McAllister has proven to be injury prone. Players with potential injury problems will not get drafted first overall. The Chargers will also be looking for the safest pick, because of the Ryan Leaf fiasco, and Deuce is far from safe.

    Jamal Reynolds, DE, Florida St. - Reynolds is a player with tremendous athleticism, speed, and the ability to get to the opponents quarterback on a consistent basis. He is the latest in a long line of dominant Florida St. defensive ends. However, Reynolds is only 6'2 and 255lbs. His size brings up questions about his ability to remain at defensive end every down. He can be neutralized in the run game because of his lack of size, so he is basically a one-dimensional player. Moving to outside linebacker in the pros is a distinct possibility for Reynolds. That draws comparisons to former FSU end turned linebacker in the NFL, Peter Boulware, who was drafted with the fourth overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft. Questions around Reynolds' position, and the effect he will have at that position should eliminate him from consideration for the top pick in the draft.

    So, as the draft approaches, the list should be trimmed to three.

    Andre Carter, DE, California - Carter's combination of skills, personality and work ethic rival that of Courtney Brown, last years top overall pick. He is a tremendous talent. He displays the quickness to be a pass rush force, but the strength and ability to remain tough at the point and stop the run. His work ethic is second to none, and he will do whatever it takes to make his team better. He is probably the safest pick because of his talent and his work ethic. That could make him attractive to the Chargers because their last #1 pick was immature and lazy, and to this point is considered a bust. San Diego also could use a big time end for their defense, so he fits an immediate need. San Diego is also in dire need of offensive skill position playmakers, and there are a couple players who could be taken because of that, causing Carter to possibly drop out of contention.

    Michael Vick, QB, Virginia Tech - Reports have it that Vick's mind is not made up, despite what he has said in the media. Vick reportedly does not want to be drafted by the San Diego Chargers, who at this point do hold the #1 pick, and chances are will end up with that pick. Regardless, he will be an option. His combination of skills at the QB position has never been seen before. The poise he has shown for a man as young as him is also extraordinary. He single handedly kept Virginia Tech in the Championship game last year against Florida St, as a freshman. Vick is a bit short, but his high release point and ability to escape the pocket make that a minimal concern. If Vick comes out, he should be the top pick in the draft. He is the player that deserves it most; playing a position that is put in high demand, and showing skills that warrant that high of a pick. He has a decision to make. Does he want to be a Charger or a Texan in next year's expansion team? He should be the first pick in either this year's draft, or next. There is always the possibility of him returning to school, which could muddle the entire picture at the top of the draft.

    David Terrell, WR, Michigan - Whenever a wide receiver is mentioned as a top pick, you know he has some skills. Terrell has the size and toughness to be a physical go to receiver, but has the speed and agility to be a playmaking force. That could make him very attractive to a team in need of a serious playmaker. The Chargers happen to be a team who need an offensive playmaker, which is why Terrell will be considered until the very end. As with Vick, Terrell has the option of returning to school.

    Right now, it looks as if San Diego is going to end up with the #1 pick in the draft. This is a good time for them because they have a few pressing needs, and the players in consideration for the top spot all fill one of those needs. There may not be a real franchise player if Vick returns to school, but they should be able to nab a high impact player, whether it is at defensive end or wide receiver.

    Club Regal,

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