I've been browsing the ESPN website for Kiper's breakdowns from prior years. It's great to read the expectations of the analysts to see how they actually performed. Was Kiper wrong in his analysis? I don't think so. But read and enjoy...
1. Houston -- David Carr, QB, Fresno State
Carr now becomes the cornerstone of the Texans' franchise. He is a franchise-caliber quarterback with accuracy and velocity reminiscent of another No. 1 overall pick, Troy Aikman. Look what Aikman meant to Dallas. Carr is a major building block; with the right supporting cast, the rest could be history. His sidearm delivery is a concern because there is a possibility for his passes being batted down. Plus, he won't scramble around and make things happen with his legs. But Carr has the physical ability. He was brought along slowly at Fresno State in order to grasp Pat Hill's sophisticated offense. Last season he was the most consistent performer at the college level, and he beat three top-level opponents at the start of the season. He lit it up at the Senior Bowl and seized control of the top spot at that time. The Texans had to pick him. His maturity and leadership are critical aspects of his makeup.
2. Carolina -- Julius Peppers, DE, North Carolina
I have heard the criticism about Peppers' lack of productivity. But when Dwight Freeney broke the national sack record last season, the record was previously held by Peppers, who had 15 the year before as a third-year sophomore. Peppers is a 285-pounder who moves like an outside linebacker. He has tremendous agility and quickness. He was extremely productive in the ACC and rose to the occasion against quality competition. His production did tail off last season, so that is a concern. He didn't pick up the pace and dominate down the stretch. But his prior dominance was already there. He stayed No. 1 on my draft board all year because he had dominated already. Panthers head coach John Fox had Michael Strahan in New York and knows the value of a dominant defensive end. Peppers could be an outstanding and complete performer who could develop into a Bruce Smith-like force in a few years, hitting quarterbacks on a regular basis.
3. Detroit -- Joey Harrington, QB, Oregon
This was a decision Lions coach Marty Mornhinweg had to make based on his assessment of Mike McMahon, whom the Lions drafted last year. Harrington is the third highest player on my draft board and deserved to go in this area. Playing in Mike Bellotti's offense at Oregon, Harrington is a great fit for Mornhinweg's West Coast scheme. Harrington, who has a Brett Favre-like flair for the dramatic, was a highly productive quarterback and one I had rated only slightly behind Carr. But he outperformed Carr at the NFL scouting combine, showing tremendous touch and accuracy on deep balls and more than adequate arm strength. The Lions had to make a pick to generate fan interest in their team, especially with a new stadium coming soon.
4. Buffalo -- Mike Williams, OT, Texas
I had Williams rated ahead of Bryant McKinnie after the knee injury wasn't viewed as a concern. He could step in at either right or left tackle. At Texas, he protected the blind side of Chris Simms at right tackle, but he has prior experience at left tackle. He is a great pass blocker and is exceptional at sustaining blocks as a run blocker. He is nimble at 375 pounds, often getting downfield to help spring running backs for large gains. He has enough polish to step in and be an immediate starter and anchor on the Bills' offensive line.
5. San Diego -- Quentin Jammer, CB, Texas
As a shut=down corner, Jammer may not rate as highly as Champ Bailey or Charles Woodson did coming out of college, but the 205-pounder is a former free safety who is great in run support. He came back from shoulder surgery in 1999 to have two outstanding seasons at cornerback. Jammer could have been a mid-first-round pick had he come out last year, but he smartly returned to Texas to address the areas he needed to improve in order to move on to the next level. Jammer is a major upgrade for the Chargers, who had a big need at cornerback. Alex Molden and Ryan McNeil didn't cut it as free-agent pickups, and I view Tay Cody, a third-round pick in 2001, as only a nickel-back option.
6. Kansas City (from Dallas) -- Ryan Sims, DT, North Carolina
The Chiefs had identified their top two players as Harrington and Sims, who had surged ahead of Albert Haynesworth as the top defensive tackle in the draft. When you looked at the North Carolina defensive line, you wondered if the more destructive force was Peppers or Sims. Sims had six sacks as a junior and five as a senior. He excelled in big games. In the Tar Heels' upset of Florida State, he had two sacks and two hurries. Overall, he had 20 QB hurries and batted down nine passes. Sims is a strong, explosive and super-quick player. At the Senior Bowl practices, he was arguably the best player along with Carr. Defensive tackle was the Chiefs' No. 1 need area; they actually need two tackles, but they have a solid one now in Sims.
7. Minnesota -- Bryant McKinnie, OT, Miami (Fla.)
The big question about McKinnie has been his run-blocking, which is a surprise considering his size. He tends to fall off blocks and not sustain them. He also needs to be more consistent with the intensity, something that was also said about Jonathan Ogden when he came out of UCLA. But McKinnie is a superior pass blocker. He didn't allow Dwight Freeney to sack Ken Dorsey last season. In fact, McKinnie gave up no sacks during his last two seasons. Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss are the Vikings' franchise players, and now they have a tremendous pass blocker in McKinnie at left tackle.
8. Dallas (from Kansas City) -- Roy Williams, S, Dallas
The Cowboys made a great trade; they moved down, picked up a third-rounder this year and a sixth-rounder next year, and still got the player they wanted. At the same time, Williams wanted to be a Cowboy; now he is. He will step in at free safety and form an awesome, deep-patrol tandem with strong safety Darren Woodson. There may not be a bigger defensive difference-maker in the draft than Williams. He did nothing but make big plays for Oklahoma. He is almost like an extra linebacker on the field. He excels in run support. He comes up into the box to deliver bone-jarring blows. He is also just as comfortable operating in coverage. Williams is an intimidator, affecting the concentration of receivers entering his area. Woodson and Williams will have to learn to work together as two in-the-box safeties.
9. Jacksonville -- John Henderson, DT, Tennessee
The Jaguars went with production over potential in picking Henderson over his Tennessee teammate, Albert Haynesworth. Henderson had an ankle injury, suffered in the season opener last season, which turned him into more of a clogger rather than a penetrator. He also had a back injury that was a concern. But as junior, Henderson won the Outland Trophy and was spectacular with 12 sacks and 21 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He was dominant every game. Last season, though, he ended up with only 4.5 sacks, which was still more than Haynesworth's 1.5 sacks. Henderson has excellent size and a rugged approach. He will work next to Marcus Stroud, Jacksonville's No. 1 pick a year ago, to give the Jaguars a solid pair of young defensive tackles.
10. Cincinnati -- Levi Jones, OT, Arizona State
Jones is a good football player, potentially. But at No. 10? He was 17th on my board. Plus, the Bengals had bigger needs elsewhere; offensive tackle was not a crying need. They could have gotten Jones if they had traded down. Cornerback Phillip Buchanon was still on the board, as well as defensive tackles Albert Haynesworth and Wendell Bryant and tight ends Jeremy Shockey and Daniel Graham. To me, they needed to draft Buchanon or trade down. Don't get me wrong: Jones is a talent who could be a solid left tackle. He was a former walk-on and defensive tackle who emerged as a quality left tackle for the Sun Devils and impressed at the Senior Bowl. But I disagree with the pick. The Bengals had better options. A trade down would have been huge. Why lock on to Jones at No. 10 when they could have picked up valuable picks later in the draft and still gotten Jones later? I question Jacksonville as well for picking Henderson instead of trading down, but not as much as Cincinnati.