ShareThis Page
Sports

Big-time players with flaws are second-day choices

| Monday, April 28, 2003

NEW YORK -- The second day of the NFL Draft provided the usual assortment of highly regarded players who had just enough questions about them to cause their status to fall.

One early pick Sunday was wounded in a drive-by shooting, and another is the undersized son of a former NFL star. A third player is a quarterback who runs as well as he throws, and a fourth is a running back coming off a serious knee injury.

There also was a baseball player, Drew Henson, who was chosen in the sixth round by the Houston Texans, adding to the team's collection of young quarterbacks that also includes David Carr, the No. 1 overall pick last year, and Dave Ragone, chosen Saturday in the third round.

And finally, there is Ken Dorsey, who lost only two games in his career as Miami's quarterback but wasn't chosen until San Francisco drafted him 21 picks from the end. He did better than Heisman runner-up Brad Banks of Iowa and Jason Gesser of Washington State, two star QBs who weren't taken at all.

It started when Dennis Weathersby (the wounded player), Dan Klecko (son of the NFL star), Seneca Wallace (the versatile QB) and Lee Suggs (knee) went quickly in the fourth round in the second day of the NFL Draft instead of on the first.

So did other well-known college players like running backs Quentin Griffin of Oklahoma (undersized) and Onterrio Smith of Oregon (questionable durability), offensive tackle Brett Williams of Florida State (mobility), and Outland Trophy-winning defensive tackle Rien Long of Washington State (injuries and attitude).

All can take heart in the fact that players chosen lower have turned into stars: Zach Thomas was a fifth-rounder and Terrell Davis and Tom Brady went in the sixth. And Troy Brown and Jessie Armstead, both were chosen in 1993 in the eighth round, which no longer exists.

Klecko, son of former New York Jets lineman Joe Klecko, was Big East defensive Player of the Year, even though he played for lowly Temple. But at a quarter-inch under 6 feet, he is considered too short. He was taken by Houston.

The surprise on Wallace, the Iowa State quarterback, is that he went to Seattle rather than the Steelers, which has selected players of his type -- Kordell Stewart, Hines Ward and Antwaan Randle El. A scrambler under 6-feet tall, he has insisted he wants to remain at quarterback in the NFL.

Suggs, a star at Virginia Tech in 2000, injured his knee in 2001 and split time when he returned last season. He went to Cleveland.

The 5-7 Griffin was chosen by Denver, which has a history of succeeding with middle- and low-round running backs. Smith was taken by Minnesota, Williams by Kansas City and Long by Tennessee.

"This is an opportunity for him to start over," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said of Long, who dropped in part because of questions about his attitude.

The Henson pick came in the sixth round. It had been expected; Henson is hitting under .200 at Triple-A Columbus after leaving Michigan and signing with the New York Yankees for seven figures.

At Michigan, he alternated with Brady, the MVP of the 2002 Super Bowl for New England.

The last pick, No. 262, was Ryan Hoag, a wide receiver from Gustavus Adolphus. He will be honored as Mr. Irrelevant at the same time Southern California quarterback Carson Palmer is honored as No. 1 in the draft.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me