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NFL Draft starts Saturday

April 19, 2002 at 8:06 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, April 19 (UPI) -- The showroom is set for David Carr but Joey Harrington is headed to an unknown destination.

The tale of two quarterbacks is an intriguing story for the 2002 NFL Draft, which will kick off Saturday at noon EDT with Carr assured of being the first to go, the No. 1 pick of the new expansion team, the Houston Texans.

In an unprecedented move, Texans General Manager Charley Casserly announced two weeks ago that the Fresno State quarterback would be their top choice and immediately started negotiations with Carr's agent Mike Sullivan, who also represented last year's top pick Michael Vick.

Carr, 22, has reached a tentative agreement with Houston on a contract that is similar to the one structured by Sullivan for Vick with the Atlanta Falcons. Carr will receive a signing bonus of more than $10 million and a guaranteed payout of $16.25 million in the first three years of the deal. Vick got a guaranteed $15.3 million in the first three seasons of his contract.

"David just made a great impression on (coach) Dom (Capers) and (offensive coordinator) Chris Palmer and the entire organization," Casserly said.

While Carr has already moved his wife and son to Houston, Harrington has "no clue" as to where he is headed and will not even attend Saturday's draft. The Oregon quarterback recently visited with five teams in an eight-day span and remains in a befuddled state.

"Nobody is giving their hand away," Harrington said. "But I guess the biggest thing is, nobody actually knows."

Three teams with questionable quarterback situations -- the Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills -- pick second, third and fourth, respectively, and it appears each will pass on Harrington, who led unheralded Oregon to the No. 2 national ranking.

Perhaps the Kansas City Chiefs with the eighth pick will go for Harrington. Or maybe the Cincinnati Bengals with the 10th selection. Then again, new Washington Redskins Coach Steve Spurrier may put his trust in Harrington, although the Redskins probably would have to trade up from the 18th position.

The first dilemma of the draft belongs to new Carolina Coach John Fox, who is contemplating taking either defensive end Julius Peppers of North Carolina or Texas cornerback Quentin Jammer with the second overall pick.

The fans' choice is obviously for Peppers to stay home and Fox, the former defensive coordinator of the New York Giants, appears to be leaning toward the pass-rushing end.

Detroit desperately needs a cornerback and probably will pounce on Jammer. At first it was believed that Lions Coach Marty Mornhinweg would jump on the opportunity to take Harrington, but he apparently has faith in quarterback Mike McMahon, who impressed in his three starts as a rookie last year.

Buffalo and the San Diego Chargers will probably make two mammoth tackles -- Mike Williams of Texas and Bryant McKinnie of national champion Miami -- with the fourth and fifth picks, respectively.

The Dallas Cowboys own the sixth pick followed by the Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars and Cincinnati Bengals.

Oklahoma safety Roy Williams and four defensive tackles -- Ryan Sims of North Carolina, Albert Haynesworth and John Henderson of Tennessee and Wendell Bryant of Wisconsin -- are expected to be top-12 selections.

An influx of underclassmen strengthened the crop of receivers. As many as six, led by Tennessee burner Donte Stallworth, could go in the first round.

A running back may not be selected until the Cleveland Browns pick 16th overall. T.J. Duckett of Michigan State and William Green of Boston College are rated as the top backs.

The defending national champion Miami Hurricanes had four first-round picks last year and may lead the way with another four. McKinnie, tight end Jeremy Shockey, safety Edward Reed and cornerback Phillip Buchanon comprise the probable quartet this time around.

Cornerback Mike Rumph and running back Clinton Portis are also first-round possibilities for the Hurricanes.

The Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the only teams without a first-round pick. The Dolphins sent the 25th overall selection to the New Orleans Saints in a trade for running back Ricky Williams.

The Buccaneers paid a far heavier price to lure Coach Jon Gruden from the Oakland Raiders, parting with first- and second-round picks this year, a No. 1 in 2003 and a second-rounder in 2004 along with $8 million.

New Orleans will pick 13th and 25th and the Raiders own the 21st and 23rd selections.

After three rounds are conducted on Saturday, the remaining four rounds will be held on Sunday.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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