The Providence Steam Roller ended the most compelling draft day suspense by taking WFL-outcast flanker Terrell “T.O.” Owens with the third pick overall. The top choice overall was strong safety Troy Polamalu who was taken by Baltimore.
In addition to Evans, Delaware selected:
Delaware GM/coach Jon Brams was the first general manager to finish drafting. The Cherries’ roster has only seven open spots, so Brams announced he was done upon the end of the 7th round. On his way out the door, Brams said, “I’m pleased. Evans is raw but we’ve projected him a solid wideout. Turner and Shelton are upgrades from the players they’re replacing. Barrett should be an adequate backup. And Toniu Fonoti is going to surprise you. I almost took him in the 3rd round, but I gambled he would still be there in [round] four and won.”
|Cherries Projected Starters|
|Toniu Fonoti *||LG|
|Lee Evans *||WR|
|94||Bryce Fisher *||RE|
|95||Terrell Suggs *||ROLB|
|26||Lito Sheppard *||LCB|
|88||Eric Parker *||PR-WR|
|* projected new starter or positiion change|
The draft lasted a long while after Brams made his exit. Baltimore, Washington, and Atlantic City each had 20 or more roster vacancies to fill. The draft ended with Atlantic City taking defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins as the only selection in the 22nd round, the 167th player chosen overall. To see a list of all picks, go online to the league’s website.
Also chosen in the first round, along with Polamalu, Ownes, and Evans, were wide reciver Willie Ponder (Richmond), rookie defensive back B.J. Sams (Connecticut), running back Corey Dillon (Albany), defensive end Jevon Kearse (Washington), cornerback Shawn Springs (Atlantic City), rookie free safety Sean Taylor (New York), offensive tackle Roman Oben (Pittsburgh), running back Jesse Chatman (Baltimore, using a selection acquired by trade from Syracuse), and strong safety Terrence Kiel (Philadelphia).
In lieu of a particular draft pick, several teams opted to retain 2006 rights to a player who is currently injured and will not be available to play this season:
The round used for this purpose was seven rounds lower, by league rules, than the round in which the player in question was selected in 2004. Kleinsasser was Pittsburgh’s 44th pick and Kalu was Atlantic City’s 22nd pick in 2004, so the Ironmen and Seagulls were able to those retain 2006 rights to those respective players just for the asking.
Only four quarterbacks were drafted: rookie Ben Roethlisberger by Baltimore in the 3rd round, Kyle Boller by Atlantic City in the 6th round, Mark Brunell by New York in the 9th round, and Kordell Stewart by Baltimore in the 17th round.
Philadelphia’s failure to draft a quarterback triggered speculation that they may be receptive to Brams’ shopping of Brett Favre. The Lakers need quarterback help. Tommy Maddox, the reigning league champions’ starter last season, has been found during the off-season to have an unspecified durability issue and will be available this season for no more than a few games. Rodney Peete, Maddox’s backup, is on his last playing legs.
It’s unfortunate Brams wasn’t present at day’s end to address this speculation. I hounded Philadelphia GM Stony Balboa on this issue as he left for the day, but he refused to comment. Stay tuned — this could get interesting.