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2006 NFL draft: First-round selections

The Spokesman-Review

No. 1 HOUSTON

MARIO WILLIAMS, North Carolina State, 6-6 1/2, 292, DE, junior – Alluring combination of size, speed and athletic ability, he could develop into a dominating end. Can take most tackles with his first step, and has the upper-body strength and fluidity to elude those he can’t beat off the line.

No. 2 NEW ORLEANS

REGGIE BUSH, Southern California, 5-11 1/2, 203, RB, junior – Fast, elusive and nearly impossible to take down in the open field, as multiple highlight-reel runs from his 2005 Heisman-winning season demonstrated. Smaller than ideal for an NFL back, he’s not the type to move the pile or soak up 30 carries. He could be a devastating weapon for the team that deploys him properly, most likely with another, bulkier back — like, say, Deuce McAllister.

No. 3 TENNESSEE

VINCE YOUNG, Texas, 6-4, 233, QB, junior – A nightmare for every defense he faced in college with his combination of accurate passing and elusive, open-field running. Big enough to see over the line, his sidearm delivery worked for him in college, but could lead to more batted passes in the NFL. Arm strength is adequate.

No. 4 NEW YORK JETS

D’BRICKASHAW FERGUSON, Virginia, 6-6, 312, OT – Big and beyond nimble, he’s actually athletic, with a great first step and excellent wingspan. Rarely out of position and almost impossible to beat except by brute strength. He can direct pass rushers almost at will. Less impressive as a run blocker.

No. 5 GREEN BAY

A.J. HAWK, Ohio State, 6-1, 248, OLB – Hawk is a complete, sideline-to-sideline player. Quick to diagnose a play, he uses superior speed and block-shedding ability to run down the ballcarrier. An excellent tackler, he takes good angles and rarely overpursues. Can be a disruptive pass rusher, too.

No. 6 SAN FRANCISCO

VERNON DAVIS, Maryland, 6-3 1/4, 254, TE, junior – Not quite as big as some star pros, but has exceptional athleticism and soft hands. Can embarrass defenders in man coverage, and has shown a knack for finding soft spots in zone coverage. Not much of a blocker, but teams won’t ask him to do much of that, anyway.

No. 7 OAKLAND

MICHAEL HUFF, Texas, 5-11 3/4, 198, CB – An impressive physical specimen with the speed to play cornerback, but the size and strength to play safety. He has excellent closing speed to make up for his slow-to-turn hips, and is quick to read plays. Excellent run-stopper.

No. 8 BUFFALO

DONTE WHITNER, Ohio State, 5-10, 204, S, junior – Can make plays all over the field, including as a pass rusher. Reckless with his body in run support. Needs to learn to diagnose plays quicker and add some bulk.

No. 9 DETROIT

ERNIE SIMS, Florida State, 5-11 1/4, 234, OLB – Aggressive, but undersized. He’s fast and shows good pursuit angles and natural instincts. Big hitter. Makes excellent plays in pass coverage, and has good hands and ball skills.

No. 10 ARIZONA

MATT LEINART, 6-foot-4, 224, QB, Southern California – Cut through all the hype and championships and intangibles, and Leinart is still pretty close to the ideal NFL QB candidate.

No. 11 DENVER

JAY CUTLER, Vanderbilt, 6-2 3/4, 225, QB – Has all the necessary physical skills to succeed in the NFL, including size, arm strength and scrambling ability.

No. 12 BALTIMORE

HALOTI NGATA, Oregon, 6-4 1/4, 338, DT, junior – An immovable object, he can hold his ground against double teams and sometimes still make the play.

No. 13 CLEVELAND

KAMERION WIMBLEY, Florida State, 6-3 3/4, 248, DE – An explosive, if undersized DE who could be a great fit at OLB for the Browns because they run a 3-4 defense.

No. 14 PHILADELPHIA

BRODRICK BUNKLEY, Florida State, 6-2 1/2, 304, DT – A versatile defensive tackle who can rush the passer and stuff the run.

No. 15 ST. LOUIS

TYE HILL, Clemson, 5-9 1/2, 185, CB – Quick and fast, he’s probably the best CB suited to zone coverage in the draft.

No. 16 MIAMI

JASON ALLEN, Tennessee, 6-0 3/4, 213, S – Has experience playing nearly everywhere in the secondary, and has shown ability to stop the run and shed blockers in the box.

No. 17 MINNESOTA

CHAD GREENWAY, Iowa, 6-2 1/2, 240, OLB – He’s slightly bigger than Hawk, not quite as fast or as strong, but comparable in every other way. He’s probably better in pass coverage, with excellent instincts and a nose for the ball. Good tackler.

No. 18 DALLAS

BOBBY CARPENTER, Ohio State, 6-2 1/2, 256, OLB – Shows nice upside, especially as a pass defender. Matches up well and has good range and speed.

No. 19 SAN DIEGO

ANTONIO CROMARTIE, Florida State, 6-2 1/4, 203, CB, junior – A potential boom-or-bust pick, he sat out the 2005 season with a torn knee ligament. Has raw talent in buckets, with plenty of speed to go along with his size.

No. 20 KANSAS CITY

TAMBA HALI, Penn State, 6-2 1/2, 263, DE – Short but powerful player with a strong upper body and the agility to elude the first punch of offensive tackles.

No. 21 NEW ENGLAND

LAURENCE MARONEY, Minnesota, 5-10 1/2, 211, RB, junior – Explosive and fast, he’s tough to bring down in the open field, but should be stoppable in traffic. Doesn’t hesitate to hit the hole. Needs work to become useful as a receiver or as a blocker, but could potentially excel at both, especially pass catching. Takes care of the football.

No. 22 SAN FRANCISCO

MANNY LAWSON, North Carolina State, 6-5, 238, DE – Another athletic tweener whose measurables might spell OLB. A raw but potentially dangerous pass rusher. Excellent speed for his size, he has a good closing burst on the QB, and can run down RBs from behind.

No. 23 TAMPA BAY

DAVIN JOSEPH, Oklahoma, 6-2 1/2, 311, OG – Mean streak and aggressiveness help make up for smallish size. Good mobile blocker, can clear out linebackers when pulling and trapping.

No. 24 CINCINNATI

JOHNATHAN JOSEPH, South Carolina, 5-11, 189, CB, junior – An enticing but raw prospect. Very fast and athletic, can turn and run quickly and close on the receiver once the ball is in the air.

No. 25 PITTSBURGH

SANTONIO HOLMES, Ohio State, 5-10 1/2, WR, junior – Sneaky, elusive speedster who is skilled at getting open against zone and man coverages. Secure hands, albeit has the occasional lapse in concentration. Can make defenders miss after the catch and is fearless going over the middle.

No. 26 BUFFALO

JOHN MCCARGO, N.C. State, 6-2, 295, DT – Undersized, but has the raw material to become a disruptive one-gap tackle.

No. 27 CAROLINA

DEANGELO WILLIAMS, Memphis, 5-8 1/2, 217, RB – An elite all-around prospect, he’s quick and compact, but also elusive and difficult to tackle. He’s also a good pass catcher and route runner.

No. 28 JACKSONVILLE

MARCEDES LEWIS, UCLA, 6-6 1/2, 261, TE – Good receiver and big target who excels at catching the jump ball. Very agile and athletic.

No. 29 NEW YORK JETS

NICK MANGOLD, Ohio State 6-3 1/2, 300, C – The top center in the draft by far. Strong, but not overpowering, he should be adequate except against mammoth, two-gap tackles.

No. 30 INDIANAPOLIS

JOSEPH ADDAI, LSU, 5-11, 214, RB – A decisive runner who hits the hole immediately and with good burst. Has an excellent second gear after finding space.

No. 31 SEATTLE

KELLY JENNINGS, Miami, 5-10 3/4, 178, CB – Smooth and quick to react, he was one of the top shutdown corners in college football. Could stand to get bigger and stronger. Needs to improve his technique in bump-and-run coverage. Skilled tackler.

No. 32 NEW YORK GIANTS

MATHIAS KIWANUKA, Boston College, 6-5 1/2, 261, DE – Excellent pass rusher skilled at anticipating the snap count and getting around most tackles. His moves will need some work, but he’s shown the agility and nose for the QB that suggest he’ll become adept in NFL. Should bat down a lot of passes and run down ballcarriers from behind.

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