Frank Barone

The Race To Number One

By Frank Barone Columnist

Here are the top contenders:

San Francisco 49ers
At QB they are committed to Alex Smith. Prior to last week’s game against Tampa Bay they had the 31st rated offense and 32nd ranked defense. So it seems there are many positions to be filled. USC running back Reggie Bush would be sensible but they might look to trade down to get more picks.

Houston Texans
This depends on how they view the future of David Carr. If management believes in him and will stick with him, then a stud offensive tackle like Eric Winston of Miami or D’Brickashaw Ferguson of Virginia is sorely needed.

New York Jets
Chad Pennington’s future, as we all know, is up in the air. The Jets have to go into next season not expecting any contribution from him. There is the possibility to look into a trade for Phillip Rivers of San Diego. If not that route, a later round draft pick on a QB to groom is essential. Personally, I would look at stud offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson of Virginia or if there, I could not pass on Reggie Bush of USC.

Cleveland Browns
They drafted Charlie Frye last year so I will go on the assumption that Romeo Crennel sees him as the QB of the future in replacing Trent Dilfer. This is another team that might trade down to get more picks or take Reggie Bush from USC as the stud running back.

Green Bay Packers
The team is in need of a major overhaul. Any position on defense is needed to upgrade.
Defensive ends Matias Kiwanuka of Boston College and North Carolina St. junior (if he comes out early) Mario Williams have to be considered prime targets for them.

Arizona Cardinals
When will Dennis Green give up on his QB situation and draft a high blue chipper?
There are rumors out there about trading for Daunte Culpepper from the Vikings. Vince Young, the QB from Texas, might be a tempting pick (again, if he comes out early) for Dennis Green.

Tennessee Titans
With Volek at QB and Chris Brown at running back the skilled positions seem set for the Titans future. I would look for them to go with a premier defensive player, possibly linebacker A.J. Hawk of Ohio St. or defensive back Jimmy Williams from Virginia Tech.

New Orleans Saints
You have to feel for this team, as they have been the NFL nomads, playing all their games on the road. This is another team that has to decide whether to stick with QB Aaron Brooks or look for a change at the QB position. My guess would be a defensive pick here in Ahmad Brooks of Virginia at linebacker.

Minnesota Vikings
This team will probably be totally gutted and they may look to start over. Culpepper could be traded as the big chip. I might look for them to go local with Lawrence Maroney, the running back from Minnesota.

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