NFL News of April 20, 2003

Strength of early picks in question

Next weekend’s draft marks the 20th anniversary of one of the greatest drafts of all time. It produced, among others, three Hall of Fame quarterbacks — John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.

By the sounds of it, there won’t be much nostalgia in 2003 for this edition. At the top, the Cincinnati Bengals first tried to trade out of their No. 1 position but didn’t find any takers. This past week, the Bengals showed they were not totally sold on any of the top prospects by opening contract negotiations with three players, quarterbacks Carson Palmer (Southern California) and Byron Leftwich (Marshall) and cornerback Terence Newman (Kansas State).

The player who was expected to challenge Newman to be the first defensive player taken, Arizona State defensive end Terrell Suggs, disappointed many with a sub-par personal workout. Miami [Fla.] running back Willis McGahee could have been a top-10 draft pick before tearing ligaments in his left knee.

— Ken Sugiura,  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution “Pro Football: NFL Report”

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