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Pasquarelli: Slippery slope

Pasquarelli: As advertised

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Saturday, April 26, 2003
Updated: April 27, 2:54 PM ET
 
Best of the remaining prospects
By Len Pasquarelli
ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- As is the case in every draft, the second day of proceedings will mostly be an exercise in filling individual needs, selecting players who will help meet training camp roster quotas, and hoping to unearth a prospect or two who might contribute on special teams units as rookies.

The final four rounds on Sunday, of course, won't vary very much from that time-honored formula. But there are a few talented stragglers in the shallow talent pool worthy of more than just passing consideration.

Here's a thumbnail look at the best of the remnant group of prospects:

  • RB Onterrio Smith, Oregon (Vikings -- 4th round, No. 107 overall): Showed some power last season. One of the most agile, quick runners in this draft and, next to Willis McGahee, might be the most elusive runner. Has the ability to break the long run. Character issues may scare teams. Violated team rules that led to Tennessee departure and might have kept him from being drafted on the first day.

  • DT Rien Long, Washington State (Titans -- 4th round, No. 126): Huge frame and long torso, could probably add another 15 pounds and no one would notice. Strong lower body and isn't often knocked off his feet. Can handle the double-team blocks. Lacks some functional football strength and will need to get a lot stronger in the upper body.

  • LB Bradie James, LSU (Cowboys -- 4th round, No. 103 overall): Tough player who performs far better than his stopwatch speed. Has played inside and outside, is a team leader and has a knack for getting around the ball. Instinctive and alert and a real student of the game. Could play immediately on kick coverage units and eventually be a situational player from scrimmage.

  • OG Montrae Holland, Florida State (Saints -- 4th round, No. 102 overall): Two bad knees were clearly of major concern to teams. Started for most of the three years, but had one season (2001) in which he started every game. Has potential to be dominating guard. An explosive run-blocker and in-line force withy a wide base.

  • FS Terrence Holt, North Carolina State (Lions -- 5th round, No. 137 overall): Very good diagnostician, especially against the running game, and will chase plays down. Plays in a classic breakdown football position and looks good when aligned in zone coverages. A superb special teams player and will contribute in that area.

  • OT Tony Pashos, Illinois (Ravens -- 5th round, No. 173 overall): A late bloomer who has most primarily on the right side, but has experience in a pro-style offense, and might have good enough feet to eventually move to the weak side. Plays with a nice base and doesn't get knocked off his feet. Natural strength but he most improve on his footwork to become a real factor.

  • WR Shaun McDonald, Arizona State (Rams -- 4th round, No. 106 overall): Quick and agile and, while he didn't time well this spring in some workouts, scouts feel he has explosiveness and can be a factor as a No. 3 wideout and return man. Will go into traffic for the ball and runs crisp pass routes. Quarterbacks struggle sometimes to find him in secondary because of his lack of height.

  • SS Derek Pagel, Iowa (Jets -- 5th round, No. 140 overall): Certainly has the size and strength and, while he isn't as quick as you'd like and doesn't have prototype range, he manages to get his hands on a lot of balls. Can play close to the line of scrimmage but is more than just an "in the box' defender. Excellent attitude and hard worker.

  • LB Mike Nattiel, Florida (Vikings -- 6th round, No. 190 overall): Might never be more than a special teams guy but has a chance, despite his lack of size, to be a weakside starter in time. A pursuit defender who possesses coverage skills but isn't a strong blitzer. Has a big motor and is a value pick on the second day.

  • CB Kevin Garrett, SMU (Rams -- 5th round, No. 172 overall): Very quick and durable, understand the game, and can really read a quarterback. Biggest drawback is lack of physical stature and that will be a factor in a league where the bigger corners are such a hot commodity. His catchup skills, and ability to turn and run with a receiver, could make him a "nickel" candidate.

  • Others: QB Seneca Wallace (Iowa State), TE George Wrighster (Oregon), OT Brett Williams (Florida State), FS Colin Branch (Stanford), RB Artose Pinner (Kentucky, check physical condition), CB Ivan Taylor (Louisiana-Lafayette), CB Mike Lehan (Minnesota), PK Seth Marler (Tulane), CB Dennis Weathersby(Oregon State, check physical condition), CB Asante Samuel (Central Florida), FB Ovie Mughelli (Wake Forest), WR Talman Gardner(Florida State, check legal status).

    Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.