NFC East: Tony Mandarich
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Our friends at Page 2 have come up with the never-seen-before "Mock Draft for the Ages," which allows teams to select from a list of the top college players of all-time. Here's the explanation from Page 2's Thomas Neumann:
- What if we could hop in a time machine and bring back all the best prospects in history for this year's draft? Of course, professional accomplishments don't count. This exercise is based strictly on the scouting reports at the conclusion of college careers. Our big board is an amalgam of only the most ballyhooed prospects. With a few exceptions, these are players who were drafted in the top five overall. Players such as Joe Montana and Tom Brady, who were seen as too physically limited by many evaluators, need not apply.
Using this unique approach, here's a look at The Beast:13. Washington Redskins -- Aundray Bruce, DE, Auburn: Washington can't resist the size and quickness of the 6-foot-6, 245-pounder, who runs a 4.6-second 40-yard dash. While at Auburn, Bruce showed the ability to take over games but sometimes lacked the motivation NFL teams usually expect from a franchise cornerstone. "We never knew which Aundray would show up," Auburn teammate Kurt Crain told Sports Illustrated. "That's his one drawback. I often had to tell him during games, 'C'mon, we need you.'" Nevertheless, the Redskins seem convinced a taskmaster such as Jim Zorn can light a fire under Bruce.
My take: Owner Dan Snyder and exec Vinny Cerrato offered all four of their picks to trade up for Tony Mandarich, but the Bengals want to build around the Michigan State phenom. The Redskins are settling for Bruce because they envision him doubling as a tight end by his fourth year.
21. Philadelphia Eagles -- Red Grange, RB, Illinois: The "Galloping Ghost" is undersized at 5-foot-11, 175 pounds, but his gridiron instincts are unmistakable. His speed and agility are apparent on film, and he has the ability to turn broken plays into big gains. He also punted for the Illini. Grange's stock began to soar in a legendary performance against Michigan as a junior. After returning the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, he scored on rushes of 67, 56 and 44 yards in the first quarter, personally equaling the number of touchdowns the Wolverines had allowed the two previous seasons. He finished with 212 rushing yards on 21 carries and added a passing touchdown and a fourth rushing touchdown. Grange rushed for 31 touchdowns and threw for six more in 20 career games for the Illini.
My take: Grange pops off the screen with his cutback ability and vision, but the grainy footage is often misleading, despite the Ted Turner colorization process. Unbelievable numbers, but concussion concerns due to leather helmet.
29. New York Giants -- Don Hutson, WR, Alabama: After cutting ties with troubled wideout Plaxico Burress, the Giants waste no time in reaching for another No. 1 receiver. Hutson is a 6-foot-1, 185-pounder with a legendary work ethic. He has above-average speed and perhaps the best hands of any receiving prospect. He's also elusive, with a gift for shifting speeds. Although his 40 time is unavailable, the former track star has been clocked at 9.8 seconds over 100 yards -- and isn't that a more indicative football distance, anyway? Hutson arrived at Alabama on a partial baseball scholarship and went out for the football team as a walk-on. Two All-America selections later, the "Alabama Antelope" capped his collegiate career by catching two long touchdown passes in a Rose Bowl victory over Stanford, as the Crimson Tide finished the 1934 season 10-0. Hutson has experience in the business world and might opt to represent himself in contract negotiations. He operated a campus dry-cleaning service with Alabama teammate Paul "Bear" Bryant.
My take: With Burress in the rearview mirror, the Giants go with the best receiver on the board. General manager Jerry Reese praised Hutson for the way he complemented the Crimson Tide's other wideout, Bryant.
No. 51 Dallas Cowboys -- Brian Bosworth, LB, Oklahoma: The buck stops with Jerry Jones in the Cowboys' draft room, and it appears as if longtime friend Barry Switzer convinced him to select the ballyhooed Sooners star. Bosworth is a 6-foot-1½, 245-pounder who runs a 4.6 in the 40, but his baggage has been well-publicized. Some scouts see him as insubordinate for attempting to maneuver around the draft process into a major media market, and he was suspended from the 1987 Orange Bowl after testing positive for steroids. What few people know is that Bosworth was an academic All-American at Oklahoma, posting a 3.28 GPA in management information. Ultimately, Bosworth is considered a franchise player in spite of his questionable decisions. He should be a solid fit with the Cowboys.
My take: In a locker room that just lost its most compelling player in Terrell Owens, this is a nice fit. Showed tremendous range on the field and in OU's drama program. The rare player who could lead a goal-line stand against Bo Jackson.