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Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Thanks to Green, K.C. controls first round

By John Clayton
ESPN.com

Although the Oakland Raiders have the first overall pick in the NFL draft Saturday, the Kansas City Chiefs control how the top of the first round will go.

The reason for the Chiefs' control is Trent Green trade. The Chiefs know the Raiders need a quarterback solution after a season in which the Silver and Black scored 12 offensive touchdowns. Andrew Walter is all Al Davis has at quarterback heading into the draft, and Davis publicly admitted the organization screwed up by not taking a passer in the 2006 NFL draft's first round.

Internally, Davis has made it pretty clear he would like to consider Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson, but to take Johnson, he would need acceptable quarterback solutions. The Raiders want a veteran quarterback to start the season and wouldn't mind taking Trent Edwards of Stanford or another quarterback in the second round. Getting the veteran quarterback is the problem.

With the chance to obtain Josh McCown from Detroit almost dead, the only other quarterback who could make sense for the Raiders is Daunte Culpepper of the Dolphins. Chiefs president Carl Peterson knows the longer he can hold onto Green, the Raiders' chances of getting Culpepper in time for the start of the draft dwindle.

The Dolphins will keep Culpepper until they acquire Green, and timing is everything. For the Raiders to consider Culpepper, they must investigate his knee injury. Last November, he underwent what was considered a minor procedure to remove tissue that was causing the knee to lock up. Culpepper recently revealed recovery from that procedure was four-to-six months. He needs two more months to recover.

If Peterson doesn't make a trade until the eve of the draft or until the Raiders are on the clock Saturday, it would be hard for the Raiders to take Johnson. Jamarcus Russell would have to be their choice to answer the long-term quarterback problem.

The Dolphins aren't willing to give Peterson more than a sixth-round pick for Green. The Chiefs continue to ask for a second-rounder and a seventh-rounder. The longer the Chiefs stall, though, the longer they control what the Raiders will do.

John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.