Brams then turned to stocking the defense. Applying the baseball adage that a defense needs to be strong up the middle to his drafting task, Brams went for hard-hitting free safety Brian Dawkins in the third round, followed in successive rounds by menacing inside linebacker Ray Lewis, hulking nose tackle Kelly Gregg, and agile cornerback Champ Bailey.
The specialists are at opposite ends of the experience continuum: kicker John Kasay has been a fixture while punter Dirk Johnson is a relative newcomer to pro football. Backup wide receiver Dante Hall will be a breakaway threat returning both kickoffs and punts.
|Cherries Projected Starters|
For their 29th pick, the Cherries took the ageless sackmeister Bruce Smith. Not projected as a starter at defensive end, Smith is expected to play only one year before retiring. He should be a fan favorite.
Brams defended the selection of 34-year old Favre as starting quarterback. “Brett has the attitude and arm of a much-younger player. He was in the top tier of available quarterbacks. He's a great leader, and I was thrilled he was available in the second round. If his legs begin to give out Drew Brees [selected in the 27th round] should be ready to step in and be our guy for many seasons to come.”
Asked about the most pleasant surprise of his drafting day, Brams at first said Favre's availability in round two but quickly changed his mind. “Come to think of it, we were surprised Ray Lewis was even available in the third round. We almost took him then but decided Brian [Dawkins] has more years left. When Ray was still on the board at four it was hard to keep from grinning.” Curiously, former Lewis sidekick Peter Boulware was the first round selection of the Baltimore Bolts and furthermore, the first defensive player selected by any team.
|EFL Draft Rounds 1-5|
|DELAWARE||RB LaDainian Tomlinson||QB Brett Favre||S Brian Dawkins||LB Ray Lewis||NT Kelly Gregg|
|Albany||QB Trent Green||LB Jessie Armstead||WR Santana Moss||OT Matt Light||CB Troy Vincent|
|Washington||QB Daunte Culpepper||WR Hines Ward||DE Michael Strahan||K David Akers||LB Willie McGinest|
|Connecticut||QB Tom Brady||LB LaVar Arrington||LB Takeo Spikes||WR David Boston||RB Tony Fisher|
|New York||RB Stephen Davis||TE Tony Gonzales||QB Jake Delhomme||CB Chris McAlister||CB Antoine Winfield|
|Philadelphia||RB Jamal Lewis||LB Edgerton Hartwell||RB Moe Williams||LB Tedy Bruschi||S Adam Archuleta|
|Providence||RB Priest Holmes||WR Torry Holt||C Kevin Mawae||WR Eric Moulds||QB Marc Bulger|
|Pittsburgh||RB Ahman Green||RB Najeh Davenport||S Rodney Harrison||S Ed Reed||OT Mark Tauscher|
|Richmond||QB Donovan McNabb||WR Steve Smith||S Corey Chavous||WR Amani Toomer||S Aeneas Williams|
|Atlantic City||RB Onterrio Smith||QB Vinny Testaverde||WR Isaac Bruce||LB Shawn Barber||S Jerome Woods|
|Syracuse||WR Laveranues Coles||RB Brian Westbrook||RB Duce Staley||DT Corey Simon||DE Mike Rucker|
|Baltimore||LB Peter Boulware||WR Randy Moss||G Kevin Donnalley||RB Curtis Martin||FB Nick Goings|