DELUCIA: Players of impact in each round

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foxsports admin

Here's a quick look at five players from each round that could make an impact in 2002. They may not be the top prospects in each round, but each will have a chance to play this season because of holes or question marks their new team possesses.

First Round

Dwight Freeney, DE, Colts The Colts will scheme ways to free up their best pure pass rusher for next season. Ed Reed, S, Ravens Will step into the starting lineup right away and become not only a playmaker, but a defensive leader for the Ravens. Ryan Sims, DT, Chiefs Must emerge in the middle of Kansas City's defense and stop the run if the Chiefs want to make the playoffs next season. Jeremy Shockey, TE, Giants Will be counted on to add much needed balance and stability to the Giants' passing game with his athleticism and feel. Phillip Buchanon, CB, Raiders Won't be in the starting lineup right away, but he has magnets on his hands. Look for Buchanon to change the course of at least one game this season, either defensively or as a return man.

Second Round

Andre Gurode, OG, Cowboys Tough guy with a mean streak. Could upgrade the right guard position right away and solidify the Cowboys' offensive line. Toniu Fonoti, OG, Chargers Needs refinement, especially at pass protection, but his run blocking prowess will have him in the lineup early. Anthony Weaver, DL, Ravens The Ravens lost a few starters up front, which gives Weaver the opportunity to contribute right away. Antonio Bryant, WR, Cowboys Although he'll be playing behind Raghib Ismail and Joey Galloway, Bryant will play a big factor in the passing game. Ryan Denney, DE, Bills Will likely step into Phil Hansen's old spot at left end.

Third Round

Matt Schobel, TE, Bengals Still needs some refinement, but will be given a chance to seize the starting job early and could provide solid balance within the Bengals' passing attack. Joe Jefferson, CB, Colts Gets good positioning and could become a playmaker. Could challenge David Macklin for a starting spot at some point. Jefferson fits this defense like a glove. Chris Baker, TE, Jets Will play behind Anthony Becht, but expect to see more double tight end sets next season. Baker has a good feel for the passing game. Akin Ayodele, LB/DE, Jaguars Needs continued development and could take a few years to fully emerge, but could get an opportunity to play this season following the mass exodus of veterans. Coy Wire, SS, Bills Is a very good fit for the strong safety position in Gregg Williams' defense. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him in the starting lineup in September.

Fourth Round

Jonathan Wells, RB, Texans If Wells continues to progress, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him take carries away from James Allen. Jeff Chandler, K, 49ers Will be given every chance to stabilize the 49ers' kicking game. Alex Brown, DE, Bears Needs to put his game together and play with a better motor. But the Bears envision him as a possible starter this season to upgrade their pass rush. Ron Johnson, WR, Ravens The Ravens lack numbers at wide receiver. Johnson is polished enough to step in and catch a lot of balls this season. He'll help move the chains. Najeh Davenport, FB, Packers Could have a chance to fill Dorsey Levens' old role in the passing game.

Fifth Round

Jarrod Baxter, FB, Texans Has a lot of potential to become a powerful lead blocker, but needs development. Has an opportunity to seize a lot of snaps if he wants it. John Owens, TE, Lions Owens has the ability as a blocker to play with the Lions' base offense right away if they don't add another veteran. Justin Bannan, DT, Bills Scrappy and active describes Bannan. He could begin annoying opposing blockers for the Bills to start the season. Ramon Walker, S, Texans Has the tools to play early and the opportunity is there. But can he master the mental part of the NFL right away? Terry Jones, Jr., TE, Ravens Should see playing time immediately because he gives the Ravens flexibility to run a lot of double tight end sets.

Sixth Round

Marquand Manuel, SS, Bengals Could compete with JoJuan Armour at strong safety at some point and figures to make an impact knocking heads on special teams. Kahlil Hill, WR, Falcons Must prove he'll be reliable because the Falcons have openings. Lamont Brightful, Ret., Ravens Will be given every chance to become the next Jermaine Lewis. Bryan Fletcher, TE, Bears Could fill a pass catching role for the Bears as a backup. The Bears want more production at tight end. Chester Taylor, RB, Ravens Will be given a chance to secure a backup role behind Jamal Lewis.

Seventh Round

Luke Staley, RB, Lions Has excellent tools in the passing game, which will be put to use early. Kendall Newson, WR, Jaguars Will be given a chance to compete for a backup spot in the thin receivers corps in Jacksonville. His style of play fits the club well. Daryl Jones, WR, Giants Enters minicamp as the fifth receiver, but could quickly find himself as a third receiver if others don't develop. Greg White, LB, Texans Former college defensive end could play a pass rushing role here. There is definitely an opportunity here. Hayden Epstein, K, Jaguars Will compete for place-kicking duties in training camp.
Tagged: Falcons, Bills, Bears, Cowboys, Packers, Colts, Chiefs, Jets, Ravens, Joey Galloway, Dorsey Levens, David Macklin, Anthony Becht, Jamal Lewis

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