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Five Who Went Later Than Expected

Sunday, April 24, 2005; Page E14

Five Who Went Later Than Expected

Aaron Rodgers, QB

California


Southern Cal's Mike Williams (Kevork Djansezian -- AP)

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The player some projected to be the No. 1 overall pick slid to the Green Bay Packers at No. 24, largely because of where he holds the ball when he's dropping back to throw. His mechanics may not be textbook, but neither are those of the guy he'll be learning from, Brett Favre.

Marcus Spears, DE

LSU

At 6 feet 4, 300 pounds, Spears could be a steal for the Dallas Cowboys at No. 20. He fills a huge need for Dallas, which has not had a marquee pass rusher since Charles Haley. A good sign for the Cowboys was Bill Parcells's big smile after making the pick. When was the last time you saw the Tuna that happy?

Mike Williams, WR

Southern Cal (did not play last season)

A poor time in the 40-yard dash and sitting out last season may have worked against Williams, who went to the Lions at No. 10. But at 6-6 and 230 pounds, Williams is a specimen.

Not many cornerbacks will be able to cover him one-on-one, and his presence should help Joey Harrington become a better quarterback.

Mark Clayton, WR

Oklahoma

Some projections had Clayton going to the Cowboys at No. 20, but Dallas opted for defense, so the Baltimore Ravens picked him at No. 22. Clayton may not be the tallest wide receiver (5-10), but at 193 pounds he has the size to shed bump-and-run coverage off the line of scrimmage. He also excels at running after the catch.

Shawne Merriman, LB

Maryland

Most draft prognosticators had Merriman perhaps going in the top 10, but when the Cowboys went with Demarcus Ware at No. 11, the Chargers snapped him up one pick later. Merriman gives the Chargers a much-needed pass rusher who can apply pressure as a linebacker or defensive end.


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