In the Cheap Seats
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

April 23, 2004 -- With the NFL's college draft coming up this weekend, we have once again cast bread on the water, scanned tea leaves and consulted the stars in coming up with our predictions for the annual event.

No guarantees are attached to the following predictions, but remember

1. San Diego -- Unable to sign Eli Manning beforehand and unwilling to trade the pick, the Chargers choose the best player on their draft board: Maurice Clarett.

2. Oakland -- Al Davis' commitment to geriatrics continues as he bypasses Eli in favor of his father, Archie Manning.

3. Arizona -- Wanting to secure more picks in a trade for their No. 3 slot, the Cardinals trade down ... with themselves. They trade their two No. 2 picks for their No. 3 and a player to be named later.

4. New York Giants -- The Giants select Ol' Miss QB Eli Manning, and new defensive-minded head coach Tom Coughlin immediately moves him to linebacker.

5. Washington -- Nascar guru and new head coach Joe Gibbs selects Dale Earnhardt Jr. to "push the pedal to the metal."

6. Detroit -- Takes right winger Guy Huffstatson from Quebec to lead the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup.

7. Cleveland -- Selects Igor Olshansky, DT, from Oregon State simply because they like the sound of his name.

8. Atlanta -- Desperately needing a wide receiver, the Falcons take USC's Mike Williams. The Falcons still desperately need a wide receiver, according to the Supreme Court.

9. Jacksonville -- Engineers a trade with Tampa Bay, who picks sumo wrestler Ishi Tagaki because he's the only player who can wear Warren Sapp's 14XL jersey.

10. Houston -- Selects Robert Gallery, OT, from Iowa, then immediately puts him on the Tony Boselli retirement workout.

11. Pittsburgh -- Coach Jeff Fisher selects look-alike Grizzly Adams. "Unruly beards are mandatory for everyone on the team," he says.

12. New York Jets -- Passes.

13. Buffalo -- Agrees to trade picks with Jacksonville in exchange for "one -- just one -- ray of Florida sunshine in January."

14. Chicago -- In a sign of things to come, quarterback Rex Grossman advances to the podium, then drops the note card.

15. Jacksonville -- Takes the Buffalo pick and uses it along with the Tampa Bay selection to move down to the third round of the draft to save money. In a totally unrelated move, the Jaguars announce a ticket price increase.

16. San Francisco -- Advisor Bill Walsh uses the pick on a clone of himself. "Two geniuses for the price of one ... just joking. They'll have to pay both of us," he says.

17. Denver -- To prove his superiority in talent evaluation, coach Mike Shanahan trades all of his first six round picks for seventh-rounders.

18. New Orleans -- For the second time in their history, the Saints trade their entire draft pick portfolio for one player -- this time, it's Sul Ross State kicker Emanuel Sanchez.

19. Minnesota -- Cursing their luck -- they also coveted Sanchez -- the Vikings take Texas WR Roy Williams, whom they hope will be a team player like Randy Moss.

20. Miami -- Proposes a trade with any team in the league if they will take coach Dave Wannstedt.

21. New England -- Coach Bill Belichick puts his Super Bowl ring on the podium and starts taking bids. "There'll be a lot more to come as long as I'm coaching," he says.

22. Dallas -- Jerry Jones takes that "hot, young" quarterback from NFL Europe: Chad Hutchinson.

23. Seattle -- Uses his pick to find a new designer for their gosh-awful uniforms.

24. Cincinnati -- Asks Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to make their pick because they never seem to get it right.

25. Green Bay -- Agrees to a trade with New England to have Brett Favre's head preserved in liquid nitrogen.

26. St. Louis -- Head coach Mike Martz selects TE Kellen Winslow, Sr. "Why have the junior, when you can get the original?" he asks.

27. Tennessee -- Head coach Bill Cowher sticks out his chin ... and sticks out his chin.

28. Philadelphia -- Uses their pick to engage in negotiations with every player on the San Francisco roster. "We've ripped them off before, and we'll do it again," said former Niner Terrell Owens.

29. Indianapolis -- The Colts tell QB Peyton Manning to pick running back Kevin Jones, but Manning gets to the podium, looks over the room, tries to audible, then calls a timeout and walks to the sideline.

30. Kansas City -- Coach Dick Vermeil advances to the podium, then breaks down in a sobbing pool of tears as time for the selection runs out.

31. Carolina -- Uses its pick for a video review of its 2003 season.

32. New England -- With a history of extreme paranoia, Bill Belichick refuses to divulge the team's selection. "That's just what everyone would expect," he says.

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