NEW YORK -- The Washington Redskins might have turned themselves into Super Bowl favorites. The New York Jets might have found a pass rush and their future quarterback. And a deep receiving corps stamped its imprint on the opening round of the NFL draft which included, for the first time in 21 years, a kicker.
One day later, 52 defensive backs and 34 wideouts had been selected, and the University of Tennessee saw a draft-high nine Volunteers chosen.
Although the first two picks on Saturday, Penn State's Courtney Brown (Cleveland) and LaVar Arrington (Washington), drew plenty of attention -- Nebraska in 1984 was the last school to have players go 1-2 -- Florida State placekicker Sebastian Janikowski probably was the headliner.
The Oakland Raiders, who lost five games in which a timely field goal would have changed the outcome, took the powerful Janikowski 17th overall. Russell Erxleben was the 11th choice in 1979, by New Orleans, but otherwise, kickers generally are ignored so early -- or even later on.
''At the combine, I don't believe he missed a kick,'' Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. ''He put on an orbital display in Indianapolis.''
Oakland's gamble is compounded by Janikowski having been charged with attempted bribery. Janikowski, a native of Poland, allegedly offered a police officer in Tallahassee, Fla., $300 to release his roommate from custody. The roommate had been denied service at a club and was arrested for trespassing when he refused to leave.
If convicted, Janikowski could be deported.
''We did a lot of research on this young man,'' Gruden said. ''We feel we have an environment with our veteran players and our coaching staff for this young man to flourish.''
Not only did the Raiders add Janikowski, who regularly booms kickoffs deep into the end zone, but they took the best available punter in the draft, Shane Lechler of Texas A&M, in the fifth round. Lechler averaged an NCAA-record 44.7 yards on 268 punts during a four-year college career.
While the kickers got some time in the draft spotlight, the receivers dominated it early, and the defensive backs easily were the most popular commodity.
Five wideouts went in the opening round, three in the top 10. Cincinnati took Florida State All-America Peter Warrick in the fourth slot after Washington made Alabama tackle Chris Samuels the third overall pick. Michigan State's Plaxico Burress went eighth to Pittsburgh, and Florida's Travis Taylor was taken 10th by Baltimore, which also selected Tennessee RB Jamal Lewis in the fifth spot.
Kansas City grabbed Jackson State's Sylvester Morris at No. 21 and Jacksonville got Southern California's R. Jay Soward at No. 29.
''We wanted depth, speed and more people on the field that people have to pay attention to,'' Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin said. ''R. Jay is one of those.''
Added Baltimore vice president of player personnel Ozzie Newsome, ''We needed running backs and receivers, and we hit the draft at the right time.''
The Redskins certainly did that with the second and third spots. After winning the NFC East last year, they bulked up in free agency -- Bruce Smith, Jeff George, Mark Carrier, Kevin Mitchell -- and now have to instant impact rookies in Arrington and Samuels.
''It all looks good on paper,'' said Skins personnel director Vinny Cerrato. ''It's got to transfer on to the field."
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