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Original Issue

Peter King's Corner

HOT READ

It's never too early for a mock draft, and here's how the top of the first round might shape up for April 28. Upset pick: Heisman winner Troy Smith (right) will get the early call from Oakland to resuscitate the Raiders' attack. Three juniors could be taken among the first six.

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

SOUND BITE

"I guess the Pro Bowl can be a popularity contest," says ninth-year Jaguars running back Fred Taylor, who's never earned a nod despite ranking 21st on the alltime rushing list (9,450 yards). His biggest disappointment came in '03, when he gained 1,572 yards but was fifth in voting, behind Jamal Lewis (2,066), LaDainian Tomlinson (1,645), Clinton Portis (1,591) and Priest Holmes (27 rushing TDs). Taylor is over 1,000 yards for the sixth time but may be sitting home again in February: Tomlinson, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker each are more than 100 yards up on him.

NUMBERS GAME

This week's sign that the Colts aren't a title team: After allowing 375 rushing yards at Jacksonville on Sunday—the most given up in the NFL this season—the Indianapolis defense is yielding a league-worst 175.6 yards on the ground per week. Compare that average with those of the past six Super Bowl winners.

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

<p>Season</p><p>Champion</p><p>Opp. Rush. Yds.</p>

2000

Baltimore

60.6

2001

New England

115.9

2002

Tampa Bay

97.1

2003

New England

89.6

2004

New England

98.3

2005

Pittsburgh

86.0

THREE POINTS

1 Brilliant game planning by the Saints, who in their 42--17 win over the Cowboys penned in quarterback Tony Romo so he couldn't get out on the flank and make plays on the move.

2 More evidence that teams should never overpay for a runner: Four backups rushed for more than 100 yards last week. Washington's Ladell Betts has averaged 143 rushing yards a game over the last three weeks.

3 Any Coach of the Year voter who doesn't cast his ballot for the Saints' Sean Payton is watching boccie, not football.

Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback, every week at SI.com/football.