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Original Issue

King's Corner

In next April'sdraft three experienced passers seem certain to be among the top 10 picks forthe first time since the fateful trio of Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb and AkiliSmith went one-two-three in 1999. But predicting where Boston College's MattRyan, Kentucky's Andre' Woodson and Louisville's Brian Brohm will fall in thedraft order is trickier than usual.

The three haveplenty in common: All are in the 225-pound range, run the 40 in 4.8 seconds,have 30 or more college starts and complete at least 60% of their passes. Ryan(right) and Woodson are 6'5", Brohm a little shorter. A year ago Brohm wasthe best of the three in scouts' eyes, but the strong-armed Ryan and theimprovising Woodson gained a slight edge on him this season. "I have noidea yet how they'll fall on our board," says one NFC personnel directorwhose team will be looking to draft a quarterback. "We [scouts] talkedabout that on the road a lot this year—there's no consensus on an order yet.Ryan's the best thrower, Woodson lifted his team the highest, and Brohm mightbe the most pro-ready. Depending on which juniors come out, if you want one ofthese three guys, you'll probably have to move into the top 10."

Among teams likelyto pick that high, Atlanta and Baltimore are the most inclined to take apasser. Look for New England, which owns San Francisco's first pick by virtueof a 2007 draft-day deal, to trade it for more choices in lower rounds;Carolina, Chicago or Kansas City might be willing to strike a deal with thePats and move up to take a QB.

The earlyscenario: Atlanta's Bobby Petrino passes on Brohm, whom he coached atLouisville, and selects Ryan, who has a higher ceiling; the Ravens, seeking anaccurate passer with a winning résumé to elevate their offense, take Woodson;the Bears finally get off the Rex Grossman roller coaster and draft Brohm.

As was made clearby that '99 crop of passers—Couch and Smith played miserably and were both outof the league by 2004—picking quarterbacks in the top 10 is a high-riskendeavor. But that won't stop teams desperate for passers from taking thisyear's threesome early on draft day.