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Gil Brandt's Top 45


In 2002 and 2003, we broke down the draft's top prospects into three groups with the notion that each man on the list had a chance of being a first-round pick (some more than others). At the very least, the goal was to populate our list with only first- and second-round picks.

The draft is a culmination of many months of work. Scouts make their living going across the country and evaluating players for this very day. And one of the most unique things is that every team has a different opinion of who the best players in the draft are. Like I've always said, some people like strawberry ice cream, some people like vanilla.

There are probably 15 to 20 more guys we can add to this list, but we decided to cut it off at 45 players. FYI: Mike Williams was taken off this list after the April 19 court ruling. And eligible or not, Maurice Clarett is not among the top 45.

Each list is in alphabetical order.

Group 1-a

Lee Evans, wide receiver, Wisconsin

Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver, Pittsburgh

Robert Gallery, offensive tackle, Iowa

DeAngelo Hall, cornerback, Virginia Tech

Tommie Harris, defensive tackle, Oklahoma

Eli Manning, quarterback, Mississippi

Philip Rivers, quarterback, North Carolina State

Dunta Robinson, cornerback, South Carolina

Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback, Miami (Ohio)

Will Smith, defensive end, Ohio State

Sean Taylor, safety, Miami (Fla.)

Kenechi Udeze, defensive end, Southern California

Reggie Williams, wide receiver, Washington

Roy Williams, wide receiver, Texas

Kellen Winslow, tight end, Miami (Fla.)

Group 1-b

Shawn Andrews, offensive tackle, Arkansas

Jason Babin, defensive end, Western Michigan

Vernon Carey, offensive tackle, Miami (Fla.)

Michael Clayton, wide receiver, Louisiana State

Darnell Dockett, defensive tackle, Florida State

Chris Gamble, cornerback, Ohio State

Steven Jackson, running back, Oregon State

Kevin Jones, running back, Virginia Tech

Antwan Odom, defensive end, Alabama

Justin Smiley, guard, Alabama

Ben Troupe, tight end, Florida

Marcus Tubbs, defensive tackle, Texas

Jonathan Vilma, linebacker, Miami (Fla.)

Vince Wilfork, defensive tackle, Miami (Fla.)

D.J. Williams, linebacker, Miami (Fla.)

Group 1-c

Ahmad Carroll, cornerback, Arkansas

Dwan Edwards, defensive tackle,Oregon State

Jake Grove, center, Virginia Tech

Michael Jenkins, wide receiver, Ohio State

Greg Jones, running back, Florida State

Sean Jones, free safety, Georgia

Teddy Lehman, linebacker, Oklahoma

J.P. Losman, quarterback, Tulane

Igor Olshansky, defensive tackle, Oregon

Chris Perry, running back, Michigan

Matt Schaub, quarterback, Virginia

Cody Spencer, linebacker, North Texas

Randy Starks, defensive tackle, Maryland

Kris Wilson, tight end, Pittsburgh

Rashaun Woods, wide receiver, Oklahoma State

Gil Brandt position analysis columns:

Gil Brandt was vice president of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys from 1960-89. He is now in his eighth year as's chief personnel guru. (Brandt is of no relation to Packers VP of Player Finance Andrew Brandt.)

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