1. New England Patriots (2-14)

The first major decision for new coach Bill Parcells will be whether to take a quarterback with the first pick or peddle the choice for a package of draft choices. If he keeps the pick, the decision is between Drew Bledsoe and Rick Mirer. In past years, the top pick has been signed before the draft, but Parcells says even his wife doesn't know which one he'll take. It could be she doesn't care. She still might be wondering why he gave up the Giants job two years ago, a move that has left him living alone in a Boston area hotel the past three months while making the transition to his new job.


2.Seattle Seahawks (2-14)

The Seahawks are desperate for a quarterback (Stan Gelbaugh is not the answer), and they're fortunate that there are two blue-chip quarterbacks in the draft and they've got the second pick. They want Bledsoe, but they'll settle for Mirer if Parcells takes Bledsoe.


3. New York Jets (4-12)

General manager Dick Steinberg has to decide whether to take a running back or a linebacker. Back in 1981, when Bum Phillips was in New Orleans, he took George Rogers over Lawrence Taylor. Now, Steinberg is debating whether to take linebacker Marvin Jones over running back Garrison Hearst. The Jets are apparently leaning toward Jones, who's supposed to be the next LT, as if one comes along each decade. The trouble is, Hearst might be much better than Rogers was.

4. Phoenix Cardinals (4-12)

The Cardinals have the makings of a good offense with Steve Beuerlein at quarterback and Gary Clark and Randal Hill at wide receiver. Now, they need a running back to complement them, and Hearst would fit the bill. They're keeping their fingers crossed the Jets will take Jones so they get Hearst. They're also worried that another team will trade up ahead of them to get

Hearst, so they may make a pre-emptive strike and try to trade up themselves. The Cardinals have three of the first 32 picks, their best drafting position in 30 years. They've also got the 20th pick on the first round (as compensation for Tim McDonald) and figure to go for an offensive lineman to block for Hearst. They also finally dumped George Boone as their scouting director and have turned the draft over to former Cowboys executive Bob Ackles. It could be a new day for the Cardinals, who need one.

5. Cincinnati Bengals (5-11)

The Bengals need help in both the defensive and offensive line and should have first pick at either position. That means it should come down to a choice between defensive lineman John Copeland or offensive tackle Willie Roaf, who could step in for Anthony Munoz. This will be a tough decision for the Bengals, who could decide to duck it by trading down for extra picks. Last year, they got an extra first-round choice from the Washington Redskins for moving down two spots.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)


The Bucs could use a defensive lineman, a receiver and a safety, so they'll take a look at defensive linemen Eric Curry (if he's still on the board) and Dan Williams and wide receiver Curtis Conway. If the Bengals pass on Roaf, they'd also have to consider him. The Bucs also have a glaring need at quarterback because the Pittsburgh Steelers matched their offer for Neil O'Donnell. But Bledsoe and Mirer are the only two first-rounders at that position, so they can't help themselves there.

7. Chicago Bears (5-11)

Dave Wannstedt is a Jimmy Johnson protege, which means the Bears will stress speed. They need a linebacker, wide receiver, defensive lineman and tight end. If either Curry or Copeland last this long, the Bears could grab one of them. Otherwise, they'll probably go for Conway at wide receiver.

8. Detroit Lions (5-11)

The Lions need a pass rusher, and the New Orleans Saints are trying to trade them linebacker Pat Swilling for this pick. Last year, the Lions gave Swilling an offer sheet, but the Saints matched it rather than give him up for two No. 1 picks. If the Lions don't make the deal, they could go for defensive lineman Dan Williams or for Roaf if he's available.

9. New York Giants (6-10)


The Giants gave up their first-round pick this year to take quarterback Dave Brown in last year's supplemental draft. When they took Brown, they didn't dream they'd be drafting this high. But taking Brown still looks like a good move, because he's the team's quarterback of the future. This is the first time since 1975 the Giants haven't had a first-round pick. When they pick in the second round, they figure to go for a defensive lineman or a linebacker.

10. Atlanta Falcons (6-10)

The Falcons lost both starting guards on the free-agent market, so they are likely to take offensive lineman Lincoln Kennedy, who's apparently ahead of Roaf on their board. They'd also have to consider safety Patrick Bates, who'd help their secondary.

11. Los Angeles Rams (6-10)

For his Ground Chuck offense, Chuck Knox likes a big running back. That's why Jerome Bettis is virtually a foregone conclusion for this spot. But what Knox really wants to do is trade up for Hearst the way he did in 1983 to get Curt Warner when he took over in Seattle.

12. Cleveland Browns (7-9)


Because there's supposed to be a drop-off after the first 10 picks, the Browns might try to trade down a few spots and then take cornerback Tom Carter. If they stay in this spot, they could take defensive lineman Williams if he's available or linebacker Wayne Simmons. Although the Browns dealt for nose tackle Jerry Ball Friday, coach Bill Belichick is calling the shots for the Browns in the draft, and he likes defense.

13. Los Angeles Raiders (7-9)

The Raiders are looking for a safety (Ronnie Lott left in free agency), a linebacker and an offensive lineman. Owner Al Davis is unpredictable, but safety Bates would seem to be a good fit.

14. Denver Broncos (8-8)

After losing Mark Jackson on the free-agent market, the Broncos figure to go for a wide receiver to give John Elway another target. If Conway is gone, they're likely to go for Sean Dawkins.

15. Green Bay Packers (9-7)


The Packers signed Reggie White, but they still want more help on defense. They'll look at Simmons and cornerbacks Carter and Carlton Gray.

16. Indianapolis Colts (9-7)

The Colts would like to trade up to get a running back, either Hearst or Bettis. If that fails and they stay in this slot, an offensive lineman -- probably Steve Everitt -- likely would be their choice.

17. Washington Redskins (9-7)

General manager Charley Casserly traded up on the first round the first two years he ran the draft and it'll be no surprise if he does it again today. He likes Simmons of Clemson, but may have to trade up ahead of the Green Bay Packers to get him because the Packers also like Simmons. If he fails to trade up, Casserly could take a cornerback (Carter or Gray) or a tight end (Irv Smith). He also could trade down and get an extra pick if he figures he can get on of those players or running back Natrone Means later in the round.

18. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)


The Chiefs won't pick until the third round because they gave up their second-round choice in the supplemental draft and gambled their first-round pick on Joe Montana. If Montana can stay healthy, it'll be a good move for the Chiefs. If he doesn't, it'll backfire. Meanwhile, the Chiefs will have to wait until the third round to get some offensive help for Montana. The Chiefs need help in the offensive line, at running back and at wide receiver. Montana won't have Jerry Rices or John Taylors to throw to on this team.

19. Houston Oilers (10-6)

The collapse against the Buffalo Bills showed the Oilers need help on defense, but Buddy Ryan figures he can fill it all by himself and they have to improve their offensive line, so they may go in that direction.

20. Minnesota Vikings (11-5)

The Vikings haven't had a first-round pick since 1988 (remember the Herschel Walker deal?), and they'd like to get help in the offensive line. But if both Ernest Dye and Lester Holmes are gone, they could try a tight end.

21. San Diego Chargers (11-5)


It's not Bobby Beathard's style to stay in this position. Look for him to move up for a better player or trade down for extra picks. He's looking mainly for a cornerback -- Carter is high on his list -- or a receiver.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)

The Steelers need immediate help in the defensive line and at linebacker and have to keep an eye on a cornerback, because Rod Woodson will be a free agent next year. Virginia linebacker Chris Slade could step right in for them.

23. Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)

The Eagles get the 13th pick as one of the two extra first-round picks they got for Reggie White. The Eagles get another one next year. Eagles owner Norman Braman is unhappy he didn't get a higher pick, and the teams next in line felt the Eagles should have had to wait until the end of the round. The Eagles are losing so many veterans that they're starting a rebuilding program and need help in both lines and at tight end. They'd like to trade up -- possibly with Cincinnati -- to get a defensive linemen such as Copeland or Williams. If they stay at No. 13, they could go for an offensive lineman. The Eagles' regular pick is the 24th slot on the first round, and they could go for a tight end there.

24. Miami Dolphins (11-5)


The Dolphins could use help at running back, wide receiver and in the offensive line. Assuming that only two running backs (Hearst and Bettis) are gone by this point, they could go for


25. New Orleans Saints (12-4)

The Saints could use a tight end, an offensive lineman, a cornerback and a wide receiver. Their draft strategy will depend on whether or not they got Detroit's eighth spot, but tight end Tony McGee could fill an immediate need.

26. San Francisco 49ers (14-2)

After all the emotional Montana farewells, it's easy to forget this team's problem isn't at quarterback. It's on defense. Steve Young didn't get the team in the Super Bowl last January because the defense collapsed in the second half against Dallas, and they've since lost Pierce Holt and Tim Harris. With the 18th pick they got from the Chiefs for Montana and with this pick, they'll go for defense.


27. Buffalo Bills (11-5)

The Bills probably need a heart transplant after that collapse in the Super Bowl. They also need a wide receiver, cornerback, defensive lineman and tight end. Wide receiver O. J. McDuffie could be a good selection.

28. Dallas Cowboys (13-3)

This could be a dull draft for the JJs -- Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson. They've used up all those extra picks they got in the Walker and Steve Walsh deals and will have trouble trading up. Look for them to do some wheeling and dealing, maybe moving down for extra picks. The Cowboys don't need much -- except to Emmitt Smith's name on a contract -- but they could grab cornerback Deon Figures.