1. Cincinnati Bengals (3-13)
The Bengals can use a defensive lineman, and Dan Wilkinson of Ohio State more than fits the bill. He already is being compared to Reggie White, and the Bengals figure they can't pass him up. They also think David Klingler is as good as the top quarterbacks in this year's draft. The tough part for the Bengals will be signing Wilkinson. His agent, Leigh Steinberg, likes to think of creative ways to get around the rookie salary pool, and Bengals GM Mike Brown likes to go by the book. The Bengals also will look for a wide receiver and an offensive lineman later in the draft.
2. Indianapolis Colts (4-12)
When the Colts traded Jeff George to the Atlanta Falcons last month, it was assumed they would take a quarterback with this pick. But Bill Tobin, the new director of football operations, has signed Jim Harbaugh and thinks he can do the job even though he flopped in Chicago. Tobin drafted Harbaugh in Chicago and seems determined to prove he's not a bust. This opens the door for the Colts to draft running back Marshall Faulk of San Diego State, although with Harbaugh at quarterback, defenses will key on Faulk. With the seventh pick they got from Atlanta, the Colts figure to take a defensive lineman -- Bryant Young of Notre Dame or Sam Adams of Texas A&M.;
3. Washington Redskins (4-12)
The Redskins will draft a quarterback on the first round for the first time in more than three decades, and they're likely to get their choice of Heath Shuler of Tennessee or Trent Dilfer of Fresno State. Although Dilfer might have more long-term potential, Shuler is the chalk pick rated the edge by most teams, and the Redskins probably can't afford to gamble. The Redskins also have a lot of other holes to fill. They'll be looking at wide receivers, defensive linemen, offensive tackles and fullbacks.
4. New England Patriots (5-11)
Bill Parcells is a frustrated man. He has the fourth pick in a draft with four blue-chip players, so he should get one of them. His problem is that if the Colts take Faulk, his logical choice is Dilfer, but he doesn't need a quarterback after taking Drew Bledsoe last year. He'd like to trade down a few spots with a team looking for a quarterback, notably Tampa Bay at No. 6. If he stays in this spot, he needs help on defense and will likely take USC defensive lineman Willie McGinest.
5. Los Angeles Rams (5-11)
If a team doesn't make a deal with the Patriots to take Trent Dilfer, he could fall to the Rams here. The Rams weren't looking for a quarterback after signing Chris Miller, but he has a history of injury problems and Rams coach Chuck Knox has said he'll take one of the two quarterbacks if he's there. Knox may be hoping the Bucs will trade up for a quarterback so he can take a defensive lineman -- Bryant Young or Sam Adams would be the logical pick. Another priority is an offensive lineman.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)
If the Bucs don't trade up to get a quarterback, they may trade down and get San Francisco's two No. 1 picks. If they wind up staying in this slot, they'll be looking at cornerbacks, running backs and offensive linemen. This team has a history of blowing first-round draft picks and needs to get a player who can make an immediate impact. Cornerback Aaron Glenn of Texas A&M; might be able to do that for them.
7. Atlanta Falcons (6-10)
The Falcons gambled when they traded their first-round pick to the Colts for Jeff George, who was a flop in his hometown of Indianapolis. The Falcons think he can have a rebirth in the run-and-shoot offense. The Falcons are looking for a defensive end, cornerback and offensive lineman later in the draft. They also may try to deal for veteran defensive lineman Chris Doleman of Minnesota.
8. Seattle Seahawks (6-10)
The Seahawks have one of the game's best defensive linemen in Cortez Kennedy, but they need to get him some help up front so he's not double-teamed all the time. If Bryant Young is gone, that makes Sam Adams the logical choice so that Kennedy will become even more effective. They also need a linebacker and a wide receiver.
9. Cleveland Browns (7-9)
The Browns were willing to trade this pick to the Cowboys for wide receiver Alvin Harper until Jerry Jones changed his mind and decided that swapping first-round picks wasn't fair value for Harper. They Browns are willing to trade down if Jones won't make the Harper deal, but if they can't swing a deal, they probably will fill their most pressing need by taking linebacker John Thierry of Alcorn State.
10. Arizona Cardinals (7-9)
Buddy Ryan already has signed two of his stars from Philadelphia, Clyde Simmons and Seth Joyner, but he never thinks he has too much defense. Though the Cardinals can use an offensive lineman, a fullback and a tight end, look for Ryan to go for more help on defense. There is a lot of speculation that he'll go for offensive lineman Aaron Taylor of Notre Deme, but he's likely to figure the offense can fend for itself. That's why linebacker Trev Alberts of Nebraska looks like the choice.
11. Chicago Bears (7-9)
The Bears are desperate for help on offense, which ranked 28th last year. They dumped Jim Harbaugh at quarterback and brought in Erik Kramer, who may not be much of an upgrade. But the Bears also need help at cornerback, and they may not be able to pass up Antonio Langham of Alabama. They also could be interested in trading down.
12. New Orleans Saints (8-8)
Though the Saints upgraded their wide receiver corps by signing Michael Haynes from the Atlanta Falcons, they could be tempted by wide receiver Charles Johnson of Colorado if he's still on the board. If Jim Everett has Johnson and Haynes to throw to, the Saints' offense suddenly could have a lot of zip. But they also need help in the defensive line and may not be able to pass up Joe Johnson of Louisville.
13. New York Jets (8-8)
The Jets, who still haven't recovered from the loss of Al Toon, whose career was ended prematurely by a series of concussions, want a wide receiver, and they're hoping that Charles Johnson is still on the board. If he's gone, they'll probably take another receiver, Johnnie Morton of Southern Cal. They're going for the best receiver available.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8)
The Eagles have three of the first 42 picks and six of the first 103, but the real question is who is going to be pulling the trigger. The outgoing owner, Norman Braman, and the incoming owner, Jeffrey Lurie, who's an amateur draftnik, will both be in the draft room. It could get a bit crowded. The Eagles, who also got the 29th pick as compensation for Reggie White, need a lot of help after losing so many players in free agency. They may take an offensive lineman and come back with a running back with their second-round pick. They would have to concentrate on defense with the rest of the draft.
15. San Diego Chargers (8-8)
The Chargers don't have a first-round pick. That's not exactly a surprise. Bobby Beathard makes it a habit of trading first-round picks, though the strategy worked better in Washington when he had Joe Gibbs to backstop him. He traded this year's No. 1 to San Francisco for running back Natrone Means. Now the question is whether he'll trade his 1995 No. 1 during the draft so he doesn't have to wait until the 14th pick of the second round to make a selection. He also has a compensatory pick at the end of the second round so he could package those two picks to move up. The Chargers need a receiver to replace Anthony Miller and could use help in both lines and at cornerback.
16. Miami Dolphins (9-7)
The Dolphins hope this position isn't jinxed. They selected John Bosa and Eric Kumerow in back-to-back years (1987 and 1988) in the 16th slot and both were disappointing. This year, they're looking for linebackers, and Aubrey Beavers or Jamir Miller looks like a logical choice. They say they have Beavers rated over Miller despite the fact that most draft boards have it the opposite way, but most teams like to disguise their intentions.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7)
The Steelers figure to take a lineman or a wide receiver. They could use either an offensive or defensive lineman and they could plug in a wide receiver because Alvin Harper wouldn't sign their offer sheet. They could gamble on defensive lineman Romeo Bandison of Oregon, who's coming off serious knee injuries or take Johnnie Morton or offensive lineman Wayne Gandy of Auburn if he falls this far.
18. Denver Broncos (9-7)
Unless the Broncos make a trade, they'll be the wallflower at the draft. Since they traded their first-round pick to the Vikings for Gary Zimmerman, they won't get one of the first 50 players. Their first selection is the 22nd pick on the second round and the 51st overall. They want to upgrade their defense -- particularly their pass defense that ranked 27th last year -- but they'll have to hope a good player slips through.
19. Minnesota Vikings (9-7)
The Vikings have two picks in row because they received the 18th selection from the Broncos. With four of the first 52 picks, they figure to give new quarterback Warren Moon some help. They could use a wide receiver, offensive lineman, linebacker and running back, so they'll see which players fall this far.
20. Green Bay Packers (9-7)
Since they took Tony Mandarich in 1989 with the second pick, they've selected defensive players four years in the row. That may explain why their defense ranked second and the offense 19th last year. They figure to go for offense this time and will grab the best wide receiver or offensive lineman who falls this far. They may pass on a running back after signing Reggie Cobb. LeShon Johnson of Northern Illinois could be their pick.
21. Detroit Lions (10-6)
The Lions have a glaring need at cornerback and they're hoping that DeWayne Washington falls this far. If he doesn't, they could switch to an offensive lineman, which is another priority because they have to protect their new expensive quarterback, Scott Mitchell. That means they could wind up with tackle Todd Steussie of California.
22. Los Angeles Raiders (10-6)
The Raiders are up to their usual secretive ways. They haven't even said where they're going to play this year, much less what they're looking for in the draft. Coach Art Shell even declined to hold a pre-draft news conference. But it's pretty obvious this is a team that has to find a running back to complement quarterback Jeff Hostetler. They figure to take the best running back left on the board.
23. San Francisco 49ers (10-6)
The 49ers have the 15th and 23rd picks because they got San Diego's pick for Natrone Means. The problem is that with the salary cap, they can't afford two first-round picks, so they'd like to package them to move up and get one of the better defensive players. If they can't do that, cornerback DeWayne Washington would be a good fit at No. 15. In the 23rd slot, they could stick with another defensive player or go with a wide receiver because Jerry Rice and John Taylor aren't getting any younger.
24. New York Giants (11-5)
The Giants appeared to be a rebuilding team until coach Dan Reeves suddenly turned them into a contender again last year. They still need an upgrade at the wide receiver, defensive line, defensive back and running back positions, but there's some suspicion they may go for an offensive lineman because they've spent a lot of time evaluating Issac Davis of Arkansas. General manager George Young likes linemen, so picking Davis wouldn't be a surprise.
25. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5)
There's no secret about the Chiefs' plans. They need a running back. They got Marcus Allen to be a part-time player last year and he wound up leading the team with 764 yards, but they
know he can't last much longer. If one of the running backs the Chiefs like doesn't fall this far, they'd like to trade down.
26. Houston Oilers (12-4)
The Oilers are another team with a specific need. They lost both of their defensive ends, William Fuller and Sean Jones, in free agency, so they'd like to find one in the draft. The problem is that defensive ends are a priority. The question is whether one will fall to them. They're keeping their fingers crossed. They could switch to an offensive lineman if the best of the defensive linemen are gone.
27. Buffalo Bills (12-4)
The Bills were hurt in free agency as they lost a starting offensive tackle (Howard Ballard) for the second straight year as well as a cornerback (Nate Odomes). They'll be trying to replace those two and also are looking for an outside linebacker. The Bills hope to get depth in this draft with three second-round picks.
28. Dallas Cowboys (12-4)
Owner Jerry Jones, who wants to show what a wheeler-dealer he is now that Jimmy Johnson isn't around to get the credit, doesn't like being in the 28th slot. He won't get much time on the ESPN draft show if he doesn't move up, so he has been trying to peddle Alvin Harper to get better position in the draft. To cover their free-agent losses, the Cowboys need help at linebacker and offensive line.