NFL draft: Trade reunites Pete Carroll and LenDale White
Time to draft and time to trade … and trade … and trade.
NFL teams were almost as busy dealing veterans as they were making draft picks Saturday. Jason Campbell, LenDale White, Kirk Morrison, Leon Washington and Bryant McFadden all changed teams on the final day of the draft.
With Donovan McNabb now in Washington, Campbell became expendable and was sent to Oakland for a fourth-round pick in 2012. Where that leaves JaMarcus Russell, the top overall pick of 2007 who has struggled with the Raiders, is anyone's guess.
The Tennessee Titans dealt White to Seattle, reuniting the running back with his college coach, Pete Carroll. Later, the Seahawks acquired another runner, versatile Washington, from the Jets — who also released standout guard Alan Faneca.
“Just a great one-two punch to add to our team,” Carroll said of the new runners, both of whom come with question marks. “We're real excited about Leon Washington. Our guys loved him.”
Washington missed half of 2009 with a severe leg injury. He recently re-signed with the Jets, for whom he has starred as a kick returner, runner and receiver.
The burly and bruising White helped Carroll win a national championship with the Trojans. But he lost his starting job to Chris Johnson and had problems being on time for meetings.
“As far as LenDale falling out of favor, he practiced,” Titans Coach Jeff Fisher said. “He was prepared to play. I think I can't blame him for wanting to play more. That's the kind of players you want on your roster. Considering the circumstances, he handled things. There were issues I don't need to bring up. I thought he handled things reasonably well.”
Oakland also sent starting middle linebacker Morrison to Jacksonville as the bartering got heavy in Round 4.
“For me, it's a new beginning. I feel like I was drafted all over again,” Morrison said.
Pittsburgh's fifth-round deal brought back McFadden, who won a Super Bowl with the Steelers in 2008. Arizona drafted quarterback John Skelton of Fordham with the pick it received in the trade.
The fourth round began with St. Louis further bolstering its anemic offense by taking wide receiver Mardy Gilyard, who once lost his scholarship at Cincinnati and even lived out of his car.
When new Seahawks coach Carroll dealt for one of his mainstays at USC, getting White from the Titans for Seattle's fourth-rounder and sixth-rounder, Seattle also received defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson. The Titans selected UCLA cornerback Alterraun Verner with the spot acquired in the deal.
Vickerson was suspended for four games in 2008 for violating the NFL performance enhancers policy. He's been a situational player for Tennessee.
USC tight end Anthony McCoy, who tested positive for marijuana earlier this year, went 185th overall, also to Carroll in Seattle.
Oakland selected one of the draft's fastest players, wideout Jacoby Ford of Clemson, with the pick acquired from the Jaguars for Morrison. After drafting Rolando McClain in the first round to take over at middle linebacker, Morrison became expendable despite leading the Raiders in tackles the past four seasons.
“I definitely didn't see a slip in my play,” Morrison said. “Now I can move to Jacksonville and show what I can do.”
St. Louis made quarterback Sam Bradford the first overall selection Thursday night and began the second round Friday by choosing offensive lineman Rodger Saffold from Indiana.
Gilyard was pick No. 99 overall and one of the most high-profile players still available. He should help the Rams on kick returns, too.
“It's like slim to none that kids actually get to go pro,” Gilyard said. “My mom, she's bananas right now. She's going to call me about eight times in a row.”
In another deal, the Jets moved up to Carolina's spot to draft USC's Joe McKnight at No. 112. That freed the way to deal Washington, and New York chose Kentucky fullback John Conner with the pick secured from Seattle.
All-American tight end Aaron Hernandez of Florida went to New England, the second tight end chosen by the Patriots. When DE Eric Norwood of South Carolina was taken by the Panthers at No. 124, every eligible All-American except placekicker Leigh Tiffin had gone.
The first Ohio State player chosen was linebacker Thaddeus Gibson, 116th overall by Pittsburgh. Such other notable programs as West Virginia and Michigan State had no players taken through 200 picks.
-- Associated Press
Photo: UCLA cornerback Alterraun Verner (1) comes up with an interception against Tennessee. Credit: Los Angeles Times