Ex-Duck QB visits five clubs; Bengals also show interest
Joey Harrington's agent won't predict where his client will be selected in the NFL draft this week, short of saying he will be trumpeted as somebody's franchise quarterback.
Harrington has visited Carolina, Detroit, Buffalo, Kansas City and Washington. Cincinnati also has expressed interest in the former Oregon Ducks star.
Harrington, 23, could go to Kansas City at No. 8, Cincinnati at No. 10 or Washington at No. 18 on Saturday. Or the Redskins might trade up to pick him higher.
'You'd have to gather that the places he visited are good indicators of who's interested in him,' says agent David Dunn. 'But I've learned that the surest way to not achieve a desired result is to talk about it.'
The Houston Texans already have declared that they will take Fresno State QB David Carr with the No. 1 pick. Houston offensive coordinator Chris Palmer has had affection for Carr all along, even though Harrington outperformed his counterpart at the NFL combine.
'So, that pick was preordained,' Dunn says.
Carolina has the second pick and Detroit the third, and each team groomed quarterbacks last year. Perhaps they have been bluffing by expressing interest in Harrington.
Carolina picked QB Chris Weinke last year and might try to fill more pressing needs by taking North Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers or Texas defensive back Quentin Jammer.
Same with Detroit, which has young Mike McMahon tabbed as its QB of the future. But can Lions President Matt Millen pass on adding a Heisman Trophy finalist who played maybe his best game on his biggest stage, the Fiesta Bowl?
'He (Harrington) is one of those few players who come out that just don't have many negatives,' Detroit coach Marty Mornhinweg tells the Detroit Free Press. 'Nobody's a can't-miss, but he's pretty close to that.'
Dunn says Harrington would be happy going to Carolina or Detroit Ñ the Panthers were 1-15 last year, the Lions 2-14.
'That's something that makes Joey a bit unique, as well as very attractive to the franchises involved ÑÊhis ability to adapt,' Dunn says.
If Kansas City picks Harrington, he could sit and learn behind Trent Green, who coach Dick Vermeil traded for last year. The Chiefs, who gave Green a contract extension, are said to be leaning toward selecting Harrington, if he falls to No. 8, over North Carolina defensive lineman Ryan Sims.
'He's the complete package,' Vermeil tells the Kansas City Star.
The interesting pick would be Cincinnati because Dunn also represents Bengal QB Akili Smith, a former Duck who went as the No. 2 pick in the draft three years ago.
Harrington 'doesn't have the strongest arm in the world,' Jim Lippincott, Bengals player personnel director, tells the Cincinnati Enquirer, 'but it's strong enough.'
Smith says of Harrington: 'He's a great dude, all the leadership qualities you look for. Smart. High intensity. True competitor. It would be real ironic. I would be in my fourth year here. He would be a rookie. It was the same situation at Oregon. It may happen again. If Joey is the luck that I need, please draft him.'
Another factor: Teams such as Buffalo, which has the fourth pick, and the Bengals have been talking with Dunn about trading for Drew Bledsoe, the New England quarterback who lost his starting position last year.
NOTES: Washington has shown much interest in Harrington, and vice versa. Owner Daniel Snyder watched Harrington play last year. Harrington says playing in coach Steve Spurrier's passing offense would be fun. And the Redskins will certainly pick a QB, Harrington or Tulane's Patrick Ramsey. A defensive lineman or wide receiver might start right away for the Redskins, Spurrier says, but Harrington probably wouldn't. Are the Redskins enamored enough with Harrington to trade up to pick him?
It appears Harrington will be spending the weekend at home in Portland. Dunn says Harrington will return from the Masters golf tournament, stay in Eugene a few days and probably watch the draft on TV with his family rather than join other potential first-round picks at Madison Square Garden. 'Personal preference,' says Dunn, whose client just wants an NFL home.