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McNabb trade shouldn’t have dramatic impact on draft

The release of Marc Bulger is the most tangible evidence yet that the Rams will be taking Sam Bradford with the first overall pick in the 2010 draft. Given that Bulger and Bradford are represented by the same agency, it also could be a mild goodwill gesture aimed at softening Tom Condon and Ben Dogra up to the possibility of doing a pre-draft deal for Bradford.

So with Bradford presumably off the board at No. 1, what impact does the trade of Donovan McNabb to the Redskins have on the draft?

After full consideration, not much.

The fact that the Redskins traded for McNabb after completing a two-day visit with quarterback Jimmy Clausen suggests that the Redskins wouldn’t have used the fourth overall pick on the former Notre Dame signal-caller. And the only reason anyone thought that the Redskins would indeed take Clausen at No. 4 came from the fact that they were so openly flirting with Clausen -- as they were quietly working out a deal for McNabb.

The McNabb trade serves only to guarantee that Clausen will slip through to No. 5, which means that the Chiefs (and former Irish head coach Charlie Weis) will get a crack at him, possibly followed by the Seahawks, Browns, and Bills.

If Clausen gets past the Bills, the Jaguars could be tempted at No. 10. Ditto for Denver at No. 11, San Fran at No. 13, Seattle again at 14, and San Fran again at 17.

So while a Brady Quinn-style free fall is possible, there are too many quarterback-needy teams this time around.

The real question is whether Texas quarterback Colt McCoy will go in the teens or the 20s, and then whether Tim Tebow is pulled of the board in the latter portions of round one or the early stages or round two.

The key for McCoy and Tebow will be Clausen; both need to see the guy widely regarded as the second-best quarterback get picked before they’ll nudge toward the batter’s box.

We’ve used a baseball metaphor in honor of the fact that it’s the first real day of baseball season. And baseball season can’t end unless it first begins.