Final Mock Draft
Here goes the last mock draft of the season. This is what I expect to go down on draft day, Thursday, with the first round turning out some big time surprises. We’ve done a few mock drafts here at LL.com, most recently a team mock that had 4 different guys playing GM for a day. But this one is different, this takes into account all the hoopla involved in the pre-draft process. I’m talking about rumors and needs and “what I hear” and all that good stuff. This one will be the most accurate of any mock we’ve put out. This is always a great time, a bunch of poor kids get rich! Enjoy the draft.
1. Carolina Panthers select Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
I don’t know how you pass on Gabbert’s all around safety and upside, but Newton might very well have the highest ceiling in the draft. Is that always worth the #1 pick? I don’t think so, but I get it.
2. Denver Broncos select Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
Dareus is a beast in the middle, and the Broncos just flat out haven’t had anything close to that since, well, a long time. This team struggles against the run, Dareus will help them sure that area up. If you want safety, MD is the guy.
3. Buffalo Bills select Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
This youngster has a ton of upside as an all around player, and is a great fit for a team that really struggles defensively. Miller will help out against the pass, with his ability to put pressure on the quarterback, and he just plays football with a contagious effort level. I think an OLB is a tough pick at #3 overall, but he’s a game changer.
4. The Cincinnati Bengals select Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
You just don’t get a guy with no holes in his game, anymore. I’m sure Blaine doesn’t have the upside of Cam Newton or the immediate impact of Marcell Dareus, but shoot, he’s a possible franchise quarterback that is fast, big, has a strong arm, has some smarts, and a solid personality. I like Fairley a lot, but it looks like he’s got too many questions. I love A.J. Green –but I get going for a QB here. This “surprise” pick changes the rest of the draft going forward.
5. Arizona Cardinals select Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, Carolina
Arizona gets lucky by not being forced to go Gabbert with #5, I like Gabbert, but the team will get better faster if they get help in the trenches. Before Quinn was kicked off the football team for extra benefits, he was a Top 5 pick in the making – a stud DE that was a force, a big bad man that could play as a 4-3 end or a 3-4 OLB, similar to Terrell Suggs. Well, there’s no NCAA sanctions in the NFL, and Quinn is still that guy. Da’Quan Bowers’ knee questions certainly upped Quinn’s stock, but like I said, he’s always had the talent.
6. Cleveland Browns select A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Mike Holmgren isn’t above taking a wide receiver early, especially when he’s quite possibly the best offensive player in the draft and still on the board at #6. The Browns have some young WRs coming into their own, but they don’t have a guy like A.J. Green. While the Browns certainly don’t have an air-it-out attack, Green can help improve that area with his elite hands and ability to get open.
7. San Francisco 49ers select Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
The 49ers get lucky. This is the kind of guy their defense needs, a defense that is already tough in a bunch of areas, but Peterson just ups the entire group. He may be a Top 3 player from this class.
8. Tennessee Titans select Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
A lot of people have questions about Fairley’s personality, and he may be more difficult than your average bear, but he’s still a stud. Fairley is exactly what the Titans are missing since Haynesworth ran off to Washington DC – except I think there are less questions about Fairley’s personality than Big Al’s – Big Al is wild.
9. Dallas Cowboys select Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Dallas should get as much help in the trenches as possible. Amukamara is an option here, to help an ever-struggling secondary – but I think Romo’s health is of more importance, and Smith will assist in that category while improving the run game to boot.
10. Washington Redskins select Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
I’m not so sure that Splinter Shanahan will be enamored with the idea of going WR in the Top 10, but Jones really adds a lot to a small WR crew in Washington. Julio was supposed to be gone already, but A.J. Green’s small slip has JJ still available. DE or DT still an option here, JJ Watt or Cory Liuget possibly?
11. The Houston Texans select Cameron Jordan, DE, California
Jordan is all the hype right now, and he seems like a great fit opposite Mario Williams. Jordan does a lot of things well, and it’s not surprising that the more people look at him, the more they like what he brings to the table.
12. Minnesota Vikings select Jake Locker, QB, Washington
The Vikings could really use help on the offensive line, as evidenced by Brett Favre being used as a piñata by opposing defenses last season – but they also need a QB of the future, and the current regime doesn’t think they have one on the roster. Locker has great upside, works his A off, and is a strong leader. It’s a reach, but not as much as many think. If they hold off on QB, they could go in a number of different directions, J.J. Watt, Prince Amukamara, Anthony Castonzo (to name a few).
13. Detroit Lions select Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Prince not only has a great name, but the guy has all the speed and shut down ability you need to grab a corner this high. The Lions defense is really improving, but they can’t take that next step without a stud CB – they just happen to luck out and get one here.
14. The St. Louis Rams select Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
Liuget fits that DL mold that Spagnola was a big part of during his time in New York. The Rams could use Corey’s ability to disrupt the run and pass with his speed and strength. I think Liuget is a can’t miss option on the DL.
15. The Miami Dolphins select Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida
I think this is high for a center/guard player, even if his upside is grand. I know his brother is a stud, but remember, his brother is better. Still, I watched the Dolphins’ offensive line really struggle in the middle last season, and Pouncey will guarantee an improvement in that area – so it makes some sense.
16. The Jacksonville Jaguars select J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
I liked the Jaguars grabbing Ryan Kerrigan here, but think that Watt is just a little more impressive as a prospect. He’s still on the board in this scenario, so I think he’s gone, as Jacksonville gets a very solid and safe player in the middle of Round 1.
17. The New England Patriots select Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple
I know that a lot of boards have Castonzo going here, and I certainly see the value in that from a Patriots’ perspective – but this team really missed Richard Seymour, and I think Wilkerson is going to be a stud DE in the 3-4 scheme – I also think the Patriots are really smart – those two thins add up to Wilkerson going here.
18. The San Diego Chargers select Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
Castonzo has starting LT upside, and right off the bat he could be plugged into the RT job in San Diego. This team has gone to the pass a ton over the last couple years, but bookends that can pass block and run block could help even things out in SD.
19. The New York Giants select Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Carimi is a mauler, and the Giants need to improve their run-game. Some think the best way to do that is to go grab Ingram, but anybody in the know highlights the need of new blood on the offensive line. Jacobs and Bradshaw are decent enough, and there’s plenty of RB options to be won later in the draft – right here, it’s OL or bust for the Giants.
20. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
One could argue that they are just getting rid of the last troubled CB they picked in Round 1. I’m going to go ahead and argue that Jimmy Smith doesn’t have those same concerns, and that he’s quite possibly the best cover guy in the draft. The Bucs need me to be right.
21. The Kansas City Chiefs select Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona
I don’t know how I missed this guy in my first couple mocks. I’ve hit up some film on him, because I heard a lot about his climb into the 1st round. He looks like the real deal to me. I know that Arizona had a stud defense this season, and he’s a big reason why. Tamba Hali is a solid pass rushing force for the Chiefs, but Reed coming form the other side could mean great things for the Chiefs D.
22. The Indianapolis Colts select Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
The Colts protect Manning here. Seems like a good move for a smart front office. If they were wild and crazy, they could think about picking up Aldon Smith and grooming him behind two greats – but the league’s getting tougher, and if they want to compete they need to protect their #1 guy, and improve the run-game.
23. The Philadelphia Eagles select Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
I love the Eagles to trade back here, but if they don’t, it’s because they find a value pick too good to pass up, or maybe they like Akeem Ayers enough to grab him this high? Tough call with the Eagles, per usual, but Sherrod helps them in a huge need area, and I think he’s the last top-tier OT option in this draft.
24. The New Orleans Saints select Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Does this clear up the running back position? I think so. I just don’t really get it. I love Ingram, really, I do – I think he’ll be a stud – but the Saints have proven that they can get a lot of production out of a number of RB options, why go RB with a valuable 1st round pick? Maybe the rumors are for the birds, I don’t know – if they don’t take Ingram, Ryan Kerrigan is a great value pick here, and Aldon Smith is another huge upside, value option.
25. The Seattle Seahawks select Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
I think the Hawks would love Sherrod or Solder to be here so they can improve the other side of that porous offensive line – but that’s just not the case in this mock, and that leaves them thinking… Jake Locker is already gone, so the home town boy options is out the window. I know DE isn’t a huge need for this team, but I still think Ryan Kerrigan is a great value pick this late – if he does indeed slip down the draft. But, with Paul Allen’s money, and a great place to risk it, why not grab Da’Quan Bowers? The kid is a stud, and if his knees do stay healthy for the next 5 years, what an absolute steal for a team looking for gamebreakers.
26. The Baltimore Ravens select Aldon Smith, OLB/DE, Missouri
I’m not sure what they’ll do with him, he’s obviously not big and bad enough to be a 3-4 DE, and they aren’t in need of an OLB in their 3-4, but this is a team getting older, and Smith is a steal here – he could learn from some greats. If they think Ryan Kerrigan can play DE in the 3-4, they’ll grab his motor here. Adrian Clayborn is an option, too. Maybe Brandon Harris or Ras-I Dowling to fill their biggest need? It gets tougher this late.
27. The Atlanta Falcons select Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
The Falcons are looking for a DE to help them put pressure on the passer and be stout on the edge against the run. Kerrigan is going to be a starter, and while he might not project as a Pro-Bowler, the safety in this pick has to be reassuring, the fact that they might get a sure thing this late in a huge position of need will be too good to pass up.
28. The New England Patriots select Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
I’ll be stunned if the Patriots don’t trade one of their first round picks. But there are no trades in my mock, so the Pats fill one of their biggest needs with Akeem Ayers, the playmaker from UCLA. He has the versatility the Patriots want from their players, and is decent value here.
29. The Chicago Bears select Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor
The bottom line here is that Chicago has to upgrade their offense line in Round 1. There’s no OT guy worth their top pick, but I don’t think that will keep them improving their biggest hole. Watkins is a beast, and I think a surefire upgrade is the right decision.
30. The New York Jets select Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
I think Clayborn is a great fit both in value and position of need. It’s tough to find good 5-technique players anywhere in the draft, and if they can do that with pick #30, that’s a great option. Clayborn is the type of guy that will fit perfect on a team that goes all out all the time.
31. The Pittsburgh Steelers select James Carpenter, OG, Alabama
The Crimson Tide had one of the best rushing attacks in the land, and that’s partly due to what Carpenter did on a weekly basis. James might not be the best run or pass blocker in the draft, but he’s well rounded in both areas. The Steelers really need help on the offensive line, and I think Carpenter will sure up the middle.
32. The Green Bay Packers select Will Rackley, OG, Lehigh
It doesn’t look like any of the Packers’ dream scenarios fall here. Brooks Reed, Cameron Heyward, or even Akeem Ayers are all gone, and that leaves them picking the best available guy to help them defend their Super Bowl. They could always use help on the offensive line, and Will Rackley could be their guy as an OG that could solidify their offensive line right away. If Clayborn or Ayers fall this far, they become the targets.
A Real Mock Draft – For Better (OR WORSE) Team LL.Com Makes the Pick!
Alright, so I had this idea about a mock draft that I thought would be twice as good as your late mock that all but copies the super-NFL writers that have all the inside information and basically know the picks heading into draft. This one is different. This isn’t a “what will happen” mock draft, this is more of a fantasy rookie draft. The fantasy? Team LuckyLester.com gets a random number, 1, 2, 3, or 4 (it would have been 5, but Red Red Ryan was “too busy” – scoff!). They pick for the team at that number all the way down the draft. Josh (JA) picked #1 out of the hat, I (LL) got #2, Papa Weimer (PW) got #3, and Nate Kuhns (NK) got last, #4, but at least he doesn’t have to pay his guys as much…
So Josh has picks #1, #5, #9, and so on. I pick #2, #6, and on and on. Papa #3, #7… Nate #4, #8….
It makes sense, I’m sure of it.
For this mock, we get to be the team owners, the GMs, the coaches, whoever decides the guy we’ll pick in Round 1. You’ll notice that I make all the best decisions… (as the editor, I get to write that without getting it deleted)
I have the initials down at the end of the write up, letting you know each guy who made the pick for each team, so you know who to write in (firstname.lastname@example.org) and trash. I’ll be posting good trash talking, arguments, agreements, etc – so write in!
Josh is on the clock….
1. The Carolina Panthers select Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Taking Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton will be the temptation here, but both are risky picks that weren’t projected as first rounders before Andrew Luck decided to stay in school and Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett faded down the stretch. Bowers will give the Panthers a pass-rushing monster to pair with Charles Johnson on the other side, wreaking havoc in opposing backfields. The Panthers need to stay ahead in turnover margin (-8 in 2010) for them to be successful, and getting pressure on the quarterback results in those impact plays that a defense feeds off of. I know his “knee concerns” will have him out of this spot, but I think he’ll be a very good player for a very long time. JA
2. The Denver Broncos select Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
I originally had the Broncos drafting Nick Fairley here, and while he came across poorly during the combine, I still think he’s the best defensive tackle in the draft (yes, better than Marcell Dareus) and he should be considered here. I watched the kid cause ruckus on the line all season long, and despite playing on the same team as Cam Newton, he was the best player on the field plenty of big games this season. However, I love me some Patrick Peterson, and think he has the make-up to be one special player on the outside. In a game that is becoming more pass friendly than ever, a player like Peterson can’t be overlooked. LL
3. The Buffalo Bills select Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Like Lucky said, Fairley was the best defensive player in college football last season. He affected games from the DT position similar to the way Suh did last season. Now, I don’t think Fairley is Suh, but he certainly has an amazing skill set for a big man on the line, and Buffalo needs to stop the run and rush the passer, two things that Fairley can do from the time he steps foot on the field. A quarterback might be tempting here, but Fitzpatrick is solid, at least, and this is a team that needs to start finding ways to win. A young project QB isn’t the answer if winning is the goal. They might be able to trade down and get him, but either way, Fairley would help this team more than anybody else on the board. PW
4. The Cincinnati Bengals select A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Green simply put is a beast at 6’4′ and 212 pounds with 4.38 speed, Green has the tools to make an immediate impact. With Ochocinco kicking balls instead of catching them, as well as Owens departure, the Bengals will need to look for an incumbent and Green is their man. I typically like to build inside out with the Top 5 picks, however with this kind of talent on the board, Green is my guy. NK
5. The Arizona Cardinals select Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
Another QB-needy team will look to address those needs either later in the draft or via a trade or free agency. As pressing as the need is I remain unconvinced that either Gabbert or Newton will put the Cards over the edge in the NFC West in the coming seasons. Von Miller would be an immediate upgrade to an Arizona defense that relies on the big play rather than being a shutdown unit. Bringing him off the edge in Ken Whisenhunt’s 3-4 scheme would instantly improve a pass rush that struggled to get to the quarterback at times during the 2010 season. I expect the Cards to make a major push for Kevin Kolb, and if they are able to attain his services with a package of 2012 draft picks and nab a top defensive talent like Miller with this pick, they could well be in position to return to the top of the weakest division in football sooner rather than later. JA
6. The Cleveland Browns select Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
Dareus is just too good of a find here. With AJ Green already off the board, Von Miller headed to Arizona, Peterson gone early to Denver, Fairley slipping in at 3, the Browns are still lucky to get Dareus here. They won’t be looking for a quarterback at this point – Colt McCoy seems like the guy in Cleveland. I don’t think they’d reach for Julio Jones, and unless the like Robert Quinn more than Big MD, this one is tough to pass on. Dareus has proven to be a beat up front throughout his college career, and has done plenty for himself in the off-season. Many have Dareus plowing past Fairley as the top DT, and getting a game changer in the middle with the 6th pick will be great for the Browns. LL
7. The San Francisco 49ers select, Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
I have to believe that we’re wrong up to this point, and a quarterback has already been taken (I know I’m not wrong, it must me one of the other guys) – but if we aren’t, and teams are actually following our path of sound advice, then the 49ers will get their choice at QB. There’s no Andrew Luck in this class, as new headman Jim Harbaugh certainly recognizes, but I’m willing to bet there’s enough in Gabbert’s upside to woo the Stanford coach into taking a chance. Gabbert has a cannon, he worked out as well as any QB on the board, and he’s looked comfortable under pressure and in the pocket. I think he’s the choice here, even though this QB class scares me a bit. The 49ers could go for Cam Newton instead, but I think they’ll be more smitten with Blaine. Prince Amukamara is another very good player that would probably help this team more than a QB, but that chance of hitting gold might be too much to pass up if their favorite signal caller is still on the board. PW
8. The Tennessee Titans select Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
With the majority of high impact defensive players off the board, including highly targeted Da’Quan Bowers, the Titans will look to address the most important offensive position on the field at QB. Fisher has targeted athletic QB’s in the past, and will look to do so again. The risk here remains high, however with K. Collins going into his 18th season and the debacle surrounding V. Young, Tennessee and Fisher will look for the next signal caller. NK
9. Dallas Cowboys select Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Jerry’s crew should be thrilled to land Amukamara with the 9th pick in the first round. While Patrick Peterson profiles as the better athlete with the slightly higher ceiling, in my opinion Prince is more technically sound and possesses the higher floor. The cornerback position opposite Terence Newman has been a black hole for the Boys for years now and grabbing the heir to the throne both in name and position-wise would make too much sense to ignore. Securing the former Husker would allow the Cowboys to bump Mike Jenkins to the nickel back role or possibly transition Newman to safety as he approaches his age 33 season. JA
10. Washington Redskins select Julio Jones, wr, Alabama
With no true star at receiver, the redskins would have a tough time passing on a possible star in jones. His speed/size combo is very impressive and it’s even better that he’s not a princess like most star college receivers. This guy is as good a blocker as he is a playmaker and he’s big time in both areas. Think Brandon Marshall size and speed with no crazy tendencies. LL
11. The Houston Texans select Robert Quinn, de, Carolina
Robert Quinn would be a nice pick here, the Texans have needed production from the opposite DE spot as teams plan around Mario Williams but this corner is super talented and Houston needs more help in the secondary desperately. Tough choice. I’m going with Quinn here because his pressure will help the secondary as well as against the run. Pressure is a secondaries best friend. PW
12. The Minnesota Vikings select Tyron Smith, OT, USC
The glaring need here shines on the QB position, however with both top QB prospects off the board, Minnesota will look to solidify up front. Smith has the size and athleticism to become an impact player in both the run game as well as the pass. An investment here in Smith will increase the chances of the new QB in Minnesota staying off his back, as well as the Vikings getting back to a more balanced attack. NK
13. The Detroit Lions select Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
In the first real shocker of the draft, I like the Lions to avoid drafting based on need. If Amukamara slips this far I think he becomes the pick, but in this scenario Prince is long gone. Ingram is not a burner, but the presence of second-year man Jahvid Best allows the Lions to pair Ingram’s thump and grinding approach with Best’s big-play ability. The defense in Detroit has taken a major step forward under the guidance of DC Gunther Cunningham (not to mention an influx of talent headed by a boy named Suh). With the recent upgrades at the skill positions, this team is ready to ascend to the next level if QB Matthew Stafford can stay healthy under center. JA
14. The St. Louis Rams select J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
I know Watt has been pegged an ideal 3-4 DE and thus is linked to a lot of teams moving to that style of defense, or looking for an end to plug in. But Watt has a great size to be any kind of defense end in any style of defense. His relentless motor and strength is going to immediately upgrade the Rams pass-rush and run defense. He truly is in the mold of those New York Giant defensive linemen that Steve Spagnuolo has first hand knowledge of. He already has his quarterback, there’s not a receiver worth drafting here, I like him improving that defensive line. LL
15. The Miami Dolphins select Anthony Costanzo, OT, Boston College
Despite being known for the wildcat offense, a run-heavy attack, and possessing two very talented runners last season, the Dolphins really had trouble running the ball. We all know they have one very talented OT in Jake Long, but they could use another and Constanzo is the best on the board. Not many people realized that the Dolphins struggled on the line last season, but it didn’t go unnoticed form my point of view, and something tells me the Dolphins realized it as well. Rarely do you get a chance to pick arguably the best offensive tackle in the draft at pick #15, and with Mark Ingram already off the board, Costanzo’s the next best (maybe first best?) way to get that running game going again. PW
16. The Jacksonville Jaguars select Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
The plethora of talent from the DE position holds true with the selection of Kerrigan from the Boilermakers. An athletic smooth mover, Kerrigan, will help specifically with pressure on the quarterback, as well as add versatility to the defensive scheme. If I’m going to miss, I’m going to swing after a guy with a motor like Ryan’s. NK
17. The New England Patriots select Cameron Jordan, DE, California
The Pats will enter this draft looking to improve along the front seven and Jordan will give them a boost on the outside to pair with a healthy Ty Warren. When you factor in space eater Vince Wilfork the Patriots should be very stout against the run. Not a true sack master, Jordan has excellent intangibles and does everything well, a perfect fit for a Bill Belichick coached team and an excellent value in the middle of the first round. JA
18. The San Diego Chargers select Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple
Wilkerson is a beast and will go to some team looking for a 3-4 defensive end in this draft. He may not have that big school pedigree, but when you watch him play the game, you certainly see how impressive the young man is. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s gone by this pick, but if he’s still on board, the Chargers will pounce at the chance to improve their defensive line at #18. LL
19. The New York Giants select Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
If you ask the draftniks which offensive lineman has the most upside, 3 out of 4 will tell you that Colorado’s Nate Solder is the guy. I know that Mike Pouncey has great name recognition, and that he may be the more versatile of any 1st round lineman, but I think Solder’s upside at #19 is quite the steal for a team without many holes. The Giants could go a lot of directions with this pick, but I see them improving their offensive line, a position that has gotten old over the years – when you’re not talking about cheese or wine, aged isn’t a good thing. PW
20. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
Tampa Bay keeps it in Colorado selecting another Buffalo in Jimmy Smith. Smith has the size speed and athleticism to make it at the next level. Jimmy’s past run in with the law has spawned character issues, and is the main reason why Smith is still on the board at 20. The Bucs will take the risk. NK
21. The Kansas City Chiefs select Gabe Carimi, OT, Boston College
The Chiefs certainly have needs, like any team, but it’s easy to see how much better they are when Matt Cassel gets time. He’s a very accurate passer when he’s not rushed, and Carimi would just add one more piece to an impressive offensive attack that produced the best rushing attack in football, and a solid passing game that saw KC in the playoffs in 2010. JA
22. The Indianapolis Colts select Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
Liuget is probably the best player that people know the least about coming into this draft. I’m not sure he’s going to slip this far in the real world, because he’s really good. Not only is he very quick on the line, solid against the run, and able to rush the quarterback, but the DT from Illinois has a great motor. It’s tough to find big talented bodies that give the effort he does. The Colts are usually in the business of going offensive line with this pick, but a little help on the defensive side of the ball could go a long way. Liuget is a Top 15 talent, and thus his value at a spot of need is too good to pass up, here. LL
23. The Philadelphia Eagles select Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida
The Eagles could be bummed if the draft goes like it did in our mock. They waited and waited and had 2 great fits left with just 2 teams to pick ahead of them, and whammy, both guys get drafted before it’s their turn on the clock. Carimi could really help an Eagles team that needs to get better on the offensive line (especially OT). Liuget would have been a steal for a team like Philly, looking to get more beasts of burden on the defensive line. As is, both those guys are gone, so I think the Eagles should go get Mike Pouncey. Pouncey is the type of guy that immediately upgrades your offensive line, because he can fit at multiple spots. He’s not a stud OT, but will be a really good player at either center or guard, and building your line with a piece like that is perfect. I do think Jake Locker is an interesting fit here, and the Eagles may consider it. I’ve never been crazy about Locker’s jitters in the pocket or just the way he looks player quarterback, but the Eagles could be without Kolb, and Vick isn’t a tadpole, either, he’s in his 30s and the way he plays, health isn’t a guarantee. The Eagles did well improving Vick’s accuracy, and Locker has the arm and athleticism that Andy Reid seems to love in his quarterbacks. That would be a huge surprise here, but I’m wouldn’t be stunned at all. Still, I think Pouncey’s the pick if I’m on the clock. PW
24. The New Orleans Saints select Justin Houston, OLB/DE, Georgia
The Saints needs are clearly highlighted on the defensive board. The need help on the defensive line, as well as speed in the secondary. With a strong showing at the combine, Houston makes himself a legitimate first round pick. Justin’s hybrid ability to play standing up allows for support on the edge as well as the ability to rush the QB. If Ingram some how slips to this position, even with all of the needs on the defensive side you might see Peyton go for a steady ball carrier, where the Saints will again be chasing points opposed to zeros. NK
25. The Seattle Seahawks select Jake Locker, QB, Washington
I don’t know that this is a match made in heaven but I do know that Carroll recruited Locker hard while at USC then had a front row seat to the QBs athleticism for the next three years. I think there are a lot of areas Locker needs to improve upon, but I also know his toughness, leadership and work ethic are second to none on this class. A year or two to study under Hasselbeck would do his career a world of good, allowing him to grow more comfortable in a pro offense as well as giving him time to hone his accuracy and pocket presence. JA
26. The Baltimore Ravens select Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
One wonders if the Ravens could steal Aldon Smith here, despite him not really having a perfect fit in their defense. He doesn’t have the size to be an End anchor in that 3-4, and I don’t know if he has the athleticism to be even a OLB that rushes the passer more often than not. I just don’t think he fits. I think the Ravens go for Akeem Ayers here, to do the same kind of thing they tried to draft Sergio Kindle to do last year. Everyone hopes Kindle gets healthy again, but a young stud athlete that moves around the field very well – seems like a good move for an aging Ravens defense. Ayers is only falling because of some sub-par numbers at the combine, but he’s really good at football – that should count for something. Corner here might be an option, as I still like Brandon Harris, Ras I Dowling, and Aaron Williams, but I think Ayers potential upside, and his great value, is too much to pass up. LL
27. The Atlanta Falcons select Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
This kid is a stud. He has some issues with his shoulder, a nerve condition, but he’s been tough and solid throughout his career. He’s not a “best of the bunch” pass rusher, run defender, or numbers guy – but he’s an NFL starter right out of the gate because he does everything well. Not okay, but well. He only had 4 sacks in 2010 after tallying 11 in 2009, but he was still one of the best defenders on a great defense in the Big 10. I think Clayborn is a great value pick here, and the Falcons could definitely use some punch at DE. PW
28. The New England Patriots select Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri
Already selecting a defensive end to man the 3-4 spot with the 17th pick, New England can afford to go elsewhere with this decision. There are still a ton of really talented options on the board, guys that certainly have 1st round ability, but I’m not sure there’s a guy that really fits what the Patriots need desperately, Randy Moss in his prime. Since there’s not a guy like that in draft, and the closest thing to that will get picked in the top 5. I think the Patriots grab talented depth at a key spot, the line. They could go for Derek Sherrod here, a talented OT, maybe even a guard like Danny Watkins – but I think they head over to the defensive side of the ball and pick upside with Aldon Smith. Guy is a freak physically, and while he hasn’t played OLB much, and certainly isn’t refined coming in, the Patriots could really use his tools at that position. Smith is a Top 15 talent and a steal here. NK
29. The Chicago Bears select Derek Sherrod
The Bears need to take the best offensive lineman on the board if indeed there is one of top tier guys. Sherrod is a solid guy that would instantly improve one of the weakest links on a good Bears squad. Aldon Smith might be the pick here, if he’s available, but a very good defense doesn’t have as much need to improve as their sieved of an offensive line. JA
30. The New York Jets select Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
The Jets need a nose tackle to crush up the running game in the middle, and provide a physical force inside that can eat up blockers so the linebackers and pass rushers get a chance to make plays against single coverage. The Jets had a great player on their roster, Kris Jenkins, but the big man just couldn’t stay on the field, and a great player on paper doesn’t mean much during the playoffs. This team is very good, and a couple key players away – a big, bad defensive nose-tackle could be that guy. LL
31. The Pittsburgh Steelers select, Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
The Steelers have a stud defense in the front 7, and they are solid in the secondary – they just need more speed and coverage ability on the corners. Harris has plenty of speed, and he measures out as a great athlete. He has good ball skills and he’ll immediately give the Steelers another body in the secondary, something they desperately need. Help on the offensive line is always an option, and a guard like Danny Watkins would be a good move, but they can get a good guard later and a very solid corner prospect right now. That seems like the best option. PW
32. The Green Bay Packers select Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
How do the rich keep getting richer? Like this. Cameron Heyward has some medical issues, he had Tommy John surgery on his elbow, and somehow that scares off everyone else in the first round except the Super Bowl Champs. It’s not like Heyward is going to be throwing 60 yard bombs or 30 yard outs, not for the Packers – they have Aaron Rodgers to do that type of work, and if he gets hurt, Matt Flynn ain’t bad either. Heyward will be fine holding his own as a 3-4 DE for the Packers, and the rich get richer! NK
Alright, we got the Lucky Lester team together for one final mock draft. We all don’t completely agree on all the picks but these are the guys we felt most comfortable with.
- St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma: We’ve decided that this is not only the move that will most likely happen, but the best move. Think about it like this, would you rather have Albert Haynesworth or Peyton Manning. Al’s a home run at defensive tackle, Peyton’s a home run at QB. Makes sense, right?
- Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska: The Lions might be too stupid to make this pick. They have a franchise quarterback, they have an elite playmaker at receiver, they need help on defense and this guy is the king of the draft. It’s a no-brainer, which means even the Lions should be able to pull it off.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma: Pick number 3 seems like a good one for the Bucs. They need McCoy, and he’s one of the top players in the draft, and he fits their scheme perfectly.
- Washington Redskins: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State: We all think the Redskins should trade down, as the value for what they want just doesn’t hold here, but Okung’s a big bad man, and he’d certainly help the Redskins where they are hurting the most.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma: We’re a little torn here, but in the end, we think the Chiefs go with the best lineman available. Right now, we think that’s Anthony Davis – but all the “draftniks” say Trent Williams is the guy. They pass on Eric Berry, decide not to pay a safety Top 5 money, and get better up front.
- Seattle Seahawks: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee: The Hawks end up getting lucky, and grab one of the best players in the draft. Not only is that great for any team, but especially a team that has been getting killed in the secondary, and has questionable safety play.
- Cleveland Browns: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma: This is a questionable pick in many respects, as nobody has the Browns taking a chance on the infamous Oklahoma wide receiver – however, he’s the best prospect left, and the Browns could use that big play ability.
- Oakland Raiders: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers: I can’t believe that we agree on the Raiders making a good pick and taking a valuable offensive lineman – but that’s what we’re doing. I’m sure we’re off on this one, the Raiders NEVER do anything close to what I think is right.
- Buffalo Bills: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa: The Bills need lots of things – nobody is questioning that, but their new head coach has done good things with questionable offensive weapons, so there’s no reason to think they reach for anything “special” here. We all agree they need offensive line and defensive line help immediately. The elite offensive lineman will be all gone by the time the Bills pick next and there are many great defensive tackles.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Earl Thomas, S, Texas: We like to “joke” with Jack Del Rio’s lack of intelligence, and expect him to do something mentally representative of that “joke”, but if he doesn’t he’ll just take the playmaker in the secondary they’ve been trying to draft since Jack stole the job…
- Denver Broncos: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee: Denver gets a big bad nose tackle to help sure up their improving defense. We all agree that they’d like to see one of the top safeties on the board, but Earl just got sniped by the Jaguars leaving them with Williams.
- Miami Dolphins: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech: We think Morgan can make up for the loss of Jason Taylor. He’s a very versatile defensive lineman that would likely play the OLB in a 3-4 for the Dolphins. I don’t know if he’ll have tons of versatility in coverage, but he’ll be able to rush the QB and hold up against the run.
- San Francisco 49ers: Joe Haden, CB, Florida: The 49ers could use some young stopper in the secondary, and everyone loves Haden – they need help at offensive line, but Haden is good value here (though I like Kyle Wilson more). I was voted off this island, so Haden’s the guy.
- Seattle Seahawks: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson: I don’t like the Hawks taking a running back when they could use a lot of help in many places, but he’s a touchdown maker, and the Hawks could use some explosion. Sold.
- New York Giants: Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: They need a big playmaking linebacker and one of the best defensive players in the draft just happens to be on the board at that very position. Sold.
- Tennessee Titans: Jason Pierre Paul, DE, South Florida: The Titans could be big trade players this year, but without a trade they’ll have to improve their defense against the pass. They could do that by grabbing a corner like Kyle Wilson, but everybody knows good corners aren’t the only way to improve your pass defense – Pierre Paul has great upside and is a good value pick here. We think they go that way.
- San Francisco 49ers: Mike Iupati, G, Idaho: The 49ers wait until pick 17 to get one of the best offensive linemen in the draft. They need help at OT, but there are many that think Iupati has the versatility to play OT as well.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Maurkice Pouncey, C/G, Florida: The Steelers have some soul searching to do, no doubt about it – but what they do need, without a doubt, is good help up front. They haven’t been a good blocking team in a long time, and we all think Pouncey could help at multiple places along the offensive line. Papa Weimer think they’ll ignore that and go for the best player available and take Brandon Graham. I’m thinking Kyle Wilson – but in the end, we all agree, Pouncey is the likely guy here.
- Atlanta Falcons: Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan: Sometimes a team gets lucky in the middle of round 1, a great player just happens to fall into their laps and he just happens to be at a major position of need. This is the case with Graham.
- Houston Texans: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State: I think Taylor Mays would be a good pick here. I think Kyle Wilson, or other help at CB (Kareem Jackson?) would be a solid pick for need here. But I also think this team needs more toughness up front, and Pouncey is one of if not the best interior lineman in the draft. I’m sold.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma: The Bengals could really use help in making their offense more explosive. Gresham is the 2nd best receiving option in the draft – a good pick here.
- New England Patriots: Jerry Hughes, OLB, TCU: He’s the best player left on my board and he’s the best pass rusher in the draft. The Patriots get lucky with Hughes still on the board.
- Green Bay Packers: Charles Brown, OT, USC: He might not be the elite OT they need, but Brown has a bright future and enough talent to make him worth the Packers’ 23rd pick.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Sergio Kindle, DE, Texas: Kindle might not be the best fit for the Eagles, but he’s a dynamic defensive player for a team that lacks a pass rushing presence and big hitters. Sounds like a better fit than I thought.
- Baltimore Ravens: Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State: This big bad man will help the Ravens stay stout up front. He’s talented and has a non-stop motor, and he’s big enough and quick enough to hold up at DE for the Ravens.
- Arizona Cardinals: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame: Hey, 2 out of 4 of us think Clausen will be good, and none out of four of us think Matt Leinart will be good. Kind of a nuts pick for the Cards, but I’m sure they could do worse with it.
- Dallas Cowboys: Taylor Mays, S, USC: Taylor Mays has really fallen. He’s not the best cover corner in the draft, don’t get me wrong, but he’s a big hitter, a top flight physical specimen, and I’m sure he’ll help the Cowboys right off the bat. A few of us think Mays is now being underrated after being overrated to the point of being labeled an overrated player. Do that math.
- San Diego Chargers: Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State: I like Jahvid Best, think he’s the best running back on the board – but Matthews has good size, good speed, good vision, and good power. He’s not amazing at any one area, but good at all of them. The Chargers need somebody in that mold.
- New York Jets: Carlos Dulap, DE, Florida: They aren’t going to take a wide receiver, I know that. I think they’d give Kindle the call if he were left on the board, but as is, he’s not. I think Carlos Dunlap is getting overlooked here – he’s got a great NFL body, and with Rex pushing the buttons, they could get a steal here.
- Minnesota Vikings: Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama: This kid is very good, and was a shut down player for one of the best defenses in college football. Nobody threw his way, and for good reason. The Vikings could really use more talent and youth at corner.
- Indianapolis Colts: Roger Saffold, OT, Indiana: A late mover, the Colts get future help for the NFL’s franchise player.
- New Orleans Saints: Lamar Houston, DT, Texas: Lamar is one of the most underrated defensive linemen in the draft and I expect him to be a late 1st Round pick. The Saints got a little shallow toward the end of the year at DT, and I think Houston helps them right away.
The Draft is close!!! As old as I am, I always start jumping around like a youngster when April hits the midway point. It’s the 12th, and I’m already getting a little giddy. This draft seems as crazy as any I’ve ever seen, as the first round could go any number of ways. Once again, the Raiders are the wild-card. Much will flow based on who they “reach for” at #8 – and I have a real surprise in the works! This is how I see it going…
1. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma: This is an easy pick. I’m not as sold on him as Lucky is, but he’s going to be a solid quarterback in the league – he just has that leadership presence. The Rams need that on the field.
2. Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska: There’s some whispers out there saying the Lions might like McCoy more than Suh. Gerald is probably a better interior pass rusher, but I still like Suh more. If they pick 2nd, they grab Suh. It’s possible they could sucker the Bucs into moving up a spot, get the guy they really want and a bonus pick later in the draft. Seems silly, but all the years I’ve been around I’ve seen it a couple times.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma: While the Lions definitely do well with Bradford getting picked #1, the Bucs don’t miss by much either. While it was originally thought they’d be choosing the best players on the board after the can’t-miss defensive tackles, the way it’s shaking out, they’ll walk away with McCoy. Lucky.
4. Washington Redskins: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State: I think Lucky is on to something when he says Okung is not an ideal Shanahan lineman – but he’s still the best on the board, and for a team that is in full-blown win-now mode, a big talented cat to guard their new quarterback’s blindside is the right thing to do, the right guy to pick – that’s Okung.
5. Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee: It would stun everyone else, but not me, if the Chiefs went Dez Bryant here. The kid is going to be a stud, but with all the bad press he’s getting, he’d be a stunner this high. The smart move would be to grab a difference maker on defense, so I’m going to go on and pretend they do that and grab Berry. The guy is a perfect safety for this team.
6. Seattle Seahawks: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma: The Hawks don’t win big in terms of value if Berry is gone and Okung is off the board. This is where they’ll have to choose the best player that just makes them a better team. They need offensive line help something fierce, and this guy is a good safe player. He can play a few different spots and will improve the Hawks worst area right off the bat.
7. Cleveland Browns: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech: The Browns traded a little to get Sheldon Brown, making sure that they weren’t going to reach for a corner back too early. So what does that leave for the Browns? They could go defensive end, but this might be a little early. Unlike most teams picking this high, they are pretty dang good up front, so offensive lineman is out. It may be a reach, but I think Derrick Morgan would be a solid pick for Cleveland. He’s very good against the pass and run – he has good upside, and they traded away a pass rusher to Oakland.
8. Oakland Raiders: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma: Throw reason out the window when the Raiders pick. I don’t know what great value would be here for Oakland, and obviously they can’t right all the wrongs of draft’s past, but picking another WR in the Top 10 doesn’t make much sense. So it’s the perfect pick. When you add to the equation that Dez Bryant truly is a game changing talent, and he’s still around at 8, seems like a perfect Raider pick to me.
9. Buffalo Bills: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers: The Bills could really use some help up front and most of us here at LL.com think Anthony Davis is the most talented of a very deep OT class. Getting him here at 9, even with some questions, would be a great deal for the Bills.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars: Joe Haden, CB, Florida: Who knows what Jack Del Rio and his cast of tangerines are going to do, but they simply suck defensively and Haden is the best corner in the draft. In a division with Manning and Schaub, they desperately need help, and Haden is going to be a heck of a player.
11. Denver Broncos: Earl Thomas, S, Texas: I think the Broncos get lucky and pick up one of the Top 5 players in the draft with Thomas at #10. This defense could use lots of things, and maybe safety isn’t a dire need for this team, but this kid is too good to pass up for a smart draft staff.
12. Miami Dolphins: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee: The Dolphins should jump for joy if Williams makes it to them. They need to get better defensively, and while there are a handful of outside/inside linebackers that would be solid here, there’s only one perfect defensive tackle left on the board, and they should grab Dan here.
13. San Francisco 49ers: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa: If Bulaga actually falls this far, Singletary and the Niners will be even happier than the Dolphins. This team needs more talent up front, some push, a little running game identity, and BB can help do that.
14. Seattle Seahawks: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson: Being a Hawks fan, I would HATE to see Claussen get picked here. Trading a 2nd round pick for a 3rd string quarterback was dumb, but at least that makes me think they won’t go get Claussen. I wouldn’t love it if they grabbed Spiller, because as good of a football player as he is, the Hawks need so much defensively. I think Early Thomas would be great if he was here, but he’s not. Haden would be good value here, but he’s gone. If one of the Top 4 offensive linemen fell this far, that would be great value – but one of them didn’t, and they took an OT with their 1st pick anyway. At least if they pick Spiller they get one of the most dynamic offensive players in the draft.
15. New York Giants: Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: I certainly don’t care about his numbers or any combine pre-draft camp stuff here. I watched this kid play, and he’s a machine at the ILB position, a spot where the Giants need some serious help.
16. Tennessee Titans: Jason Pierre Paul, DE, South Florida: The Titans were going to be hurting on the defensive line anyway, but even more-so now that Vanden-Bosch is gone. Paul is a physical specimen that could do very good things under Tennessee’s coaching staff.
17. San Francisco 49ers: Sergio Kindle, DE, Texas: The Niners filled their need with their 1st pick, and while I’m sure they have some more, they wouldn’t be filled by a player of Kindle’s upside. Sergio had some amazing games, and I think he’d be a perfect fit for an already talented defense in San Francisco.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Iupati, G, Idaho: The best guard in the draft, the Steelers will go big with help up front if he’s here. Pittsburgh lost the ability to run last year, checking to pass plays too often, and never having that confidence up front. With a very good young running back, a new physical presence up front would get them back to basics.
19. Atlanta Falcons: Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan: This kid has really moved up since original draft rankings, and I’m not one bit stunned. He’s a great football player, and while elite size will never be something he has, the ability to change the game is there. This would be a great pick for a Falcons D that really needs it.
20. Houston Texans: Maurkice Pouncey, C/G, Florida: I think Taylor Mays would be a good pick here. I think Kyle Wilson, or other help at CB (Kareem Jackson?) would be a solid pick for need here. But I also think this team needs more toughness up front, and Pouncey is one of if not the best interior lineman in the draft. I’m sold.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma: The Bengals could really use help in making their offense more explosive. They are strong up front, they have a good quarterback that should be even closer to his old self this coming season, and they have some talent at receiver. Gresham is the 2nd best receiving option in the draft – a good pick here.
22. New England Patriots: Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State: The Patriots missed Richard Seymour desperately last season. They get a 1st round pick from the Raiders next season because of it, and that might be great then, but right now they need some help up front to replace that guy. I’m not saying Odrick is Seymour, because he’s not, but he can be a tough-nosed all-out presence against the run and pass. A little higher than people expect Odrick to go, but so what.
23. Green Bay Packers: Charles Brown, OT, USC: Brown isn’t the highest rated tackle in the draft, but he’s a very good player that may have dropped down a bit because of USC’s offensive struggles in 2009. That’s silly, because Brown was still very stout, and he projects to be a talented OT in the league. The Packers need to keep Rodgers off his back, Brown can assist from the get go.
24. Philadelphia Eagles: Taylor Mays, S, USC: They have bigger needs at corner back and on the defensive line, but the Eagles have to see a lot of value in Taylor Mays, the total package at safety. He might have played a little out of position as a deep center fielder last year at USC – but he’s going to be a very good pro and is probably a Top 10 talent.
25. Baltimore Ravens: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State: The Ravens have traded for just about everything they need. They got lots of help offensively with Anquan Boldin, and they are already very stout up front, so much so that they are looking to trade one of their best offensive linemen. That being said, they can definitely get better in coverage, and Wilson is one skilled corner. Big plays are the name of the game, and Wilson makes plenty of them.
26. Arizona Cardinals: Everson Griffen, DE, USC: Griffen has lots of tools, and while he might not be a linebacker to take over for Dansby, they can go get that in Round 2. Right now, at 26, to get a player like Griffen at defensive end is too good to pass up.
27. Dallas Cowboys: Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland: The Cowboys don’t need anything, so look for them to either go for the most upside here or take the best player on the board, or even (and they’ve done it before) trade this pick away to someone looking for the next best quarterback, and get value later. No trades is our rule at LL.com, so I think the Cowboys go with Bruce Campbell from Maryland. He may not be the most fluid or the best worker, but he’s a big body with some upside and the Cowboys could get younger on the offensive line – at least with depth. I think that one of the best football players left is Golden Tate, but would the Cowboys sign a 1st round receiver?
28. San Diego Chargers: Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State: He’s not as flashy as Spiller or Best, but he might damn well be the best every down running back in the draft. The Chargers no longer have one of those, and they might just grab the top guy late in Round 1.
29. New York Jets: Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU: Well, the Jets have officially traded for everything they could have wanted. They now have one of the best receiving corps in the league with Cotchery, Braylon, and newly acquired Santonio Holmes. Needless to say I don’t think WR is on their 1st round wish list. They have a great offensive line and a very talented defense that is getting better in the off-season, grabbing Antonio Cromartie from the Chargers, and possibly signing Jason Taylor. So I think they grab a game changer as a pass-rusher, because they’ve been looking for one to boost their pass-rush for sometime. Jerry Hughes may not have ideal size, but his motor and pass-rush prowess could be exactly what the Jets defense needs.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Jimmy Claussen, QB, Notre Dame: The Vikings might be without Favre, or the old man might play another year. Either way, there’s not a ton of value to be had for them here, aside from Claussen, who could be prepared to be the Vikings quarterback of the future.
31. Indianapolis Colts: Brian Price, DT, UCLA: Price has lost a lot of his luster, falling out of most 1st round mocks. But I think this kid is going to be a good one, and he can do a lot from the DT spot. Indy is always looking for help on the D-line, and Price should bring them an immediate reward.
32. New Orleans Saints: Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri: This kid is a great pick for the Saints. He’s a very smart and talented football player that would fill in right away for the loss of Scott Fujita. He might not have that veteran seasoning, but he’s a better talent at a spot of need.
March 29, 2010 by luckylester · Comments Off
This Mock Draft has been updated as of April 15th, early Thursday morning. A trade or two has gone down, and the draft’s layout has changed a bit. Check out my most recent update!
After an action packed off-season with signings and tradings galore, and seeing as though we are just a month away from the real deal, I’ve put together my second mock draft for you. I think this one will be a little more accurate, but don’t forget to head back to my first mock draft – as there was plenty of intelligent picks to be had. I can’t wait for the most exciting day of the off-season, even if ESPN is doing their best to make this a week-long event. Let the drafting begin!!!
- St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma: As I said in my original Mock Draft way back before the Super Bowl, Bradford is easily the best quarterback in this class and his future is bright – I loved him as the top quarterback in a much better QB class last season, and I like him just as much this year (but with more injury concerns). I also had him going #4 to the Redskins. But since then, the former Heisman Trophy winner has shown his true colors, and they now believe his upside and the fact that he could be a great quarterback ends up being too much for the QB-less Rams to pass up.
- Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska: The biggest baddest sure thing star in the draft. I now understand why the Rams likely won’t pick the DT #1 overall, and that’s all fine and dandy, but I would take THIS DT #1 overall because he would fit a huge need, help a bad defense, and is the best player in college football. That last part is a big deal. I am a little sick of the idea of where a player should be drafted based on their position. You take the biggest difference maker, and I think Suh is that. I love Bradford, and get what the Rams are thinking, but the Lions benefit big time from that move. The big cat almost won the Heisman as a freaking defensive tackle. He’s a no-brainer for me.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma: This beast of a tackle would have been a Top 10 pick last season, but he stayed in school – unlike some other Oklahoma Sooners, this season only upped his stock, as McCoy gained strength and speed and proved even more dominating than before. He has the ability to be a force against both the run and pass. The Bucs likely benefit the most form St. Louis deciding to go quarterback here, they would have been looking at a safety or even reaching for an offensive lineman here, but now they get one of the best players in the draft at a position they have needs.
- Washington Redskins: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State: It looks like the Redskins agreed with McShay and myself on Claussen’s worth, which is exactly why they removed the chances of grabbing him by trading for Donovan McNabb. So now what will they do? I still think they lose in this draft as there’s no great value pick for them to grab. Russell Okung is supposedly the best offensive lineman in the draft, but I don’t see the elite footwork and athleticism that Mike Shanahan asks for in his OTs. So what do they do? Eric Berry probably isn’t an option for a team with a highly paid safety in the prime of his career. So what do they do? I haven’t seen a team drafting at 4 with so many questions. The Redskins almost have to move down here, but who wants this spot? If they stay here, and in my Mocks everyone stays in their slot, I think the Redskins should go for Anthony Davis, the most gifted OT in the draft, out of Rutgers. He fits the athletic mold Splinter likes from his O-linemen, and it fits a big need for the Skins. But it’s beginning to look like they won’t pick a question mark as large as Davis with a pick this high. Despite his limited athleticism, Okung is the guy that everybody sees as the safest thing right away, the guy most ready to help. That’s what the Redskins have signed up for, so they likely go Okung.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee: The Chiefs will probably shape a lot of the draft going forward, but I’ve decided it’s too hard to pass up a pro-bowl caliber player at a position of need for a team that needs a leader in the secondary. There it is. Eric Berry is a great pick for the Chiefs.
- Seattle Seahawks: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State: I’m not sure why the Hawks traded 2nd round picks with San Diego to get Whitehurst, but hey, maybe that is worth it in the future. What it did was eliminate a chance at Brandon Marshall, because the Dolphins could put a better now and later package together. What it does is open the door for Seattle to go big with the draft’s most explosive offensive player, Dez Bryant. He could give Seattle a great deep threat to team with TJ Housh, and give the offense some explosion down field. A reach, maybe, but his character questions are blown out of proportion, and he’s a big time game-breaker.
- Cleveland Browns: Joe Haden, CB, Florida: The Browns would be smart to sure up their defense with the best corner prospect in the draft, really the only guy that has a guaranteed 1st round grade and first round production in college (though I like Kyle Wilson from Boise State). Haden has good value here as the only cover corner with a 1st round slot, plus I think he’ll be very good, and the Browns could always use help at any position really, and name a tougher position to find an elite player than corner. Okay, maybe QB – but there’s nobody the Browns should take at 7 there.
- Oakland Raiders: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida: This physical freak of nature could become exactly what a 3-4 defense wants at the pass rushing end. He has the physical tools to dominate and has the motor to make it happen. I think this is a great upside pick for a defense looking for big plays. The problem with this pick is that I really like this guy, he grades out really high, and the Raiders could use more pass rushing presence. Yes, that wouldn’t be a problem unless it was Oakland picking a team that rarely drafts logically. Oh well, I’ll give them a lucky accident here.
- Buffalo Bills: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma: I think Trent Williams would be a big help to the Bills. But it’s between intelligent helpful pick and Jimmy Claussen here, and I have an eerie feeling the Bills are going to go the wrong way with this one. Still, I like Williams as a pick for Buffalo, a team that could only get better on the offensive line, especially with the run-heavy scheme they will likely be running next season (likely scratching the hurry up they put together last year). Williams is big and strong and solid.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Earl Thomas, S, Texas: Don’t tell me that the Jaguars get smart and draft a kid that will immediately make their defense better as a leader and a great player for a secondary that really struggles to hold their own against the rest of the NFL. Don’t tell me it’s happening. I’m putting this pick down because it’s smart, it’s perfect, it’s easy – but I wouldn’t be stunned for a minute if Jacksonville grabbed Claussen here.
- Denver Broncos: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee: I originally had the Broncos adding Earl Thomas, and still think he’d be a great pick for the Broncos here. In my draft, their new elite receiving prospect is off the board, and that’s probably good, because taking a receiver high wouldn’t be the greatest help to this team. Dan Williams projects as a great center piece in a 3-4 defense, and a great defensive lineman is something Denver could really use. Plus, it snags a player the Dolphins covet at pick 12 – perfect.
- Miami Dolphins: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech: Before the Marshall trade I saw the best wide receiving prospect in the draft going here, but with Marshall on board, and Dez now off the board, they’ll have to go in a different direction. They could use some help at lots of places, but defense is probably their biggest need. They don’t have any outside linebackers that make their 3-4 great, and they could go for a guy like Kindle here, but I think Morgan is the better value. They can use him on the line somewhere – he might not be a prototypical guy in a 3-4, but he does everything well, against the pass and run, and has a great motor – which should help even out the Brandon Marshall trade…
- San Francisco 49ers: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa: I like Brian Bulaga… This big offensive tackle has the feet I want in an offensive lineman, and he hasn’t reached his full potential yet. Yes, I like OL guys that don’t rely too heavily on overpowering college defensive linemen throughout their NCAA careers – because in the NFL, that won’t always be an option. Bulaga has the footwork to be very good, and should help a struggling run-game from the get go. People say that Bulaga isn’t an elite athlete, but balance is a key to athleticism in my mind and he’s great there. I had the Niners picking up Brian with their next pick, and that’s still possible, but this is a great fit for them in a big spot of need.
- Seattle Seahawks: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers: I thought the Hawks would get a chance at Morgan, but he’s off the board now. That leaves them in a good spot to take the most talented offensive lineman in the draft. The Hawks have good offensive line coaches in Seattle, and they should be able to do a lot with Davis. There’s no doubt in my mind that an OL pick in the 1st round would really help the Hawks’ chances at success.
- New York Giants: Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: There’s not much I have to say besides that this kid is one of the best football players I watched on the college level this season. I’m not ready to say this is one of the biggest needs the Broncos have, or that I can justify this pick over a defensive end and physical specimen like Carlos Dunlap, but McClain is a beast and would certainly give this team a lot of options at line-backer. I think he makes the entire defense more physical and athletic. Carlos Dunlap: The Giants could use some push on defense. I think Dunlap’s size and physical upside makes him a great selection for a Giants team that definitely lost a bit of their defensive punch as the season went forward. This team had a lot of injuries, and I’m not sure they have terrible need anywhere, which makes Dunlap, and his upside, an even better selection.
- Tennessee Titans: Sergio Kindle, DE, Texas: This team definitely needs pass rush help, as the time opposing quarterbacks got when they dropped back definitely effected the defense and their 31st ranking against the pass. There are lots of options defensively, and I’m not sure which guy fits the Titans’ defense best – but I like Sergio Kindle as a playmaker in a defensive front that is lacking difference makers. I think Brian Price is a good pick, as is Jason Odrick or even Everson Griffen – and those all might be safer picks, but Kindle’s big play ability wins out here.
- San Francisco 49ers: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State : I sure hope not, and I know some people thought I was crazy when I suggested the 49ers go OL-OL in back to back 1st round picks, but that’s because I really don’t think Claussen will work out, and two big guys will really help this team gain an identity. Claussen can run a pro-style offense, and that’s something to pursuade the Niners with, but I’m thinking true help for a team on the verge of the playoffs wins out, and they go a different direction. Kyle Wilson can help the 49ers where they really struggled down the stretch, deep. Wilson is a very solid ball defender that makes big plays and is downgraded a bit because he played for Boise State. I think if he played for Florida he’d be a Top 10 pick. This guy can play.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho: The Steelers need help right now, and I think Iupati steps in and plays from the get go. He’s a beast of a guard, and a technician for a rookie – he should sure up Big Ben’s time in the pocket, and if he does a really good job, they’ll put him in charge of keeping Ben out of trouble at bars and sorority houses and strip clubs alike.
- Atlanta Falcons: Brian Price, DT, UCLA: Mel Kiper has C.J. Spiller going here, but that doesn’t make too much sense to me. They already have a running back that gets a huge portion of carries, they have a guy in Jerious Norwood who, when healthy, has been dynamic with his limited touches, and they need a lot of help defensively to waste their 1st round pick on a situational running back (which is what Spiller would be for them). What the Falcons need more than anything is some help stuffing the run. Brian Price would give the Falcons everything they need up front, help against the run and a pass rushing presence from the interior.
- Houston Texans: Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan: I haven’t seen Graham going to the Texans in many mock drafts, but the kid could do big time things rushing the passer opposite Mario Williams. No double teams, no problem – Graham’s quickness will automatically make life tough for opposing quarterbacks, and put less pressure on a shaky secondary. If you can’t improve your secondary with a value pick at corner or safety, why not improve your secondary with a value pick at defensive line?
- Cincinnati Bengals: Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State: The Bengals could really use a dual threat at defensive end, and this kid’s want-to and absolute motor will make him a solid option right off the bat. They need help on the defensive line, at least some depth, because they are shallow up front and injuries derailed them late last season.
- New England Patriots: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson: I still love this pick for the Patriots. I don’t see what’s taking Bill Belichick so long. The Patriots love to pass the ball, and they love to pass it short, why not have one of the most feared open space players in the draft come in and make the most out of Tom Brady’s ability to read defenses, and take advantage of mismatches. Spiller is a mismatch to big play waiting to happen. I know he doesn’t fit the normal Patriot mold, but what does that mean anyway? Does it mean they haven’t drafted one in a while? I see Spiller as a double-digit touchdown guy in the NFL – the Pats could use that at the RB position.
- Green Bay Packers: Taylor Mays, S, USC: The Packers need help up front really bad. Sure, Aaron Rodgers holds on to the ball a little longer than he should, but that doesn’t mean a grip of those sacks weren’t the fault of a faulty offensive line. The Packers do need help there, but OTs have already been reached out for, and the next best shouldn’t be drafted here. They could go for a guy flying up the charts like center/guard prospect Maurkice Pouncey. Pouncey keeps defensive tackles in front, and can help run and offense, rarely making pass protection mistakes. However, Taylor Mays is on the board, and I don’t think he gets passed up here. He’s a playmaker, an elite size and speed guy that excelled two years ago for one of the best defenses in college football. He struggled a bit last year in a down year for the USC defense, often trying to do too much – but in a league that considers upside, Mays has great value here.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Everson Griffen, DE, USC: The Eagles need youth and help lots of places defensively, but who knows, they might just go on and add a 4th quarterback here just to further complicate matters and mess around with us. I thought they’d try to grab Dan Williams if he fell, but he won’t – that’s what I’ve figured – and I don’t know if there’s another defensive lineman that’s way better than the next guy, but I think Everson Griffen has the upside you want if you’re part of the Eagles’ brass. A big, bad O-lineman wouldn’t be bad here, but I think Griffen is the right choice.
- Baltimore Ravens: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma: I think Gresham is the biggest game changing receiving option left in the draft, and though Todd Heap has shown skills in the past, he’s about as reliable to play every day as Pacman Jones is at staying in line at a strip club. Heap’s best years are gone, his health is always a question, and I think Gresham is much more talented than him anyway. The Ravens could grab defensive help in numbers, a guy like Jerry Hughes or maybe even Brandon Spikes as a playmaker for the future. They could go for a wide receiver like Arrelious Benn, Bradon Lafell, or even Demaryius Thomas, an elite receiver physically that might have been held back in college by the offense he was in. But I think the Ravens don’t reach for a receiver here and instead take one of the best pass catching tight ends to come out in a long time.
- Arizona Cardinals: Brandon Spikes, ILB, Florida: Warner retired so did Bert Berry, Dansby and Boldin were traded, I don’t know what the Cardinals will need more. Similar to a wiffle-ball, they have lots of holes, I know that. I know Carlos does lots of things for the Cardinals, and I’m not sure that Spikes will get those all done right off the bat – but he’s a difference maker at the ILB position and he plays with the physicality and instincts that make good players great, and the Cardinals could use some more pop, especially now that Dansby is gone. I know Spikes isn’t projected this high, but if the Cardinals can get him, it’d be great for them. Some other options, Carlos Dunlap, Jerry Hughes, or even a quarterback if they like a guy like Claussen and he’s still waiting. Jermaine Gresham if he’s still there? You bet – definitely an option.
- Dallas Cowboys: Maurkice Pouncey, C/G, Florida: Oh what does the team that has everything draft? Good question. The Cowboys seem to be loaded at running back, possess a strong offensive line, look to be loaded on defense and have millions of dollars invested into receiver. Do they reach for an offensive lineman like Charles Brown and hope he develops into a starter for them? The Cowboys should probably trade down with no big time need, and acquire some picks in a very deep draft. But, if they do en up picking here, how about a guy like Maurkice Puncey? Good pick for them. He’d sure up the offensive line at a few positions, and help this team if things went wrong up front, plus add a great prospect for the future. This pick may not be flashy enough for Jones, but it’s a good one.
- San Diego Chargers: Jahvid Best, RB, California: I like Ryan Mathews and think he could be a very good running back in the NFL, but Best has special upside and he should be strongly considered here. Don’t decide against drafting him because he’s small and you already have a small back. I love Sproles and his ability to makes nothing into something, but if Best is small, Sproles is miniature. Best has amazing speed, and it translates on the field. People question him because of his concussion and his struggles against top ranked defenses – but this kid can run, and he’s going to be a good one. If you’re going to drop a 1st round pick on a running back, it might as well be a homerun talent you’re bringing in.
- New York Jets: Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame: I’m sticking with this one. The Jets have some good players at receiver, and Edwards and Cotchery both have good size and speed – and I don’t know what Tate will “measure” out at, but I have to be honest, I don’t care. Golden Tate should get a weekly thank you letter from Charlie Weis that says, “I’d like to thank you for getting me a job as an offensive coordinator after I got fired. You are the reason I looked good when I did.” Tate might not have great size or speed or whatever you want to have for receivers – but he does do one thing, he goes and gets the ball and he makes magic happen. The kid was unstoppable and he made Jimmy Claussen look really good on some “up for grabs” balls. I think the Jets could really use a guy like him in their run first, big pass play offense.
- Minnesota Vikings: Charles Brown, OT, USC: Brandon Spikes could slip, no doubt about it. As could a guy like Brian Price, and both would be good options for the Vikings. This team definitely needs some youth on defense and more specifically at linebacker. But, the Vikings could get that on the days following the first round, and I don’t think they’ll be able to get an OL prospect like Charles Brown unless they go now. Brown would give some nice depth on the line to a team with possibly question marks arising, as Brett got killed in the NFC Championship and the offseason wasn’t good to Bryant McKinnie’s respect level.
- Indianapolis Colts: Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama: Kareem’s ability to anticipate the throw, hold down a side, and make sure nothing gets over his head should really help him in Indy’s safe scheme. Jackson moves very well, not just fast, but with good balance and great hips. He looks like a very good corner to me, and Indy could always use help on the outside.
- New Orleans Saints: Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri: This seems like an easy pick for the Saints as Weatherspoon looks like the most NFL ready sideline to sideline OLB in the draft, and the Saints are looking for one because Scott Fujita bolted for greener (money) pastures in Cleveland. There are obviously lots of options at linebacker, and the Saints could find more value going for a guy like Carlos Dunlap, Jared Odrick, even a pass rush specialist like Jerry Hughes – some player ranked higher than Weatherspoon. But why risk it when you can get a great player to fill in when you need help?
- Best Players Left: Devin McCourty, Carlos Dunlap, Ryan Matthews, Jerry Hughes, Aaron Hernandez, Arrelious Benn, Terrence Cody, Demaryious Thomas, Brandon LaFell, Colt McCoy, Patrick Robinson, Jonathan Dwyer, Dexter McCluster, Jimmy Claussen, Mike Williams, Ed Dickson, Cam Thomas
Just like Lester, I think it’s foolish to be throwing up mock draft predictions three months prior to the draft. Unlike Lester, I’m a bit of a fool, so I jumped at the chance to weigh in with my thoughts on what direction teams would be leaning come late April. My first round mock takes into account moves that I think teams will make through free agency or via a trade leading up to the NFL draft. My mock draft, like many others I’ve seen thus far, is defense-heavy with only a handful of offensive “skill position” players coming off the board in round 1. Fantasy owners may have to dig a bit deeper this season in looking to fill their own needs and uncover potential impact players.
1. St. Louis Rams – Ndamukung Suh, DT, Nebraska
No reason to think the Rams will screw this up … yet. Suh is the most dominant player at his (or any) position in college football. I expect the Rams to address their quarterback woes via trade leaving them one of the easiest top pick choices in recent memory. Suh will give them a rock-solid foundation to build around on D.
2. Detroit Lions – Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
Unlike some of his peers that were considering entering the draft in 2009 but returned only to hurt their draft stock (Sam Bradford, Taylor Mays), McCoy’s value remained rock-steady. Amazing quick for an interior lineman, McCoy will fill a major need for the Lions and Matt Millen isn’t around to mess things up anymore.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
The Bucs have interest in Brandon Marshall, but I expect the Broncos to tender him and the asking price will be too high for Tampa Bay. I think they take their shot here to nab an elite play-maker to team with developing quarterback Josh Freeman. Bryant is a special player with the size, speed and play-making ability to have an immediate impact.
4. Washington Redskins – Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
Jason Campbell isn’t going anywhere, regardless of what the so-called experts think. This team has holes that start up front and Shanahan is smart enough to know that without improving the o-line it won’t matter who is taking snaps. Okung is nasty in the run game and has been very durable and consistent throughout his college career.
5. Kansas City Chiefs – Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
With an offense that is just starting to take shape following the breakout performance of Jamaal Charles down the stretch, the Chiefs should turn their attention to the defensive side of the ball with the early part of this draft. Berry is a true difference-maker in the secondary who flies to the ball and exhibits tremendous leadership skills.
6. Seattle Seahawks – Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Bradford falling to the Hawks here represents too good of a value to pass up. There are bigger needs on this team but with two first round picks the chance to grab a franchise quarterback and give him time to study under Matt Hasselbeck makes a lot of sense. Bradford’s accuracy and decision-making translate very well to the next level.
7. Cleveland Browns – Joe Haden, CB, Florida
One need look no further than the New York Jets to see the impact a true cover corner can have on an entire defense. While I’m not about to compare Haden to Darrelle Revis, the point is Haden is by far the best at his position in this draft and the Browns have a need in the secondary. Haden is a solid tackler as well, important in a rugged division.
8. Oakland Raiders – Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
One thing we’ve learned about the Raiders front office over the years is that they are awful at evaluating talent and addressing team needs. That said, Morgan is a much safer pick here than a certain speedy wide receiver that struggles to hold on to the ball. Richard Seymour and Greg Ellis were solid, but neither is a sure thing next season.
9. Buffalo Bills – Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
The Bills are another team that I expect to address their QB needs prior to the draft. Chan Gailey will likely try to install his familiar spread offense but without help on the front lines this team is going nowhere. In a brutal AFC East, the Bills need to rebuild the foundation from the inside out and Williams will be a step in the right direction.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
The Jags successfully rebuilt a faltering o-line early in last year’s draft and this season will turn their attention to the defense. Their most glaring need is for a defensive end that can get pressure on opposing QBs and ease the pressure on a pedestrian secondary. This team ranked last in the league in sacks last season (with just 14) and it wasn’t close.
11. Denver Broncos – Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
There are a lot of directions that I can see the Broncos going with this pick (QB, DE, S), but I think they grab the uber-talented tight end from Oklahoma. Gresham is uncommonly gifted for his position, combining above average skills as a run blocker with exceptional receiving skills. This pick would ease the loss of Brandon Marshall in the mile high city.
12. Miami Dolphins – Rolando McClain, MLB, Alabama
The rare combination of team need and best player available status. McClain is a manimal and his skill were on display for all to see in the BCS title game against Texas. The Phins could use his leadership, especially with the potential departure of Jason Taylor this offseason. The rookie’s presence would instantly upgrade an already solid front-7.
13. San Francisco 49ers – CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson
Perhaps the most dynamic offensive weapon in college football this past season, Spiller will add an instant homerun threat to an offense that was already on the upturn. Glen Coffee failed miserably in a complimentary role to pounder Frank Gore, and Spiller’s slashing style and big play potential in the return game are both needs for the Niners.
14. Seattle Seahawks – Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
Davis is a bit of a mauler that uses his size and strength to win battles at the point of attack. With a bit of work I think he could be a great fit for the zone blocking scheme favored by the new coaching regime in Seattle. Paired with Bradford and an exciting young play-maker in Justin Forsett, the Hawks could have a nice trio to build around.
15. New York Giants – Navorro Bowman, OLB, Penn State
Bowman closes like a freight train and is a sure tackler, both areas the the G-Men lacked down the stretch at the second level. Hard-rushing defensive ends Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora wreak havoc in opposing backfields, but without athletic backers in the flats the Giants allowed too many short passes to turn into big plays.
16. San Francisco 49ers – Earl Thomas, S, Texas
A pass-rushing end is another possibility here, but I think the more pressing need for the Niners is in the secondary. A veteran group of cornerbacks featuring Nate Clements and Dre Bly could use an athletic safety over the top to allow them to play the aggressive style that coach Singletary prefers. Thomas isn’t in Berry’s class but is a great value here.
17. Tennessee Titans – Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
Originally pegged as a late-first or early-second round pick, Graham used a strong Senior Bowl showing to springboard his value heading into the combine. This guy has a relentless motor and would be a nice upgrade to a Titans front four that was inconsistent at times getting to opposing quarterbacks and ranked in the bottom third of the league in sacks.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers – Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
The Steelers ranked in the bottom half of the league this past season in rushing attempts, rushing yards, yards per carry and rushing TDs. Think that will happen again in 2010? The o-line has been a bit shaky for a couple of seasons now and without a committment to the running game Big Ben is taking some punishment. Campbell fits a big need.
19. Houston Texans – Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech
I think Gary Kubiak is bad at managing his talent. That’s why I’m helping him out here with a selection of Dwyer. Pounding the rock 15-20 times a game with this kid and getting Steve Slaton 8-10 touches in space is a recipe for a playoff run when you consider the All-Pro connection of Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson and a young, talented D.
20. Atlanta Falcons – Taylor Mays, S, USC
The David is great and all, but if Michaelangelo were still sculpting today we’d be admiring his representation of “The Mays”. This kid is an absolute specimen and if he had come out early last season in all likelihood he would have been a top-10 pick. The talent hasn’t gone anywhere, and the Falcons could be getting a real steal nabbing Mays at 20.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Aaron Hernandez, TE, Florida
I’ve always thought TJ Houshmandzadeh (championship!) was a bit overrated … tough to make that argument with the way the Bengals passing game struggled this season without him. Hernandez is a nice consoloation prize for Cincy fans who were hoping Gresham would fall to them. Extremely athletic, he will give Carson Palmer an underneath target.
22. New England Patriots – Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida
The Pats will be thrilled if this scenario plays out the way I have it because Dunlap would fill a big need for them. Although there are some minor character concerns here, this kid is a freak flying off the end and would spark a Patriot pass rush that was non-existent at times following the strange dismissal of Richard Seymour prior to the season.
23. Green Bay Packers – Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas
Kindle is a very physical player whose versatility would fit nicely into the Packers hybrid 3-4 system. As a rare edge rusher that also plays the run very well, Kindle has the ability to be a nice fit regardless of personnel grouping. If Kindle is gone by this point (a strong possibility), I can see the Pack adding a homerun hitter like Jahvid Best.
24. Philadelphia Eagles – Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
I think the Eagles would love to draft an impact safety along the lines of Earl Thomas or Taylor Mays, but I think both will be gone by this point. That said, improvement along the offensive line is a must if the Iggles are planning to re-establish (establish for the first time?) their running game and bring some balance to their offensive attack.
25. Baltimore Ravens – Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
The Ravens need to get up-and-coming QB Joe Flacco some weapons. Derrick Mason is a reliable chain-mover (if he returns) but the play-making ability Tate showed in his junior season for the Irish would be very difficult to pass up here. This kid is a gritty player that will fight for the ball in traffic and look to gain extra yards after the catch.
26. Arizona Cardinals – Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
No doubt a position of need for the Cards, Williams is a tremendous value at the DT position. That said, the retirement of Kurt Warner recently has me thinking Arizona may be looking to snag a signal-caller sometime in this draft … whether they consider Jimmy Clausen here I don’t know but I certainly think it’s possible.
27. Dallas Cowboys – Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho
This may be the first top-round pick in the history of the University of Idaho. Iupati made a name for himself throughout the season by dominating opponents in the WAC before a tremendous showing against Bowling Green in the postseason. At 6’6″ and 330 lbs, it’s possible the Cowboys will try Iupati out at the tackle spot as well.
28. San Diego Chargers – Brandon Spikes, OLB, Florida
Running back is a huge need for the Chargers with an offseason full of uncertainty. If Dwyer falls to them I think there is no question they pull the trigger but I don’t expect that to happen. I think Merriman is on the way out and Spikes would be a nice replacement for the fiery edge-rusher. The Bolts will address RB in later rounds I believe.
29. New York Jets – Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
Robinson is certainly not in the class of a Joe Haden but he is a very talented player and the Jets lack of depth at CB was exposed several times throughout the season, particularly against the Colts in the AFC Championship. I expect Braylon Edwards to be donning the green and white again next year so WR is a less pressing need at this stage.
30. Minnesota Vikings – Brian Price, DT, UCLA
A great value here for the Vikes who need to start thinking about fortifying a position that has been a strength for years now. Pat and Kevin Williams (no relation) have been as good as any DT tandem in the league, but they are getting older and could use a young pup to spell them from time to time. Price is a steal late in the first round.
31. Indianapolis Colts – Terrance Cody, DT, Alabama
Cody’s stock has been slipping due to concerns over his conditioning and motivation. I think the Colts could find themselves a bargain here if they believe Cody is committed to playing at the next level. Although not an every-down player, Cody is a massive run-stuffer that would make it difficult for teams to double Freeney and Mathis consistently.
32. New Orleans Saints – Jahvid Best, RB, California
This is a bit of a wildcard and I actually think the Saints should look to shore up their D-Line with one of the remaining glut of DTs but what the hell? … I think Reggie Bush has played his last game for the Super Bowl Champs and who better to fill his role than the shifty speedster out of Cal. Similar skill set at a discounted rate? … I’ll take it.
January 28, 2010 by Ryan Kauffman · Comments Off
Red Red Ryan’s 2010 NFL Mock Draft
This is my first mock draft in my short history as a sports writer. I’ve read all that I can read about where some of the key free agents might be going, who is leaving, who might be traded, and who is unhappy with the players they have. I have studied up on the players and their expected combine numbers, their potential as NFL stars as well as their college situations. I think I have a pretty solid grasp on the first round of the NFL Draft – so here it goes.
- St. Louis Rams: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska: I don’t know how the Lions pass up on the biggest sure thing of the draft. Rarely can you get a difference maker at a key position on the line that is the popular choice – don’t waste this St. Louis!
- Detroit Lions: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma: I know this is the same start to my mock as Lucky Lester’s mock, and everyone else’s mock too, but it just makes too much sense. I’ve liked McCoy since I thought he should come out last season, and his domination this year makes me like him even more. The Lions need help up front.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Joe Haden, CB, Florida: I know Berry is supposed to be the pick, but I don’t see value in a safety here, and I think, after much deliberation, the Bucs will feel the same way. The best corner in the draft is Joe Haden, and it’s not close. With Revis dominating all season long, I think a true shut down corner has some added value, and that value will sway the Bucs.
- Washington Redskins: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers: Many would like to see the Redskins go quarterback here, but I don’t think there’s a talented arm in the Shanny mold in this draft, and I think that leaves him grabbing the best offensive tackle with upside to fit his blocking scheme. Anthony Davis is that guy. He may not be the biggest or baddest lineman out there, but his combination of agility and upside has to be something Shanny likes. I think they’ll try to trade down with a team enamored by a QB, and I think they’ll be able to and still get Davis.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State: This guy is the biggest and baddest available, and the Chiefs could use him. It’s hard to get the most out of Matt Cassel and his average arm when he’s never getting time to throw. Okung is also a mauler than can help that new and improved Chiefs run-game.
- Seattle Seahawks: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee: Taylor Mays is a USC, Pete Carol guy, but what Pete and the Seahawks get here is probably the 2nd or 3rd best player in the draft. Berry would definitely help sure up that leaky Hawks secondary, and the Pee-Hawks will be really lucky to get this game breaker.
- Cleveland Browns: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma: Best quarterback in the draft, just like he would have been last season. His shoulder injuries are a little scary, but I think he’s worth the chance. Brady Quinn isn’t the answer. Holmgren has been solid with QBs, and I think Bradford is special.
- Oakland Raiders: Rolando McLain, OLB, Alabama: Al Davis is a nut job, but he has to see special when it dominates on the biggest stage. McLain is a beast, he brings the ruckus and he’ll be a good piece of an improving Raider defense.
- Buffalo Bills: Derek Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech: The Buffalo Bills need lots of things, but an every down end that can rush the passer and stop the run is a huge plus for that team, a team that will rely on their young and talented defense. Morgan has all the tools to be great, and he’s a good value here.
- *Jacksonville Jaguars: Earl Thomas, S, Texas: There’s Dunlap, there’s Tebow (if they’re really that in need of revenue), and there’s a bunch of other good players than can help – but Thomas is an every down difference maker on defense, and that’s as safe a bet as the draft has. I think they take him.
- *Denver Broncos: Carolos Dunlap, DE, Florida: Dunlap is a freak of nature, and if Josh McDaniels thinks he can get the most out of the very talented and ginormous defensive end, he’ll get picked up here. Jason Pierre-Paul could also go here. If McDaniels is really going to get a game changer, he’ll get Dez Bryant, but I think he waits on receiver help.
- Miami Dolphins: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State: Dez Bryant is a freak. I think he reacts to the ball as well as anyone, and he made a very mediocre college quarterback look very good the last two seasons. His run in with the NCAA will scare nobody. The Dolphins need WR help something fierce.
- San Francisco 49ers: Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland: I don’t see much else in terms of value for the Niners here. They could use a couple upgrades in the secondary I guess, so a guy like Taylor Mays could help, but they need more power up front, and Campbell has the athleticism to be a great one up front.
- Seattle Seahawks: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa: If the Hawks don’t get Eric Berry with their 6th pick, I think Mays could go here. Carol knows how great Mays can be, and he knows that a lot of those problems this season were do to over extending himself and trying to make every play for a struggling team. But since they have Berry, Mays is not an option here. Offensive tackle is, and the Hawks need help there. People who think the Hawks need Spiller here are flat crazy, as Carol will soon see that Justin Forsett will do just fine in that role, and a 1st round draft pick need not be wasted on a small running back. The Hawks could use some help on the defensive line too, but there’s lots of help there. I think Bryan Bulaga has enough OT upside for Seattle to grab him here.
- New York Giants: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma: Kevin Boss is solid, but he’s not Gresham. The Oklahoma pass catching end is special, and thus might be worthy of a middle of the pack 1st round pick. He was unstoppable during his last healthy season, and Eli could use a game breaker in the passing game.
- *San Francisco 49ers: Taylor Mays, S, USC: All the talent in the world, plenty of speed, brings it all every game – a game breaker – Mike Singletary’s type of player.
- *Tennessee Titans: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee: The Vols were very good defensively, and a lot of that credit has to be given to Williams and the way he dominated the line up front. He’s so strong and really uses good leverage. The Titans need defensive line help.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma: The Steelers really need help on the offensive line, and while Williams isn’t a guarantee to be great, he certainly proved he can play at a high level on the right side. Big Ben needs to stop holding the ball or get help up front, or both. Williams helps right now.
- *Houston Texans: Brian Price, DT, UCLA: The Texans keep building on defense, and it makes sense, because offensively they are good enough to win football games. I think Price will be a very good defensive tackle, and any other year he’s likely a Top 10 guy, but there’s so many D-linemen this year, he slips. Lucky Texans.
- *Atlanta Falcons: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida: I must have missed something letting this guy slip this far – but that always happens a couple times, and the Falcons, while not in a great need for a DE, have to take the very talented Paul at 20.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Aaron Hernandez, TE, Florida: Some think Aaron is the best of the TEs in a strong draft for pass catching big men. The Bengals definitely need some help in the passing game, another reliable threat for Palmer, and what better than a sure thing TE with great hands and mis-match type speed?
- New England Patriots: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson: I like what Lucky is thinking with this pick. Bill Belichick has to know a weapon when he sees one, and the Pats offense needs more weapons. Spiller scores a touchdown every game, that needs to be recognized. I think Sergio Kindle could go here as well.
- Green Bay Packers: Charles Brown, OT, USC: I’m doing this for lack of a better plan. I think Kindle could go here too, but offensive line is a big need and Brown is the next best OT. The Pack won’t want to leave the draft without some help up front, and it will be slim pickings later. Maybe the Pack would take a chance on the very talented Jahvid Best? I just don’t think a back-up RB has that much value here.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Navorro Bowman, OLB, Penn State: This is a great fit for the Eagles, a sure tackler that can get sideline to sideline. They were hurting at LB so much that they brought Trotter back in the fold. Seriously – as much as I did that guy, come on. I also think Everson Griffen has a chance to go here.
- Baltimore Ravens: Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame: The Ravens could go for the ideal WR body, speed and height, or they could go for the guy that is going to get it done, a guy that dominated all season long at ND. I think they go with option two after watching Derrick Mason be so consistent over the years.
- Arizona Cardinals: Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas: The Cardinals would be oh-so-lucky to get Kindle here, especially after the retirement of Bertrand Berry. Kindle is not a physicall imposing player, but what a difference maker and unbelievably physical for his size. A steal at 26.
- Dallas Cowboys: Brandon Spikes, ILB, Florida: Keith Brooking is 34 and Spikes is one of the best defensive players in college football. I’m not saying he can easily replace what Brooking did for the Cowboys this season, but he can learn from him, and he can help right away everywhere else.
- San Diego Chargers: Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho: Could the Chargers reach for the mammoth nose tackle Cody, knowing they need to clog up the middle on defense? Maybe. Could they go RB, to replace LT’s production as a more powerful back to team with Sproles? Maybe, but I think this is too high to go RB for them. Mike Iupati is a beast of a guard, and this run-game needs help. I think he starts right away for an O-line that needs some upgrades.
- New York Jets: Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB, TCU: The Jets aren’t in dire need of offensive play-makers like everyone insists – come on. They have a stellar offensive line. They have a great defense – so I think they get to pick the best player available. If they think Hughes can fit somewhere in that 3-4, I think he works. He might not be the biggest or strongest, but the guy has gotten it done with great consistency, and I think Rex can appreciate a great football player.
- Minnesota Vikings: Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State: The kid is a good player and the Vikings could always use help in the secondary, he’ll help right now. For a team that was so good all season on both sides of the ball, I think the Vikings could get youth at any position and feel good about it. That being said, I still think it’s Robinson.
- Indianapolis Colts: Vladimir Ducasse: The Colts won’t go receiver, they don’t need RB help, and they are pretty much solid everywhere. They could always use warm bodies on defense where the team seems to sift through injuries, and a guy like Brandon Spikes or even Brandon Graham could go here. But I like this kid’s upside, and from what I read he has some great intangibles. The Colts are always looking to grab great upside.
- New Orleans Saints: Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State: This guy and Sedrick Ellis will clog up the middle, and bring a consistent inside pass rush for a long, long time. The Saints get a great player if Odrick falls to them.
That’s right, just one quarterback. My honest opinion is that Bradford is the only guy worth dipping a number one pick one, and none of the teams late in the draft should be loosing a 1st rounder to get a quarterback. If a trade down happens, sure, I can see that – but predicting a trade right now is straight ludicrous.
January 25, 2010 by luckylester · Comments Off
I’ve always thought that a pre-end of season mock draft is crazy. There’s so much time to go, shoot, we don’t even know which underclassmen are for sure and which ones are just flirting with the big show. But we have ideas, thoughts, predictions, and all that junk, and since this is just fiction and fortune telling at it’s best, I might as well get in on all the fun. Here’s my own mock draft, which player I would pick if I was the team on the clock. I’ll tell you one thing, it will take me a hell of a lot less time to make my draft happen then it will during the actual draft. As is, right now, pre-free agency signings and trades and combine and everything – this is what I’ve got…. This is my only Mock Draft that is solely based on the team’s needs and my opinion of where the team should go. After this, it’s all fortune telling! (* indicates that the exact draft order for these positions is still up to a coin flip)
Lucky Lester’s 2010 NFL Mock Draft
- St. Louis Rams: Ndamukong Suh:The biggest baddest sure thing star in the draft. I know some find it wrong to take a DT #1 overall, and that’s all fine and dandy, but this is the DT you take #1 overall because he would fit a huge need, help a bad defense, and is the best player in college football. The big cat almost won the Heisman as a freaking defensive tackle. He’s a no-brainer for me.
- Detroit Lions:Gerald McCoy: This beast of a tackle would have been a Top 10 pick last season, but he stayed in school – unlike some other Oklahoma Sooners, this season only upped his stock, as McCoy gained strength and speed and proved even more dominating than before. He has the ability to be a force against both the run and pass. This would help the entire Lions defense.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers:Eric Berry: The Buccos actually have a pretty solid offensive line, a nice youngster at QB that is way ahead of where most expected him to be, and a few running backs that have all had success in the league. I think Dez White is going to be special, and they could use help at receiver, but I would never take a WR in the Top 5 – that’s too much money going to that position.
Defensively, they could stand to gain some youth and explosiveness. I would go D here.They don’t really have a big need at safety, but Eric Berry is one heck of a game-breaker in the secondary – this is a little high for safety, not a spot you want to over pay. So I’m a bit hesitant. They could definitely use some help in the middle of that defensive line, and you can bet they’ll be hoping one of the top D-tackles falls to them at the 3rd spot. In my draft, I was smart, and I drafted those two bigs 1 and 2, so that leaves me in a bit of a quandary here.
I think Joe Haden had a great chance to go here, because corner is a tougher place to find starter-quality players than safety, but my belief in Berry as an elite pro has me taking the Tennessee safety here.
- Washington Redskins:Sam Bradford: The Redskins need offensive linemen bad, but it’s hard for me to believe that the best offensive line prospect, Russell Okung, will be drafted by Mike Shanahan. Shanny, or Splinter, as I call him, has always had a thing for linemen with elite footwork and quickness.
Okung is one hell of a player, but he’s not an elite athlete at the position. He’ll fit in most offenses, but at #4, it’s hard for me to see Shanny grabbing a guy that doesn’t fit the bill. What I do think Splinter has been good at is grabbing QBs. He’s a pretty good judge of talent there, though I’m not sure my favorite, Sam Bradford, has the arm strength master Splinter wants in a signal caller. Oh the tough decisions.
If I were the Redskins, I would trade down. I’m sure there will be a team wanting to get here to grab their favorite signal caller, and the Skins need help in a few places. Still, no trades for me, I’m not that good of a mock drafter, so I’ll take Sam Bradford. I think he is by far the best QB in the class, and though he doesn’t have John Elway or Jay Cutler arm strength, I think his future is bright.
- Kansas City Chiefs:Russell Okung: The Chiefs and coach Todd Haley could try to bolster their offense, which was 23rd in points scored and 25th in total yards in his first season as the head man. KC has compiled one heck of a coaching staff this off-season, hiring a couple big name former ex-Patriots’ staff members in Romeo Crennel (DC) and Charlie Weis (OC). Last year, the Chiefs went heavy defense, using thier first 3 picks on two defensive linemen and a corner. It didn’t help much as they were 29th in points give up and 30th in yards allowed. Yikes.
Considering their rushing resurgence over the final weeks of the season, and how that might be the only thing they have going for them, I’m sticking with my offense and grabbing Russell Okung. He’s a big bad man, and a guy that would help the Chiefs keep Matt Cassel off his ace and continue that rushing attack. He’s a mauler.
- Seattle Seahawks: Anthony Davis: The Rutgers offensive tackle has the tools to be an elite left tackle in the NFL. Face it, the Hawks have needed help along the offensive line for a long time. They could go defense here, sure, but the D-line is deep in this draft, and amongst the top O-line prospects, I think Davis has the best feet and thus the best upside. If I were the Hawks, I would love to see Sam Bradford, Eric Berry, or one of the D-Tackles here, but I’ll certainly settle for upgrading a position that is almost always the determining factor between playoff teams and those watching after Week 17 – offensive line success is a must! And in that spot, I’m looking for upside, not brute force.
- Cleveland Browns: Dez Bryant: I know this is higher than everybody else has the WR going, but he’s an elite pro prospect at the position. His “situation” this year is hardly a knock on his draft stock, and he was dominating during the season before his suspension. I think his size and speed as well as his ability to react to the ball make him an awesome prospect, one of the best since Calvin Johnson. Not that it matters, because this is MY DRAFT, but those that don’t think Holmgren would waste a pick on a WR here, give me a break, he traded a 1st rounder for Deion Branch, drafted Koren Robinson, and sees a need for an elite play-maker in a suspect passing game. Seems to fit.
- Oakland Raiders: Trent Williams: This is a tough, “What would I do” pick – I mean, if I were Al Davis, I would take out my batteries and fade away into oblivion, but that’s hardly part of “draft strategy” or is it? As is, I’m not taking into account the crazies that run these teams, so I’m going for what I’d go with. Derrick Morgan is a possibility, but he didn’t always impress me, and G-Tech defensive ends (seems like there’s always one great pass rusher on that team) scare me. So I’m waiting to draft him.
I think Trent Williams intrigues me here. I’m not enamored with either of the other two top quarterbacks, and while JaMarcus Russell has about as bright of a future as Al Davis himself, you can’t go wrong with Trent Williams. He’s a big strong tackle that can help immediately, and I promise he’ll make ten times the impact of a guy like, say, Darius Heyward-Bey….
- Buffalo Bills: Bruce Campbell: The Bills need help everywhere, no doubt, and you can bet their new staff will be turning every stone to acquire more draft picks or get the one guy here that can really help them move forward. I really like Joe Hadden, still the best player on my board, and has been for a while, but this team has some great young corners, especially last year’s 2nd round pick, Jairus Byrd – the guy nabbed 9 interceptions in his rookie season. Nasty. This team actually isn’t bad defensively. Numbers will tell you they stink, and they could definitely sure up that run-defense, but having an offense that scores no points and gets no yards puts a defense in bad spots. I think the Bills could take a chance on Jimmy Claussen here.
But I wouldn’t go that direction. The Bills need to run the ball, and especially with the run-game guru signed up as head coach, there are some good fits in this draft. I think Bruce Campbell’s quickness and footwork make him a great upside pick, and while this may be a little early, I’m looking for good, solid, franchise players that will help these teams. Bruce fits the bill.
- *Jacksonville Jaguars: Joe Haden: Perfect fit, great player, great value, a big need for a low-level pass defense that needs help in the secondary. There’s not much to say about this except the Jaguars will be really damn lucky if Haden falls to them.
- *Denver Broncos: Rolando McClain: There’s not much I have to say besides that this kid is one of the best football players I watched on the college level this season. I’m not ready to say this is one of the biggest needs the Broncos have, or that I can justify this pick over a defensive end and physical specimen like Carlos Dunlap, but McClain is a beast and would certainly give this team a lot of options at line-backer. I think he makes the entire defense more physical and athletic.
- Miami Dolphins: Jason Pierre-Paul: In the mold of a Jason Taylor more than a Joey Porter, this physical freak of nature could become exactly what a 3-4 defense wants at the pass rushing end. He has the physical tools to dominate and has the motor to make it happen. I think this is a great upside pick for a defense looking for big plays.
- San Francisco 49ers: Earl Thomas: I would consider Colt McCoy if I didn’t love Nate Davis’s game. That’s right, the kid that didn’t play for the 49ers this year has a bright future, and sooner than later that will be realized. As for this next season, they 49ers probably find a way to stick with Alex Smith, they owe themselves that much. And I think they should, they have bigger needs now than quarterback.
C.J. Spiller is intriguing if they are going to go against Mike Singletary’s initial hopes and run the spread, the guy could be a huge game breaker for them, but come on, Frank Gore is an all around beast, so Spiller is out. Derrick Morgan is still there, but I’m not sure he translates to a 3-4 defensive end or an outside linebacker, either way, the 49ers are pretty stout up front on D and while his value is high, I think the Niners are closer to being good than needing to build.
I think Mike, and myself as well (if I was running the Niners) would like to be stronger up front, but I’m not sure the value fits that position here. In the end I go with Earl Thomas. The 49ers are great against teh run, but Earl could really help them cover some ground in the secondary. He clogged passing lanes for a great Texas defense and I think he’ll do it at the next level as well.
- Seattle Seahawks: Derrick Morgan: I would have loved Earl Thomas here, for the Hawks, because they need help in that secondary bad. Taylor Mays could be the guy, and I’m this close to pulling that trigger, but the Pete Carol/USC roots thing is just too good to be true, even for a mock draft. But hey, Derrick Morgan with the 14th pick is an absolute steal, and so is Carlos Dunlap, both options that are, amazingly enough, still sitting around waiting to hear their names called here.
I think quarterback can wait, and since the Hawks already grabbed an offensive lineman earlier in this round, help on the defensive line seems like a good move. I like Derrick Morgan’s motor, and even as a GT D-end, his strength against the pass and run seems too good to pass up in the middle of Round 1. I don’t see Carrol, a defensive guru, moving to a 3-4, something he didn’t run at USC – and he’s already loaded at linebacker, so if he did that, this pick wouldn’t make sense.
- New York Giants: Carlos Dunlap: The Giants could use some push on defense. I think Dunlap’s size and physical upside makes him a great selection for a Giants team that definitely lost a bit of their defensive punch as the season went forward. This team had a lot of injuries, and I’m not sure they have terrible need anywhere, which makes Dunlap, and his upside, an even better selection.
- *San Francisco 49ers: Brian Bulaga: Jimmy Claussen is still on the board here, but I would still do my best to steer clear. I like Brian Bulaga… This big offensive tackle has the feet I want in an offensive lineman, and he hasn’t reached his full potential yet. Yes, I like OL guys that don’t rely too heavily on overpowering college defensive linemen throughout their NCAA careers – because in the NFL, that won’t always be an option. Bulaga has the footwork to be special, and should help an struggling run-game from the get go. The Niners definitely make the most of their two mid-round picks.
- *Tennessee Titans: Brian Price: Offensively, I actually think the Titans are stout. They could reach for a special tight end, and I think this draft has plenty to choose from, but I personally don’t believe in 1st round tight ends. Especially because Vince has a nice relationship with Bo Scaife, and they’ve shown that on the field. The team definitely needs pass rush help, as the time opposing quarterbacks got when they dropped back definitely effected the defense and their 31st ranking against the pass. They could get that at end, but the best defensive lineman on the board is Brian Price. Price might not be a freak of nature, isn’t 6’8″ and 320 pounds with a 50 inch vertical or anything, but the guy clogs holes, disrupts quarterbacks, and causes ruckus on the football field. The Titans need that.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Everson Griffen: Obviously offensive line is something I rate high, and the Steelers need help there badly, but my appreciation and respect for what good offensive linemen mean has the top 5 gone by pick 16, two picks before the Steelers draft. This team needs pass-blockers bad, and there’s a good chance one of the top 5 slip. If Bulaga or Campbell or Davis fell this far, I’d have them in black and gold in a hurry. As is, there’s no value at OL here, so I have to go another route.
Everson Griffen is an elite prospect that is probably coming out a little too early – but he could be molded into a 3-4 end. This is a team that never has too many concerns about drafting defensive prospects, and some help on the line. Brett Keisel will be in his 9th season, and while he’s still a force, Griffen would be a nice selection if the Steelers believe he can become that rush end in their base defense.
- *Houston Texans: Patrick Robinson: The Texans need help in the secondary, some way, some how. They’ve invested a lot into the defensive line, and they have some great upside there. The kids are growing up and now they need some lock-down players on the outside. I don’t know if Patrick Robinson is a Top 20 corner, but he’s close, and he definitely will help make plays for the Texans on the outside. Houston could go for help at linebacker, or even grab a guy like Taylor Mays, but I think Robinson helps them in a place of need, and he’s a lot better than option 3 at CB – value both for the team and in the draft.
- *Atlanta Falcons: Taylor Mays:The kid is an absolute specimen. His size and speed are an uncanny pair, and he was one of the best defensive players in college football two seasons ago. This season, he got caught out of position a few times, and definitely was trying to do too much. But a kid, and his upside, doesn’t change that much in a year, and this guy is a top 10 pick in that department. He’s a playmaker, a helper against the run, a destroyer looking for big hits in the secondary. I think the Falcons could use all of that, and I think this is a steal here.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Jermaine Gresham: I said I don’t like 1st round TE’s and I wasn’t lying, but just like any drafter, I have my value price where I just can’t pass a guy up. Gresham is more of an elite wide receiver than a TE, similar to a guy like Witten, Gates, Tony Gonzalez, at least in terms of upside. The Bengals have never had a TE with that kind of ability, and without an elite WR right here for the Bengals to grab (for an offense that was definitely lacking explosiveness in the passing game) I think Gresham is a great pick.
- New England Patriots: C.J. Spiller: I don’t see what’s taking Bill Belichick so long. The Patriots love to pass the ball, and they love to pass it short, why not have one of the most feared open space players in the draft come in and make the most out of Tom Brady’s ability to read defenses, and take advantage of mis-matches. Spiller is a mis-match to big play waiting to happen. I know he doesn’t fit the normal Patriot mold, but what does that mean anyway? Does it mean they haven’t drafted one in a while? I see Spiller as a double digit touchdown guy in the NFL – the Pats could use that at the RB position.
- Green Bay Packers:Sergio Kindle: I just can’t see a team like Green Bay passing on a guy like Kindle. I think the Packers are in a great spot, they don’t need much, but Kindle is a great piece to a 3-4 defense because of his ability to just flat out make plays. I know the Packers have plenty of players at linebacker, but I’m not sure any of them is as good a pair as Kindle would be to Clay Matthews. Kindle’s explosive nature would be yet another piece for a fast forward Packers defense.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Navorro Bowman: The Eagles could definitely use some sideline to sideline play-making ability from the linebacker spot, some youth, some speed, some all around great play. Bowman is a great linebacker, and he can definitely do what the Eagles need him to do. He’s not a great guy to fight off blocks, but if the Eagles can let him roam, he’ll make plays all over the field.
- Baltimore Ravens: Brandon LaFell: I think LaFell is going to be one heck of a receiver. I think a receiver’s stats in college can often be thrown right out the window, especially if they are part of a really special passing attack or a really terrible passing attack. LaFell can mark down himself as a victim of the latter, but I still think he has #1 upside. The Ravens could get depth in a lot of places, or they could go for the gusto and see if one of the late 1st to 2nd round receivers fits like a glove. I think LaFell is a good choice.
- Arizona Cardinals: Brandon Spikes: I don’t know what the Cardinals will need more. They have lots of holes, I know that. Dansby is a question mark, will he be back, will he be happy? Kurt Warner? Retiring? Anquan Boldin? Traded? Bertrand Berry retired, I know that, so the Cardinals could definitely use an end. I’m going for one hell of a football player to replace Carlos Dansby. I know Carlos does lots of things for the Cardinals, and I’m not sure that Spikes will get those all done right off the bat – but he’s a difference maker at the ILB position, and the Cardinals could use some more pop, especially if Dansby hits the road.
- Dallas Cowboys: Ricky Sapp: I’m not sure what the Packers really need. They have a three-headed monster at running back, one highly paid under-performer at receiver but teamed with an underpaid pro-bowler makes it a pretty solid position. Then you have one of the best TEs in the league, a great young quarterback, and offensive line that is good (but needs youth) – then you have that defense that is really maturing in the secondary while staying as powerful as ever up front. Tough to find a hole.
I think the Cowboys have room to grab the best player available, and the only problem is, I think that’s an OLB named Ricky Sapp. They are loaded at OLB, and I don’t know if there’d be room for Sapp to play, unless they Boys got rid of either Ware or Spencer, both of which are elite OLBs. Jahvid Best is another guy that is high on my list, as is Ryan Matthews, but it’s tough to see the Cowboys going RB. I’m not sure if any of the DL prospects would fit nicely in that 3-4 as a lineman. So without further ado, I’m just going to go on ahead and select Sapp – he’s the best player on my board and I don’t love any O-line guys right at this spot. I think Sapp is a steal, I don’t know how I didn’t pick him earlier.
- San Diego Chargers: Jonathan Dwyer: Obviously LT isn’t likely to come back, and I think Dwyer is the best power back in the draft. He played an interesting FB type position at Georgia Tech, and he wasn’t as leaned on during his last season with the Jackets, but Dwyer is a beast and I think he has the power and quick burst to be a very good starting running back in the NFL. He’s a great match with a guy like Darren Sproles, the heavy deep fried dough to the sprinkles and frosting that make a doughnut. What can I say, I’m on pastry thoughts here.
- New York Jets: Golden Tate: The Jets have some good players at receiver, and Edwards and Cotchery both have good size and speed – and I don’t know what Tate will “measure” out at, but I have to be honest, I don’t care. Golden Tate should get a weekly thank you letter from Charlie Weis that says, “I’d like to thank you for getting me a job as an offensive coordinator after I got fired. You are the reason I looked good when I did.” Tate might not have great size or speed or whatever you want to have for receivers – but he does do one thing, he goes and gets the ball and he makes magic happen. The kid was unstoppable and he made Jimmy Claussen look really good on some “up for grabs” balls. I think the Jets could really use a guy like him in their run first, big pass play offense.
- Minnesota Vikings: Dan Williams: The original Williams’s aren’t going to be around forever, and Dan Williams is a heck of a defensive lineman and the name fits – but that’s just coincidence, I promise. He may not be a dead ringer for one of the Wild Things, but he’s a big bad man with an extremely strong lower body, and built in the mold to take up space and fight for position. The Vikings need back-ups for exactly that.
- Indianapolis Colts: Bruce Carter: Bottom line, Bruce Carter is a machine. The Colts seem to plug new players in all the time, and this guy seems like he’ll fit the bill. Carter is a little undersized, but the Colts probably won’t mind, shoot, he’ll fit right in. This guy was a big reason why the UNC Tar Heels were a defensive force in the ACC – his speed and ability to move to the ball would make him an ideal guy in Indy’s defensive schemes.
- New Orleans Saints: Brandon Graham: I think Graham might fit that Colts edge rusher ideal better – I mean he’s a little undersized, probably won’t measure out as an elite prospect, but just does everything he can to get to the quarterback and make tackles in the backfield. His production this season, on a team that wasn’t very good at winning football games, was just down right scary. I think Graham continues his production at the next level, and the Saints could use more motor and pass rushing prowess. Even if he’s not the ideal size, I see him as the best fit for the Saints.
Updated on January 19, 2009
I’m dancing in the streets a little – it’s always nice to see something you never thought would happen, and until Ken Whisenhunt was tricked into coaching the Cardinals, I didn’t think I’d ever see that red jersey and helmet sporting that angry woodpecker in a Super Bowl game. But here we are, a Pittsburgh Steelers team that has won as many championships as any team ever, and an Arizona Cardinals team that looks for a ring for the first time. Awesome. But that pretty much locks up my first full mock draft. I’ll compile the draft as if the Cardinals pull off the huge upset, because, well, they’ve done it 3 times already and I’d be stunned if they did it again – so it will probably happen. The new mock draft is also coming out because the early entry list is locked in and the draft order is basically set. I’m done with my “If I’m making the picks” format because I can really do both predictions and analysis by suggesting what I think the Draft will look like- still, I agree with my ability to judge talent, and a couple teams definitely should call me up for some advice… Haha… Here goes the goods…
1. Detroit Lions: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama – This pick is exactly what the Lions need, and that’s how I’m doing my first mock draft. This is a team that has gone kookoo over the skill positions and they have been brutal on offensive and defensive lines. I’m sold on the thought that Detroit will get a good football guy to make their personnel decisions and that will lead them away from 1st Round receivers, quarterbacks, or running backs. Andre Smith might not be the guy making the best decisions (getting hooked up with an agent a couple days before his team’s big bowl game) but he is a beast of a man that dominated at the college level. If the Lions want to properly use Calvin Johnson and Kevin Smith, arguably their best players, they’ll have to get some time to throw and room to run. Matthew Stafford (the consensus pick here) has all the tools, but without a better offensive line the Lions will continue to get destroyed. Do the right thing Detroit, go big here, Smith is your guy.
2. St. Louis Rams – Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia - The Rams have lots of problems, no doubt in my mind, they would happily take Smith if he were available here – but he’s not, and nobody wants to trade into the 2nd pick so it’s not like they’ll find a valuable trading partner for the pick. That being said, Matt Stafford is the guy with all the tools that Marc Bulger doesn’t have, end the Marc Bulger experiment…. please. I personally like Mark Sanchez a little more than Stafford – but the tools Stafford has can’t be taught, and while the Rams need more than a QB in the waiting, the #2 pick is a place where immense talent needs to be selected.
3. Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forrest - I don’t think the Chiefs go quarterback here – it’s stupid, A, and B- Tyler Thigpen played great when he got a chance to do so. Just ride out this guy for a while and hope that you hit the lotto with the kid, weirder things have happened. Plus, with a 30th ranked rushing defense and a 28th ranked passing defense, they might consider getting some dynamic help on that side of the ball first. Still, with Bradford and Stafford on the board it’s tough for me to pass up a chance at a franchise QB, but I’m going to, because I’m smart. Thigpen is good enough right now, he’s got a little something that I like as the guy in charge of my roster, so I’m taking Aaron Curry to be a playmaker on my defense. This guy is one of the surest things in the draft, a football player through and through, and he bleeds intensity. The Chiefs have some speed in their linebacking corps, but they don’t have a guy like this and he’ll immediately come in and make everyone better. This may be a little high for a linebacker, and probably higher than Curry will go, but I’ll take him because I’m looking for the guy that will improve the Chiefs the most, and they need a guy like Aaron.
4. Seattle Seahawks: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech - The Hawks need offensive line help badly. I know Michael Crabtree is out there and every single Hawk fan in the world wants Seattle to go get the big stud receiver from Texas Tech – I love Crabtree, think he’ll be a great one, but you can only win if you have a good offensive line. Monroe is the smart pick – or maybe Jason Smith, and both should be here for the Seahawks taking – but in the end I just can’t pass up on the chance to get an elite playmaker for the Hawks offense. People (like me) will say that Seattle never makes a pick like this, that they have a smart brass that knows how to pick right, that they wouldn’t go skill position at the top of the draft – but, in the end, history is just that – history. Right now is the now, and with that in mind, and the future in the eyes of the same guy that’s watching Crabtree work out, watching him torch defenses at will – watching him become a version of TO without the assish tendencies, I don’t think the Hawks can pass that up – not with the guys they have. Taking skill position guys at the top of the draft can be a recipe for losses to build. You spend too much money on a receiver and it will hurt you in the end if that player doesn’t become great. But I think the Hawks need to go for it.
5. Cleveland Browns: Malcom Jenkins, CB, Ohio State – The Browns secondary and overall defense was brutal last season. Weird, they went and spent a bunch of money on high-priced free agents and they still got kicked around pretty good. A lot of that has to do with their offense going 3 and out a lot, and putting the defense in bad situations, but still – tackling and angles were tough to come by in Cleveland and I think Jenkins comes in and starts immediately for the Browns. He’s as sure as a corner back can be in helping the run. He’s got great understanding and recognition, things that plague the Browns secondary.
6. Cincinnati Bengals: Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State – The Bengals need a lot of help in a lot of places, weird. But with Stacey Andrews struggling a bit and his knee giving him problem, and a visit with the doctor for re-constructive surgery in mid-January, it might be time to get a young stud to protect their biggest investment, Carson Palmer. Everyone watched what happened to the Bengals without Palmer – protecting him next season might be a good start. Eugene Monroe has proven he can start anywhere. He’s an athletic kid that held down left tackle for Virginia, and he could do the same in Cincinnati. Either way, I think Monroe would be a good pick this high, a need pick and a talent pick and a good use of their money – But lets just say (for the sake of good health and positive thinking) that the Bengals elect to re-sign Andrews (and they very well could because of his youth and possible good news on the diagnosis of his knee surgery) then they might elect to go for a pass rushing specialist like Everett Brown, Brian Orakpo, or Aaron Maybin – going for the health of the young right tackle, Aaron Maybin goes off the board here because his motor and upside are impressive.
7. Oakland Raiders: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri - Rey Maualuga is a machine. The Raiders need a guy like him just about as bad as anything – well, aside from a new coaching staff and a new owner and a guy to bring in talent on draft day that doesn’t base everything on some lifting and speed numbers – so they need a lot of things, but a sure tackler at linebacker, and big time playmaker, a special and California taught local kid like Maualuga – I think they’d have something going if they went here. However, I know the Raiders – and Jeremy Maclin or Crabtree (if he lasts) might get pushed to Oakland. I have this eery feeling that if Maclin is on the board for Oakland that he’ll be wearing black and silver come next season. It’s sad for Jeremy – but it’s probably true.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia – While Michael Oher is a stud, he has shown a lack of focus at times. He’s been beat by lesser defensive ends, and while the talent is obviously there, Oher’s lack of consistency might hurt him in the draft. I have that happening here as Eugene Monroe will get ahead of Oher on draft boards and be the first off the board after Andre Smith. If Maclin is on the board here, the Jaguars might be tempted – they have shown a history of going and reaching for their biggest needs, and they definitely need a playmaker outside. But the Jaguars showed some offensive line (and defensive line for that matter) woes in 2008. Maurice Jones Drew is still phenomenal and David Garrard didn’t have as bad of a season as his numbers insisted, but this team needs some help on their respective lines. Monroe has the ability to get plugged in anywhere he’s needed, and he’ll immediately improve that position. That’s rare in the NFL these days, and even tougher to get in the draft. For a team that needs to reestablish their rushing identity, the Jags could make a great pick right here. Many people expect the Jaguars to go linebacker here, but there’s room to rummage through the next couple rounds to find a playmaker there. The top O-Tackles, while the position is deep, will be gone long before the Jags pick again.
9. Green Bay Packers: Everett Brown, DE, Florida State – The Packers need to revamp their defensive front. I think Aaron Kampman is a stud, but he needs some help and I think Everett Brown can be a special contributor up front for the Packers. They need help getting to the quarterback and stopping the run. Basically they were a liability on defense. They have plenty of weapons on offense, and while every team could always use help on the line, this pick seems like a no brainer for the Pack – but it could be one of the many defensive end prospects in the draft. I also think that this spot, and this mock, would have the Packers being in a great position with someone who wanted to trade down to get Mark Sanchez – ie the Minnesota Vikings. No trades in my mock though, too tough to figure, so I’ll go with one of the more talent kids out there.
10. San Francisco 49ers: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC – I like Shaun Hill, like I said in my first mock, but Sanchez is a stud – he has a lightning quick release, great leadership qualities, and a passion for the game that fits perfectly with Mike Singletary’s system. Could the 49ers go in about a million different directions? You bet… Could one of those directions be not re-signing Takeo Spikes and maybe going with Rey Maualuga to form one of the best middle linebacker duos in all of football? Possibly, Rey seems like a Mike kind of guy, but he also seems a lot like Patrick Willis (but could it be bad to have two of him?). Shaun Hill is a solid guy right now, he does enough to keep San Francisco in the game, but Sanchez has tools to be a top pick, and very well could be, but right now I like him going to SF at 10 because that’s a great place to get your future signal caller and not have to play him right off the bat. If Sanchez isn’t their guy, and they love Orakpo, Michael Johnson of Georgia Tech, Maybin or Brown if they are there, don’t be surprised if the Niners snag a pass rusher.
11. Buffalo Bills: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas – The Bills need more help on the defensive line. They started off the year okay, but they don’t make enough plays and they don’t have any one player that poses an elite pass rushing skill set. Okay, Aaron Schobel is a guy that has some good career numbers, but he spent much of 2008 hurt and is on the wrong side of 30 and the small side of 250lbs. I really like Micheal Johnson of Georgia Tech, but Orakpo is probably the more complete of the two, and the Bills could use that.
12. Denver Broncos: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College – The Broncos have been brutal at stopping the run for sometime, and it’s very likely that Mike Shannahan’s insistence on grabbing opposing teams leftovers instead of drafting some help up front is what got him fired in the first place. I expect new HC Josh McDaniels to do his damnedest to strengthen the defensive front, and starting with a massive defensive lineman that will free up linebackers while putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks is probably a good start. McDaniels is and offensive mind, no doubt about that, but he’s also a smart guy and while assessing team needs he’ll vouch for the teams offensive firepower and express some worry about that line… Raji’s 6.5 sacks and numerous runs stuffed will certainly help Denver’s front – character issues might hurt Raji’s stock, but in Denver’s move to the 3-4 they’ll need a player of Raji’s strength to hold down the middle.
13. Washington Redskins: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor - The Redskins will be lucky if they get an offensive line prospect like Jason Smith. The kid knows how to play the game and he really does it right. I think he’s a better pass blocker than Andre Smith, and his athleticism is second to none. At 6’5 305lbs, he’s got room to grow into his body a little bit. He’s not super strong, but that will come – his feet are great and his energy and ability to stay on blocks long are two things that he has over any other elite tackle prospect in the draft. A steal at 13.
14. New Orleans Saints: Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois – Defense, defense, defense. As much as Jeremy Maclin’s speed has to excite this offensive minded freak of a coach in New Orleans, it’s not offensive deficiencies that keep the Saints from getting into the playoffs. Defensively they are brutal, they don’t have much of an identity except that of a team that allows opposing offenses to do anything they damn well please. That’s not a good thing. Right now, the Saints don’t have corners that get the job done. They don’t tackle all that well, and find themselves in positions to make tackles far too often. As far as talent and confidence go, Davis is a corner that comes second to none. He’s a physical kid that likes to get into opposing receivers. He hasn’t had a ton of interceptions at the college level, but I’m going to go ahead and say that’s because opposing offenses don’t throw his way. He may have been too aggressive in college, being allowed to do too much on the field. He’ll get the little things down, but I like what he does have and think he would start immediately for New Orleans.
15. Houston Texans: Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech – How can you play an entire season on the other side of Mario Williams and have absolutely zero sacks to show for it? Weaver is a better run defensive end than a pass rusher, but 0 sacks? Yikes. Johnson might be a little bit of a reach here – but the kid is a freakish pass rusher that could start out helping right away as a pass rush specialist and he has the body to add weight and become a full time guy over time. The Texans could really use a pass rush option opposite their big dog. With much attention played to their former 1st overall pick, Johnson could find a lot of room to be the playmaker that he is. This would do wonders for the other half of Houston’s defensive line.
16. San Diego Chargers: Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB, Ohio State - If the Chargers are indeed getting rid of LaDainian Tomlinson, for age and contract reasons, I think Wells would be a perfect fit to get half of the carries in a time share with Darren Sproles. I, personally, would just keep Tomlinson for another year, go for some offensive line or defensive help here, and grab a running back in next season’s draft or in the later rounds, but I’m taking the plunge here because of Wells ability. Basically, I don’t like taking skill guys early, but Wells has special size, explosion, and speed – and while Sproles has shown a knack for the big play, there is no way he holds up through a season getting 15-20 carries per game. I make exceptions for special players, and while Wells’ injury problems might scare some teams off, I happen to believe that you go for the talent and if freak injuries happen you just got unlucky. If LT is re-signed, I think the Chargers should make a play on
17. New York Jets: Rey Maualuga, LB, USC- To get a guy that can make a difference like Maualuga is always a draft day blessing. To get him in the middle of the 1st round is even more impressive. Can he be Rex Ryan’s New York Jet version of Ray Lewis? It’s possible. I’m not sure anyone this side of William Wallace has ever had as much passion, toughness, and straight super-hero ability like Ray Lewis, but if there’s a guy in this draft that looks anything like Ray, it’s Rey – and not just for names sake. The Jets need to get better defensively – but they could also make a play on a young running back if their top choice sits here. I think Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are good for now, and I think Ryan will be ready to get a defensive stopper right off the bat.
18. Chicago Bears: Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi – Nate Davis? Oh, I think this kid could surprise. But I’m not ready to make that jump quite yet – plus, the Bears “are happy with their quarterback situation” – right. The Bears look to be aging a little bit, and that means they could use all types of players. But if the super-talented Oher is still on the board at 18, the Bears snag him up without thinking twice.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sen’Derrick Marks, DT, Auburn – Marks is a freak. He’s a superior athlete in the body of a defensive tackle. He’s not enormous, but his tenacity and elite quickness and coordination make him a great prospect and could very well allow him to be great at rushing the passer and making plays against the run. If the Bucs have shown me anything during their late slide that saw them go from 9-3 to 9-7 and missing the playoffs, it’s that they need help on the defensive line. Marks might be the best of the bunch and at 19th overall, he’s worth that risk.
20. Detroit Lions (via Dallas Cowboys): James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State - The Lions need guys like this to do things like win a football game. James is a sure thing. You know what you’re getting, a great tackler, great team guy with the ability to stop the run, read blocks, get his teammates behind him and make everyone better. A great offensive lineman and a great linebacker to be a team leader on defense, that would be a great draft for a team that doesn’t know much about great drafts. The Lions need to stop taking chances and picking skill position players – teams are built on guys that can block up front and get off blocks and tackle on defense – Andre and James are a good start.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia – Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia – Brian Westbrook #2? After seeing what Brian Westbrook has become since the Eagles drafted the undersized back in the 3rd round years ago, I wouldn’t be stunned if they tried to get him. I know they aren’t a team that usually guns for the skill positions early, but Moreno is special and despite being a little undersized, could be a great option in making the transition to the days without Mr. Westbrook. The Eagles have seen Westy have injury troubles, day to day issues just about every other week, and his age is becoming a little bit of an issue. The Eagles have a bevy of vets, and they surely need to get younger on the offensive line and all over on defense, but this kid is an elite playmaker that you aren’t able to snag in Round 2.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Sean Smith, CB, Utah – Sean Smith played a little under the radar at Utah, but he was a great part of one of the best defenses in college football. He helped shut down the Alabama passing attack, and played good football against the run as well. Smith is an elite player from a small school. The Vikings would help improve their semi-shaky pass defense by adding the Utes ball hawk. Smith has unreal size for a corner, and has shown a knack for making big plays by either intercepting 5 passes or leading his team in passes broken up. Smith could shoot up draft boards after the combine.
23. New England Patriots: Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest – The Patriots find themselves in an interesting place here, and free agency will definitely help decide where they go here. I know Smith is a great playmaker with lots of upside and the personality it takes to be good at the next level. I’m not sure if he fits perfectly into the Patriots system, but he definitely fits a need as almost every corner in New England will see free agency over the off-season. Smith does lots of good things, he’s got solid speed and breaks well on the ball.
24. Atlanta Falcons: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State – The Falcons might not need Brandon Pettigrew to make life easier on Matt Ryan, but they could sure use him. He’s a good blocker and an even better pass catcher, but the bottom line is he does it all. He may not be a big play guy like Kellen Winslow or Jason Witten, but he’s a great blocker, probably the best blocking tight end in the class. He also has great hands and very good ball skills. He does it all. This guy is just the type of guy Atlanta (or any team in the league) needs.
25. Miami Dolphins: D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt - The Dolphins need help in the secondary, and maybe all over their defense to be honest. They played better than they were early in the year in ’08, but fell apart a little toward the end and, in my opinion, better exemplified exactly what their biggest problems are. In an offensive heavy draft class, the Dolphins need to build defensively. Moore is a very talented player that shut down #1 receivers all season for Vanderbilt. He’s an opportunistic player with a playmaking ability that could help the Dolphins create turnovers defensively.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland - While many people would like to point to Bey as being inconsistent and an underachiever in college, I would like to point to the poor quarterbacking in Maryland this last season. Bey is super talented and could definitely turn into a great pro. I like him more than most. I think he’d fit in in Baltimore, and be a big target that the Ravens need to pit with Mark Clayton and the aging Derrick Mason.
27. Philadelphia Eagles (via Carolina): Ebbin Britton, OT, Arizona – The Eagles need to get younger at lots of different places. Arizona’s offense was underrated this season, being stuck in the Pac-10, where even I admit was underrated. Britton has been road-grading paths for running backs over the last two seasons, and the Wildcats have been better than you’d think in that area. Britton is a big boy with some good quickness and a very football savvy demeanor. I think the Eagels would be bright to grab him before they really need an offensive tackle. Prep him for next season when age finally catches up with the green machine.
28. Indianapolis Colts: Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi – The Colts really struggled to stop the run, with or without Bob Sanders, and if you can’t stop the run with that heat seeking missile aimed right at the hearts of running backs, then you have to do something a little different. Peria Jerry is a very good defensive tackle that plays with the intensity and knowhow needed to excel in the Colts system. They need to start filling holes if they want to return to the Super Bowl.
29. New York Giants: Percy Harvin, WR/RB, Florida – The Giants need more playmakers. Percy Harvin might be the shiniest playmaker in this draft of offensive firepower. Getting him at 29 would be great. The Giants need them some Percy Harvin just like Flordia does.
30. Tennessee Titans: Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina – He doesn’t have as much upside as Darrius Heyward-Bey, but Nicks might be the better receiver in the NFL. Nicks runs solid routes, his hands or enforced with a special unique stick-em produced only by his body. That catch that everyone saw during the bowl season, that was amazing, but no way was that his only amazing catch. This kid is always open, and I think his game translates well to the next level. He would also make the 5th receiver selected in the first round, which seems like an unreal ammount – but with the lack of underclassmen coming out, and the overall mediocre feeling of this talent pool, matched with the heavy set of receivers and apt running backs, this could be a weird first round with receivers off early.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU – Beast. He may not be the “new” defensive end with the pass rushing forte and the speed and the basketball body, but Tyson is a run-stuffing fiend. A kid that is nearly 6’5″ and 300+ – he’s a beast. The Steelers could use a guy like that inside in their 3-4. They have pass rushers galore, and Tyson has above average talent for his size – that’s digable planet business right there.
32. Arizona Cardinals: Brian Cushing, LB, USC – This kid didn’t have great numbers on an impressive USC defense, but he is damn good at just about everything. He can turn in run in coverage, as he was often asked to do, and he can make big plays all over the field. He’s had some durability issues, but the Cardinals would make a good move grabbing a kid with Cushing’s upside – winning the Super Bowl gives you a chance to go with upside like Brian’s.
My Crazy Uncle John is back in the saddle again, plucking picks from his light deprived rear-end. I won’t take any responsibility for the old man’s actions or predictions, but God knows he’s been around long enough to see a draft or two… So, without further senile ado, here’s his 1st Round Mock Draft.
***March 23rd, 2007.
***February 15th, 2007
- Oakland Raiders: JaMarcus Russell
Al likes to go long, surely Russell can fit his vertical dreams, regardless of if his O-line keeps him from being horizontal.
- Detroit Lions: Brady Quinn
Lions don’t dare pass on a potential franchise quarterback with Jon “Short-term” Kitna running the show now.
- Cleveland Browns: Adrian Peterson
Jamal Lewis might have a year at best, so Adrian should walk into a half-carry duty ready to take over in 2008, just like Joseph Addai and Laurence Maroney.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Calvin Johnson
With Calvins Terrell Owens skills and Isaac Bruce attitude, the “quarterback” in Tampa will love the best player in the draft.
- Arizona Cardinals: Joe Thomas
Leondard Davis was the best of a bad bunch, and he’s gone, the Cards use JT to get the Edge jumpstarted.
- Washington Redskins: Gaines Adams
The Redskins would be smart to stay put and take the best defensive lineman in the draft. Smart? Did I say Redskins and smart together? Yikes.
- Minnesota Vikings: LaRon Landry
Darren Sharper and Dwight Smith aren’t getting any younger, so I expect the most explosive secondary option in the Draft to go here.
- Atlanta Falcons: Reggie Nelson
Nelson would really make Atlanta’s secondary faster than any in the league, even with Landry gone, Nelson would team up great with the Falcons corners.
- Miami Dolphins: Levi Brown
Miami’s abysmal line minus Damien McIntosh means Levi Brown wears a Dolphin Uni from here on out.
- Houston Texans: Ted Ginn Jr.
Ted takes over for Moulds, finally giving Andre Johnson a speedy 2nd option, and giving Matt Schaub a shot at staying alive.
- San Francisco 49ers: Adam Carriker
High energy, not stop motor, big asset to improve a young defense that Mike Nolan has been trying to improve since he arrived in the Bay.
- Buffalo Bills: Leon Hall
Nate Clements gone, surely the Bills are happy to see the best corner in the draft at pick 12.
- St. Louis Rams: Alan Branch
Michigan’s studs go back to back. Branch’s personality qualms only let his fantastic upside fall this far.
- Carolina Panthers: Patrick Willis
Carolina needs linebackers like Brittany Spears needs a new pair of panties. Lucky for them Willis is the most dynamic of the bunch.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Darrelle Revis
Would have loved Willis here, but a pick late and a dollar short, the Steelers put their cards in Revis’ hands. Tomlin’s defensive background has the Steelers getting secondary help in a hurry.
- Green Bay Packers: Marshawn Lynch
With Green gone, Brett will need Lynch’s tough running style in Green Bay.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Robert Meacham
The Jags need speed, and though Meacham is big like Williams and Jones, he can get deep for Byron.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Amobi Okoye
Amobi Okoye.! Delighted that this high character young super star in the making fell to them, the Bengals take a step in the right direction.
- Tennessee Titans: Chris Houston
Pacman will be out in the cold, and the Titans need help at corner anyway, Jones’ absence assures a corner going here.
- New York Giants: Paul Posluszny
With Arrington, Emmons, and Short not working out, the Giants must get young and productive at linebacker right now, Paul gets that done.
- Denver Broncos: Jamaal Anderson
The secondary is set in Denver, and the Cleveland Brown connection didn’t do the damage Shanny was hoping for, so Anderson goes now.
- Dallas Cowboys: Aaron Ross
Dallas’ pass defense was inconsistent all year, and Aaron Ross is a native son who will do work.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Dwayne Bowe
Kansas City set up some smoke screens about not “needing” a WR here, but lets be honest, Eddie Kennison and Jeff Webb think that’s messed up.
- New England Patriots (via Sea): Joe Staley
With everything else seemingly taking place in New England, that leaves room for the Pats to go offensive line here, just like they always do.
- New York Jets: Jarvis Moss
The Jets need a pass rusher, and Moss has all the ability to be at least a poor version of Javon Kearse. Hopefully a healthy version.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Brandon Meriweather
With Michael Lewis out, and Brian Dawkins aging, the Eagles make a smart move here, weird. Brandon has all the athletic ability to be a star in the league for years to come.
- New Orleans Saints: Greg Olsen
Eric Johnson never could stay healthy in San Francisco, and Olsen has all the speed and athletic ability to be the pass catching option at TE the Saints would love to have.
- New England Patriots: Jon Beason
Teddy Bruschi is on the path to retirement, and Beason would be a great option to play for years along side Adalius Thomas.
- Baltimore Ravens: Dwayne Jarrett
While Jarrett has fallen from the Top 10, and some even have him stumbling out of the First Round, I think Jarrett’s college career will at least get him to Baltimore in Round 1.
- San Diego Chargers: Anthony Gonzalez
McCardell is gone, and Gonzalez is college’s version of Keenan. He always catches the ball, goes out in traffic to make plays, and has deceptive speed.
- Chicago Bears: Justin Blaylock
This offensive guard will aid an aging offensive line, that needs to remain the Bears strength, especially with Jones gone to New York.
- Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Spencer
With Corey Simon’s injuries and illness making him questionable, the Colts will take the best defensive lineman available, and that is Anthony Spencer.