Authored by Jeff Risdon - 9th April, 2009 - 2:19 pm
Updated: 4/8/09 - Reflecting the Jay Cutler trade. At press time the Jets courtship of Miles Austin is not resolved, Mr. Longfellow. Kudos to those who get that reference.
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1. Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia.
This is still highly dependent on Stafford agreeing to reasonable terms, but Detroit's relative lack of interest in Jay Cutler or either Cleveland QB screams, "Stafford is our guy." It still wouldn't surprise me if they went cheaper and took Jason Smith, who has good reason to take whatever deal Detroit might offer. Stafford helps himself by openly courting the Lions, who are not used to that.
2. St. Louis Rams: Eugene Monroe, T, Virginia.
A pretty smart birdie tells me the Rams have Monroe rated much higher than Jason Smith, and if their interaction with Monroe at the Combine is any indication, this pick is a lock. I doubt they find a taker in trying to move down, mainly because nobody in the reasonable range to move up has any compelling reason to move up.
3. Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest.
I keep hearing how the Chiefs will take Brian Orakpo because he's a better athlete and pass rusher. Curry is far from a slouch in either category, and he offers so much more than Orakpo against the run and in coverage. When you're at the bottom as the Chiefs are, versatility and well-roundedness are critical attributes, and that keeps Curry as the pick here. Not that I would be opposed to Orakpo...
4. Seattle Seahawks: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC.
It's at this point I feel obligated to remind readers that this mock represents what I believe teams would do given the situation, and not necessarily what choices I would make. I just can't see the Seahawks passing on a shot at a great franchise QB with Sanchez's athleticism and upside, not when the other choices they have are just as iffy long-term.
5. Cleveland Browns: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas.
This pick is not as simple now that Donte Stallworth's career is apparently done. Before his unfortunate situation, the Browns were a very safe bet to pick whichever of Aaron Curry or Orakpo that Kansas City doesn't take at #3. Now the Browns have to consider Michael Crabtree, but I think the relative depth of the WR class allows them to address their primary weakness (rushing the passer) here with Orakpo. But I wouldn't be surprised if they are gun-shy after so many recent high defensive picks have not fared well.
6. Cincinnati Bengals: Jason Smith, T, Baylor.
Barring any unexpected trades, Smith appears a lock to go either #1 or #6. The Bengals are looking to move down, and at this point they might find a partner looking for an athletic tackle like Smith.
7. Oakland Raiders: Jeremy Maclin, KR/WR, Missouri.
A tenuous pick, as his own injury history somewhat negates the leg up he has on Crabtree as the top WR based on Maclin's incredible speed. His size/speed package is what Al Davis would design if he were given the keys of the universe.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech.
The Jaguars would wait about 4 seconds before sending Crabtree's name up to Commish Goodell in this situation, as they do not have a #1 or even a #2 WR currently on the roster. I would point out that this pick would give Jacksonville the same number of 1st round picks spent on wide receivers as the Lions since 2004. I do put credibility into the Mark Sanchez speculation, if he's on the board.
9. Green Bay Packers: Andre Smith, T, Alabama.
This represents a fundamental shift of thinking from previous editions, but the more I look at the Packers and how they approach the draft, the more likely I think it is they take Smith. Don't forget -- before his Combine disaster, Smith was widely considered to be the #1 overall pick and the best run blocker by a wide margin. The Packers have struggled recently with opening holes in the running game, and Smith represents tremendous value here while filling a definite need.
10. San Francisco 49ers: Everette Brown, DE, Florida State.
Brown is precisely what Mike Singletary wants: a relentless, intelligent pass rusher who forces the action. Brown is the best-equipped of the collegiate ends making the transition to 3-4 rush LB, as he often lined up in a 6-technique at FSU.
11. Buffalo Bills: Connor Barwin, OLB, Cincinnati.
The Bills are becoming known for pulling 1st round shockers, and this would certainly continue that string. It might seem like a reach, but Barwin's upside and versatility are huge selling points. It also helps that he can step in and be a legit TE threat in the red zone, a weak spot for eons in Buffalo. Two birds, one stone -- perfect for a cost-conscious team.
12. Denver Broncos: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College.
The two Broncos picks are certainly huge question marks, but I don't see them with an overriding need to trade up real high. They don't need a QB, they don't need a tackle, they don't need a WR. They need defense, but they need more than one first-round caliber talent on that defense. Raji immediately upgrades the up-the-gut defense and would be the top defensive player on the board in this scenario.
13. Washington Redskins: Michael Oher, T, Ole Miss.
Lots of potential directions here, but the aging front line is a paramount concern. It doesn't hurt Oher's case that he's probably the best-known tackle prospect in modern history, thanks to The Blind Side. When was the last time Dan Snyder passed on a chance for a big story?
14. New Orleans Saints: Chris ?Beanie? Wells, RB, Ohio State.
I see all sorts of speculation about adding another corner here, but I'm not buying that at all. The signing of Jabari Greer gives the Saints a solid 1-3 CB rotation with Tracy Porter and Randall Gay, and Usama Young still has promise. Of course adding Wells gives them a crowded offensive backfield, but that has been status quo lately.
15. Houston Texans: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State.
Every Texans fan's wildest dreams (football-related anyways) comes true, as a player some rate as the best defensive player in this draft falls all the way to #15. Houston is coming off a run where they allowed the highest opposing passer rating over a 3-year period in NFL history, and they addressed the pass rush part with Antonio Smith. This scenario seems implausible the more I look at it, but stranger things have happened.
16. San Diego Chargers: Tyson Jackson, DL, LSU.
Jackson is ideally suited to play LDE in a 3-4, a position where the Chargers have an opening with the departure of Igor Olshansky. Don't let his lack of eye-popping stats fool you; Jackson did all the dirty work, and did it well, so his more one-dimensional mates could thrive. That kind of team-first attitude bodes well for his NFL career and the Chargers.
17. New York Jets: Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State.
I know some teams value Freeman just as highly as Mark Sanchez, but I also know at least two teams that think Freeman is a 3rd round project. The Jets are desperate at QB, and they might have to trade up to acquire his services in the hope he becomes the Viking-era Daunte Culpepper, not the Miami-era one.
18. Denver Broncos (from CHI): Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State.
Another player whose value from team to team is all over the map. His athleticism and edge speed are undeniable, and the Cutler trade bought a developmental year in terms of team expectations that Maybin sorely needs. In a related thought, my annual "Booms and Busts" column will be out next week.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers.
Britt isn't the fastest wideout, but he's proven he can get open consistently and will catch the ball when it's anywhere near him, plus Britt is a great runner after the catch. That total package gives him a lower risk ratio, a concept the Bucs place a lot of value in at draft time.
20. Detroit Lions (from DAL): Rey Maualuga, LB, USC.
I sense Rey's stock is sliding a bit, with teams having serious questions about his speed and his ability to make the defensive calls, a responsibility most teams ask of their MLB. Maualuga wasn't even aware of the "green dot" helmet in a recent interview, which doesn't speak well for his overall game knowledge. The Lions will happily pluck him here in their stated quest to get bigger and tougher. With Sims and Peterson, adding Maualuga should finally solve the decade-long weakness at linebacker in Detroit.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Eben Britton, T, Arizona.
Britton is steadily rising, and his late-season game tape validates that rise. The Eagles need a tackle, although they tend to draft high in the trenches even when they don't.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Brian Cushing, LB, USC.
Not their most pressing need, but Cushing has the potential to provide a long-term upgrade at a position where the Vikings have lacked depth for a long time. Once again, versatility is a plus, and Cushing can play any of the 4-3 LB spots and even some rush end in dime packages. Don't buy the Alex Mack talk -- they quietly like last year's 6th rounder, John Sullivan, very much at C.
23. New England Patriots: Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut.
Butler has the skills that fit well with Belichick's defense, and Team Hoodie has never been shy about drafting players where they see fit, even if other teams wouldn't take Butler before #50. I still don't expect the Patriots to use more than one of their first four picks (all in the first two rounds) at the spots which they are currently slotted, and they could very well trade up to get a falling Malcolm Jenkins. In that case, I would expect Butler's UConn teammate Donald Brown here.
24. Atlanta Falcons: Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss.
He very well could be long gone by this pick, but Jerry fills one of a surprising many dire needs on the Falcons defense. That D won't come close to 11 wins again, and Tom Dimitroff knows it. Jerry has the ability to control the interior line and has just enough explosion to make some backfield plays, precisely what the doctor ordered for Jon Abraham at DE.
25. Miami Dolphins: Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland.
There are conflicting truisms at play here. Bill Parcells hates taking WRs in the first round, but he loves WRs with size who can also make plays, and that is DHB. I believe the latter outweighs the former, though if Maybin or Barwin are still on the board they would trump any WR here.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Vontae Davis, CB/S, Illinois.
The Ravens are perfect for Davis, a supremely talented player with questionable motivation and consistency. They have the strong locker room and support system that will allow him to thrive. And he's more than worth the risk at this range.
27. Indianapolis Colts: James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State.
Baby Animal is an ideal fit for the Colts; he's very quick to read and react, he's very good in coverage, and he adds size and thump to a defense in chronic need of both.
28. Philadelphia Eagles (from CAR): Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia.
Just maybe this will be the year that the Eagles decide to get Brian Westbrook some much-needed help. Moreno's hands are a welcome plus that will help him fit into the offense. Any team with two picks in the late first is always a candidate to trade up, and I expect the Eagles to strongly consider that if the getting is good, like Jason Smith.
29. New York Giants: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State.
Best player available at this point, and despite what most Giants fans believe, the team sees Kevin Boss as a good #2 and not a legit #1 TE.
30. Tennessee Titans: Clay Matthews, LB, USC.
His stock is sliding with the unfounded steroid rumors and one-year wonder tagging, but if anyone knows Matthews can play, it's Jeff Fisher. This team employed his HOF uncle and was consistently tormented by his father, both USC men like Fisher.
31. Arizona Cardinals: Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut.
Another late draft-board riser coming off an incredibly productive college season, Brown offers the Cards a nice 1-2 punch with Tim Hightower. I have yet to see one mock where the Cards don't take a RB here, and I'm not going to break the mold either.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alex Mack, C, California.
Their courtship of Jeff Saturday tells you all you need to know about where the Steelers feel their biggest need lies. Mack has the "Steeler" persona and will be too good to pass up for a team accustomed to never having to worry about their center.
33. Detroit Lions: Louis Delmas, S, Western Michigan
34. New England Patriots (from KC): Clint Sintim, LB, Virginia
35. St. Louis Rams: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
36. Seattle Seahawks: William Beatty, T, Connecticut
37. Cleveland Browns: Percy Harvin, ATH, Florida
38. Cincinnati Bengals: Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
39. Jacksonville Jaguars: Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest
40. Oakland Raiders: Larry English, DE/OLB, Northern Illinois
41. Green Bay Packers: Fili Moala, DT, USC
42. San Francisco 49ers: Jarron Gilbert, DT, San Jose State
43. Buffalo Bills: Duke Robinson, G, Oklahoma
44. Miami Dolphins (from WAS): Darcel McBath, S, Texas Tech
45. New York Giants (from NO): Max Unger, G/C, Oregon
46. Houston Texans: Brandon Tate, WR, North Carolina
47. New England Patriots (from SD): Andre Brown, RB, North Carolina State
48. Denver Broncos: Jairus Byrd, CB, Oregon
49. Chicago Bears: Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina
50. Cleveland Browns (from TB): Lawrence Sidbury, DE, Richmond
51. Dallas Cowboys: Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State
52. New York Jets: Asher Allen, CB, Georgia
53. Philadelphia Eagles: Marcus Freeman, LB, Ohio State
54. Minnesota Vikings: Mike Thomas, WR, Arizona
55. Atlanta Falcons: Jared Cook, TE, South Carolina
56. Miami Dolphins: Sen?Derrick Marks, DT, Auburn
57. Baltimore Ravens: Paul Kruger, DE, Utah
58. New England Patriots: Antoine Caldwell, C, Alabama
59. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Williams, WR, Penn State
60. New York Giants: Carey Harris, CB, USC
61. Indianapolis Colts: D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt
62. Tennessee Titans: Jonathan Luigs, C/G, Arkansas
63. Arizona Cardinals: Coye Francies, CB, San Jose State
64. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jamon Meredith, T, South Carolina
65. Detroit Lions: Ron Brace, DT, Boston College
66. St. Louis Rams: Sean Smith, DB, Utah
67. Kansas City Chiefs: Kraig Urbik, G, Wisconsin
68. Seattle Seahawks: Emmanuel Cook, S, South Carolina
69. Dallas Cowboys (from CLE): LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh
70. Cincinnati Bengals: Eric Wood, C, Louisville
71. Oakland Raiders: Rashad Jennings, RB, Liberty
72. Jacksonville Jaguars: Shawn Nelson, TE, Southern Miss
73. Green Bay Packers: Tyrone McKenzie, LB, South Florida
74. San Francisco 49ers: William Moore, S, Missouri
75. Buffalo Bills: Cedric Peerman, RB, Virginia
76. New York Jets (from NO): Roy Miller, DT, Texas
77. Houston Texans: Patrick Chung, S, Oregon
78. San Diego Chargers: Darry Beckwith, LB, LSU
79. Denver Broncos: Louis Murphy, WR, Florida
80. Washington Redskins: Travis Beckum, TE, Wisconsin
81. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Mickens, CB, Virginia
82. Detroit Lions (from DAL): Cornelius Ingram, TE, Florida
83. Green Bay Packers (from NYJ): Shonn Greene, RB, Iowa
84. Denver Broncos (from CHI): Ladarius Webb, CB, Nicholls State
85. Philadelphia Eagles: DeAngelo Smith, DB, Cincinnati
86. Minnesota Vikings: Phil Loadholt, T, Oklahoma
87. Miami Dolphins: T.J. Lang, T/G, Eastern Michigan
88. Baltimore Ravens: Jarrett Dillard, WR, Rice
89. New England Patriots: Rulon Davis, DE, California
90. Atlanta Falcons: Ryan Mouton, CB, Hawaii
91. New York Giants: Patrick Turner, WR, USC
92. Indianapolis Colts: Javon Ringer, RB, Michigan State
93. Carolina Panthers: Jason Williams, LB, Western Illinois
94. Tennessee Titans: Pat White, QB, West Virginia
95. Arizona Cardinals: Chase Coffman, TE, Missouri
96. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mitch King, DT, Iowa
97. New England Patriots: Juanquin Iglesias, WR, Oklahoma
98. Cincinnati Bengals: James Davis, RB, Clemson
99. Chicago Bears: Jason Phillips, LB, TCU
100. New York Giants: Chip Vaughn, S, Wake Forest