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Preliminary 2009 NFL Mock Draft
Authored by Jeff Risdon - 23rd May, 2008 - 6:48 pm

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The draft order is pure speculation on my part of how the teams will finish. This mock is more based on overall player rating and projected draft value than identifying team needs. I?m including several underclassmen for the simple reason that about 85% of them who project into the first two rounds this far out wind up declaring for the draft. I have no reason to believe any of those listed here will opt one way or the other, except for those 85% odds.

Very early thoughts on the 2009 draft class:
The OL group is deep and almost all of them are very large and pretty athletic. There are more interior linemen that will go in the first three rounds than in the last two drafts combined.

Almost all the top QBs come from spread offenses or run-and-shoot styles that do not translate real well to the NFL. A couple of early entrants (Matthew Stafford and Sam Bradford) would dramatically alter the QB class. I?m completely undecided on Tim Tebow, and one Director of Collegiate Scouting I talked to about Tebow told me he would strongly advise him to stay in school based on what he has seen so far.

This is potentially the best LB class in years. It helps that Maualuga and Laurinaitis came back to school; they would have been the top 2 LBs in the last draft. There are as many as 10 LBs I?m watching closely as potential draftees in the first 50 or so picks.

If some early entrants declare, the RB class will be chock full of power backs with explosive speed. And when was the last time a potential Top 50 pick RB actually stayed in school?

1. Cincinnati Bengals--Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State
2. Kansas City Chiefs--Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
3. San Francisco 49ers--Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
4. Atlanta Falcons--Michael Oher, T, Mississippi
5. Miami Dolphins--Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
6. Houston Texans--James Davis, RB, Clemson
7. Baltimore Ravens--Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
8. Chicago Bears--Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
9. New York Jets--Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
10. St. Louis Rams--Duke Robinson, OL, Oklahoma
11. Denver Broncos--Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers--Darius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
13. Washington Ethnic Slurs--Taylor Mays, S, USC
14. Oakland Raiders--Andre Smith, T, Alabama
15. Detroit Lions--Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
16. Tennessee Titans-- Mike Mickens, CB, Cincinnati
17. Pittsburgh Steelers--Tyson Jackson, DT, LSU
18. Arizona Cardinals--Philip Loadholt, T, Oklahoma
19. Philadelphia Eagles--Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida
20. Minnesota Vikings--Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
21. Buffalo Bills--George Selvie, DE, South Florida
22. New York Giants-- Greg Hardy, DE, Mississippi
23. Cleveland Browns--LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh
24. Philadelphia Eagles (from CAR)--Fili Moala, DT, USC
25. New Orleans Saints--James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State
26. San Diego Chargers--Ekom Udofia, DE, Stanford
27. Green Bay Packers--Brian Cushing, LB, USC
28. Dallas Cowboys--Max Unger, OL, Oregon
29. Jacksonville Jaguars--Jeff Owens, DT, Georgia
30. New England Patriots--William Moore, S, Missouri
31. Seattle Seahawks--Jeremy Perry, G, Oregon State
32. Indianapolis Colts--Derrick Williams, WR, Penn State

Last year I concocted a mock draft at a similar time and of the 32 players I listed, 18 wound up in the first round, 6 more went in the 2nd, 2 stayed in school, and 6 others fell in varying degrees. Please note that this is not necessarily a straight rating/slot mock; I?ve got several players listed here that almost certainly won?t be in the Top 40 overall come November.

Jeff.Risdon@RealGM.com