This coming NFL draft has become quite intriguing with the large number of underclassmen declaring early and becoming eligible draft prospects. I will present a first mock draft, a very rough mock draft mind you, and try to determine what player will be selected by what organization.
I will then continue to write updated mock drafts as information on the senior bowl, scouting combine, pro days, and speculation throughout become readily available to me.
Now, let's see what the first round is going to look like.
I would like to think with Matt Millen gone that Detroit would not go and pick a wide receiver with this pick, even though Michael Crabtree from Texas Tech looks intriguing. The simple fact, though, is that this team needs a quarterback.
They need a lot of things really, but with only two sure-fire first round talents at QB (Matthew Stafford of Georgia and Mark Sanchez of USC), they should get one with this pick.
I'm hoping they go with Stafford, since I'm a Packers fan, and of the two, I think Sanchez is the better pro prospect. Both played with a good supporting cast, but Stafford comes in with a number of questions about his decision-making and accuracy, while Sanchez is riding the wave from a huge bowl win where he was just excellent.
Sanchez also has the athletic ability to scramble effectively and is being praised by Mel Kiper Jr. as being ridiculously good at throwing on the run. With the shape of the Lions' offense line, that quality alone that Sanchez possesses might be enough to convince the organization to go with the USC product.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams are in a familiar spot, picking second overall for the second consecutive year. A lot of people think they should go with an offensive tackle, Andre Smith of Alabama, if Detroit passes on him. I disagree, though.
With the overall depth at the position very good for the second consecutive year, I think the Rams could wait until the second round or possibly trade back up into the first round and still get a great, young tackle.
And with questions about Smith's ability to handle the speed rush from defensive ends with a quick first step, I wouldn't go with Smith that high if there's any question about his overall game, even if he is dominate in just about everything else he does.
When picking second overall, the guy should be an elite prospect with no flaws whatsoever, and with their defense still awful and in need of leadership, St. Louis should make the pick Aaron Curry from Wake Forest.
The guy has everything a team could need in a linebacker, and his presence in the locker room should have a very positive effect on a team with no one on the roster really filling that role right now.
Kansas City Chiefs
Now, I think would be a good time to pick up the big guy Smith. Yes, it still is high for a guy with questions about his ability to pass protect against speed rushers, but the Chiefs need to continue to rebuild their offensive line.
Having Smith run-blocking for Larry Johnson would shore up all sorts of problems for that offense. It's a waste for them to have a great back like Johnson still in his prime with no one blocking for him.
Getting Smith could produce huge dividends, turning the run game around in a heartbeat and improving the offense all around as a result.
I would definitely go Michael Crabtree with this pick if I was Seattle. They've been desperately searching for that top-flight wide receiver for a whiles now.
Koren Robinson was it for a year, then flamed out. They acquired Deon Branch who hasn't yet been worth the money or the first round pick given up for him. Nate Burelson has been more of a No. 2 wideout and really, picking him up was just a vengeful move by management after still steaming from the "poison pill" contract the Vikes signed him to.
The tight end from Notre Dame was a good pick up in the draft last year, and getting Crabtree for Hasselbeck could really ignite that offense of theirs. Maybe getting a good back in one of the later rounds as well would be a good idea.
The Browns have their offense, but they still need a defense. Possibly another hyrbid linebacker-defensive end would be the way to go. Aaron Maybin from Penn State would fit that bill, but he is a very young player, so he might need time to develop. Of course, with Mangini starting his first year there, he's got a few years to let that happen.
Levi Jones is still doing okay, right? If the Bengals are serious about letting Houshyomomma leave and trading Chad, then they might want to get a playmaker at wide receiver. Hello Jermey Maclin from Missouri. His big-play ability would help ease the pain of the whole Chad Johnson headache of the past year and a half.
This one is easy. The Oakland offense still needs some more O-lineman, so obviously Al Davis will go with cornerback Malcom Jenkins from Ohio State. He seems determined to find a complement for Nnamdi Asomugha after trading and paying for Dante Hall, just to release him midway through the year.
This one is actually easy. With three starting offensive lineman going down early in the season, the Jaguars need to draft offensive lineman pretty frequently throughout this draft. Eugene Monroe of Virginia would be a good pick for them.
Green Bay Packers
I would think the Packers might go Jason Smith from Baylor with this pick, since our offensive tackle right now, Chad Clifton, is quickly starting to show his age. But with the hiring of Capers as our defensive coordinator and coach MM announcing a switch to the 3-4 scheme, I'm thinking the pick might be geared towards finding the personnel to fit that scheme.
Now, the most important position in a 3-4 scheme is the nose tackle, a true nose tackle, which in my mind we don't currently have on our team so we might need to draft one. But, is there one worth taking that high?
Interestingly enough, the two biggest tackles entering this draft (according to ESPN) are both from Boston College, B.J. Raji and Ron Brace, both weighing in the 330 range. Raji is being projected to go in the first round as of now, and Brace is up there in the rankings.
That being said, I think Everrette Brown of Florida State will wow at the combine and his pro day and will end up shooting up draft boards and going to the Packers. We desperately need a pass rush opposite Aaron Kampman.
San Fransisco 49ers
The 49ers need some help on offense and Percy Harvin of Florida could help them out. Issac Bruce? C'mon. Bryant Johnson? Nuh-huh. Percy Harvin? Yes, more please.
Those are my thoughts on the top 10 picks in the draft. For the rest, I'll just say who I think will be picked and write just a thought or two about the pick.
Buffalo - No. 11 - Brian Cushing linebacker USC
Cushing's versatility as both a 'backer and pass rusher could intrigue Buffalo enough to take him this high.
Denver - No. 12 - Rey Maulauga linebacker USC
Switching to the 3-4 under D-coordinator Mike Nolan makes Maulauga a good pick here. The guy is huge and moves well running downhill. Shoring up that awful run defense Denver has had the past few years has to be the top priority on defense, and Maulauga will excel in that department.
Washington - No. 13 - Brian Orakpo defensive end Texas
Jason Taylor will probably be cut, and then the Redskins will again have a void at defensive end. Orakpo had plenty of production at Texas and, coming out after his senior year, should be ready more than most to make the transition to the NFL.
New Orleans - No. 14 - Chris Wells running back Ohio State
Goodbye Deuce. Hello Beanie. This makes perfect sense. The Saints win with lots of offense and a sprinkle of defense every now and then. Getting a back like Wells will give the Saints the production from their run game that they got when they went to the championship game, when Deuce was healthy and running well.
This will also benefit Reggie Bush as Wells will easily be able to carry the load so that Bush won't be overused in the run game and wear down late in the game/season.
Houston - No. 15 - Alex Mack center Cal
This might be a reach, and maybe the guy from the Ducks would be a better fit with his athleticism and Houston's zone-blocking run scheme, but something tells me Mack is going to surprise. Either way, the Texans need to protect both Schaub, who gets hurt way too often, and Slaton, who's small enough to get hurt way too often.
San Diego - No. 16 - BJ Raji defensive tackle Boston College
Toddy McShay is raving about this guy in Senior Bowl practices right now, so Raji lasting this late might not happen. If the Chargers are lucky enough to get him here, though, they'd be smart to get him with Jamal Williams' durability being an issue the last few seasons. Raji is definitely big enough to man the middle in a 3-4, but as talented as he is it'd almost be a shame to put him in as the nose tackle in a 3-4 where such a player is asked to just occupy lineman.
NYJ - No. 17 - Matthew Stafford quarterback Georgia
Some team will probably trade up if Stafford starts to slip, and maybe that team would be the Jets anyways, but for them to get Stafford would be great for New York. Favre (love that man) is probably calling it quits for good (HA!, yea right) so drafting a quarterback for the future, or the present even, would be realistic.
Chicago - No. 18 - Vonte Davis cornerback Illinois
With speculation that Vasher might be released, Chicago will be in the market for a corner and after seeing Davis play in some Wisconsin-Illinois games, I can tell he's the real deal. No way this guy is a bust. Hopefully the Bears don't just have him play that Tampa-2 crap though, because he looked awesome in man-to-man in college.
Tampa Bay - No. 19 - Brandon Pettigrew tight end Oklahoma State
They've got Alex Smith, but Pettigrew could really open up that offense. It would also allow them to get rid of Jeremy Stevens, who I just don't like.
Detroit - No. 20 - Jason Smith offensive tackle Baylor
They do have two former first rounders at the book ends, but neither is great.
Minnesota - No. 21 - James Laurenitis linebacker Ohio State
Losing Henderson hurt Minny, but getting this guy would sure help.
New England - No. 22 - DJ Moore cornerback Vandy
Letting Samuel go was a gamble, and it backfired. Look what he's done for Philly, and look what his absence has done to New England.
Atlanta - No. 23 - Peria Jerry defensive tackle Mississippi
I also think the guy from Auburn would be a good pick here. Atlanta just needs a presence in the middle, period.
Miami - No. 24 - Tyson Jackson defensive end LSU
Parcells missed on a 5-technique end from LSU he picked in the first round when back with Dallas, but I'm sure he goes after this guy if he's available.
Philly - No. 25 - Michael Oher offensive tackle Mississippi
Tra Thomas and Jon Rungyen are pretty old. The Eagles are well overdue taking an offensive tackle high in the draft, but lucky for them this draft is stacked with tackles.
Indy - No. 26 - Taylor Mays safety/linebacker USC
Depending on how he works out at the combine and his pro day, Mays' stock could end up fluctuating the most. His potential is immense, and the new Indy coach wants to beef up his defensive players.
NYG - No. 27 - Britt wide receiver Rutgers
Either this early or maybe the second round, I feel the Giants are going to try to find a replacement for Plaxico. Britt is a big receiver, like Plaxico, but some are calling him a prima dona, like Plaxico. Hopefully he won't shoot himself, though.
Tennesse - No. 28 - Darrius Heyward-Bey wide receiver Maryland
I think Jeff Fisher would like to add another dynamic player to his offense and have him make the same impact that Chris Johnson has made. Heyward-Bey has speed to burn.
Philly - No. 29 - William Moore safety Missouri
The Eagles were really hoping, and expecting to land one of the four safeties selected in the first round a few years ago, but New England took the last of the four just before Philly picked. Now, they have a chance to get a pretty good safety to replace Dawkins whenever he decides to slow down, if ever.
Baltimore - No. 30 - Rashad Johnson safety Alabama
Even though I love Leonard being back there with Ed Reed, my boy from Wisconsin has his limitations, as does Landry who was the regular starter before going down for the season. Johnson could really make that safety tandem a scary one for the Ravens.
Pittsburg - No. 31 - Eben Britton offensive tackle Arizona
Lineman lineman lineman!!! Every pick they make this year should be a lineman. Big Ben needs protecting.
Arizona - No. 32 - Knowshon Moreno running back Georgia
A great value at this point, the Cards could really use Moreno if James does decide to bolt the desert. He could make the offense even more potent.
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