NFL Mock Draft: Could the Detroit Lions Take the Other Top Quarterback?
Jake Long was the No. 1 pick last year, who goes in that spot in 2009?
What? I need 300 characters? Okay, I'll throw in my scouting report on Mark Sanchez:
Strengths: Arm Strength, Accuracy, Size, Pocket Presence, Poise, Decisions Making, Leadership, Energy, Athleticism
Scouting Report: Sanchez has prototypical QB size at 6’3" and 230 lbs. He has a perfect drop back and gets rid of the ball quickly.
He has very good mechanics and makes up for a long motion with quick decision making. His pure arm strength has been compared to Carson Palmer and he delivers the 15-25 yard out pattern with a perfect line drive spiral consistently.
He has the right amount of touch on his passes, and can throw the deep ball at an NFL level. He has pinpoint accuracy, rarely missing his targets and usually hitting them right on the hands.
Usually he throws a great pass that only his WR can catch, but sometimes he overthrows. This isn’t too bad, though, because he is still making sure it won’t get picked.
Sanchez has a great pocket presence. He is aware of where all the defenders are and where he is on the field. He steps into his throws on a consistent basis, and is rarely tipped at the line.
He has good mobility, picking up a few yards on the ground and getting away from defenders on bootlegs very well. He is extremely athletic, as shown by his throws on the run.
Sanchez is a great leader on the field with tremendous amounts of energy. His teammates are very trusting of him and he is always in sync with his receivers.
Sanchez is the most complete QB in this draft. There really isn’t any aspect of his game that he doesn’t excel at. He has improved greatly in 2008, making better decisions with the ball and hitting his receivers hands more regularly.
While he doesn’t have as many snaps at the college level as most draft prospects, this will not hurt him because he is simply more fundamentally sound than most.
NFL Draft Projection
Sanchez will most likely be a top-10 pick, possibly going as high as first overall. The longest I think he would fall would be 17 for the Jets—and that is a big stretch.
NFL Comparison: Brett Favre.
Mark Sanchez is so much like Favre. He is 6’3", 230 pounds. He is very athletic. He has a great arm, and is very accurate. And most of all he is a great leader who brings an energy to his team.
I think he is far less of a gunslinger than Favre, although at times he can throw one up there.
1. Detriot Lions: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
The Lions have the right pieces on offense for a QB to succeed. Sanchez is still slightly higher on my board than Matthew Stafford, although either QB would be a good pick.
Sanchez has all the physical tools—he's accurate, he's smart, and I think he's ready to resurrect the Lions franchise.
Most of all Sanchez is a franchise QB, something Detroit needs, and there may not be any franchise QBs in next year's draft.
The Lions do have a hole at LT, but I think they can address that in the middle of the round. Worst case they have to play Backus there, who isn't that bad.
2. St. Louis Rams: Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss
I have little doubt the Rams go with an offensive linemen here, but there are quite a few options.
Personally I think Oher is the best LT prospect in the draft, a little ahead of Eugene Monroe and Jason Smith. Many have them going with Andre Smith here, but I don't think it's the right pick.
Yeah, Smith would move into that RT spot right away, but when Orlando Pace retires in a couple of years I'm not sure he has the frame to move over to LT.
3. Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forrest
The more I look at this, the more confident I am that Curry will be the pick.
Curry is the safest pick in the draft. An amazing linebacker prospect who will dominate right away. This is also the kind of pick Pioli makes. He picks defense and he picks safe players.
The Chiefs have a few QBs on their roster with a shot to start in 2009, most notably Tyler Thigpen, and I think they will wait and see what happens before drafting a franchise guy.
4. Seattle Seahawks: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
The Seahawks will go one of two way; either they pick Crabtree or they go with an offensive tackle.
For now I think Crabtree fills a bigger hole. He's big, physical, and athletic. He doesn't have blazing speed, but he is far and away the best receiver in this draft. While he has played in a non traditional offense at Texas Tech, he definitely has the skill set to adjust.
5. Cleveland Browns: Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas
Eric Mangini is coming to Cleveland, and with him comes his 3-4 defense. With the Browns losing Willie McGinest they need a replacement OLB—and Orakpo is a perfect fit. He has the size and speed to dominate outside in the 3-4.
The Browns could go with another couple of defensive players here. If they want to go with an ILB Maualuga is the pick. If the want a CB—possibly an even bigger need—they will pick Malcolm Jenkins. They are in a good spot to find something for that defense.
6. Cincinnatti Bengals: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
The Bengals really need a LT to anchor their offensive line, and I think Monroe is the best option here. Andre Smith is still on the board, but unless he really impresses at the combine I think the Bengals will pass him up.
He's 6'4", and there aren't too many 6'4" left tackles in the NFL. It's to big of a risk, in my opinion. Monroe is tall with long arms with good technique and quick feet.
7. Oakland Raiders: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
This is the best spot for Andre Smith, and the best tackle for the Raiders. The Raiders go into this draft looking for a RT, as they already have an outstanding future LT in Mario Henderson.
Smith is an absolute monster with great size and athleticism. He's a great run blocker, and he's no slouch at protecting the QB.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
The Jaguars desperately need a left tackle and Smith has a ton of upside at the position. His measurable are off the charts and some have him as their top offensive linemen.
Malcolm Jenkins would be a nice pick here. However, there are many more corners available in round two than tackles.
9. Green Bay Packers: Everette Brown, DE, Florida State
The Packers probably could use a tackle here, but I don't think they would complain about Brown. The Packers are moving to a 3-4 offense and Everette Brown would be a monster in the 3-4 defense.
Ebbon Britton could also be the pick here, but I just think Brown is a better fit.
10. San Francisco 49ers: BJ Raji, DT, Boston College
Should the Niners draft a QB? I'm not sure, although I certainly think it wouldn't hurt. But I also know they need a nose tackle—and BJ Raji is the best NT in the draft.
He dominated at the Senior Bowl and his stock is only on the rise. I'm not sure if this will be the pick in the spring, but right now I think with Singletary at the helm Raji is the pick.
11. Buffalo Bills: Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
Johnson probably has more potential than any player in this draft. He has amazing size/speed and all-around ability at the position.
Much like Brian Orakpo and Everette Brown, he could play either OLB or DE in the NFL and is a perfect fit for the Buffalo Bills.
12. Denver Broncos: Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
Denver is hoping Raji falls, but that won't happen. Maualuga has amazing physical ability and is an extremely hard hitter.
Put in the 3-4, he could dominate and solidify the middle of that Broncos defense.
13. Washington Redskins: Ebbon Britton, OT, Arizona
The tackle from Arizona has been moving up draft boards and could go in the top 10. But with so much talent at the top of this OT class, he drops to the Redskins.
They aren't complaining. Perfect fit, fills a huge need.
14. New Orleans Saints: William Moore, S, Missouri
Coming off of another under performing season, it is obvious the biggest problem with the Saints in 2008 was their safety play.
They would have loved for Taylor Mays to come out of the draft but Moore is a good all-around prospect with the ability to play both safety positions.
He isn't a physically-dominant safety so I doubt he moves up. However, I think his versatility will keep him in the top 15 and make this a times. Good pick.
15. Houston Texans: Aaron Maybin, OLB, Penn State
The Texans wanted Moore, but they didn't get him. They need to pick up an OLB to play along side DeMeco Ryans and they get that in Maybin.
Although he might be a little undersized, he had a great 2008 at Penn State. This guy is the total package at OLB.
16. San Diego Chargers: Jame Lauranaitis, ILB, Ohio State
This might be a bit of a reach, as Lauranaitis is probably a late first rounder right now. But he was a top 10 player coming into the year, and he fills a hole inside for the Chargers.
While he isn't a physical specimen like Maualuga, he has an amazingly polished game. He knows what he's doing out there and his tackling technique is unmatched.
If he can add some bulk, this guy could be better than some think.
17. New York Jets: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
The Jets get their guy. I really like Stafford and I think there are a few teams that should take him, but I'm not sure they will. It's always hard to draft a franchise QB, and Stafford has been shaky at times.
The guy has an amazing arm, though, and has succeeded as a three-year starter in the SEC behind a poor offensive line.
18. Chicago Bears: Larry English, LB, Northern Illinois
The Bears struggled greatly in 2008 at getting to the QB. English is arguably the best pure pass rusher in the draft, and I have a feeling he will move up draft boards by April.
This might be a little bit of a reach as of now, but I think it's worth it.
19. Tampa Bay Bucaneers: Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss
After an outstanding senior season, Jerry was thought of highly; however, I was not convinced.
He's a little undersized for a NT and he doesn't have great athleticism. But after watching him at the Senior Bowl I am most definitely convinced.
At times, Jerry just looked unblockable. The Bucs need a UT and I really think this guy fits the bill.
20. Detroit Lions: Troy Kopug, OT, Tulane
This is why the Lions have to draft Sanchez or Stafford with the top pick. There are arguably no day-one QBs left at this pick, but still plenty of very good tackle prospects.
I think Kopug is the best fit. He's tall and athletic with long arms and should transition well to the LT position in the NFL.
A franchise QB and a LT to protect his blind side? Calvin Johnson should be a very happy man.
21. Philladelphia Eagles: Fenuki Tupou, OT, Oregon
The Eagles need to find someone to anchor the left side of their offensive line and I think Tupou can do it. He's 6'6", quick on his feet, and shouldn't have too much of a problem with speed in the NFL.
Pretty easy pick, although you could argue for a couple other OTs.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
The Vikings really need help at cornerback and boy are they lucky. Davis is big, physical, and athletic, one of the best all-around athletes in this draft. Davis could go a lot higher, but he really fits the Vikings well.
23. New England Patriots: Brian Cushing, OLB, USC
Cushing was very underrated a week ago. Right now his stock is flying.
He has an amazing size-speed-strength combination, great instincts, and tackles well. He is a perfect Belichick OLB, with the size to play in the 3-4 and the speed to come off the edge.
24. Atlanta Falcons: Tyson Jackson, DE/DT, LSU
The Falcons need a NT, and personally I think Jackson has the size and strength to handle the position.
Jackson is 6'5" and almost 300 pounds. However, he has good-enough athleticism to play the DE position. Put in the right situation he could be unstoppable.
25. Miami Dolphins: Clint Sintim, OLB, Virginia
The Dolphins' biggest need right now is at the OLB position. Sintim is a little bit undersized which is why he has been passed up so many times.
That being said. he could add some bulk and is one of the quickest LB in the draft. Good fit here.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forrest
The Ravens have a very good defense, but their CBs are getting older and they need to address the position in the draft.
While Smith is on the smaller side, he is physical enough to handle most receivers. He has blazing speed and is very athletic. He might not be able to match up with Randy Moss or Calvin Johnson, but he can handle most guys.
27. Philadelphia Eagles: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
The Eagles need to find a TE, and there is no one better in this draft than Pettigrew. While he isn't the fastest TE, he has good receiving skills, some of the best for a TE in this draft.
The reason he is so good is that he is also a very good blocker. That total package at TE is rare, and would add an extra element to the Eagles' passing game as well as running game.
28. Indianapolis Colts: Evander Hood, DT, Missouri
After a great senior year at Missouri, Evander Hood went to the Senior Bowl and essentially made himself a first round pick.
He has good size and great inside pass rushing ability. He would fill the Colts' DT hole very well.
29. New York Giants: Darius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
The Giants don't have too many needs, but WR is certainly one of them. I mean when your top guy shoots himself in the leg, you know you are in trouble.
Heyward-Bey isn't getting enough credit. He is tall, physical, and lightning fast.
30. Tennessee Titans: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
Another good receiver off the board in late round one. The Titans are looking to add a playmaker—and there are few better than Maclin.
He has the speed and return ability to go in the top 10 but he will probably slip because he doesn't run the smoothest routes. He should do very well in Tennessee.
31. Arizona Cardinals: Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State
The Cardinals get the best back in the draft—a top 10 prospect—a pick away from the end of the round. Wells is a future star in the NFL, a true every down back that many compare to Fred Taylor. If he is here, this is by far the steal of the draft.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Duke Robinson, OG, Oklahoma
The best guard in the draft, Robinson will help out the Steelers' O-line. I could also see them going with center Alex Mack who I am very high on. Either way I think both these are worth the pick.
Note: Malcolm Jenkins was not included by mistake. Thought I had him going to Jags. Will put him in next time.