It's that time of year again in the NFL. Well, maybe not quite...The Super Bowl is still left to play! Nevertheless, you can't help get excited for the draft every year. Picks 1-30 are analyzed and predicted, as the order of picks 31 and 32 has not yet been determined.
No. 1 Overall Selection
Detroit Lions - Andre Smith, T, Alabama
The more popular choice here is to select a quarterback, namely Stafford or Sanchez. I don't think it will happen, nor should it. No matter how talented a young quarterback is, no matter what the measurables indicate, he won't do much if he isn't well protected.
Even Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco this past season needed great running games and solid o-line play to survive. Even the best rookies can't do it themselves. I don't see a fitting justification for taking a quarterback here. Instead, Detroit will build a big, physical offensive line.
The perfect guy to help Jim Schwartz make this transition is Andre Smith, the 350-pound offensive tackle from 'Bama. The goal for Detroit should be to build from the lines out, and slowly rebuild the Lions over a two year process.
Daunte Culpepper isn't going to win a championship...that's about as obvious as you can get, but does anyone expect the Lions to be good next year anyway? The best option for Jim Schwartz and the Lions new staff would be to make like the Titans and stockpile talent on the lines, and the rest will fall into place.
No. 2 Overall Selection
St. Louis Rams - Jason Smith, T, Baylor
St. Louis has been looking for a replacement for Orlando Pace, and unfortunately missed out on Jake Long last year. The next best tackle on the board is Jason Smith, who isn't quite as big as Pace, but is skilled in pass protection and will be a stud left tackle for whoever picks him.
Offensive line is undoubtedly the biggest need the Rams have, this pick is really a no brainer.
No. 3 Overall Selection
Kansas City Chiefs - Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest
Curry is about the safest pick in the draft, and new GM Scott Pioli can't go wrong taking Curry here. The only issue with Curry is his tackling has been inconsistent at times, but other than that, he is a stud.
Unless the Chiefs wish to trade down, which wouldn't be surprising, I think Curry is the guy here.
No. 4 Overall Selection
Seattle Seahawks - B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
Yes, I know what you're thinking. Why isn't Crabtree here?
Crabtree is not here because the Seahawks have not had a good defensive tackle since God knows when. Their receiver corps was decimated by injury last year, but at an unprecedented standard in my opinion. I doubt they will get that unlucky again this season.
Raji is the perfect compliment to Patrick Kerney in pass rushing situations (Have you heard of the term "pushing the pocket?" Well then you'll like B.J. Raji....), and will help Julian Peterson and Lofa Tatupu stay free to fly around and make plays against the run.
No. 5 Overall Selection
Cleveland Browns - Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
Jenkins is, stated very simply, a shutdown corner. He has speed, fluid hips, changes directions well, good instincts, etc. He isn't a great tackler, but we're not talking about a linebacker. Cleveland has a need here, and it just so happens that one of the best players left fills their need.
The Browns are in a good drafting spot at No. 5.
No. 6 Overall Selection
Cincinnati Bengals - Eugene Monroe, T, Virginia
This tackle draft is amazing. It's very much a game of preference. All of the top four tackles (Andre Smith, Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe, Michael Oher) have a chance to be better than the other, but they all will be solid lineman in the NFL.
Cincinnati needs to make Carson Palmer feel safe again after last year. Monroe is the best tackle left on the board, which is a good thing, so the Bengals bolster their line here with pick No. 6.
No. 7 Overall Selection
Oakland Raiders - Michael Oher, T, Ole Miss
The fourth of the big four goes here at No. 7. Al Davis will be tempted with Crabtree, but I think even he realizes he needs to protect his "franchise quarterback" JaMarcus Russell.
No. 8 Overall Selection
Jacksonville Jaguars - Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
I know it seems unlikely that the Jaguars would have this fall into their lap, but I think this is how it will honestly happen. David Garrard, whose gap teeth make Michael Strahan proud, would be smiling for days over this.
No. 9 Overall Selection
Green Bay Packers - Everette Brown, DE/OLB, Florida State
With the hiring of defensive coordinator Dom Capers, the Packers announced they will switch to the 3-4 defense. An interesting decision, but probably the right one. No one in their division plays the 3-4 scheme, and it will give them a leg up on the competition.
I can't see Tarvaris Jackson, Kyle Orton, or Daunte Culpepper being able to decipher a zone blitz all that well, can you? Brown is an outstanding pass rusher, and paired with Aaron Kampman as an outside linebacker, that combination could be devastating to quarterbacks.
Kevin Greene has been brought in to coach the outside linebackers, and as long as he can teach the craft half as well as he performed it, the Packers will make a smooth transition to the 3-4.
No. 10 Overall Selection
San Francisco 49ers - Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
Mike Singletary's single biggest priority as a head coach will be to ensure his team can run the football. Frank Gore is a very good back, and teamed up with Moreno, will form a productive tandem, much like DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart were last season.
The defense does need help, but the defensive side of the ball is more about passion and effort, which Singletary can inspire in his players. On offense, pure skill is needed in more situations, and the 49ers need more production out of their offense.
No. 11 Overall Selection
Buffalo Bills - Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
The Bills didn't get any production out of their tight ends last year, which is important in the NFL these days. Pettigrew isn't a speedster who is going to run the seam for you, but he is a very good blocker and has very good hands on short routes.
It will give Trent Edwards another option when in trouble, and he can be kept in to block in pass protection. He's not a flashy tight end by any stretch, but he is solid at everything, and a perfect fit for the Bills.
No. 12 Overall Selection
Denver Broncos - Tyson Jackson, DE/DT, LSU
Another team switching to the 3-4, Denver has to address their lack of personnel for the scheme. Elvis Dumervil will most likely move back to OLB, with Boss Bailey and D.J. Williams as ILB. The Broncos have no lineman capable of playing in the 3-4 scheme, however.
Marcus Thomas might be able to play the nose, but who will be the defensive ends? To me, it is a huge need and Jackson is the best man to fill this need. He is a very explosive, strong player who can beat lineman with strength or speed.
Denver would be smart to fill their need at RB as well, but I still believe DL is more important if you wish to play a true 3-4 scheme next season.
No. 13 Overall Selection
Washington Redskins - Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
Without Jason Taylor performing at a high level for the Redskins last season, Washington suffered from the same lack of pass rush they had been from years previous.
Maybin is an underclassman who will need more time to develop, but the Redskins need to at least attempt at improving their pass rush. With Jason Taylor's future in the NFL in question, the Redskins need to go with the best pass rush option available.
No. 14 Overall Selection
New Orleans Saints - Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
New Orleans has had a porous secondary since the Sean Payton era began, and that has held them back in a lot of ways. Last offseason, the Saints brought in Randall Gay as a nickelcorner, but it didn't change much.
New Orleans needs more help at the back end. Davis is the best available corner at this point in the draft...Simple equation really.
No. 15 Overall Selection
Houston Texans - Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
The Texans were arguably as good as the low end playoff teams this season. If they weren't in the division they are, we might be talking about a playoff team. Houston has talent on both sides of the football, but a solid pick like this one will help the defense reach the next level.
Maualuga is the best defensive player left on the board at this time, and could have a huge impact on the Texans' defense.
No. 16 Overall Selection
San Diego Chargers - Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State
No. 17 Overall Selection
New York Jets - James Laurinaitis, ILB, Ohio State
No. 18 Overall Selection
Chicago Bears - Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest
No. 19 Overall Selection
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
No. 20 Overall Selection
Detroit Lions - Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
No. 21 Overall Selection
Philadelphia Eagles - Brian Cushing, OLB, USC
No. 22 Overall Selection
Minnesota Vikings - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
No. 23 Overall Selection
New England Patriots - Larry English, DE/OLB, Northern Illinois
No. 24 Overall Selection
Atlanta Falcons - D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt
No. 25 Overall Selection
Miami Dolphins - Louis Delmas, S, Western Michigan
No. 26 Overall Selection
Baltimore Ravens - Darry Beckwith, ILB, LSU
No. 27 Overall Selection
Indianapolis Colts - Andy Levitre, G, Oregon State
No. 28 Overall Selection
Philadelphia Eagles - LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh
No. 29 Overall Selection
New York Giants - Clay Matthews, OLB, USC
No. 30 Overall Selection
Tennessee Titans - Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
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