While I don't let the combine weigh in on my thoughts about the draft much, there are some things that have to be taken into consideration. The combine does show a player's overall athleticism, as well as sometimes showing a player's character (see Andre Smith).
Here is my mock draft with the combine and the first day of free agency taken into consideration:
1. Detroit: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
Matt Stafford is not even close to being worth the first overall pick of the draft. Plus Detroit drafted Drew Stanton in the second round a couple years ago. I don't see the Lions picking a QB here. However, I do see them taking the best overall player in the draft, Aaron Curry.
Curry has almost no flaws in his game and had a great combine. He is by far the safest pick in this draft and with the first pick, you can't afford to make a mistake.
Previous pick: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
2. St. Louis: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
While I think they need a QB because Marc Bulger is overrated, I think they need to pick up a franchise left tackle even more. Orlando Pace is old and will retire very soon. Until then, Monroe can play on the right side.
Previous pick: Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
3. Kansas City: Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas
The switch to a 3-4 defense requires a pass rushing outside linebacker. This often means converting an athletic defensive end. Brian Orakpo fits this position and I think this will be Scott Pioli's pick.
I still think Michael Crabtree will be the pick here. He will workout at his pro day and then get surgery on his foot to fix a hairline fracture. If he does that, there is a good chance he will be ready for training camp, maybe even rookie mini-camp.
5. Cleveland: Everette Brown, DE/OLB, Florida State
Even with Willie McGinest, their pass rush needed improvement. Now they don't even have him. Kameron Wimbley is not the kind of pass rusher he needs to be in that scheme. Everette Brown can be the guy they need to keep QBs on their toes.
Previous pick: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
6. Cincinnati: Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
Cincinnati needs a lot of help but why not address the offensive tackle position first? Michael Oher is the most physically gifted offensive lineman I've ever seen. He needs a little more polish but that is why you hire an offensive line coach.
Previous pick: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
7. Oakland: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
I am well aware of Darrius Heyward-Bey's incredible 40 time. However I still maintain that Al Davis does not like to draft receivers in the first round.
I think even Al realizes he would be a reach at this point in the draft...at least I hope so. Offensive tackle is a big need for the Raiders and Jason Smith should fit into their scheme perfectly.
8. Jacksonville: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
I know they would like to pick an offensive tackle here but there are none left worth taking this high. On the other hand, their receivers are in pretty bad shape. Jeremy Maclin will be their No. 1 receiver on day one. And yes, even after the combine, I still believe Maclin is ahead of Heyward-Bey.
9. Green Bay: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
You absolutely cannot have a 3-4 defense without a dominant nose tackle. B.J. Raji is the only player in this draft that fits that description.
Even if they do decide to use Ryan Pickett at nose tackle, he is old and Raji can take over for him eventually. That's assuming he doesn't start as a rookie.
10. San Francisco: Matt Stafford, QB, Georgia
The 49ers cannot afford to pass on Stafford if he falls to them. He has an amazing arm with very high potential. I still don't believe they have a franchise QB in Shaun Hill.
11. Buffalo: Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
This could be a big reach, but Michael Johnson has the most potential of any defensive end in this draft. Buffalo needs help with their pass rush and Michael Johnson can develop into a sack factory.
Previous pick: Everette Brown, DE, Florida State
12. Denver: Vonte Davis, CB, Illinois
While the Broncos need to find players to make up the front seven of their new 3-4 defense, it's hard to pass up on a corner as talented as Vonte Davis. Age has caught up with Champ Bailey and the Broncos released Dre Bly recently.
13. Washington: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
With the signing of Albert Haynesworth, defensive tackle is not as big a need for the Redskins. However, offensive tackle is still a big need. Despite Andre Smith's episode at the combine, Washington will take a chance on him.
Previous pick: Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi
14. New Orleans: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
The Saints will be foaming at the mouth if Malcolm Jenkins falls this far. They need immediate help in their secondary and Malcolm Jenkins is arguably the best defensive back in the draft.
15. Houston: Larry English, DE, Northern Illinois
This could be a bit of stretch for him, but Larry English sure looked good at the Senior Bowl. It would be scary to be a QB with Mario Williams and Larry English running at you every play.
16. San Diego: Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State
With LaDanian Tomlinson over the hill, the Chargers will look for help at running back. Darren Sproles is nothing more than a returner and a change-of-pace back. Chris Wells has the speed and size to be their new every-down back.
17. New York Jets: Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
I may take 40 times with a grain of salt but that doesn't mean the Jets agree with me. With the loss of Laveranues Coles, the Jets are in need of another receiver. Darrius Heyward-Bey fits the bill here. I think Kellen Clemens gets one year to prove himself at QB.
Previous pick: Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest
18. Chicago: Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
Chicago might have the worst receiving corps in the league. Kenny Britt not only played well in college, but he had a very nice combine. Da Bears will be happy to get him here.
Previous pick: Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
19. Tampa Bay: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
Tampa's running backs took a beating this year. Earnest Graham finished the year injured and Carnell Williams' career is in question again after another injury.
They also just released the ageless wonder, Warrick Dunn. While they could also use a receiver, I think Knowshon Moreno is the best pick here.
20. Detroit (from Dallas): Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest
Detroit brought in a herd of defensive backs last year and none panned out. They even cut Leigh Bodden. Alphonso Smith is a very talented corner that should start for them right away.
Previous pick: D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt
21. Philadelphia: Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
William Thomas is 34 and can't play much longer. Even then, they could use an upgrade at left tackle. Eben Britton would be a great pick for them here and can be their franchise left tackle.
Previous pick: Shonn Greene, RB, Iowa
22. Minnesota: Patrick Chung, S, Oregon
Minnesota is a QB away from a Super Bowl. They are ready to win now and can't afford to develop a rookie so they will bring in a veteran (hopefully one besides Rosenfels).
That leaves them with one remaining need: strong safety. Darren Sharper is a free agent and even if they resign him, he's 33. Patrick Chung will be a great strong safety and he should be able to fill the hole right away.
23. New England: D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt
The Patriots have one sad set of cornerbacks. D.J. Moore should be the best corner on the team from the moment he is drafted.
Previous pick: Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
24. Atlanta: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
25. Miami: Clint Sintim, LB, Virginia
When looking for an outside linebacker in a 3-4 system most teams have to draft an athletic defensive end and teach him how to play a new position.
However, Clint Sintim played 3-4 outside linebacker in college and excelled at it. This is a safe pick at a spot of need. Playing QB against Sintim and Joey Porter would not be a fun job.
26. Baltimore: Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
The Ravens lost Bart Scott to the Jets and there is the possibility of losing Ray Lewis. They can replace Ray with Rey and start rebuilding their linebacking corp.
Previous pick: Victor Harris, CB, Virginia Tech
27. Indianapolis: Evander "Ziggy" Hood, DT, Missouri
The Colts could use some help with their inside pass rush. While I still have Peria Jerry on the board, the more I see of Ziggy, the more I like him. I think he is the best 3-tech in this draft.
28. Philadelphia: Shonn Greene, RB, Iowa
Brian Westbrook will still be the starter in Philly but he needs to share the load. They just lost Correll Buckhalter. The Eagles have lacked a big short yardage back for a long time. Shonn Greene is the best power back in this draft and he is too good to pass up here.
Previous pick: Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
29. New York Giants: James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State
The Giants have a number of options here but I decided to go with arguably the best player available. James Laurinaitis is athletic enough to play any linebacker spot, and versatility will make him valuable to the Giants.
30. Tennessee: Juaquin Iglesias, WR, Oklahoma
Tennessee is another team that has needed a receiver for a long time. Juaquin Iglesias is one of my favorite players in this draft and I think he will be better than most people do.
Previous pick: Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
31. Arizona: LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh
If Edgerrin James sticks to his word, he will not be a Cardinal next year. While Tim Hightower had a good rookie year, I think he will need someone else to share the carries with. LeSean McCoy is a great running back and holds high value this late in the first round.
32. Pittsburgh: Duke Robinson, G, Oklahoma
It's a miracle the Steelers were able to get to the Super Bowl and win it with that horrible offensive line. Duke Robinson is possibly the best offensive lineman available and will fit in with the Steelers perfectly as a punishing run blocker.
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