So here we are, it's been crazy the last week in the NFL with free agency signings, a few notable trades, and the release of several high-profile veterans.
I've received over 4,000 views and 45 comments on my two previous mocks (accidentally deleted one) and wish to offer you an updated, yet accurate, view of what you can expect to see at the NFL Draft from your team.
Obvious things to point out are the release of Marvin Harrison (Colts), the $100 million dollar man, Albert Haynesworth, (which obviously takes the Redskins out of the market for a DT in the draft) Bart Scott signing with the Jets, and the trades of Matt Cassel to the Chiefs and Sage Rosenfels to the Vikings.
So, without further ado, let's take a look at the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
AND WITH THE FIRST PICK IN THE 2009 NFL DRAFT, THE DETROIT LIONS SELECT.....
Detroit Lions: Pick 1- LB Aaron Curry, Wake Forest
With the rumors flying out of Detroit that the team is going to start Daunte Culpepper at QB in 2009, it looks less likely that the Lions will select Matt Stafford with it's pick.
After lighting up the combine with an amazing workout, Curry has shown he is the clear-cut No. 1 option in this draft. His size, speed, athleticism, and drive cannot be questioned. Every GM in the NFL has said the same thing: the kid's a star.
(Let's hope the Lions don't draft Crabtree in a Millen moment)
St. Louis Rams: Pick 2- OT Eugene Monroe, Virginia
The Rams need to look for a future beyond Orlando Pace, though Jason Smith has all the talent in the world, Monroe is the more polished player now.
He fits the bill at 6'6'' 315 pounds, and definitely looks the part. I think the decision to draft Monroe over Smith is based entirely on floor, not ceiling; the Rams need someone who will step in immediately and produce.
Kansas City Chiefs: Pick 3- OT Justin Smith, Baylor
With trading for Matt Cassel, the Chiefs made it obvious they aren't interested in a rookie QB. With no DE worth this pick and the fact they don't seem interested in Michael Crabtree, look for the Chiefs to try to trade back and pick up an additional pick.
With an unhappy RB, a new QB, and a new regime, the Chiefs realize that Smith is the safest pick on the board at No. 3.
Seattle Seahawks: Pick 4- QB Matthew Stafford, Georgia
Matt Stafford is a good QB with all the tools needed to succeed at the NFL level. However, with that said, so were Tim Couch and Ryan Leaf.
With Mora at the helm and Hasselback's lingering back issues, the Seahawks may decide to go a different direction after 2009.
(After the signing of Houshmandzadeh, Crabtree is a 0.9% possibility, sorry Seahawks fans)
Cleveland Browns: Pick 5- OLB Everette Brown, Florida State
The Browns' pass rush was horrible last season. Even after acquiring Shaun Rogers, (who wants to be traded now) the Browns lacked the consistent ability to pressure the passer.
In comes Brown, capable of playing DE or OLB in the 3-4 defense, he would give Mangini a terrific player to pair opposite Kamerion Wimbley that could play a hybrid DE/OLB, kind of like Terrell Suggs of the Ravens.
Cincinatti Bengals: Pick 6- DE Brian Orakpo, Texas
The Bengals, like the Browns, suck on defense. Incapable of generating a pass rush or stopping the run, Orakpo would go a long ways towards improving the overall play of the DL.
A great overall talent, Orakpo is also a beast of a pass-rusher with a quick first step. In a division with the defending Super Bowl champ Steelers, you have to be able to slow the run and pressure the QB.
Though Crabtree is a thought with Houshmandzadeh gone, the Bengals have far too many needs to draft a wide receiver at No. 6.
Oakland Raiders: Pick 7- WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
With the news he would undergo surgery and not run a 40 before the draft, Crabtree's stock fell slightly. However, the Raiders, who saw Ronald Curry and Ashley Lelie walk this offseason, have a huge need at WR.
Pairing Crabtree with McFadden and Russell would give the Raiders the most talented offensive core they've had in decades. Crabtree would immediately step in opposite Javon Walker and make this offense respectable (if the o-line is better this season).
Jacksonville Jaguars: Pick 8- OT Andre Smith, Alabama
With Monroe and Jason Smith off the board, the Jags ignore the red flags and take a flier on Smith's talent.
After destroying his draft stock with a horrendous combine (that he eventually walked out of), Smith is lucky to go in the top 10. With the need for a decent OT plaguing the Jags for years, they can't pass on the chance that Smith is what they've been looking for.
Green Bay Packers: Pick 9- DT B.J. Raji, Boston College
With both Orakpo and Brown off the board, the Packers resist reaching for a DE and instead go with the DT they desperately need for their transfer to the 3-4.
After allowing Colin Cole to leave via free agency to the Seahawks, the Packers have a hole in the middle of their DL. Raji, a true 3-4 nose tackle, would provide Dom Capers with an athletic DT who can create pressure as well.
San Francisco 49ers: Pick 10- S Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State
After allowing Keith Lewis to become a free agent, the 49ers need someone who can start immediately at safety. After running a 4.6 40 at the combine, Jenkins is no longer viewed as a corner at the next level.
With solid tackling skills and great ball awareness, Jenkins would be a solid cover safety in the NFL. Best suited for SS, he would immediately start for a 49ers defense in need of a secondary boost to help Nate Clements.
Buffalo Bills: Pick 11- LB Brain Cushing, USC
Though the Bills have a genuine interest in TE Brandon Pettigrew, 11 is too high to draft him. With no DE not a reach and the need to infuse talent at LB with Angelo Crowell gone, the Bills pick up Cushing.
Capable of playing inside or outside, Cushing gives the Bills the type of versatile linebacker they don't currently have. Cushing and Pozlunsky would pair together to create a solid core of LBs heading into next season.
(Keep an eye out here, the Bills may try to move back if they really want Pettigrew, although with their target known, a trade partner might be hard to find)
Denver Broncos: Pick 12- LB Rey Maualuga, USC
Back to back USC players off the board.
The Broncos desperately need someone to play MLB so they can keep DJ Williams on the outside. In steps Maualuga (say that three times fast), a solid LB in coverage as well as against the run. He also adds an explosive pop on his tackles and has a knack for getting to the ball carrier quickly.
Capable of taking over a game from the LB position, Maualuga gives the Broncos the type of LB they need to restore swagger to their defense.
Washington Redskins: Pick 13- OT Michael Oher, Ole Miss
With a huge need at OT, the Redskins are lucky to see Oher fall into their lap.
A true mauler at 6'6'' 330 pounds (best projected at RT in the NFL), Oher is a beast of a run blocker who just plows people over. With Samuels coming off an injury and Jansen just useless, Oher is a huge upgrade who will immediately start on the Redskins' o-line.
New Orleans Saints: Pick 14- OLB Aaron Maybin, Penn St.
With the signing of CB Ronald Bartell (Rams) to play opposite Tracy Porter, I believe the Saints will look elsewhere than CB in the draft.
With Dan Morgan returning and the re-signing of Jonathon Vilma, the Saints have a solid core of defensive players. However, OLBs Scott Shanle and Scott Fujita are nothing to write home about.
Maybin may be the best pass-rushing LB in this draft. Projected by some teams as a DE, the Saints would be glad to let him cause his havoc from the LB position.
A solid player against the run, Maybin would need to work on his coverage skills some to be a complete package, but in the end he gives New Orleans the LB that can consistently rush the passer they lack.
Houston Texans: Pick 15- WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
I had the Texans taking a DE for the longest time, but with the signing of Robaire Smith to play opposite Mario Williams, it looks like the Texans are preparing to go a different direction in the draft.
They desperately need help at WR opposite Andre Johnson. With double-teams on Johnson nearly every play, the Texans have yet to find a receiver who can command attention on the other side of the field.
A threat every time he touches the ball, Maclin would go a long way towards freeing Johnson up to make more plays. He would also give QB Matt Schaub another explosive target and take the Texans offense to the next level.
Not to mention he could be the steal of the draft at No. 15.
San Diego Chargers: Pick 16- DE Tyson Jackson, LSU
Without Shawne Merriman last year, the Chargers defense looked normal. DT Jamal Williams appears to be losing a step and Luis Castillo is more of a run stuffer.
Jackson would provide an immediate upgrade to the Chargers pass rush. A Ty Warren (Patriots) type DE who excels against both the pass and the run, Jackson is an every down lineman the likes of which the Chargers don't currently have on the roster.
New York Jets: Pick 17- QB Mark Sanchez, USC
Much like Leinart, Sanchez sees himself plunge down the draft boards amid a need for other players/lack of confidence in rookie QBs, though by no fault of his ability.
Sanchez is probably the most talented QB out of USC since Carson Palmer. Though he needs work in reading through his progressions, his experience in a pro-style offense makes him the best candidate to start right away.
Which is exactly what the Jets need.
With the retirement of Brett "well maybe" Favre, the Jest are left with Kellen Clemens to lead their team. Rex Ryan doesn't seem too happy with that, though, so look for the J-E-T-S to bring in some competition.
A steal at No. 17 that also fills a huge need, Sanchez could very well turn out to be the best QB in this draft class.
"Da Bears" desperately need help at the WR position. After letting Marty Booker walk in free agency and doing nothing to replace him, they are left with Devin "I couldn't play corner" Hester as their top wideout.
Nicks is probably the most polished of the receiver prospects in this draft. At 6'2" 210 pounds with excellent body control, great route running, and amazing hands, he'll give the Bears another receiver's career to ruin (JK, Bears fans).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Pick 19- OLB Larry English, Ole Miss
After purging nearly every veteran LB on the roster (Derrick Brooks and Cato June, both of last year's starters, were released), the Bucs need serious help at LB.
English is hand-tailored to play in the Tampa-2 defense. With a skill set best utilized as an outside pass-rusher, the Bucs will slide him right into Brooks slot at OLB and move on under Raheem Morris.
Detroit Lions: Pick 20- CB Vontae Davis, Illinois
The Lions tried and failed to upgrade the CB spot in free agency (though they acquired Anthony Henry from the Cowboys for QB Jon Kitna).
Even with Henry, who may at this point be better suited to play safety, the Lions need a permanent upgrade at corner. With Davis still on the board, the Lions get just that.
The best true CB in this draft, Davis sees himself fall down draft charts due to the amount of offensive and defensive linemen in the top half of the draft.
Even with the signing of OT Stacy Andrews (Bengals), the Eagles still opt for the OT at this spot. Both Runyan and Thomas are long in the tooth, and Winston Justice has done nothing to prove he's the solution (Just ask Osi...).
Britton is an Andy Reid type lineman, 6'6'' 310 pounds, and could allow the Eagles to play Andrews at LT and slide Britton in at RT. A solid lineman whose best is still ahead of him, Britton will be a consistent presence on the Eagles line for years.
Minnesota Vikings: Pick 22-TE Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State
The Vikings tried hard to get TJ Houshmandzadeh, but the Seahawks won that contest. While I believe the Vikings are still looking to upgrade their receiver corps, I don't think it will be in the first round.
Pettigrew is a solid all-around TE. Though not a flashy pick, Pettigrew has solid blocking skills, good hands, and runs great routes.
Capable of consistently finding the seam in the middle, he would help free up AP to make more big plays and give Brad Childress the version of LJ Smith that his offense has lacked.
(Also note, Alphonso Smith (CB, Wake Forest) or James Laurinatis (LB Ohio State) are both serious options)
New England Patriots: Pick 23- LB James Laurinaitis, Ohio State
I honestly believe, had he declared for last year's draft, the Pats would've chosen Laurinaitis over Mayo. Now with him falling into their lap, the Pats snatch him up.
Bill Belichick is a genius at finding versatile players that fit his scheme. James is no different, capable of playing inside or outside, he would immediately start beside Bruschi and prepare the Pats for the future without Teddy.
Atlanta Falcons: Pick 24- LB Clay Matthews, USC
Three USC LBs in the first round, bet Pete Carroll is foaming at the mouth.
If Pettigrew was on the board he'd be the obvious selection. However, with no TE worth this pick and bigger needs after the loss of Michael Boley and Keith Brooking, the Falcons choose to upgrade the OLB position.
(Also don't discount the possibility of DT Peria Jerry (Ole Miss) if he's on the board)
Miami Dolphins: Pick 25- DT Peria Jerry, Ole Miss
After resigning most of their own free agents and picking up S Gibril Wilson, the Dolphins are in a position to draft the best available player.
With the release of Vonnie Holliday, the Dolphins are in need of new legs on the DL. Jerry, though not an amazing specimen, is solid against both the run and pass. Only 295 pounds, he can generate some pressure but lacks explosive speed.
His best option is to add another 10-20 pounds to his frame and focus on being a nose tackle in the Dolphins 3-4.
Baltimore Ravens: Pick 26- WR Darrius Heyward-Bay, Maryland
With the signing of CB Dominique Foxworth the Ravens made it clear they intend to look elsewhere in the first round.
After running a 4.3 40 at the combine, Heyward-Bay solidified himself as the fastest player in this draft class. Outside of Derrick Mason (Who's 35), the Ravens lack a true impact receiver.
Mark Clayton has failed to live up to expectations and the Ravens offense imploded last season when forced to pass the ball. Darrius would immediately step in and contribute and give the Ravens a go-to receiver once Mason is gone.
Indianapolis Colts: Pick 27- DT Sen'Derrick Marks, Auburn
With the unexpected retirement of Quinn Pitcock and the release of Ed Johnson the Colts are very thin at DT.
Though Marvin Harrison was released, don't expect the Colts to use back-to-back first round selections on a wide out.
Sen'Derrick Marks, though not an elite DT, is better than anyone currently on the Colts roster (Yes, Raheem Brock does suck) and would immediately be a starter if he performs well in training camp.
Though not a huge DT, Marks plays extremely well at the point and has the frame to add some bulk. He is extremely athletic and has an explosive first step. With his ability to cause a disruption from the DT position, Marks would be a welcome addition to the Colts defense.
(Don't rule out a receiver, either Percy Harvin (Florida) or Brian Robiskie (Ohio State) are the most likely candidates.)
Philadelphia Eagles: Pick 28- RB Chris "Beanie" Wells, Ohio State
After allowing Correll Buckhalter to go to the Broncos in free agency, the Eagles are left with Westbrook and Tony Hunt at RB.
Though a CB could be the pick after trading Lito Shepherd to the Jets, the Eagles take the best available player who fits their scheme.
A ground and pound running back, Wells would add a little thunder to Westbrooks' lightning, and give the Eagles a reliable backup.
New York Giants: Pick 29- WR Percy Harvin, Florida
After watching their season go down Plaxico Burress's pants last year, the Giants are ready to move on at the WR position.
Though it's a hard choice between Harvin and Robiskie, Harvin gets the nod. A true impact player with the Florida Gators the past few seasons, Harvin may have been a top 10 pick had it not been for injury concerns.
A true scoring threat every time he touches the ball, Harvin would give the Giants the home run threat they currently lack on the roster.
Consistently able to create separation with his speed and agility, Percy at 5'11'' 195 pounds, reminds most scouts of the Panthers Steve Smith (not the current Giant's bench warmer), with his big play ability.
Tennessee Titans: Pick 30- WR Brian Robiskie, Ohio State
With no DTs on the board (now an area of need) worth this selection, the Titans instead go with Robiskie.
Possibly the most coached receiver to ever enter the NFL Draft, Robiskie is the son of former NFL player and current Falcons receiver coach Terry Robiskie (formerly with the Raiders, Redskins, Browns, and Dolphins).
A true posses ion receiver, the 6'3'' 200 pound Robiskie, would give the Titans a solid receiving option to pair with Justin Gage and newly signed Nate Washington (Steelers).
Arizona Cardinals: Pick 31- RB Knowshon Moreno, Georgia
With this year's running backs class being very mediocre, both Wells and Moreno failed to impress, turning into slowpokes at the combine. (Wells 4.59, Moreno 4.6)
Moreno, known best for his big play ability at Georgia, is, however, exactly what the Cardinals need to make a run at another NFC Championship.
Capable of making people miss in open space, his quick lateral agility, ability to run through arm tackles, and deceptively quick first step, would go a long way towards making people respect the Cardinals' running game.
(Don't discount the selection of DE Michael Johnson (Georgia Tech) if the Cardinals aren't sold on Moreno, the Cardinals lost DE Robaire Smith via free-agency)
Pittsburgh Steelers: Pick 32- OT William Beatty, Connecticut
With T Marvel Smith making the rounds and pretty much the rest of the Steelers o-line free agents (they transition-tagged Max Starks), it's time to begin adding some talent in the trenches.
Beatty, whose played LT his entire career (he broke his leg five games into the '06 season), is probably the best lineman left on the board at this spot. A solid lineman at 6'6'' 310 pounds, Beatty really impressed at the Senior Bowl with his athleticism.
(Also keep an eye on (California) C Alex Mack and (Oklahoma) G Duke Robinson)
Thanks all for taking the time to look through my mock draft and I look forward to hearing your comments.
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