Combine results are in. Free Agency has twisted the fates of some. Suggestions from the likes of McShay, Mayock, McGuire, and Kiper have been analyzed. Here is the preview of the 2009 NFL Draft, S and G Sports style:
1. DETROIT Jason Smith OT, Baylor
New Head Coach Jim Schwartz shows his commitment by building his foundation from the inside out by drafting the four year Baylor product. Smith will be able to step in and start immediately to protect QB Daunte Culpepper.
2. ST. LOUIS Eugene Monroe OT, Virginia
The Rams missed out on OT Jake Long last year and will make sure not to miss a key OL this year. Should the Lions pass on Smith, look for him to land here. Either way, the Rams choice at No. 2 is the heir apparent to Hall of Famer Orlando Pace.
3. KANSAS CITY Aaron Curry LB, Wake Forest
The best linebacker in the draft this year. Smart, Instinctive, and Athletic. Haley needs Curry to help solidify and even create a sense of defense. At the very least, the Chiefs desperately need even a hint of talent the defensive side of the ball.
Perhaps hints of another Derrick Thomas are buzzing around Kansas City.
4. SEATTLE Brian Orakpo DE/OLB, Texas
Great hybrid player who will make an immediate impact as a pass rushing defensive end or blitzing outside linebacker, something lacked in Seattle for some time. A big reason for the Seahawks shift from glory to goat last year was due to the ineffective pass rush against good passing teams.
With Orakpo, they fill a desperate need, and provide Mora with a glimmer of hope.
5. CLEVELAND Everette Brown DE, Florida State
Pass rushing demon extraordinaire. The Browns ended last year with 17 sacks, with no one tallying more than four. The lack of pass rush cost Crennel his job, and has kept Cleveland from playoff contention for years.
With E. Brown, the Dawg Pound gets a tremendously quick, aggressive player, who can step in and give Big Ben and Kitty Carson nightmares throughout the season.
6. CINCINNATI Andre Smith OT, Alabama
Cincinnati needs help on the offensive line after the Eagles snatched up OT Stacy Andrews this offseason. We know that Cincy is laden with problem children, but Smith here at No. 6 is an absolute gift.
7. OAKLAND B.J. Raji DT, Boston College
With the seventh pick, the Raiders can go out and grab a big man run stuffer who can provide an anchor for the interior of the defense. They tried this with Sapp, but quickly realized his old age and big mouth created more problems than solutions. With Raji, they will grab a young, high octane tackle who can work his magic to put AFC West RBs on their back.
8. JACKSONVILLE Michael Crabtree WR, Texas Tech
Crabtree’s surgery has cost him several millions, but let’s not get too hasty about him falling out of the Top 10. The Jaguars struck out with WR Jerry Porter, having to release him after just one year. We would be shocked to see Crabtree have that same fate.
9. GREEN BAY Vontae Davis CB, Illinois
With the aging and decrepit corner situation in the Cheese State, and the desire to move Charles Woodson to safety, Davis will fit perfectly here. Davis performed masterfully in the Combine drills, and showed his metal against the likes of Terrelle Pryor and Darryll Clark during the season. The purest corner on the board.
10. SAN FRANCISCO Malcolm Jenkins CB/S, Ohio State
Singletary is a defensive man. As a professional player and in his mannerisms as a head coach. This is why we think he will pass up on a quarterback and grab Jenkins, an athlete who can fill a glaring need in the atrocious secondary.
Jenkins can play either corner or safety, both of which the 49ers needs, and will be a demon on special teams as well.
11. BUFFALO Aaron Maybin DE/OLB, Penn State
The Bills need something off the edge, which is more of a need in the league this year that it has been in the past few years. Lets face it: Aaron Schobel isn’t going to lead a team to the Super Bowl, let alone the playoffs.
Perhaps Maybin won’t be that cornerstone immediately, but he will provide Jauron with exactly what he is looking for: a menace from the LOS to the sideline.
12. DENVER Tyson Jackson DE, Louisiana State
Josh McDaniels is the new head man in the Mile High City. And with his first pick he will understand Gerard Warren is not the man to win them more ball games. Jackson is a great fit in a 34 defense, which Denver will utilize this upcoming season.
He has been well coached and is known for his coachability, which is a major plus for a new coach, a new staff, and a new system.
In addition, he as played against the best in the SEC (Oher, A. Smith, etc), making him that much more ready to jump into a significant role.
13. WASHINGTON Michael Oher OL, Mississippi
There are those who feel this Rebel's stock plummeted with a relatively quiet senior year. But with a strong Combine and postseason play, he is well worth the 13 th pick. The Redskins’ offensive line is aging. Drafting an OT like Oher who can step in and play guard or tackle lends them some much needed help to a thin staff.
14. NEW ORLEANS Brian Cushing LB, Southern Cal
The Saints have problems everywhere. From running back inconsistencies, to a swiss cheese secondary, to players getting in trouble with the feds (ahem, Charles Grant). The Saints have gone a long way from their year of glory.
As many coaches will say- a great place to start the rebuilding process is on the line or in the LB core. Although NO doesn’t have a particularly standout O and D line, they do have a pressing need at outside linebacker.
Cushing can step in and play alongside Vilma and Morgan (if he’s healthy) and immediately give the Saints a potentially dominating LB machine.
15. HOUSTON Larry English DE/OLB, Northern Illinois
Now, many believe Kubiak will spend this pick nabbing a quarterback to compete with Schaub or a wide receiver to line up opposite Johnson. We respectfully disagree.
With the release of Anthony Weaver and a bunch of ragtag linebackers, with exception to DeMeco Ryans, the Texans find themselves amidst those in need of an edge presence.
English is one of the most versatile defensive players in the draft, well versed at defensive end as well as at outside linebacker.
Houston can place him at either position, and throw him in on special teams as well, an area that hurt the Texans this past year.
16. SAN DIEGO Peria Jerry DT, Mississippi
Jamal Williams is quickly finding he’s not getting any younger, and Igor Olshansky has departed for the lure of Dallas. With the addition of Jerry, San Diego will have another capable nose tackle, and ‘soon to be’ Williams’ replacement.
If Jerry develops into the player many scouts feel he will, losing Olshansky may not cause a lot of tears to fall in the front office.
17. NEW YORK JETS Jeremy Maclin WR, Missouri
Expect new HC Rex Ryan to draft the dual receiver-return man out Mizzou here. He will be able to work underneath the coverage and be an explosive part of the Jets’ return game. RB Leon Washington can’t do it all for long.
18. CHICAGO Michael Johnson DE, Georgia Tech
As has been the case the past three years, the Bears have multiple holes to fill. Lovie Smith can go several ways here. We feel that Johnson will be the best fit and fill the greatest need.
Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye are each post 30, and Mark Anderson, the once esteemed rookie, totaled a whopping one sack last season. Johnson is a 6’7" monster, who terrorized the ACC with his deceptive speed and giant paws capable of providing any quarterback with fits.
19. TAMPA BAY Matthew Stafford QB, Georgia
Stafford’s fall to No. 19 is really not of his own doing. The abundance of quality tackles causes him to wait longer than expected. However, he will be walking into a team with a solid RB in Derrick Ward, Cadillac Williams, and Earnest Graham, as well as a defense anchored by All-Pro CB Ronde Barber.
Didn’t this discussion follow QB Matt Ryan last year?
20. DETROIT Rey Maualaga LB, Southern Cal
We chose Maualuga both as a value and need based pick. Maualuga is a feared hitter and destructive tackler, following in the footsteps of former SC linebackers Rivers, Seau, and Lua.
With Maualaga, Detroit will acquire a tremendous asset in its quest to outmuscle the power running games of the NFC North. In addition, we do not see how Schwartz can pass on Maualuga with him still on the board.
21. PHILADELPHIA Eben Britton OT, Arizona
Head Coach Andy Reid’s tradition of surrounding himself with men his size does not end here. The Eagles will lose OTs Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas in free agency, so expect them to take the best available OT here at No. 21.
22. MINNESOTA Percy Harvin WR, Florida
Adding a speedster like Harvin to the Vikings will add a huge threat for new QB Sage Rosenfels. Defenses will have to remove one man from that box to slow down RBs Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor. Could this move get them over the hump?
23. NEW ENGLAND Clay Matthews OLB, Southern Cal
With the loss of Mike Vrabel, and the young ages of Bruschi, Colvin, and Seau, Belichick is in dire need of new, motivated blood at the linebacker position alongside Jerod Mayo.
Matthews, although not as well known or discussed as his contemporaries, is nonetheless as gifted an athlete as they come by. The Patriots can position him at inside or outside backer, and use his speed to place him perfectly into their stunting 34 system.
24. ATLANTA James Laurinaitis LB, Ohio State
Losses in the linebacking core (example: Keith Brooking to Dallas) mean that Mike Smith will have to wait on grabbing a receiver or defensive lineman until the second and third rounds.
With Laurinaitis on the board, Smith will overlook the fact that the linebacker from OSU had somewhat of a down year after two ‘dream come true’ seasons. Laurinaitis is a solid tackler with natural leadership abilities, two attributes which will help the Falcons tremendously.
25. MIAMI Brandon Pettigrew TE, Oklahoma State
VP Bill Parcells is a mastermind when it comes to draft day. He has a very good feel as to what they need and has had tremendous success in picking top talent. Pettigrew bring a physical presence as a blocker in the run game and big target for QB Chad Pennington in the red zone.
26. BALTIMORE Darrius Heyward Bey WR, Maryland
DHB is not going far from home as he gets tutelage from veteran WR Derrick Mason. His size at 6’3’’ is quite imposing and sub 4.3 speed will be a nightmare for anyone he lines up against.
Expect the reins to start being eased of QB Joe Flacco.
27. INDIANAPOLIS Hakeem NicksWR, North Carolina
Expect Indy to move on quickly beyond the Marvin Harrison era as QB Peyton Manning gets another threat in the aerial assault. Nicks has phenomenal hands and will be a welcomed presence in their offensive package.
28. PHILADELPHIA Knowshon Moreno RB, Georgia
The Eagles are befuddled to see Moreno fall this far and don’t waste much time in deciding to scoop up this superstud. Moreno carved up defenses at Georgia and will benefit from not having to be the guy immediately.
Expect Moreno to be drafted as a versatile compliment to Pro Bowler Brian Westbrook.
29. NEW YORK GIANTS William Beatty OT, Connecticut
The Giants look to add depth to their offensive line in selecting William Beatty. While not expected to start immediately, expect Beatty to be used at both tackle positions as a back-up to David Diehl and Kareem McKenzie.
30. TENNESSEE Alphonso Smith CB, Wake Forest
Here is a major reason the Tennessee Titans did not go the distance last season: Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper. Who in their right mind feels they can win a Super Bowl (or at least a playoff game) rolling their dice with an underachiever and a wash out?
Alphonso Smith will contend immediately for the starting role, and will have it at least next year as Harper is 34 (plays like he’s 74). Smart, fast, and has a knack for the ball.
31. ARIZONA Chris “Beanie” Wells RB, Ohio State
It’s clear that RB Edgerrin James is not the future of the Cards running game. That being said, Tim Hightower cannot be expected to carry the load alone. Picking up Beanie Wells here adds a physical bruising back that will help balance up their potent offense.
32. PITTSBURGH Alex Mack OL, Ohio State
The Steelers draft one of their own here, a big nasty, versatile offensive lineman. The former All-American from Cal will be asked to step in at all five o-line positions. Tomlin is looking to the future in Mack, foreseeing a new version of Alan Faneca.