2009 NFL Mock Draft: Week One

PJ PointerCorrespondent IMarch 12, 2009

Once a week from now until the draft I’ll post a mock of the first round of the NFL Draft every Friday. I’ll list whom I think a team will take, and then whom I think they should take.

If you agree or disagree let me know.

Here goes...


1. Detroit Lions: Jason Smith – OT – Baylor – The Lions will negotiate with a number of prospects before the draft. In the end they will more than likely decide to draft an anchor for the Offensive Line.

Who should they take?

Aaron Curry – LB – Wake Forest – Curry is the safest player in this draft. He is pretty much the only guy that you can say without a shadow of a doubt will not bust. He can play all three LB positions, and can even rush the passer.


2. St. Louis Rams: Eugene Monroe – OT – Virginia – You can’t really argue with this pick for St. Louis. Orlando Pace’s best years are behind him, and he may even be released this offseason.

The Rams must have an LT to protect Marc Bulger’s blind side, not to mention they need to be able to fully use Stephen Jackson and let him reestablish himself as one of the best young RB in the NFL.

Who should they take?

Like I said earlier, you can’t argue with Monroe at this spot. He is good enough to have Branden Albert, a first round pick of Kansas City in 2008 and now their starting LT, at the Guard position.

However, if the Lions play it smart and actually draft Curry, then the Rams would be wise to jump all over Jason Smith.


3. Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Curry – LB – Wake Forest – Curry is a machine. He plays every LB position. He has even been asked to drop into coverage and cover slot receivers. Doing this in his Junior year he intercepted four passes, returning three of those four for Touch Downs.

Who should they take?

Again, you have to stick with Curry. They’ve traded for Matt Cassel, so that eliminates Matthew Stafford from consideration. If Curry isn’t available here then they’d be smart to grab Brian Orakpo, the big DE\OLB from Texas.


4. Seattle Seahawks: Michael Crabtree – WR – Texas Tech – The Seahawks recently signed T.J. Houshmanzadeh, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals, to a free agent contract.

That being said, T.J. is still 31 years old, and Crabtree would fit in perfectly in Seattle’s West Coast Offense, and give quarterback Matt Hasselbeck two extremely reliable targets. He also could be brought along slowly, ala Reggie Wayne in Indianapolis.

Who should they take?

Mark Sanchez  – QB – USC - It’s too bad for the Seahawks that none of this year’s running backs are rated highly enough to take in the top five, because neither Julius Jones nor T.J. Duckett are the answer there.

That being said, Matt Hasselbeck isn’t getting any younger, and with a new coaching staff taking over this year, it’s time to start grooming his successor. Sanchez is the perfect fit for a West Coast Offense.

He could sit the bench for two years letting Hasselbeck play out his career in Seattle, and then be ready to come in without missing a beat.


5. Cleveland Browns: Brian Orakpo – DE/LB – Texas – Orakpo would be the staring outside linebacker from day one. He is an incredible physical specimen, standing 6’3” and weighing in at, a chiseled, 263 lbs.

Orakpo has an innate ability to rush the passer. He is quick off of the ball, and is constantly in the opponent’s backfield disrupting the play.

Who should they take?

Cleveland needs defensive backs in the worst way; their secondary was terrible last year. As in the case of the running backs, none are worthy of a top ten selection.

You can’t really argue with the Orakpo pick here. He fills a need, and fits in perfectly in their 3-4 defense.


6. Cincinnati Bengals: B.J. Raji – DT – Boston College – The Bengals have needs all over their defense. The most glaring, in my opinion, is the interior of their defensive line. They have decent young linebackers, having taken Keith Rivers from USC in last years draft.

The problem is that neither John Thornton nor Domata Peko are cable of keeping offensive linemen from getting to the second level of the defense and blocking those linebackers.

Raji is an instant upgrade at defensive tackle. At 336 lbs Raji is still agile enough to fire off of the ball and disrupt the offense. He fits in either a 3-4 or a 4-3, and will definitely demand a double team.

Who should they take?

It has to be Raji. He is the only pick that really makes sense here. That is unless Seattle passes on Michael Crabtree, in which case the Bengals would have to consider picking him to replace T.J. Houshmanzadeh, as Laveranues Coles is getting older, and is only a stop gap solution.


7. Oakland Raiders: Jeremy Maclin – WR – Missouri – Al Davis loves speed, and Maclin has it in spades. Maclin averaged 200 receiving yards a game last year, and would give quarterback JaMarcus Russell an explosive target.

Who should they take?

Andre Smith – OT – Alabama – Russell won’t be able to find any targets if he’s either constantly running for his life, or on his back. Even if the Raiders sign Khalif Barnes in free agency I still think they need Smith.

Barnes would make a much better right tackle, than he does a left tackle, and there are some extremely fast wide receivers to be had latter in the draft.


8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Andre Smith – OT – Alabama – The Jaguars need a left tackle in the worst way. Left tackle Khalif Barnes is a free agent and will most likely sign somewhere else.

Their offense, which revolves around the running game, suffered terribly last year because of injuries along the offensive line. Smith is the best run blocking offensive tackle to come along in years.

Who should they take?

You can’t argue with Smith if he’s available. If not then they need to seriously look at a wide receiver. This may be a bit high for any of the prospects left on the board, but Hakeem Nicks from North Carolina would fit in nicely here.


9. Green Bay Packers: Everette Brown – DE/LB – Florida State – Green Bay is switching to a 3-4 defense this year and need linebackers that can rush the passer. Brown was a hand in the dirt defensive end in college, but shows the agility and athleticism to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

Who should they take?

I really think that Brown is the best choice here for the Packers. A case could be made for either Rey Maualuga or Malcom Jenkins.


10. San Francisco 49ers: Matt Stafford – QB – USC – The Niners need a quarterback and Stafford is the best quarterback available. He has a strong arm, above average athleticism and has played against top competition in the SEC. The presence of Shaun Hill means you won’t have to start him right away.

Who should they take?

At this point in the draft Stafford is an amazing value. Sanchez or an offensive tackle should really be the only other possibilities here.


11. Buffalo Bills: Rey Maualuga – LB – USC – The Bills currently have Paul Posluszny penciled in at middle linebacker. The problem with that is Posluszny is just another guy. He doesn’t do anything special, he makes a ton of tackles, but no plays.

Maualuga would be an instant upgrade and become the quarterback of the defense. This would allow the Bills to move Posluszny outside to replace departed free agent linebacker Angelo Crowell.

Who should they take?

Aaron Maybin – DE/LB – Penn State – Maybin will more than likely play linebacker in the NFL, however he will do an amazing job of rushing the passer. Buffalo needs a pass rusher and Maybin provides that.


12. Denver Broncos: Brian Cushing – LB – USC – Quick! The Denver Broncos linebackers are D.J. Williams and… Do you see the problem? They are switching to a 3-4 defense under new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, the problem is they don’t have two good linebackers, let alone four.

Cushing would be an instant upgrade at every linebacker position minus the weak inside, where Williams will most likely play.

Who should they take?

I would have to stick with Cushing here.


13. Washington Redskins: Michael Oher – OT – Mississippi – Chris Samuels is getting older, and Jon Jansen is not only old, he’s coming off of a pretty serious injury. Oher could play the right tackle spot for a year or two and then slide into the left tackle spot and replace Samuels.

Who should they take?

Oher. They need help on that offensive line. Re-signing free agent guard Derrick Dockery should help, but that still doesn’t address the problem at right tackle, or the problem of Samuels getting older.


14. New Orleans Saints: Vontae Davis – CB – Illinois – The Saints just signed Jabari Greer, but it is going to take a lot more than one player to fix that secondary.

Davis is a physical corner that is able to reroute wide receivers at the line of scrimmage. He also has the speed to get back if he misses, and can is strong enough to help support the run defense.

Who should they take?

A lot of people will think they are crazy if they take Davis when Malcom Jenkins is still on the draft board. However, Jenkins doesn’t have the speed to play in man coverage in the NFL and will most likely need to switch to safety.


15. Houston Texans: Peria Jerry – DT – Mississippi – Travis Johnson has been a bust, and needs to be replaced. They can plug Jerry inside next to Omobi Okoye and watch the two of them reek havoc on opposing offensive lines.

Who should they take?

They need the defensive tackle so Jerry needs to be the pick.


16. San Diego Chargers: Ebben Britton – OT – Arizona – The Chargers have a huge problem at right tackle, and an injury concern with Marcus McNeil at left tackle. Britton can start from day one on the right side, and you can groom him as a swing tackle in case McNeil’s spinal condition becomes a problem.

Who should they take?

Britton has to be the choice. They cannot ignore that right tackle position.


17. New York Jets: Hakeem Nicks – WR – North Carolina – The Jets need a wide receiver. Laveranues Coles left for the Bengals, and they now have only Jericho Cotchery and David Clowney, who is more suited for the inside.

Nicks gives them a big target to throw the ball to and take some of the pressure off of Cotchery.

Who should they take?

Mark Sanchez – QB – USCBrett Favre is gone and the Jets are now going to rely on Brett Ratliff and/or Kellen Clemens? Sanchez would be a no brainer here.


18. Chicago Bears: Malcom Jenkins – CB – Ohio State – Jenkins is the ideal Cover Two defensive back, and may even be able to replace Mike Brown at safety.

Who should they take?

Evander “Ziggy” Hood – DT – Missouri – Hood is a perfect defensive tackle for Chicago’s defense. He would also provide tremendous insurance in the event that Tommy Harris gets hurt again, and would be an immediate upgrade over Dusty Dvoracek.


19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Evander “Ziggy” Hood – DT – Missouri – The Bucs lost Jovan Haye to Tennessee in free agency and need someone to replace him. Hood will have an immediate impact as a pass rusher, helping out in the new Tampa defensive scheme.

Who should they take?

Hood needs to be the pick. You can’t have a good defense without having some pressure up the middle.


20. Detroit Lions: James Laurinaitis – LB – Ohio State – This is assuming the Lions spend the No. 1 pick on Jason Smith, in which case they still need a linebacker, and there isn’t much in the way of middle linebackers in the draft after Laurinaitis and Maualuga.

Who should they take?

Josh Freeman – QB – Kansas State – The Lions need a quarterback of the future, and Freeman would be the perfect guy to learn behind Daunte Culpepper, a player with a similar skill set.

(They should have taken Curry No. 1 and then been selecting William Beaty the offensive tackle from Connecticut here, but hey... they’re the Lions)


21. Philadelphia Eagles: William Beaty – OT – Connecticut – The Eagles select 21 and 28. They have a need at running back and left tackle. None of the teams between them and 28 need a running back, so they will take the left tackle here and the running back latter.

Who should they take?

They have to get a left tackle, Tra Thomas is not coming back and you can’t expect Donovan McNabb to be running for his life every play at this point in his career.


22. Minnesota Vikings: Percy Harvin – WR – Florida – Harvin can make plays. It’s as simple as that. The Vikings are OK on the outside with Bernard Berrian and Sidney Rice. What they are missing though, is that slot receiver who can create mismatches.

Who should they take?

Josh Freeman – QB – Kansas State – Tavaris Jackson? Sage Rosenfels? Haven’t these experiments gone on long enough? The Vikings need a franchise quarterback, and many people came away from the scouting combine saying that Freeman would be a perfect West Coast Offense quarterback.


23. New England Patriots: Clay Matthews Jr. – LB – USC – The third USC linebacker comes off of the board in the first round. The Patriots need and outside linebacker to rush the passer and create some pressure.

Who should they take?

The case could be made for Larry English – DE/LB – Northern Illinois, but Matthews has the pedigree that Belichick will love, being the son of former NFL linebacker Clay Matthews Sr.


24. Atlanta Falcons: Brandon Pettigrew – TE – Oklahoma State – Pettigrew isn’t the fastest tight end in this draft, but he is the best all around tight end. He is a very similar player to Jason Whitten, of the Dallas Cowboys, and would be an excellent security blanket for Matt Ryan.

Not to mention the fact that he is a devastating blocker and would make Michael Turner even more effective.

Who should they take?

They seriously need a linebacker, but at this point there are none worth drafting in the first round, so Pettigrew is the next best option that fills a need.


25. Miami Dolphins: Tyson Jackson – DE – LSU – Jackson is a perfect 3-4 defensive end, in the mold of a Chris Canty, who Bill Parcells drafted while he was in Dallas.

The Dolphins recently released Vonnie Holiday and now have a vacancy at the defensive end position.

Who should they take?

Darius Butler – CB – Connecticut – Butler has amazing physical ability and tremendous ball skills, and with the departure of Andre Goodman the Dolphins need a cornerback.


26. Baltimore Ravens: Darius Heyward-Bey – WR – Maryland – The Ravens need a deep threat so that Joe Flacco can unleash that cannon he has attached to his right shoulder.

Heywaed-Bey was the fastest player at the combine and would instantly provide a deep threat for the Ravens.

Who should they take?

Can’t argue with getting your young quarterback weapons to throw to.


27. Indianapolis Colts: Darry Beckwith – LB – LSU – The Colts need linebacker help in the worst way, and Beckwith fits in very well with what they do in a Cover-Two scheme.

Who should they take?

Linebacker is a huge area of need for the Colts and Beckwith or possibly Dannell Elerbe from Georgia are the best players still available at this point.


28. Philadelphia Eagles: Knowshon Moreno – RB – GeorgiaBrian Westbrook is getting old, and gets hurt every year. Corell Buckhalter is gone to Denver.

The Eagles get probably the best running back in the draft and fill a need.

Who should they take?

Moreno has to be the pick.


29. New York Giants: Michael Johnson – DE – Georgia Tech – The Giants can afford to take the best player available, and physically Johnson is the best player available, possibly in the whole draft.

What has hurt Johnson is his inconsistency. That won’t be a problem playing for the Giants. He’ll be a part of their “Wave” defense, in which they are constantly throwing fresh defensive linemen at an offense. He will only need to rush the passer, nothing else.

Who should they take?

Whomever they deem to be the best player available. They don’t have a lot of holes other than wide receiver, and this is way too high for any of the remaining receivers.


30. Tennessee Titans: Jarron Gilbert – DE/DT – San Jose State – With the departure of Albert Haynesworth the Titans will play a more athletic defense up front. Using last years draft pick Jason Jones, and who ever they get to replace Haynesworth, in a lot of stunts and twists up front.

Gilbert has amazing explosion, there’s a video on the web of him jumping out of a pool, and at 6’5”, 288 lbs he’s big enough to move inside.

Who should they take?

They must find another big body to play inside and replace Haynesworth. At this point Gilbert seems like the logical choice.


31. Arizona Cardinals: Robert Ayers – DE – Tennessee – The Cardinals lost Antonio Smith to free agency and are switching to a 3-4 defense, which makes Smith’s loss even worse. Ayers is a bug body, at 6’3”, 272 lbs, and also has the ability to turn and drop into coverage.

Who should they take?

Ayers would be virtually impossible for Arizona to pass on at this point. They really need to replace Antonio Smith, and Ayers is the best defensive end left at this point.


32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alex Mack – OG/C – Oregon – Despite coming off of a Super Bowl winning season, the Steelers still realize that they have a tremendous need at the interior of their offensive line.

Mack can play either guard or center at close to an All Pro level, and would give an immediate shot in the arm to the run game.

Who should they take?

Sean Smith – CB – Utah – Bryant McFadden signed with the Cardinals, leaving a huge hole at defensive back for the Steelers. Smith is a big defensive back, standing 6’4” and around 214 lbs, but has very good hips and can turn and run with quicker/faster wide receivers.