The best time of the year is upcoming. For real draft nuts, the time of the year could not come any sooner. By the time the final picks are about to be announced, you are already looking at the next best thing coming out of the MAC.
But I am here to discuss some of the picks that I think will happen in this years draft.
1. Detroit Lions - Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia - Despite every knock on poor Matty, this franchise is in dire need of an identity, oh and a quarterback. You can not count of the Jeff Garcia's of the world to always be around, but drafting a QB with the 1st overall pick is a chance sometimes. Stafford showed a lot more in his final bowl game that I think he did in years of starting for the Bulldogs. He has a rocket for an arm and Stafford to Johnson sounds like something a guy would trade for in Madden. He may not be the "safest" pick but you need him more than he needs you, Detroit.
2. St. Louis Rams - Jason Smith, OT, Baylor - Everyone outside of Waco, TX had a hard time hearing about this guy. In the position dominated by Andre Smith (cough) and Michael Oher, Smith seems like the biggest dark horse in this draft. Standing at 6' 5", 309 LBS. Smith has been probably the best prospect at the combine. People can argue that the Rams need a lot more that a tackle right now. With the recent release of Holt, possibly looking at a immediate playmaker or difference maker might be best, like a Crabtree or Curry. As I have always referenced in my articles, my old HS football coach always told me "the backbone of a team is the O line, without them there is no team". Smith is the real deal.
3. Kansas City Chiefs - Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest - The best player on alot of people's draft boards, Curry seems poised to be the next best thing in this LB dominated league. Kansas City desperately needs a pass rush, since the Jared Allen deal, the Chiefs seem even more like sad sacks (Sorry, Kansas City). He seems like once in a decade kind of prospect; Curry just has all the intangibles and ability to make a good defense, great.If Curry goes 1st or 2nd, Kansas City would look to possibly take something that would help newly acquired Matt Cassel in pass protection with OT Jason Smith.
4. Seattle Seahawks - B.J Raji, DT, Boston College OR Brian Orakpo, DE/LB, Texas - If the Chiefs did not take Curry with the 3rd pick, I believe Seahawks officials would have been running that draft card up to the commish. The offense has the ability to be good again if Hasselbeck can stay healthy a full season. A veteran O-line, capable wide receiver core, and an emerging star in TE John Carlson, Seattle looks to be more desperate on the defense. Raji, a 6'1" 330 LBS behemoth of a man, would be an excellent pick for any team. Haynesworth is the best player at his position, despite being taken with the 15th pick from Tennessee in the 2002 NFL draft. Seattle could go down this route, or take Michael Crabtree or quite possibly Brian Orakpo (of course I don't think it's a reach, he has raw talent to play either DE or LB.) Brian Orakpo showed his worth at the NFL combine and has been impressing scouts since deciding to enter. Brian is surprisingly very strong against both the pass and run; Seattle would insert him into Mora's schemes and voila! You might even argue Raji would be a reach at fourth, but fortunately for Seattle, they are not in a bad place draft wise.
5. Cleveland Browns - Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech - I can not believe Crabtree fell this far (Yes I am serious.) And I know what your thinking, "what about the injury?" Well...I guarantee, it will heal, that's what the human body does, it eventually heals it self, amazing huh?. Crabtree is a supreme talent, and up until his injury, he was projected as high as second pick in the draft. Even though the QB controversy in Cleveland looks to be over (I say Quinn will get a shot), the Browns have the opportunity to take one of the best players to come out of college, automatically tagged with a Larry Fitzgerald label (Sophomore underclassmen that entered after breaking numerous records). And he is blessed with tremendous hands and great route running; he is desirable for every NFL team.
6. Cincinnati Bengals - Aaron Maybin, DE/LB, Penn State OR Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia - Hmm, this is odd. There both great athletes, and award winning, and All-Americans...dang, why did the NFL have to shorten the length of time for a draft pick?! Maybin, a big and fast sack master, recorded 12.5 sacks in 2008 for the Nittany Lions and captured plenty of well deserved attention. He would fit perfectly in a 3-4 scheme (hint, hint Bengals) and even though he has little starting experience, you can count on him, definitely a tough, hard nosed player; just the way JoePa has them. Eugene Monroe seems like a second option for me. No knock on Mr.Monroe, but if Andre Smith wasn't addicted to trouble, you better believe if available at 6, the Bengals would not think twice on who to take. But Monroe is a pretty good reserve anyway; Eugene's biggest strength is the way he moves on the line. He is 6'6", 315 Lbs but he moves very lightly which is perfect for an offense that prefers agile linemen (Hello, Denver). And even though durability is a question, when he does play he gives it 100 percent on every play.
7. Oakland Raiders trade pick to San Francisco 49ers, Andre Smith, OT, Alabama - Hear me out, okay? Oakland wanted Crabtree so badly, you can just feel that if he were to fall to seven, Oakland would welcome the best player in the draft with open arms. Picks eight (Jacksonville) and nine (Green Bay) would not pick Maclin, the defense is more of a priority for both heading into the draft, and Oakland would chance taking him at 10 instead of seven. Mike Singletary has changed the culture in San Francisco, seems like over night. Coach Mike would mentor and tutor that young man and mold him into the great NFL success he is capable of having. For a linemen, he moves very well in space with a good first step and great athletic ability. Plug him into an ailing 49ers line, and you might just have one of the most underrated lines in the NFL.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars - Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois - The 24th ranked pass defense in the league sure won't PASS up a chance at drafting Vontae Davis....Please laugh. Vontae, the younger brother of San Fran TE Vernon Davis, possess as much athletic ability as his older brother, and I see speed runs in the family too. Seriously, how awesome would it be to be the dad of those kids. "Oh, your son got a job at Google? My two boys are top 10 NFL picks, no big." If Mike Smith were still the Jags D man instead of doing great stuff down in Atlanta, he would have loved Davis and use him for all he is worth. He lacks discipline, but pair him with a good coordinator, and he will mold into a very good coverage corner.
9. Green Bay Packers trade pick to Houston Texans, Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss - Houston is one player away from really bursting out and making some noise in the AFC. Oher is the final of the 3 great linemen in the draft, not bad at nine either. When he first arrived at since Ole Miss, he became a special talent quickly, earning First Team Freshman All-American honors, AS A GUARD. Now an even better Left Tackle, Oher is bound for NFL success, and early too. Oher is so good, he made BenJarvus Green-Ellis only the third back in Ole Miss history to go over 1,000 yards, for two consecutive years. The Houston Texans would possibly want to take Harvin here too, but Oher is just too good a prospect to let slip through the cracks.
10. Oakland Raiders - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri - Yes! Oakland finally catches luck, in the form of the (very close) 2nd best WR in the draft. Maclin is very very very fast and also elusive; add onto that he is a solid blocker and special teams speed demon, wow...here I am babbling on about Jeremy Maclin. Anywho, the Raiders need a shot of life into that stagnant offense, possibly helping in the development of JaMarcus Russell and molding him into a perennial Pro Bowler...Early April Fools! Maclin is too good to pass up here though, and even though Harvin is still available, Oakland likes everything about this kid and then some.
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