Whitaker's Evolving NFL Mock Draft (Final Edition)

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Whitaker's Evolving NFL Mock Draft (Final Edition)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

1. Detroit Lions - Matthew Stafford - QB - Georgia

Although the Lions should go safe with this pick, it looks like they are enamored with Stafford, after his pro day and recent workouts, Mo-Town is looking to gamble once again, even though this is the first time since Billy Sims, that they will have the first overall pick.



2. St. Louis Rams - Jason Smith - OT - Baylor

Smith is the safest pick in this draft, and when you haven't made the playoffs in 5 years, and you have a new Head Coach, being safe isn't the worst thing in the world.



3. Kansas City Chiefs - Michael Crabtree - WR - Texas Tech

Just about everybody has multi-talented linebacker Aaron Curry going to KC at 3.  Not so fast, with the Chiefs signing 7-time Pro Bowler Zach Thomas, trading for 3-time Super Bowl Champion Mike Vrabel, and moving former defensive end Tamba Hali over to outside linebacker, they're won't be any room for Curry to start.

Crabtree would then team up with rising star receiver Dwayne Bowe, and new Head Coach Todd Haley will then have his own one-two receiver combo for Matt Cassel to throw to.  Drafting Crabtree looks like an even better idea with the recent exit of Tony Gonzalez.



4. Seattle Seahawks - Aaron Curry - OLB - Wake Forest

Coffee-town shipped out their best outside linebacker to Mo-Town (Julian Peterson), and the man who played opposite Peterson, Leroy Hill is reportedly skipping workouts for a new contract.

Arguably Seattle's biggest need is at offensive tackle, but they may get by for another year or two, with Walter Jones and newly extended Ray Willis, so they might just be content in drafting the best defensive player in this year's draft.



5. Cleveland Browns - Brian Orakpo - OLB/DE - Texas


Kamerion Wimbley's glorious rookie year wasn't so much a fluke, as so much his proceeding disappointing years were a cry for help.  Orakpo looks like the best pure pass rusher in this draft, he may soon be Wimbley's new best friend.



6. Cincinnati Bengals - Andre Smith - OT - Alabama

With Carson Palmer's injury woes seemly getting worse, Cinci will look to minimize #9's injury risk providing bookends on both sides of the line, with veteran Levi Jones already in place on the left, Smith can hopefully provide some much needed stability at the right tackle spot.



7. Oakland Raiders -Darrius Heyward-Bey - WR - Maryland

We all know how much Al Davis like fast wide-outs who can stretch the field, and even though Jeremy Maclin is a MUCH better receiver, Al Davis is Al Davis.  

To Davis' credit Heyward-Bey did have the fastest 40 time, running a 4.3 40, at the combine, and a lot of people did criticize the Titans for taking Chris Johnson out of ECU who had the fastest 40 time of last year's combine.

 

8. Jacksonville Jaguars - BJ Raji - DT - Boston College

The Jagz didn't realize how big of a loss Marcus Stroud would be.  They will have a chance to make a mends by grabbing the best defensive tackle in the '09 draft.

 

9. Green Bay Packers - Michael Oher - OT - Ole Miss

The Packers made a huge investment by giving their franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers a 60 million dollar plus contract.  Green Bay will need to protect that investment.  Since left tackle Chad Clifton is getting up their in age and doctors say free agent and long time Packer right tackle Mark Tauscher may not be ready to play until October at best.  

The Pack say they like Oher, better than Eugene Monroe, and if Raji's off the board, Oher may just be the highest player on their draft board at his point.



10. San Francisco 49ers - Eugene Monroe - OT - Virginia

New right tackle signee Marvel Smith provides depth and experience for the an offense
raring to 'run'. 'Run' the football that is.  The Niners would love it if Monroe falls to them at 10, he would help create bookends at offensive tackle for San Francisco, with solid starter Joe Staley already anchoring on the left side.



11. Buffalo Bills - Everette Brown - DE - Florida State

Before the Bills signed Terrell Owens, Lee Evans desperately needed somebody opposite him to take some of the pressure and double teams off of him. Now with that taken care of, Buffalo now needs to find somebody to take the pressure off Pro Bowl defensive end Aaron Schobel. They might just find that somebody in Brown.

 

12. Denver Broncos - Tyson Jackson - DE/DT - LSU

Denver is said to be high on Jackson, and though they have bigger needs elsewhere on their defense.  Though it kinda makes sense to draft Jackson, because the Broncos are switching to a 3-4, and Jackson is the best 3-4 defensive end in this draft.

 

13. Washington Redskins - Matt Sanchez - QB - USC

D.C.'s faith in their current starter Jason Campbell appears to be waining, especially with his second half drop off in '08.  Though it may be a surprise to some to see Sanchez go all the way down to 13, Washington looks to be happy to snap him up and probably even start him Week 1.



14. New Orleans Saints - Vontae Davis - CB - Illinois

Davis may be the most underrated player in this year's draft, and he most certainly would come in handy to the '08 Saints' Achilles heel, the secondary.



15. Houston Texans - Brian Cushing - OLB - USC

Insiders within the Texans organization say that Houston will almost certainly go defense with their first round pick.

Cushing would become an instant starter, for Houston.  A team who's two starting outside linebackers, only started a combined 15 games in '08.



16. San Diego Chargers - Malcolm Jenkins - CB/FS - Ohio State

The 'San Diego Super Chargers' have most of their defensive spots on lock-down (especially with the return of one Shawne Merriman), but the main weak spot of this defense lies at the top of the secondary, and by putting tackle machine Eric Weddle (127 tackles in '08) at strong safety, it would sure up the Charger secondary, and San Diego can do that by drafting this play-making Buckeye.

 

17. New York Jets - Jeremy Maclin - WR - Missouri

The Jets will be disappointed that they couldn't draft Matt Sanchez, but they wouldn't be sad for long, if they could get their hands on the 2nd best wide receiver in the draft.  Maclin would prove more than a worthy replacement for Laveranues Coles.



18. Denver Broncos - Chris Wells - RB - Ohio State

The loss of Mike Shanahan also mean the Broncos will lose their precious zone blocking
scheme.  That also means if the Broncos were to go into the 2009 season with a committee at the running back like they have so may times in the past, they would be much less effective.

Wells is the most talented running back in the draft, and would provide and extra punch that Denver is gonna need with Kyle Orton at quarterback.

 

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Josh Freeman - QB - Kansas State

The Bucs need a quarterback.  Tampa thinks very highly of the product, and soon to be pro project Freeman.  They won't mind reaching at 19 to draft him.



20. Detroit Lions - Rey Maualuga - MLB - USC

Since the Lions aren't going with Aaron Curry with the first overall pick, the Lions still need another linebacker to go along with Ernie Sims and Julian Peterson.  

Maualuga is a straight out beast, and the best middle linebacker available in this draft.  That works out perfectly for Detroit, since Sims and Peterson are both outside linebackers.



21. Philadephia Eagles - Knowshon Moreno - RB - Georgia

Correll Buckhalter is gone, and Brian Westbrook's mileage is getting pretty high. Philly will be licking their chops if Moreno falls to them at 21.



22. Minnesota Vikings - Percy Harvin - WR - Florida


Drug test, what drug test?  The Vikes are clearly looking the other way here, and there is no denying Harvin's talent.  Minnesota is hoping of course by taking Harvin their wide-out problems will be finally taken care of, with the nice duo of Bernard Berrian and Harvin.

 

23. New England Patriots - Aaron Maybin - OLB - Penn State

With Mike Vrabel gone, the Pat's need a new outside backer to pair with, stud Adaluis Thomas.  Maybin stock has slipped of late leading up to the draft, but Maybin will just what the doctor ordered, for the 3-time Super Bowl Champions.



24. Atlanta Falcons - Darius Butler - CB - UConn

The surprise of the NFC south overachieved all year on defense, and eventually got exposed in the playoffs.

The weakness of that defense was the secondary, and with Dominique Foxworth gone, the Falcons desperately need a corner.  Butler will be the best corner available come pick 24.



25. Miami Dolphins - Kenny Britt - WR - Rutgers

Some say Britt would be a reach in the first round, but Miami seem to really like the product out of Rutgers.  Britt would definitely make the Dolphin passing game better, if he can instantly produce of course, by putting fan favorite Greg Camarillo in the slot.



26. Baltimore Ravens - James Laurinaitis - MLB - Ohio State

Bart Scott's departure and Ray Lewis' age put the Ravens in a position of needing another one of those young and vastly skilled linebacker.  Laurinaitis can be both Scott's replacement, and in time, Suga Ray's successor.



27. Indianapolis Colts - Peria Jerry - DT - Ole Miss

Even when the Colts won their most recent Super Bowl, they had massive problems stopping the run.  Those problems still exist 3 years later.  Jerry can step in immediately for Indy and help their ailing interior defensive line.



28. Buffalo Bills - William Beatty - OT - Connecticut

This is a no brainer.  Find Jason Peters' replacement.  How fitting would it be if Buffalo could find it with the first round pick they got for him?



29. New York Giants - Hakeem Nicks - WR - North Carolina

Plaxico Burress is gone.  The Braylon Edwards supposed deal looks to have fell through.  Nicks may soon become the new hope for Giants' fans.



30. Tennessee Titans - Robert Ayers - DE - Tennessee

BJ Raji would be only guy who could actually legitimately step in and prove a somewhat
worthy replacement for Albert Haynesworth, at least in this draft anyway, and they Titans would have to trade up pretty high to land him in the first place.

So they will have to settle.  Ayers is a player that could blossom in time, and would for the Titans' sake hopefully provide some much needed relief for the huge hole that Haynesworth left.

 

31. Arizona Cardinals - Brandon Pettigrew - TE - Oklahoma State

It seems the Cards haven't had good tight end since Jackie Smith, and seeing that former project pick Ben Patrick didn't work out as planned, the Cards' offense could just bolster that passing offense of their's even more, so by drafting the best Tight End in the draft, which is Pettigrew.



32. Pittsburgh Steelers - Eben Britton - OT - Arizona


If the current Super Bowl Champions had a weakness last season, it was on the offensive line. Though the best lineman available at this point would be a center in Max Unger, the Steelers are set at that position with Justin Hartwig.

Britton would provide a much-needed upgrade over Willie Colon.

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