Solving The Ultimate Puzzle: 2009 NFL Mock Draft

Thom Cunningham@ThomBhombCorrespondent IApril 8, 2009

1) Detroit Lions

Honestly, any player Detroit got would be an upgrade.

They could draft Eugene Monroe or Jason Smith to a much needed offensive line.

Besides, what good is an offense when you can’t block up front?

Another logical pick would be Aaron Curry, who I believe is the best player in this draft.

Imagine having Ernie Simms, Julian Peterson, and Aaron Curry in your linebacking corps!

But that’s too much to handle—besides, Detroit has the 20th pick as well as the 33rd (essentially three first-round picks). With the upgrade of Peterson, they can wait on a linebacker.

Personally I would pick Eugene Monroe, I think he will be just as good as Orlando Pace, but it seems Detroit is sold on Matt Stafford.

Matt Stafford is the better pick over Mark Sanchez, based on experience, mainly. I don’t believe his talent will live up to a No. 1 overall pick, but he is a solid safe pick.

Let’s just cross our fingers Detroit doesn’t take Michael Crabtree.

PICK: Matt Stafford (QB/Georgia)


2) St. Louis Rams

It is pretty obvious St. Louis is going with an offensive tackle. Good timing too—now that Orlando Pace is pretty much at the end of his great career, St. Louis needs a replacement.

Bulger is a good quarterback but needs protection, which is why I would go with Eugene Monroe. St. Louis seems to like Jason Smith more than Monroe.

I still think people are passing on too good an offensive lineman in Eugene Monroe.

PICK: Jason Smith (OT/Baylor)


3) Kansas City Chiefs

It was very sad to see Herman Edwards fired at the end of the season. Remember, he was taken away from the Jets to be the Chiefs' head coach.

In a way, I just feel Kansas City could have waited one more year before canning Herm. You can’t complain about Tom Haley though, especially with the addition of Matt Cassel.

Word has it that Kansas City is going to keep Tony Gonzalez, Brian Waters, and Larry Johnson, who will give Cassel a great supporting cast around him.

Kansas City will look to focus on their more-than-awful defense. The addition of Curry will solidify a very young dangerous defense, with Derrick Johnson, Bernard Pollard, and Glenn Dorsey all rising.

PICK: Aaron Curry (LB/Wake Forest)


4) Seattle Seahawks

Seattlebetter be doing some back flips when the camera shows their draft room. They will have Eugene Monroe fall right into their laps to replace an aging Walter Jones.

Remember Shaun Alexander? He won MVP running behind Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson, plus, helped carry his team to the Super Bowl. Now look at Alexander—he has been cut from Washington’s practice squad!

Alexander was running behind one of the best lines in NFL at the time. Now look at Adrian Peterson in Minnesota, who is he running behind? Hutchinson.

Monroe is the first step to Seattle rebuilding that line, and they were fortunate enough to have Monroe slips down to the fourth pick.

PICK: Eugene Monroe (OT/Virginia)


5) Cleveland Browns

Cleveland has a few options here, and will probably hear the phone ringing constantly with other teams wanting trades. I would personally go with Knowshon Moreno  in this case, just because Jamal Lewis is running out of time and Cleveland is in desperate need of a full-time back.

Cleveland needs help on defense, though. Brian Orakpo is the best decision. It would add speed to that 3-4 blitzing defense—but again, I think a halfback is more crucial here.

If Cleveland were to get a running back though, they would probably take Chris Wells. I’ve also been told Cleveland might take Aaron Maybin.

I spoke to Brown Town, and they want “Beanie” Wells (go figure??), but ultimately management makes the decision and they will likely go with Maybin or Orakpo.

PICK: Brian Orakpo (LB/Texas)


6) Cinncinati Bengals

A lot of experts have various possible scenarios the Bengals can go. Malcolm Jenkins is a possibility, but unlikely. Andre Smith has a very good chance of being selected here.

The Bengals would like to give Palmer some protection, but defense was their problem last year. Signing Tank Johnson can mean a lot of things, but I don’t think it means he will start for Cincinnati.

B.J. Raji seems like a steal with the sixth pick. He is a full force of 328 pounds as a rookie, and can move a pocket by himself. This kid seems too good to pass on, and it's not like drug problems will prevent the Bengals from drafting him.

PICK: B.J. Raji (DT/Boston College)


7) Oakland Raiders

There are really only two picks I see here for Oakland. It’s between the two best receivers in the draft, Jeremy Maclin (WR/Missouri) and Michael Crabtree (WR/Texas Tech).

Depending on what Oakland wants (speed or possession), will ultimately decide who they want. If they want speed, go with Maclin; possession skills, go with Crabtree.

Looking at Oakland’s current receivers, they don’t seem to have a No. 1 go to guy. Higgins already brings speed to that core, but with a vertical passing game, Maclin would fit the system better.

This pick would work out for two teams, Oakland and Jacksonville (who has the next pick).

PICK: Jeremy Maclin (WR/Missouri)


8) Jacksonville Jaguars

The reason I say Maclin to Oakland benefits Jacksonville is because Michael Crabtree will fall into their lap. Let’s face it, Maclin is perfect for Oakland and Crabtree is perfect for Jacksonville. Crabtree will fit in at the No. 1 receiver slot better in Jacksonville than any other receiver in the draft.

I think Crabtree was a better playmaker than Maclin in college, but each of them fit in with the other team so well, it’s hard to sell.

PICK: Michael Crabtree (WR/Texas Tech)


9) Green Bay Packers

Everyone has Green Bay going defense here. Players like Everette Brown and Aaron Maybin are possible choices. Malcolm Jenkins is definitely a possible option.

But if the Packers want Aaron Rodgers to succeed, they need better protection. Grant had trouble running the ball all year! Every Packer game I watched saw Rodgers under pressure (constantly) and Grant being stuffed at the line of scrimmage.

When has Green Bay picked a lineman in the first round? I can’t remember, and chances are they look defense.

The only way I see them not picking Maybin or Brown is if they are completely sold on Andre Smith (which they’re not). Plus, in a new 3-4, Maybin or Brown would fit perfectly for that scheme.

PICK: Aaron Maybin (LB/Penn State)


10) San Francisco 49ers

This pick will be interesting. I understand that the Vick-to-San Francisco talks are pretty much dead, so a quarterback would be the logical pick. Some good offensive lineman are available—not only Smith but Michael Oher could fit in well with the system.

The Niners won some games with Shaun Hill at quarterback, but if Mark Sanchez drops to the No. 10 pick, San Fran will not think twice to grab him, especially if Jacksonville passes on him.

PICK: Mark Sanchez (QB/USC)


11) Buffalo Bills

Buffalo needs two, maybe three things with their first pick. The two essentials are a linebacker and an offensive line. Buffalo could go with a running back (depending if Marshawn Lynch is suspended), but doubtful.

Buffalo needs a rusher off the edge, which would be perfect for Maybin, but he’ll be drafted top ten. Everette Brown would be another option (his speed to the quarterback will help their secondary), but what about Andre Smith?

Buffalo could use an offensive line to protect their young Trent Edwards. I feel Buffalo will go with whoever Green Bay leaves behind, that being…

PICK: Everette Brown (LB/Florida State)


12) Denver Broncos

The offense is pretty set, as long as Denver’s entire running back squad doesn’t get hurt again. I see Denver going defense here, which ultimately cost them the playoffs.

Denver got rid of cornerback Dre’ Bly, and Champ Bailey is getting older (he is still top corner though). So Denver could try to grab Malcolm Jenkins or Vontae Davis.

Knowshon would fit in nice here. I don’t think Denver is sold on Tatum Bell as the go to back, but they have too much depth to get Moreno. A linebacker makes sense too, locking up Rey Maualuga  and putting DJ Williams back at outside backer.

If they want to keep Williams at inside backer, I would go with Brian Cushing, who brings the right attitude to Denver. I’d be surprised if Jenkins goes beyond the 12th pick, but Vontae has more speed and is a harder hitter.

PICK: Vontae Davis (CB/Illinois)


13) Washington Redskins

Washington has a chance to obtain one of the best defenses in the NFL. Landry controls the safeties, Rogers has the corners (which have a lot of depth already), the addition of Haynesworth only enhances that defensive line, and London Baker is as good a leader as any linebacker.

Brian Cushing is probably the best pick for Washington, and gives them an aggressive outside backer—the only thing they are missing to be a complete defense.

Washington might go Andre Smith here. The running game all of a sudden stopped midseason for Washington, and Campbell was being pressured more and more as the season prolonged.

But Cushing seems to fit Washington’s system and everything they are looking for with the 13th pick (and linebacker). It’s too safe to sway away from.

PICK: Brian Cushing (LB/USC)


14) New Orleans Saints

If Malcolm Jenkins were to fall to pick No. 14, New Orleans would have to take him. Chris Wells would be a nice addition, but the Saints don’t need him. Pierre Thomas fills in just fine and proved that last year. Plus, Reggie Bush will be healthy.

The Saints need secondary help, bad! Going O-Line would not be a bad option, but New Orleans needs help at the secondary more than any other position. Why not draft the best defensive back available?

PICK: Malcolm Jenkins (DB/Ohio State)


15) Houston Texans

Houston’s defense is on the rise, and is going to rank top five or 10 next year. Houston found a running back in Steve Slaton last year, so neither Knowshon nor Beanie will be picked here.

Focusing away from defense, I think Houston goes offensive line here. Andre Smith is still available, but so is Michael Oher. The choice between the two will be Houston’s dilemma, but they have been drafting so well the past few years, I trust them to get the better player (between Smith and Oher).

Clay Matthews has been rising on draft boards, but I’m not sold on him.  There is always room to improve the offensive line.

PICK: Andre Smith (OT/Alabama)


16) San Diego Chargers

Will the Chargers take Knowshon? Possibly, but keep in mind the Chargers re-signed LaDainian Tomlinson. Knowshon would make sense—in next years draft, or if San Diego didn’t sign L.T. at all.

I think that pretty much ends Knowshon’s case for going to the Bolts.

I like Tyson Jackson coming in and filling the 3-4 role for San Diego. A wide receiver could be another option. Percy Harvin would be a nice fit for a gunslinger like Phillip Rivers.

Either Harvin or Jackson, I think, are San Diego’s best options, not Knowshon (who would barely play behind Sproles and L.T. anyway).

PICK: Tyson Jackson (DE/LSU)


17) New York Jets

Losing Brett Favre was probably a good thing for New York. It opened up an obvious position that New York will look to fill during the draft. Assuming no one trades up to grab him (Tampa Bay?), New York will more likely settle with Josh Freeman.

They filled their position needs (defensively) during the offseason. The addition of Bart Scott was probably the most under looked offseason move in the NFL. Also, the addition of Lito Sheppard fills a badly needed cornerback.

All of those acquisitions make New York’s draft choice even easier.

PICK: Josh Freeman (QB/Kansas State)


18) Denver Broncos

I don’t believe Denver will try to trade up in order to take Freeman. I like the quarterback competition between Simms and Orton. We already discussed the running-back situation, but a running back here would make more sense than at the number 12 pick.

Defense kept Denver out of the playoffs, so I think they will work on that during the first round. With a corner locked up, Denver will look to fill the defensive tackle spot.

There is one kid that keeps on rising in the draft stock. At first I didn’t like him, but the more I read about him, he seems like a pretty solid football player.

PICK: Peria Jerry (DT/Ole Miss)


19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I am still convinced that Tampa is going to try and trade up for Josh Freeman. I like Knowshon here, but Tampa singed Dedric Ward in the offseason and still have Graham and Cadillac, so a running back might be a questionable pick.

If Tampa doesn’t trade up for Freeman, than they will need to grab a receiver to help out that offense. Either McCown or Griese I believe can start this year, if Tampa wants to play the waiting game for Sam Bradford or Colt McCoy.

Antonio Bryant had a breakout year. He is a big receiver with solid hands and okay speed. Who would compliment that type of receiver best?

PICK: Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR/Maryland)


20) Detroit Lions

With their quarterback locked up, its time to build around him. If you commit your first pick to Stafford, you can’t go away from him, pick around him.

I say grab Michael Oher to help solidify that offensive line. Kevin Smith rushed for over 1,000 yards last year, and has potential to do more damage. Oher would bring a more confident rushing attack, more confident young quarterback and a more complete offensive line.

I think this draft offers tons of offensive-line talent, and it would be stupid of Detroit to pick Stafford and not try to build around him.

PICK: Michael Oher (OT/Mississippi)


21) Philadelphia Eagles

Okay, I am 100-percent convinced that Philly will get a running back here. Will they take Knowshon, though? I say no, because the style of play that Knowshon delivers is not what Philly needs.

Brian Westbrook is a speedy back who has proved he can run inside the tackles, but injuries are always a huge concern. Lorenzo Booker is his backup at the moment, who is nothing more than speed. Moreno is a top notch talent, but Philly needs a running back with more size and strength to his game.

A lot of scouts are saying Wells is the best running back. I say it is Knowshon, but Philly needs Beanie’s style rather than Knowshon’s. They can both block equally well.

PICK: Chris Wells (RB/Ohio State)


22) Minnesota Vikings

This could be a very dangerous draft pick—not for Minnesota, but the NFC North. Minnesota’s defense has no flaws.  It is almost perfect. Loosing Darren Sharper does hurt, but safeties are easily replaceable.

There has been one position Minnesota has struggled with ever since they traded away Randy Moss. I think Minnesota should go receiver with this pick, considering they are only a receiver away from being a dominant team.

Jackson proved he can play, after being benched, then getting a second chance to revive his starting role. Peterson and Taylor are too explosive for most defenses to handle, but there is another weapon that is just as explosive in the draft.

PICK: Percy Harvin (WR/Florida)


23) New England Patriots

The Patriots will not get a running back—and if they do, they need to be smacked in the face. They just signed veteran Fred Taylor, who is still a very talented running back and has been around the league for a while. Lawrence Maroney is still on the roster, and although he was hurt last year, he still has the capability to be an elite back.

I think New England focuses on the aging outside backers they have and get someone that can rush the passer and cover the zone. Surprisingly, there is someone who can do that still worth a first-round pick.

PICK: Clay Matthews, Jr (LB/USC)


24) Atlanta Falcons

I never thought I would see the day where Atlanta picked after New England.

This one is pretty simple. If Brandon Pettigrew falls here, Atlanta will give Matt Ryan another target and Michael Turner an extra blocker. Pettigrew might be seriously considered for teams picking before Atlanta, but I believe he dodges some bullets and ends up in Hotlanta.

PICK: Brandon Pettigrew (TE/Oklahoma State)


25) Miami Dolphins

Now I had some trouble with this one, but I like Miami going defense here. Hakeem Nicks wouldn’t be a bad option, but I think they trust Ernest Wilford as their big possession receiver, for now. If Miami wants Henne to be their starter in 2010, then drafting Nicks would not be stupid at all.

I don’t see Nicks as a Parcells type of guy though, so again I like defense. Originally I had James Laurinaitis going here, but Miami also needs a defensive end. Robert Ayers has been slipping in my mock draft, so if the talent he can deliver ends up at the 25th pick, it will be hard for Parcells to pass up.

PICK: Robert Ayers (DE/Tennessee)


26) Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore’s options to replace Bart Scott include Laurinaitis and Maualuga. They might want someone to take the reigns when Lewis retires as well. Hakeem Nicks would bring great hands and talent to the Baltimore offense, but Flacco succeeded with veteran Derrick Mason and rising star Mark Clayton.

Todd Heap, Willis McGahee and breakout player Leron McClain also surround Flacco, so I think Baltimore can wait to draft offense. They need a replacement for Scott and someone to take over when Ray leaves. Baltimore usually looks for intensity, hard-hitting, and speed when drafting their linebackers.

PICK: Rey Maualuga (LB/USC)


27) Indianapolis Colts

This is the most mysterious team in the first round. Rumors have it that Indy wants a defensive tackle.

Luckily, there is one left worthy of the first round. His nickname might throw you off, but he is a solid player that has tons of potential, especially if he goes to the right organization.

Indianapolis is one of the best organizations in the NFL right now, so this could end up being a match made in heaven.

PICK: Ziggy Head (DT/Missouri)


28) Philadelphia Eagles

Now that they have their running back, they can focus on the linebacking corps. Matt Stewart is not a number-one linebacker (in my mind), so I would take Laurinaitis here. Nicks could end up here as well, but Curtis, Jackson and Brown seem to have the organizations side.

Besides, if Philly wanted a receiver, they might trade Cleveland for Braylon or Arizona for Boldin, but I doubt it. Loosing Dawkins was definitely a downgrade, so a safety would be another logical pick. There are no safeties that can match the talent that Laurinaitis has at the linebacking position at this point of the draft.

If Baltimore takes Lauinaitis, then Maualuga will end up here I believe, but since I have Rey going to Baltimore…

PICK: James Laurinaitis (LB/Ohio State)


29) New York Giants

Heyward-Bey is the most interested prospect for the Giants, so if Tampa trades to get Freeman, New York may have dodged a bullet. Since Heyward-Bey will go to Tampa if they elect not to fight for Freeman, New York has a backup receiver they can draft. H

e is a Big East guy (which Jerry Reese loves), with a big body and big hands.

A tall Kenny Britt would be a terrific fallback plan if Heyward-Bey is gone by pick 29, which I believe he will be (granted Tampa doesn’t go after Freeman).

PICK: Kenny Britt (WR/Rutgers)


30) Tennessee Titans

Torry Holt was a huge upgrade, and could determine if Tennessee can make a run at the Super Bowl. Losing Haynesworth won’t hurt them as bad as I think, but improving that defensive line wouldn’t hurt.

Tennessee had an eye on Robert Ayers, but the talent this kid has will not drop him to the 30th pick. Another fallback plan might be the case here, so I see Tennessee drafting Michael Johnson. He has a the capabilities of being great, but just needs some guidance. That is where Jevan Kearse fits in, you feel me?

PICK: Michael Johnson (DE/Georgia Tech)


31) Arizona Cardinals

This could be the ultimate steal in the draft, especially if Arizona were to trade up in order to grab this guy. Arizona could give Boldin to Philly for one of their draft picks, but my pick for this team wouldn’t change.

Arizona’s defense found their mojo and everyone knows how good their aerial attack is. Edgerrin has been struggling, so they will probably take someone to replace him for the future. Hightower proved he can play, but I’m not sure he can carry the load by himself.

This is the steal in this draft.

PICK: Knowshon Moreno (RB/Georgia)


32) Pittsburgh Steelers

This is probably the second-easiest guess in the draft. Pittsburgh only has one true flaw, and that is their offensive line. Get the best lineman available, and protect Big Ben before he is knocked out of the game alltogether.

PICK: William Beatty (OT/UConn)


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