NFL Mock Draft Update One
With the draft closing in faster then a Little Debbie truck to Andre Smith's house, I thought it was time to do my mock draft and present it to all the Bleacher Report readers out there.
So without further ado, here we go.
1. Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford QB (Georgia)
Oh Lions fans, I feel your pain. After not winning a game last season, you inherit the No. 1 pick, in a year when there is once again no true No. 1 selection. The idea of the Lions selecting Stafford brings up the image of Joey Harrington to mind all to many Lions' fans.
Although I believe Stafford has a stronger arm and better overall skill set, his height and gunslinger approach worry me a bit. However, in the end, I believe the Lions follow the age old NFL rule about a franchise quarterback: If you don't have one, don't pass up the chance to get one.
2. St. Louis Rams: Eugene Monroe OT (Virginia)
With this selection, here comes the first big surprise of my mock draft. Two things factor in my prediction here. First, after selecting Chris Long last year, it's widely known the Rams were high on Monroe then.
Secondly, there are many out there who just do not believe Jason Smith is as good as the experts have hyped him up to be. Remember, he came out of nowhere to fly up to the top five on most peoples draft boards.
3. Kansas City Chiefs: Jason Smith OT (Baylor)
With Monroe off the board, the Chiefs will select the second best OL prospect in Smith. Smith is a big and talented player, who comes from a smaller sized school then most of the big time offensive line prospects.
However, as history tells us, OL can come from almost any school and level of experience to become productive NFL players. Just look at the Bills Jason Peters (undrafted) or Stacy Andrews (late round pick, very limited OL experience). This makes Smith a very safe bet, and a great player to pair with Branden Albert.
4. Seattle Seahawks: Andre Smith OT (Alabama)
I know many people will argue for Crabtree or Curry here, but I think the Seahawks will surprise everyone with this pick. The signing of T.J. Houshmanzadeh probably will steer the team away from Crabtree, as they will not want to high salaries tied up in one position.
Although there is still a high chance the team could select Curry here, I still think it is a bit high for a linebacker. In Smith, the Seahawks get a player who, if his head is screwed on straight, is the best OL in the draft, but as we all know, that is a big if.
5.Cleveland Browns: Micheal Crabtree WR (Texas Tech)
It seems very likely Browns WR Braylon Edwards will find his way out of town come draft day. Either way, I don't see the Browns passing on Crabtree at No. 5, and they certainly will not pass on him if they acquire another pick by dealing Edwards.
There have been questions about Crabree's speed and size, but all you have to do is look at what he did against top competition at Texas Tech to know he is the best pure WR in the draft. He will help off-set the loss of Kellen Winslow and probably Edwards, and will give the team another shot at having a true No. 1 wide out.
6. Cincinnati Bengals: B.J. Raji DT (Boston College)
With both Smiths' off the board and Monroe gone also, I think the Bengals will look to shore up their defensive line instead of reaching this high for another offensive lineman.
Raji is a 6'1", 315 pound force, who will immediately help to shore up the Bengals porous defensive line. Wide receiver is another place the team may look, but the recent signing of Laverneous Coles will probably have the Bengals looking elsewhere at No. 6.
7. Oakland Raiders: Aaron Curry LB (Wake Forest)
Could it be possible that Curry, the best overall play in the 2009 draft, will fall this far? I think so, and I think the Raiders will not even be dumb enough to pass up on Curry.
Curry is a fast, hard-hitting playmaker who will immediately updgrade the Raiders defense. However, Al Davis is still the man in charge, so do not be surprised to see someone like a Michael Johnson or Jeremy Macklin here either.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Brian Orakpo DE (Texas)
This pick will either come down to Orakpo or USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. Considering Reggie Heyward is coming off a down season with only 4.5 sacks, and Quentin Groves having only a two sack season on the other side, I think the Jags will go with Orakpo at No. 8.
Orakpo is considered by many to be a workout warrior, but considering the options left (Macklin, Sanchez, Johnson, etc.) they are all pretty much in the same boat. Orakpo has good size and strength and should be able to make an impact on the Jags defensive line right away.
9. Green Bay Packers: Tyson Jackson DE (LSU)
With the Packers switching to a 3-4 scheme under Dom Capers, the addition of Jackson would be a very solid one for the Packers. Jackson is ideal for a 3-4 and could either be a DE or LB depending on how Capers wants to use him.
10. San Francisco 49ers: Jeremy Maclin WR (Missouri)
If you have not caught on by now, I in no way follow the current trends of most mock drafts you can find online. Almost everyone has the 49ers selecting either Sanchez, Orakpo, or Maybin here.
First, I don't think the 49ers are as high on Sanchez as many think, and they already have two decent options in Sean Hill and Alex Smith, who is returning from injury. With Orakpo already having been taken two pics before, that leaves Maybin. Although Maybin is very talented, questions have begun to surface about his strength and instincts, which leads me to Maclin.
The 49ers are in need of a true No. 1, and although Maclin will take some work to develop into that target, he would be able to contribue as a rookie and would also help the team out returning kicks, thus proving a valuable addition for 2009.
11. Buffalo Bills: Brandon Pettigrew TE ( Oklahoma State)
With the addition of T.O. to a talented offense that includes Lee Evans and Marshawn Lynch, the Bills can give quarterback Trent Edwards another big target with the selection of Pettigrew. Although not the best pure receiving tight-end in the draft, he is the best all around tight-end.
12. Denver Broncos: Mark Sanchez QB (USC)
Now that Josh McDaniels has run Jay Cutler into the windy city, he can groom the Mile High City's next successor to John Elway by selecting Sanchez. Although McDaniels is high on both Kyle Orton and Chris Simms, it will become evident early on that neither is the answer at QB for Denver. By selecting Sanchez, the Broncos can bring him along slowly, which will be important considering he has only one full season of starting experience.
13. Washington Redskins: Micheal Oher, OT (Ole Miss)
After upgrading the interior of their defensive line by adding Albert Haynesworth, the Skins can now focus on retooling their old and slow offensive line. Oher is a mid-round talent who has a chance to be a solid starter in the NFL.
14. New Orleans Saints: Malcolm Jenkins, CB/S (Ohio State)
This is probably the easiest pick in the entire 2009 draft. I would be shocked to see the Saints go anywhere else with this pick, considering they have a huge hole in the secondary. Jenkins may not be a starting corner in the NFL, but considering the Saints have a need a safety also, this becomes a solid pick.
15. Houston Texans: Clay Matthews OLB (USC)
If Cato June is one of your starting outside linebackers, you need help. The Texans would do good by selecting USC walk-on Matthews, who's uncle is also a member of the Texans coaching staff. This pick will further solidify the Texans defense for a playoff run in 2009.
16. San Diego Chargers: Ray Maualuga ILB (USC)
Despite yet another playoff exit, the Chargers still remain one of the most talented teams in the NFL. This will give them the luxury of selecting the local product Maualuga, who will give the team a hard-nosed linebacker for the future.
17. New York Jets: Josh Freeman QB (Kansas State)
After the one year disaster of Bret Favre, the Jets are once again in need a solid starting quarterback. Kellen Clemens was exposed as nothing more then an average starter at best, so by selecting the second best quarterback in my opinion (and the third overall in my mock draft) in Freeman, the Jets will have a quarterback who won't start right away but will give the team hope for the future.
Freeman has above average height and arm strength, and has better mobility then Stafford and Sanchez.
18. Denver Broncos: Michael Johnson DE (Georgia Tech)
Despite being a 3-4 defense, the addition of Johnson will give the Broncos the potential for someone who can not only lineup at defensive end and provide a pass rush, but who can also step out and rush from the linebacker position. As everyone knows Johnson is a physical specimen who has been labeled by many as an underachiever.
Although he has not backed up his physical features with the numbers many would expect, there are many factors from his years at Georgia Tech that attributed to this. I am a Johnson supporter and think he will have an impact on any club that selects him.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Brian Cushing OLB (USC)
This pick comes down to two players for me. Cushing and CB Vonte Davis from Illinois. The Bucs have a solid yet aging player in Ronde Barber as the main man at cornerback, with an unproven Aquib Talib on the other side.
The addition of Davis is very possible here, but his inability to accept rough coaching, along with off the field issues and limited success of his brother, Vernon Davis, lead me to think Cushing will be the selection.
The addition of Cushing will add a solid outside linebacker to offset the loss of Derrick Brooks and will give the team a solid young player to pair with Barrett Rudd.
20. Detroit Lions: Eben Britton OT (Arizona)
After adding a franchise quarterback in Stafford the Lions can now add to what is a horrible offensive line by selecting Britton. The Lions may consider someone such as Robert Ayers or James Larinitus here, but they could probably pick up one or the other with the first pick in the second round.
Britton is an underrated player who could develop into a solid tackle in the NFL. After an average performance by rookie Gosder Cherilous last season, the Lions are still searching for a dominant play on the offensive line, and eventually Britton may become the answer.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Knowshon Moreno RB (Georgia)
Unless the Eagles trade up, I believe they will be forced to go away from what head coach Andy Reid likes to do in the first round, which is draft either offensive or defensive lineman.Although Maybin and Ayers are still on the board, neither really fit the Eagles defensive style. This leads me to believe the Eagles will select the eventual replacement for Brian Westbook in this spot.
Adding Moreno will give the Eagles a chance to spell Westbrook with another dynamic back. Although there have been questions about Moreno's speed, all you have to do is look at his tape from his college career to know this guy is a special back who can be a game changer.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Kenny Britt WR (Rutgers)
The Vikings need help at a few positions, many of which have seen the best players fall off the board by the time they select at No. 22. The Vikings could use a true No. 1 wide receiver, however, and I believe that makes the most sense at this point in the draft.
Although players such as Harvin and Heyward-Bey are still on the board, I believe neither has as high of an upside as Britt. Although underachieving for much of his career at Rutgers, Britt came on strong at the end of last season to dominate the competition and really began to turn a corner. He has better size and strength then both Harvin and Heyward-Bey, and is a better risk then both of those players at this point.
23. New England Patriots: Aaron Maybin OLB/DE (Penn State)
There is a very good chance come draft day Maybin will go either much higher or much lower then this, depending on how NFL personnel people feel about his frame and skill set. Many feel he needs to bulk up to be able to shed blocks on the NFL level, but his game film suggests he can blow up plays and be a play-maker at the next level.
The Patriots are never shy about selecting a hybrid type of player such as Maybin and would love for him to fall to them at 23. He would add more speed to an aging linebacker core and if nothing else would give the team an outside pass rushing threat.
24. Atlanta Falcons: Peria Jerry DT (Ole Miss)
Jerry is a very quick and fast defensive line prospect with a great motor, exactly the type of player Falcons coach Mike Smith will be looking for late in the first round. Jerry had a good career at Ole Miss, and will add bulk and toughness to the Falcons defensive front.
25. Miami Dolphins: Percy Harvin WR (Florida)
The Dolphins could go any number of ways at No. 25, but I think they will add another offensive weapon for Chad Pennington. Harvin is a very fast and talented wide receiver and could very well be gone by the time the Dolphins select. However, his injury history and size present question marks as to how he will hold up at the next level.
With Ted Ginn looking more like just a solid No. 2, the addition of Harvin can do nothing but help the Dolphins and add another speedy option.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Darius Butler CB (UCONN)
Almost everyone has the Ravens going wide receiver with this pick, but I had to follow my gut and think they will stay away from drafting a wide receiver with this selection.
The Ravens began making over their conerback situation with the addition of Dominique Foxworth, and by drafting Butler, would be will primed for the future in the secondary. Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome often goes with the "best player available", and Butler has emerged as the top cornerback on most teams boards.
27. Indianapolis Colts: Evander "Ziggy" Hood DT (Missouri)
The Colts have no big glaring needs, but upgrading the middle of the defensive line is a bit of a concern heading into next season. Adding a player of Hood's caliber would be perfect for the Colts, even though it has been reported the team favors Jerry more.
By selecting Hood, the Colts would land a player who could immediately contribute in the defensive line rotation, and help bring the Indy defense back to respectability.
28. Philadelphia Eagles: Phil Loadholt OT ( Oklahoma)
The odds of the Eagles keeping both first round picks is very slim, coming in at about zero percent. However, since trades are not a factor in my mock, we'll just have the Birds taking Loadholt with this selection.
The Eagles need to get younger and more talented on the offensive line, and Loadholt is the huge lineman Andy Reid dreams about. Loadholt projects more as a right tackle rather then a left tackle, but would still be a welcome addition to the Eagles.
There is a wide chance this pick could belong to the Cleveland Browns or Arizona Cardinals come draft day, but if the Giants do not go after an established No. 1 wide out, look for them to take one very early on in the draft.
Nicks will probably be the best of the bunch left at 29, and would give Eli Manning a young, big target to replace the older, bigger target in Plaxico Burress. Nicks is a good route runner with good hands, but questions about his speed and separation are the concerns for him at the next level.
30. Tennessee Titans: Vonte Davis CB (Illinois)
The Titans biggest need is at cornerback and Davis is the best one left on the board. A top 15 talent, Davis has seen of the field issues and questions about his commitment drop him to the bottom of the first round. Davis will be surrounded by a veteran team that has been deep in the playoffs, so Tennessee may bank on that keeping him in line.
31. Arizona Cardinals: Everette Brown DE/OLB (Florida State)
Despite all you hear about The Cardinals taking a running back, they are in position to take the best available player at 31. Although Brown is a better fit for a 3-4 defense, his ability to get to the quarterback cannot be ignored, and I believe the Cardinals will love to see a player of his caliber still available here at 31.
However, there is a good chance Brown will be long gone before this pick irregardless of how my mock plays out. If so, the team will probably look to a running back of the future, either Beanie Wells or Donald Brown.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Larry English DE/OLB (Northern Illinois)
Taking the best player available also applies to the Super Bowl Champs, who will never turn down a chance to improve an already great defense. By selecting English, a small college player with NFL ability, the Steelers add yet another fast, pass rushing linebacker perfect for their 3-4 defense.
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