My NFL Mock Draft: First Round Only

Kevin DeBenedetto@KDebo9Correspondent IApril 18, 2009

For my first article written on The Bleacher Report, I will post my NFL mock draft, first round only. I am currently working on rounds two and three, and will post a larger mock when it is close to draft day.

I don't put trades into my mock draft, although I see a lot of teams trading out of their spot (Note: Washington in my mock). I hope you like what you see, and become a fan of me. Plenty of good articles will be coming.


1. Detroit Lions – Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia

The Lions are a mess, except for a few positions. They go either Stafford, or a top LT here. After the success of the Falcons last year with drafting Ryan, and needing a face of the franchise, they go with the talented Stafford here.


2)  2. St. Louis Rams – Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia

The Rams released Orlando Pace, basically putting it from 95 percent of drafting an OT to 99 percent. The only reason they don’t is if new coach Steve Spagnuolo wants Curry, and can make the front office see it from his point.

A blitzing specialist, Spags may want Curry in his defense. Overall, I think he realizes the significance of a strong offensive line, and the Rams takes the best OT in the draft in Monroe.


3)  3. Kansas City Chiefs – Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest

The best defensive player in this draft, and possibly one of the safest, Aaron Curry was a dominant force at LB in college. Look for him to expand on that in the pros, get drafted by the Chiefs and become a great player for them.


4)  4. Seattle Seahawks – Jason Smith, OT, Baylor

The Seahawks could go a multitude of ways here; Sanchez, Crabtree, or Jason Smith. In the end, they still have faith in Hasselbeck, like their core of Housh/Branch, so they draft OT Jason Smith to anchor the blind side of the line for the next 10 years.

The second best OT in the draft, also has huge upside and could be the best in the next couple of years, the Seahawks are happy to take him here.


5)  5. Cleveland Browns – Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

I originally had the Browns taking Orakpo, but I go with Crabtree here. With Donte Stallworth out of the picture, Kellen Winslow traded, and the strong possibility that Edwards is traded on draft day, the Browns take the best receiver in the draft.


6)  6. Cincinnati Bengals – Andre Smith, OT, Alabama

Oh, how the mighty have risen, fallen, and risen again. Once considered a strong candidate for the No. 1 pick, Smith had a terrible combine, along with all sorts of agent problems. That is behind him now, though, and the Bengals seem to be high on Smith.

They have terrible depth on the line, along with a terrible line, and they take Smith sixth.


7)  7. Oakland Raiders  - Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State

Al Davis loves athletes, and that is exactly what Maybin is. Davis has shown faith in his youth, such as Johnnie Lee Higgins, and still thinks Porter is good. With that, he wants a freak of an athlete for the defensive end position, and he gets that in Maybin.


8)  8. Jacksonville Jaguars - B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College

I had Maclin going here for a long time, but I think with Raji falling this far, the Jaguars have to take him. He has huge upside, and destroyed the competition at the combine.

Although they have no receivers on the team now, that is a problem they can fix in the second round, and a player like Raji should not be passed up on.


9)  9. Green Bay Packers –  Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU

The Packers have a pressing need for a DE for their new 3-4 defense, so they take the talented Tyson Jackson. Jackson is the perfect 3-4 end in this year's draft, and the Packers are happy to get him here.


10)10. San Francisco 49ers - Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas

Does this shock people? Probably. They should take Sanchez, and have a chance at grabbing a possible franchise quarterback. But reports are that they don’t like Sanchez, and would pass on him here. Maybe a smokescreen, but I’ll go with it.


11)11. Buffalo Bills – Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss

I had a defensive end going here, but with the trade for Peters and snagging the 28th pick, they HAVE to shore up that offensive line. Oher has all the tools to become an excellent LT in this league, and as the best remaining tackle, the Bills take him to replace Peters.


12)12. Denver Broncos - Mark Sanchez, QB, USC

They had their quarterback of the future, but McDaniels overruled it and out he went. Now they need a quarterback, going through a rebuilding phase. They take Sanchez here, and let him sit behind Kyle Orton for a year.


13)13. Washington Redskins – Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri

The Redskins need offensive line help, but there is no offensive lineman worth taking in the 13th slot now that the big four are gone. So they go with Maclin, to play alongside Santana Moss. They give Jason Campbell another target.


14)14. New Orleans Saints – Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State

Jenkins has the versatility to play CB or S, and the Saints have a weak, albeit young, secondary. Jenkins will fit in perfectly here, playing S on normal packages and a nickel back in quarter/dime packages. His versatility makes him the first defensive back taken.


15)15. Houston Texans – Clay Matthews, OLB, USC

The Texans have a smart front office, and know that defense wins championships. They have been building up a strong defensive line for a while, and now take a good OLB to play alongside Demeco Ryans. He is the best LB available at this spot.


1 616. San Diego Chargers – Ebon Britton, OT, Arizona

A RB or even a WR is not out of the question here. But the offensive line took a deep fall from two years ago, and they take Britton to play RT to try and keep the line young and strong.


17 17. New York  Jets – Chris "Beanie" Wells, RB, Ohio State

I’ve had the Jets going RB for a while here, but it was Moreno over Wells. I’m putting Wells here now cause of a couple of reasons; he is bigger, faster, and is a perfect complement to Washington.


18)18. Denver Broncos – Everette Brown, DE, Florida State

Every year, there are two or three players that fall that shouldn’t. Brown is one of them. The Broncos are thrilled he falls, and take him, and start to build up their new 3-4 defense.


19)19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State

The signing of Leftwich lets them take Freeman, and have him sit on the bench for a year or even two. They didn’t want to have to throw Freeman right into the fire, and now they don’t have to.


20)20. Detroit Lions – William Beatty, OT, Connecticut

The Lions would be stupid to pass up on Beatty here. They just drafted Stafford number one overall, and need to keep him protected so he doesn’t develop the David Carr syndrome. If they don’t feel comfortable with Beatty, they could do defensively also.


21)21. Philadelphia Eagles – Robert Ayers, DE, Tennesee

When they had two picks, I had them taking an OT here. But with the trading of Peters, this pick becomes pretty clear. Reid doesn’t like drafting running backs early, so that is out of the picture.

He has faith in Kevin Curtis, and Jackson will have another year under his belt. The organization likes Celek. That leaves the defensive side of the ball, and they draft Robert Ayers to play DE.


22)22. Minnesota Vikings – Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois

After going for Housh hard, some might think they go for a possession receiver in Kenny Britt. They need some help on the secondary side, and Davis is a strong pick here, who could play a No. 2 CB slot for a long time.


23)23. New England Patriots – Rey Maualuga, MLB, USC

Rumors of him being up to 285 won’t stop the Patriots from drafting him. They got a stud linebacker in Jerod Mayo in the draft last year, and look for another linebacker to play next to him for the next 10 years. They could have it in Maualuga, and they hope they do.


24)24. Atlanta Falcons- Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss

The Falcons were suspected to either pick Ryan or Dorsey last year. Obviously they picked Ryan, and it was the right pick. This year, with Grady Jackson gone, they take their defensive tackle. Jerry steps in on day one to play.


25)25. Miami Dolphins – Sean Smith, CB/S, Utah

Parcells loves versatility, and that is what Sean Smith has. He can play either CB or S, and do great at both position.


26)26. Baltimore Ravens –Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland

With Mason getting old, they need a wide receiver. DHB would be a great speedy threat for Flacco, and would fill in nicely as a No. 2 receiver.


27)27. Indianapolis Colts – Evander Hood, DT, Missouri

Hood might be a reach here, but it is a huge need for the Colts, seeing as they have basically no one at the position. Someone like Kenny Britt wouldn’t be a surprise either.


28)28. Buffalo Bills – Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech

His athleticism alone will get him drafted in the first round. With the LT position filled due to drafting Oher earlier, they can take their biggest need; a DE. Johnson can rotate the position to get his feet wet, learn the game, and be a force for years.


29)29. New York Giants – Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State

They have four possible choices here; RB, WR, TE, or CB. They won’t draft WR, due to the depth of this draft. They could possibly go CB, but the offense lacks a big time playmaker now that Plax is gone.

Knowshon is a possibility, but after signing Jacobs to an extension, they just hand him the ball often. Even though Kevin Boss showed signs of good play on their Superbowl run, Pettigrew offers the ability to play 2-TE sets and a big body for Eli in the red zone.


30)30. Tennessee Titans – Darius Butler, CB,  Connecticut

Besides Finnegan, they have no one playing the CB spot. Butler could play number three for his first year, then comfortably move into the No. 2 slot.


31)31. Arizona Cardinals – Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia

The Cardinals had a very weak rushing game, which might have held them back from winning it all. Moreno will step in and split carries with Edge for now, and soon be the main guy in the desert.


32)32. Pittsburgh Steelers – Alex Mack, C, California

The Steelers are the Champs, and they are getting back two healthy running backs in Parker and Mendenhall. Their offensive line was not good at all last year, and drafting Mack will make it strong. He will anchor the Steelers line for 10-12 years strong.


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