Rudy Dominick's Final NFL Mock Draft: First Round
1. Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford (QB)—Georgia
Detroit attempts to find their quarterback of the future. With eight possible offensive tackles going in the first round, they may attempt to draft one at No. 20 or No. 33.
With too many holes to fill around the team, Aaron Curry doesn’t fit because too much money would be tied up in the linebacking corps.
2. St. Louis: Jason Smith (OT)—Baylor
St. Louis released Orlando Pace with an eye on grabbing his replacement. The Rams need a solid line to help protect Marc Bulger while giving Steven Jackson holes to run through. Donnie Avery was the first wide receiver selected last year, so the Rams will look to help him later in the draft.
3. Kansas City: Eugene Monroe (OT)—Virginia
Kansas City added a linebacker by signing Zach Thomas, so Aaron Curry stays on the board here. The Chiefs draft Monroe to protect their new franchise quarterback Matt Cassel.
4. Seattle: Brian Orakpo (DE)—Texas
Orakpo gives Seattle an improved pass rush. Seattle has drafted defensive players in the first round four out of the last five selections. Mark Sanchez could be a possibility here by Seattle or with another team trading up.
5. Cleveland: Aaron Curry (LB)—Wake Forest
Cleveland gets the best consensus player in the draft while also filling a major need. Wide receiver could be a choice as well, with Braylon Edwards probably on his way out, but with receivers like Brian Robiskie available in Round Two, the Browns go defense.
6. Cincinnati: Andre Smith (OT)—Alabama
Cincinnati takes a player that fills two needs at once. Smith fills in at tackle, protecting Carson Palmer’s blind side. Yet, after being suspended at Alabama and skipping the combine, he also adds to the list of Bengals with questionable characters.
7. Oakland: Jeremy Maclin (WR)—Missouri
Oakland drafts its third top 10 offensive player in three years. NFL Network analyst and former Raiders personnel exec Michael Lombardi stated, “Al Davis needs a player with a good 40-yard-dash time,” which eliminates Michael Crabtree from consideration.
8. Jacksonville: Michael Crabtree (WR)—Texas Tech
Jacksonville finally gets the franchise wide receiver they have been missing since Jimmy Smith retired. Crabtree would have gone higher if it were not for his foot injury.
9. Green Bay: B.J. Raji (DT)—Boston College
Green Bay shifted from a 4-3 defense to the 3-4. Raji fills a major hole up the middle, giving the Packers an easier transition. A defensive end or linebacker are also possibilities.
10. San Francisco: Mark Sanchez (QB) —USC
San Francisco grabs their quarterback of the future. With Shaun Hill and Alex Smith on the roster, they grab their unquestioned starter.
11. Buffalo: Michael Oher (OT)—Ole Miss
With the Jason Peters trade, Buffalo adds Oher to fill a need. The Bills will target defensive help later in the draft.
12. Denver: Everette Brown (DE/OLB) —Florida St.
Head coach Josh McDaniels has stated he wants to stop the run. Brown is a pass rusher that could play either defensive end or outside linebacker in Denver’s new 3-4 scheme.
Washington helps newly-signed Albert Haynesworth with an explosive pass rusher. Ayers fills the hole left by the release of Jason Taylor.
14. New Orleans: Michael Jenkins (CB/S)—Ohio State
New Orleans needs help in the secondary, whether that’s at cornerback or safety. It’s been debated if Jenkins is a better fit at safety due to his lack of speed. Regardless of position, Jenkins is a major improvement for the Saints.
15. Houston: Vontae Davis (CB)—Illinois
Houston has spent several first round picks on the defensive line. Now is the time to grab the No. 1 cornerback the franchise has never had.
16. San Diego: Chris “Beanie” Wells (RB)—Ohio State
San Diego has a lot of money tied up with the running back position in 2009, yet this could be LaDainian Tomlinson’s last season with the Chargers. Darren Sproles is too small to carry the load himself. By drafting Wells, the Chargers will have a one-two punch for many years to come.
17. New York Jets: Josh Freeman (QB)—Kansas State
New York failed in their attempts to trade for Jay Cutler. Barring a trade for either Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson, the Jets select Freeman to be the quarterback of the future. A wide receiver could be selected as well.
18. Denver: Tyson Jackson (DE/DT)—LSU
The Broncos add another defensive line player, one who could play anywhere on the defensive line.
19. Tampa Bay: Peria Jerry (DT)—Ole Miss
Tampa Bay adds a big run-stuffing defensive tackle in Jerry. After signing Byron Leftwich to a two-year contract, they will look to grab their future quarterback later in the draft.
20. ARIZONA (Trade with Detroit): Knowshon Moreno (RB)—Georgia
Detroit trades the No. 20 pick to Arizona for No. 30 and another draft pick
Arizona needs offensive playmakers with the potential release of Edgerrin James and J.J. Arrington’s free-agency departure, so the Cardinals trade up to select Moreno before the Eagles. A possible Anquan Boldin trade would make this selection more important, giving the Cardinals another offensive weapon to complement Larry Fitzgerald.
21. Philadelphia: Brandon Pettigrew (TE)—Oklahoma State
22. Minnesota: Eben Britton (OT)—Arizona
Minnesota adds to their offensive line with Bryant McKinnie’s off the field issues and Ryan Cook’s inconsistency.
23. New England: Brian Cushing (OLB)—USC
New England traded Mike Vrabel earlier this offseason, so Cushing replaces him, adding youth to their aging linebacking corps. Cushing is versatile and could play the middle, if needed.
24. Atlanta: Louis Delmas (S)—Western Michigan
Atlanta needs to replace Lawyer Milloy and does so with a hard-hitting safety in Delmas.
25. Miami: Darius Butler (CB)—UConn
26. Baltimore: Aaron Maybin (DE/OLB)—Penn St.
Maybin played defensive end in college but projects to be an outside linebacker in the NFL. There are some question marks about being too little to play on the defensive line.
27. Indianapolis: Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR)—Maryland
Indianapolis adds a receiver after releasing Marvin Harrison, as there is little depth behind Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez. A defensive tackle is a possibility here; Peria Jerry or Evander Hood would be the targets.
28. Buffalo: Larry English (DE)—Northern Illinois
Buffalo filled their need at offensive line—now they attack their defensive line, adding a pass rusher that will take some pressure off Aaron Schobel.
New York released Plaxico Burress after legal troubles, which leaves a massive hole at receiver. Nicks gives the Giants a possession receiver with great hands. The Giants could trade for Braylon Edwards, filling their need at receiver. The Edwards deal could include this pick, more likely two draft picks, including a second round selection.
30. Tennessee: Percy Harvin (WR)—Florida
Tennessee has been lacking quality at wide receiver for years and adds Harvin to their ranks. Harvin would have gone earlier in the draft, but character issues and a possible failed drug test at the combine drop his stock to this pick.
31. DETROIT (Trade with Arizona): James Laurinaitis (MLB)—Ohio St.
Detroit needs to fill two major holes at middle linebacker and defensive tackle. If they draft Laurinaitis here, look for No. 33 to be a defensive tackle, either Ziggy Hood from Missouri or Ron Brace from Boston College. An offensive lineman could go here also with either Max Unger or Alex Mack.
32. Pittsburgh: William Beatty (OT)—UConn
Pittsburgh needs to add an offensive lineman or two in the draft. Beatty fills one of those holes but may need time to develop.
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