Hope everybody is as excited for the 2009 NFL Draft as we are. This is Part Three of the Craig from CT Sports Picks preview and predictions for this year's draft. If you missed the first two parts of Craig's Mock Draft, check them out here: Nos. 1-10, Nos. 11-20.
We are at the point in the NFL draft preview where we come to the playoff teams from 2008. These teams are trying to either improve or maintain their 2008 season success. Let's take a look.
21. Philadelphia Eagles
• Needs: Offensive tackle was a position of great need, but someone else has signed the No. 1 available OT free agent, Stacy Andrews, so now the Eagles can take the best available player. They are really hoping that one of the top players slides to them.
• Pick: Beanie Wells, RB from Ohio State, will make a nice power addition to the running game. Not a position of dire need with Brian Westbrook getting older, but it would be a great luxury to have a power running back that could be the next Eddie George.
22. Minnesota Vikings
• Needs: No way this team does not take a defensive secondary player. Both CB and safety for the Vikings were very up and down last year, and they need to get more consistent play from the secondary.
• Pick: D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt would be a great pick at this spot. Might be a little high for Moore, but he is the next best CB behind Malcolm Jenkins. If Jenkins would slide, they definitely would take him, but don’t look for him to slide.
23. New England Patriots
• Needs: Young defensive players are first on the list for NE. Look for them to pick the future MLB, and don't be surprised if they trade down.
• Pick: James Laurinaitis, MLB, Ohio State would go well with last year's ILB pick Jerod Mayo, the beast from Tennessee. I think Laurinaitis is going to show he isn’t a great ILB, but in the Patriot scheme he could be very good, I believe.
24. Atlanta Falcons
• Needs: Who would think that this year we could say this team is going to take the best available defensive playmaker? In one year's time, this team went from worst to almost first in their division.
• Picks: Clay Matthews, OLB, USC would be a great addition to an improving defense. They lost their starting LB in free agency, so Matthews can step right in and become the playmaker they need.
25. Miami Dolphins
• Needs: Not any glaring weakness, but I have a feeling though Bill Parcells will be taking either the best OL or DE available. But with Parcells, there are always trade options available.
• Pick: Aaron Maybin, DE/OLB, Penn State would be a nice fit for a team that could use a speed outside rusher and someone that is athletic enough to drop into coverage.
26. Baltimore Ravens
• Needs: An aging defense could use some help, and the offense also could use a weapon at WR for young QB Joe Flacco.
• Pick: Darrius Heyward-Bey: Looks like the typical speed receiver that has not yet developed his route running skills. Raw talent at WR in the right coaching hands could be a superstar.
27. Indianapolis Colts
• Needs: Stopping the run has to improve this year. Surely they will take the biggest DT left in this draft because they need to get bigger on the defensive line.
• Pick: Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss will help Indianapolis’ run defense. Defensive tackle has always been a problem for the Colts, especially after the Ed Johnson marijuana scandal. A No. 2-ranked DT would be a steal at this spot.
28. Philadelphia Eagles
• Needs: As we stated above, this team will most likely draft the best available player, and with addressing the RB position earlier, in this spot a defensive playmaker would be best.
• Pick: Sean Smith, S/CB, Utah could really step in and start and make big plays in the secondary for the Eagles. Improved depth here would be really nice.
29. New York Giants
• Needs: WR is a position of great need with Plaxico Burress being released due to his legal problems. New York will have to address the position here unless they trade for a big name receiver.
• Pick: Percy Harvin, WR, Florida would be a welcome addition to a team that lacks blinding speed. Injuries to Harvin are the only thing holding him back from being a top 10 pick. He's worth the risk this late in the first round.
30. Tennessee Titans
• Needs: Losing Albert Haynesworth makes this a possible DT need, but playmakers at WR are also needed.
• Pick: Brian Robiskie: Did not get to show his talent in a run heavy offense last year but has all the skills and is ready to play right now. Not the fastest or strongest but the most ready to step in and contribute as any receiver in this draft class.
31. Arizona Cardinals
• Needs: The defense for the Cards needs to be addressed by perhaps a DE pass rusher or another shutdown CB. With this high-powered offense, any defensive improvement makes this team dangerous.
• Pick: Michael Johnson, DE/OLB, Georgia Tech is one of those players that has not lived up to great hype. His athletic gifts are way too good to pass up. If he lives up to the hype, though, watch out.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers
• Needs: Offensive line help for this team is much needed. It's the worst offensive line the Steelers have had in recent years. The center spot here looks really attractive
• Pick: Alex Mack, C, California would be a great upgrade to last year's center, who gave up the most sacks of any center in the NFL.
This might be one of the more interesting drafts with so many teams really loving the same players. A position that will be very interesting is the wide receiver spot, with as many as six players going in the first round. Also, the up-in-the-air NFL player agreement might see a ton of trades involving big money players.
In any case, enjoy the 2009 NFL Draft.
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