1. Detroit Lions—Matt Stafford, QB, Georgia
The Lions have already announced that they have agreed to a contract with Stafford on a six-year deal worth a guaranteed $41.7 million. That's a ridiculous amount of money for any rookie but apparently they felt Stafford was worth it and he will be the first pick of the 2009 NFL draft.
2. St. Louis Rams—Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
The Rams lost both Tory Holt and Orlando Pace, two of the last remaining pieces of their "Greatest Show on Turf" team. Eugene Monroe is the perfect guy to replace Pace and anchor the left side of their line for the next decade.
3. Kansas City Chiefs—Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
The Chiefs are in bad shape and need players at many positions. Aaron Curry is the best player in the draft and they have a big need at linebacker. Their signing of Zach Thomas shows they are desperate at that position.
4. Seattle Seahawks—Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
Walter Jones has a couple years left in him at best. Jason Smith is a very gifted pass protector that can play on the right side until Jones retires. They could go with Mark Sanchez or Michael Crabtree but I think Matt Hasselbeck has a few years left in him and they have a lot of money invested into the wide receiver position already.
5. Cleveland Browns—Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
I don't know what Eric Mangini is thinking but it seems he wants to get rid of Braylon Edwards. That coupled with the trade of Kellen Winslow and the legal troubles of Donte Stallworth leaves them with no offensive playmakers. Michael Crabtree seems to fill the biggest need for them.
6. Cincinnati Bengals—Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
For some reason it seems Andre Smith has climbed back up to the top end of the draft. The Bengals need help everywhere but quarterback. Keeping Carson Palmer upright should be their biggest priority this year and the way you do that is with the offensive line, especially a left tackle.
7. Oakland Raiders—Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
I realize Oher didn't run a 4.3 40-yard dash. I realize he didn't put up 40 bench reps at the combine. But Tom Cable will be pulling hard for an offensive tackle, especially one with the unbelievable physical talent of Michael Oher. Al likes 40 times, but even he wants to see Russell on his feet instead of his back. Also, Al hasn't drafted a receiver in the first round since 1988 (Tim Brown).
8. Jacksonville Jaguars—Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
The Jaguars' receiving corp was horrible last year to say the least. Even with the signing of Tory Holt they could use another one. Maclin could play opposite of Tory Holt while also studying under him. This will give David Garrard, who they invested a lot of money into last year, some legit weapons to use this year.
9. Green Bay Packers—B.J. Raji, NT, Boston College
The Packers will switch to a 3-4 defense this year, a defense that relies heavily on the play of their nose tackle. Ryan Pickett is the penciled in starter but he has no experience in the scheme and he is on a contract year. B.J. Raji is far and away the best nose tackle prospect in this draft class.
10. San Francisco 49ers—Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
The Alex Smith era is over and it's time for a new quarterback. Shaun Hill is a decent short term solution at best. From what I've heard, Mike Singletary likes Mark Sanchez and new regimes often mean new quarterbacks.
11. Buffalo Bills—Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
This is a steal if Orakpo falls this far and he fills a big need for the Bills. Orakpo would provide an immediate upgrade to their pass rush, something this team needs to desperately improve.
12. Denver Broncos—Everette Brown, DE, Florida State
Denver is switching to a 3-4 defense this year and they have no pieces for it in the front seven. With Raji off the board there is no nose tackle worth taking this high so they will have to look at an outside rush linebacker. Everette Brown can be the guy to fill that spot for them, converting from defensive end to outside linebacker.
13. Washington Redskins—Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
With the loss of Marcus Washington and the age of London Fletcher, the Redskins are in need of some help in their linebacking corp. Dan Snyder loves big names and Rey Maualuga is one of the biggest names in this draft. Playing behind Albert Haynesworth will allow Maualuga to do what he does best: abuse ball carriers.
14. New Orleans Saints—Brian Cushing, LB, USC
The Saints could easily go defensive back or running back here but outside linebacker is a very pressing need for them. Brian Cushing is a very talented player who can help the Saints' defense with both his pass rushing abilities and his tough run stopping skills. He would pair up very nicely with Johnathan Vilma to make life tough for opposing offenses.
15. Houston Texans—Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
Vontae Davis is an incredibly gifted coverage player who can pair up with Dunta Robinson to make a mean corner duo for the Texans. This would give the Texans a very good and young defense to build around.
16. San Diego Chargers—Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
With the loss of Igor Olshansky, the Chargers are in need of a new five-tech. Tyson Jackson has the size and skill set to convert from 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 defensive end.
17. New York Jets—Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
I think the Jets would like to get Mark Sanchez but with him off the board I think they'll be happy to take their pick of this class of running backs. Knowshon Moreno is incredibly talented and should have an easy transition to the NFL while running behind that great offensive line they have in New York.
18. Denver Broncos—Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
With a pass rusher taken a few picks earlier, Denver will look to upgrade their defense further with arguably the best corner in the draft. Champ Bailey is getting old and Andre Goodman isn't exactly young either. Malcolm Jenkins fits well and gives them another good young player to build their new defense around.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State
New head coaches often like to pick new quarterbacks. In this case the new head coach (Raheem Morris) coached this quarterback in college. Luke McCown is decent but by no means should he be a starting quarterback. Josh Freeman has a big arm and has already played for Raheem Morris. This pick just makes too much sense.
20. Detroit Lions—Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
With Matt Stafford picked earlier, the Lions will follow Atlanta's example last year by drafting a left tackle with their second first round pick. Eben Britton is a sound technician with pretty good feet. He can play left tackle while last year's first round pick (Goster Cherilus) can anchor the right side where he is better suited to play.
21. Philadelphia Eagles—Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
With the loss of L.J. Smith, the Eagles need a new tight end. Brandon Pettigrew is a rare old school type of tight end who can block as well as he can catch. He also has great size at 6'5" and 263 lbs. This pick should make Donovan McNabb happy.
22. Minnesota Vikings—Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
The Vikings are a decent quarterback away from winning a Super Bowl. Unfortunately, they don't have time to develop a rookie and need to try to win with who they've got. Whoever ends up starting there will be helped by throwing to a speedy receiver like Heyward-Bey.
23. New England Patriots—Larry English, DE, Northern Illinois
The Patriots need to get younger at linebacker...much younger. Larry English is a very athletic defensive end who can convert to a 3-4 outside rush linebacker.
24. Atlanta Falcons—Clay Matthews, LB, USC
I could see them picking defensive end or linebacker here. With the loss of Keith Brooking and Michael Boley I think they have a bigger hole to fill at linebacker. Clay Matthews is a try hard player and a skilled pass rusher, which will come in handy because Mike Smith stated that he wants to incorporate some 3-4 schemes into his defense this year.
25. Miami Dolphins—Clint Sintim, LB, Virginia
Being a Bill Parcells team, the Miami Dolphins run a 3-4 defense. Clint Sintim played outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme at Virgina, something very rare in the college ranks. Sintim excelled at it in college and it makes perfect sense to put him opposite of Jerry Porter to terrorize opposing quarterbacks.
26. Baltimore Ravens—James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State
Ray Lewis' age is catching up with him and the Ravens just lost Bart Scott to the Jets. If they want to keep their great linebacking corp they've been known for over the years they need to address that now. James Laurinaitis is a very athletic linebacker who played a lot in college. He can fill Bart Scott's role while studying under Ray Lewis as his eventual successor.
27. Indianapolis Colts—Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi
Peria Jerry can help the Colts with their run defense and inside pass rush, both glaring needs for the team. Jerry was an absolute monster in college and should be a good fit for their Tampa 2 defensive scheme.
28. Buffalo Bills—Jamon Meredith, OT, South Carolina
With the loss of Jason Peters, Buffalo needs a new franchise left tackle right away. Jamon Meredith is a tremendous athlete with great feet. He is a natural left tackle and should fill the hole right away.
29. New York Giants—Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State
With the departure of Derrick Ward, the Giants need to fill in the gap in their "earth, wind, and fire" rushing attack. They gave a big contract to Brandon Jacobs but he has had durability problems in the past. The Giants have no big needs to fill so they are free to select a very talented running back here.
It should be noted that ESPN reports that they are attempting to trade up for Darrius Heyward-Bey.
30. Tennessee Titans—Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
Like every year, the Titans are in need of a receiver. So that means they won't take one. Instead they will take the talented local boy Robert Ayers. Javon Kearse and Kyle Van Den Bosch aren't very young and Robert Ayers can combine with them to form a mean rotation.
31. Arizona Cardinals—Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
If I had to create a prototype defensive end, I would use Michael Johnson's body. At 6'7" and 266 pounds, no one in the league has seen a player quite like him. He also possesses speed that no offensive lineman wants to go up against. He may be a raw talent but given that Arizona needs a defensive end, Michael Johnson will be way too tempting to pass up.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers—Jarron Gilbert, DE, San Jose State
Offensive line is not as big a need as so many seem to think it is. Last year's line was very young with many first year starters. They should be much better this year. A bigger need on the other hand is a five-tech defensive end. Jarron Gilbert has the size to play the position and he is very explosive, on the field and in the pool (see his video where he jumps out of a pool).
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