The 2009 NFL Draft is finally upon us. All of the speculation ends today as a new crop of college stars will have a long time dream finally come true, and hear their name called at Radio City Music Hall, in New York City.
I myself am hoping that the Dallas Cowboys have finally taken a look at my high school highlight film from 1996 and, fingers crossed, are willing to take a chance on a long shot.
Nontheless, I've invited some family and select friends over, my cell phone is fully charged, and I'm just waiting on the call from Jerry Jones.
Looking at the draft, I can't help but think that this one is going to be rather forgettable. Other than the impressive defensive ends and offensive tackles in this year's class, I don't see a lot of potential stars.
But then again, until the combine developes a desire drill, we'll never really have a true idea of what is going to come of any prospect.
I think one of the better stroy lines of the day is who exactly is going to trade with Seattle to aquire the services of Mark Sanchez. I'm not sure if I would trade up for a quarterback with one year of experience, but fellow USC alumn Matt Cassel proved that experience can sometimes be overrated.
I look for San Fransisco, Denver, and the Jets to be in the mix as far as a potential deal to move up and retain Sanchez, but I'm just not sold on any of these QB's. I don't think anyone is overly impressed with this year's class of signal callers.
Also be ready for the Giants and Eagles to be active today. Now that the Cardinals have lowered the asking price on Anquan Boldin to a second round pick and other considerations, I believe that one of these two teams will go after Anquan agressively. Either franchise could end up shipping picks to Arizona for the Pro Bowl receiver.
Nobody, including the networks experts, has any idea what is really going to go down today.
I do know that if Mel Kiper, Mike Mayock, or Todd McShay came to my house the weeks leading up to my fantasy football draft wanting to know who I was selecting, I'd lead them on the wildest of wild goose chases just for kicks. But I would never ever tip my hand.
Something tells me NFL general managers used the same tactics.
So since no one has a clue, but everyone has a mock draft, I thought I'd throw one up against the wall just to see if it will stick. Who knows, with enough luck, and of course hair spray, I could be the next Mel Kiper.
So without further delay, I give to you the one millionth mock draft that you have seen in the last 48 hours.
Some advice for my fellow Texan. Put the check in the bank, buy mom a new house, and invest in a few cases of Tiger Balm.
There are rookies that come into good situations and prosper. Matt Ryan was selected by a team with a great running game, Rivers had a great defense and Ladainian Tomlinson, and Eli Manning was surrounded by talent.
Matthew Stafford is not so lucky. Poor Stafford is coming into a situation that is similar to that of Tim Couch or David Carr. The Lions are abysmal, and Stafford's career looks to be headed in that same direction.
The Lions line is awful, and Stafford is not exactly mobile. The defense is terrible, the franshise is coming off of an 0-16 record, and this pick has flop written all over it.
Not that Stafford isn't good enough, the poor guy is just headed into an impossible situation in the Motor City.
Steven Jackson can rejoice in the fact that he might even find himself looking at a hole or two in 2009. The Rams need a lineman in the worst way, and Jason Smith is the best in the draft.
This 6'5" 300 pound tackle out of Baylor will be replacing the legendary Orlando Pace at the left tackel position. Maybe he can help keep Marc Bulger off his back and out of the training room this season.
Kansas City has picked a lot of defensive linemen over the last few years. Glen Dorsey, Turk McBride, and Tamba Hali come to mind immediately. I believe that the Chiefs could go in one of three different ways here.
Part of me says they will get an OLB like Curry to eventually replace newly aquired Mike Vrabel. I also think that there is a chance that the Chiefs take one of the highly projected offensive tackles to protect their new investment, Matt Cassel.
But what I ultimately think the Chiefs will do is pick another defensive end. I think that Tyson Jackson fits perfectly into the Kansas City scheme, and will solidify a quickly improving defense.
Keep in mind this is who I think the Chiefs will get and not should get. If I were Kansas City, I would trade down and get another weapon in the passing game.
Bobby Engram was a great signing, but the loss of Tony Gonzalez this week leaves Cassel with few options other than Dwayne Bowe.
Whenever a player suddenly sky rockets to the top of draft boards right before the draft, it can be scary. Anyone remember Akili Smith?
I'm not saying Sanchez will be an Akili like bust, I just think that maybe some hype has been generated by a team in the Pacific northwest to perhaps give that team a chance to trade down in the draft.
Let me go on record as saying that Seattle has no business drafting Mark Sanchez. If this were 2008, I'd have Sanchez behind Joe Flacco who went much later only a season ago.
Despite what some have said about the Seahawks needing to find a replacement for Hassleback while they have a pick this high, I say BOLOGNA! Seattle needs to trade down and get either an offensive lineman or a running back.
I say that the Broncos, with their two first round picks, will work a deal to retain the Seahawks fourth pick and grab the much needed quarterback to replace Jay Cutler. The Broncos' faithful are ready to burn Josh McDaniels at the stake, so he's going to have to act fast.
It seems like everyone thinks that the Browns are going to select B.J. Raji out of Boston College, but I'm going in a different direction on this one.
The Browns run a 3-4 which is perfect for Raji who should be the prototypical run stuffing nose guard, but the Browns already have Shaun Rogers in that position.
So I have Cleveland selecting Aaron Curry as an outside linebacker out of Wake Forest. I think that OLB is much more a position of need for the Browns, and can make more of an immediate impact that Raji could.
Curry is hands down the best OLB in the draft, and shows the speed and versatility to play the outside linebacker role in a 3-4 scheme.
Despite the fact that most experts think the Bengals will go with an offensive tackle like Eugene Monroe here, I think Cincinnati has a hole to fill at defensive end.
The Bengals defense, especially against the run has been horrid as of late, and I believe the team can make great strides by drafting Brian Orakpo from the University of Texas.
Orakpo is a monster who I believe can help the Bengals, not only slow down opposing running games, but also with a much needed pass rush from the outside.
I think Orakpo will do a great job in Cincinnati's 4-3 defensive front, and will wind up being the best DE taken in the 2008 draft.
Al Davis loves speed. Since way back in the AFL days, the Raiders have relied on the vertical threat. With the trade of Randy Moss a couple of years ago, the Raiders lost that field stretching element.
I think Oakland will take Maclin just to show off the big arm of Jamarcus Russell alone. Maybe they can put their QB on his knees in shotgun formation and let Russell show the world why the Raiders picked him, because for the life of me, I still can't make sense of that selection.
The Raiders are, and will be, an NFL afterthought until someone else is running the show in Oakland. However, it might be entertaining to see how many times Russell and Maclin can hook up on deep scores.
This pick is the hardest to nail down. The Jags could go in any number of positions. Before the Torry Holt signing, I thought this pick was a no brainer, but now it is more complicated.
I can definitely see Jacksonville trading down to acquire more picks, and drafting a larger running back like Chris Wells to compliment Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jags could also take a tackle to play opposite of the newly acquired Tra Thomas.
But I think that Jacksonville will ultimately end up taking Michael Crabtree out of Texas Tech if they stay at pick number eight.
They have been hurting at wideout for so long that they have to take advantage of having one dangling right in front of them in the draft.
With the Packers making the switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme under new defensice coordinator Tom Capers, a run stuffing nose guard becomes a neccessity iin Green Bay.
B.J. Raji is heralded as the best defensive lineman in the 2009 draft. Raji is a load at 6'2 337 pounds, and should be more than able of stuffing the run and keeping blockers off of A.J. Hawk and Nick Barnett.
Although the 49ers could trade with Seattle to get Mark Sanchez, I think that Monroe will go No. 10 overall either way.
If San Fransisco stays put, Monroe would be a great pick at this point for a team in need of some help on the O-Line. If thi ends up being the Seahawks pick, I think they will gladly settle for Monroe as well.
Many draft gurus have Andre Smith above Oher on their board. As someone who watches the combine closely, I don't know how this is the case.
In my opinion Oher is more explosive and much more aggressive than Andre Smith, and that'ss not even taking the mental part of it into account. I think that the third tackle off the board has to be OHer at this point.
Buffalo could use some immediate help at the tackle position to help bolster their running and passing game. More importantly, Trent Edwards could use Oher to keep Trent Edwards healthy and give the Bills QB some extra time to find the newly aquired Terrell Owens.
The Broncos are yet another team switching to a 3-4 defense, and B.J. Raji sure could help out the cause. If the Pack doesn't get the defensive tackle from Boston College, the Broncos surely would.
But with Raji off the board, the Broncos could use a hybrid defensive end/ outside linebacker to help in the transition. Currently, the Broncos are trying to teach Jarvis Moss to play the outside backer position.
In all reality, I see the Broncos trading up and taking Mark Sanchez to avoid the inevitable backlash from fans when Kyle Orton falls flat on his face. But, if they stay at 12, Maybin could be their guy.
With the 13th pick, the Washington Redskins will probably be looking to bolster their defense and replace Jason Taylor. I think that the Skins will do just that by selecting Robert Aers out of Tennesee.
At 6'3 272 pounds, Ayers is a load,, but he still has the speed and agillity to supply an NFL team with some pass rushing off the end. Ayers is strong and athletic, and he should be a all around force at his position.
The Saints are in need of a runningback not named Pierre to pound the rock and supplement Reggie Bush. After letting go of veteran runner Duece McAllister, the Saints have a void to fill as far as running between the tackles is concerned.
New Orleans needs help in the secondary badly, and Malcolm Jenkins could really help them out, but the running back position must be addressed if the Saints want to remain a juggernaut offense.
Wells isn't the flashiest running back in the draft, but in my opinion, he is exactly what the Saints need. At 6'1 235 pounds, Wells can be a faster, healthier version of Deuce, and will keep Reggie Bush fresh to make those big plays in the passing game.
As a Cowboy fan, I know how costly it can be for a defense to have Jacques Reeves playing cornerback. This makes corner a position of immediate need for the Houston Texans.
Malcolm Jenkins would have probably been the first corner taken in last year's draft. Instead of going pro, the Ohio State standout stayed in school and won the Jim Thorpe Award for the nation's best defensive back.
However, a slow 40 time at the combine has doubters coming out of the woodwork. Playing opposite of Dunta Robinson will mean that Jenkins is tested early and often, but it has to be a better scenario than having Reeve's fail those tests year after year.
Besides, if Jenkins is too to play corner in the NFL, he would make a great safety. This means that Jenkins is less likely to be a flop, and in the worst case the Texans draft a Leroy Butler starter kit.
Rey Maualuga won't have to travel far to make a home in the NFL. The middle linebacker out of USC could stay in southern California for a long time if the Chargers look to solidify their interior defense.
Maualuga is the top ranked middle linebacker in the draft, and could help the Chargers to be a force on defense for years to come. San Diego did get Kevin Burnett in the offseason, but Rey could have Charger fans thinking about the days of Junior Seau.
I think the Jets will draft for necessity here and take a much needed quarterback. Brett Favre left this franchise high and dry after leaving the Jets without a signal caller for 2009.
The Jets could be in the mix to trade up for Mark Sanchez, but part of me believes that New York would prefer to keep all of their picks and settle with Freeman from Kansas State.
Freeman has all of the size that NFL G.M.'s are looking for at 6'6 and 248 pounds. With all of the hype surrounding Stafford and Sanchez, it seems that Freeman is slipping through the cracks.
This undoubtedly means that he will probably have the best NFL career out of the three.
The city of Denver has to be hating Josh McDaniels right now. But a solid draft and season could help the Broncos' fan base to forgive and forget.
Another unpopular move could come in the form of a first round pick spent on Jerry Peria out of Mississippi. But Peria is exactly what the Broncos terrible run defense needs.
Not to mention the fact that Denver is moving to a 3-4 defensive scheme and needs a plug in the middle. Peria is 6'2 and 300 poounds of a apce taker that can help the Broncos convert to the new defensive look.
If the Broncos trade out of this pick, Peria falls much further in the first round.
The Tampa Bay Bucaneers had a need at linebacker before the team ever got rid of Derrick Brooks. The outside linebacker at the top of this needs list.
I think Cushing will be a good player in that cover 2 sceme at which the Bucs are so great. He should be a day one starter in Tampa Bay.
There was a player on my high schooll football team that reminds me of Andre Smith. The guy was huge, could compete with anyone in the weight room, but was soft as Charmin upstairs.
I don't mean soft as in dumb, but soft as in...well..soft.
Andre Smith has bad feet and no agression compared to the other offensive tackles at the top of this draft. Whoever picks him will have a first round flop on their hands in a year.
That team just happens to be the Detroit Lions. Some things never change.
The Eagles, who are looking to compete for a Super Bowl, should probably go with a wideout here. The problem is that they need a big possession receiver to compliment Desean Jackson, but there really isn't one here that wouldn't be a reach.
Instead, I see the Eagles grabbing Knowshon Moreno. As old as it makes me feel, Brian Westbrook is getting old, and Philly could get a reincarnation of him in Georgia's Moreno.
It's either that, or rely on Lorenzo Booker if Westbrook gets nicked up.
Some NFL teams took Percy Harvin off of their draft board when he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL combine. This is ridiculous.
What do Barrack Obama, Michael Phelps, Randy Moss, Bill Clinton, and just about every great musician in the history of music have in common with Percy?
They all smoke or smoked weed, and were the best in the world at what they do. It's not a performance enhancer, and obviously it's not a dehancer, so let's chalk this up to a kid being a kid and keep in mind that Harvin is a remarkable talent.
You can pass all you want on Percy, but whoever takes the chance will get the most explosive player in this year's draft.
Clay Matthews will be entering the NFL with some Hall of Fame pedigree. I think that he will be a mature professional from day one on some great family advice, and that makes him very appealing to Bill Belichick.
Clay Matthews has Patriot written all over him. He fills a need for the Patriots aging defense, and this seems to be a beautiful match.
Let me say first and foremost that I think that Atlanta will draft Jerry Peria, the defensive tackle out of Mississippi, if he is not taken earlier.
Since I have Denver getting him earlier, I have to think that the Falcons will go with a cornerback.
Since the loss of Deangelo Hall, the Falcons have been looking for another shutdown corner, and Vontae Davis has all of the physical skills to be just what they need.
Just based on the simple fact that he shares DNA with Vernon Davis of the 49ers, I'm going to have to assume that Vontae may not be the sharpest tool in the shed.
But corners aren't paid to think, they are paid to react. The safeties usually act as the quarterbacks of the defensive backfield anyway.
Evertte Brown would be a great pick for the Miami Dolphins. A defensive end in college who projects to be an outside linebacker in the NFL, the Florida State prospect could find himself staying in state.
Brown is a bit undersized compared to other DE's in the draft, but at outside linebacker he'll be just fine at 6'2 256 pounds. This guy is versatile enough to provide pass rush and drop back in coverage.
Darrius Heyward-Bey is lightning fast. At the NFL Combine, he was actually 4.38 in the 40 yard dash fast.
Heyward-Bey's speed is just what the Baltimore Ravens need to make the most out of that huge arm they drafted in the form of Joe Flacco last year.
Coupled with veteran posession receiver Derrick Mason, I think Darrius can do a lot to make the Baltimore offense more explosive in 2009.
This is going to be the look on Peyton Manning's face when the Colts take a defensive tackle instead of a wide receiver. But I beleive the Colts are going to lean Evander Hood's way.
The Colts run defense has been pitiful over the last few seasons. Although it's not a sexy pick, it is a solid need based selection that will help the team.
The Bills are going to be elated when they find Pettigrew at the end of the first round. This is a pick that the Bills have been rumored to possibly make at 11 overall, but they will have to get a tackle with that pick after losing Peters last week.
Pettigrew isn't going to be a playmaking pass catcher, but he is the most rounded tight end in this year's draft class. He is a huge guy, a great blocker, and a good enough receiver to be a solid red zone threat.
The Bills draft dreams come true.
Hakeem Nicks ran a slow enough 40 yard dash to knock him into the bottom half of the first round. On the other hand, he is probably faster than Plaxico Burress, who the Giants have to replace going into next season.
Nicks is a larger receiver than most of the first rounders at 6'1 212 pounds, and he has shown the ability to make plays on the field . If the Giants don't work out a deal for Boldin during the draft, they will try to land the closest thing to Plaxico available.
The Giants and Titans have to have their best poker faces on right about know. I think they both are looking at Britt and Nicks. In my opinion whoever doesn't get one will get the other.
Tennesee needs a wideout in the worst way. At 6-3 218 pounds, Britt is taller than most of the receivers in this year's class. With a few less skins on the wall than Nicks, I have Britt falling to Tennessee.
The Cards are looking to replace the salary and age of Edgerrin James at ruuning back. They made a lot of progress last year by snagging Tim Hightower.
To compliment Hightower's bruising style, they should select Donald Brown out of UCONN. Brown is intelligent, can block, and is able to catch the ball in the passing game.
The good thing about being a Super Bowl champion is that there are ususally aren't a lot of holes that need tt be filled in the draft.
One hole for the Steelers, however, is at the center position. This just so happens to be a great year to be in need of a center. Alex Mack and Max Unger are both going to be great, but I see Mack going to the steel city.
Mack should be a day one starter who can help the Steelers on their way to a shot at back to back Super Bowls.