With the NFL Draft a couple of days away, most fans have no idea who their respective teams will draft. Miami has already locked up Jake Long as the number one pick, so I projected the rest of the first round, based on how I see players fitting into certain situations. Here are my projections:
1. Miami Dolphins: Jake Long, OT Michigan.
This pick was easy for me to make, seeing as it has already happened. Bill Parcells wants to build a solid line to open running lanes for Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Long will help them do that and protect quarterback John Beck for now.
2. St. Louis Rams: Chris Long, DE Virginia.
The Rams need help on the defensive line. They drafted Adam Carriker out of Nebraska last year, and he is developing into a solid defensive tackle. Leonard Little is aging, so Long should help out in the near future and take Little's place once he leaves St. Louis.
3. Atlanta: Glenn Dorsey, DT LSU.
Dorsey is the best player in this draft and should be an impact player very soon. Atlanta. Dorsey is a big body in the middle who should be able to draw attention away from last year's first round pick, DE Jamaal Anderson.
4.Oakland: Darren McFadden, RB Arkansas.
The Raiders usually find ways to screwup their first-round picks. However, the thought of JaMarcus Russell andMcFadden in the same backfield is enough to give Raiders fans hope and Lane Kiffin some offensive firepower.
5. Kansas City Chiefs: Vernon Gholston, DE Ohio State.
Originally, I had Branden Albert going here but, with the Jared Allen trade, the defensive line becomes a major need. There is more value for a defensive end at this pick than there is for an offensive lineman.
6. New York Jets: Branden Albert, OG Virginia.
McFadden is the guy the Jets really want here but he was gone at pick 4. I say the Jets go back to Virginia to draft a lineman, just a couple of years after drafting D'Brickashaw Ferguson. They signed Alan Faneca in the off-season, but the other lineman are not all that impressive.
7. New England Patriots: Keith Rivers, LB USC.
I fully expect the Patriots to trade out of this pick. However, assuming they do not make a trade, I expect them to draft a linebacker. They have shown the willingness to pay linebackers big money, and Rivers could develop for a couple of years behind the other Patriot linebackers.
8. Baltimore Ravens: Matt Ryan, QB Boston College.
The Ravens feel as if they need to draft a franchise QB. At number 8, it's not at bad spot to draft one. Ryan is the highest rated quarterback in this class, and it would be a huge surprise if the Ravens pass on Ryan.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Sedrick Ellis, DT USC
The Bengals need a big man in the middle and Ellis is going to fill that role. I fully expect the Bengals to trade up in order to secure Ellis. Either way, Ellis is the pick.
10. New Orleans Saints: Leodis McKelvin, CB Troy State
The Saints secondary has been burned over the past two seasons. Jason David has been a bust and Randall Gay is not the answer. McKelvin should become a solid NFL cornerback and help out the Saints defense.
11. Buffalo Bills: Devin Thomas, WR Michigan State
The Bills need a big receiver to play opposite Lee Evans. Thomas, who is 6-2, fits the mold and should help Trent Edwards' develpoment.
12. Denver Broncos: Chris Williams, OT Vanderbilt
The Broncos need someone to protect the blindside of quarterback Jay Cutler. Who better to do that than the man who did it during his collegiate career? No one, which is why Williams is the pick here.
13. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Harvey, DE Florida.
With Mike Rucker's retirement, the Panthers need someone to fill his spot on the defensive line. Harvey is the best available defensive end and should be a good defensive end for Carolina.
14. Chicago Bears: Jeff Otah, OT Pittsburgh.
Cedric Benson has proved that he is not a capable starting running back in the NFL. However, this draft is very deep at running back. As a result, the Bears will turn to the offensive line, which is why Otah is the pick here.
15. Detroit Lions: Rashard Mendenhall, RB Illinois.
After releasing Kevin Jones in the off-season, the Lions need a starting running back. Matt Millen will take a one-year hiatus from drafting a wide receiver in the first round to select Mendenhall.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB Tennessee State.
Edgerrin James is starting to show his age but, this draft is very deep at the running back position. The Cardinals will draft a corner after moving Antrel Rolle to safety.
17. Kansas City Chiefs: Ryan Clady, OT Boise State.
The Chiefs maximize their possible value by taking Clady here. Offensive line is a major need is Clady, Otah, and Williams are all closely rated. To get Clady here is a steal for the Chiefs.
18. Houston Texans: Mike Jenkins, CB South Florida.
Dunta Robinson has recovering from injury, and the secondary is not the strength of the Texans defense. Jenkins will become a good starter for the Texans and is a great value here.
19. Philadelphia Eagles: James Hardy, WR Indiana.
The Eagles need to get Donovan McNabb the playmaker that he has been begging for. Neither Chad Johnson nor Anquan Boldin will be traded to the Eagles, so they need to look at this position in the draft. Hardy is a big receiver that fits the profile of playmaker.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DeSean Jackson, WR California.
The wide receivers for the Bucs are aging and Michael Clayton has not lived up to expectations so far. Jackson is on the small side but he is quick and should provide a spark for the Buccaneers office.
21. Washington Redskins: Calais Campbell, DE Miami.
The Redskins need a defensive end to replace 35 year old Phillip Daniels. Campbell is the best option at this spot, even though he has performed well at workouts. It should also be noted that Redskins defensive line coach John Palermo held the same position at Miami when Campbell had his breakout college season.
22. Dallas Cowboys: Felix Jones, RB Arkansas.
The Cowboys need to draft a running back to replace Julius Jones and complement Marion Barber. Jerry Jones gets a Razorbacks running backs, just not the one that he wanted.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers: Gosder Cherilus, OT Boston College.
The Steelers don't have many needs. However, the offensive line could use some help after Alan Faneca signed with the Jets this past off season.
24. Tennessee Titans: Limas Sweed, WR Texas.
If the Titans expect Vince Young to mature as a quarterback, they need to surround him with some talent. His former favorite target at the University of Texas wouldn't be a bad start.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Jonathan Stewart, RB Oregon.
After cutting Shawn Alexander, the Seahawks need someone to pair with Julius Jones. Stewart is a howetown product who should be able to help right away. Drafting Stewart will help solidify the Seahawks backfield.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kentwan Balmer, DT North Carolina.
After trading Marcus Stroud to the Bills, the Jaguars need to find a suitable replacement. Balmer, is the best available defensive tackle, makes a lot of sense for the Jaguars here.
27. San Diego Chargers: Aqib Talib, CB Kansas.
There aren't many weaknesses on the Chargers roster. However, they can always afford to solidfy their secondary. Talib has dropped on many peoples draft boards but, he presents great value here.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Malcolm Kelly, WR Oklahoma.
Terry Glenn is at the end of his career and T.O. will be there before long. The Cowboys would be well-suited to take a flyer on Kelly, who, up until a few weeks ago, was the consensus number one receiver.
29. San Francisco 49ers: Quentin Groves, DE Auburn.
The 49ers signed Justin Smith to solidify their defensive line and can continue to do that through the draft. Groves should develop into a decent defensive end and help out the 49ers in the long run.
30. Green Bay Packers: Brandon Flowers, CB Virginia Tech.
The Packers secondary played well last year but, its time to face reality. Charles Woodson and Al Harris are aging, so its a good idea to get a player who can learn for a couple of years and then step in as a starter.
--New England Patriots: Pick Forfeited--
31. New York Giants: Kenny Phillips, S Miami.
After losing Gibril Wilson, a former fifth-round pick, to the Raiders, the Giants need to upgrade in the draft. Phillips is the best safety in this years class and should start for the Giants right away.
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