23. Eagles: The Eagles defense was a little weak in 2010. With a change in defensive coordinator for the second year, I think the Eagles will focus on the defense for the first three rounds. CB Jimmy Smith will go to the Eagles. Look for their defense to gain about three more interceptions this year.
24. Saints: Drew Brees can pass the ball to anyone on the field, so I don’t think they’ll go offense, including offensive line. Gregg Williams is one of the best defensive coordinators out there and Sean Payton’s cut in pay may be one of the best administrative moves in NFL history. Williams will take Akeem Ayers at LB to create more pressure on blitzes and force more turnovers.
25. Seahawks: Even if Matt Hasselbeck remains healthy (which seems impossible), the Seattle Seahawks will take the best available QB in Ryan Mallett. Mallett is controversial and a thug but he’s got a great arm and will be the best quarterback available.
26. Ravens: The Ravens defense was, and has been, a late-season weakness for this team. The Ravens are getting a little long in the tooth and I think their focus this year will be on their defense. Several mock drafts have the Ravens taking Muhammed Wilkerson (DT). It’s a smart move and I like this team. They were my preseason pick for the Super Bowl last year and I’d like to see them make a playoff run this year.
27. Falcons: I felt bad for the Falcons after watching them get their butts handed to them against the Packers last year. They looked totally outmanned. They have learned their lesson and they will definitely bulk up on the defensive line to prevent running backs running all over them, and offensive linemen pushing them up and down the field. Cam Heyward (DT) goes here.
28. Patriots: With two of the top QBs in the league getting up there in age, both teams will want to pick up a passer in the next couple of years. I think the Patriots will take Christian Ponder and prepare him to fill Brady’s shoes, which will be a tall (haha) order. I think Ponder has a great arm and a lot of athletic ability. Belichick will take him with confidence.
29. Bears: I can’t understand why the Bears haven’t picked up a WR worth using in the last couple of years. Johnny Knox has potential but they really need another wide receiver. Torrey Smith will make a nice fit here and he will be a more productive receiver than former classmate Heyward-Bey has been for the Raiders.
30. Jets: Rex Ryan will definitely want to take a LB or defensive lineman. With the free agency market shut down, they have no idea if they need a receiver but they know they want a defensive player. LB Justin Houston is the best option.
31. Steelers: The weakness in the Steelers’ defense was their defensive backfield, which is a big reason why they lost the Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers carved up their defense and I think the Steelers will focus on that backfield with their first round pick. DB Aaron Williams will go to the Steelers. He will play in a Super Bowl within two years. Lucky guy!
32. Packers: Ah, the Super Bowl championship Green Bay Packers. They seem to have a great administrative office and make smart decisions. Rodgers can make anyone look like a star and I do expect another receiver to go to the Packers—just not in the first round. I think they take another young defensive lineman to work with BJ Raji and Brooks Reed from Arizona is their pick.
So, there are my first-round picks as GM. Next week, I plan on talking about two teams that will make the playoffs if they make the right decisions in the draft. Check back next week and get ready for some football!!!
Hopefully the forced mediation will set everything in motion and we will have a normal draft with lots of trades.