Jay Cutler’s now in Chicago, and Plaxico Burress is no longer in New York. There have been a couple major names move, but more significantly, the movement of the big quarterback on the market impacts how/where the quarterbacks available in the draft are picked.
More than a couple team's pick may change if a free agent like Torry Holt or Marvin Harrison is signed, but let’s take a look at how the first round might look now.
1. Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford, QB
After his individual workout in Detroit, and with Jay Cutler now in the division in Chicago, the Lions will put a face on their franchise with Stafford.
Many people think a tackle makes sense here, but I think the Rams will take the most explosive player in the draft to replace Torry Holt. In fact, I believe Crabtree’s availability at two played a part in Holt’s release.
3. Kansas City Chiefs: Jason Smith, OT
The investment they made in Matt Cassell will lead them to invest in a top tackle, despite their need for a linebacker like Aaron Curry.
4. Seattle Seahawks: Eugene Monroe, OT
There have been whispers that they might take a long look at USC’s Mark Sanchez to replace Matt Hasselback eventually, but the real issue in Seattle has been the aging offensive line now leaving via free agency. I would look for Seattle to potentially make a move for one of Cleveland’s quarterbacks with their second round pick.
5. Cleveland Browns: Aaron Curry, LB
This might be the best-case scenario for Cleveland. They’ve brought in Eric Barton to play next to Kamerion Wimbley, but still need to replace Andra Davis. Curry’s being rated the top player in this draft by most scouts, so to get him at five would be sensational.
6. Cincinnati Bengals: Brian Orakpo, DE
Their defense has been miserable for years (decades?), so bringing in a physical freak like Orakpo would bring a presence to their defensive front that they’ve lacked.
7. Oakland Raiders: BJ Raji, DT
Al Davis might look for a playmaking wide receiver for JaMarcus Russell to throw to, but Raji would fit what the Raiders had hoped Warren Sapp would have been when they brought him in at the end of his career.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mark Sanchez, QB
David Garrard struggled last year, and their offense has lots of issues. The loss of Fred Taylor and their lack of a legitimate receiver could have this pick going a number of directions. My sleeper here is San Francisco swapping with Jacksonville to get Maybin in front of Green Bay here.
9. Green Bay Packers: Aaron Maybin, DE
They’re making the switch to a 3-4 this season, and Maybin is a rising defensive end that a lot of GMs like.
10. San Francisco 49ers: Robert Ayers, DE
Ayers stock has been skyrocketing lately, making him now the third defensive end on most boards. The Niners would like to get their hands on either Sanchez or Maybin, but if they’re both gone, they’ll likely look to bulk up their defensive front.
11. Buffalo Bills: Andre Smith, OT
They brought in T.O. to play across from Lee Evans, so why not protect their quarterback to have enough time to use his new weapon?
12. Denver Broncos: Malcolm Jenkins, CB
With the Broncos now having two first round picks, they’ll likely address their defense with both picks. They’ve added Brian Dawkins to their secondary, but have released Dre Bly, and Champ Bailey isn’t getting younger. Jenkins might project more as a safety, but he’s the best secondary player in this year’s class.
13. Washington Redskins: Everette Brown, DE
They let Jason Taylor go, and might look to put a good young rush end next to Albert Haynesworth. Brown is the best end on the board at this point.
14. New Orleans Saints: Vontae Davis, CB
What does a team do that doesn’t make the playoffs despite a 5,000-yard passer? Get some secondary depth.
15. Houston Texans: Beanie Wells, RB
Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson need someone to run the ball, and Wells is a workhorse. They might take a long look at a tackle like Michael Oher here, but taking the top back in the class would improve their offensive scheme.
16. San Diego Chargers: Rey Maualuga, LB
Their defense has holes everywhere, and the top inside linebacker from the big football school just up the road is still available.
17. New York Jets: Jeremy Maclin, WR
They might think twice about Josh Freeman, and might move this pick for Brady Quinn/Derek Anderson, but if they stay put, they’ll look for a receiver to replace Laveraneous Coles.
18. Denver Broncos: Tyson Jackson, DE
With the pick acquired from Chicago, the Broncoes will likely look to bulk up their defensive front after adding Jenkins to their secondary. Jackson is a big body that gives them some options at end.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Freeman, QB
Jon Gruden might be gone, but Tampa still doesn’t have a quarterback they believe in. Ready for another shock? This is another team that lost out on Cutler going to Chicago, and this pick might end up in Cleveland for Quinn/Anderson as well.
20. Detroit Lions: Michael Oher, OT
You’ve got a stud receiver, a good young running back, and you’re about to pay a franchise quarterback in Stafford, so wouldn’t logic say that an offensive tackle, especially if Oher is still available, would go here? This would be a solid first two picks for Detroit, with the opportunity to add a body to their defense with the 33rd pick.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR
Donovan McNabb has requested playmakers, and the Eagles have two picks in the first round. While they haven’t brought in any veterans through free agency, Heyward-Bey opposite DeSean Jackson would create mismatches with every team in the league. The speed outside would be incredible.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Brandon Pettitgrew, TE
They traded for Sage Rosenfelds…oops. But they’re going to tell everyone they’ve got their quarterback. They have Bernard Berrian outside and Adrian Peterson in the backfield. Pettitgrew is the top tight end in the draft that would give their offense another dynamic weapon.
23. New England Patriots: Peria Jerry, DT
They traded away Mike Vrabel, and don’t have Richard Seymour signed. Jerry is a run-stuffing defensive tackle that adds depth to their front.
24. Atlanta Falcons: James Laurinaitis, LB
No longer can Atlanta count on Keith Brooking at linebacker, as he left via free agency for Dallas. Any one from Laurinaitis, Matthews or Cushing could go here.
25. Miami Dolphins: Clay Matthews, LB
Bill Parcells is still involved, so their defense will continue to get better. Matthews’ versatility makes him appealing to the Tuna here.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Brian Cushing, LB
Similar to Mathews, Cushing’s ability to play a couple of linebacker positions will make him a nice replacement for Bart Scott.
27. Indianapolis Colts: Kenny Britt, WR
They need to replace Marvin Harrison, and Britt reminds me of Reggie Wayne when he came out of Miami. The Rutgers receiver’s stock has been climbing, and Indianapolis has always evaluated talent well at the offensive skill positions.
28. Philadelphia Eagles: Knowshon Moreno, RB
With Correll Buckhalter leaving for Denver, the Eagles need to add some depth at running back to keep their best player, Brian Westbrook, on the field when it counts. Moreno’s a quick, versatile back similar in skill set to Westbrook.
29. New York Giants: Hakeem Nicks, WR
Even with Harvin and Brian Robiskie on the board, Nicks' skill set is most similar to the departed Plaxico Burress. They have an obvious need at receiver now, and there are a few to choose from. I’m going to say Nicks goes here.
30. Tennessee Titans: Percy Harvin, WR
They re-committed to Kerry Collins, and still have their thunder-and-lightning running game, so adding a threat outside like Harvin opens up their offense.
31. Arizona Cardinals: Donald Brown, RB
Pitt’s LeSean McCoy or Brown will likely replace Edgerrin James in Arizona. They could be a player earlier in the round if Anquan Boldin is moved.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Louis Delmas, S
The only place the champs have lost any depth at all this winter has been in their secondary. They have the advantage of being the champions and being good at just about every position, so adding some depth to their secondary with a good safety here makes sense. They could also move down with an offensive lineman in mind.