It seems everyone in the world is taking a crack at an NFL mock draft, and no matter which player goes first or second, there's no shortage of arguments or disagreements.
Looking at each team from a needs basis, and each player from a realistic perspective, this is how the NFL Draft should turn out in the first two rounds. Of course, we already know the NFL isn't about certainties. This mock draft, along with other fine articles, can be found at www.theredzonereport.com.
1. Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
Detroit can beat around the bush all they want, but they aren’t going to pass up on a potential franchise quarterback like Stafford. Daunte Culpepper is serviceable enough to let Stafford sit for a year, but if they truly want to turn their organization around, it starts with drafting Stafford.
2. St. Louis Rams: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
It’s nearing a toss-up between Smith and Virginia’s Eugene Monroe. However, one thing that is crystal clear is that St. Louis is in dire need of an elite tackle. With the loss of Orlando Pace, the Rams' already disastrous offensive line needs instant addressing. Smith should take Pace’s place for years to come.
3. Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest
Looking back on it, they really had no option other than trading Jared Allen to Minnesota, and it probably was the best decision. However, totaling 10 sacks (NFL record) as a team after waving goodbye to Allen simply will not do. Drafting Curry should shore up their linebacking corps, as well as aid the pass rush. A defensive end is possible here too, but Curry fills two needs at once.
4. Seattle Seahawks: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
After the horror show at wide receiver last season, the Seahawks aren’t taking any chances.
This team was a playoff team two years ago, so the right addition could get them going in the right direction. They could address both offensive and defensive tackles here, but Crabtree will be too tempting.
5. Cleveland Browns: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
The Browns reach here because their backs are against the wall. They have already lost Kellen Winslow and are uncertain about the futures of Donte' Stallworth and Braylon Edwards. They wanted Crabtree, but Maclin’s explosiveness and speed will have to do.
6. Cincinnati Bengals: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
Monroe is exactly what the Bengals need. Just watching Ryan Fitzpatrick trying to make things happen behind a pocket that constantly closed on him was obscenity at its worst. They can consider themselves blessed, because in drafting Monroe, they can breathe easy every time Carson Palmer drops back to pass.
7. Oakland Raiders: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
We may feel the wrath of Al Davis before this draft is over, considering he barely misses out on both Crabtree and Maclin here. They need help desperately on their line, so nabbing Andre Smith is a double whammy. They get a steal while actually addressing a glaring need.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
Their biggest needs are at wide receiver and shoring up the offensive line, but passing on Sanchez would be a huge mistake. They know David Garrard won’t be around forever, so grooming someone behind him is something that needs to be done. If Eugene Monroe or Andre Smith can fall this far, Jacksonville would be wise to snag them, but this is where Sanchez will ultimately call home—that is, of course, if the Jaguars don’t trade out of this spot.
9. Green Bay Packers: Brian Orakpo, OLB/DE, Texas
Ted Thompson would love for an elite offensive tackle to fall into his lap, but putting the focus on making that new 3-4 system run its finest is the goal. Orakpo is an absolute beast with outstanding athleticism. He’s extremely versatile while bringing an instant pass rush to a transitioning defense.
10. San Francisco 49ers: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
The 'Niners just miss out on their guy, Orakpo, but settling on Jackson isn’t exactly “settling.” Jackson is bigger and stronger than Orakpo, while still possessing great speed and explosiveness for the position. He would be a cornerstone for Mike Singletary’s defense.
11. Buffalo Bills: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
It has been quite some time since the Bills have had a tight end, much less one opposing defenses have to fear. Pettigrew is a solid pass catcher, but is also an extremely good blocker. He brings tremendous size and strength to a position where the Bills are severely lacking those qualities.
12. Denver Broncos: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
The Broncos have been trying all sorts of options for years but have never sustained consistent production out of their defensive tackles. In drafting Raji, Josh McDaniels will hope to rectify that. It’s very possible Raji gets taken in the top five or 10 picks, but a slight drop to Denver isn’t out of the question.
13. Washington Redskins: Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
Where the Jason Taylor experiment failed, the Aaron Maybin trial must succeed. Maybin is vastly undersized for the position, but his motor appears to be unmatched. Maybin is another player who will fall due to one team’s selection that shakes up the whole draft, but Washington will definitely be content with what they’re getting.
14. New Orleans Saints: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
If there’s one thing the Saints' defense has been missing, it’s been healthy, effective corners. Mike McKenzie is still solid, but he’s older and clearly lost a step. Jenkins is a talent and youth injection in the most needed area for this team. It’s a no-brainer.
15. Houston Texans: Clay Matthews, OLB, USC
The Texans need a linebacker, and Clay’s uncle, Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, is on the Texans' coaching staff. As long as Matthews is still on the board, it’s as good as done.
16. San Diego Chargers: Brian Cushing, ILB, USC
Cushing fulfills the need of a solid tackler on the inside but also brings the versatility needed to play all over the field. The Chargers already have a good core of defensive players, but adding a machine like Cushing could give them the dimension they’ve been lacking.
17. New York Jets: Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State
Unless Brett Favre decides retirement still isn’t for him, this is a pick the Jets will be forced into. They very well could opt for Percy Harvin in the first round and then try their luck with a second-tier quarterback. However, Freeman is something of a hot commodity lately, and the Jets are reportedly smitten.
18. Denver Broncos (from Chicago): Robert Ayers, OLB, Tennessee
After getting their big man inside (Raji), the Broncos will focus on beefing up their linebacking corps. They could take a shot at Josh Freeman if he slips by the Jets, but taking Ayers here fills a need and still allows them to pursue a signal caller in the second and third rounds.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Everette Brown, OLB, Florida State
The Buccaneers unloaded veteran Derrick Brooks this offseason, which told you two things. First, there is a new regime in town, and second, getting younger and faster defensive players is a priority. Tampa Bay won’t believe Brown is still available at 19, but they’d be kicking themselves if they didn’t pull the trigger.
20. Detroit Lions (from Dallas): Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss
The Lions make up for what they didn’t do with the first pick, and that’s select a franchise offensive tackle. Oher is close to a second-tier tackle, but he’s not too far off from where the Lions would like him to be. His presence will help Culpepper forget about his knees while ensuring Stafford a solid line of defense.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
His timed speed isn’t flashy, but Moreno’s size and elusiveness are. The Eagles still have Brian Westbrook, but at 30, it’s time to start looking toward the future. It’s probably between Moreno and Chris “Beanie” Wells at this point, with Moreno winning due to better agility and quickness.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
The Vikings would have loved to land either an elite corner or Josh Freeman, but landing Britton is still a solid pick. Britton makes up for his average athleticism with outstanding angles and positioning, as well as above-average strength and drive. The Vikings already have a solid offensive line, but the addition of Britton could turn it into one of their strengths.
23. New England Patriots: Rey Maualuga, ILB, USC
The Patriots traded Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs, yet they still have two starting linebackers over the age of 32. It’s time to move on from the whole “dynasty” aura and simply start drafting guys that fit the scheme. The only reason Maualuga is still available is because his measurables aren’t fantastic when compared to the other linebackers. However, he’s arguably the best “gamer” out of all of them.
24. Atlanta Falcons: Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
They’d probably get a safer bet if they went with defensive tackle Evander Hood, but Johnson’s athleticism and burst are hard to ignore. He’s versatile enough to drop back as a linebacker, while his average strength and bulk have many questioning his ability to play the end at the next level.
25. Miami Dolphins: Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut
Corner is probably their third or fourth biggest need, but when you get this far down the pecking order, it’s difficult to stick to your “needs.” They could go against their word and take a receiver in the first round, but defense seems to be the priority with Bill Parcells and co.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
You’d think the Ravens would learn from the Lions of old, as well as their own drafting history. The truth is, speed is overrated at the receiver position, and it’s high time NFL GMs took note of it. Regardless, Heyward-Bey has unworldly speed, is explosive, and has the body control to make big plays. His lone knock, however, is he has terrible hands.
27. Indianapolis Colts: Evander “Ziggy” Hood, DT, Missouri
Since Quinn Pitcock retired last year, the Colts have been in constant search of a guy who can man the middle of the defensive line. With Evander Hood finding himself dropping all the way to the 27th spot, the Colts may have finally found their man.
28. Philadelphia Eagles: Louis Delmas, S, Western Michigan
Delmas is the first true “reach” of the draft, as he isn’t expected to get a sniff until round two. However, the Eagles need to address safety after both Brian Dawkins and Sean Considine left town, so getting Delmas while they can is a must.
29. New York Giants: Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
Regardless of whether or not they trade for Braylon Edwards or a different receiver, they absolutely need to draft Harvin if he’s here in the first round. After losing Plaxico Burress, the number one priority is keeping that offense alive.
30. Tennessee Titans: Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss
He may not be Albert Haynesworth, but he’s an effective defensive tackle, which just happens to be the Titans' main need. Jerry is much smaller than most elite defensive tackle prospects, but his speed and athleticism keep him at the same level of his positional counterparts.
31. Arizona Cardinals: Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB, Ohio State
As if it were somehow already written in the stars, the Cardinals appear to be set up in this year’s draft to get the exact player they hope for. While it is definitely possibly Wells is a top 10 pick and never comes anywhere this close to Arizona, he’d easily be an upgrade over their current options and would possibly be the steal of the first round.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Phil Loadholt, OT, Oklahoma
The Steelers can tell the world all they want that their line is better than last season, but I’m not buying it. It’s nice that they re-signed Max Starks and Chris Kemoeatu, but drafting an elite lineman this year is extremely important.
33. Detroit Lions: Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
Many experts will be baffled when they have to write, “The Detroit Lions had the best draft of any team.” The worst part is, it’ll be true. If the Steelers are smart and address their average offensive line, Vontae Davis should still be available. Mark that down for three needs the Lions have addressed after only two rounds.
34. New England Patriots (from Kansas City): James Laurinaitis, ILB, Ohio State
It’s a little strange to draft at linebacker with back-to-back picks, but the talent and youth movement is in full swing. Tedy Bruschi and Adalius Thomas are still good enough to start for New England, but the drafting of Laurinaits gives the Patriots the Buckeye, Jerod Mayo, and Rey Maualuga as a solid young corps.
35. St. Louis Rams: Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest
After addressing their offensive line with the second overall pick, the natural assumption would be to add a receiver. However, the new regime is focused on building their defense and running the ball, so the guess here is the Rams take the best available corner. Alphonso Smith gives them a ball hawk (15 picks in last two seasons) with terrific athleticism and range.
36. Cleveland Browns: Jared Cook, TE, South Carolina
They definitely could use some help at linebacker, but their need at tight end is far too great to pass up the freakishly athletic Cook. Cook is still raw but has the speed and athletic ability draft analysts salivate over. Replacing Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow is absolutely paramount to their success.
37. Seattle Seahawks: Jamon Meredith, OT, South Carolina
Seattle got their stud receiver in the first round and would be best advised to focus on their offensive line next. Meredith is a superb athlete and has a sound understanding of the game, but may be a bit undersized for the tackle position. A switch to guard is a possibility in the future, but regardless, he’s the best available offensive lineman.
38. Cincinnati Bengals: Alex Mack, C, California
They have a decent center already in Eric Ghiaciuc, but nabbing the top center prospect in the nation would be great for good competition, at worst. The Bengals' main problem last season was protecting the quarterback and establishing a consistent ground game. Drafting two elite linemen in the first two rounds proves they are committed to never allowing that to happen again.
39. Jacksonville Jaguars: Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State
The Jaguars have had problems at receiver for years, but no more than last season. Just when Matt Jones was finally getting it, he had off-the-field problems and was released. Robiskie gives David Garrard the big target he’s been searching for.
40. Oakland Raiders: Louis Murphy, WR, Florida
Al Davis could make a case for Kenny Britt or Hakeem Nicks, but the reality is that he’s going for whatever guy can make the big plays, as well as an immediate impact. Murphy has elite speed and athleticism, and while it’s a bit of a reach in the second round, he could actually pan out as a solid No. 1 receiver.
41. Green Bay Packers: William Beatty, OT, Connecticut
The Packers already got their guy on defense. In the second round, it’s time to make sure they have a replacement for Mark Tauscher, and at worst field some depth on their offensive line. Beatty is ultra athletic for a lineman and also has great size.
42. Buffalo Bills: Clint Sintim, OLB, Virginia
Considering there aren’t any elite defensive ends left on the board, the Bills will have to get their pass rush from the outside. Sintim has excellent size and range for the outside, but has only average speed and quickness. He’s probably too small to be effective on the line too, but his 20 total sacks over the past two seasons show he can get it done.
43. San Francisco 49ers: Larry English, OLB/DE, Northern Illinois
San Francisco’s main agenda after getting a stud defensive end is to either bolster their linebacking corps or to invest in a quarterback. While there are many passers they could argue over, the fact that English is still on the board will be almost too good to be true. English’s 30.5 sacks over the past three years will have Mike Singletary drawing up defensive schemes in his sleep.
44. Miami Dolphins (from Washington): Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina
Bill Parcells doesn’t draft receivers in the first round, so how about the second? It’s probably between Kenny Britt or Nicks at this point, with Nicks getting the call due to his better playmaking ability.
45. New York Giants (from New Orleans): William Moore, S, Missouri
The Giants badly need a playmaking safety, and Moore’s eight interceptions two seasons ago are evidence that he could be the guy. Physically Moore is extremely solid, while his mental game is the only concern.
46. Houston Texans: Patrick Chung, S, Oregon
Chung is a solid wrap-up tackler, good in coverage, and possesses better than average athleticism. He has had a lot of experience against decent competition and could prove to be a gem for Houston.
47. New England Patriots (from San Diego): Rashad Johnson, S, Alabama
The Patriots need to go about replacing Rodney Harrison, as well as adding depth to their secondary overall. Johnson has solid ball skills, is a good tackler, and has a great work ethic. His height and speed are the only things stopping him from being drafted in the first round.
48. Denver Broncos: Sean Smith, CB, Utah
Smith is still developing and is quite raw, but the talent combined with his size (6’3’’, 214 lbs.) is almost unheard of. It’s tough to find a good cornerback, much less one that can run and jump with the Randy Mosses of the NFL. Smith would be a great pick to groom behind Champ Bailey.
49. Chicago Bears: Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
The Bears could address their offensive or defensive line, but getting another top-end target for new quarterback Jay Cutler should be a priority. Britt faced elite competition in the Big East while producing back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons. Britt has the speed and vision to become a solid receiver in the league, especially with Cutler at the helm.
50. Cleveland Browns (from Tampa Bay): Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut
The Browns aren’t going to fight over why Donald Brown is still on the board; they’re just going to draft him. Jamal Lewis is nearing the end, and his backups are fill-in guys at best. Now is the time to address running back, and Brown is an elite prospect that could start from day one if needed.
51. Dallas Cowboys: Pat White, QB/WR, West Virginia
Getting snatched by Miami or Kansas City are two solid options for White, but the rumor mill is hyping up Dallas big time as White’s final destination. Obviously Tony Romo is their guy, but White could help out as a backup, a receiver, and even in the return game.
52. Philadelphia Eagles: Shawn Nelson, TE, Southern Miss
Since L.J. Smith didn’t work out, the Eagles need to upgrade. Their current roster of average tight ends won’t get it done, so grabbing an athletic and underrated Nelson is a necessity.
53. New York Jets: Shonn Greene, RB, Iowa
While they still have the dynamic duo of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington, it’s clear that neither is the answer for the next five years. Greene is a great value at this point and simply too good of a steal to pass up. The Jets could concentrate on either their secondary or receivers here, but Jones is getting old and Washington can’t carry a full load. It just makes sense.
54. Minnesota Vikings: Alex Magee, DT, Purdue
The Vikings have two stellar inside linemen, but both are aging/regressing. While Pat and Kevin Williams are still effective, it wouldn’t hurt to have a tamed beast resting behind them for grooming.
55. Atlanta Falcons: Jairus Byrd, S, Oregon
The Falcons lost 35-year-old Lawyer Milloy (not a bad thing) and need a replacement. They could address linebacker here too, but safety is a gaping hole until they fill it up with some real talent.
56. Miami Dolphins: Donald Washington, CB, Ohio State
Washington is a reach for Miami in the second round, but the Dolphins need secondary help, and the talent pool at corner is getting shallower by the minute. If they don’t take Washington here, they might not find a corner in this draft that can start for them.
57. Baltimore Ravens: Connor Barwin, OLB, Cincinnati
Barwin is a physical specimen with great speed and actually potentially fits the Ravens’ scheme perfectly. He is a bit raw, though, and has limited experience against only average competition. After losing Bart Scott, the Ravens need talent and youth at the position.
58. New England Patriots: Andy Levitre, G, Oregon State
After getting two good, young linebackers, the Patriots hit the offensive line panic button and grab up Levitre. New England’s offensive line has gone from elite to slightly above average in a little over one year. Levitre won’t fix their problems completely, but he sure can help.
59. Carolina Panthers: Jarron Gilbert, DT, San Jose State
Carolina hasn’t had an inside force like Gilbert since Kris Jenkins was healthy and manning the middle. If Gilbert lives up to the hype, the Panthers could be a little improved quarterback play away from contending for a title.
60. New York Giants: LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh
The Giants have Brandon Jacobs, but with the loss of Derrick Ward and Jacobs’ injury-prone nature, taking McCoy would be a great move. It’s a wonder how he lasted this long, but you won’t hear the Giants complaining.
61. Indianapolis Colts: Austin Collie, WR, BYU
Much like Jordy Nelson from last year’s draft, Collie brings the whole package, just not necessarily with elite timed speed. Collie put up a monster season last year for BYU and should fill in nicely as the third option as Anthony Gonzalez tries to prove he’s ready to take over for the departed Marvin Harrison.
62. Tennessee Titans: Derrick Williams, WR, Penn State
The Titans can’t put all their eggs in one basket when concerning Nate Washington and Justin Gage. Adding a top talent like Williams to compete for next season is important, but more than anything, to just add depth to a severely starving position is key.
63. Arizona Cardinals: Lawrence Sidbury, OLB, Richmond
Arizona could go in a number of directions, but almost all of those directions have to do with defense. They can wait until the third round to add a corner. Sidbury is too put together to pass up.
64. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ron Brace, DT, Boston College
They probably would like to keep adding depth to their offensive line, but beefing up an already strong position never hurts. Brace would go to Tennessee in this round if they hadn’t already drafted their potential Haynesworth replacement.