2009 NFL Mock Draft: Final Edition

PJ PointerCorrespondent IApril 24, 2009

Here is the final edition of my NFL mock draft. There are quite a few changes, and I think that draft day will provide quite a few surprises.

1. Detroit LionsMatthew Stafford – QB – Georgia

The Lions' brain trust feels that Stafford is the real deal and will turn out to be a franchise quarterback.

Who should they take?

Aaron Curry – LB – Wake Forest

Curry is the safest player in this draft. He is pretty much the only guy that you can say without a shadow of a doubt will not bust. He can play all three LB positions and can even rush the passer.

2. St. Louis Rams: Jason Smith – LT – Baylor

Smith is a pass-blocking specialist, and the Rams need him in the worst way. Orlando Pace is gone, and Alex Barron isn’t ready to take over the left side of the line.

The Rams must have an LT to protect Marc Bulger’s blind side, not to mention they need to be able to fully use Steven Jackson and let him reestablish himself as one of the best young RBs in the NFL.

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Who should they take?

Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe are neck and neck for the title of best left tackle in this draft. St. Louis would be happy with either player here.

3. Kansas City Chiefs: Tyson Jackson – DE – LSU

This will be the draft’s first big surprise.

Kansas City has absolutely fallen in love with Jackson, and he fits a big need for them. He is the best 3-4 defensive end in this year’s draft and will immediately upgrade their defensive line.

Who should they take?

Aaron Curry – LB – Wake Forest

Curry is the safest player in this draft. He is pretty much the only guy that you can say without a shadow of a doubt will not bust. He can play all three LB positions and can even rush the passer.

4. Seattle Seahawks: Mark Sanchez – QB – USC

Matt Hasselbeck isn’t getting any younger and recently has had some serious back problems.

Sanchez is a perfect fit for Seattle’s West Coast offense and will have the luxury of sitting behind Hasselbeck for a year.

Who should they take?

B.J. Raji – DT – Boston College

Seattle’s interior defensive line was terrible last season and doesn’t look to be getting any better any time soon. That will prove devastating to their chances in a division that features Frank Gore and Steven Jackson.

5. Cleveland Browns: Aaron Curry – LB – Wake Forest

Curry is the safest player in this draft. He is pretty much the only guy that you can say without a shadow of a doubt will not bust. He can play all three LB positions and can even rush the passer.

Who should they take?

You can’t really argue with the Curry pick here. He fills a need and fits in perfectly in their 3-4 defense.

6. Cincinnati Bengals: Eugene Monroe – OT – Virginia

Monroe is the reason that Branden Albert, a first round pick at left tackle last year, played offensive guard in college.

The Bengals have to keep Carson Palmer upright in order to win anything. Right now they have absolutely nothing in terms of a left tackle, and as Palmer comes off of a season pretty much lost to injury, they have to get one.

Who should they take?

Monroe has to be the pick. The Bengals need far too much help on the offensive line for this to go down any other way. The only other player that I could see here would possibly be Michael Crabtree, who they don't need after signing Laveranues Coles, or maybe Andre Smith.

7. Oakland Raiders: Michael Crabtree – WR – Texas Tech

Al Davis loves wide receivers, and while not as fast as Davis would like, Michael Crabtree is the best there is at the receiver spot in this draft.

They've invested far too much in JaMarcus Russell to not give him a quality target to throw to. He needs his Jerry Rice or Larry Fitzgerald, a guy that he can throw the ball up to and know that he will go get it.

Who should they take?

Crabtree shouldn't be available at this point, but he had the foot problem, and none of the teams picking before the Raiders really need a wide receiver (Matt Millen isn't in charge in Detroit anymore. Right?). So the Raiders really get a great value here.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Andre Smith – OT – Alabama

Jacksonville fell apart last season for pretty much one reason: They didn’t have an offensive line.

Smith, while a bit of a headcase maybe, can block. He is one of the best run-blocking offensive tackles to come along in years, and that’s exactly what Jacksonville needs.

Who should they take?

You can’t argue with Smith.

9. Green Bay Packers: B.J. Raji – DT – Boston College

This worked out perfectly for Green Bay. They are switching to a 3-4 defense and have absolutely no one to anchor the nose.

Raji will slide in and be their starting nose tackle from the first snap of training camp.

Who should they take?

I really think that Raji is the best choice here for the Packers. A case could be made for either Rey Maualuga or Malcolm Jenkins.

10. San Francisco 49ers: Brian Orakpo – DE/LB – Texas

San Fran needs a pass rush, and Orakpo can provide that in spades.

It’s amazing that he’s fallen this far, but the 49ers won’t stare a gift horse in the mouth.

Who should they take?

Orakpo is an absolute steal at this point of the draft.

11. Buffalo BillsMichael Oher – OT – Mississippi

Jason Peters was traded to Philadelphia, leaving a huge hole at left tackle.

Oher has top five talent, but it seems as if sometimes he has mental lapses. At the No. 11 pick, however, you can’t afford not to select a player this talented.

Who should they take?

They could possibly go with a pass rushing linebacker here, but I think that offensive tackle is just too much of a need to pass on.

12. Denver Broncos: Aaron Maybin – DE/LB – Penn State

Quick! The Denver Broncos' linebackers are D.J. Williams and...do you see the problem? They are switching to a 3-4 defense under new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, but the problem is they don’t have two good linebackers, let alone four.

Maybin will more than likely play linebacker in the NFL. However, he will do an amazing job of rushing the passer. Denver needs a pass rusher at the linebacker spot, and Maybin provides that.

Who should they take?

I would have to stick with Maybin here.

13. Washington Redskins: Robert Ayers – DE – Tennessee

The Redskins have a hole on the defensive line ever since they cut Jason Taylor.

Robert Ayers steps right in as the starting defensive end and gives them a ton of pass rushing presence.

Who should they take?

Ayers has to be the pick. You can’t spend all of that money on Albert Haynesworth and then have no one next to him to rush the passer.

14. New Orleans Saints: Malcolm Jenkins – CB – Ohio State

The Saints just signed Jabari Greer, but it is going to take a lot more than one player to fix that secondary.

Jenkins can play either corner or safety, and at this point I think New Orleans will view him as a safety.

Who should they take?

Jenkins definitely addresses a huge need and makes the entire defense better.

15. Houston Texans: Darius Butler – DB – Connecticut

Houston has a good pass rush and solid linebackers; what they don’t have is more than one good defensive back.

Butler steps in opposite Dunta Robinson and immediately upgrades the secondary.

Who should they take?

Clay Matthews would be the only other guy here that makes sense. However, he is better suited to a 3-4 than a 4-3.

16. San Diego Chargers: Eben Britton – OT – Arizona

The Chargers have a huge problem at right tackle and an injury concern with Marcus McNeil at left tackle.

Britton can start from day one on the right side, and you can groom him as a swing tackle in case McNeil’s spinal condition becomes a problem.

Who should they take?

Britton has to be the choice. They cannot ignore that right tackle position.

17. New York Jets: Josh Freeman – QB – Kansas State

Brett Favre is gone, and the Jets are now going to rely on Brett Ratliff and/or Kellen Clemens? Freeman has really risen up the draft boards in recent weeks, and the Jets are rumored to be in love with him.

Who should they take?

Freeman is really the only player that makes sense here. The Jets cannot plan on Ratliff or Clemens being the kind of quarterback to take this team to a Super Bowl.

18. Denver Broncos: Brian Cushing – LB – USC

So now Denver has three linebackers that can actually play their defense.

Cushing will join D.J. Williams on the inside of the Denver defense and give them an extremely formidable linebacking corps.

Who should they take?

Can’t argue with this pick, as there is no nose tackle available.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Peria Jerry – DT – Mississippi

Jerry would give them the interior presence that they are losing with the free agent departure of Jovan Haye.

Jerry will stuff the run and get to the quarterback. He makes complete sense for what Tampa wants to do on defense.

Who should they take?

Jerry is a great pick here. They need the interior line help.

20. Detroit Lions: Rey Maualuga – LB – USC

Detroit needs a middle linebacker something fierce.

Maualuga is a starter from day one and really gives Jim Schwartz a run thumper on the inside—something that Schwartz insists that the Lions need, and he's right.

Who should they take?

Without any real NFL middle linebackers on the roster, Detroit has to pick Rey-Rey here.

(They should have taken Curry No. 1 and then been selecting William Beatty, the offensive tackle from Connecticut, here, but hey...they’re the Lions.)

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Knowshon Moreno – RB – Georgia

Brian Westbrook is getting old and gets hurt every year. Correll Buckhalter is gone to Denver.

The Eagles get probably the best running back in the draft and fill a need.

Who should they take?

Moreno has to be the pick.

22. Minnesota Vikings: Jeremy Maclin – WR – Missouri

Maclin can make plays. It’s as simple as that. The Vikings are OK on the outside with Bernard Berrian and Sidney Rice. What they are missing, though, is that slot receiver who can create mismatches.

Who should they take?

If Brad Childress wants to keep his job, he’ll take a playmaking wide receiver here.

23. New England Patriots: Clay Matthews Jr. – LB – USC

The third USC linebacker comes off of the board in the first round. The Patriots need an outside linebacker to rush the passer and create some pressure.

Who should they take?

The case could be made for Larry English – DE/LB – Northern Illinois, but Matthews has the pedigree that Bill Belichick will love, being the son of former NFL linebacker Clay Matthews Sr.

24. Atlanta Falcons: Clint Sintim – LB – Virginia

Keith Brooking and Michael Boley are gone. Atlanta needs linebackers.

Sintim will provide an excellent pass rushing presence off of the edge and will in time develop into a very good all-around linebacker.

Who should they take?

Larry English - DE/LB - Northern Illinois

English would immediately give them a pass rush, something that they at times struggled with last year. Not to mention the fact that the addition of Mike Peterson means that they are a lot more sound at linebacker than they were two weeks ago.

25. Miami Dolphins: Vontae Davis – DB – Illinois

Davis has amazing physical ability and tremendous ball skills, and with the departure of Andre Goodman, the Dolphins need a cornerback.

Who should they take?

Davis has to be the choice. They need a defensive back, and the only other possible guy to be taken this high would be Alphonso Smith from Wake Forest.

26. Baltimore Ravens: Darrius Heyward-Bey – WR - Maryland

The Ravens need a deep threat so that Joe Flacco can unleash that cannon he has attached to his right shoulder.

Heyward-Bey would provide that, as well as becoming a reliable relief valve for Flacco.

Who should they take?

Can’t argue with getting your young quarterback weapons to throw to.

27. Indianapolis Colts: Evander “Ziggy” Hood – DT – Missouri

Hood is a perfect defensive tackle for the Colts' defense. They need interior defensive linemen desperately.

Who should they take?

The Colts must get a push from the interior of that line in order to be successful.

28. Buffalo Bills: Brandon Pettigrew – TE – Oklahoma State

They have Terrell Owens and Lee Evans, so they are set on the outside. What they need now is a security blanket for Trent Edwards.

Pettigrew is a tight end in the Jason Witten mold. He can catch and block. He will provide a great outlet for Edwards, as well as being able to help Michael Oher block.

Who should they take?

A linebacker might make sense here too, but tight end is a huge need for Buffalo.

29. New York Giants: Hakeem Nicks – WR – North Carolina

Nicks gives them the big physical presence on the outside that they lost with the departure of Plaxico Burress.

Who should they take?

Whomever they deem to be the best player available. They don’t have a lot of holes other than wide receiver.

30. Tennessee Titans: Kenny Britt – WR Rutgers

Tennessee needs wide receivers. It is the only position on their defense where you can point and say that they have a weakness.

Britt will give them a big play threat that they haven't had since Derrick Mason left.

Who should they take?

They have to start getting some decent receivers on this team. If they don't, teams will eventually figure out a way to stop that run game.

31. Arizona Cardinals: Chris Wells RB Ohio State

Edgerrin James wants out of Arizona, and they really do want to grant him his wish. The only problem is that they aren't ready to just hand all of the running duties to Tim Hightower.

Wells gives them a big physical back that can pound it between the tackles and really set up the play action pass.

Who should they take?

Wells would be virtually impossible for Arizona to pass on at this point.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alex Mack – OG/C – Oregon

Despite coming off of a Super Bowl-winning season, the Steelers still realize that they have a tremendous need at the interior of their offensive line.

Mack can play either guard or center at close to an All-Pro level and would give an immediate shot in the arm to the run game.

Who should they take?

Sean Smith – CB – Utah

Bryant McFadden signed with the Cardinals, leaving a huge hole at defensive back for the Steelers. Smith is a big defensive back, standing 6’4” and around 214 lbs., but has very good hips and can turn and run with quicker/faster wide receivers.

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