Friday, February 6, 2009

NFL Mock Draft II

It's been 5 long days since the dramatic conclusion of Super Bowl XLIII, so I figure it's time to move on with our off-season. What follows is my second attempt of the year at a first round NFL Mock Draft. Turns out this time around, Pitt's own Shady McCoy managed to sneak in. Of course, its an absolute certainty that a million factors will change between now and Draft Day in April. These are my best guesses for today. We'll probably do another one of these in a few weeks after the NFL Combine. And before we get to this thing, let me just say, any and all comments are welcome. Mock Drafts are a crazy and weird science and fan input is always appreciated!

1 Detroit- Matthew Stafford QB Georgia
- Until I hear that the Lions aren’t looking at the QB position, I just can’t bring myself to slot anyone else into this spot. Stafford is a bit raw but has incredible tools and a cannon for an arm. I don’t foresee him being ready immediately like Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco were, but he has as high a ceiling as any QB of the last several seasons. A potential pitfall for Stafford, though, could be if he is thrown into the fire in 09 and the Lions are as awful as we expect them to be. That could do some real damage to him. If they do choose to look elsewhere, Offensive tackles Andre Smith, Jason Smith, and Eugene Monroe would be in the running. Also worth considering if OLB Aaron Curry.
Previous Pick: Stafford
Alternate Pick: Eugene Monroe OT Virginia

2 St. Louis- Eugene Monroe OT Virginia- Given that there are 3 very, very good offensive tackles at the top of this draft (4 if you want to count Michael Oher) it's probably a safe bet that the OL-desperate Rams will take one. The trouble is just targeting which player is the one they want. That figures to become clearer after the combine when linemen make or break their status.
Previous Pick: Andre Smith OT Alabama
Alternate Pick: Andre Smith


3 Kansas City- Aaron Curry LB Wake Forest
- It will be very interesting to see in what direction Scott Pioli decides to go with this pick. He's seen Bill Belichick succeed without taking many impact skill position players high, but he also saw what his former co-worker Tom Dimitroff did last year in Atlanta. Curry figures to be the top defender on most teams boards and will step in and play every snap no matter where he lands. I think OL is also a possibility but they did a solid job of addressing that last offseason and in figures to come down to how much faith they have in Tyler Thigpen.
Previous Pick: Eugene Monroe
Alternate Pick: Mark Sanchez QB USC4 Seattle- Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech- This has become this year's obvious pick. The funny thing is that the obvious pick in the weeks leading up to the draft doesn't always happen. For now though I can't see a scenario where the Hawks pass on this type of talent, especially after seeing how great an impact one receiver can have after watching Larry Fitzgerald tear through the 2008 NFL playoffs.
Previous Pick: Crabtree
Alternate Pick: Andre Smith


5 Cleveland- Everette Brown DE Florida State- I was torn heavily here between Brown and CB Malcolm Jenkins. With Mangini in place, though, I think the emphasis has to become on finding a way to put pressure on the QB. Brown is this year's Vernon Gholston, which is a compliment believe it or not. He would be an OLB in the Brownies 3-4 D and has rare speed and size combined into one. He would give the Browns D some teeth and would give them a great pair of bookend OLB's in Brown and Kamerion Wimbley. It's a copycat league and everyone saw the impact that LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison had for the Steelers.
Previous Pick: Aaron Curry
Alternate Pick: Malcolm Jenkins CB Ohio State

6 Cincinnati- Andre Smith OT Alabama- It can be kind of overwhelming when looking at all the needs the Bengals have. It really is something of a miracle that Marvin Lewis still has a job. Still, Smith is a pretty elite-level OT and grades out as well as Joe Thomas did a year ago in many of the assessments that I have seen of him. It just so happens there are a number of similar OT's in this year's draft, causing Smith to slip. If they want Carson Palmer to stay healthy, I have to think that the O-Line is their target.
Previous Pick: Michael Oher OT Ole Miss
Alternate Pick: B.J. Raji DT Boston College


7 Oakland- Jason Smith OT Baylor- Ugh I just couldn't do it. I couldn't follow the recent trend and give the Raiders speedy WR Jeremy Maclin. We all know that Al Davis loves playmakers and speed and guys who can get downfield, and that actually makes a bit of sense considering that they have the league's strongest arm in JaMarcus Russell. However Russell will have less than zero time to get the ball downfield if Oakland doesn't do something about that line that's protecting Russell. I have a strong feeling though that when I wrap up my final Mock in mid-April this pick will be a receiver.
Previous Pick: Aaron Maybin DE Penn State
Alternate Pick: Jeremy Maclin WR Missouri


8 Jacksonville- B.J. Raji DT Texas Tech- The Jags figure to want to grab an offensive tackle here, but in this scenario the 3 best are all off the board and I think Oher has slipped below those top three. Raji meanwhile has been one of the fastest risers in this year's draft offseason and could easily go a few spots higher than this. He would give the Jags a return to the days when they had two very feared defensive tackles when teamed with John Henderson.
Previous Pick: Jason Smith
Alternate Pick: Michael Oher OT Mississippi

9 Green Bay- Malcolm Jenkins CB Ohio State- The Packers are overhauling their defense next season and flipping to the 3-4, so it's a definite possibility they may want to find players who they think fits that front 7 scheme better than their current roster. Brian Orakpo, B.J. Raji, and Everette Brown would all make sense here, but I also think they need to address a weak secondary and Jenkins has the potential to be an elite, shutdown corner.
Previous Pick: Jenkins
Alternate Pick: Brian Orakpo DE/OLB Texas

10 San Francisco- Mark Sanchez QB USC- I think that the Niners do like Shaun Hill a decent amount, but I also don't think they will want to pass up Sanchez. Like the aforementioned Stafford, I think Sanchez would definitely benefit from at least one full season on the sidelines, so Hill still figures to be the team's starter, thus creating something of a Drew Brees/ Phil River scenario where Hill is playing for a shot with another team.
Previous Pick:Brian Orakpo
Alternate Pick: Brian Orakpo
11 Buffalo- Brian Orakpo DE/OLB Texas- The Bills absolutely collapsed at the end of this past season and a lot of that had to do with a defense that put very little fear in the heart of opposing QB's. Orakpo was a pass-rushing demon in college and would fulfill a similar role in Buffalo. I also don't think they are sold on Trent Edwards so if Mark Sanchez slips he could be worth a look as well.
Previous Pick: Everette Brown
Alternate Pick: Brandon Pettigrew TE Oklahoma State


12 Denver- Aaron Maybin DE/OLB Penn State- Maybin is quite skilled at coming off the edge and getting to the QB, and that's something that the Broncos definitely need, especially if they are switching to the 3-4, as is expected. I think they may also look at the inside linebacker position or the running back spot.
Previous Pick: B.J. Raji
Alternate Pick: Rey Maualuga LB USC


13 Washington- Michael Oher OT Mississippi-
The Skins would have to be very excited to get Oher at this spot. Oher has the athletic ability to be a top 5 pick, and if the right team becomes enamored with him he still could be. For now he seems like he's sliding for a number of reasons, but at pick 13 he is a bargain.
Previous Pick: Michael Johnson DE Georgia Tech
Alternate Pick: Tyson Jackson DE LSU

14 New Orleans- Vontae Davis CB Illinois- Defense, defense, defense. That about sums up what the Saints need. They especially need help at linebacker and cornerback, but if DE slips to them that's also a strong possibility. It's hard to really judge which spots the Saints desire most, but the guess here is they take whoever is the highest ranked regardless of where they play and that guy is Davis. They also may look at any USC linebacker or James Laurinaitis.
Previous Pick: Rey Maualuga LB USC
Alternate Pick: Rey Maualuga


15 Houston- Brian Cushing LB USC- I think that ideally the Texans would like a defensive end here, but I also don't know they'd reach for Tyson Jackson especially because he isn't the pass-rushing stud they need. They'd love to see Orakpo or Maybin though, for sure. They also may look to corner, but Cushing will step right in and give them a solid player alongside young stud DeMeco Ryans.
Previous Pick: Vontae Davis
Alternate Pick: D.J. Moore CB Vanderbilt

16 San Diego- Knowshon Moreno RB Georgia- It will be interesting to see what happens with the Darren Sproles/ LaDainian Tomlinson situation, as few would dispute that the Bolts may be better off with Sproles than LDT, but circumstance probably won't allow that. If Sproles bolts, as we expect him to, running back becomes a definite possibility and Moreno and Beanie Wells are neck-and-neck for that top spot. Middle linebacker is also a possibility here.
Previous Pick: James Laurinaitis
Alternate Pick: Rey Maualuga


17 New York Jets- Tyson Jackson DE LSU- The Jets don't have many glaring needs, especially if the rumored Ray Lewis signing comes to fruition. Rey Maualuga was my pick here until I heard that rumor this morning. Jackson is the ideal 3-4 DE and would be a handful for opposing teams everywhere.
Previous Pick: Jeremy Maclin
Alternate Pick: D.J. Moore CB Vanderbilt


18 Chicago- Jeremy Maclin WR Missouri- Even I was surprised this pick happened and it's my mock draft! I think Maclin could really, really slip if he doesn't go to the Raiders very high as not a whole lot of teams seem to have a pressing WR need. The Bears also could use some defensive assistance to try to put their defense back to where they once were.
Previous Pick: Tyson Jackson
Alternate Pick: Michael Johnson DE Georgia Tech


19 Tampa Bay- Peria Jerry DT Ole Miss- I don't expect things to change much under new head coach Raheem Morris in Tampa. The Bucs are still a team that is close to contending, and getting a pile-mover like Jerry to plug the middle could be a big difference-maker for the Bucs in the coming years.
Previous Pick: Knowshon Moreno
Alternate Pick: Percy Harvin WR Florida

20 Detroit- Rey Maualuga LB USC- Middle linebacker may not be as big of a need for the Lions as, say, Offensive Line, but with the USC stud still on the board I think the Lions would have to take him. Maualuga would be able to start from Day 1, would be a tackling machine, and would be a nice complement to the talented Ernie Sims.
Previous Pick: Eben Britton OT Arizona
Alternate Pick: D.J. Moore CB Vanderbilt


21 Philadelphia- Chris Wells RB Ohio State- The Eagles would like to get an offensive tackle with their first round I would assume. However, no one fits that bill at this spot and they have another pick at 28, so I'm avoiding that for now. However, it certainly wouldn't be the first time a team reached for a lineman. For now, Beanie Wells would be a nice pick to add to their offense as he could be a nice complement to Brian Westbrook and maybe even extend Westbrook's career.
Previous Pick: Chris Wells
Alternate Pick: Eben Britton OT Arizona

22 Minnesota- Josh Freeman QB Kansas State- Everyone knows that the Vikes need to somehow find a way to address their QB situation. If Mark Sanchez begins to fall I think the Vikes will start making calls to try to find a way to move up the board to get him, but if they stand pat they have a pretty good chance of getting Freeman. Freeman has impressive ability and all the Vikes really need is even mediocre QB play, so this pick probably has to happen.
Previous Pick: Mark Sanchez
Alternate Pick: Eben Britton OT Arizona


23. New England- Clay Matthews LB USC- After years of refusing to spend big on linebackers in the draft and believing they could just pick guys off the scrap heap the Pats finally invested a first rounder there last season in Jerod Mayo. Needless to say, this dividends were huge. And after having to play washed-up vets like Junior Seau and Roosevelt Colvin yet again I think the Pats go hard after another 'backer. Matthews is a Patriots kind of player. Very smart, understands the game very well, and has been overlooked for much of his career.
Previous Pick:Brian Cushing
Alternate Pick: D.J. Moore CB Vanderbilt


24. Atlanta- Brandon Pettigrew TE Oklahoma State- The Falcons still have the pressing DT need that they had a year ago when they were debating between Glenn Dorsey and Matt Ryan. Obviously Ryan was the right choice, but the need is still there. The best DT left on the board here is Sen'Drick Marks, but he isn't worthy of a first-rounder, at least not this high of one. Instead I think they also may look for another weapon for Matt Ryan. Pettigrew would be that unique weapon.
Previous Pick: Peria Jerry
Alternate Pick: Larry English LB Northern Illinois


25. Miami- D.J. Moore CB Vanderbilt- The Dolphins made incredible progress in year one of the Sparano/ Parcells regime. Still, they often seemed to do it with smoke and mirrors and have a number of holes still left to fill. Their defensive backfield needs some beefing up, they could use an upgrade at the receiver position, as well and help is also needed at linebacker and maybe even offensive line.
Previous Pick: D.J. Moore
Alternate Pick: Darius Heyward-Bey WR Maryland


26. Baltimore- James Laurinaitis LB Ohio State- It's essentially a given that the Ravens are going to have to lose either Ray Lewis or Bart Scott, or potentially both this offseason. That creates a definite void in the heart of their defense, and Laurinaitis may not have the most upside but he is ready to play for a contending team right away.
Previous Pick: Percy Harvin WR Florida
Alternate Pick: Alphonso Smith CB Wake Forest


27. Indianapolis- Alphonso Smith CB Wake Forest- The Colts may consider adding more depth to their wide receiver position with this pick, but also will look to add to their defense. Smith is a solid corner and will add depth to the unit almost immediately. The Colts also may look at adding some beef to their D-Line in the form of a guy like Sen'Drick Marks.
Previous Pick: Sen'Drick Marks DT Auburn
Alternate Pick: Sen'Drick Marks


28. Philadelphia- Eben Britton OT Arizona- The Eagles go for the top offensive tackle left on the board to add depth to an aging line. They may also consider looking at adding a receiving weapon for Donovan McNabb. A Percy Harvin or Darius Heyward-Bey could be considered.
Previous Pick: Brandon Pettigrew
Alternate Pick: Percy Harvin

29 New York Giants- Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Maryland- For a team coming off a spectacular season as the NFC's top seed, the G-Men have a lot of needs. They could lose at least one of their 1,000 yard rushers and it seems unlikely that Plax Burress will be returning so a big receiver like Heyward-Bey is also a possibility. Lastly they could use linebacking help as well.
Previous Pick: Clint Sintim LB Virginia
Alternate Pick: LeSean McCoy RB Pitt

30 Tennessee- Percy Harvin WR Florida- I think that the Titans would probably rather get their hands on the steadier and more prototypical Heyward-Bey, but he's gone in this scenario. However the Titans have to get some receiving weapons in this offense. They also may look to get another defensive tackle if Albert Haynesworth leaves or could just take the best player available that fits any kind of need.
Previous Pick: Darrius Heyward-Bey
Alternate Pick: Hakeem Nicks WR North Carolina

31 Arizona- LeSean McCoy RB Pitt- We get ourselves yet another reason to root for the Arizona Cardinals as they select yet another Pitt star to add to their lineup. Edge James is likely gone and Tim Hightower figures to be a secondary back. McCoy should be given starter carries from Day 1 and has developed an excellent nose for the end zone. The Cards also will have to consider looking at adding some O-Line help after watching the Steelers run over Mike Gandy in the Super Bowl.
Previous Pick: Duke Robinson G Oklahoma
Alternate Pick: Alex Mack C California


32. Pittsburgh- Alex Mack C California- The Steelers need OL help, and it figures to come down to one of a few different interior linemen. Mack was a college center and eventually could shift back there but could also shift to guard. Duke Robinson, Eben Britton, William Beatty, and Max Unger all will factor in here as well. For now I stick with my pick from last time of Mack.
Previous Pick: Alex Mack
Alternate Pick: Duke Robinson G Oklahoma


PLEASE FEEL FREE TO LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK! FEEDBACK FOR THESE THINGS IS ALWAYS APPRECIATED AND ALWAYS HELPFUL!

5 comments:

Jonathan Bryant said...

Glad to see Shady made it into the first round. I can't picture him slipping all the way into the second, he's just too good isn't he? I've seen Beanie Wells and Moreno play and I think he's every bit the player that they are.

Ton said...

Just stumbled on your mock draft. Pretty good stuff. I'm a Raider fan, and I agree with you, I hope and pray that they take an offensive lineman to protect JaMarcus and let him use that ridiculous arm he has. But I'll believe it when I see it. I think Maclin is a definite possibility and I've seen some spots where Crabtree slips in which case it's a no-brainer.

Josh D. said...

I definitely hope you are right about Oher sliding to the Skins. He seems like a pretty divisive prospect right now. Some guys think he's like one of the top 3 or 4 players to get drafted others think he's slipping like you do. It will be pretty interesting to see what happens with him.

Anonymous said...

YOUR DRAFT LOOKS REAL GOOD
ADDRESSING MOST OF THE TEAMS NEEDS...I JUST BELIEVE WITH THE SHORT LIST OF TALENT AVAILIBLE AT THE QUARTERBACK LEVEL IN THIS DRAFT A MATT CASSELL TRADE HAS TO FIT IN THE MIX HERE ....

Ryan said...

Okay a few responses to the comments about My Mock:
-I agree Shady, in my mind, is every bit as good as Beanie Wells and Knowshon Moreno, but NFL teams don't seem to think that. So until I hear that some teams might (maybe at the combine?) Shady is the clear third back.

-Josh you hit it right on the head: Oher is a very divisive player right now. We should know a lot more about him after the combine and the individual workouts. Until then, I think he's a slider.

-Anonymous guy: I agree a Matt Cassell trade will shake things up. When the draft gets closer I'm going to revise this mock and make a draft that reflects any potential Cassel rumors and any other rumors that may be circulating. Any trade I make now would be 100% guesswork, though.