Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mock Draft IV

This will be my fourth attempt at a Mock, for past incarnations: Draft I, Draft II, Draft III.

This time I expanded to a two round Mock and also did a bit of a format change. I listed the entire first round immediately below without any explanation so that it is easier to read for people who have come here looking for a particular pick. Below that list is the usual first round explanation for each pick. Click at the bottom of this page for the second round Mock. We'll do this again in a couple of weeks.

1 Detroit- Matthew Stafford QB Georgia
2 St. Louis- Jason Smith OT Baylor
3 Kansas City- Aaron Curry LB Wake Forest
4 Seattle- Eugene Monroe OT Virginia
5 Cleveland- Brian Orakpo DE Texas
6 Cincinnati- B.J. Raji DT Boston College
7 Oakland- Andre Smith OT Alabama
8 Jacksonville- Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech
9 Green Bay- Aaron Maybin OLB Penn State
10 San Francisco- Jeremy Maclin WR San Francisco
11 Buffalo- Everette Brown DE/LB Florida State
12 Denver- Malcolm Jenkins CB Ohio State
13 Washington- Michael Oher OT Mississippi
14 New Orleans- Brian Cushing OLB USC
15 Houston- Tyson Jackson DE LSU
16 San Diego- Rey Maualuga LB USC
17 New York Jets- Mark Sanchez QB USC
18 Chicago- Hakeem Nicks WR North Carolina
19 Tampa Bay- Peria Jerry DT Mississippi
20 Detroit- Eben Britton OT Arizona
21 Philadelphia- Brandon Pettigrew TE Oklahoma State
22 Minnesota- Vontae Davis CB Illinois
23 New England- Clay Matthews LB New England
24 Atlanta- Robert Ayers DE Tennessee
25 Miami- Sean Smith DB Utah
26 Baltimore- Percy Harvin WR Florida
27 Indianapolis- Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Maryland
28 Philadelphia- William Beatty OT Connecticut
29 New York Giants- Knowshon Moreno RB Georgia
30 Tennessee- Michael Johnson DE Georgia Tech
31 Arizona- Chris Wells RB Ohio State
32 Pittsburgh- Alex Mack OL California

1 Detroit- Matthew Stafford QB Georgia
This pick continues to be consistently boring, as I've seen no reason whatsoever to change this pick thus far. Stafford hasn't locked anything up yet, but he is seen almost unanimously as the clubhouse leader. He still has a workout to go through that could shake things up a bit, and I imagine the Lions are taking long, hard looks at the likes of Eugene Monroe, but to this point nothing has emerged from Lions camp to change my mind here.

2 St. Louis- Jason Smith OT Baylor
It still is very much up for debate about just who the top offensive lineman is in the 09 Draft, but for me right now it seems to be Jason Smith by a nose over Eugene Monroe. The offensive line position seems like a slam dunk for the Rams at this spot, as there are at least two guys here who are elite-level talents to go with the Rams pressing need for help at the position.

3 Kansas City- Aaron Curry LB Wake Forest
As you can tell, the top of the draft has stayed mostly stagnant to this point. Curry just screams "Patriot Player" to me, and I think Scott Pioli will be thinking along similar lines. He is a truly tremendous talent, and will be able to contribute significantly from Day 1. In fact, he seems like the safest pick in the entire draft in my eyes, and that has to be music to KC's ears. The Chiefs desperately need help on the defensive side of the ball. This just makes so much sense, I can't see it going any other way so long as Curry is there for them.

4 Seattle- OT Eugene Monroe Virginia
Finally a bit of change at the top. The Seahawks have been a tough team to peg to this point, and that continues. I think Crabtree has been mostly ruled out here, though, because of the fact his measurables aren't all that impressive (he's only 6'1 and there's no good speed measurement) and because the Hawks signed T.J. Houshmandzadeh to boost their receiving corps already. That said, I still think Seattle takes a long look at the Tech receiver, they'd be crazy not to. However, I think their pressing need on the offensive line makes Monroe a logical pick, and he could very well turn out to be a truly elite player before long on the left side.

5 Cleveland- Brian Orakpo DE/LB Texas
The Browns have needs all over, but most of their needs don't match up tremendously well with where they are drafting. That said, I'd have to say that Orakpo, even if he is a bit of a reach, probably is the best bet to land here for the Browns. Orakpo could give them a tremendous pass rushing threat off the edge and should be able to give them a boost immediately in their 3-4 scheme. Another possibility could be B.J. Raji or maybe Michael Crabtree if they have the balls to go after another high pick receiver.

6 Cincinnati- B.J. Raji DT Boston College
The Bengals, at least in my mind, are a pretty easy team to read in this draft. To me, three guys make all the sense in the world here, and the odds are good that two of those three (no idea which ones though) will be off the board. In addition to Raji, I'd say that Eugene Monroe and Jason Smith are the other two possibilities. Raji looks to be a very disruptive force from the interior of the line. He isn't going to be a tremendous pass-rushing force like Haynesworth or anything, but I do think he'll be an excellent run-stuffer and in this division, that is a very important facet to have in your line.

7 Oakland- Andre Smith OT Alabama
This guy has been one of the more controversial names to be tossed around this postseason. He is as good of a talent as anyone in the draft, but when the stakes are this high, any red flag can drop a guy significantly. In his case, that could lead Smith to drop further even than this. However, the Raiders eventually have to find someone to block for poor JaMarcus Russell, and I think Al Davis will overlook Smith's bad boy persona in order to secure a potential franchise building block. Many others have the Raiders pegged for Michael Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin here. Certainly, I think either is a possibility, but I like Smith more for the always difficult-to-read Raiders. Crabtree doesn't have the measurables that Davis loves, and Maclin may be fast but I don't think the talent is really there to justify passing on Smith for him.

8 Jacksonville- Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech
If he's here, I think you would probably be hard-pressed to find a bigger slam dunk than this pick. How many Day 1 picks have the Jags wasted on useless wide receivers over the past several years? It seems like that number grows by 1 or 2 every year. With Crabtree, though, I think they are getting a pretty safe prospect. I definitely don't buy the Larry Fitz comparisons, as Crabtree is only 6'1 not 6'3 as he was listed, and doesn't figure to be nearly as dominant on jump balls in the pros as he was in college. I also don't know that he is going to be a game-breaker, either. But I do think he is definitely an 80 catch, 1,000 yard receiver in the pros within a year or two, and that he will be a tough receiver a la Anquan Boldin or Hines Ward, which isn't a measurable in any way but is a nice bonus to have.

9 Green Bay- Aaron Maybin DE/LB Penn State
Maybin would most certainly be shifted to the outside linebacker position for the Pack. I think Green Bay would love to snag a nose tackle like B.J. Raji here, but that seems extremely unlikely given Raji's recent rocket up the draft board and the number of teams in need of a quality DT. I'm not completely sold on Maybin, and I don't expect him to be an immediate impact player. But I do think that under the tutelage of a 3-4 master like Dom Capers, Maybin could definitely be molded into a very good pass rush specialist and maybe even develop some of the coverage skills that also will be necessary.

10 San Francisco- Jeremy Maclin WR Missouri
The Niners are a team I have had some difficulty pegging. They could definitely use a boost at the offensive tackle position, but Michael Oher would be a reach and the others are gone. I personally would look at Mark Sanchez, but most Niner sources and seemingly all Niner fans don't like that idea too much. And pass-rushing could also be a need for this team. But after bringing back Alex Smith and committing to Shaun Hill, I think the Niners will be looking to add some weapons for their quarterbacks to make use of. Maclin is a burner who reminds me a bit of Santonio Holmes in that he doesn't have the great size you like in a downfield threat, but he does certainly have the speed to outrun most DBs.

11 Buffalo- Everette Brown DE/LB Florida State
The Bills have not been afraid in recent years to reach for someone (a la Donte Whitner) if they believe in him. With that in mind I really wouldn't be surprised to see a Brian Cushing or Michael Oher or Rey Maualuga go here. Brown is a solid athlete and can rush from the DE or OLB spot for Buffalo depending on the scheme. However, there is concern about him because the athleticism he showed at the combine was subpar. I think Brown could be a prime candidate to slip, just not in this scenario.

12 Denver- Malcolm Jenkins CB Ohio State
The Broncos figure to target whoever the best defender on the board is, as they need help all over on that side of the ball. In this case, that is definitely Jenkins. I think Denver would like to land one of the pass-rushing tweeners, and certainly those guys could fall, but I am a fan of Jenkins. His measurables don't jump off the page at you at all, but I still think he turns into a very good corner, which is something the Broncos could definitely use. Pairing Jenkins opposite the legendary Champ Bailey should give the Broncos one of the most talented starting tandems in football. Other possibilities here would be Rey Maualuga or Tyson Jackson. One last wildcard could be Mark Sanchez. If this Jay Cutler thing continues to go south, the Broncos are wildly unlikely to get a good enough if they do end up having to Cutler. I really can't figure out the Broncos here. First you try to deal a Pro Bowl QB with as much natural ability as any QB in football for a 1 year wonder who looks very much like a system QB, and then instead of patching things up you mostly antagonize your QB even more? Think Pat Bowlen would like that Fire Mike Shanahan decision back? I bet he would.

13 Washington- Michael Oher OT Mississippi
By most accounts this pick would be something of a reach for the Redskins. But as we saw last year, teams are more than willing to reach for offensive linemen if it is a need, and for the Skins, it definitely is. Oher looks like something of a project to me and I highly doubt he is able to start and play even decently his rookie season. For the Redskins I think that might put them off a bit, but Oher also has as high of a ceiling as any lineman in this draft, which should at least partially make up for that. The Skins also could use a defensive end or a linebacker here. I wouldn't be surprised to see a trade back here either, especially if Mark Sanchez is still on the board.

14 New Orleans- Brian Cushing OLB USC
The Saints, as always, need help on defense. The secondary is an area of concern for like th 40th year in a row, but unless Malcolm Jenkins slips all the way to here, I wouldn't take any of the other cornerbacks. Cushing is probably the second-best pure linebacker in this draft behind the superb Aaron Curry, and like Curry I think Cushing can come right in and play and contribute a ton from Day 1. Other possibilities could be a Tyson Jackson at end or if they want to go secondary, it would have to be Vontae Davis.

15 Houston- Tyson Jackson DE LSU
Tyson Jackson is viewed by many as a 3-4 DE, but that isn't necessarily the only scenario for him. I think Houston would be a solid fit for him actually. I don't see him being a tremendous pass rusher, but with Super Mario opposite him, he wouldn't have to be. Instead, Jackson figures to be more of a run-stuffing, stay-at-home type who may end up playing defensive tackle within a few years, too.

16 San Diego- Rey Maualuga LB USC
The Bolts are a team that can afford to look mostly at the best player available who fills even a slight need. With Maualuga still sitting on the board, this seems like a perfect fit. Maualuga doesn't have tremendous upside, but he is already looking like an NFL-ready MLB, and if he is in the right fit he is probably a leading candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year. The Bolts are a better team than they showed for much of last season, and Rey would be a nice addition to a team that has every intention of contending for the foreseeable future.

17 New York Jets- Mark Sanchez QB USC
The Jets have a lot of pretty solid pieces in place to make a run. The one question mark, though, is at the QB position, and a playoff team can't afford to have that. I'm not as big on Sanchez as others. I think he needs at least one redshirt season in the pros before he is ready, but there is no doubt that the kid has talent, and for that reason I just can't see the Jets passing on him, even if they do have faith in Kellen Clemens. If Sanchez is gone I can't see the Jets going for a Josh Freeman, and would think they'd look at an offensive playmaker or maybe a defensive end.

18 Chicago- Hakeem Nicks WR North Carolina
Many will be surprised to see Nicks as the third receiver taken in the draft, but this pick is about more than just explosiveness. Of the three receivers most likely to go in this range, Nicks, Harvin and Heyward-Bey, Nicks is the most complete receiver. He isn't going to be a game-breaker like the other two, but he is by far the best route-runner and has superb hands and I think will contribute more off the bat than the other two, who have a bit of mystery around them as to what they will develop into. Da Bears also have some questions on the defensive side of the ball, too. A guy like Robert Ayers or Peria Jerry could be given a look at this spot, too.

19 Tampa Bay- Peria Jerry DT Mississippi
There are many rumors going around about the Bucs potential interest in Kansas State QB Josh Freeman. Personally, though, I just can't see Freeman being this high of a pick. I watched K-State a few times this season on TV and at no point did I ever think I was watching a first or even second round pick. Yeah the guy has some definite potential, but he looks like a project to me and there is always a big unknown with QB's that are projects. If the Bucs want Freeman I think they could definitely trade down 10 spots or so to grab him then instead. Jerry meanwhile is a potentiall dominant force on the interior. The Bucs once-proud D has lost a lot of the teeth they once had, and I think the Bucs could look to add to their D at almost any position. Jerry would represent a good value here, and the drop-off after him at DT is pretty significant.

20 Detroit- Eben Britton OT Arizona
The Lions have holes all over the place and could always go with the best player available approach here after going with a definite need pick at number 1. If that's the case, expect another first-round receiver (ugh) or a linebacker like Clay Matthews. But Eben Britton is the last of the legit first round talents at offensive tackle, and while I can't make an argument he is the 20th best player in this draft, I wouldn't fault the Lions for trying to find some help to protect their franchise QB Matt Stafford.

21 Philadelphia- Brandon Pettigrew TE Oklahoma State
I had previously pegged the Eagles for Beanie Wells here, and while I do think the Eagles will add a running back on Day 1, it seems like Wells is seeing his stock slip a bit these days. Pettigrew meanwhile is a guy that many thought could be a borderline top 10 pick prior to the combine. The results there were kind of disappointing, which is why he slips to here, but at 21 he is a very solid value. He isn't a game-breaker tight end like Antonio Gates, but he has good hands and has the size and strength you'd want to see in a good blocker. After losing L.J. Smith, the Eagles need to find somebody to give some help to Donovan McNabb on offense.

22 Minnesota- Vontae Davis CB Illinois
There is certainly some demand for more help offensively in order to take some heat off of Adrian Peterson, but the Vikes defense is no masterpiece, either. Davis has superb athleticism, and while his gameday performances probably aren't that of a first rounder, he could turn into a very good player if he is in the right type of system. Let's hope that is the Vikings' system. Davis can cover anyone with that excellent speed, and despite being raw like I said, I think he is able to help someone from the first day of camp. There is a serious sentiment among some, though, that Davis reeks of being a colossal bust, which is why despite the talent he possesses he slips all the way to 22.

23 New England- Clay Matthews LB USC
The Pats waited years and years to draft a linebacker in the first round, and then they go and snag an absolute stud in Jerod Mayo. Something tells me they might be a bit more open to the idea from now on. And it turns out that the Pats just so happen to need more help at linebacker. I'm not as high on Matthews as some others, who think he may be higher than teammates Cushing or Maualuga, but I do think that he will be a solid player and is a good athlete to pair alongside the new face of the New England defense in Mayo.

24 Atlanta- Robert Ayers DE Tennessee
Ayers has shot up some draft boards and it wouldn't be a real reach to see him go 15 or maybe even a little bit higher. However, I think he has a little bit of that "workout warrior" label attached to him that often times makes teams wonder if the production on field will match the athleticism in the workouts. I think some teams might avoid just because of that. However, at 24 I think he is a very solid value. He would give the Falcons a potentially imposing pass-rushing threat opposite John Abraham and give another boost to a Flacons D in definite need of more talent. I wouldn't rule out another weapon of any sort for Matt Ryan at this spot, either.

25 Miami- Sean Smith DB Utah
The Dolphins figure to look to add some help to their defense with this pick. Linebacker or cornerback especially figure to be the areas of need, and maybe even nose tackle, too. Smith is an absolutely massive defensive back at 6'3 and is currently considered a CB/S tweener. I think Parcells and Sparano realize the incredible value of a 6'3 cornerback and roll the dice a little bit on this raw but impressive prospect.

26 Baltimore- Percy Harvin WR Florida
The Ravens have a few different needs, but I think Ozzie Newsome would love to get a playmaker like Harvin into his offense to give another weapon to Joe Flacco. I don't see Harvin ever maturing into a 80-90 catch threat, but I definitely see him being an excellent secondary weapon capable of going for 6 points anytime he touches the ball. The Ravens could use an inside linebacker to replace Bart Scott, someone like James Laurinaitis or maybe even a Clay Matthews could play in there, or they could look for an offensive lineman as well.

27 Indianapolis- Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Maryland
Heyward-Bey has vaulted from second-rounder to definite first rounder in recent weeks. However, I think he has become overrated in recent rankings and mocks. I'm not sure the on field abilities and production really matches what we have seen from him in the workouts and at the combine. He is a tremendous athlete, no question, but I think he ends up slipping a bit because receivers always slip and because he is not nearly as complete of a total receiver as Hakeem Nicks

28 Philadelphia- William Beatty OT Connecticut
With their two draft picks I expect the Eagles to definitely find a way to get an offensive tackle. Beatty probably isn't actually a first round talent, but just like in the 08 draft, I think we will see teams start reaching for linemen, especially tackles because of how scarce those resoures are in the league. Other areas could be another wide receiver and a complement running back for Brian Westbrook, but they already have one weapon in Pettigrew for McNabb, so that is enough for now.

29 New York Giants- Knowshon Moreno RB Georgia
Finally! We have our first running back off the board. By no means do I think the Giants our really desperate for a running back, but just like our Steelers a year ago, I think Big Blue is swooning at the thought of adding a weapon at the running back position with this much talent. I definitely prefer Moreno to Beanie Wells, but others may disagree. The G-men also will look at receiver at some point early in the draft, but with 5 receivers already off the board, I just can't see them bothering with the position here. If Heyward-Bey or Nicks or Harvin slip though, then those guys definitely become likely targets.

30 Tennessee- Michael Johnson DE Georgia Tech
For whatever reason, this draft is absolutely littered with guys like Johnson. He is an athletic force of nature, but the on-field production never really matched up with the potential. That is a definite red-flag, especially with higher picks. But at 30, the Titans can afford this luxury pick and won't throw Johnson into the fire immediately, either. If he lives up to the athleticism, he would have been worthy of a top-10 pick. Defensive Tackle is a need, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them reach for Ron Brace. They also could use a wide receiver, as I don't see Nate Washington taking control of the number 1 receiver role.

31 Arizona- Chris "Beanie" Wells RB Ohio State
The Cards keep getting pegged for a running back, and while I do agree in this particular case, I'm not so sure I buy that this is the only area they could target. Certainly if a Wells or Knowshon Moreno is on the board the Cards would have to take a long look at them considering the complete lack of talent the Cards have at the position. However, the Cards still need more offensive line help and their defense, not their running game, was the biggest weakness for much of last season before a late-season surge, so I wouldn't be surprised to see them take the best defender available, someone like Larry English or Louis Delmas.

32 Pittsburgh- Alex Mack OL California
I know what you're thinking Steeler fans. "BORING!" And I agree. Believe me, I tried to come up with a scenario where I didn't put Mack here just to spice things up, but I refuse to believe the Steelers will spend a first rounder on anything but an offensive lineman and I can't really find anywhere that has a Max Unger or Phil Loadholt ranked ahead of Mack. Unger has risen up some boards of late, so I'd recommend keeping an eye on him just in case. If the Steelers look at cornerback, Alphonso Smith or D.J. Moore would be the likely candidates. I definitely do not buy the wide receiver talk, especially in this scenario where Kenny Britt is the best receiver left.

ROUND 2

Also please feel free to leave any comments/criticisms/alternate choices you may have below. Feedback is most appreciated.

5 comments:

Jonathan Bryant said...

You're right, the Alex Mack is getting a little boring, but by all accounts he is a good player and if he is there when the Steelers pick, I'd be fine with it.

Matt said...

Alternate Pick: Malcolm Jenkins for the Packers instead of Maybin.
I know the Pack need personnel to fit in the 3-4, but I've seen Maybin play some and I don't know that I buy him as an OLB in the NFL. And I really think Malcolm Jenkins is underrated now for some reason.

Peter said...

I just don't know that taking a center in the first round is the right move and after signing back virtually all of our line from the end of last season, I don't see it really happening.
Instead, I vote for Alphonso Smith from Wake in this mock. He's undersized but has a lot of talent by all accounts.

Good mock though.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the work and thought you put into this draft. I can tell you really worked hard at it.
That said, 5 receivers in the first round is way too many, even if there is talent there. We saw last year that receivers are starting to slip because teams know there will be quality in the second round too.
Honestly, I think Crabtree and Maclin are the only locks for the first round. I think Nicks is way overrated by you, and that Harvin and Heyward-Bey are borderline first rounders at best. I predict we only see 3 receivers taken in the first.

Ryan said...

Okay some responses are in order here I suppose:
-Matt it seems like Jenkins is slipping according to a lot of people. Many don't think he even can be a corner in the NFL and will have to switch to safety. Honestly right now me putting at 12 is probably a shade high, so 9 would definitely be a reach, but I understand your concern about Maybin.

-Peter I know it is looking less likely that the Steelers will NEED to use a first rounder on an OL given that they are going to have so much of the line back and that guys like Colon and Stapleton figure to improve and maybe a Tony Hills can turn into a solid player, but I am on my knees in prayer hoping that they take one anyway. Even if Mack is just a swingman backup for the 09 season, I would feel better knowing he is there than I would getting some dime snaps out of Fonz Smith.

-Anonymous guy, you make a good point about 5 receivers going given recent history. That said, I think this is a MUCH better class at the top than last year's which was more deep than talented. Plus there are a ton of teams at the end of the round that scream wide receiver need to me, and with so many other positions going off the board I think 4 receivers is a good bet, especially given the ridiculous talent levels of Harvin, Crabtree and Maclin and the impressive workout of Heyward-Bey. The wildcard seems to be Nicks. Some scouts absolutely love the guy and the way he plays and think he can play from day 1, others don't think he has the athleticism.