NFL Draft Countdown's Nov. 11 Mock Draft
NFL Draft Countdown's Mock Draft
Updated November 11, 2005
1. GREEN BAY PACKERS
REGGIE BUSH (RB, Southern Cal)
-Going into the season it would have been hard to imagine a team with Brett Favre at the helm choosing this high in the draft, but you certainly can't blame their downfall on #4. The bottom line is that management did little to help Favre in the offseason, letting two Pro Bowl offensive lineman in Marco River and Mike Wahle get away, not to mention doing almost nothing to address a defense that was lackluster at best. I was a proponent of Green Bay choosing Aaron Rodgers in round one last year because it was time to begin preparing for life after Favre and Rodgers was a tremendous value where they landed him, but some of their other choices were very questionable at best. Ahman Green has been a fine player but he is set to become a free agent, hasn't performed as well in recent years and is now battling injuries which is why they may look to replace him with this pick. Reggie Bush is simply the most exciting, dynamic football player in the college game and a guy who scouts describe as "special", which is a term that isn't thrown around lightly. He will not only upgrade the running game but also provide a major boost as a receiver out of the backfield and as a return man as well. There could be a bidding war for teams interested in trading up for Matt Leinart here, but teams not in need of a quarterback will probably have Bush as the highest rated player on their board. This guy is an impact player.
2. HOUSTON TEXANS
D'BRICKASHAW FERGUSON (OT, Virginia)
-This was supposed to be the year that Houston took a big step forward, but once again it was the same old story with the offensive line holding the team and franchise back. From the point when they took a chance on Tony Boselli in the expansion draft to the signing of Victor Riley this past offseason, the Texans have been in search of a top left tackle literally since their inception but have been unable to find anyone who can hold down the position. Because of this it is nearly impossible to get a read on the true progress of former #1 overall pick David Carr since he is getting sacked at a rate that is setting NFL records. The selection of D'Brickashaw Ferguson would put an end to this problem once and for all though and finally give the team the elite left tackle they, and Carr, have been dreaming of. A tremendous athlete for his size, Ferguson has everything you look for from the position and his name deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as guys like Walter Jones and Jonathan Ogden. As long as Ferguson is available when they pick there really is no need to look at other options because it is crystal clear as to what the franchise needs to do. The only other potential consideration would possibly be a trade down if Leinart is available and they can get a king's ransom for the pick while still being able to land Ferguson a later.
3. TENNESSEE TITANS
MARIO WILLIAMS (DE, North Carolina St.)
-With the previous two teams not in need of a quarterback and Norm Chow as their offensive coordinator popular opinion will likely be that Matt Leinart is destined to be a Titan. While going by the 1 + 2 = 3 rational that might be the case, but there is also a strong chance Tennessee could go in another direction. It is very possible that Steve McNair will retire after this season but not a guarantee, and even if he does hang them up the team still has Billy Volek who has done an excellent job when given the opportunity and is a guy they just signed to a contract extension last offseason. Barring a trade of Volek it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense to use this pick on a signal caller, so instead they opt for the next best player available. Mario Williams has everything you look for physically in a premier pass rusher and could be the best defensive end prospect to come along since Julius Peppers, making him a rare prospect. Offensive tackle is also going to be a big need since Brad Hopkins will be moving along soon so if D'Brickashaw Ferguson were available he could very well be the pick as well, but with things breaking down like they have here the choice would probably come down to Leinart or Williams. Needless to say this dilemma would make for some interesting debates in the Titans war room on draft day.
4. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
MATT LEINART (QB, Southern Cal)
-This is most certainly too low for Leinart and the odds are some team in need of a quarterback will deal up and take him higher, but as of now the teams picking 1-3 don't need a signal caller so he falls right into the Saints waiting arms. Despite all his production and potential Aaron Brooks just hasn't gotten the job done in the Big Easy so if they have a chance to replace him they probably will. By now everyone knows all about Leinart and how after winning the National Championship and the Heisman Trophy he passed up being the #1 pick in the 2005 NFL Draft to go back to school for his senior year. While he doesn't have amazing physical tools Leinart is simply a winner with intangibles that are off the charts, a la Tom Brady. If Green Bay or Houston does indeed end up choosing #1 look for a bidding war to ensue for this guy with the starting price likely to begin at what the Chargers got for Eli Manning in 2004 and perhaps much, much more if the top junior signal callers return to school. What better way to help rejuvenate a city that has been through so much than to land maybe the best quarterback prospect to come along since Peyton Manning in 1998. And if in the future this franchise somehow ends up out in Los Angeles it sure wouldn't hurt having some local star power to build around...
5. NEW YORK JETS
LAURENCE MARONEY (RB, Minnesota)
-Every year a team's once promising season is derailed by injuries and there is little doubt as to who suffered that fate in 2005. With Chad Pennington going down for the second consecutive season with a serious shoulder injury the team is going to have some very tough decisions to make regarding his long-term future. If Pennington is jettisoned this choice will likely be used to grab a stud quarterback like Matt Leinart or Vince Young, but if they decide to hold onto Chad it will be a different story. After signing Pennington to a huge new contract not that long ago it just wouldn't be financially feasible to draft a signal caller here and devote so much money and cap space to one position and two players, so they look elsewhere. Maroney is an extremely productive and explosive runner who is a threat to take it the distance every time he touches the ball. Curtis Martin has been very reliable and one of the best in the business for a long time now, but he isn't getting any younger and has a lot of mileage on his tires. Look for the Jets to take advantage of their misfortune by trying to make a big splash with this high pick and if they can somehow bring Mr. Leinart to the Big Apple it might be a lot easier to write Chad Pennington off and move on.
6. BALTIMORE RAVENS
VINCE YOUNG (QB, Texas)
-It's amazing how a team with so much going for it can be so bad. Despite a dominating defense, one of the best running backs in the league, a very good offensive line and some solid wide receivers the Ravens simply can't score points. By a process of elimination that leaves the quarterback to blame and unless Kyle Boller can really come on down the stretch he may forever be written off as a bust. Vince Young is one of the most exciting quarterback prospects to come along in a while and even though he is still very raw as a passer you can bet a number of teams will be very eager to take a chance on his athleticism and potential. The only problem with this pick is that Young will likely need to sit and learn for a while and won't be able to start immediately, but when you have been looking for a top signal caller as long as Baltimore has it might be worth the wait. Instead of comparing him to Michael Vick, think of Young as the next Randall Cunningham in that he is a guy who will eventually be able to beat you with either his arm or his feet. Perhaps no team has as clear-cut of a need as the Ravens do at quarterback and one way or another this offseason they are going to have to do something about it.
7. ARIZONA CARDINALS
A.J. HAWK (OLB, Ohio St.)
-After being the popular pick by many analysts to take a big leap this season the Cards are back to their old tricks and are among the leagues worst teams. It would be very easy to put an offensive player here since quarterback, the offensive line and tight end are all needs but the defense has been lackluster as well, especially against the run, so they need help there as well. Hawk is as productive of a linebacker as you will find with tremendous instincts, a nose for the ball and much better athleticism and physical tools than he is given credit for. Simply put, this guy is all over the field and will instantly become the leader and captain of whatever team is lucky enough to bring him into the fold. If by some chance they pick high enough to land Matt Leinart or Vince Young that would be the logical choice for them since Josh McCown has been up and down while Kurt Warner has failed to establish himself. Running back is still a possibility but it probably isn't the focus some may think since they do have J.J. Arrington, who was a 2nd round pick just last year and who Denny Green likes, not to mention the troubles in the running game can be largely attributed to the guys up front.
8. SAN FRANCICSO 49'ERS
JIMMY WILLIAMS (CB, Virginia Tech)
-In the first year of a massive rebuilding project Mike Nolan's defense has fared pretty well, but one position that still needs to be upgraded is cornerback. Ahmad Plummer can't seem to stay healthy and while Shawntae Spencer is a good young player there is little else beyond him in terms of depth. Williams is a former safety who still plays with that same physical mentality but he also has the speed and athleticism of a corner. In other words he is exactly what teams look for in that he is both big and fast. San Francisco also still has a lack of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball so if by some chance they could get a shot at Reggie Bush and reunite him with his old high school teammate Alex Smith it would be an ideal situation. Wide receiver is also a glaring weakness but unlike past years there doesn't seem to be an elite player at that position worthy of this high of a pick, although they could reach for Santonio Holmes. When it comes to value and need Jimmy Williams is the obvious fit as he would be a tremendous upgrade in the secondary and give the team the lockdown coverman they have been searching for since the days of Deion Sanders.
9. MIAMI DOLPHINS
ERIC WINSTON (OT, Miami)
-To say that the Miami Dolphins offensive line has struggled the past couple of years would be an understatement and the most glaring weakness is at left tackle, where many players have been plugged in but all have failed. Eric Winston is a former tight end who is still learning the position but has all the tools to possibly be a top left tackle at the next level and, at worst, a right tackle. In fact, had it not been for a serious knee injury Winston may have entered the draft last year and been the first offensive lineman chosen. He struggled early this year while still working his way back to 100% but came on late in the season and began to look like his old self. It usually takes a couple of years to come back from the type of injury he suffered so if teams base his draft grade on the way he played in 2005 someone could end up getting a major steal when he is fully recovered. The Fins also need a top young quarterback to groom as a long-term starter so if a guy like Vince Young somehow fell into their laps he'd be hard to pass up. Also, never discount the defense with Nick Saban at the helm and calling the shots.
10. DETROIT LIONS
MATHIAS KIWANUKA (DE, Boston College)
-After using so many recent first round picks on the offense (Joey Harrington, Charles Rogers, Roy Williams, Kevin Jones, Mike Williams) it is high time the other side of the ball was shown some love. James Hall has emerged as a good young pass rusher at one defensive end spot but Cory Redding is more of a backup and can certainly be upgraded. The man they call "Kiwi" is an imposing physical presence with excellent athleticism who excels at terrorizing opposing quarterbacks. Adding a premier pass rusher like Kiwanuka could take the entire Lions defense to a new level and give them one of the best young units in the league. Offensive tackle could also be a consideration here if they want an upgrade from Kelly Butler on the right side. If they can somehow get a shot at a top quarterback like Leinart or Young they might have to jump at it since it's become painfully obvious that Joey Harrington is not going to get the job done and that Jeff Garcia has very little left in the tank. Based on their options at this point though Kiwanuka is the best fit in terms of both need and value so he is the choice, finally giving the defense a premium talent through the draft.
11. CLEVELAND BROWNS
AHMAD BROOKS (ILB, Virginia)
-At first glance one might assume the Browns will be looking for offensive help early on, but upon closer examination that probably won't be the case. The team has some playmakers at wide receiver in Braylon Edwards, Antonio Bryant and Dennis Northcutt, plus they have Kellen Winslow II coming back from injury next season as well. At quarterback the team will likely want to give Charlie Frye a shot at the starting job, while Reuben Droughns has been very solid as their starting running back. Keep in mind that Romeo Crennel is a defensive coach and right now they just don't have the personnel to run his 3-4 scheme, which is where Brooks would come in. It isn't often you see a talent like Brooks come along and if not for an injury that kept him out of the first half of the season he probably would be mentioned as a possible Top 3-5 overall pick. With his blend of size and speed Brooks is a rare difference maker on defense and just to give you an idea of what a phenomenal athlete he is Al Groh actually had him returning kicks for the Cavs at 6-4 and 249 lbs. One of the keys to any good 3-4 defense is great linebackers and Brooks fits the mold perfectly, whether it be on the inside or outside.
12. BUFFALO BILLS
HALOTI NGATA (DT, Oregon)
-Last offseason the Bills lost mammoth defensive tackle Pat Williams as a free agent and as it turns out they probably miss them even more than they thought they would. Sam Adams still has something left in the tank but he isn't getting any younger and guys like Tim Anderson and Justin Bannan just haven't gotten the job done. Enter Haloti Ngata, who at 6-5 and 338 lbs. has a freakish blend of size, speed, strength and athleticism. In fact, there is a chance he could be long gone by this point because based on upside and potential he would rate as one of the premier players in the entire draft should he come out early. Their other major weakness is on the other side of the ball at left offensive tackle, where Mike Gandy leaves a lot to be desired as Jonas Jenning's replacement. If by some chance a top offensive tackle fell into their laps here that could be the direction they opt to go, but defensive tackle is every bit as big of a need and to land a supreme talent like Ngata this low could turn out to be a steal. Either way look for them to focus on bringing in a guy to upgrade the trenches very early on draft day but whether it is on the offensive or defensive side of the ball remains to be seen.
13. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
DEANGELO WILLIAMS (RB, Memphis)
-You can make the argument that no team has been more disappointing this season than the Minnesota Vikings, who had Super Bowl aspirations before falling victim to problems both on and off the field. It is easy to blame the teams drop-off in offensive production on the loss of Randy Moss and while that is a big part of it you'd be remiss not to note the lack of a running game as well. Basically the team doesn't have a runner who they can give the ball to 20-25 times a game and have carry the load. Michael Bennett will be a free agent who is not likely to return, Mewelde Moore is injury-prone and best suited for a 3rd down or situational role, Moe Williams is only a short yardage runner and the jury is still out on Ciatrick Fason. DeAngelo Williams doesn't get nearly the attention he deserves but he is going to be a great NFL running back and would be an excellent fit for the Vikings here. This choice will add balance to their offense, which in turn should open things up in a passing game that hasn't been nearly as potent as it should be considering the talent the team has at quarterback and wide receiver. Linebacker is also a concern, but adding a premier running back would be just what the doctor ordered to restore the luster to what was known as a one of the most dangerous offense in the league not long ago.
14. OAKLAND RAIDERS
CHAD GREENWAY (OLB, Iowa)
-In the past two offseasons the Raiders have focused their attention in the draft and free agency on the defensive line and secondary, but the linebacking corps still needs quite a bit of work. Basically the Raiders have as little talent at that position as anyone in the league so to be able to land a top talent like Greenway here would have to be considered a coup. Considered a potential Top 5-10 overall pick coming into the year, Greenway has had a nice season but it is obvious all the losses the Hawkeyes endured up front last year have affected him. His loss is the Raiders gain though as it allows them to get excellent value for the pick while addressing their most glaring need. If they opt to go in a different direction the line could still use some help as Warren Sapp and Ted Washington aren't getting any younger and their depth at end is shaky at best. The secondary also has some question marks and despite a lot of young talent they may want to bolster that unit as well. One thing is for sure, all of Oakland's resources this offseason should be devoted to the defensive side of the ball because even after adding the best receiver in the game and a top running back they still didn't have enough offense to overcome a defense that would seemingly give up 51 points for every 50 they scored.
15. ST. LOUIS RAMS
VERNON DAVIS (TE, Maryland)
-What was once the "Greatest Show on Turf" has slowed down a bit in recent years and with Mike Martz likely having coached his last game for them the team might be moving in a slightly different direction. No one can scoff at their offensive production, but one position they really haven't utilized throughout the years is the tight end, in large part because they haven't had a dynamic pass catcher there. Well that would all change with this pick because Davis is as athletic and explosive of a pass catching tight end as you will find. Only a junior, if you looked up the term workout warrior in the dictionary you'd likely see a photo of this Terp and should he come out early he could very well vie for a spot in the top half of round one. The other positions they could consider are all on the other side of the ball, with defensive end and the secondary most likely. Leonard Little still has a lot left in the tank and the team has high hopes for Tony Hargrove, but his defensive end spot could certainly be upgraded. In the secondary the team used a number of high picks on corners and safeties in last years draft with mixed results. They have a number of solid players in the deep patrol, but lack a true impact player so if they had the opportunity to bring in a stud at either corner or safety it might be hard to pass up.
16. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
MICHAEL HUFF (CB, Texas)
-They say that all good things must come to an end and in the case of the New England Patriots age, injuries and free agency might finally be catching up to them and could spell doom for their dynasty. Without a doubt the biggest problem area for the Pats the past couple of years has been the secondary, where they just can't seem to stay healthy, and even though they have done an admirable job of patching holes the best they could an infusion of talent is needed. Michael Huff has been one of the most productive defensive backs in the college game the past few years and has experience at both cornerback and safety, with the physical tools to project to either position at the next level. Whether he would be replacing the disappointing Duane Starks or taking over for Rodney Harrison at safety this choice just makes a lot of sense and would help shore up what has been this teams one glaring weakness for two years now. It also wouldn't hurt to bring in some youngsters at linebacker, especially inside, or along the offensive line but overall this is a franchise that has done a pretty good job of building depth which has helped them become the dominant team they have been. Still, when all is said and done the secondary has to be their major point of emphasis next offseason and a guy like Huff would be a perfect fit.
17. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
SANTONIO HOLMES (WR, Ohio St.)
-At this point it appears safe to say that Terrell Owens will never play another game for the Eagles, in which case there is a major hole at wide receiver for a team that relies heavily on the passing game. Granted they did draft Reggie Brown at the top of round two a year ago and they do have an affinity for Greg Lewis, but they still need one more top talent at the position. Santonio Holmes isn't the type of physically impressive receiver prospect we have seen in recent years like Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, but he is a big play threat who also does the little things like block and run good patterns. One thing the team lost in Terrell Owens is a guy who has the ability to take it the distance on any play and Holmes can provide that for the Philly offense. In recent years the Eagles front office has done a great job of locking up their young players to long-term deals and using their draft choices to build depth at all positions so really this is a team without many glaring needs, but if you were going to pinpoint one receiver sticks out like a sore thumb and would be the logical direction they would go with this pick. Don't rule out the old "best player available" option either though because Philadelphia is one of the few teams who may be able to realistically go that route.
18. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
DEMECO RYANS (OLB, Alabama)
-You would have a hard time finding a franchise that has done a better job of building through the draft in recent years than San Diego. In fact, right now they have 15 players that they drafted starting for them, and that doesn't include Antonio Gates and Kris Dielman who they signed as undrafted free agents. For those who are counting that's 17 home grown starters, which is pretty amazing no matter how you cut it! Lately the teams focus on draft day has been on the defensive side of the ball, but this year they could really go either way. Starting inside linebacker Randall Godfrey has said he plans to retire following the '05 season and if that is the case they will need to find a replacement. DeMeco Ryans has been very productive throughout his career and is a playmaker from the linebacker position who is seemingly always around the ball. In fact, grabbing him here would qualify as an excellent value pick because he could easily go much higher. Another major consideration would be the offensive line where they are solid at the starting spots but in great need of quality depth, especially at left tackle behind the aging Roman Oben. Safety is also an area that could stand to be upgraded as well, but at the end of the day Ryans is the best fit in terms of need and value at this point.
19. CHICAGO BEARS
MARCEDES LEWIS (TE, U.C.L.A.)
-Sometimes it is hard to determine which side of the ball a team will address with their first round pick, but that isn't the case here. There is little doubt that the Bears defense ranks right up there with the best in the league, however the offense is on the other end of the spectrum and still needs some work. Right now the basic philosophy is to run the ball and let the defense take them home, but in order to allow the offense the opportunity to hold up their end of the bargain more playmakers are needed. Last offseason the team did a nice job of adding Muhsin Muhammad, Mark Bradley and Cedric Benson, not to mention Kyle Orton and upgrading the offensive line, but the work is far from done. One thing that can really help an offense, especially one with a young signal caller, is to bring in a tight end who can be a weapon in the passing game. Marcedes Lewis is like a wide receiver in a tight ends body with the size, speed and athleticism to stretch the field and open things up for others. There is an outside chance the team could bring in another quarterback if they don't like what they see from Orton and Grossman down the stretch and the offensive line could be upgraded as well, but at the end of the day the team needs guys who can help move the ball and put points on the board.
20. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
JOE THOMAS (OT, Wisconsin)
-If the names Anthony Davis and Kenyatta Walker don't sound too familiar to you don't worry, they don't strike much fear into the hearts of opposing defensive ends either. Those two are actually the Buccaneers starting offensive tackles, Davis a former undrafted free agent on the left side and Walker a former first round pick and frequent resident of Jon Gruden's doghouse on the right side. Needless to say this is a team in desperate need of a stud blocker on the outside and if Thomas were to come out the Bucs would be very fortunate to land him here. A former tight end, Thomas is still learning the position and needs to develop as a pass blocker but he has all the physical tools to be a top left tackle at the pro level. In fact, if he goes back to school for his senior campaign he could very well be a Top 5-10 overall pick in 2007. Another direction Tampa could go here is quarterback, but unless some underclassmen come out there likely won't be much value at that position at this point in the first round. Gruden is known as an offensive coach and he realizes there is work to be done on that side of the ball so I fully expect offense to once again be the focus early on in the draft like it has been the past couple of years.
21. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
TAMBA HALI (DE, Penn St.)
-One could easily make a case for Jacksonville having the best set of defensive tackles in the league with Marcus Stroud and John Henderson. However outside at end is a different story, where the duo of Paul Spicer and Marcellus Wiley leave a lot to be desired opposite of Reggie Hayward. Tamba Hali is just beginning to receive the national attention he deserves thanks to a fantastic senior season and is a player on the move. After playing out of position at defensive tackle earlier in his career Hali has found a home outside at end and has emerged as one of the premier senior defensive lineman in the country. The other main area of need for the Jags is at cornerback, where beyond Rashean Mathis there is nothing more than journeymen such as Kenny Wright and Terry Cousin. In fact, you could make a case for Jacksonville having one of the worst overall groups of corners in the league so if there were any type of value left there that would be the most likely direction for them to go. However with that not being the case they roll with the punches and opt for Hali, who will solidify and complete one of the most feared defensive lines in the league.
22. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
A.J. NICHOLSON (OLB, Florida St.)
-At long last the Chiefs finally decided to address their defense last offseason and while there were certainly improvements there is still work to be done. The team stole Derrick Johnson in the middle of round one last year and he solidified one linebacker spot while Kendrell Bell was brought in as a free agent to take over another, but that still leaves one starting position that could be upgraded. Nicholson has really come into his own as a senior and moved way up draft boards thanks to his speed, athleticism and playmaking ability whether it be against the run or dropping back into coverage. Kansas City might also be looking to add a premier wide receiver since Eddie Kennison is getting older and they haven't really had a true #1 for some time now. Overall though the defense is still what really needs to be addressed and they could realistically opt for a lineman, linebacker or defensive back without much criticism from anyone. Last offseason was a big step in the right direction and one more effort like that could lead to the defense challenging their offensive counterparts for team superiority.
23. DALLAS COWBOYS
LARON LANDRY (S, L.S.U.)
-Ask any Cowboys fan and they will probably tell you that offensive tackle is the teams biggest need. With Flozelle Adams out with injury and Torrin Tucker and Rob Petitti leaving a lot to be desired as professional starters, it would be hard to argue. That may well be the case, but with a lack of quality value at the position on the board at this point the team needs to look in a different direction and address what is arguably just as critical of a weakness. Roy Williams is one of the premier safeties in the league but coverage never has been or will be his strong suit, so to bring in a guy like Landry who can be a ballhawk in centerfield would be a tremendous addition. Also, keep in mind that Bill Parcells is and always will be a defensive minded coach and you can bet the image of his secondary getting torched by Washington for two late touchdowns in an early season loss will still be prominent in his mind come draft day. If a top offensive tackle prospect were still on the board that could very well be the direction they go, but with that not being the case look for the Tuna to revert back to his old ways and continue to upgrade his defense and the free safety position is begging to be addressed.
24. DENVER BRONCOS (f/WAS)
CLAUDE WROTEN (DT, L.S.U.)
-It is important to give credit where it is due, and the Denver front office deserves some positive notice for the work they did along the defensive line last offseason. When the team brought in four castoffs from a disappointing Cleveland Browns line most assumed disaster was looming, but in fact they have gotten very favorable results from the group. With that said they are still shy on talent up front, most notably inside at tackle where beyond Gerard Warren they have little more than journeymen and average players. Wroten is a player who doesn't get a lot of attention but is quietly one of the better defensive prospects in this draft. Despite his lack of sheer physical tools Wroten is active and very disruptive which could lead to him going much higher than casual college football observers would expect. Adding a pass rush presence like Wroten at defensive tackle would be a tremendous move and give Denver a dimension they haven't had inside for a long time. Of course they could opt to go in alternate directions here but with the way the board is breaking down at this point the run on defensive tackles figures to start right around this general area so the time is now to grab one.
25. CAROLINA PANTHERS
RODRIQUE WRIGHT (DT, Texas)
-When healthy the Panthers have arguably the best defensive tackle in the game, but the fact is Kris Jenkins has been injured for two straight years now and with Brentson Buckner getting up there in years as well it is time to bring in some quality depth and insurance. Early in his career Rodrique Wright looked like a future Top 5 overall pick, but since then his career has been marred by inconsistency and unmet expectations which is why he is still available this late in round one. Make no mistake about it though, Wright has the ability and upside to become a force at what the pros consider a premium position so at this point he is worth a roll of the dice. They might also choose to address the offense in which case an upgrade from Travelle Wharton at left tackle or a replacement for the disappointing Rod Gardner at wide receiver would be viable options. As they say though, those who don't learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them so after losing Jenkins for an extended period of time two seasons in a row the writing is on the wall and a reliable insurance policy must be put into place and Wright is a great value pick.
26. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
ELVIS DUMERVIL (DE, Louisville)
-When it comes to the NFL Draft perhaps no team has been as unpredictable as the Seattle Seahawks. That's definitely not to say they have been totally wrong, but recent picks like Jerramy Stevens, Anton Palepoi, Lofa Tatupu and Chris Spencer have certainly defied convention in terms of where those players were expected to come off the board beforehand. This time around they once again throw a curveball by selecting a guy who may be one of the most controversial prospects in the draft when it comes to where he might be chosen. Dumervil was a relatively productive player throughout his career but nobody envisioned him having the type of senior season he did, where he was simply unblockable for most of the year. He is undersized both in height and weight which has led to Dwight Freeney comparisons, but Elvis doesn't have nearly that type of speed. Still, you can't ignore the production which alone could earn him a spot in the first round as a long-term option opposite of Grant Wistrom. The other area Seattle may look to is linebacker, where Jamie Sharper and the combination of D.D. Lewis and Leroy Hill are still largely unproven. At the end of the day expect the unexpected from this front office.
27. ATLANTA FALCONS
DARNELL BING (S, Southern Cal)
-For years now the Falcons have gone through journeyman after journeyman at the safety position, with Keion Carpenter and Ronnie Heard being the latest stopgaps. That would all change here though and the addition of Bing, along with Bryan Scott and DeAngelo Hall, would give Atlanta one of the better young secondaries in the league. Bing is probably the best player on the Trojans defense and a safety who can both be a force against the run as well as get the job done in coverage. Another area they could look to with his pick is cornerback where they really have very little beyond Hall and Jason Webster and could take advantage of what should be some solid value in the late round one / early round two portion of the draft. Also don't rule out defensive end since that was a position they were looking at last year considering Brady Smith isn't getting any younger and they don't have much depth at that spot behind him and Patrick Kerney. However safety is and has been a major need for a while now and with the potential to see a strong group this year aided by underclassmen it would be an opportune time to address the position once and for all and Bing would be a great solution.
28. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
MAX JEAN-GILLES (OG, Georgia)
-It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know where the Steelers bread is buttered so any choice used to bolster the running game can hardly be criticized. With guys like Alan Faneca, Jeff Hartings and Marvel Smith the left side of the offensive line is in great shape, but the right side is another matter. Kendall Simmons is a former first round pick but his career has been somewhat derailed by injuries and illness, while Max Starks is a first year starter who is serviceable but nothing to write home about. Max Jean-Gilles is a mammoth presence who can be dominant in the running game and his selection would, at the very least, provide tremendous depth and possibly even a starter at either right guard or right tackle. He almost came out early a year ago but went back to school and that was probably wise decision as he will likely go much higher this time around. Overall this is a team with very little in terms of glaring needs so you can never rule out them opting for the best player available, in which case a linebacker or defensive back would be the most likely options. Jean-Gilles would appear to be an ideal fit though and his style of play would mesh seamlessly with what the Steelers love to do, which is run, run, run the ball.
29. DENVER BRONCOS
CHAD JACKSON (WR, Florida)
-It seems like Rod Smith is ageless but he isn't getting any younger and while Ashley Lelie is a solid #2 he isn't going to be able to fill Smith's shoes all by himself. Darius Watts has been a bust who is moving down the depth chart and the team even resorted to bringing in Jerry Rice and David Terrell to patch up their passing game, but to no avail. Chad Jackson was a premier recruit coming out of high school who didn't play like it until this year when he emerged as one of the best receivers in the country. He is explosive and a major deep threat who would solidify the position for the present as well as the future. With an excellent combination of size, speed and athleticism, Jackson has everything you look for in a #1 wideout and could potentially come off the board much higher than this when all is said and done. The Broncos could also look to the defensive line (Defensive End), offensive line (Offensive Tackle) or secondary (Safety) here depending on what happens with their earlier pick. What is boils down to though is that Jackson has just too much upside to pass on this late in the first round and he could very well end up being a steal if he were to fall this far.
30. NEW YORK GIANTS
GABE WATSON (DT, Michigan)
-The Giants have one of the better defensive end duos in the league with Michael Strahan and Osi Umeyiora, but the interior is a different story. William Joseph was beginning to look like a first round bust before starting to come on a little this year, but beyond him there is very little else with Kendrick Clancy and Fred Robbins being mediocre at best. Gabe Watson has had a very up and down season and was even benched at one point but he has come on as of late and probably pushed his way back into round one. Physically Watson has it all, with tremendous size (6-4, 331), quickness and athleticism, but he doesn't always play up to that ability. At this point in round one though he is well worth the risk and if Tom Coughlin can get the best out of him on a consistent basis he will be a major steal for the G-Men. New York could also be looking for a wide receiver since Amani Toomer is getting up there in years and the depth behind he and Plaxico Burress is very shaky at best. A few years ago the team took a shot on Joseph when he fell in their laps and this time around Watson could very well be in a similar situation which they might once again be willing to take advantage of.
31. CINCINNATI BENGALS
JESSE MAHELONA (DT, Tennessee)
-After years of being a league wide laughing stock Marvin Lewis finally has this franchise turned around and on the right path. While the offense is in great shape Lewis still has some work to do on the other side of the ball so that is the direction they go here. John Thornton and Bryan Robinson are solid players but provide little in the way of penetration so they need to bring in someone who can get after the quarterback from the interior. Mahelona burst onto the scene in 2004 after transferring from a junior college and hit the ground running, quickly becoming one of the premier defensive tackles in college football. Adding a pass rush presence like Mahelona up front will help out everyone else on the defense and give them a dimension they are currently lacking. Another option would be the secondary where they could really use a top safety to team with Madieu Williams, however with there not being much value left there at this point it doesn't make sense to reach for a lesser talent. Mahelona is still a little underrated right now but the pros are always looking for guys who can rush the passer and when it comes to that Mahelona may very well grade out on top among the defensive tackles in that department so he is the pick.
32. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
THOMAS HOWARD (OLB, U.T.E.P.)
-After years of being a team known for having a great offense and terrible defense it appears that Tony Dungy's influence as well as some smart personnel moves have finally begun to pay dividends. As of now the Colts will likely keep their attention on the defense for at least one more year when it comes to the draft, although that plan could change depending on what happens with upcoming free agents Edgerrin James and Reggie Wayne. A Dungy signature and a principle the team has tried to adhere to is speed on defense and when it comes to that you would have a hard time finding a faster, more athletic linebacker than Thomas Howard. A former safety who walked on with the Miners early in his career, Thomas has been timed as fast as 4.45 in the forty and would provide the type of playmaking ability that is ideal for the Indy defensive scheme. David Thornton and Cato June have done good jobs since taking over starting roles but there is next to nothing in terms of depth and a little competition never hurt anyone. A running back or wide receiver could still be possibilities if they lose James or Wayne, but as of now there is still some work to be done on the other side of the ball and Howard provides the best fit in terms of both value and need.
Re: NFL Draft Countdown's Nov. 11 Mock Draft
Thatís an understatement.
Originally Posted by NickSeiler