JUMbotron: NFL Mock Draft v 3.0
by John U. Miller IV
April 19, 2007
1. Oakland Raiders: QB JaMarcus Russell (LSU): Disclaimer: I’m an LSU fan. I studied Russell closely and watched every snap in 7 or 8 of his games. For me it’s not about whether he’s “pro-ready” or not. How many rookie QBs are? Even Peyton Manning threw 34 INTs in his first 20 games. It’s about “Does Russell make plays?” I’m here to tell you he does. Big ones. No way Brady Quinn goes #1.
2. Tampa Bay Bucs (trade up w/ Detroit): WR Calvin Johnson (Ga Tech): Jon Gruden gets his man. But at what price? The Bucs’ roster is seeping age everywhere – Ronde Barber, Greg Spires, Luke Petitgout, Kevin Carter, Derrick Brooks – with lots of key players entering the twilight stage. Nevertheless, both Gruden and GM Bruce Allen know a kid like Calvin Johnson won’t be at their door again for 10 years.
3. Cleveland Browns: RB Adrian Peterson (Oklahoma): Peterson is like a brand new HP Touch Smart PC and Jamal Lewis is the one-year Geek Squad warranty. That’s it. Peterson is the toy. A.D. (All Day) Peterson will grind out 120-yard games in December when the AFC North is taking Wild-Card applications.
4. Detroit Lions (trade down w/ TB): DE Gaines Adams (Clemson): All the analysts keep saying Adams “creates havoc” in opposing backfields. The Lions could use a little havoc on defense. Plus they’ll get a package of Tampa’s draft picks to move down. Rod Marinelli “is totally enamored of Adams” per NFL Network’s Charles Davis. The ACC’s sack leader can be the “bandit” edge-rusher that Derrick Brooks was for Marinelli in Tampa Bay. Note: Adams reportedly admitted to smoking pot once in college. Red flag?
5. Arizona Cardinals: OT Joe Thomas (Wisconsin): Thomas’ agent, Peter Schaffer, has a relationship with the Cardinals’ war room. New HC Ken Whisenhunt and OL coach Russ Grimm dealt with Schaffer in numerous Steelers player negotiations. Schaffer also represents new Cardinals OC Todd Haley. Hmm…
6. Washington Redskins: LB Patrick Willis (Ole Miss): Joe Gibbs upgrades the middle with the 2007 Butkus Award winner. San Francisco will be tempted to trade up from #11 (Mike Nolan coached Willis at the Senior Bowl) since they have 8 picks in the first 4 rounds.
7. Minnesota Vikings: QB Brady Quinn (Notre Dame): HC Brad Childress and VP Rick Spielman have been pretty quiet about Quinn. That’s why I think they’ll take him if he falls. Who cares if Childress drafted Tarvaris Jackson in the 2nd round last year? He only got a $1 million signing bonus.
8. Atlanta Falcons (from Houston): S LaRon Landry (LSU): This guy is a man among boys. Landry started 10 games as a true freshman in 2003. Do you know what a big deal that is in the brutal SEC?
9. Miami Dolphins: CB Leon Hall (Michigan): Dolphins HC Cam Cameron was an assistant coach at Michigan for 10 years and did a lot of their recruiting. NFL insider John McClain also told us Hall is Miami-bound if he’s available at #9.
10. Houston Texans (from Atlanta): WR Ted Ginn Jr. (Ohio State): The Ginn-su knife cut a 4.38-4.42 at his Pro Day last week despite wet and sloppy conditions. He’s known for sub-4.35 but remember his Rose Bowl high-ankle sprain was just a few months ago. Texans HC Gary Kubiak probably likes young phenom DT Amobi Okoye (Louisville) but how many more D-linemen can they draft? For three straight years they’ve taken one in the 1st round!
11. San Francisco *****: G/T Justin Blalock (Texas): Blalock pumped a Combine-high 40 reps on the bench and scored the year’s highest Wonderlic with a 41. Broncos QB Jay Cutler, a Vanderbilt grad, scored a 26 last year. I heard ***** HC Mike Nolan hint about his offensive line at least three times this offseason. LG Larry Allen turns 36 this year.
12. Buffalo Bills: WR Dwayne Bowe (LSU): Bowe’s 6’2” frame and 37.5” vertical could cause nightmares for AFC East CBs, who are some of the shortest in the NFL. Miami, New England and NY Jets all feature 5’10” corners across the board. What a compliment to the dazzling Lee Evans, eh? Plus Bowe blocks downfield like Muhsin Muhammad.
13. St. Louis Rams: DT Amobi Okoye (Louisville): The 19-year old’s hype meter is reaching levels unseen since the PlayStation3. Some believe he could go #5 to Arizona. If Okoye’s half as good as they say he could be, the Rams would score big here – and DC Jim Haslett’s career will do a 180. Note: Okoye also admitted he got stoned a few years ago. Will this affect his draft status? Remember, Warren Sapp was a top-5 pick until the marijuana talk knocked him down to #12.
14. Green Bay Packers (trade up w/ Carolina): RB Marshawn Lynch (Cal): The Packers have wanted Lynch from the get-go. Trading up over Carolina and Pittsburgh – who technically don’t need a RB – doesn’t seem to make sense, but once Lynch falls past Buffalo, the Packers won’t take any chances. This 5’11/218-lb dynamo will immediately be named the starter over Vernand Morency.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers: DE Adam Carriker (Nebraska): The Husker ran a DL-best 4.18 in the Combine short shuttle. He can play all 4 positions on the front line. At 6’6/295, Carriker can get his mitts up and disrupt passing lanes. The Steelers’ multi-strike 3-4 scheme will hide his flaws until he gets up to speed. Nice fit.
16. Carolina Panthers (trade down w/ GB): OT Levi Brown (Penn State): John Fox pockets a 2nd-rounder from Green Bay and still lands the 4-year starter from Penn State. Brown mauls in the running game and he’ll quickly learn the ropes in the passing game. He slides his feet well and can throw the stun punch. Scouts have questioned Brown’s mean streak. After his first grueling Fox-camp ends in August he’ll be plenty pissed off.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars: S Reggie Nelson (Florida): He hasn’t moved on my list. Nelson is one of the 20 best overall players coming out in my view. “The Eraser” took a mulligan after running 4.5s at the Combine, then came back with a 4.35 at the Gators Pro Day. He’s a winner though I wonder if Nelson’s 16 Wonderlic score bothers Jack Del Rio.
18. Cincinnati Bengals: OT Joe Staley (Central Michigan): The 6’6/305-lb tackle is one of my special JUMbo picks; I’ve had him going way higher than most to this point. Staley ran a 4.79, spooky fast for an O-linemen, and did 27 reps on the bench press. Mel Kiper obviously saw my last mock because he’s nudged Staley up to #16 on the Big Board. The Bengals are always set at O-line – but what a great chance to slot depth behind Levi Brown and Willie Anderson. Plus Anderson’s almost 32 already.
19. Tennessee Titans: WR Robert Meachem (Tennessee): The UT grad stays home and immediately becomes Vince Young’s best buddy. I must note that Jeff Fisher never drafts who you think he’ll draft. Never. Note: This #19 pick might get swapped out for San Diego’s #30 pick as part of a trade package for RB Michael Turner.
20. New York Giants: TE Greg Olsen (Miami): Here’s one way to get Jeremy Shockey into the voluntary workout program, but quick. Seriously, this pick sounds crazy, adding a second Hurricane TE to the roster when you have so many other needs. But think about it: Shockey’s ankle has become a concern, and didn’t he tell Eagles CB Sheldon Brown he wanted to play for Philly anyway?
21. Denver Broncos: DE Jamaal Anderson (Arkansas): He’s up to #10 on Kiper’s Big Board so I could be way off here. The 6’5/285-lb end might be strictly a 4-3 end so I’m betting he gets passed down to Denver as a value pick.
22. Dallas Cowboys: DT Alan Branch (Michigan): I’ve dropped Branch down 15 spots off some negative buzz lately. “Some see him only as a 3-4 nose man,” says Peter King. Branch is still a massive hole-filler who spearheaded an incredible Michigan run defense last year. Dallas doesn’t need a safety after signing Ken Hamlin (Seattle) in free agency.
23. Kansas City Chiefs: WR Steve Smith (USC): Surprise! What about Dwayne Jarrett? Scout.com reports: “The scouts may have to come to USC’s Pro Day to watch Jarrett, but they left talking about Smith.... he put on a show in receiver drills.” Jarrett’s 4.6s pulled him down into the 2nd round. Smith’s only 6’0”/197 but he plays bigger, and his 38” vertical is inviting. The best part for KC? Not having to trade up for a blue-chip wideout.
24. N.E. Patriots (from Seattle): CB Darrelle Revis (Pitt): Revis had a banner Pro Day -- 4.38 in the 40, 10’5 broad jump, 6.56 in the 3-cone – and might have better instincts than Leon Hall. SI’s Bucky Brooks said Revis was neck-and-neck with Hall as the top corner prospect. It’s fitting that such a talented player would fall to the lucky Pats this late.
25. New York Jets: CB Chris Houston (Arkansas): Like I said last month, his Combine demo is the standard for all future DB prospects – a scorching 4.32 run coupled with a whopping 27 bench reps. Houston is a sure-fire NFL starter after all those tough starts in the SEC. He even held USC’s Dwayne Jarrett to 5 catches for 35 yards in Arkansas’ 2006 cross-country opener.
26. Philadelphia Eagles: DE Jarvis Moss (Florida): This could be the proverbial “SOD” (Steal of the Draft) since he can play DE or OLB. Moss almost single-handedly bumped Heisman QB Troy Smith out of the 1st round with his disruptive moves in the title game.
27. New Orleans Saints: LB Jon Beason (Miami): If NFL Network’s Mike Mayock says he’s a future Pro Bowler, then so be it. Beason is a last-second chart-surfer (like LB Manny Lawson last year) catching a wave that could drop him in the top-20.
28. N.E. Patriots: S Brandon Meriweather (Miami): What about the character issues? Off the field Brandon fired (a legally-owned gun) at an intruder in his yard. On the field he dabbled in face-stomping in the Fla. International Brawl. All reports indicate Meriweather impressed everyone in his pre-draft interviews.
29. Baltimore Ravens: WR Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio State): Over the last 6 years the Ravens have only gone offense with 5 of their first 12 picks (and one of them was Kyle Boller) so there’s a lack of depth on that side of the ball. They need young, pro-ready wideouts and Gonzalez might be the smartest one in the draft. NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said Lil’ Gonzo wowed several teams in his Combine interviews. Note: There’s also a rumor that Baltimore might trade Derrick Mason for a 4th round pick.
30. San Diego Chargers: FB Brian Leonard (Rutgers): Leonard’s stock is surging as a do-it-all H-back: Leonard posted 28 bench reps and topped all running backs; then ran a nice 4.50 on his Pro Day. Last month I wrote, “In the 10-yard dash, where the explosion is, Leonard busted a 1.54. That matches RB Adrian Peterson and um, LaDainian Tomlinson in 2001.” No one questions Leonard’s blocking prowess. Here’s a versatile and talented replacement for Michael Turner…
31. Chicago Bears: LB Lawrence Timmons (Florida State): Over 50% of the mocks I’ve read have Timmons going in the top-20. He only has 13 career starts. Note: Chicago picks again at #37 thanks to the Thomas Jones trade – look for them to snag WR Sidney Rice (South Carolina) there.
32. Indianapolis Colts: S Michael Griffin (Texas): The #1 strong safety prospect falling in their lap at #32? Indy is luckier than Paris Hilton's Chihuahua. Griffin will line up alongside Bob Sanders to form the AFC’s next big safety tandem. Amazingly, Griffin would be the Colts’ only Longhorn on the roster.