Great Blue North's Team-by-Team First Round Analysis
2005 DRAFT: TEAM-BY-TEAM FIRST-PICK OPTIONS
by Craig Morden; NFL draft analyst with the Ottawa Sun)
First Round 1. San Francisco ... With so many holes to fill and no clear-cut No. 1 type player on the board, the ***** would love to deal this pick for extra picks down the line in what appears to be a very deep draft with plenty of talent available in the later rounds. But in the NFL it takes two to tango, and there won't be many suitors for the No. 1 selection. Michigan WR Braylon Edwards is probably the best player available and would fill a big need for a No. 1 receiver, but there is a school of thought that if a potential franchise type QB is available, you shouldn't let him go especially if QB is a need of yours. Cal's Aaron Rodgers and Utah's Alex Smith are potentially (but not sure things) fine starting NFL QBs. Look for the ***** to go with either Edwards or Rodgers - hometown guy, less risk pick - or Smith - less of a sure thing but bigger upside. Rumour is circulating out there that the Chargers are willing to give up last year's No. 1 selection Philip Rivers in exchange for the top pick. San Fran might go for such a deal because Rivers has more upside than either Rodgers or Smith, but that deal doesn't make a whole lot of sense salary-cap wise for the Chargers. Still it would shake up the first round and San Diego would probably go with Edwards if such a deal was consummated.
2. Miami ... The Dolphins are another team who would love to trade down to pick up extra selections (they are without a 2nd or 6th round picks) but will probably be stuck with the 2nd overall selection. New coach Nick Saban understands he needs a top-flight RB to move the chains and help keep his defense off the field. At No. 2, he will have the pick of the litter of the Big 3 RBs - Texas' Cedric Benson and the Auburn duo of Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams. Brown has the most upside while Benson could fill the role of a between-the-tackles chain mover. Williams is less of a heavy duty option and probably won't be what the Dolphins are looking for.
3. Cleveland ... The Browns at No. 3 are probably the most likely team to swing a deal in order to move down a few slots, stockpile some extra picks and grab a OLB candidate for new coach Romeo Crennel's 3-4 defense. If the Browns can't find a partner to work a deal with, they could use either Rodgers or Smith to groom behind Trent Dilfer or they could grab Edwards if the ***** go QB. If the Browns can get a team like the Vikings (and there is a history of deals recently between the two teams) to trade up for Edwards or USC's Michael Williams, the Browns could grab Maryland's Shawne Merriman or Texas' Derrick Johnson at No. 7.
4. Chicago ... Chicago is another of the early drafters who might be looking to trade down for extra picks but the Bears really must find an elite skill-position player to help the offense. Adding WR Muhsin Muhammad was a good start, but teaming him with a speed WR like Edwards or South Carolina's Troy Williamson would help QB Rex Grossman immensely. The Bears also know that RB Thomas Jones is not the long-term solution and Benson would be a good fit for Chicago. If the Bears really wanted a Williamson they could try trading down and grabbing him earlier but a RB is probably in the cards for the Bears.
5. Tampa Bay ... The Bucs are sitting pretty at No. 5 and will have their choice of some of the top skill-position players that they need so badly. Hot rumour has coach Jon Gruden loving Michael Williams and the fact he is from the Tampa area sure adds fuel to the fire. Teaming another top-flight WR with last year's prize rookie Michael Clayton would make a formidable duo but RB is probably a bigger need for the Bucs and Gruden had Cadillac Williams on his squad at the Senior Bowl and knows what Williams could do in the Bucs' backfield. Look for Tampa to stand pat here and grab a RB or WR.
6. Tennessee ... After purging their roster, the Titans simply must get make the right choice at No. 6. Trading down is always a possibility with so many needs but look for Tennessee to grab the best defender here. The Titans have big holes at CB and both Adam "Pac-Man" Jones of West Virginia and Miami's Antrel Rolle would look good in Tennessee blue. Jones offers more upside with better speed and excellent return ability to boot but there are some character concerns. Don't rule out the selection of either a RB or WR. Of course, the Titans could draft pretty much any position except QB (and maybe even that if Steve McNair keeps taking a beating) and fill a need so taking the best player available is a good bet.
7. Minnesota (from Oakland) ... The Vikings are probably the first team with the ammunition and possible desire to trade up with one of the clubs holding the first four picks. After a productive free-agency period, Minnesota can be a little more selective whom the choose. Coach Mike Tice is rumoured to just love Michael Williams and he would ease the loss of Randy Moss, but a trade up might be the only way to secure his services. They could sit still at No. 7 and grab Williamson (better speed than Williams). The Vikings are a club that tends to draft the best player on the board, so look for them to grab the best guy left when they pick. They are rumoured to be shopping RBs Michael Bennett and/or Onterrio Smith and if a trade was pulled off, drafting whichever of the Big 3 RBs that is left on the board is not out of the question.
8. Arizona ... The Cardinals are in a really good position at No. 8. They will be ready to jump on any star player who might drop further than expected. With needs pretty much everywhere but WR, look for the Cardinals to grab one of the Big 3 RBs if one is left on the board or either Jones or Rolle at CB. They really must find a RB to complement the excellent young WRs they have and they might have the weakest group of CBs in the league. The Cards will be hoping either Cadillac Williams or Cedric Benson slips to No. 8 and they would probably jump in there. If not, a CB would be the next option but don't rule out a QB if Rodgers or Smith falls. Kurt Warner is not the long-term answer and newly re-signed Josh McCown may not be the answer either (although Denny Green does like John Navarre). Of course, drafting Merriman or Derrick Johnson would further bolster an improving front seven and would be good value here.
9. Washington ... The Redskins might be another team willing to trade up to secure one of the star WRs. With a small group of wideouts, Joe Gibbs would love to land either Edwards or Michael Williams and they will almost certainly be gone by No. 9. Standing pat might land them Williamson but the thinking in Washington seems to be either Edwards or Williams or they will probably grab the best defender. Teaming LaVar Arrington with either Merriman or Johnson would make the Redskins' LB corp formidable. The loss of Fred Smoot would make either Jones or Rolle an attractive pick as well. Gibbs is also known as a coach who loves guys who play with heart, so Georgia DE David Pollack is a possibility. Pollack may be a slight reach here but he is as good a pure football player there is in this draft. A trade down is also possible.
10. Detroit ... Look for the Lions to reap the benefits of this draft being top-heavy early with offensive skill-position players. Detroit has needs at rush end and offensive line. The Lions will be hoping either Merriman or Derrick Johnson is waiting for them at No. 10. They could also take a chance on a boom-or-bust pick like DE Esramus James of Wisconsin. James could be an all-time great pass rusher or an injury prone bust but guys who get after the QB are at a premium. The Lions could also take a chance on OT Alex Barron of Florida State here. Another boom-or-bust guy, if they it on Barron, he would be more than an adequate replacement for Stockar McDougle. There was a rumour earlier that the Lions might reach for Virginia TE Heath Miller to really make their offense scary but the signing of Marcus Pollard killed that one. Look for Detroit to grab a pass-rush guy or Barron.
11. Dallas ... Past history tells us that Bill Parcells is not afraid to trade down if the guy he likes could be had later while adding draft choices. But with two No. 1s, the Cowboys are in a position to stand pat and grab two productive players in the first round. Dallas will be looking to add a WR with speed and someone to replace the disappointing Marcellus Wiley. If Williamson is on the board, Dallas might go speed WR first but look for them to grab the best rush guy at No. 11 and WR next. Merriman would make Parcells very happy but he is not likely to be there but James or Pollack probably will be. LSU DE/DT Marcus Spears could also be their guy or if Parcells feels new QB Drew Bledsoe needs better protection, Barron might be his guy.
12. San Diego (from New York Giants) ... The hot rumour of this year's draft buildup is the Philip Rivers to San Fran for the 1st pick overall. It doesn't make much sense from a salary-cap perspective for the Chargers but if they pulled it off, San Diego would almost certainly grab Braylon Edwards, giving Drew Brees the big-time target he needs. Assuming the Chargers don't make such a deal a WR like Williamson or Oklahoma's Mark Clayton would make sense here but indications have them waiting for a WR at No. 28 and grabbing a top DE here. Spears would be a good fit as would Pollack. James might be worth a look as a pass-rush specialist but the Chargers are probably looking for a more rounded lineman.
13. Houston ... Like several teams ahead of them, the Texans are hoping one of the top defenders falls to them at No. 13. Still hoping last year's rush guy Jason Babin pans out, Houston would love to add another stud on the other side and Merriman (not likely), Johnson (maybe) or a pure rush guy like James could be the choice here. Logic also dictates that David Carr needs help at OT so Alex Barron would make sense if he drops this far. There is word going around that the Texans might be looking for a top WR to team with Andre Johnson so Williamson, Clayton or maybe even a guy like Georgia's Reggie Brown cannot be ruled out. Of course, should one of the Big 3 RBs fall this far - Benson has been getting some negative reviews of late and Cadillac Williams lack of size will always be an issue - Houston might be tempted to end the drop.
14. Carolina ... The Panthers are usually not too aggressive on draft day, so they will probably stay put here and grab the best player available, with the emphasis on offense. Alex Barron would shore up the offensive line and grabbing a wideout is always a possibility but, once again, with the emphasis on offense at the top this draft, drafting a defender along the front seven might make the most sense since a good WR or RB can be had later. LB is a concern in Carolina and if Johnson slips he could be there guy but more likely is a defensive lineman, probably a DT. Shaun Cody of USC, Travis Johnson of Florida State or Luis Castillo of Northwestern would shore up the inside of John Fox's defense.
15. Kansas City ... The Chiefs are desperate for someone who can cover on the corner and someone, anyone, who can get after the QB. Getting one sure helps the other. With CBs Jones and Rolle most likely off the board, the secod tier of CBs might start getting picked up. Carlos Rogers of Auburn should be next CB to go and his size/speed with help in a division that just added Randy Moss. If not CB, James or Pollack would help the Chiefs' pass rush if either is available. An intriguing long shot would be the selection of a QB like Rodgers or Smith should one fall this far. Trent Green is not a kid anymore and there is no one behind him.
16. New Orleans ... LB is an area of high need for the Saints but unless Johnson or Merriman free falls, this might be a little too early to grab an all-around 'backer like Tennessee's Kevin Burnett or a project like Demarcus Ware of Troy State. Either getting DT bust Johnathan Sullivan to start playing like a high draft choice or drafting a replacement here might be the option. Travis Johnson or Castillo would be a good fit at this point in the draft. And if underachieving WR Donte' Stallworth doesn't get it together soon, Clayton or Brown could be the guy. An earlier rumour of the Saints drafting SS Thomas Davis of Georgia is unlikely now with the signing of Dwight Smith from Tampa Bay, however Davis could be the active LB they are looking for so that is a possibilty.
17. Cincinnati ... Marvin Lewis proved last year he is not afraid to move around in the draft and if there is no player who really excites him at No. 17, a trade down is possible. Getting a defensive lineman could be key for the Bengals and this could be the point in the draft where the run on D-linemen starts if it hasn't already. Cincy would probably look at an inside hammer type of DT like Castillo or a non-stop motor guy like Cody. Don't rule out a safety here if Davis or maybe Brodney Pool of Oklahoma have caught the Bengals' eye. An outside possibility is TE Miller. The Bengals have the young QB, RB and WRs and an athletic TE would really open up the offense.
18. Minnesota ... Under the assumption that the Vikings got Randy Moss' replacement at No. 7, a pass rush guy or a safety would make sense here. They hope that Pollack slips this far down. With the upgrading already done on defense, the Vikes could also take a chance on a rusher like Ware. If the Vikes upgraded their pass rush at No. 7 with Derrick Johnson or Merriman, look for them to grab a WR here. Williamson would be great value here and Clayton or Brown might look good in purple. Many people are talking up Roddy White of Alabama-Birmingham but this might be a little early. Don't rule out a big, in-the-box safety like Davis.
19. St. Louis ... The Rams could go in many different directions. Known for drafting skill players when you wouldn't really expect them (Steven Jackson, Trung Canidate) you just don't know who they will go with. Conventional wisdom would have them drafting defense here with big problems at DE and FS. Pool might fit the bill but an all-around DE like Spears, Pollack or a rusher like Notre Dame's Justin Tuck would be equally as welcome. Offensive linemen really start to become good value at this point and the Rams have a need at RT. Jammal Brown of Oklahoma or Khalif Barnes of Washington would help the offense.
20. Dallas (from Buffalo) ... The Cowboys are hoping that they got lucky and Merriman slipped to them at No. 11. If that was the case, Dallas will probably draft a WR like Clayton or Brown here but you can't rule out one of the OTs (Brown, Barnes) at this point. Although Parcells like Dat Nguyen, don't be surprised if he grabs an imposing physical LB like Florida's Channing Crowder to man the Mike position. Of course, this is also the point that Parcells might decide the value is not to his liking and he trades down to stockpile more picks and still get a player he wants, just a little later.
21. Jacksonville ... Signing DEs Reggie Heyward and Marcellus Wiley has lessened the Jags' need for a rush guy so the most likely attack here would be WR or CB. Jones and Rolle should be long gone at CB and Rogers probably will also be off the board, but there are several of the second-tier CBs for the taking. Blazing fast Fabian Washington of Nebraska, physical Marlin Jackson of Michigan or Justin Miller of Clemson could fit in well with the Jags. A WR with speed like Clayton, Brown or White would also make sense.
22. Baltimore ... The Ravens tend to ignore the need pick in the early going and take the best player available - drafting rusher Terrell Suggs when the team already had Lewis, Boulware and Thomas being a perfect example. Common sense would suggest a WR here and signing Derrick Mason helps there but a WR like Clayton, Brown or White might be the best player available at No. 22. A run-stuffing defensive lineman like Castillo or Cody might also make sense here with the Ravens going back to the 4-3 defense. And you can never have too many good offensive linemen and Barnes or Brown would be good value.
23. Seattle ... The Seahawks must improve on defense to finally get some respect. They have little or nothing at LB. Now is the time when Burnett, Crowder, Darryl Blackstock of Virginia and Odell Thurman of Georgia should start hearing their names. DE could also be addressed here and getting a Grant Wistrom clone in Oklahoma's Dan Cody or Iowa's Matt Roth could make sense here. Someone who can catch the ball could be taken here. The Seahawks drop after drop last year and if Clayton drops this far he would be a nice addition. Brown and White are also possibilities.
24. Green Bay ... Year after year we hear this is going to be the draft that the Packers finally get Brett Favre's future replacement. If QBs Smith or Rodgers started to drop, the Packers might be tempted to make a move to trade up to get one. A longshot would be the Packers taking a chance on either Akron's Charlie Frye or Auburn's Jason Campbell but they carry 2nd/3rd round grades. The Packers lost both starting OGs from last year and although they signed injury-prone Adrian Klemm and Matt O'Dwyer, this could be the right spot to grab either Michigan's David Baas or Virginia's Elton Brown. The Packers could also use a true MLB like Crowder or a safety like Davis or Pool. If the right run-stuffing DE is available they could also go that direction.
25. Denver ... Like their moves or not, the Broncos have totally changed their defensive front and more change is still in the air if they can trade DE Trevor Pryce. They still probably aren't done. Denver will more than likely draft a lineman on either side of the ball. They need help at OG, so Baas or Brown would make sense and none of the Cleveland imports are a sure thing on the defensive front. They should probably look at taking a high-motor guy like either of the Codys, Roth or maybe undersized but disruptive USC DT Mike Patterson or run-plugger Anttaj Hawthrone of Wisconsin.
26. New York Jets ... The Jets are close to challenging the Pats in the AFC East so this could really be a pivotal draft for them. A safety like Pool would fill a need for the Jets as would one of the second tier CBs like Miller, Washington or Jackson. It wouldn't be a shock if the Jets went TE here as well. Adding a downfield threat like Heath Miller or Alex Smith of Stanford would help open things up for Chad Pennington and his new/old favourite WR Laveranues Coles. A run-stuffing DT to replace Jason Ferguson would also make sense and Hawthrone could be a good fit as would Castillo if he lasts this long.
27. Atlanta ... The Falcons addressed their LB needs in free agency but they have holes all along the defensive line and safety needs a boost. Brodney Pool at this point would be a good value and fill a need. Patterson or Hawthorne would help the DL. The Falcons could also use some bulk along the offensive line where they have a smallish line right now and Michael Vick is on the run alot. If OTs Brown or Barnes falls this far, Atlanta might jump in here.
28. San Diego ... If the Chargers upgrade the defensive line with their pick at No. 12, look for San Diego to grab a WR here. Reggie Brown would be the perfect fit here or maybe Roddy White if Brown is gone. Could this be the point in the draft when a young and talented team like Chargers takes a shot with an extra first-round pick on WR/TE/HB/QB Matt Jones from Arkansas? One respected NFL writer/TV journalist calls Jones the best player in the draft. He certainly has loads of potential and would be well worth the risk.
29. Indianapolis ... It sounds like a broken record, but you can almost bet the house that the Colts will be drafting defense, defense and more defense. But like last year when they traded out of Round 1 before picking Bob Sanders, the Colts could go the same route if they feel that much of the talent available at this point is all bunched together. Getting two players a little later who are comparable to the one picked here would make sense for Indy. Assuming they stay put, Patterson is the type of one-gap DT that fits the Colts' scheme or one of the remaining 1st round CBs like Jackson, Washington or Miller would probably be the pick. And with Rob Morris out in the middle, if Crowder or Thurman drop they might fit the bill.
30. Pittsburgh ... With no real areas of great need, the Steelers can sit back and wait for some really talented player to slip through the cracks and into their laps. It happens every year and the Steelers are in a position to benefit. That being said, the loss of a starting WR in Plaxico Burress might make Brown or White attractive at this point. Jerome Bettis is old and Duce Staley injury prone so this could be the point we start seeing some of the second group of adeep RB pool start to come off the board. Ciatrick Fason of Florida is the next best back after the Big 3. And if either Heath Miller or Alex Smith is on the board here, a TE could come in handy. Matt Jones might be worth the shot here for a stable team like Pittsburgh that can invest the time to coach him up.
31. Philadelphia ... There has been lots of talk of the Eagles being big movers in this draft. With a talented team and 13 draft choices in hand, a trade up is a very definite possibilty here. No way 13 rookies make the team so trading some of these choices and targeting more specific needs makes real sense. Getting a DT like Castillo or Shaun Cody would really bolster the Eagles' run defense or trading up for a shot a Shawne Merriman or Derrick Johnson would make Philly's defense pretty formidable. If they stand pat, look for the Eagles to grab a WR like Roddy White.
32. New England ... The Pats are getting a little old at LB and maybe someone like Crowder or Thurman is available here. CB is also very much a possibility with Ty Law gone. If Justin Miller is still on the board he would also help the return game and Marlin Jackson is the physical CB that fits the Patriot mold. It might also be time for the Pats to bolster their overachieving offenisve line, and they could really drop in this draft and grabbing a Jammal Brown, Khalif Barnes, David Baas or Elton Brown at this point would be a great value pick. New England is a smart team that has got where it is by not making many personnel mistakes.
38. Oakland ... Getting Randy Moss from the Vikings and Lamont Jordan from the Jets have shored up the offence, now they must concentrate on a weak defense. They need help big time at CB and they will hope someone like Justin Miller or Fabian Washington drops this far. Don't be surprised if the Raiders take a chance on a CB like Corey Webster of LSU. He's had a rough go of it this year but he has 1st-round talent. They could also use a rush guy like Justin Tuck of Notre Dame if he lasts this long.
43. New York Giants ... With no pick in the 1st Round and not much ammo to move up, the Giants will stand pat here and grab the best defensive lineman or defensive back that drops to them. Maybe they take a chance on the physically imposing DT/DE Chris Canty of Virginia. When healthy, he has the ability to dominate.
55. Buffalo ... The Bills are looking pretty good overall and they really got better down the stretch last season. Losing Jonas Jennings to the ***** was a blow so grabbing an OT will be a top priority here. Tough OG/OT Marcus Johnson of Mississippi would be a great choice.