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NFLDraftCountdown's 2005 2-Round Mock (1/17/05)
Scott Wright's 2005 MOCK DRAFT - January 17th, 2005
1. San Francisco 49'ers: Aaron Rodgers, QB, California
This is a team in flux with a new front office and coaching staff coming in but more often than not any good rebuilding effort centers around a franchise quarterback. Tim Rattay can be an excellent backup in the league but anything more would have to be considered wishful thinking so with the #1 overall pick they have the opportunity to bring in a centerpiece to rejuvenate the franchise. This is a close call and Alex Smith of Utah also has a good shot at being the first quarterback selected but I give the edge to Rodgers because of his local ties as well as his growing up a fan of the 49'ers. Simply put, he understands what this franchise once was and will take a personal interest in helping to restore that luster. Don't be fooled though, Rodgers is more than deserving of the #1 overall pick based on talent alone and is one of the few players in this Draft who I feel has true star potential. He doesn't have the height you would prefer but his mechanics are textbook and flawless, he is smart after having been tutored by noted quarterback guru Jeff Tedford, he has a great arm and his accuracy is nothing short of amazing. Keep in mind that this is a team that has developed a reputation for being cheap lately so you can't rule out them trading down to save money, but doing so would likely eliminate any chance of landing either of the two franchise signal callers. In my mind there is no doubt that San Francisco should stay at #1 overall and select a quarterback.
2. Miami Dolphins: Cedric Benson, RB, Texas
There is a new sheriff in town and a lot will depend on how Nick Saban assesses the talent on the team, but A.J. Feeley played much better down the stretch and after already investing a high second round pick in him you would think they would be inclined to give him another shot. What this team really lacks is a stud running back after Ricky Williams abruptly retired on them just before the start of training camp. Remember, this was a team with Super Bowl aspirations and the only major change was the loss of Williams so you have to believe that major strides could be made if they can bring that running game back to life. Cedric Benson is one of the most productive running backs in college football history and is a sure thing who will be a 1,000+ yard rusher as a rookie in the NFL. With three great running backs available the Dolphins may look to move down a little and try to recoup the second round pick they dealt to Philadelphia to acquire Feeley and then nab Cadillac Williams or Ronnie Brown later in the top ten if possible. You can't completely rule out Aaron Rodgers or Alex Smith here since Feeley was far from impressive for most of the season and with Saban's defensive roots he may want to bring in some talent on that side of the ball as well, but when all is said and done my money is on a running back whether it be at this spot or a little later in round one.
3. Cleveland Browns: Alex Smith, QB, Utah
Had he come out this pick probably would have been D'Brickashaw Ferguson of Virginia because the Browns have been in search of a franchise left tackle for years, but with that not an option they look for another key building block on offense with a signal caller. The free agent acquisition of Jeff Garcia was nothing less than an unmitigated disaster with the quarterback either playing poorly, getting hurt, or slamming the franchise and coaches. Needless to say his return in 2005 is very doubtful at best so the chance to bring in a top signal caller might be too good to pass up. No player saw his stock rise more this season than Smith, who went from an unknown to a Top 5 overall pick while leading the Utes to an undefeated season. He needs to continue to develop physically but this guy has all the tools you look for and could be special. In fact, many scouts feel he has more potential than anyone in this Draft and could be a star five years down the road. The Browns could also take a look at Alex Barron here but this may be too high and the golden rule of the NFL Draft is that unless you already have one you don't pass on a franchise quarterback. After making a great hire and bringing in Phil Savage as their new general manager this franchise is finally on the right track and what better way to rebuild than by bringing in a guy like Smith to be at the center of that effort.
4. Chicago Bears: Mike Williams, WR, USC
In his first year at the helm Lovie Smith did a tremendous job of molding the Bears defense into one of the better young groups in the league, but the offense still leaves a lot to be desired. Losing quarterback Rex Grossman to a season-ending knee injury early on didn't help matters, but with only guys like David Terrell and Bobby Wade at wide receiver what they lack is a playmaker. After two astounding, record setting seasons with the Trojans Mike Williams opted to follow Maurice Clarett to the pros following his sophomore season but when the court ruling in Clarett's favor was reversed it left both players in limbo, too young to play in the NFL and unable to play in college because they were no longer amateurs. In the end though this could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Williams, who could very well end up going higher in the 2005 NFL Draft than he would have in 2004. With a year off from the game Williams will have ample time to prepare for workouts, which he didn't have the luxury of last year, and if he can improve on his 4.6 time in the forty he should be right in the Top 5 mix. Not playing this season could hurt him though and after Braylon Edwards' standout senior season and amazing effort in the Rose Bowl he has some positive momentum but it will be very hard to the Bears to risk another high draft pick on a Michigan wideout considering what a colossal bust David Terrell has been for them.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cadillac Williams, RB, Auburn
You would have to go back to the mid-90's to find the last time the Buccaneers had a top running attack so it may be time for them to bring in a premier threat at the position. Charlie Garner is injury-prone and past his prime and while Michael Pittman was solid in 2004 they can certainly do better. It is a testament to his immense ability that Williams is still considered an elite prospect even though he doesn't have elite size or speed but what he does have is that certain "It" factor that all the great ones possess. Williams is just as likely to run over you as he is to run around you and is a threat to take it the distance every time he touches the ball and would give Tampa Bay another key building block on the offensive side of the ball. Also keep in mind that Williams will play for the South team and be coached by Jon Gruden in the Senior Bowl so "Cadillac" will have ample opportunity to impress a potential future employer. Tampa Bay could also consider another wide receiver to team with last years first rounder Michael Clayton and leading up to the Draft a year ago they were said to really like Mike Williams, who is exactly the type of receiver Gruden likes, while Braylon Edwards of Michigan would give the team a big play deep threat.
6. Tennessee Titans: Alex Barron, OT, Florida St.
This figures to be another difficult offseason for the Titans as they will likely be forced to make some tough decisions and they may choose to enter a complete rebuilding mode altogether. Among the choices they will have to make is whether to keep their two aging offensive tackles Brad Hopkins and Fred Miller, who have high cap numbers and were almost cut a year ago. If they do end up cutting ties with one or both they will be in desperate need of a young stud along the offensive line and even though I am not as high on Barron as some he does have a lot of upside. Because of his excellent athleticism, mobility and feet Barron has drawn comparisons to Walter Jones and while he isn't quite in that class many feel he could potentially be a franchise left tackle at the pro level. The defensive line took some major hits last offseason so despite using a lot of draft picks on guys like Travis LaBoy, Antwan Odom and Randy Starks to try and replace Jevon Kearse and Robaire Smith the team may still be looking for an impact player up front so don't rule that out either and they could even add some depth at cornerback. However, in the end they simply can't pass on a talent like Barron, who could be a staple for them on the left side for the next decade.
7. Oakland Raiders: Dan Cody, DE-OLB, Oklahoma
This was an extremely close call and Derrick Johnson of Texas would be a great selection as well but the ultimate deciding factor was that Cody is simply a better fit for the hybrid 3-4 scheme the Raiders and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan run. Cody could project to either defensive end or outside linebacker at the next level and having him stand up and play in space would not be a stretch at all since he did it a lot with the Sooners. Very productive and a sack machine, Cody is a high-energy player whose motor is always running at 110% and he has the type of mentality that the Raiders have become famous for. The Raiders also really need a top running back so someone like Ronnie Brown would be enticing, but Oakland may look to address that need in another manner with a trade for Ricky Williams or signing LaMont Jordan in free agency two popular possibilities. Another option would be wide receiver, especially with Jerry Porter due to become an unrestricted free agent whose return is questionable at best so either Mike Williams or Braylon Edwards would be solid choices here as well. What it all boils down to though is that the Raiders defense was awful in 2004 and devoid of playmakers so bringing in a guy like Cody to wreak havoc would seem to be an ideal situation for them.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Ronnie Brown, RB, Auburn
The Cardinals actually played much better than most expected this season, albeit it in the weakest division in football, but they still have a lot of needs. The majority of the glaring weaknesses are on the defensive side of the ball but when Denny Green was in Minnesota he was notorious for investing the majority of the teams resources in the offense so there is no reason to believe that will change in Arizona. Emmitt Smith enjoyed a solid year but he is near the end of his Hall of Fame career and Marcellus Shipp is coming back from injury and was in Green's doghouse prior to getting hurt anyway. Ronnie Brown didn't get the attention he deserved while playing second fiddle to Cadillac Williams at Auburn but he is a tremendous prospect in his own right and could ultimately end up being a better pro prospect due to his superior physical tools. With Josh McCown showing progress down the stretch and a great young receiving corps in place a premier running back could be the last piece of the offensive puzzle for the Cardinals. If they choose to go defense here Antrel Rolle, Travis Johnson, Erasmus James or Derrick Johnson could all be possibilities but with Green's track record and history of preferential treatment towards the offense the odds favor him using this pick to address that side of the ball.
9. Washington Redskins: Antrel Rolle, CB, Miami (FL)
Last offseason the Redskins had to part ways with a top young cornerback in Champ Bailey and history may be repeating itself this year with Fred Smoot. The team would like to re-sign Smoot, who has developed into one of the better young players at his position in the league, but contract negotiations have hit a major roadblock and word is that his return is very much up in the air. After tabbing safety Sean Taylor with the 5th overall pick out of Miami last year the team once again looks to Coral Gables to shore up their secondary with Rolle. A big, athletic and physical cornerback, Rolle isn't quite in the same class as guys like Bailey, Charles Woodson or Deion Sanders as prospects but he should be a very good corner in the pros and I think he could have a career similar to that of Chris McAlister, which isn't bad. Even though they played very well in 2004 the Skins could also use an upgrade at defensive end so Dan Cody and Erasmus James could garner serious consideration here as well, as could a playmaker on offense like Mike Williams or Braylon Edwards. The bottom line though is that if Smoot bolts Washington will have a gaping hold alongside Shawn Springs so landing Rolle as his replacement would be an excellent selection.
10. Detroit Lions: Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin
The Lions have two outstanding young defensive lineman with Shaun Rogers possibly the best defensive tackle in the game and James Hall emerging as a sack artist but Cory Redding is merely average at best so they could certainly use another top defensive end. After not playing at all in 2003 due to injury Erasmus James burst onto the scene and had an amazing senior season where he was nothing short of dominant until he got injured. Durability is the big question with him but if he can stay healthy he has the potential to be an elite all-around right defensive end at the next level because athletically he is unbelievable. The scary thing is that he has just begun to touch the tip of the iceberg in terms of his potential since he didn't begin playing football until his senior year of high school. The Lions could also use an upgrade in the secondary at safety so Thomas Davis would be an excellent addition as well. After spending their last four first round draft picks on offense to select Joey Harrington, Charles Rogers, Roy Williams and Kevin Jones it is time for Matt Millen to turn his attention to the defensive side of the ball and try to add some playmakers there and either James or Davis would certainly fit that bill.
11. Dallas Cowboys: Shawne Merriman, OLB-DE, Maryland
After overachieving and reaching the playoffs in 2003 the Cowboys have come back to earth this season and in a way that has to make the team and fans wonder exactly how far away this team is from actually contending for a Super Bowl. You should never doubt Bill Parcells though and if anyone can get this franchise back on track in a hurry it is the Tuna, whose efforts will be aided by two #1 draft picks. We all know how much Bill Parcells values defense and while they have one of the better defensive tackles in the league in La'Roi Glover and an underrated defensive end in Greg Ellis that is about it up front. Marcellus Wiley has been a major disappointment so one of Dallas' top priorities this offseason will be to bring in someone who can rush the passer and Merriman has as much potential in that area as anyone in this Draft. Remember, Parcells drafted another DE-OLB out of South Carolina named John Abraham when he was with the Jets so this is certainly a guy who fits his style of defense and could be exactly the type of dynamic playmaker the Cowboys are searching for. Cornerback is also a major need but with another first round pick they can take advantage of the depth at that position and nab a coverman later.
12. San Diego Chargers (f/NYG): Braylon Edwards, WR, Michigan
There is no doubt that the Chargers have a solid group of wide receivers, especially with the addition of Keenan McCardell, but what they lack is a big, physical playmaker. That is why they would be so lucky to find Edwards still on the board because he would really be able to take their offense to another level. With great size and good speed, Edwards is the type of wideout who can take games over and absolutely dominate at times but the concern with him is his lack of consistency and concentration because he will drop some catchable balls. Roman Oben has played well this year at left tackle but he isn't getting any younger so Jammal Brown of Oklahoma could be an interesting pick and you can't rule out defensive help either with Dan Cody being an ideal fit for their defensive scheme and Derrick Johnson presenting great value as well. With two first round picks and a very valuable commodity in quarterback Drew Brees look for the Chargers to be extremely active in the trade market as well and if they identify one player that they covet they certainly have the ammunition to make a move upwards in hopes of landing a difference maker. The Chargers were one of the surprise teams of the season and are in an excellent position to add a couple more key pieces to what is already one of the better young teams in the league.
13. Houston Texans: Thomas Davis, S, Georgia
After drafting rookie sensation Dunta Robinson in the first round last year to team with Aaron Glenn and moving Marcus Coleman to free safety the Texans have 3/4 of a great secondary, with strong safety being the missing piece of the puzzle. That would no longer be a problem though if they were lucky enough to find Davis still on the board. Davis plays like a linebacker in a safeties body and is seemingly in on every play. In fact, numerous scouts have referred to him as a "difference maker" and speak as glowingly about him as just about any other defensive player in this Draft. Davis is still raw after only moving to the secondary from linebacker before the 2003 season, but he has the potential to be a Roy Williams or Sean Taylor-type of safety at the next level. Houston may also be looking for help on either the offensive or defensive line and if that is the case a couple of guys who would seem to be good fits are Jammal Brown of Oklahoma and Marcus Spears of L.S.U. However, if Thomas Davis still available when they are on the clock I would be very surprised if he wasn't the selection because not only does he shore up an area of need but he also represents a great value in the middle portion of round one.
14. Carolina Panthers: Heath Miller, TE, Virginia
After a horrendous start and enduring injuries to many key players you just can't say enough about how the Panthers bounced back and made a playoff run down the stretch. With that said there are a number of areas where Carolina could use some help including offensive line and safety, but a top tight end like Miller could really add a new dimension to their offense. While he isn't in the same class as Kellen Winslow, Jr. this guy is a very good athlete who can be a force in the passing game, he is heads and shoulders above the other tight end prospects in this Draft and, needless to say, would represent a major improvement over Kris Mangum and Mike Seidman. The team also suffered tremendous losses up front along the offensive line last offseason with Todd Steussie (Tampa Bay), Jeno James (Miami) and Kevin Donnelley (Retirement) all moving on so Jammal Brown of Oklahoma would be an excellent choice as well and with his ability play either the right or left side he could team with Jordan Gross to form one of the best young tackle tandems in the league. With Stephen Davis facing a career-threatening injury and DeShaun Foster unable to stay healthy the team could surprise and nab a running back if one were to fall into their laps as well.
15. Kansas City Chiefs: Pac-Man Jones, CB, West Virginia
Despite having one of the worst defenses in the NFL in 2003 the Chiefs made virtually no changes in personnel on that side of the ball, instead only brining in a new defensive coordinator in Gunther Cunningham. Big mistake. You can have the best jockey in the world but if you're riding a donkey you aren't going to win the Kentucky Derby. Simply put, Kansas City just doesn't have the horses on defense. Their top need on that side of the ball is probably at cornerback so to be able to land one of the top two players at that position with the 15th overall pick would be quite a coup. Jones, whose give name is Adam, doesn't have great size but he is an athletic playmaker who is very physical and plays much bigger than he is while also adding an extra dimension as a top return man as well. In a lot of ways he reminds me of a better version of Antoine Winfield when he was coming out of Ohio St. in 1998. Either way the team absolutely must go defense with this pick, whether it be a lineman such as David Pollack, a linebacker like Derrick Johnson or Channing Crowder or defensive back and the theme of their entire offseason should be "Defense, Defense and more Defense" because they will not reach the Super Bowl until they make vast improvements on that side of the ball.
16. New Orleans Saints: Derrick Johnson, OLB, Texas
I am a huge fan of Derrick Johnson and it kills me to drop him this far but there just wasn't a spot for him earlier and I have a feeling he will be long gone by this point in round one come Draft Day. It is widely known that the Saints were poised to select D.J. Williams of Miami with their first round pick last year before Denver snapped him up right ahead of them so obviously they agree that there is a need at outside linebacker. New Orleans has invested a lot of premium draft choices in linebackers such as Sedrick Hodge, James Allen and Cie Grant over the years but they really don't have much to show for it other than Courtney Watson, who they nabbed in the 2nd round this past year and who has been a good player for them inside. Had he come out last year following his junior season Derrick Johnson may have been the first linebacker selected, but he opted to return to Austin for his senior campaign and came through with just the type of monster year most were expecting from him. This guy has everything you look for in an elite linebacker prospect and is right there with the best to come down the pipe in recent memory. In fact, Johnson is exactly the type of dynamic, impact player that could revitalize this defense. Landing Johnson down this far would easily be one of the steals of the Draft.
17. Cincinnati Bengals: Travis Johnson, DT, Florida St.
The Bengals have some solid players and a lot of youngsters with potential along the defensive line but what they lack is a true difference maker. With Tony Williams likely having played his last down for Cincinnati they will need to bring in a top defensive tackle and Johnson would be a nice value pick this far down in round one. Travis Johnson was once a highly touted prep recruit but earned the label of underachiever up until this year when he emerged as the force most thought he would be when he first arrived on campus. In fact, Johnson has improved his stock as much as anyone in the country this season and could very well go much higher than this as the top defensive tackle available. In recent times the Bengals have also gone out of their way in search of a top cornerback with mixed results. From flirting with the notion of taking Terence Newman #1 overall in the 2003 NFL Draft, to the free agent signing of Tory James to the trade for Deltha O'Neal, Cincinnati has made no secret of their desire to acquire an elite coverman so don't rule that out here either because there is still a lot of value left at that position. When all is said and done though Johnson is just too good of a value to pass on and also fills their top area of need.
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18. Minnesota Vikings: Shaun Cody, DT, USC
Where to begin for the Vikings. Much like the Chiefs this is a team that needs to go defense early and often whether it be defensive tackle, linebacker or safety. Kevin Williams has developed into one of the premier defensive tackles in the game but he needs help and with Chris Hovan a free agent who isn't expected back next season the situation will be just that much more dire. The front seven is just unable to put pressure on the quarterback and that is something a guy like Cody should be able to help remedy. A bit of a DT / DE 'tweener, Cody is an explosive pass rusher and fits the profile of the type of productive playmakers the Minnesota scouting department has looked for the past couple of years. Linebacker is also a potential need since Chris Claiborne is a free agent and youngsters E.J. Henderson and Dontarrious Thomas have been absolutely awful, but they may be more inclined to add some veteran help in free agency rather than bring in another rookie but if they did want a linebacker here Kevin Burnett of Tennessee would be an ideal fit because he excels in coverage. The other glaring need on defense is safety where Brian Russell's play has left a lot to be desired. They could bring in either a free safety like Brodney Pool of Oklahoma to simply replace Russell or a strong safety like Ernest Shazor of Michigan who would allow them to move Corey Chavous to his more natural position at free safety.
19. St. Louis Rams: Jammal Brown, OT, Oklahoma
The health and future playing career of Kyle Turley is in serious doubt at this point and even if he is able to return from a serious back injury he may have burnt too many bridges in St. Louis to play for the Rams again. One thing is for sure, they simply cannot go into next season with the same group they had this year so if Jammal Brown were somehow still on the board this late in round one the pick should be a no-brainer. Brown has been the best player on what has been one of the nation's premier offensive lines the past two to three years and this season he even won the Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman in the country on offense or defense, which Robert Gallery of Iowa took home last year. Brown is athletic enough to project to either left or right tackle at the next level and may be the best all-around offensive tackle in this Draft in terms of both his run and pass blocking prowess. Simply put, having Brown drop to them here would have to be considered a dream scenario for St. Louis. The Rams have also been very unhappy with the play of their linebackers this year so guys like Channing Crowder of Florida and Kevin Burnett of Tennessee could also be potential targets, as could a cornerback since there is so much quality depth still on the board.
20. Dallas Cowboys (f/BUF): Carlos Rogers, CB, Auburn
After letting Mario Edwards leave as a free agent the team was relying on the essentially unproven and untested Pete Hunter to start opposite Terence Newman, but Hunter was lost for the season with an injury and that combined with Newman's drop-off in play has left Dallas in dire straights in pass defense, seemingly unable to cover anyone. Rogers, who won the Thorpe Award this year as the best defensive back in college football, has all the physical tools you look for in a shutdown corner with ideal size, speed and athleticism. There are still a lot of good corners available at this point so don't rule out guys like Justin Miller of Clemson, Marlin Jackson of Michigan, Brandon Browner of Oregon St., Corey Webster of L.S.U., and Bryant McFadden of Florida St., each of whom could emerge as a late first round pick before all is said and done. With Darren Woodson retiring the Cowboys could also be in search of either a free or strong safety with Roy Williams able to play the other spot so watch out for Brodney Pool and Ernest Shazor as well. Dallas could also still be looking for more defensive line help as well depending on what they do with their earlier pick so don't rule out a tackle or end here and the offensive line hasn't played up to expectations either so that could be a possibility as well.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars: David Pollack, DE, Georgia
When a team cuts both starters at a position during training camp it is usually a pretty good sign of what direction they may be looking to go come Draft time. Most saw it coming so when Tony Brackens was released it wasn't much of a surprise, but when just a while later they cut Hugh Douglas, their prized free agent acquisition from just a year earlier, it was really quite shocking. David Pollack has been one of the most feared and productive pass rushers in the game for three seasons now and even though he lacks ideal physical tools he makes up for that with a non-stop motor and unmatched intensity. There seems to be mixed opinions on Pollack within the scouting community that range anywhere from a top ten pick to late round one. In reality the truth may lie somewhere in between. Jacksonville could also be looking for a cornerback here because when you get past Rashean Mathis all you will find are basically journeymen and backups like Dewayne Washington and Juran Bolden so don't rule out the likes of Carlos Rogers and Justin Miller, who would be excellent additions to the secondary. When all is said and done though defensive end has to be their top priority and must be addressed, whether it be in free agency, the Draft or both and Pollack would be just what the doctor ordered.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Troy Williamson, WR, South Carolina
This pick shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone who has watched the Ravens over the past 4-5 years or so. The team has seemingly been looking for a top wide receiver forever and have tried just about everything from investing a #10 overall pick on Travis Taylor in 2000 to their failed attempt to trade for Terrell Owens this past offseason. Williamson played in a run orientated offense with the Game****s but was still one of the most prolific wide receivers in the SEC and will likely be one of the fastest players in this entire Draft. The addition of his home run ability would really provide the offense with another dimension and give defenses someone else to worry about other than Todd Heap in the passing game. Two other receivers who could be potential targets here are Roddy White of Alabama-Birmingham and Mark Clayton of Oklahoma. Another option for Baltimore is defense since that is without a doubt the key to their success and they can ill afford to have a drop-off in performance on that side of the ball. Deion Sanders turned out to be a decent signing for them but how long he will play is very much up in the air and if he chooses to hang up his cleats following this season, which is quite possible, the team will need to go out and get another coverman to fill the vital role of nickel corner.
23. Seattle Seahawks: Channing Crowder, ILB, Florida
In the weeks leading up to last years Draft word had it that the Seahawks gameplan was to address the middle of their defense at defensive tackle, inside linebacker and safety. They managed to take care of two of those areas with Marcus Tubbs in round one and Michael Boulware in round two but they still need the linebacker. Crowder, who was able to enter the Draft after his sophomore season because he delayed his enrollment following high school to rehab from an injury and thus it has been three years since his high school class graduated, has everything you look for with the only concern being durability. One thing that will bear watching here though is what happens with Shaun Alexander in free agency and if he bolts Seattle could very well be in the market for a running back very early with two possibilities at this point being Ciatrick Fason of Florida and Vernand Morency of Oklahoma St. This is a tough team to figure out though because despite having what appears to be a very solid core of talent the team continues to underachieve year after year. A linebacker, however, would be a nice choice for the Seahawks here though and would address what has to be considered the one major weak link on the team with Chad Brown and Anthony Simmons getting older and struggling with injuries as of late.
24. Green Bay Packers: Charlie Frye, QB, Akron
With each passing season Brett Favre sounds closer and closer to retirement so the time is now to bring in an eventual successor before it is too late. The team has flirted with the notion of snagging a future signal caller in each of the past two drafts, first in 2003 with Rex Grossman and then again last year with J.P. Losman but ultimately either didn't have the chance or decided against it. Frye is very much in the mold of the two guys mentioned earlier and he would probably have at least one season, if not two, to sit behind and learn from the great future Hall of Famer before eventually taking over the reigns himself. If they opt to address a more pressing need the Packers would likely look to the defensive side of the ball with a defensive end as an upgrade over Aaron Kampman, an inside linebacker such as Channing Crowder which would allow them to move Nick Barnett outside, or more help for a secondary that was burnt early and often this season with either another cornerback or a safety to replace Mark Roman. Frye, who could really improve his stock at the Senior Bowl, is a pretty good value here however and this is a team that doesn't want to get caught with their pants down if Favre does decide to hang up his cleats so the time has come to bring in a youngster to one day assume the starting job.
25. Denver Broncos: Marcus Spears, DE, L.S.U.
Last offseason the Broncos focused on upgrading the secondary by bringing in Champ Bailey and John Lynch but in the end the results were the same as they were thrashed by Peyton Manning and the Colts in the playoffs again. This year it will have to be the defensive line that receives the majority of their attention, especially the interior. Trevor Pryce will be back healthy, which should help, and Reggie Hayward enjoyed a breakout campaign by registering 10.5 sacks but beyond them the cupboard is essentially bare. Spears, a former tight end, is about as physically gifted as a defensive lineman as you will ever find and could project to either end or tackle in the pros. If they choose they can either play him at end and move Pryce inside or use Spears at tackle to generate a pass rush up the middle, either way the line would be significantly upgraded. Denver could also be searching for a top tight end such as Heath Miller because while the group they currently have has been serviceable they collectively do not provide the dynamic weapon in the passing game that this offense and franchise has become so accustomed to over the years with Shannon Sharpe. One other consideration could be a young signal caller to develop as Jake Plummer's backup and possibly eventual successor since they don't really have a reliable option there as we speak.
26. New York Jets: Justin Tuck, DE, Notre Dame
This is going to be a big offseason for the Jets and while they have already locked up three key players that were scheduled to become unrestricted free agents they still have John Abraham, Kareem McKenzie, LaMont Jordan and Anthony Becht to deal with. McKenzie is likely to be the top priority and with so much money already invested in the defensive line with Shaun Ellis, Dewayne Robertson and Jason Ferguson the odd man out may be Abraham. If that is the case then bringing in a guy like Tuck would be a solid move for New York and with his speed, athleticism and pass rush ability he will be able to bring a lot of the same things to the table that Abraham does at a much more reasonable price. The other main option would appear to be at cornerback where they have a lot of solid players but lack a true difference maker. Guys like Justin Miller and Corey Webster would appear to be ideal fits for their scheme but others such as Marlin Jackson, Brandon Browner, Bryant McFadden, and Eric Green could also draw some consideration at this point in round one as well. With so many key players future still up in the air what may seem like an area of strength now could very well be an area of need come late-April but at this time Abraham would seem to be the most likely cog to jump ship in which case bringing in another top defensive end will be atop their list of things to do.
27. Atlanta Falcons: Adam Terry, OT, Syracuse
When Bob Whitfield's play on the field took such a steep and drastic decline the team simply was prepared and after he was benched and finally released the Falcons were left with Kevin Shaffer as their starting left tackle. Not exactly an ideal situation. Even though he has traditionally gotten the job done with guys not drafted in round one the team may want to give offensive line guru Alex Gibbs (of Denver Broncos fame) some talent to work with and mold, plus you can never go wrong by investing in someone to protect Michael Vick, a.k.a. The Franchise. Terry is a massive player at 6-9 and 324 pounds who still has the frame to add weight and get even bigger. He is experienced, smart and durable and just the type of guy Gibbs can develop and mold into a top pro offensive lineman. The Falcons could also be looking for a top young free safety to replace Cory Hall with Brodney Pool an excellent option or an outside linebacker such as Kevin Burnett or Darryl Blackstock of Virginia as an upgrade over Matt Stewart. Overall this is a team without many glaring needs but if there is any sort of value left at offensive tackle they will certainly have to take a long hard look at them because, as we saw in 2003, if anything should happen to Vick this team simply falls apart at the seems.
28. San Diego Chargers: Brodney Pool, S, Oklahoma
After making the switch to a 3-4 defense in 2004 the Chargers defense was much improved and after using numerous first day picks on the secondary in recent years they have one of the top young groups in the league, however one spot that can be upgraded is free safety where Jerry Wilson leaves a lot to be desired. Brodney Pool is a playmaker in the secondary who excels in coverage and has a nose for the ball and outside of Roy Williams he just may be the best defensive back the Sooners have produced in recent years, which is saying something when you are talking about guys like Andre Woolfolk and Derrick Strait. The Chargers could also use a top young offensive tackle to develop as Roman Oben's eventual replacement and a guy who would make a lot of sense would be Adam Terry if he were still available. Since this pick could be considered a luxury in a way since they have two this year courtesy of the Eli Manning trade they may opt just to take the best player available and upgrade their overall talent level rather than focusing on filling a specific need and if that is the case a linebacker like Darryl Blackstock or Kevin Burnett or a defensive lineman such as Anttaj Hawthorne or Matt Roth would be interesting possibilities late in the first round. In the end though Pool represents a good value while also taking care of a need so he would be a great pick.
29. Indianapolis Colts: Justin Miller, CB, Clemson
The Colts have made a concerted effort to upgrade their secondary the past two years, using 2nd round picks on Mike Doss and Bob Sanders, but they still haven't brought in a top young cornerback which is without a doubt the teams most glaring area of weakness. To give you an idea of what dire straights they are in at that position, some of the names at or near the top of their depth chart right now are Nick Harper, Jason David, Von Hutchins, and Joseph Jefferson. Justin Miller is the proverbial big play waiting to happen and is a dangerous threat both in coverage as well as on special teams as a return man. With good size, very good speed, excellent athleticism as well as a nose for the ball, Miller would be an ideal fit for the Colts and finally give them the top young cornerback they have been searching for. If he is gone they could look at someone such as Marlin Jackson of Michigan, Brandon Browner of Oregon St., Corey Webster of L.S.U. or Bryant McFadden of Florida St., but Miller would be the most logical fit. Indy could also use a top defensive tackle to provide a presence on the interior against the run as well as some linebacker help as well. Either way look for this pick to be spent on the defensive side of the ball because they sure don't have any trouble scoring points.
30. New England Patriots: Marlin Jackson, CB, Michigan
This is like trying to pick out a present for Bill Gates...what do you get someone who has everything? As good as they are and with as much depth as they have, even the mighty New England Patriots aren't without needs but if anyone can justify going the best player available route it is the Pats. However, after suffering a myriad of injuries to their secondary this season, and even having to play wideout Troy Brown at cornerback, it would probably be a wise decision to bring in some reinforcements there, especially since no one knows how much longer Ty Law will be with the team. The Pats go back to that old Michigan Wolverine well that brought them Law to pluck Marlin Jackson, who has excellent size and athleticism with the only question mark being his speed, but if he can run well in workouts he could very well be off the board by this point come Draft Day. A safety wouldn't be out of the question either since Rodney Harrison isn't getting any younger and Eugene Wilson may eventually be moving back outside to corner so watch out for Brodney Pool and Ernest Shazor as well. One final option would be to upgrade the talent along the offensive line with someone like Marcus Johnson of Ole Miss, Elton Brown of Virginia or Davis Baas of Michigan but the group they have has certainly been getting the job done so that isn't a pressing need by any means.
31. Philadelphia Eagles: Anttaj Hawthorne, DT, Wisconsin
Much like New England it is not easy trying to pinpoint areas where the Eagles are deficient but looking into the future the defensive tackle position could very well end up being a major need. Corey Simon is due to be an unrestricted free agent and to this point the team has been hesitant to reward him with a long-term deal but if he hits the open market others won't be as slow to pull the trigger as he is likely to draw a lot of interest. Hawthorne was overshadowed by Erasmus James as a senior but he has the potential to be an excellent pro and certainly has the measurables you look for. The key for him however will be to play with a more consistent motor but if he can do that he could turn out to be a steal this late in the first round. Philly also lacks a reliable backup to Brian Westbrook, who is an extremely important piece of their offense so a running back like Ciatrick Fason or Vernand Morency could draw significant interest as well. One other option could be a wide receiver such as Roddy White or Mark Clayton because other than Terrell Owens the team doesn't have a top threat and Todd Pinkston may be close to wearing out his welcome. This is a team that can go a number of different ways though and in the end may simply choose to just take the best player available.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Brandon Browner, CB, Oregon St.
After a down season in 2003 Bill Cowher has the Steelers back among the NFL's elite and along with rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger they have become the darlings of the media. While most of the attention and praise is directed towards the offense the major reason for the Steelers turnaround is the return of Dick LeBeau and the "Blitzburgh" defense and since that side of the ball has always played such an important role in the teams success it sure wouldn't hurt to address it in the first round. Willie Williams and Chad Scott aren't getting any youngster and while guys like Ricardo Colclough and Ike Taylor have potential the team could certainly afford to add another top talent to the secondary. Browner came out after his redshirt sophomore year and while he is still raw he has the type of rare size and athleticism that is sure to pique scouts interest. In fact, if he runs well in workouts he could very well be long gone by this point in round one. The Steelers could also use help along the offensive line at right tackle, depth along the defensive line and at linebacker and maybe even a big wide receiver if Plaxico Burress flees as an unrestricted free agent. With an already solid team they don't have a lot of glaring needs but the chance to add a top young talent at corner like Browner might be too good to pass up.
33. Philadelphia Eagles (f/MIA): Roddy White, WR, U.A.B.
Todd Pinkton has worn out his welcome and this big play threat would be a major upgrade over him.
34. San Francisco 49'ers: Chris Colmer, OT, North Carolina St.
The Niners need a lot of help along the offensive line and this guy has 1st round potential.
35. Cleveland Browns: Pete McMahon, OT, Iowa
If they don't land a stud offensive tackle with their first pick they had better nab one here.
36. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma
Lacks ideal size but has everything else you look for and will be a tremendous compliment to Michael Clayton.
37. Tennessee Titans: Bryant McFadden, CB, Florida St.
Andre Dyson will be a free agent and Andre Woolfolk can't seem to stay healthy so depth is needed.
38. Oakland Raiders: Ciatrick Fason, RB, Florida
They may bring in help here in free agency but if not Fason is an excellent value pick in early round two.
39. Chicago Bears: Vernand Morency, RB, Oklahoma St.
Anthony Thomas likely won't be back as Thomas Jones' backup and this guy is another playmaker.
40. New Orleans Saints (f/WAS): Ernest Shazor, S, Michigan
Has loads of potential and would be a tremendous addition to the secondary alongside Tebucky Jones.
41. Detroit Lions: David Baas, OG, Michigan
David Loverne can certainly be upgraded and Matt Millen is sure to like this Wolverine's style.
42. Dallas Cowboys: Marcus Johnson, OG, Ole Miss
Bill Parcells has been frustrated with the offensive line and this guy can help out at either guard or tackle.
43. New York Giants: Odell Thurman, ILB, Georgia
Kevin Lewis and Nick Greisen in the middle is not exactly an ideal situation if you are the G-Men.
44. Houston Texans: Elton Brown, OG, Virginia
A big, physical, mauler who can be dominant inside who would really upgrade the Texans running game.
45. Carolina Panthers: Eric Green, CB, Virginia Tech
An athletic former safety to further bolster an already very good young secondary for the Panthers.
46. Kansas City Chiefs: Kevin Burnett, OLB, Tennessee
An athletic, dynamic playmaker at linebacker for a team and defense in desperate need of it.
47. Arizona Cardinals: Corey Webster, CB, L.S.U.
This is exactly the type of playmaker Arizona needs in the secondary, not to mention a steal here.
48. Cincinnati Bengals: Chris Spencer, C, Ole Miss
Rich Braham can't play forever and this underclassmen has great size and loads of potential.
49. Minnesota Vikings: Vincent Fuller, S, Virginia Tech
Can play either safety or cornerback and the Vikings could really use a lot of help at both spots.
50. Green Bay Packers (f/NO): Matt Roth, DE, Iowa
A great value pick here and would be a big upgrade over Aaron Kampman opposite of Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila.
51. Buffalo Bills: Ronald Fields, DT, Mississippi St.
Sam Adams has been unhappy with his role in the new defense and isn't getting any younger either.
52. Jacksonville Jaguars: Antonio Perkins, CB, Oklahoma
There is very little beyond Rashean Mathis and this guy will also be able to help out as a dynamic return man.
53. Baltimore Ravens: Fabian Washington, CB, Nebraska
Who knows how much longer Deion Sanders will play and this guy has all the physical tools you look for.
54. St. Louis Rams: Darryl Blackstock, OLB, Virginia
They have been very unhappy with the play of their LB's for a while now so it is time to bring in some new blood.
55. Green Bay Packers: Barrett Ruud, ILB, Nebraska
The team wants to move Nick Barnett outside and drafting this productive inside 'backer will allow them to do so.
56. Denver Broncos: Jason Campbell, QB, Auburn
It is time to begin developing a top young signal caller, whether is be as Plummer's backup or replacement.
57. Seattle Seahawks: Eric Shelton, RB, Louisville
Shaun Alexander is an unrestricted free agent and may not be back so they need a top runner just in case.
58. New York Jets: Alex Smith, TE, Stanford
Anthony Becht is a free agent who likely won't be back and Smith gives them the receiving threat they covet.
59. San Diego Chargers: Chris Canty, DE, Virginia
May have been a 1st rounder if not for injury but San Diego can wait for this ideal 3-4 defensive end to heal.
60. Indianapolis Colts: Mike Patterson, DT, USC
A perfect fit to play the three technique and create havoc in the middle of Tony Dungy's style of defense.
61. Atlanta Falcons: Josh Bullocks, S, Nebraska
Jim Mora will want to further upgrade the defense and this playmaker would be a nice upgrade over Cory Hall.
62. New England Patriots: Logan Mankins, OT, Fresno St.
A physical mauler who really fits their style and could help out at either right tackle or inside at guard.
63. Philadelphia Eagles: J.J. Arrington, RB, California
The Eagles simply must bring in a better backup option to Brian Westbrook than what they currently have.
64. Pittsburgh Steelers: Chris Henry, WR, West Virginia
Plaxico Burress may bolt as a free agent and this is a 1st round talent who drops due to character concerns.
Country Roads, Take Them To St. Louis!
Re: NFLDraftCountdown's 2005 2-Round Mock (1/17/05)
Jamaal Brown & Darryl Blackstock after two rounds, with 2 more picks in the 3rd round. I'd call that a productive start to the draft. I think it's a dream, but it's a nice one."Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod