Updated Mock Draft (Picks 1-35)
Taken from my Rams blog at MVN.com
With the draft only a few days away I figured it's time to update my Round 1 and a bit mock draft and put together a final version. Since I last made some wild stabs in the dark at who would pick who, there have been a few trades, so obviously that will mean there will be changes! I won't be guessing at future trades though so no-one will be dropping out of the top 5, and no-one will jump back into the end of the round either.
Onto my selections...
1.1 - Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford (QB) -I still think the Lions take Stafford. Rumours suggest they'll be paying him $40m guaranteed. Wisdom says that a franchise needs to be built around a QB. Stafford is the consensus top rated signal-caller in 2009, although Sanchez has made a late surge. The Lions are stupid enough to pick him despite the fact he's a junior with poor accuracy (57.1%) and low yards per attempt (7.83). Ever heard of David Greene??? No?? He was the guy before Stafford in Georgia who played in basically the same system, with the same HC (Mark Richt) and posted better numbers (59% & 8.01). Greene has now retired, having never taken a NFL snap. Even Matt Millen would turn not be a fan of this pick (He probably wants Percy Harvin).
1.2 - St Louis Rams
Eugene Monroe (OT) - Last time round I went Jason Smith, but I think that Billy Devaney will prefer the relative safety to be found in the higher ceiling that Monroe has according to talent evaluators. Add in the fact that he hails from the same college that yielded 2008 Rams first-rounder Chris Long you can be sure that the Front Office will trust the system he'll be coming from. There's plenty of speculation right now the Rams want to trade down and are actually interested in Mark Sanchez. For me that is pure smoke screen talk. Sanchez is too much of a gamble for a franchise that cannot afford to miss right now unless it wants to spend another 3 or 4 years in the doldrums.
1.3 - Kansas City Chiefs
Jason Smith (OT) - Monroe and Smith swaps spots in this version. Still the same reasoning. Scott Pioli is a smart cookie and knows how to build successful franchises. As good as Aaron Curry is a LB at #3 isn't a smart value pick. Pioli knows that games are won in trenches and he wants to keep the anti-Cutler standing. Smith and Albert will form an athletic and dynamic pair of bookends for Cassel.
1.4 - Seattle Seahawks
Aaron Curry (OLB) - Although many people will be clamouring for Mark Sanchez here, replacing Julian Peterson is a bigger need despite Cory Redding plugging up the hole in the middle to a degree. I did say that picking a LB this high isn't a value pick but I think you can argue that neither is picking a QB with only 16 college starts! Curry is regarded as the 'safest' pick in '09 and that can't be a bad thing.
1.5 - Cleveland Browns
Everette Brown (DE/OLB) - After Mangini saw Gholston blow-up in his face I think he'll pass on Orakpo. The best pure pass-rusher in the draft which is exactly what the Browns will be looking for. Cleveland struggled to generate sustained pressure on opposition QBs last season leaving a weak secondary in a tough spot. Obviously the Stallworth situation and talk of trading Braylon makes WR a possibility, but any move involving Edwards will bring in a first round pick and in a year when there several highly thought-of wideouts available, they could pick one up with their prospective 2nd first rounder.
1.6 - Cincinnati Bengals
Andre Smith (OT) - The whole Andre Smith episode has been blown out of proportion by a media hungry for stories in the off-season. No matter how retarded you are a player is not walking out of the Combine without telling anyon. His agent has been fired. I think that speaks volumes. I think it's plausible that Smith, who was never going to work out at the Combine, was honestly heading to his training centre to prep for his Pro-Day. If 'character concerns' were not a factor and we were only looking at game tape Smith would be in contention for the #1 pick, he's a ruthless run-blocker. Luckily for him, the Bengals don't fret about off-field problems, so they'll snap him straight up. Truth be told, I think he's probably the best fit for what the Rams are trying to do offensively...
1.7 - Oakland Raiders
Michael Crabtree (WR) - Al Davies loves the hype. The only danger is that Davis has worked himself into a bloodlust over Jeremy Maclin's speed and return abilities, but it's likely Crabtree's college production should be enough to counter it.
1.8 - Jacksonville Jaguars
B.J.Raji (DT) - Reports everywhere say the Jags want to get out of the top 10. They recently signed 'Big Game' Tory Holt which reduces the need for a receiver. They still haven't replaced Marcus Stroud. After a spate of injuries to lineman last year effectively ended their season they know as well as anyone that the trenches are where you win or lose games. Rumours of Raji testing positive have been proved false so he looks set to remain a top 10 pick like his talent level deserves.
1.9 - Green Bay Packers
Brian Orakpo (DE/OLB) - Having switched to a ¾ defense they'll be looking for someone to play opposite Kampmann. A decent enough pass-rush might prolong the usefulness of ageing defensive backs Al Wilson and Charles Woodson too.
1.10 - San Francisco *****
Mark Sanchez (QB) - Shaun Hill or Alex Smith.... hmmmm.... need I say more. As a Rams fan I like the idea of this pick too as it could go really REALLY wrong for the Whiners, and that would make me a happy man indeed!
1.11 - Buffalo Bills
Michael Oher (OT) - The loss of Peters leaves the Bills with a gaping hole that must be addressed... FAST. If your QB can't stand-up he can't get the ball to T.O and Lee Evans. End of story. Oher has a tonne of upside too and could be a very very good LT. His over-played learning difficulties are probably more due to starting school at the age of 15 rather than being less mentally agile. With good coaching Oher has the tools to be a top-flight LT.
1.12 - Denver Broncos
Tyson Jackson (DT/DE) - They wanted Raji and are in a position to move up for him (or if you believe rampant speculation, Sanchez) but will settle for the hybrid that is the 290+ beomoth that is Tyson Jackson. He can play in the middle or rush from the edge and McDaniels will like that versatility after being part of Darth Belichick's staff.
1.13 - Washington Redskins
Aaron Maybin (OLB/DE) - The loss of Taylor and OLB Marcus Washington has exposed serious depth issues. Maybin is a tweener with massive bust potential. They would have preferred Jackson and also judging from the attempted moves for Cutler, don't fully trust Jason Campbell, but Sanchez (and Stafford) have gone and Freeman is a step too far.
1.14 - New Orleans Saints
Michael Jenkins (CB) - Due to a slower than expected 40 time Jenkins slips to the team that needs him most. Lucky S.O.Bs.
1.15 - Houston Texans
Chris 'Beanie' Wells (RB) - As much of a value pick as anything else as Wells is the class' top RB talent. His bruising running style will compliment Slaton and give Schaub more exploitable coverage, not that Andre Johnson has ever needed it.
1.16 - San Diego Chargers
Ray Maualuga (ILB) - The elite OTs are gone. They'll look at all three of the USC alumni at LB but side with the hard-hitting Maualuga to compliment Merriman and Phillips.
1.17 - New York Jets
Jeremy Maclin (WR) - Favre is gone - hallelujah! Clemens isn't their man. However Josh Freeman isn't really worth selection here. After solidifying his defense Rex Ryan will look to add more offensive weapons and Maclin offers OUTSTANDING value here as many consider him top 10 talent. He'll slip in nicely to replace Lav Coles.
1.18 - Denver Broncos (from Chicago)
Brain Cushing (OLB) - As with the Jets some might be thinking QB here, but why would McDaniels take Orton as part of the Cutler trade if he didn't see value in him? Chris Simms to me could have held the ship together as a stop-gap, but bringing in the neckbeard makes me think they'll look elsewhere. They need linebacker help and Cushing is a great value pick-up here.
1.19 - Tampa Bay Buccaners
Peria Jerry (DT) - A great showing at the Senior Bowl made sure of Jerry's round 1 status and the Buccs need a player with his skillset. They might prefer a play-making wideout seeing as Galloway and Hillard were cut loose and Heyward-Bey or Harvin might be tempting enough.
1.20 - Detroit Lions (from Dallas)
Vontae Davis (CB) - You can argue they don't have a single starter-level corner on the roster...
1.21 - Philadelphia Eagles
Knowshon Moreno (RB) - They'll consider Pettigrew here after dumping L.J.Smith but after Celek's 3 TD post-season I think they'll give him a shot. Buckhalter has gone too and Westbrook's permenant place,ent on the injury report means they'll need another option.
1.22 - Minnesota Vikings
Micheal Johnson (DE) - The Williams Wall faces suspension. Jared Allen could be arrest for DUI at any moment. Heyward-Bey and Harvin look tempting after they tried for the Housh, but they both are speedsters much like their own Bernard Berrian so don't offer the diversity of skills they need.
1.23 - New England Patriots
Clay Matthews (OLB) - Incredible work ethic... non-stop motor... good bloodline... excellent special teamer. Sounds very much like a typical Patriot pick to me, especially when you consider their current linebacker corp is hardly getting any younger. Also, he's another white poster boy to pose alongside Brady and Welkahhhh.
1.24 - Atlanta Falcons
Clint Sintim - (OLB) - With Keith Brooking and Michael Boley out they'll look to draft someone to replace them. The wideouts still left offer great value here but they already have an abundance of speed...
1.25 - Miami Dolphins
Percy Harvin (WR) - Is there a better fit for a Wildcat offense than Percy Harvin? Ted Ginn hasn't lived up to his hype, although he has slowly improved. Greg Camarillo and Devone Bess are hardly names you'll see in light any time soon either.
1.26 - Baltimore Ravens
Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR) - No doubt Ravens will be ecstatic at the fall of the wideouts and they'll love the speedy Heyward-Bey opposite the steady hands of Derrick Mason.
1.27 - Indianapolis Colts
Evander 'Ziggy' Hood (DT) - Their current starters are nobodies and he looks to be a solid and somewhat safe pick. A little boring, very Polian...
1.28 - Buffalo Bills
Brandon Pettigrew (TE) - The best dual-purpose TE by a mile. Will be a nice checkdown alternative to T.O and Lee Evans, while also a competent blocker. DE's English, Ayers and Johnson are all possible too.
1.29 - New York Giants
Kenny Britt (WR) - When you lose you #1 wideout because he shot himself in the leg, then bomb out of the playoffs despite being a dominant force all year, you need to take action to prevent it happening again. I'm not sure Hixon is the answer, although Steve Smith Mk.II is a handy player. The new look G-Men will be Britt instead of Burress, Smith instead of Toomer and Boss instead of Shockey.
1.30 - Tennessee Titans
Hakeen Nicks (WR) - They have needed a receiver for at least 3 years. It might have cost them a SuperBowl last year, depending on who you listen to. They don't want Holt it seems, so mebeb they will finally draft someone for Collins (or Young!?) to through to other than Justin Gage!
1.31 - Arizona Cardinals
Donald Brown (RB) - It's no secret that the Dirty Birdz want an RB to replace the Edge in a RBBC backfield. Although not rated as highly Wells and Moreno, according to some Brown has a better skillset for NFL success in the way he runs and makes his cuts, so I can see Wisenhunt taking him here.
1.32 - Pittsburgh Steelers
Eben Britton (OT) - Despite the Bowl win we all saw Big Ben spend most of 2008 scrambling away from pass rushers so the O-Line is clearly an issue. Britton would be a great pick-up if he was still on the board.
2.1(33) - Detroit Lions
William Beatty (OT) - It's an "ideal" draft for the Lions as they got their 'franchise play-caller' at 1.1 (although he will crash and burn!) and then brought in a actual NFL calibre defensive back with 1.20 and now they get the O-Lineman they'd have been better served taking first. Oh well, all is well that end well, right?
2.2 (34) - New England Patriots (from Kansas)
Pick - Darrius Butler (CB) - Belichick's mastery of defensive scheming didn't manage to hide the fact that they Patriot's secondary sucked in '08. Louis Delmas and William Moore might also be considered seeing as Harrison is gone.
2.3 (35) - St Louis Rams
Pick - Sean Smith (CB) - A slightly biased pick from a Utes fan, but Smith has size and speed which he'll need in the NFC West against Fitzgerald and Houshmanzadeh. Also there is no legit starter opposite Bartell and would help complete the unit nicely (Bartell, Smith, Atogwe, Butler with Hill/King as the nickel). Other popular picks might be Robiskie (WR) or Brace (DT). Personally I think we can still grab Barsden or Iglesias (WR) in the 3rd while Brace benefitted from playing alongside Raji so might have been over-valued. Robert Ayers and Larry English would be major value picks here as long term prospects opposite Chris Long, but I feel Little can still do a starters job, whereas Hill/Wade/King can't.