Cynic at Large
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: The Kingdom of Solipsism
Profootball Weekly Final Mock
1. Detroit Lions — QB Matt Stafford, Georgia*
Scott Linehan’s vertical offense requires a big arm, a trait that his quarterback never had in St. Louis. The decision to pass on Jay Cutler in the 2006 draft (the Rams traded the No. 11 pick to Denver and ended up selecting CB Tye Hill with the 15th pick) may have cost Linehan his first head-coaching job, but Jim Schwartz did not make the same mistake with Stafford, whose intelligence sealed the deal.
2. St. Louis Rams (D) — OLT Jason Smith, Baylor
Tough, physical, competitive and nasty, Smith not only fills the Rams’ biggest need after they released Orlando Pace, he also will bring a surly attitude that will help establish a new identity on the offensive line.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (D) — DE Tyson Jackson, LSU
A very durable, prototype five-technique, Jackson gives the Chiefs an anchor to build their defense around, much the same way GM Scott Pioli did with Bill Belichick in New England. It may not be a sexy pick, but it’s safe and will bring the Chiefs much closer to being able to run the “30” front Pioli knows so well.
4. Seattle Seahawks (D) — OLB Aaron Curry, Wake Forest
The safest pick in the draft goes to the general manager, Tim Ruskell, with the track record of being arguably the most conservative of any decision maker in the NFL. After having unloaded Julian Peterson earlier in the offseason in exchange for Cory Redding, a vacancy was created for Curry to fill that could once again re-establish the Seahawks’ LB corps as the NFL’s best, much to the satisfaction of new head coach Jim Mora.
5. Cleveland Browns (D) — NT B.J. Raji, Boston College
Eric Mangini and George Kokinis have been quick to clean up the locker room, get rid of problems and malcontents and establish a new culture. They have already sent TE Kellen Winslow packing early in the offseason. Before the first round is over, WR Braylon Edward could be gone, too. DT Shaun Rogers may not be going anywhere, but he could be kicked outside to end, which would give the Browns a more dominant front with which to defend the run in a physical, smashmouth division where stopping the run is critical. With a roster open to trading, anything could happen in Cleveland, including a trade of QB Brady Quinn, but Raji provides the girth Mangini desires in the trenches.
6. Cincinnati Bengals — OLT Andre Smith, Alabama*
The top-rated tackle on the Bengals’ board, Smith could replace the aging, injury-prone Levi Jones and fill a pressing need, especially after Stacy Andrews slipped away in free agency. Smith may be immature and require some extra attention managing during the week, but his excellent feet, arm length and overall agility should allow him to start from Day One.
7. Oakland Raiders — WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland*
With Al Davis growing increasingly intrigued by WR Percy Harvin, there was some fear that the top of the draft could be shaken up, but Davis has never been fond of players with drug issues and he loves to take shots on big-time talent.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars (D) — RB Beanie Wells, Ohio State*
It’s difficult to overcome an average offensive line, but having the league’s most physical 1-2 backfield punch, capable of being their own blockers and creating their own holes, should make it difficult to stop the Jaguars’ offense. The Jaguars showed very early interest in trading down and desperately want to move this pick. The key is whether the Redskins can work out a deal to ship Jason Campbell to the Jets and receive trade value in return to make this pick happen. Dan Snyder will be the most aggressive getting what he wants, and Mark Sanchez likely becomes the new franchise quarterback in Washington. If the Jaguars cannot move this pick, they have to go with Virginia OLT Eugene Monroe here.
9. Green Bay Packers (D) — OT Eugene Monroe, Virginia
Passing Michael Crabtree could be awfully difficult for Ted Thompson, who has always valued the best talent over need, but with major questions on the offensive line, passing Monroe at this pick could be even more difficult.
10. San Francisco 49ers (D) — WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech*
The 49ers will be doing cartwheels if Crabtree falls to them, but character and injury concerns, and having never been timed in the 40-yard dash, could wind up costing Crabtree in this draft. If Crabtree is gone, the Niners could be even happier addressing their offensive line and kicking Joe Staley back over to the right side.
11. Buffalo Bills (D) — DE Aaron Maybin, Penn State*
The Bills need an end who can rush from either the right or the left side, and Maybin fits the bill and has as much upside as any pass rusher in the draft. He is a great fit for Perry Fewell’s defense.
12. Denver Broncos (U) — DE Brian Orakpo, Texas
The key for the Broncos is improving their front seven, which sorely lacks the parts needed to effectively run a “30” front. Orakpo can make an impact from the rush linebacker position and allow Denver to ship off some underachieving defensive ends picked by Mike Shanahan.
13. Washington Redskins (U) — QB Mark Sanchez, USC*
Owner Dan Snyder has invested too much time figuring out how to land a quarterback after a potential Jay Cutler deal slipped out of his hands at the last moment. Sanchez will not last until the 13th pick, but a creative owner will find a way to get what he wants, even if he has to mortgage the future to get up to the eighth or 10th pick.
14. New Orleans Saints — CB Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State
The Saints need to improve their size at the CB position, and Jenkins has plenty of it. After years of being unable to find an elite cornerback, they finally land a great one.
15. Houston Texans (D) — OLB Brian Cushing, USC
Defensive coordinator Frank Bush craves speed and versatility at the LB position, and Cushing not only can play all three positions, he plays fast and leaves everything on the field.
16. San Diego Chargers (D) — LB Rey Maualuga, USC
In a game where the angles are shorter and there are fewer spread offenses, Maualuga will be less exposed playing in space. He plays the smashmouth brand of power football that Chargers GM A.J. Smith loves.
17. New York Jets (U) — WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri*
Percy Harvin has gained a lot of momentum in New York, but with Maclin still available, the Jets have to make the safe pick and take the dynamic playmaker with far less risk.
18. Denver Broncos (from Chicago) — RB Knowshon Moreno, Georgia*
The Broncos have a lot of running backs, but they do not have a proven workhorse such as Moreno, who comes out of the tunnel screaming and will energize the offense and make a solid quarterback look much better.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — QB Josh Freeman, Kansas State*
Raheem Morris coached Freeman at Kansas State and is very comfortable with Freeman’s work ethic. It could give him the Ben Roethlisberger that Mike Tomlin has on his roster.
20. Detroit Lions (from Dallas) (U, D) — OT Michael Oher, Mississippi
The Lions are open to go in a lot of different directions, but being able to provide protection for a franchise quarterback is paramount.
21. Philadelphia Eagles (D) — CB Vontae Davis, Illinois*
Adding an explosive cornerback could allow the Eagles to potentially deal Sheldon Brown on Draft Day and provide the size desired to match up with the big, physical receivers in the NFC East.
22. Minnesota Vikings (D) — WR Percy Harvin, Florida*
With questions at quarterback, the offense needs a big-time playmaker, and as long as owner Zygi Wilf signs off on Harvin, the Vikings will land an impact player who can make their offense dominant. Harvin can do what Brian Westbrook does for the Eagles and would be a force in an offense with Adrian Peterson.
23. New England Patriots (D, U) — TE Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State
With Bill Belichick calling the offense, the TE position becomes even more critical. Pettigrew makes an average pair of offensive tackles much better and keeps Tom Brady clean in the pocket.
24. Atlanta Falcons (D) — DT Peria Jerry, Mississippi
Jerry has an excellent motor and can immediately upgrade the Falcons’ pass rush from the inside. A year after the Falcons passed on Glenn Dorsey, Jerry could turn out to be a much better solution inside.
25. Miami Dolphins — OLB Robert Ayers, Tennessee
If there were ever a good replacement for Joey Porter, Robert Ayers is it. He has the length, motor and versatility to make a difference in a “30” front.
26. Baltimore Ravens — CB Darius Butler, Connecticut
Value has a way of finding Ozzie Newsome, and even though he has more pressing needs, Butler would be a great fit for the Ravens’ defense.
27. Indianapolis — MLB James Laurinaitis, Ohio State
Bill Polian does not miss on many first-round picks, and he has proven that he loves Big 10-bred talent. Laurinaitis brings leadership to the Colts’ defense and starts for 10 years.
28. Buffalo Bills (from Carolina through Philadelphia) — OT Eben Britton, Arizona*
The Bills could look inside for a versatile interior player after giving up on Derrick Dockery, but Britton could help inside or outside and helps replace Jason Peters.
29. New York Giants (U) — WR Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina*
This pick could easily be part of a deal that results in Browns WR Braylon Edwards coming to New York, but if the Giants stay put, they need to find another weapon to replace the released Plaxico Burress.
30. Tennessee Titans (D) — DT Ziggy Hood, Missouri
With the top corners and receivers off the board, Hood could help provide the pass rush inside that Albert Haynesworth once did, and give new defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil more ammunition in the trenches.
31. Arizona Cardinals — RB Donald Brown, Connecticut*
With Edgerrin James expected to depart, the Cardinals need youth in the backfield, and Brown would be an excellent complement alongside Tim Hightower. Northern Illinois OLB-DE Larry English could also sneak into the first round at this spot.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers (U) — C Eric Wood, Louisville
The Steelers need to replace Justin Hartwig, and Wood has the size, smarts and strength desired in the middle to carry on the Steelers’ tradition. There’s a chance he will be gone before the Steelers pick and that they may aggressively make a move up for a cornerback.