It’s NFL Draft week. Everyone and their mother is putting together a mock draft. I figured I’d take a shot at it.
Now I admit, I did this a year ago, and I didn’t get as many right as I thought I would. But that will not stop me from trying again. This is not – by any – means – guaranteed. Remember that before you send me your emails telling me I’m nuts. Here it goes:
1. Detroit: Matthew Stafford – The Lions might be better off in the long run taking OL Jason Smith, since their line is a sieve (and I’m being kind here). But, you can’t turn your nose up at the top QB in the draft, and the Lions are working to get the deal done as we speak. My gut tells me they’ll have Stafford signed before the draft. Though he won’t take the field this season unless he absolutely has to.
2. St. Louis: Jason Smith – The Rams have issues on the O-line. Orlando Pace is gone. On Saturday the team will draft his replacement.
3. Kansas City: Aaron Curry – The Chiefs could put this pick up for auction (remember, Scott Pioli is the new GM and he subscribes to the Bill Belichick school of running a team). They could pick OT Eugene Monroe to open up holes for Larry Johnson and keep new QB Matt Cassel upright. But passing up the closest thing to a sure thing in Curry is something I just don’t see KC doing.
4. Seattle: Mark Sanchez – The pick here should be Michael Crabtree. Should be. It won’t be. Crabtree’s injury will scare the Seahawks off. They’ll take Sanchez and let him learn behind Matt Hasselbeck for a year or two. Sometimes it’s better to draft a quarterback when you don’t have the glaring need for one. That’s something the Packers did in 2005 with Aaron Rodgers. By the time Brett Favre left, Rodgers was ready to play.
5. Cleveland: Michael Crabtree – Braylon Edwards will likely be a Giant by the end of the weekend. Donte Stallworth is in a world of legal trouble. The Browns get Crabtree to ease the pain of their losses. Seattle will regret passing him up. I think the reports of Cleveland wanting a DE are a smokescreen.
6. Cincinnati: Eugene Monroe – The Bengals need to find a way to keep Carson palmer healthy. The big guy from Virginia will help.
7. Oakland: B.J. Raji – Al Davis will be tempted by Jeremy Maclin and Andre Smith but both have question marks against them. Raji’s not going to excite anyone in Raider Nation, but he will be a nice piece in a defense that could use someone like him.
8. Jacksonville: Brian Orapko – The Jags would love to get their hands on either Sanchez or Crabtree. They’ll try to trade the pick but will find teams unwilling to meet their demands. Orapko is a Jack Del Rio pick – the defensive coach gets another weapon for his arsenal.
9. Green Bay: Aaron Maybin – Conventional wisdom says the Packers have targeted either Raji or Orapko as they transition to the 3-4. When both are gone, Green Bay could go with Plan B in Maybin, who they like a lot as well. Remember, though, this is Ted Thompson we are talking about here. I wouldn’t rule out a trade, Beanie Wells, or Crabtree if he somehow slips this far.
10. San Francisco: Jeremy Maclin – this team, years after trading away T.O., is still looking for his replacement. Maclin falls into their laps.
11. Buffalo: Robert Ayers – The DE from Tennessee has been shooting up draft boards. This pick might be looked at as somewhat of a shocker, but it shouldn’t be.
12: Denver: Everette Brown – The Broncos defense was awful last year. Brown will help make it better. The quarterback need will get filled later on.
13. Washington: Andre Smith – The Redskins will try to move up for Sanchez. They’ll fail, but Smith will fall, and they have a need. Yes, there are questions about his maturity level, but I can’t see him falling too much further than this. Besides, the last time the Redskins took a lineman from Alabama, they got it right with Chris Samuels.
14. New Orleans: Chris Wells – Beanie is a lock here (if the Packers don’t surprise by taking him ninth). The Saints get a hard charging back to pair with Reggie Bush.
15. Jacksonville: Peria Jerry – The Texans wouldn’t mind dealing this pick away. If they keep it, they’ll continue doing what they’ve done in the last couple of drafts – beefing up their D-line.
16. San Diego: Malcom Jenkins – The Chargers draft the Ohio State corner, move him to safety next to Eric Weddle and have no worries in the secondary for the next few years.
17. New York Jets: Darrius Heyward Bey – Jets fans will be screaming for Kansas State QB Josh Freeman. But why draft a quarterback when you have no one to throw the ball to? Heyward Bey will need a little time to develop, but his upside is too high to ignore at this spot.
18. Denver: Josh Freeman – Here’s where the Broncos get their quarterback. They won’t need to rush him because Kyle Orton will be better in that system (and with those WR’s) than a lot of people think.
19. Tampa Bay: Tyson Jackson – The Bucs miss out on Freeman, but Jackson is a pretty good consolation prize.
20. Detroit: Michael Oher – The Lions got their franchise QB in Stafford. Oher will help ensure he doesn’t get killed.
21. Philadelphia: Knowshon Moreno – Brian Westbrook is 30, and the Eagles need to think about life after him. Moreno will be a good understudy and ready to take over for Westbrook in a couple of years.
22. Minnesota: Kenny Britt – I know Percy Harvin is still on the board, but there are too many question marks about him, and the Vikings can’t afford someone with that much uncertainty, given what they have at WR. Britt is liable to contricute at the NFL level sooner than Harvin will.
23. New England: Rey Mauluga – Many other mocks have the Pats going with Clay Matthews, but Mauluga is just plain nasty. Bill Belichick’s kind of player.
24. Atlanta: Clay Matthews – Last year the Falcons concentrated on offense. That seemed to have worked out pretty nicely for them. This time around, the defense gets some attention. Matthews will be a solid pro.
25. Miami: Percy Harvin – If there is a better fit for Harvin, I’m not sure where it is. He will go to a team that ran the Wildcat last year, but won’t take anyone by surprise this year. No problem. Harvin’s talent will make up for losing the element of surprise.
26. Baltimore: Vontae Davis – Pretty good value here. Davis’ talent is considered to be in the upper half of the first round. There are carachter questions about him, though, which will cause him to drop. No problem – Ray Lewis will keep him walking the straight and narrow.
27. Indianapolis: Hakeem Nicks – The Colts have other needs, but they did lose Marvin Harrison, right? Nicks will help ease the pain of Harrison’s departure.
28. Buffalo: Eben Britton: The Bills use the pick they acquired for Jason Peters to draft his successor.
29. New York Giants: Brian Cushing- The WR need will be filled when (as expected) the Giants trade for Cleveland’s Braylon Edwards. Cushing is a good value pick here.
30. Tennessee: Evander Hood – Remember, Albert Haynesworth left a large hole when he signed with the Redskins. The big guy from Mizzou will be a nice addition here.
31. Arizona: Donald Brown - Last year they drafted Tim Hightower to be Edgerrin James’ partner. Now they need to replace James. Brown should have generated more buzz than he did. Terrific selection for ‘Zona if he is still around.
32. Pittsburgh: Lesean McCoy – Not really a need, but the Steeler fans will be happy to have a former Pitt star on the roster. Willie Parker has dealt with injuries, and the time to look for his heir apparent might be now.