The NFL draft is quickly approaching us and the Detroit Lions are on the clock with the first overall pick. NFL fans all want to know what players their team may draft this year. Below is my complete first round mock draft:
Round 1 of the NFL draft:
1. Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford, QB Georgia- The Lions have plenty of holes on their roster, but it all begins with the quarterback and after all the Lions still need someone to throw the ball to Calvin Johnson.
2. St. Louis Rams: Jason Smith, OL Baylor- The Rams are another team with multiple needs, however with the departure of tackle Orlando Pace this off season, Smith could immediately fill that big void.
3. Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Curry, LB Wake Forest- KC no longer needs to address the quarterback position after trading for Matt Cassell, therefore Curry seems like a no brainer at pick three.
4. Seattle Seahawks: Eugene Monroe, OL Virginia- The Seahawks could look at Crabtree here, but after signing T.J. Houshmanzadeh over the winter I don’t think they’re going to pay that much money to one position. I suspect that new head coach Jim Mora Jr. will play it safe in his first year and take the solid offensive lineman.
5. Cleveland Browns: Michael Crabtree, WR Texas Tech- Rumors have had Braylon Edwards on the trading block, but they have denied everything. If the Browns don’t trade Edwards, they could have one of the best young WR duo’s in the league for whomever they decide will be playing quarterback for them next season.
6. Cincinnati Bengals: Andre Smith, OL Alabama- While other teams are running from Smith, the Bengals may be just the team to draft the player with the checkered past. Smith was once considered a top 3 pick, but bad workouts and off field issues have caused him to slip.
7. Oakland Raiders: Brian Orakpo, DE/LB Texas- You never know what Al Davis will do, but he does like extremely athletic players. Last season the Raiders nearly drafted Vernon Gholston, this year Davis might get that “hybrid” player he wants. If Crabtree is available, he goes to Oakland.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Everette Brown, DE Florida State- The Jags could add a pass rusher here just as they did last year when they drafted Derrick Harvey at the same spot. Brown would give the Jags another defensive end to pressure the quarterback, especially when that quarterback is Peyton Manning twice a season.
9. Green Bay Packers: B.J. Raji, DT Boston College- Raji is a monster in the middle and the Packers would love to have him. Recent allegations of drug use may hurt Raji come draft day, but I don’t see him falling out of the top ten.
10. San Francisco 49ers: Mark Sanchez, QB Southern California- I like Sanchez better than Stafford and I’m sure the 49ers may too. The last time the 49ers drafted a quarterback in the first round it crushed them (Alex Smith), so they may be cautious about doing it again, but Sanchez has serious upside potential.
11. Buffalo Bills: Brandon Pettigrew, TE Oklahoma State- The Bills already have a solid running back combo, a good young quarterback, and an improving wide receiver group that recently added Terrell Owens. Pettigrew would be the missing piece to the offense and be valuable as a big target for Trent Edwards and additional blocking help to the offensive line.
12. Denver Broncos: Aaron Maybin, DE Penn State- I’m sure the Broncos are hoping that Sanchez falls to them, but realistically they should be looking at a defensive end that can pressure the quarterback and help Champ Bailey get interceptions. Maybin reminds me of Jason Taylor and that would be great for the Broncos. Defense has been a long time concern in Denver.
13. Washington Redskins: Robert Ayers, DE Tennessee- After the ‘skins signed Albert Haynesworth in the off season, the team has since cut Jason Taylor and could use a defensive end to get after the quarterback. Ayers stock has risen after a stellar Senior Bowl weekend and could become very effective for the Redskins defense.
14. New Orleans Saints: Malcolm Jenkins, CB Ohio State- The Saints already have a top offense and must get better defensively if they want to make the playoffs this season. Jenkins can play either corner back or safety and would add a physical presence to the Saints secondary.
15. Houston Texans: Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB Ohio State- The Texans seemed to have it the jackpot with Steve Slaton last year, but drafting Wells would give them two very different running backs with loads of potential. Add Wells to a team that already has Slaton, stud wide out Andre Johnson, and pass rusher Mario Williams and you may just have something fun to watch in Texas.
16. San Diego Chargers: Rey Maualuga, LB Southern California- In 1990 the Chargers drafted another USC line backer that wore #55 with the fifth overall pick in the draft by the name of Junior Seau. There’s no way that the Charges can’t be thrilled about adding Maualuga to a team that already has Shawne Merriman.
17. New York Jets: Jeremy Macklin, WR Missouri- Laveranues Coles left the Jets and is now a Bengal leaving the Jets in need of wide receiver. The Jets still need a quarterback, but I don’t think they gamble on one with this pick. Macklin is the most similar player to Coles in the draft and could be too hard to pass on.
18. Denver Broncos: Vonate Davis, CB Illinois- This is where the Broncos can make the most out of the Cutler trade. Davis could learn a lot from Champ Bailey and newly acquired Brian Dawkins. If the Broncos got Maybin and Davis in the first round I think Denver fans may accept the loss of Cutler.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Michael Oher, OL Mississippi- People have heard about this kid for years ever since he was written about in The Blind Side, a book about offensive tackles. The Bucs also need a quarterback, but Oher could be the first step in rebuilding the offense.
20. Detroit Lions: William Beatty, OL UCONN- Add a big strong tackle to protect Stafford and the Lions may just be able to win a game next season. You can guarantee that if the Lions draft Stafford number one, than they will draft an offensive linemen with this pick.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Knoshown Moreno, RB Georgia- If Moreno lasts this long than the Eagles surely will draft him. Westbrook is aging, Buckhalter is gone, and the Eagles need another running back. What the Eagles need is a bigger running back to pair with Westbrook, but if Moreno is available at this pick they’ll be rushing to the podium to get him.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Darius Heyward-Bey, WR Maryland- Is Sage Rosenfelds the answer to the Vikings quarterback woes? I’m not sold, but add a receiver like DHB and it can’t hurt. The opposition would have nightmares about trying to stop Adrian Peterson without giving up big plays to Bernard Berrian and DHB.
23. New England Patriots: Clay Matthews, LB Southern California- The Pats need to improve their line backers again this year and Matthews fits the New England mold. Growing up in an NFL family should have Matthews prepared to make an impact from day one for the Patriots.
24. Atlanta Falcons: Tyson Jackson, DE Louisiana State- The Falcons hit the lottery last season with Matt Ryan and can build upon that success with Jackson here. Adding Jackson to the Falcons pass rush should help the Falcons from having to score on every possession.
25. Miami Dolphins: Darius Butler, CB UCONN- You know that Parcells is very particular about the players he drafts and usually he’s a pretty good eye for talent. Butler can be the start to rebuilding the Dolphins secondary, similarly to how Jake Long was the building block on offense.
26. Baltimore Ravens: James Laurinaitis, LB Ohio State- “Old Faithful” Laurinaitis would be the perfect heir apparent to Ray Lewis for the Ravens. Laurinaitis is a steal for the Ravens this late in the first round and will be too good for the Ravens to pass up especially with a handful of wide receivers still left on the board. Drafting players like Laurinaitis this late in the first round is exactly why Ozzie Newsome has the reputation he does.
27. Indianapolis Colts: Peria Jerry, DT Mississippi- The Colts could really use a run stopping plug in the middle of their defense. Adding Jerry would really help players like Freeney and Sanders stay unblocked longer and allow themselves to be in better position to make plays.
28. Philadelphia Eagles: Eben Britton, OL Arizona- The Eagles need to get younger on their offensive line and Britton will be the best lineman left for the Eagles to draft. Add a versatile lineman like Britton and a stud running back like Moreno in the draft and even Donovan McNabb might be happy.
29. New York Giants: Kenny Britt, WR Rutgers- Since the Giants just released Plaxico Burress they are definitely looking for his replacement with this pick. Britt is big and strong and my leading candidate as the best receiver prospect in the draft that will become a star. The comparisons to Burress are already getting New Yorkers excited about the local guy.
30. Tennessee Titans: Percy Harvin, WR Florida- Can Harvin be effective in the NFL? We’ll have to wait and see, but if Harvin is available for the Titans they snatch him up. The Titans have totally neglected the wide receiver position recently and this is when they finally add a playmaker.
31. Arizona Cardinals: Brian Cushing, LB Southern California- I’m sure that the Cards are hoping that Moreno falls to them, but that’s not happening. If Cushing is available this late, the Cardinals would love to add a strong, hard hitting line backer to a team that made the Super Bowl last season.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Larry English, DE/LB Northern Illinois- The Steelers could use some help in the interior of their offensive line, but every time I see English he looks like a Steeler. The Steelers love those fast, powerful linebackers that can pressure the quarterback and always seem to have plenty of them each year. The Steelers take a leap of faith with English and add that offensive lineman later on.