Alright boys and girls, Scott has already given you his mock draft, but with the draft less than a week a way it’s time for me to give you my rundown of how the first round will shake out on Saturday.
|Team ||1st Round |
|1. Miami Dolphins – Jake Long, OT Michigan |
Well by now we’ve all heard the reports about the Dolphins already signing Long to a 5 year/$57.75 Million contract, and sucking all the mystery out of the draft in the process. But Long will give Bill Parcells a franchise Left Tackle to build around and is a solid pick at Number One.
| ||2. St. Louis Rams – Chris Long, DE Virginia |
So Howie’s son falls in this mock draft, but as you can see he doesn’t fall very far. Long will give the Rams a high-motor (to quote every draft analyst out there) rush end who is atheltic enough to play standing up in a 3-4 scheme as well as a traditional lineman. Paired with last year’s first round pick Adam Carriker and the return of Leonard Little, the Rams could have a scary pass rush next season.
| ||3. Atlanta Falcons – Glenn Dorsey, DT LSU |
Dorsey’s stock has risen steadily since his workout at LSU’s Pro Day and I think he’ll get pulled off the board by Atlanta at #3. The Falcons brought in a defensive coordinator, Mike Smith, from Jacksonville to be their new head coach and he would love to add Dorsey to his interior front.
|4. Oakland Raiders – Darren McFadden, RB Arkansas |
This is an Al Davis pick through and through. If you look at most of the Raiders’ offseason moves, you see a trend of defensive signings. The trade for CB DeAngelo Hall, the resigning of DT Tommy Kelly, and so on. The only other option for the Raiders would be Chris Long, but there’s no way he makes it out of the top 3. Sure the team resigned RB Justin Fargas, but Davis will not let a talent like McFadden slip by him. It will be interesting to see if the potential of Jamarcus (last year’s No. 1) and McFadden can live up to expectations and save Lane Kiffin’s job.
|5. Kansas City Chiefs – Branden Albert, OG Virginia |
The Chiefs are in full on rebuilding mode, and selecting the top Guard in the draft will definitely help RB Larry Johnson, and whoever the QB may be (depending on what week it is). Some may say Boston College QB Matt Ryan is the pick, but that would be a pretty big gamble at number 5. The Chiefs can likely pick up Louisville QB Brian Brohm in the beginning of the second round, who many believe is a better passer than Ryan. We’ll talk about them again at pick #17.
| ||6. New York Jets – Vernon Gholston, DE Ohio State |
This pick does two things: (1) It gives the Jets an added pass rushing threat from day one which they need, and (2) It Pisses the Patriots off because Gholston would be their pick if he was available at number 7. That’s reason alone for Eric Mangini to take Gholston at number 6. Ha!
| ||7. New England Patriots (From 49ers) – Leodis McKelvin, CB Troy |
With Gholston off the board, the Pats will look to fill their need at CB due to the recent departure of Pro Bowler Asante Samuel. McKelvin does that and more by also giving them a potent return threat on kickoffs and punts.
|8. Baltimore Ravens – Matt Ryan, QB Boston College |
All right, here is this year’s reach pick. With Steve McNair’s recent retirement, the fan base and front office are desperate for an answer at QB. Let’s face it, this team has never had that answer, not even when they won the Super Bowl. With the hype machine in full effect, the Ravens pull the trigger on Ryan, who will likely turn out to be the second coming of Tim Couch.
|9. Cincinnati Bengals – Sedrick Ellis, DT USC |
The Bengals need help at every position on the defensive side of the ball, especially on the D-Line and at LB. By picking up Ellis, Cincy will immediately upgrade their run defense which was abysmal last year. With Dorsey already gone off the board, this is a no brainer.
| ||10. New Orleans Saints – Keith Rivers, LB USC |
New Orleans will continue to beef up their defense with Rivers, who wowed scouts at both the combine and his Pro Day with his quickness and athleticism. By adding Rivers to the mix with recent free agent signee Jonathan Vilma, and incumbent LB Scott Fujita, the Saints could potentially have the top group of 4-3 linebackers in the entire league.
|11. Buffalo Bills – Devin Thomas, WR Michigan State |
Alot of people are knocking this kid because he only had one good year, but sometimes that’s all you need to break out. Thomas is a big, physical receiver with the speed to get separation and can go vertical with anyone in the league. The Bills will take him, hoping his one good year was not an aberration and look to add a second deep threat to take the pressure off of their standout WR Lee Evans.
|12. Denver Broncos – Jeff Otah, OT Pittsburgh |
For the sake of franchise QB Jay Cutler’s health, the Broncos pick up a solid Left Tackle in Otah, who can start immediately and protect his blind side. Now it’s still possible that Mike Shannahan will be…….well, Mike Shannahan and pick a RB like Rashard Mendenhall, but with so much riding on Cutler’s arm next season (including Shannahan’s job), the Broncos make the smart pick and strengthen their O-Line with Otah.
| ||13. Carolina Panthers – Derrick Harvey, DE Florida |
Harvey is the perfect fit for Carolina, a beast of a pass rusher who is athletic and versitile enough to play outside LB or DE. His only job will be to terrorize Saints QB Drew Brees twice a year.
|14. Chicago Bears – Ryan Clady, OT Boise State |
The Bears have whiffed the past couple years on their draft picks, especially at the skill positions with QB Rex Grossman and RB Cedric Benson. And while the temptation would be there to take Mendenhall, the Bears go the smart route and strengthen their guys up front by adding Clady. Clady will likely move to Guard and use his speed and lateral quickness to become a solid starter for a team desperate to improve its protection for the circus of quarterbacks they employ.
|15. Detroit Lions – Rashard Mendenhall, RB Illinois |
Kevin Jones is out, and RB Tatum Bell is not the answer for a francise that longs for the days when Barry Sanders used to juke defenders out of their knee sockets in Detroit. Mendenhall is the type of RB that can instantly upgrade the Lions’ running game with his ability to pound it in between the tackles, as well as break the long runs out in the open field with his excellent speed. But who knows, maybe Matt Millen takes another WR. Honestly, at this point, it just wouldn’t surprise me anymore.
| ||16. Arizona Cardinals – Aqib Talib, CB Kansas |
I’ll write this one up in a separate article, but I love this pick. I hope this is what we do because Talib is a defensive playmaking machine!
|17. Kansas City Chiefs – Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB Tennessee State |
Obviously with the Jared Allen trade, there is a little bit of a shake up. With a second additional first round pick, the Chiefs will grab DRC off the board in order to fill two needs with one guy. Ever since the days of return specialist of Dante Hall, the Chiefs have been looking for that special teams game breaker and will get one with Rodgers-Cromartie. Like I said, don’t count out players from small schools, a la Jerry Rice? DRC has unbelievable speed and is a threat to score anytime he gets his hands on the ball.
| ||18. Houston Texans – Chris Williams, OT Vanderbilt |
The Texans finally break away from drafting a Defensive Lineman and pick up Williams, who some have rated as the second best O-Lineman in the draft behind Jake Long. Head Coach Gary Kubiak will look to beef up a meager O-Line with Williams, who will help second year starter Matt Schaub continue to find his favorite target, Andre Johnson, in the passing game.
| ||19. Philadelphia Eagles – Philip Merling, DE Clemson |
With Merling still on the board, the Eagles will look to strengthen a pass rush that had big names (Javon Kearse) but little production. Probably the only traditional DE in the draft aside from Miami’s Calais Campbell, Merling brings an immediate impact with his 6’5″ 270lbs frame. While he may lack the quickness of a Derrick Harvey, he is a bull rusher who plays until the whistle. The Eagles take a page out of the Giants draft book here and look to get young at the DE position.
| ||20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DeSean Jackson, WR California |
This kid could be special. The Bucs have needs on both sides of the ball including CB, but an aging receiving corps needs to be upgraded. Jackson has unbelievable speed and the ability to make plays in space on punts, in the receiving game, everywhere. Although he is small at only 5’9″ and undersized at 178lbs, he plays big and makes big plays. Two things that head coach Jon Gruden likes very much.
|21. Washington Redskins – Mike Jenkins, CB USF |
With Carlos Rodgers having the word “BUST” stamped on his forehead, the Redskins will look to strengthen their secondary by adding Jenkins. He is a physical corner who can play man to man, cover 2, zone, as well as be an effective tackler against the run.
| ||22. Dallas Cowboys (From Browns) – Felix Jones, RB Arkansas |
Jerry Jones won’t be able to get his first choice of Razorback alumni, but he’ll be just as happy to add Felix Jones to his roster. Jones fills the void left by the departure of Julius Jones in the backfield along with bruising RB Marion Barber. The offense shouldn’t miss a beat by adding this guy to the mix.
| ||23. Pittsburgh Steelers – Gosder Cherilus, OL Boston College |
Alright, this might be a bit of a reach on my part, but regardless, the Steelers have a definite void to fill with the loss of Pro Bowl G Alan Faneca to free agency. Cherilus has been flying up the draft board and although he is not the sexy pick, he is the best available pick for the Steelers to fill their pressing need on the O-Line.
| ||24. Tennessee Titans – Limas Sweed, WR Texas |
How could Vince Young not like this pick, a hometown kid coming to play catch with him in Tennessee? VY has got to be praying that the Titans break their streak of drafting defensive players under Jeff Fisher and actually try to give Vince some help by adding a legitimate receiving threat. Sweed is a good blend of size, hands, and quickness that is a definite upgrade over the current crop of Tennessee receivers.
|25. Seattle Seahawks – Dustin Keller, TE Purdue |
The Seahawks have been looking for a legitimate TE for the past couple of seasons and have yet to find one. Marcus Pollard was a flop, as his age has finally caught up to him. So now the Hawks will add Keller, a TE who is more in the mold of Dallas Clarke, in that he can split out or play in the three point stance. The added bonus with Keller is that he is a heck of run blocker too. Good pick for Seattle…..dammit!!
| ||26. Jacksonville Jaguars – James Hardy, WR Indiana |
Now there may be some character issues or motivational issues, to be honest I’m not really sure. What I do know is that this kid is a heck of a receiver; speed, size, agility, the ability to go up and grab the ball at its highest point, Hardy has it. Jacksonville has been looking for a true receiving threat since the days of Jimmy Smith and will pick up Hardy in the hopes he can provide newly minted franchise QB David Garrard with a reliable deep threat.
| ||27. San Diego Chargers – Jonathan Stewart, RB Oregon |
The most talented roster in football is going to get a whole lot more talented. Stewart will fall due to concerns over his toe injury, and San Diego will be ecstatic to plug him right into Michael Turner’s old locker space. Stewart will spell LT throughout the year and work behind one of the best O-Lines in the business. This a dream pick for Stewart as well as the Chargers.
| ||28. Dallas Cowboys – Mario Manningham, WR Michigan |
The need to get younger in a hurry at the WR position. TO is still one of the top 2 receivers in the league, but he along with longtime Cowboy Terry Glenn are in their mid 30s. An infusion of youth will make this explosive offense even better, and Manningham is a great talent that can grow and thrive with QB Tony Romo.
| ||29. San Francisco 49ers (From Colts) – Jerod Mayo, LB Tennessee |
After hitting a homerun with Patrick Willis in last year’s draft, the 49ers will look to give Willis some help at the LB position by drafting Mayo. A run stuffer, Mayo and Willis will give the Niners a 1-2 punch that will look to dominate opposing running games for years to come.
| ||30. Brandon Flowers, CB Virginia Tech |
With most of the top players off the board, the Pack will look for the best available guy to fill their most pressing need. The team has alot of tools in place, especially at the skill positions (other than the Aaron Rodgers question) but will look to add depth to the CB position with this pick as incumbent starters Charles Woodson and Al Harris are getting older. Flowers may not have registered a fast 40-yard dash time, but that doesn’t measure game speed. This kid is a playmaker. I’ve seen him play many times in person and he is the most physical corner in the draft, someone who is ideally suited for a defense that has to face Adrian Peterson twice a season. Flowers will have the chance to learn from two of the best before assuming a starting role and can contribute greatly on special teams in the meantime.
|31. New York Giants – Dan Connor, LB Penn State |
Connor is the obvious choice for the defending Super Bowl Champs, who are razor thin at the LB position with the loss of Kawika Mitchell to free agency. Connor will give the Giants what they expect from a LB coming out of Penn State: a tough, strong playmaker with a nose for the ball.
So there it is boys and girls, the latest and greatest from the mind of a mediocre blogger. Take it for what it’s worth.