Sunday, March 29, 2009

2009 NFL Mock Draft 2.0

"I'm the fear addicted, danger illustrated."

So the combine and the free agency period has come and gone, and instead of studying for my upcoming teaching licensing exam, I'm going to spend a few moments by updating my mock draft. Again, I have no idea how many of these I will do, but here comes the second installment:

1. Detroit- Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit: Okay, now I'm convinced about this one. Detroit is sitting there with the 20th pick, which they could easily turn into Jay Cutler at this point, and yet they are standing pat, which basically is telling me that they're sold on Stafford to take him #1.

2. St. Louis- Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia: This one now has me a little perplexed in the fact that the Rams are obviously going to draft a tackle...but which one? Personally, I have Jason Smith higher than Monroe right now, and yet the whispers around are saying that the Rams are favoring Monroe right now. They absolutely are drafting a tackle though after the release of Orlando Pace

3. Kansas City- Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest: This now becomes the easiest pick to predict...even easier than the Stafford pick. Curry is exactly what the Chiefs need, and while they are still needing to address Jared Allen's absence two years later, Curry is the #1 player in this draft, and as I've said before, a linebacker with a top-10 grade rarely misses.

4. Seattle- Jason Smith, OT, Baylor: This pick has changed for me over and over again. They needed a receiver, but then they got Houshmandzadeh. Then I'm thinking D-Tackle, but they trade for Cory Redding, so that's out. They very well could go receiver here, but I think if one of the two tackles (Monroe or this case, Smith) falls to them at four, they cannot afford to pass on them. Walter Jones is 35, and they are going to need help at that position sooner rather than later.

5. Cleveland- Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas: I originally slated Malcolm Jenkins because it made a ton of sense...he's a corner, which they need, and he's a Buckeye, which works in Cleveland. The problem is that this draft will be run by Mangini and Co., which means that corner will probably not be something they think about at #5. Instead, they are probably going to try the Mario Williams route and try to get the franchise end. I'm huge on Orakpo, but I'm going to closely monitor this one because right now, there really hasn't been much of a read on this one.

6. Cincinnati- Andre Smith, OT, Alabama: Again, the concept of a team full of bad characters accepting yet another bad character into the group makes a bunch of sense. Can someone please explain why Smith ran shirtless at his pro day? He was wildly out of shape, so why showcase the man-boobs? This guy is probably the scariest pick on the board.

7. Oakland- Everette Brown, DE/OLB, Florida State: Instead of taking a chance on a guy like Crabtree or B.J. Raji, the Raiders, or more or less Al Davis, will be going for the best athlete on the board. Brown can play two positions, and is a total workhorse. All things considered, this is still a good value pick for Oakland.

8. Jacksonville- Mark Sanchez, QB, Southern Cal: I didn't think it would come to this for the Jags, but despite the fact that Jacksonville has David Garrard in place, I think they secretly are looking for a reason to unload him, especially after last year's debaucle. What a difference the '08 season made. Going into last year, they thought they had their franchise QB in Garrard, and now it seems like they can't wait to get rid of him. This works also in the fact that Sanchez will likely be able to take a year to be under Garrard's tutilledge, for whatever that's worth. It is proven that a rookie QB is much better in the short-term sitting out the first year and learning the system than to jump right in from Day 1 (Matt Ryan being an obvious exception).

9. Green Bay- B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College: I think the basic sentiments about Raji are that he is as good of a "sure-fire" pick as you're going to get in the draft. Athletically gifted, great football IQ, Raji is the total package. Green Bay will be shifting to the 3-4 next year (which has already been viewed with some skepticism), and from watching the kind of impact Vince Wilfork has on the defense, it's easy to understand how critical it is to have a competent tackle in a 3-4.

10. San Francisco- Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech: This team needs help at a bunch of different spots, but what's interesting to me is that no one has mentioned the Niners going after a receiver with this pick. At last check, their receivers are Josh Morgan, Isaac Bruce, Arnaz Battle, Bryant Johnson, and Jason Hill...not exactly a "who's who" for that position. The Niners clearly are not comfortable with their quarterback after their recent pursuit of Kurt Warner, but if Stafford and Sanchez are both gone, there isn't a QB outside of those two who is deserving of a top-10 pick.

11. Buffalo Bills- Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech: It appears like the Bills will be looking for some help on their D-Line, which means that they may reach here for Johnson, whose combine performance likely helped him get from the bottom of the first round to near top1-0 status.

12. Denver Broncos- Brian Cushing, LB, Southern Cal: So the Broncos have sure made a ton of noise for all the wrong reasons since the last mock draft. Despite their QB issues, look for the Broncos to address their linebacker shortage with this pick. Basically, it's like "pick your favorite Southern Cal linebacker here."

13. Washington- Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss: I think the 'Skins biggest problem isn't the effectiveness of Jason Campbell (it's a problem, but not the biggest), but keeping Clinton Portis healthy. The 'Skins need of Portis in the game is almost as crucial as the Colts needing of Peyton Manning to run the offense...that's how vital Portis is in the gran scheme of things. With that being said, going O-Line here would be a sound move in re-building a line that was shaky at times last year (mostly due to injuries).

14. New Orleans- Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State: This would be a pretty good get for the Saints to snag Jenkins outside the top 10. They have some concerns at linebacker, but right now, I think they go with Jenkins because of the value they are getting here.

15. Houston- Rey Maualuga, LB, Southern Cal: The Texans have done a nice job of refurbishing their defense through the draft, and I feel like they will continue to do so in this draft and with this pick.

16. San Diego- Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU: For right now, I'm going to just assume that the Chargers are going to wait to work on their running back situation and instead focus on something that is more pressing in the current situation. The Chargers had an incredibly tough time putting pressure on the QB after Merriman went out for the year.

17. New York Jets- Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri: It's amazing what the effect of Crabtree slipping to pick #10 has on Maclin, the consensus second-best receiver in the draft. The Jets are definitely going to be in the market for a receiver after watching Laveranues Coles head off to Cincy.

18. Chicago- Darius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland: Another workout warrior here in Bey, who ran the fastest 40 time at the combine. He has slipped in front of Hakeem Nicks for the #3 WR, which in my opinion is a mistake, but in any case, the Bears have to go receiver here...Devin Hester is the #2 receiver on this team...that's not something to gloat about.

19. Tampa Bay- Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State: I'm basically going to go with my fellow draftniks on this pick because they all have Freeman going to the Bucs. Of course the whole Jay Cutler situation has yet to be resolved, and Tampa is obviously going to be a major player if Cutler is made available...again...but if they can't get him, it looks like they will try and make Freeman a franchise QB, which he very well could do, but I think we don't know enough about him right now to annoint him a "franchise" QB.

20. Detroit- Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois: I think that trying to figure out what the Lions are going to do is the hardest task of this entire draft...what do you get for the team that needs everything? A lot of people are in line with my thinking in that the Lions will just be trying to get the best player available, because if they do that, a.) they really can't miss, and b.) one way or another, they are going to be filling a need. I will be absolutely stunned if the Lions cannot put together a top-3 draft class given the picks that they have.

21. Philadelphia- Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State: Of course when you do these mock drafts, you try to think like how each of these teams' GMs think. If I'm Philly, I have to spring for Pettigrew right now. As history has shown us, these bottom ten picks in the first round are very much up for grabs. So, this makes sense because he's the best TE available, the Eagles desperately need a TE, they have to be wary of other teams trying to trade up to get him, and I think the biggest reason this makes sense is that drafting Pettigre at #21 is not a reach, and you're getting good value for the pick.

22. Minnesota- Eben Britton, OT, Arizona: The Vikings lost Matt Birk to the Titans, which leaves a rather huge hole in their O-Line. However, there isn't an interior O-Lineman that is worthy of going right here. I think they take Britton to sure up the right side of the line. Remember, they are starting the year with Sage Rosenfels behind center (whoever that center may be), so any help they can get on that line will be needed.

23. New England- Aaron Maybin, DE/LB, Penn State: This is one of those times where I'm betting with my head over my heart on this one. Obviously, my heart is screaming for James Laurinaitis, much like it did for Paul Poslunsky in a similar spot two years ago. I just Laurinaitis fits the mold better than anyone that the Pats could take. Optimally though, they are looking for an OLB, and Laurinaitis is an ILB, so I'll slot Maybin here.

24. Atlanta- Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss: I'm sticking with Jerry here because the Falcons were so bad against the run last year that they absolutely need to improve up front.

25. Miami- Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forst: I was pencilling in a linebacker here, but it appears like the Dolphins may be heading in a different direction than I initially thought, suring up their defensive backfield instead and going with Smith, who heads up the second tier of DBs in the draft.

26. Baltimore- Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina: Nicks is a big, physical specimen who is likely to yield big dividends to whoever takes him. Baltimore is ideal because they simply don't have that big target for Flacco.

27. Indianapolis- Percy Harvin, WR, Florida: It's a long shot that Harvin stays on the board for this long, but if he does, doesn't Harvin fit in Indy really well? He's a good system receiver, and he'll be going into a system that operates much like Florida's did (basically the "you can't stop them, just hope to maintain them" philosophy).

28. Philadelphia- Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State: It definitely took a long time for the first running back to come off the board, which makes me think that I may be doing some adjusting here (well, I was going to do some adjustments anyway, but this is another reason for it).

29. New York Giants- James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State: The Giants have drafted exceptionally well on defense recently, so don't be surprised if they add on another defensive stud here.

30. Tennessee- Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers: Britt has officially broken through into garnering a first-round grade after his impressive workouts, and again, as was evident in the playoffs last year, the Titans desperately need a possession receiver other than Justin Gage.

31. Arizona- Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia: This is really low for Moreno, who I had going #16 in my first mock draft. However, if Moreno is not careful, he may slip out of the first round altogether with LeSean McCoy and Donald Brown nipping at his heels.

32. Pittsburgh- William Beatty, OT, Connecticut: Beatty is another example of a player helping themselves out with the combine and their pro days. Beatty now has a high second-round grade, and given the Steelers' needs, likely bumps him into the end of the first.

Again, and I know this gets repetitive, but there will be more of these to come, so stay tuned for that. Have a good week everyone. Peace.


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