Friday, April 24, 2009

Final Mock Draft - Top 40

Round One

1. Detroit: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia - This seems like nothing more than a formality at this point. It's become apparent to everyone that the Lions want Stafford to be the face of their franchise.

2. St. Louis: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor - Even before the departure of Orlando Pace, the Rams had glaring holes along the offensive line. It comes down to Smith and Eugene Monroe in this spot. Rumors out of the Gateway City lead many to believe the Baylor product will be the pick.

3. Kansas City: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia - I've been promoting this idea for months. I really love the prospect of pairing Monroe with last year's first rounder Branden Albert. Matt Cassel feels better even though Tony Gonzalez won't be catching any of his passes this season.

4. Seattle: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC - The hottest prospect in the draft, Sanchez figues to come off the board in this spot although it may not be the Seahwaks making this pick.

5. Cleveland: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College - New head coach Eric Mangini has been a proponent of building his teams through the offensive and defensive lines. Raji enamored himself with many talent evaluators this offseason despite the fact he failed to dominate the college game.

6. Cincinnati: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas - I might be asking too much for the Bengals to pass on players with character issues, but the team needs pass rushers and Orakpo did that better than any other player in this class.

7. Oakland: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech - I know, I know. Al Davis loves speed. But, Crabtree is in a class by himself at the receiver position this year and as the number one overall prospect on my board, he would be a great value pick here. I like the idea of JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden and Crabtree on offense.

8. Jacksonville: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest - By all accounts, Curry is a great player and an even better person. But, over the last 10 years, only two linebackers have gone in the top five (LaVar Arrington, A.J. Hawk) and neither has lived up to the billing. Linebacker is a position that can be filled with productive, solid, if unspectacular players. For those reasons, I think Curry will slip out of the top seven into the laps of the Jaguars.

9. Green Bay: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama - Stories of Smith dropping out of the first round due to his "questionable" offseason behavior turn out to be bogus when teams realize just how talented he is. The Pack can use the youth infusion on the front line.

10. San Francisco: Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi - Oher has been another hot name as the draft approaches and the 49ers can use help up front. Seems like a match to me.

11. Buffalo: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee - With the top four offensive linemen off the board, the Bills address their need for a pass rusher. Ayers, a mid-round prospect at best before the 2008 season, culminates the meteoric rise with a first round selection.

12. Denver: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU - Scouts have dubbed Jackson a perfect fit for the 3-4 defense, and the Broncos will be making the conversion to that defense.

13. Washington: Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State - If the 'Skins resist the urge to trade up for Sanchez, Maybin wouldn't be a terrible option.

14. New Orleans: Brian Cushing, OLB, USC - The Saints only have one Day 1 pick and they will be spending it on a defensive player. Which one? Could be a defensive back (Malcolm Jenkins?). Or it could be the DE/LB hybrid Cushing.

15. Houston: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri - This would be a dream scenario for the Texans as they'd be able to pair Andre Johnson with the speedy Maclin.

16. San Diego: Larry English, LB, N. Illinois - Shawn Merriman Part Deux? The Chargers hope so. This could be a bit high so the Chargers might trade down, but I like this fit a lot.

17. New York Jets: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State - Please don't take Josh Freeman. Please don't take Josh Freeman. Please don't take Josh Freeman. Please don't take Josh Freeman. Pettigrew would be the blocking tight end allowing Dustin Keller to work his magic downfield.

18. Denver: Clay Matthews, OLB, USC - Another guy who has seen a meteoric rise in his stock since August. The Broncos will love his toughness (hat tip Jay Bilas).

19. Tampa Bay: Malcolm Jenkins, CB/S, Ohio State - Ronde Barber isn't getting any younger and Jenkins will be a perfect fit in Raheem Morris' new scheme.

20. Detroit (from Dallas): Eben Britton, OT, Arizona - If you are going to guarantee a quarterback $40m over six years, Priority #1 becomes protecting that asset.

21. Philadelphia: Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State - Can Wells be the Thunder to Brian Westbrook's Lightning? The Eagles hope so.

22. Minnesota: Darrius Herward-Bey, WR, Maryland - Bey's speed is too tempting to pass up at this point. Eventually, the Vikings will stumble upon a go-to receiver, right?

23. New England: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia - A bit of a surprise here but the Patriots have a number of picks and can afford to take a chance on a high upside player like Moreno. If this comes to fruition, you are looking at the early favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

24. Atlanta: Sean Smith, CB, Utah - On Wednesday, I labeled Smith as the most underrated player in the draft. He also happens to be one of my favorites. His blend of size and speed is tantalizing and the Falcons can use help in the secondary.

25. Miami: Percy Harvin, WR, Florida - Another player on my underrated list, Harvin seems to have failed a Combine drug test which won't win him the admiration of Bill Parcells. However, the local product's skill set is perfectly suited for the Dolphins' offense.

26. Baltimore: Rey Maualuga, ILB, USC - Another ReyRey in Baltimore?

27. Indianapolis: Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi - A great value pick here. Perry has top 15 talent and best of all, he fits a need for the Colts.

28. Buffalo (from Philadelphia via Carolina): Alex Mack, C, California - A versatile lineman that will help offset the loss of Jason Peters. He's probably not skilled enough to play OT, but it's a start.

29. New York Giants: Everette Brown, DE, Florida State - Rush the passer. Rush the passer. Rush the passer.

30. Tennessee: Evander Hood, DT, Missouri - A natural replacement for Albert Haynesworth.

31. Arizona: Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois - The Cardinals love speed as much as anyone in the league and Davis would be a nice complement to last year's first rounder Antonio Rodgers-Cromartie.

32: Pittsburgh: Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest - Smith (the fourth of that surname in this round) is a bit undersized but has great ball skills. The defending Super Bowl champs have the luxury of being able to draft talent over need.

Eight More For Good Measure

33. Detroit: James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State - The best player left on the board, Laurinaitis would help solidify a linebacking corps that struggled mightily last year. Then again, the whole team struggled mightily so taking the best player on the board regardless of position makes sense.

34. New England (from Kansas City): Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut

35. St. Louis: Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State - Every year, it seems like a quarterback falls farther than expected. I don't expect Freeman to last this deep in the draft but the teams directly above do not need a quarterback of the future. I'd put a 75% chance on a team trading up for him.

36. Cleveland: Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut

37. Seattle: Louis Delmas, S, W. Michigan

38. Cincinnati: Max Unger, C, Oregon

39. Jacksonville: Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers

40. Oakland: Eric Wood, C, Louisville

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