1. Detroit Lions – Matt Stafford, QB, Georgia
We might not agree with this pick, but we do believe that Stafford will be the choice here at #1 for the Lions. They drafted Drew Stanton last season, who a lot of people said was 1st round talent, yet they have not yet given him a shot to start. The Lions probably should look defense of O-Line here, but we think the pick is Stafford.
2. St. Louis Rams – Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
Classic left tackle who is arguably the top offensive lineman in a draft full of them. The Rams clearly need someone to protect the QB’s backside to replace Orlando Pace. Very athletic for his size.
3. Kansas City Chiefs – Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
Clearly the best linebacker in this draft, and maybe the safest pick in the entire draft. All signs point to Curry being a future pro-bowler. Since the Chiefs acquired Matt Cassell to address their QB situation, they would be silly to pass on Curry at this point if he is there.
4. Seattle Seahawks – Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
Some people consider Monroe the best offensive lineman in the draft over Jason Smith. Monroe is a classic tackle, perfect size, and the Seahawks should go offensive lineman, since they just signed Houshmandzadeh at wide receiver.
5. Cleveland Browns – B. J. Raji, DT, Boston College
Raji not only dominated the senior bowl, he also performed very well at the combine. Raji has established himself as the best defensive tackle in the draft. The Browns can’t stop anybody, and Raji will be a good stopper up the middle, similar to Haloti Ngata of the Ravens.
6. Cincinnati Bengals – Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
The Bengals need so much help in many areas, its tough to narrow it down. Orakpo is a guy you can plug in as the foundation of a defense. The Bengals defense obviously needs to get better in the same division as the Steelers and Ravens, and Orakpo would be a good place to start.
7. Oakland Raiders – Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
Crabtree is falling in the eyes of some due to his upcoming surgery, and not being able to participate in the combine. He also measured in at 6’1” instead of the 6’3” he was listed as at Texas Tech. Still a beast, who is the best receiver among a group of deep receivers in this draft class, and you know Al Davis would love him to be here when they make this pick.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
Maclin may be the ultimate “playmaker” of the draft. Maclin has speed, can run routes, catch the ball, and can return punts. Definitely the 2nd best receiver in this draft behind Crabtree, and could fit in for the Jaguars right away.
9. Green Bay Packers – Everette Brown, DE/LB, Florida State
Brown is a guy who can play both defensive end, or outside linebacker positions, depending on what the Packers need. The Packers need a solid defensive end, and Brown plays a lot in the backfield, on both running and passing plays.
10. San Francisco 49ers – Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
The 49ers missed out on getting Kurt Warner this offseason, and clearly need a quarterback, and Sanchez could be the guy. Sanchez could turn out to be a very good QB, but may take some time to break in to the starting lineup.
11. Buffalo Bills – Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
The Bills need help in the secondary, and Jenkins is probably the best secondary player in this draft. Jenkins had a bad combine, so some are projecting him as a safety. Probably will be able to be effective at safety or cornerback.
12. Denver Broncos – Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
The Broncos have been locking up everyone in free agency, including two former Eagles in Buckhalter and Dawkins. Maualuga is a playmaker. He had a bad combine, but if you watch tape of this guy, he stands out. He can get to the edges, and cover a tight end or running back. The Broncos need defensive help badly, and Maualuga should provide it for the long term.
13. Washington Redskins – Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
The Redskins have addressed a few needs in free agency, and with Andre Smith on the board here, they may take him. Smith was once considered a top 5 pick, and could be a steal here for the Redskins.
14. New Orleans Saints – James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State
The Saints obviously need help on defense, and Laurinaitis could be a very good inside linebacker for years to come. Similar to fellow linebacker, Maualuga, Laurinaitis stands out when you watch him play.
15. Houston Texans – Brian Cushing, LB, USC
Cushing is shooting up the draft boards, and some say he will go before teammate Rey Maualuga. Cushing has a lot of upside, and would go nicely playing next to DeMeco Ryans.
16. San Diego Chargers – Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
Lots of talk about the Chargers not being able to retain LT may lead to them taking a back here. It may be a mistake, especially since you don’t need a back if LT is retained, and Sproles is already back. Moreno may or may not be the best back in the draft, he did not have a great combine.
17. New York Jets – Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State
One of the most intriguing guys in the draft is Freeman. At the combine, Freeman was shaky, but showed a tremendous upside. Could be a huge bust, but may be worth it for the Jets who will be hurt without having Favre at QB.
18. Chicago Bears – Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
Another one of the good tackles that will be taken in the first round. Oher could go higher or lower, depending on how teams rank the tackles that are available. The Bears could go a few ways with this pick, but we think they will go with Oher here.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi
The Buccaneers defense collapsed at the end of last season, and they couldn’t stop the run to save their life. Jerry is the 2nd ranked defensive tackle this season, and could make an immediate impact on the Bucs, since they cut the rest of their roster.
20. Detroit Lions – William Beatty, OT, Connecticut
The Lions need a lot, one being offensive line help. If they take Stafford 1st, they will have a young QB, and they already have a young RB in Kevin Smith. Beatty will help protect these young guys.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
The Eagles haven’t done much this season, but it seems clear that both offensive tackles will not be with the team next season. The Eagles signed Stacy Andrews, but still need another tackle in this draft. Britton could be a steal at this pick.
22. Minnesota Vikings – Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
The Vikings use this pick on the secondary in an attempt to make their passing defense as good as their rushing defense. Davis is the 2nd ranked cornerback in this draft, although he may be the most athletic. Davis is a flat out playmaker.
23. New England Patriots – Aaron Maybin, DE/LB, Penn State
Maybin could be a steal this late in the draft, some people say he is a mid 1st rounder, others say he is a 2nd rounder. He didn’t do much to help himself at the combine, but he could be exactly what the Patriots need at defensive end, or outside linebacker.
24. Atlanta Falcons – Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
Great blocker, but doesn’t have much speed. Can still catch what is thrown his way, and should be effective. The Falcons should be surrounding Matt Ryan with talent, to maximize his talent. They have Turner, and White already. Pettigrew should be able to help out a lot with the passing and running game.
25. Miami Dolphins – Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
The Dolphins have a need on the defensive line, they do not have much depth here, and they have not yet been able to replace the production of Jason Taylor. Jackson is one of the best defensive end’s in this draft.
26. Baltimore Ravens – Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
Harvin had a great career in college, and looks like he could be a good playmaker at the next level. The Ravens just lost their punt returner (Leonhard), and Harvin could fit in there right away, and work his way into the starting lineup at wide receiver, giving Flacco another weapon to grow with.
27. Indianapolis Colts – Evander “Ziggy” Hood, DT, Missouri
The Colts defense was not very good last season, most notably trying to stop the run. Hood is a very good defensive tackle, who can come in and help plug up the middle of the line.
28. Philadelphia Eagles – Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB, Ohio State
The Eagles lost their backup running back, Correll Buckhalter this offseason, and unfortunately, Brian Westbrook is not getting any younger. Wells can pound the ball inside, and can also handle a lot of carries. If Wells reaches his potential, he could take over for Westbrook when he can no longer carry the load.
29. New York Giants – Darius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
May have done the most to help himself at the combine than anybody else. Ran the fastest 40 at the combine, and with his decent size, locked himself into being a first round pick. The Giants are unsure of what will happen to Plaxico Burress, and Heyward-Bey could provide help to the rest of that offense.
30. Tennessee Titans – Sen’Derrick Marks, DT, Auburn
The Titans need a solid defensive tackle to replace the loss of Haynesworth. Marks can come in and fill that large void left, and minimize the loss of Haynesworth.
31. Arizona Cardinals – LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh
McCoy is a beast, and may be the most complete running back of this draft. McCoy is considered a small back at 5’11”, but weighs 210, and can run the ball up the middle if he needs to. Finds the hole quickly, and can make defenders look foolish with his cutting ability. Should be a solid back for years to come, and the Cardinals should not let him get past them, with Edge wanting out.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers – Alex Mack, C, California
The Steelers may get a steal here in Mack. There are a lot of other good offensive lineman going in the first round, most are huge tackles, so Mack can get overshadowed. The Steelers need offensive line help, and Mack can provide it.
NFL Mock Draft (3/09/09)
1. Detroit Lions – Matt Stafford, QB, Georgia