1. Detroit Lions – Matt Stafford, QB, Georgia
It’s looking more and more like Stafford will be the choice here at #1 for the Lions. They drafted Drew Stanton 2 seasons ago, who a lot of people said was 1st round talent, yet they have not yet given him a shot to start. The Lions should possibly look to take Smith here, but we still 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. The Seahawks could go a few different ways with this pick, with Orakpo, Raji, and Crabtree still on the board, but we think the pick will be Monroe.
5. Cleveland Browns – Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
It will be interesting to see where Crabtree ends up going in this draft. He is listed 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. The Browns already lost Stallworth, and may get rid of Edwards, so they need a future beast WR to go with whichever young QB wins the job, probably Quinn.
6. Cincinnati Bengals – Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
Orakpo is a guy you can plug in as the foundation of a defense, and is a flat out physical specimen. The Bengals defense wasn’t too bad last season, and if Orakpo is still on the board here, he can help the Bengals defense immediately get better.
7. Oakland Raiders – 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 Raiders right away, especially since their best current receiver is Johnny Lee Higgins.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars – Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
The Jaguars offensive line last season was among the worst in the league. They did sign OT Tra Thomas, but he is not a long term fix. Andre Smith is as talented as any OT in this draft, and if he gets his head on straight, should be a beast.
9. Green Bay Packers – B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
Raji not only dominated the senior bowl, he also performed very well at the combine, and has established himself as the premiere defensive tackle in the draft. The Packers should go defense here, and Raji will be a good stopper up the middle, similar to Haloti Ngata of the Ravens.
10. San Francisco 49ers – Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
The 49ers really shouldn’t go into next season with Hill or Smith as the starter. With Singletary having his first full offseason to take a look at the team, look for him to take a QB to build around. Some say Sanchez will end up being better than Stafford, and he is too good to pass up for the 49ers, whose options are not any better right now.
11. Buffalo Bills – Everette Brown, DE/LB, Florida State
Brown is a guy who can play both defensive end, or outside linebacker positions, depending on what the Bills need. The Bills need a solid defensive end who can get after the quarterback, and Brown plays a lot in the backfield, on both running and passing plays.
12. Denver Broncos – Aaron Maybin, DE/LB, Penn State
Maybin is a solid prospect out of Penn State, who, like Brown, can project as an outside linebacker or defensive end. Even though Penn State players are usually busts in the NFL, Maybin may be the best pure pass rusher in this draft. If Sanchez is off the board here, look for the Broncos to bolster their defense, and Maybin can do just that.
13. Washington Redskins – Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
The Redskins have addressed a few needs in free agency, and with Michael Oher on the board here, they may take him. Should be able to provide some security and much needed help in the passing game for Jason Campbell.
14. New Orleans Saints – Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
The Saints need help all over their defense, and Jenkins is probably the best secondary player in this draft. Jenkins ran a bad 40 at the combine but his speed on the field still appears to be quick enough. Jenkins could play cornerback or safety in the NFL.
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 could be plugged in at the outside linebacker position next to Ryans.
16. San Diego Chargers – Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
Maualuga is a flat out playmaker. He had an average 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. With the Chargers bringing back both LT and Sproles, they probably won’t go RB, so they may look to sure up their defense, and provide some help to Merriman.
17. New York Jets – Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB, Ohio State
Wells stock has been up and down all offseason, but could end up being the pick for the Jets at this point. The Jets seem to be content with who they have at QB, and Thomas Jones is only signed for 1 more season, and will not be re-signed. Wells is both athletic and can make people miss, or run the ball between the tackles. Should be a solid back for years to come.
18. Denver Broncos – 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 Broncos in the long term after giving up Cutler.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
Moreno, like the other RB’s in this draft has been up and down all offseason, but could end up being a great pick for the Bucs at this pick. The Bucs need another running back to go along with Cadillac and Graham, both of whom are oft-injured.
20. Detroit Lions – William Beatty, OT, UConn
Another one of the good tackles that will be taken in the first round. Beatty is ranked a little lower than the elite tackles like Smith, Monroe, and Oher, but will the Lions taking Stafford #1 overall, they need a future OT to protect him.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
The Eagles need offensive line help, as they have lost both their starting tackles this offseason, and Britton is another one of the offensive lineman who could go in the first round. The Eagles have two first round picks, and will probably move around the draft somehow, but if they are here at this spot, they will take the best OT.
22. Minnesota Vikings – 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 Vikings don’t have much depth at receiver, and Heyward-Bey could provide immediate help to Jackson, or whoever is QB.
23. New England Patriots – Clay Matthews, LB, USC
It is obvious that the Patriots are looking to get younger at the LB position, and with losing Vrabel, we think they will take the best available linebacker to groom into a beast in the Patriots defense. Matthews is shooting up the draft boards, and some say he will go before teammates Maualuga, and Cushing. Matthews has a lot of upside, and could be a steal at this pick.
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 – Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
Bill Parcells loves taking defensive players, and the Dolphins do need secondary help. Davis is the 2nd ranked cornerback in this draft, although he may be the most athletic.
26. Baltimore Ravens – Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
Harvin is another guy who is a flat out playmaker in this draft. Very strong for being a smallish receiver, but is a great combination of speed and strength, who could fit in with the Ravens right away, even if it is only returning kicks.
27. Indianapolis Colts – Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi
The Colts need a solid defensive tackle to plug up the middle, as their run stopping continues to be poor. Jerry is a very good defensive tackle, who can come in and help plug up the middle of the line, which is exactly what they need. They will take him if he is on the board here.
28. Philadelphia Eagles – Donald Brown, RB, UConn
Donald Brown led the nation in rushing yards last season, and has also helped himself the most of any RB this offseason, and is continually climbing up the draft boards. Brown could end up being a great pick for the Eagles at this pick. With Buckhalter gone, and Westbrook hitting the age of 30, the Eagles definitely need a running back, and Brown is both athletic and can make people miss.
29. New York Giants – Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina
The Giants could look elsewhere in this pick, since they are inviting Burress back to their initial minicamps. However, there is no guarantee that Burress will be back with the Giants, and the Giants clearly were not the same without him. Nicks is a receiver who has the same skill set as Burress; he is tall, and can stretch the field. Looks a lot like Larry Fitzgerald when he plays. Is a true #1 receiver, can catch the ball anywhere on the field, and makes catches that most receivers can’t.
30. Tennessee Titans – James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State
Laurinaitis is another one of the solid linebackers in this draft, who could go higher than this pick, but if he is on the board at this pick, the Titans should take him. Laurinaitis can probably play inside or outside, depending on what the team needs. Also, Keith Bulluck isn’t getting any younger.
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. Has better numbers than any of the other RB’s in this draft, and with Edge wanting out, the Cardinals need a RB at this pick.
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.