NFL Mock Draft (4/21/09)

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. The Lions should possibly look to take Jason Smith here if they aren’t sold on Stafford, but we still think Stafford will be the pick.

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. This pick will be between Smith and Monroe.

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 – Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
Some say Sanchez will end up being better than Stafford, and he is probably too good to pass up for the Seahawks, who have a 34 year old, recently injury prone Matt Hasselbeck at QB. Sanchez could be the backup for a year or two and then jump in as starter. Seahawks could also go Eugene Monroe here.

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 – 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 Bengals could go a few different ways with this pick, with Orakpo, Raji, and Maclin still on the board, but we think the pick will be Monroe.

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 – Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
The 49ers really shouldn’t go into next season with Hill or Smith as the starter, but because we have Stafford and Sanchez off the board, the 49ers should pick defense. Orakpo is a guy you can plug in as the foundation of a defense, and is a flat out physical specimen.

11. Buffalo Bills – Aaron Maybin, DE/LB, Penn State
Maybin 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 even though Penn State players are usually busts in the pros, Maybin is the best pure rusher in this draft, besides maybe Orakpo.

12. Denver Broncos – Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
The Broncos also wouldn’t mind taking a QB in this draft, but again with Sanchez and Stafford off the board, the Broncos will look to defense on this pick. Jackson is very high on the Broncos radar, and will immediately fill a need for the Broncos, who are bringing in a lot of new faces this offseason.

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 – Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB, Ohio State
Wells stock has been up and down all offseason, but could end up being the pick for the Saints at this point. The Saints would love the running back tandem of Bush and Wells, viewing it much like the Bush-McAllister combination. Saints could also go defense with this pick, and take Jenkins.

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 – 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 Jets don’t have much depth at receiver, and Heyward-Bey could provide immediate help to Clemens, or whoever is QB. Speaking of QB, the Jets could take Freeman at this position.

18. Denver Broncos – Everette Brown, DE/LB, Florida State
Brown is a guy who can play both defensive end, or outside linebacker positions, depending on what the Broncos need with this pick. We have the Broncos really solidifying their defense here, by taking Jackson early, and Brown at this spot. They could take Freeman at this point.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 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 Bucs in the long term, as they have no proven starting QB on their roster right now. Rookie head coach Raheem Brock is a huge Freeman fan as well.

20. Detroit Lions – Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
Another one of the good tackles that will be taken in the first round. Britton 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 – Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
If Moreno is on the board here, the Eagles should and probably will take him if they stay at this spot. Moreno is the highest RB on the Eagles board, and would fill a need the team currently has. Buckhalter is gone, and Westbrook is getting older, and Moreno would eventually take over for Westbrook.

22. Minnesota Vikings – Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina
The Vikings don’t have much depth at receiver, and Nicks could provide immediate help to Jackson, or whoever is at QB this season. Nicks is a big receiver, who can stretch the field, go over the middle, and has great hands.

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. Buffalo Bills – William Beatty, OT, UConn
With the Bills giving up Jason Peters to the Eagles for this pick, look for them to take the best offensive tackle on the board here. We have the Bills addressing defense with their 1st pick, so look for them to draft a good OT with this pick.

29. New York Giants – Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
The Giants clearly were not the same without Burress last season, and Eli Manning needs a weapon at wide receiver. Britt is a receiver who has the same skill set as Burress; he is tall, and can stretch the field. Britt is a local guy, who could step right in and see some time. This pick could change if the Giants end up making a deal for Braylon Edwards.

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 – Max Unger, C, California
The Steelers may get a steal here in Unger. There are a lot of other good offensive lineman going in the first round, most are huge tackles, so Unger can get overshadowed. The Steelers need offensive line help, and Unger can provide it. They could also select Alex Mack here.

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