Since the turn of the century, only once has a defensive player not featured in the top five picks of an NFL draft. Could 2009's draft class provide a second occassion where this has happened?
In nine drafts since the year 2000, a defensive prospect has been selected with the fourth overall pick four separate times. Justin Smith (2001), Dewayne Robertson (2003), Sean Taylor (2004) and Gaines Adams (2007) have all been taken in the same position Seattle select from this year. But whilst most pundits contemplate who goes first overall between Stafford and Bradford, whether Michael Crabtree is a justified top five pick or how good this class of left tackles will be - not much attention is being focused on the defensive side of the ball. For further analysis and news on Everette brown declaring, click here.
Underclassmen declaring such as Everette Brown yesterday help the cause. The Florida State prospect is your stereotypical defensive end/linebacker hybrid and is expected to go in the top 20 picks in 2009. ESPN's Mel Kiper has linebacker Aaron Curry top of his senior big board, whilst fellow ESPN columnist Todd McShay has Curry going to the 'Hawks in his top five mock. Other prospects who are highly rated? Defensive end Brian Orakpo (Texas), corner back Malcolm Jenkins (Ohio State), safety Taylor Mays (USC) and linebacker Rey Maualuga (USC). But none are expected to gate crash the first few pick in what could be an exclusively offense dominated top five.
These mock drafts (here, here and here) all have offensive prospects going in the top five picks. If this were to be case on day one of the draft, the middle of the first round could present great value on the defensive side of the ball. Good news for teams like Denver - in drastic need of some defensive additions.
Seattle could do with improving the safety position and defensive line. Linebacker becomes a need if Leroy Hill leaves in free agency. The Seahawks are unlikely to spend highly on the defensive line due to the constant rotation it uses at defensive tackle and the fact Tim Ruskell has drafted or signed the current four defensive ends on the roster. Despite health concerns Patrick Kerney is expected to return as a starter.