Sunday, 15 February 2009

Updated mock draft - pre-combine

Here's my updated mock draft ahead of the combine this week. Things could change dramatically depending on what occurs in Indianapolis.

1 Detroit Lions - Matt Stafford (QB Georgia)
The Lions need a franchise quarter back to kick start their revival. Stafford has a great arm and massive potential, the only flaw being occasional lapses in his decision making. Fans in Detroit will enjoy watching Stafford link up with Calvin Johnson.

2 St Louis Rams - Eugene Monroe (OT, Virginia)
Reports this week suggest Orlando Pace may be cut or traded. If that happened it would almost certainly suggest the Rams intend to draft a left tackle in the first round.

3 Kansas City Chiefs - Aaron Curry (LB, Wake Forest)
The Chiefs have a new GM and a new head coach. The question still remains - will they want their own guy at QB? Scott Pioli was part of a Patriots front office that excelled in taking quarter backs later on. Curry is a guy they can build their defense around and offer a much needed pass rush.

4 Seattle Seahawks - Michael Crabtree (WR, Texas Tech)
The Seahawks need a play maker on offense and Crabtree can help from day one. He fits the criteria GM Tim Ruskell looks for - showing consistent production (double Biletnikoff winner) and a good character.

5 Cleveland Browns - Everette Brown (DE, Florida State)
Brown is the guy I expect will shoot up draft boards after the combine. He is the best pass rusher in this year's draft and would be a perfect fit for Cleveland's 3-4 defense.
To see the rest of the picks click here.

6 Cincinatti Bengals - Chris 'Beanie' Wells (RB, Ohio State)
The Bengals main priority has to be protection of the quarter back. With Michael Oher, Jason Smith and Andre Smith all on the board an offensive tackle will be a serious consideration. However, they may also spring the draft's first big surprise. Wells is an Ohio native and would not only fill a position of need, but be a local hero for a Bengals team in serious need of a PR boost.

7 Oakland Raiders - Malcolm Jenkins (CB, Ohio State)
Al Davis has consistently taken defensive backs in the first round and he invested millions in DeAngelo Hall in an attempt to get a perfect tandem with Nnamdi Asomugha. That project failed and Davis could look at Jenkins with the seventh pick. Likely to have more success at safety, he could replace soon-to-be-cut Michael Huff.

8 Jacksonville Jaguars - Jason Smith (OT, Baylor)
Smith is creeping up draft boards and could go higher than this. Jacksonville's offensive line was ravaged by injuries in 2008 and needs to get better.

9 Green Bay Packers - B.J. Raji (DT, Boston College)
Green Bay say they are comfortable with their middle linebacker situation shifting to a 3-4 but they do need a big nose tackle. Raji fits the bill but question marks remain over those character red flags.

10 San Francisco 49ers - Andre Smith (OT, Alabama)
Andre Smith will likely play right tackle in the NFL. The 49ers will look to dominate in the running game next year and Smith provides a solid book end for Joe Staley.

11 Buffalo Bills - Michael Oher (OT, Ole Miss)
The Bills have more pressing needs but Oher has dropped out of the top ten and they'll take him for value. Jason Peters held out at the start of last year and was a big disappointment on his return. The Bills take advantage of a deep tackle class to lock up this position with Oher.

12 Denver Broncos - Rey Maualuga (LB, USC)
The Broncos' defense is so bad even with offensive talent like Knowshon Moreno still on the board they have to address their most important need. With a switch to 3-4 on the cards Denver can rebuild their defense with the talented Maualuga at inside linebacker.

13 Washington Redskins - Knowshon Moreno (RB, Georgia)
The Redskins, like the Bills, have more pressing needs but Moreno is too good to pass on with this pick. He can offer solid support in a two back system with Clinton Portis.

14 New Orleans Saints - Vontae Davis (CB, Illinois)
The Saints have a prolific offense and the only thing holding them back is a substandard defense. Secondary help is their biggest need and Davis has the potential to be a shutdown corner.

15 Houston Texans - Brian Orakpo (DE, Texas)
Houston has drafted a linemen in the first round for the last four years. They continue that tradition by taking Brian Orakpo, creating a mouth watering proposition of an Orapko/Mario Williams partnership.

16 San Diego Chargers - Jeremy Maclin (WR, Missouri)
Maclin is an explosive play maker with elite speed. Chris Chambers is in a contract year and will be 31, whilst Vincent Jackson was recently arrested for DUI.

17 New York Jets - Mark Sanchez (QB, USC)
I have Sanchez falling out of the top 10 and if this happens expect a few teams to try and trade up before this pick. If he makes it this far the Jets' trust in Brett Ratliff, Erik Ainge and Kellen Clemens will be tested.

18 Chicago Bears - Michael Johnson (DE, Georgia Tech)
The Bears have needs at QB and WR but perhaps their biggest need is at defensive end. Johnson has the physical talents and could excel in the Bears defense.

19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Josh Freeman (QB, Kansas State)
The Buccs recently cut Jeff Garcia and will be looking for a long term option at quarter back under new head coach Raheem Morris. Freeman is well known by Morris as the pair worked together in K-State during the QB's freshman year.

20 Detroit Lions - James Laurinaitis (LB, Ohio State)
Having got their franchise quarter back with the first overall pick, they pick up their defensive leader in Laurinaitis, who provides great value at this spot.

21 Philadelphia Eagles - Eben Britton (OT, Arizona)
With a premium on offensive tackles don't be surprised if prospects like Eben Britton get taken earlier than this. With two first round picks the Eagles can afford to bank a linemen with their first selection.

22 Minnesota Vikings - D.J. Moore (CB, Vanderbilt)
It's hard to predict what the Vikings will do at quarter back this off season. If they feel they need to use the draft to find the answer they could attempt to trade up for Mark Sanchez or Josh Freeman. Alternatively, they could stay put and improve another area of need - the secondary.

23 New England Patriots - Aaron Maybin (DE, Penn State)
Maybin would be perfect as a DE/LB hybrid in a 3-4 defense. The Pats had great success drafting Jared Mayo to play inside last year and now they could focus on the exterior. Mike Vrabel will be 34 in August.

24 Atlanta Falcons - Brandon Pettigrew (TE, Oklahoma State)
Pettigrew is an old fashioned tight end who can block and catch. The Falcons would like a quality TE to replace Alge Crumpler who was cut this time last year.

25 Miami Dolphins - Alex Mack (C/G, California)
Mack is an under rated interior lineman who could easilly go in the first round. Miami are considering moving Samson Satele to guard, creating an opening for the intelligent Mack to start at centre.

26 Baltimore Ravens - Percy Harvin (WR, Florida)
Questions remain about Harvin's ability to stay healthy and that could hurt his stock, but nobody is worried about his talent. Harvin provides a young target for Joe Flacco and could even take some snaps for the trick plays Cam Cameron likes to use. Linebacker is also an option here as the Ravens will struggle to re-sign all three of Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Bart Scott.

27 Indianapolis Colts - Hakeem Nicks (WR, North Carolina)
It's almost certain Marvin Harrison will be cut, he takes up so much cap room in 2009 and the Colts are struggling for space. Nicks would be an obvious replacement.

28 Philadelphia Eagles - LeSean McCoy (RB, Pittsburgh)
Brian Westbrook is getting on in years and he just didn't look like the Westbrook of old in the playoffs. One way to prolong his effectiveness is to draft a talented runner to feature alongside him.

29 New York Giants - Brian Cushing (LB, USC)
The Giants defense has already lost it's MVP in Steve Spagnuolo so it might get some added attention in the draft.

30 Tennessee Titans - Peria Jerry (DT, Ole Miss) Many pundits expect the Titans to go wide receiver here but they have resisted that temptation before and I think they will again. If Albert Haynesworth leaves in free agency it leaves a big gap at defensive tackle. Even if Haynesworth remains, Jerry presents good value at this spot.

31 Arizona Cardinals - Louis Delmas (S, Western Michigan)
Safety isn't the biggest need but Delmas has really impressed at the Senior Bowl and he's risen to the top ranked safety in this class.

32 Pittsburgh Steelers - Tyson Jackson (DE, LSU)
Jackson is a value pick and can play as a DT or DE. Aaron Smith will soon turn 33 so Jackson could be an eventual replacement.


Anonymous said...

Hello Rob,

When I was reading your mock draft, this idea just crossed my mine. I'm sure people are already talking about it but I haven't seen it. I was wondering if you think that Al Davis really wants Crabtree to complete his Russell-McFadden Combo and he is holding Michael Huff for possible trade bait with us?


Anonymous said...

Raiders have nothing Seattle wants!

Rob Staton said...

Hi Anonymous,

It's an interesting theory, but the Raiders actually cut Michael Huff recently so he is a free agent. Al Davies has shown a tendency to draft defensive backs in the first round which is why I have him taking Jenkins here - and the fact they cut both DeAngelo Hall and Michael Huff has opened up the space for another high draft pick at the position.

They signed Javon Walker to an overly expensive deal last season and he is yet to be cut, so I have to believe that WR may not be a priority for this team. If I was a betting man, I think the Raiders will target Malcolm Jenkins, B.J. Raji or one of the top offensive linemen.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the quick response!
I haven't seen anything on Raiders releasing Michael Huff yet, just rumoured to be. That's one reason I came about that theory. Maybe Raiders might hold off on that cut until after draft day.

As much as I like Crabtree, I agree with you that he's the safest pick of the draft. But if the Raiders are willing to give us Huff, without us courting him in the FA and another pick like 3 or 4th rounder. I think I may be okay with it.

Just wondering where you sit on this (crazy) theory.
Thank you for your hard work!


Rob Staton said...

Hi Henry,

I've done you a disservice sir, you are indeed correct - the Raiders have not yet cut Michael Huff. I think it's inevitable that they eventually will and I would be suprised if any team offers them a deal considering the reports say he'll be cut soon.

In any potential trade you have to weigh up the options for Seattle. In the trade you suggest, you would essentially be missing out on Crabtree, but for doing so getting a safety and a mid round pick to go with Oakland's 7th overall selection. I would make this trade if I wasn't sold on Michael Crabtree's abilities and the guy I wanted was still around at seven.

If you think of Crabtree highly enough, I'm not sure the deal of Huff and a mid round pick would be enough to pursuade me to pull the trigger.