Thursday, 12 March 2009

Updated mock draft... 3/12

Time for an updated mock draft and there are significant changes to my last prediction. Andre Smith's disastrous preparations for the draft have dropped him down the board, which is good news for Michael Oher. Jason Smith seems a lock to go 2nd overall after St Louis released Orlando Pace. So who will Seattle take with Smith off the board?

1 Detroit Lions - Matt Stafford (QB, Georgia)
This pick has to be Matt Stafford. The Lions need a franchise quarter back to kick start the new era under Jim Schwartz and post Matt Millen. Stafford-to-Calvin Johnson should be something fans in Detroit get used to hearing. Having the 20th overall pick gives the Lions flexibility. They won't find a franchise QB with the later pick, but they are well positioned to move up if required to get a dominant offensive linemen or defensive prospect.

2 St Louis Rams - Jason Smith (OT, Baylor)
Releasing Orlando Pace almost certainly means the Rams will take an offensive tackle here. Eugene Monroe is the most ready to start, but Jason Smith has the bigger upside. He's separated himself from the rest of the offensive line class with a dominant combine performance and is a shoe in to go in the top four picks.

3 Kansas City Chiefs - Aaron Curry (LB, Wake Forest)
It would make sense for Kansas City to take Michael Crabtree here in order to give Matt Cassel another potent weapon as he adapts to new surroundings. However, all the reports and rumors have Curry going third overall. He would play inside linebacker in KC's new 3-4 defense, offering leadership and a Patrick Willis-esque impact as a rookie.

4 Seattle Seahawks - Michael Crabtree (WR, Texas Tech)
Tim Ruskell has done a good job in free agency by signing Leroy Hill, Ray Willis, Colin Cole and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. It puts the Seahawks in position to take the best player available, which is undoubtedly Crabtree at this juncture. Eugene Monroe is a poor fit in the zone blocking scheme Seattle wish to use, whilst B.J. Raji has legitimate character concerns. If Seattle want an impact player with potential star quality, Crabtree is the choice.

5 Cleveland Browns - Brian Orakpo (DE, Texas)
Eric Mangini has been quick to shape things his way in Cleveland. He'd probably be hoping Aaron Curry falls here, but if he doesn't they'll look for the much desired outside pass rush for their 3-4. Orakpo is almost identical physically to Terrell Suggs and can have the same impact as an OLB.
To see the rest of the picks click here.

6 Cincinnati Bengals - Eugene Monroe (OT, Virginia)
The Bengals' main priority has to be protecting Carson Palmer. Luckily, that's the one area Monroe excels. His pass protection skills are unmatched in this draft class. There are legitimate concerns about Monroe's inconsistent effort and willingness to get to the second level, but Cincy will be happy to plug him at left tackle from day one knowing their quarter back will have his blind side well covered.

7 Oakland Raiders - B.J. Raji (DT, Boston College)
Raji has some character concerns after being red shirted ahead of his senior year. One guy who won't care about that is Al Davis, who will love Raji's nasty streak and ability to dominate the opposition's offensive line. Raji has the big body to improve Oakland's poor rush defense, but is also capable of getting to the quarter back.

8 Jacksonville Jaguars - Michael Oher (OT, Ole Miss)
There's a premium on offensive tackles in the NFL these days and even after adding Tra Thomas during free agency, the Jaguars will look to add a book end. Andre Smith would have been an option until his sub-standard pro-day. Michael Oher takes advantage to move into the top ten picks.

9 Green Bay Packers - Everette Brown (DE, Florida State)
Switching to a 3-4 scheme the Packers need another OLB to play across from Aaron Kampman. Brown is arguably the best pass rusher in this draft class and would fit nicely into Green Bay's new system.

10 San Francisco 49ers - Mark Sanchez (QB, USC)
The 49ers would have liked to add a pass rushing OLB, but Orakpo and Brown are off the board. They would have considered Andre Smith until his poor pro-day. Taking all that into consideration, they might settle on Mark Sanchez. They restructured Alex Smith's contract and Shaun Hill will likely get a chance to start in 2009, but Sanchez offers a more realistic option long term.

11 Buffalo Bills - Larry English (DE, Northern Illinois)
The Bills need a pass rush to go compliment Aaron Schrobel. English's stock has risen recently and he might make it this high with Orakpo and Brown going in the top ten. They could look at a linebacker like Brian Cushing and if Michael Oher makes it this far, he could be a surprise option for Buffalo.

12 Denver Broncos - Tyson Jackson (DE, LSU)
Yet another team in the midst of a switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme. Denver's defense has been given something of a make over in free agency but they are still serious lacking some beef up front. Jackson's size and versatility make him an obvious choice as a 3-4 end.

13 Washington Redskins - Knowshon Moreno (RB, Georgia)
With only four picks in the 2009 draft the Redskins will look for an 'impact' player in the first round. Moreno didn't have a great combine but he's a dynamic running back who would be perfect in a two back system with Clinton Portis.

14 New Orleans Saints - Vontae Davis (CB, Illinois)
Davis is arguably the top rated corner back on the board after Malcolm Jenkins poor 40 yard dash time confirmed fears about his recovery speed. The Saints recently signed Jabari Greer, but getting a young potential lock down corner like Davis is too good to pass.

15 Houston Texans - Brian Cushing (LB, USC)
Cushing could go earlier than this, he's impressed enough in work outs to warrant greater consideration in the top 15 picks. If he falls this far, Houston will waste little time handing in their selection. The Texans are building a solid roster and Cushing would be a valuable addition to their defense.

16 San Diego Chargers - Jeremy Maclin (WR, Missouri)
Chris Chambers is in a contract year and will be 31, whilst Vincent Jackson was recently arrested for DUI. Wide receiver isn't the greatest need for San Diego, but Maclin offers flexibility and an instant impact as a kick returner.

17 New York Jets - Percy Harvin (WR, Florida)
There are legitimate concerns about Harvin's ability to stay healthy. However, nobody doubts his talent. Harvin can be a complete play maker as a wide out, taking a few snaps in a wild cat and even returning a few kicks. The Jets could go quarter back, but Rex Ryan seems content to let Brett Ratliff, Kellen Clemens and Erik Ainge fight it out.

18 Chicago Bears - Eben Britton (OT, Arizona)
Chicago have needs at defensive end, wide receiver and quarter back. However, they could also use an upgrade on the offensive line. Britton excelled at both right and left tackle for Arizona and can be plugged into the line from day one.

19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Josh Freeman (QB, Kansas State)
If the Buccs don't find a quarter back before the draft, in this position they have to take Freeman - he's the last realistic option to start quickly. New head coach Raheem Morris worked with Freeman at 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. The combine was never going to show the true benefit of Laurinaitis, but he could be the guy they rebuild their defense around.

21 Philadelphia Eagles - Malcolm Jenkins (CB/S, Ohio State)
Jenkins stock dropped dramatically when he ran poorly at the combine. It just confirmed what critics saw when he played for the Buckeye's - his recovery speed is too much of a liability. He is facing a switch to safety which could drop him down the board significantly. The Eagles have two first round picks so can afford to bank Jenkins here. With Brian Dawkins now a Bronco - Jenkins could be a long term replacement.

22 Minnesota Vikings - Darrius Butler (CB, Connecticut)
Butler is moving up draft boards after impressing at both the combine and the Senior Bowl. The Vikings brought in Sage Rosenfels recently so are less likely to trade up for Mark Sanchez or Josh Freeman. Instead, they could look to upgrade their secondary.

23 New England Patriots - Alphonso Smith (CB, Wake Forest)
The Patriots have added Shawn Springs to their roster but I believe they will look to take a corner back with this pick. Smith fits what the Patriots look for not only in a CB, but in a prospect. A wild card option could be Connor Barwin, who appears to be the second coming of Mike Vrabel.

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 - Rey Maualuga (LB, USC)
Maualuga's stock has dropped somewhat in recent weeks and he injured himself running at the combine. He is a talented ILB though and suits the 3-4 defensive scheme used by Miami. He'd present good value at this spot.

26 Baltimore Ravens - Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR, Maryland)
Heyward-Bey posted a superb run in the 40 yard dash, clocking a sub 4.3. He's all about speed so he needs to play for a team that has a QB with a huge arm. His production at college was poor - he didn't rank amongst the top 124 receivers. That'll put a lot of teams off, but in Joe Flacco the Ravens have a quarter back whose arm can make Heyward-Bey a star.

27 Indianapolis Colts - Hakeem Nicks (WR, North Carolina)
Marvin Harrison has been cut by the Colts and unless he re-signs to a smaller contract, he'll leave a hole at wide receiver. Hakeem Nicks could be a possible replacement and had big games against Miami, Notre Dame and Boston College for the Tar Heels in 2008. Drafting Nicks allows the Colts to keep Anthony Gonzalez in the slot.

28 Philadelphia Eagles - Chris Wells (RB, Ohio State)
I had difficulty placing Wells. Despite concerns about his durability and the fact he didn't run too well at the combine - he's still a very talented running back with a vibrant personality. This seems a bit low for someone I've previously suggested could be a top 15 pick, but a drop on draft day is conceivable with teams using a lot of two-back systems. The Eagles would be getting great value with this double raid on the Buckeye's and a Wells & Westbrook combo is certainly an enticing prospect.

29 New York Giants - Clay Matthews Jr. (LB, USC)
Matthews Jr. put in a solid performance at the combine and made sure teams are thinking of him as a first round pick. The Giants love guys who can get to the quarter back and this guy fits the bill.

30 Tennessee Titans - Robert Ayers (DE, Tennessee)
Many pundits expect the Titans to go wide receiver here but they have resisted that temptation before and I think they will again. Ayers is a local boy who may be more suited to a 3-4 defense, but the Titans need to add depth at defensive end.

31 Arizona Cardinals - Alex Mack (C/G, California)
I'm a big admirer of Mack's and even at this point in the first round, he offers tremendous value. The Cardinals could use an upgrade on the offensive line and Mack is capable of fitting in at guard or center.

32 Pittsburgh Steelers - Sean Smith (CB/S, Utah)
A lot of people expect the Steelers to upgrade their offensive line here, but they consistently ignore need to take the best player on their board. Smith had a great combine, showing off great size and athleticism.

Missing from the first round: Andre Smith (OT, Alabama), Michael Johnson (DE, Georgia Tech), Aaron Maybin (DE, Penn State), Peria Jerry (DT, Ole Miss), Evander 'Ziggy' Hood, (DT, Missouri), William Beatty (OT, Connecticut), Donald Brown (RB, Connecticut), LeSean McCoy (RB, Pittsburgh), D.J. Moore (Vanderbilt), Louis Delmas(S, Western Michigan), Max Unger (C/G, Oregon), Duke Robinson (G, Oklahoma).

15 comments:

Big Joe said...

Rob,

If KC were to take Crabtree at 3, would you then think we will then go with Curry?

I would love to see Max Unger fall to us in the second round. Do you see that as possible?

Anonymous said...

Rob, nice mock. I'm one of those who believe based on past drafts, most teams will continue to place more value on O-line and D-line in Round 1, and will draft for need as long as it doesn't involve a huge reach. Therefore, I see a lot of guys missing from your round 1 (A. Smith, Hood, Johnson, Maybin, Jerry, Beatty) in mine. I do think running backs drop, and won't be surprised if Wells drops out of the first as crazy as that sounds. With other quality backs like Brown and McCoy available in the 2nd, I think he drops like a rock.

Patrick said...

Thanks for your Mock (Gotta love Crabtree going 4th!!) I keep seeing a lot of drafts with us taking B.J. Raji. Do you really think that Seattle would NOT choose someone because of character traits? I know Ruskell is a firm believer in hiring "good guys" and I have nothing but respect for that. Perhaps some of these mock draft aren't taking that into account?

booji said...

@Patrick -

If you read Pete Williams book "The Draft", you get a view into how Ruskell operates, albeit with the Falcons. There is a specific section of the book where Ruskell talks about character, and he really seems to be determined to get to the bottom of stuff instead of just going off of the face value of things. I forget the player. The point is that if Raji was redshirted because he was some sort of "knucklehead" (using Ruskell's terminology here) than I'm sure he would never draft Raji. If on the other hand the reason is because he had a strict coach and he made a dumb mistake, or he just didn't have his act together and was just being a kid, and he's a good guy when it comes down to it... I bet he would draft him. It's hard to say. I'm sure they've done a ton of background on this already, and I'm sure Ruskell's know for a long time whether they would even consider drafting Raji.

Also keep in mind they're giving Leroy Hill another shot even though he messed up. I

My 2 cents.

Rob Staton said...

Joe - If Kansas City took Crabtree there are obviously a handful of guys they could take that would still offer very good value. However, I just wonder if they might be able to maneouvre a trade from that situation. Would a team move up to get Aaron Curry before Cleveland? How about to get Eugene Monroe before Cincinatti? Food for thought. Of course the finances involved restrict Seattle's ability to move down, and if they struggle to do so I think they would seriously consider Aaron Curry, Mark Sanchez, Eugene Monroe and as potential wild cards - Brian Orakpo or Knowshon Moreno.

Anonymous - you make a great point regarding linemen. I looked at the guys I had missing in the first round and wanted to go back and find a way to get some of them involved. This is essentially the one area of my mock I'm not happy with - guys like Peria Jerry, Aaron Maybin and William Beatty missing out. It's something I'll have to address in future mock drafts. Having said that, Kyle Rota mentioned in the Andre Smith article below that he's heard Smith could drop as far as the late 2nd-early third round. It might seem a stretch considering how highly Smith was ranked a few weeks ago, but his off season has been car-crash so far and I wouldn't be surprised if he suffered a huge drop on draft day.

Patrick - You've hit the nail on the head. I see a lot of mocks predicting Seattle will take Raji with perhaps the most high profile being Todd McShay's over at ESPN. I'm not saying Raji isn't talented and worthy of a high pick (because he is) and make no mistake, Seattle are a team that could use improvement on the defensive line. However, Raji's background involving being red shirted before his senior year for academic issues and suspension for punching an opponent almost certainly eliminate him from Tim Ruskell's thinking. It's not just that Ruskell is a big character guy, he doesn't want to invest in the region of $60m on a guy who might cause problems on or off the field. Where as you can check out injuries and make a judgement on whether a prospect is safe to select on health grounds - you can never be sure when a prospect is likely to do something stupid off or on the field that causes trouble.

Neil Christensen said...

Rob, you mentioned Mark Sanchez as a possibility if Crabtree is gone at #4. I see Sanchez as the pick even if Crabtree and Stafford are available because of all the intangibles he offers (leadership, atheleticism, needs to sit behind a vet for awhile) and John Morgan's reasoning about why Seattle should take a QB at #4 (fiscally responsible franchise move). Ideally Seattle could trade down and take Sanchez later for less money, but thats unlikely. If you have time I would love to see a piece on why Seattle would take Sanchez and delve into the connections Ruskell and Mora may have with the new UW coaching staff (Sarkisian et al) who would know better than others all about Sanchez. Keep up the great work on the site!

Rob Staton said...

Hi Neil, thanks for stopping by. I'll be more than happy to do some research and knock together an article on Sanchez and the UW connections - stay tuned and I'll try to get it up in the next couple of days.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Neil in regards to Sanchez. He's the one guy that hasn't received a lot of talk for the Hawks. People talk about the need to find a replacement for Walt, but what about Hass? He's 34, been injured, and QB is the one position you do not want to rely on a rookie. Ruskell is a calculating guy and to me, grabbing a highly rated QB that comes from one of the few college programs that run a Pro style offense makes a lot of sense. Even if Sanchez sits for 2-3 years, that makes him 25 and he could hit the ground running.

Combine all of this with the fact that an LT can step in the lineup right away and perform as evident by Joe Thomas, Jake Long, Ryan Clady, and I think you can see that Sanchez makes more and more sense. He has all the intangibles that makes QBs successful in the NFL. Some might say taking a QB this high is risky, but we would drastically increase his chance for success by giving him time to sit and learn.

Too many teams are having such a hard time trying to find capable QBs and they are killing rookie QBs by throwing them in the lineup right away. These teams end up spending valuable draft picks trying to score that next Matt Ryan, and they end up hindering the growth and development of the team as a whole.

Ruskell has filled every need in FA and I think he has set himself up to address the most important position on the field, and is minimizing the risk of future failure in Seattle by not worrying about/pushing off the notion of finding a capable heir to Hasselbeck, who in all reality, is an injury away from being done.

Teams kill themselves by saying wait until next year to grab a QB. Everybody in next year's draft always look better than the current crop because the scrutiny is not there. Just like last year when everyone doubted Matt Ryan. Now those same people are the first to say Stafford and Sanchez are no Matt Ryan. QB analysis is the most hypocritical hindsight aspect of the draft. Every QB in every draft class has always had more doubters than supporters, it's only after the fact that people claim they knew they would be successful all along.

Sanchez has everything you want in a QB; intelligence, leadership, charisma, work ethic, and physical tools. His only knock is inexperience which is off set by given the time to sit and learn. With the #4 pick and where the Hawks are sitting depth wise I think it would be irresponsible to not address a position that can be the staple of the franchise for many years to come.

Raji is an absolute mistake for so many reasons, most of which is the idea that #4 is too high for any DT, especially one that has shot up draft boards due to workouts rather than a body of work. We can grab Sanchez, Monroe, Smith, or Crabtree that can be faces of the franchise for years to come. Sorry for the long post.

Anonymous said...

There is no way the pats will take a corner in the first round with the needs of OLD, O line, MLB, S, and WR. They signed leigh bodden and sean springs to add to ellis hobbs, tyrone wheatly who waas a 2nd rounder last year, and jonathan wilhite, another 2nd year played with potential.

Rob Staton said...

Hi annonymous, I spoke to a Patriots fan about this and he said that they would strongly consider taking a corner back regardless of the Bodden and Springs signings. He recommended Alphonso Smith to me. Neither Bodden nor Springs are on long term deals, and if they can get a young corner and develop them for a year, they could have a starter for 2010. I don't think they'll take a MLB in the first round two years in a row, no safety grades to go at that spot, WR isn't a great need, the best O Line talent is off the board. I could see them going OLB, but in this mock draft I decided to give them a corner back. Remember, they pick again at the top of the 2nd round because of the trade with Kansas City. Someone like Connor Barwin could be an option there.

Anonymous said...

This is the first mock draft where I have seen 25 Miami Dolphins - Rey Maualuga (LB, USC) dropping this far. As a Phins fan, this would be great, but I don't think it will happen.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Singletary won't spend his initial 1st round pick on a QB. He will likely get his pass rusher.
If Brown and Orakpo are gone, then he'll target someone like Cushing, English, or even Robert Ayers, whom he's pretty high on. Pass rusher and OT are his two highest priorities, so I look for him to satisfy both in the 1st two rounds.

Rob Staton said...

Thanks for the advice annonymous. I tend to agree with you, it's clear that Singletary wants the team to be aggressive, strong defensively and with a potent running game. However on this occassion with Orakpo and Brown gone and Andre Smith falling down the board, I decided to place Sanchez there.

scott said...

This year Remember the Sonics is hosting its first ever "Mock Draft Challenge!"

The Mock Draft Challenge is a competition where experts, analysts, and bloggers alike can enter their mock draft to win a first-place prize package and one year's worth of bragging rights.

Check out all the details at:

http://rememberthesonics.wordpress.com/mock-draft-challenge/

The Entry Deadline is April 24 so post your name on the board and start polishing your final mock draft!

Don't just say your mock draft is the best... Prove it.

Scotty Kimberly
--RTS Editor--

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