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).