Friday, 20 March 2009

Updated mock draft 3/19

1 Detroit Lions - Matt Stafford (QB, Georgia)
Stafford did enough at his pro-day to prove he is worthy of being considered as the number one pick. A lot of reports suggest Detroit might look at one of the offensive tackles or even Aaron Curry here. However, the team needs a quarter back and they won't find the answer later on. The Lions are in total rebuild and a left tackle or linebacker will make little difference in 2009. They should bank their quarter back of the future in the hope of better days ahead.

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. Smith also has a nastier edge to his play and could have greater value in the running game - something the Rams want to focus on next year behind Steven Jackson.

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)
Reports this week have suggested the Seahawks want to take an offensive playmaker in the first round. If Seattle really want to add that kind of a prospect to their roster, then Crabtree would make sense. Question marks have been raised about Crabtree's character and that's something that could affect whether the team go in this direction. If the Seahawks are able to move down the board, expect them to target someone like Knowshon Moreno.

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.
For 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 - Mark Sanchez (QB, USC)
The Jaguars would like one of the top two offensive tackles to fall to them here, and we've seen their willingness to trade up to fill a hole (Derrick Harvey, 2008). If they can't move up a few spots to get Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe, they'll consider taking a long term option at quarter back. David Garrard is 31 and sitting on a 6-year $60m contract. Is he a realistic long term leader of this franchise? Mark Sanchez could sit for one or two years before becoming the starter.

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 - Andre Smith (OT, Alabama)
In my last mock draft I had Smith falling out of the first round. He's been a walking disaster area since getting suspended for the Sugar Bowl. However, put on the game tape and there's a talented lineman there. Offensive tackles are a premium position in the NFL and for that reason, Smith might even remain in the top ten picks. Smith needs a mentor, a strong head coach who can develop his maturity. Mike Singletary could be the man for the job.

11 Buffalo Bills - Michael Oher (OT, Ole Miss)
The Bills have more pressing needs but a lack of pure 4-3 defensive ends mean they'll look elsewhere. Jason Peters held out at the start of last year and was a big disappointment on his return. As mentioned in the previous pick, teams really value the tackle position these days so don't expect many of the top talents in this draft to drop too far.

12 Denver Broncos - Tyson Jackson (DE, LSU)
The Broncos are in the midst of a switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme led by Mike Nolan. 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)
The Redskins have many more needs than running back. But with the top four offensive tackles gone and with Orakpo and Brown also off the board, they have to review their options. Knowshon Moreno is the most under rated player in the draft and would be perfect in a two-back system with Clinton Portis. With only four picks in this year's draft, finding an impact rookie in round one is desirable.

14 New Orleans Saints - Malcolm Jenkins (CB/S, Ohio State)
Jenkins' recovery speed has been a big talking point during the off season. If it's enough of a concern for teams, he could fall down the board. Nobody will take a project safety this early. However, a team like New Orleans could take a chance on Jenkins knowing if it works out they'll have a great player on their roster.

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 and Josh Freeman remains a possibility.

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 - Peria Jerry (DT, Ole Miss)
The Lions recently traded Cory Redding to the Seahawks and need to add to their defensive line via the draft. Jerry had a good Senior Bowl and scored a touchdown in the game. The depth at defensive tackle isn't that deep in 2009, so the Lions could pull the trigger on Jerry with this pick.

21 Philadelphia Eagles - Chris Wells (RB, Ohio State)
Wells is a difficult one to place. He has legitimate top 15 talent and a very personable character. He has got an injury history though and questions remain about his durability. Such fears will be calmed playing in a two back system with Brian Westbrook in what would become a formidable partnership.

22 Minnesota Vikings - Vontae Davis (CB, Illinois)
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. Davis has lockdown potential and could go higher than this. Good value for the Vikings with this choice.

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 - Clay Matthews Jr. (LB, USC)
Matthews Jr. has done a great job improving his stock throughout the offseason. Atlanta would be getting some value if he fell this far. The Falcons showed in 2008 that they have an offense that can compete, now they need to improve the defense.

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 - Evander Hood (DT, Missouri)
Hood had a great pro-day to further enhance his stock. He's another prospect who's difficult to place. He could easily fall into the second round the same way Trevor Laws (Notre Dame) did last year. The Colts need an injection of strength on the defensive line.

28 Philadelphia Eagles - Brandon Pettigrew (TE, Oklahoma State)
Pettigrew's stock has fallen a little in recent weeks, he's not done anything miraculous in work outs. Having said that, it'll be a surprise if he falls any lower than this. The Eagles would be getting a very good tight end with this pick.

29 New York Giants - Hakeem Nicks (WR, North Carolina)
The Giants have paid a lot of attention to their defense in free agency and need to add a solid offensive weapon in the draft. Nobody knows what the future of Plaxico Burress is and Amani Toomer is gone, so receiver could be a target here.

30 Tennessee Titans - Robert Ayers (DE, Tennessee)
The Buffalo Bills had Ayers in for a work out so there's every chance he could go a lot earlier than this. 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. If he falls this far, he could be the pick.

31 Arizona Cardinals - Aaron Maybin (DE, Penn State)
Maybin is a talented prospect but it's hard to predict exactly how teams view him. Is he too under sized? Can he bulk up and keep his speed? Arizona are switching to a hybrid 3-4 defense and Maybin could come in as a pass rushing OLB.

32 Pittsburgh Steelers - Alex Mack (C/G, California)
The Steelers have been very active in signing up the current member of their offensive line. It's still not a great line and could do with improving. Even so, the Steelers will never be restricted by need and will take the best player on their board. It could be Mack. He has top 20 talent and only falls this far due to the position he plays.

Selection of second round picks: DET - James Laurinaitis (LB, Ohio State), NE - Connor Barwin (DE, Cincinnati), STL - Louis Delmas (S, Western Michigan), CLE - Donald Brown (RB, Connecticut), SEA - Max Unger (C, Oregon), CIN - Brian Robiskie (WR, Ohio State), JAC - William Beatty (OT, Connecticut), OAK - D.J. Moore (CB, Vanderbilt), GB - Jamon Meredith (OT, South Carolina), BUF - Michael Johnson (DE, Georgia Tech), SF - Clint Sintim (DE/OLB, Virginia), MIA - Darrius Butler (CB, Connecticut).


Chris (Seattle) said...

Love the new mock draft Rob (mainly cause you still have Crabtree going to Seattle of course). I was reading Sando's blog on today, and he had a link to a chart I found extremely interesting. It's basically a chart of the success rate of each position based on round in the NFL Draft since 1988. There are obviously a few flaws with the system, but still quite intriguing to see just how hard it is to find successful players in the draft, at any position. Here's the link to the Field Gulls site where it was done:

One site I love to look at is the Draft History on Pro-Football They let you sort the any draft by any major statistical category, by team, by round, etc. It's very useful to look at just how few successful people from each position came out of a draft (and you can average it out over years like Field Gulls site did).

Rob Staton said...

Thanks for the link Chris, certainly very interesting reading. It raises an interesting point about the so called 'safe picks'. I'm a firm believer that there is no such thing, that you must evaluate each prospect on their talents and abilities and not look back at what has happened in the past.

We often hear about the bust potential of wide receivers. Often a guys career can being helped or hindered by what team they actually join. For example, take Michael Crabtree. I don't think he's the most mature prospect and in a system without a good QB he might struggle to make an early impact. However, surround him with veterans and put him on a team with a foundation and he could be an instant success. That's why I think he's a perfect fit for Seattle. As a rookie he'd have a pro-bowl QB throwing him the ball, he'd be lining up alongside TJ Houshmandzadeh drawing coverage and taking him under his wing. He'd be getting advice from guys like Hasselbeck, Walter Jones - solid veterans who have played at the highest level and know how to conduct themselves off the field. You could even put a guy like John Carlson on Crabtree and try to get a bond going. Carlson is clearly the very definition of a solid character and as they both play a similar role in the team, Seattle has the perfect partner for Crabtree to grow into the pro's.

Such things could decrease a prospects potential 'bust' rating. I can't help but think receiver is a problem area sometimes because teams higher in the draft take these really talented guys but don't have a QB, don't have a foundation, don't have leadership. Seattle has those things.

If the first three picks fall the way they do and Seattle cannot trade down, then I think Crabtree will be the choice. However, should they manage to move down a few places in the same scenario, they might target someone like Knowshon Moreno. He's got that playmaker ability, but really fits the mould of a Seattle draft pick in that he has big production, he plays above his physical measurements and he has an amazing character.

Louis said...

Hey Rob,

Just like Chris, I love your draft since it makes Crabtree heading to SEattle =D

If we do draft Crabtree, what do you predict his stats for his first season be (assuming that he stays healthy, along with Hasselbeck). An expert from ESPN stated earlier this month that he predicts about 85 Catches, 1150 Yards, and 10 TDs. I think that would be a GREAT rookie year, and if that occured then we would have 2 huge fantasy football guys, with one guys having 85 Catches, 1150 Yards and 10 TDs with another (TJ Houshmandzadeh) getting around 95 catches 1100 yards and 6 TDs.

That would instantly propel us near the top of the NFL (or at least the NFC) in the Passing Game.

Also, I heard that many experts think the zone blocking scheme that we are using this year will help out Julius Jones and TJ Duckett a lot, but didnt we use the Zone Blocking Scheme most of last year too?

Thanks, and keep up the great work.

PS. I see you have us taking a Center with our 2nd round pick. If LeSean McCoy is available, don't you think we would draft him, knowing how our running game has been since Alexander left?

Rob Staton said...

Hi Louis,

It's hard to predict what kind of a rookie season Crabtree could have if drafted by Seattle. Sometimes recievers struggle to have an instant impact because they have to learn a new playbook and adapt to the pro game. Crabtree also has to iron out a couple of minor things, such as a little false step he has going into his breaks.

On the other hand, a receiver could have the kind of impact Anquan Boldin or Larry Fitzgerald had. In the right situation on the right team, there's no reason why that couldn't happen.

I will say this though, however well he might do his stats will be affected playing alongside guys like Houshmandzadeh and John Carlson. His red zone impact will be less influential with those guys, and they'll also get some of the cheaper passes thrown their way that Crabtree likely will have got at Texas Tech.

Having said that, his mere presence on the field as a rookie will make Seattle a formidable opponent. How teams can cover Crabtree, Houshmandzadeh, Carlson and one of Branch/Burleson is an interesting prospect. His numbers might not be as bold as you suggested, but his impact could be just as big.

I believe we did use more zone last year but it's a difficult example. In 2008 the passing game was virtually annonymous at times, allowing teams to play a lot of blitz & run defense. This no doubt helped restrict the running game. Having a better passing game in 2009 will no doubt have a good effect on the running game. I'm looking forward to seeing what Jones and in particular T.J. Duckett may achieve.

I wanted to include a few 2nd round picks at the end because there were prospects I didn't want to leave out completely. I had trouble placing Seattle's 2nd rounder. LeSean McCoy is definitely an option. William Beatty likewise would be a wise choice and there are 2-3 corner backs who warrant consideration as value picks. You could even suggest Michael Johnson as a 'boom or bust' addition to the defensive line. I'm not sure Max Unger is the greatest fit in a ZBS. Having said that, I think Seattle do need to improve in the interior line and Unger - like Cal's Alex Mack - can play guard or center. If Seattle really want to add some playmakers, then Crabtree and McCoy in rounds 1&2 certainly achieves that. I think they might take a RB, but perhaps a little later on in the draft. If they didn't take Crabtree in the first round, Brian Robiskie is a good match in round two. In some ways the team might prefer to have Moreno and Robiskie, but they will surely have to trade down a few spots to justify taking Moreno that early - and I believe that having the chance to draft the most dynamic playmaker in the draft (Crabtree) could be too hard to pass on.

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