Its draft time. I know its a little hard getting excited for it with the Cowboys only haveing one pick in the second round durring day one, but that's not going to stop the Sherpa of Camping, Tioga, from rocking his crazy indepth mock draft. So while i'm working on mine, you can take a gander at this peice of work, which is both more thought out, and way smarter than anything i'll put out in the next few weeks.
( * signifies a draft day trade. )
1) Detroit - QB Mathew Stafford, Georgia. In a chicken or the egg type conumdrum the LT or the QB debate rages over this pick. My take on it is that LT can be found up and down the top 20 picks in most drafts, even 2nd round players make pro bowl type careers while it pretty much takes a top 5 pick to secure a franchise QB. Stafford has several blue chip tools to work with having an Elway-esque cannon. His accuracy and decision making are a little shaky for the #1 pick as is the track record for junior QB's; but in the end I see the Lions opting for the pick that could spring board the franchise outta the cellar in the near future.
2) St Louis - T Jason Smith, Baylor. Even if Det takes a tackle the Rams will still have one left unlike last year when they missed on Long. This is almost a sure bet with the Rams having severe OL woes. The only debate is whether it's Smith or Monroe; with Smith edging Monroe out on the merit of being more aggressive on the field. A good athlete with adequate size and strength, it's his on the field play and demeanor that make Smith a future Pro Bowl player for years to come.
3) Kansas City - LB Aaron Curry, Wake Forrest. The first of the draft wild cards, the Chiefs could be one of many teams willing to trade down to gain more value and rebuild their team even faster. That said, if the Chiefs stand pat there are several ways they could go here. They need a quality #2 WR, multiple OL help, and OLB's; with this draft being deep on WR and OT talent but thin on LB help, I feel they'll look there 1st. I've seen mock's listing OT to protect new QB Cassle, but they've already got Albert. While LT Monroe seems pretty sound, I feel that they go with the best player overall in the draft and select Curry to fortify their defense for years to come. He's versatile enough to play inside or out and posses the tools to become a pass rusher even though not asked to do so in college. He helps Kansas City incorporate the 3-4 GM Pioli drafted for while with the Patriots.
4) Seattle - T Eugene Monroe, Virginia. Another team that could trade down or shake up the draft by selecting fast riser QB Sanchez; it's biggest concern at the time is retooling a shoddy line. Monroe is a smooth athletic LT that will replace the ancient Walter Jones. With as many holes as Seattle has in it's roster they'd be wise to trade down with a team in love with Sanchez... that said if they stand pat it'd be hard to finde anyone better than Monroe.
5) Cleveland - DE/OLB Brian Orakpo, Texas. This disfunctional franchise could throw a dart at their draft board and find a starter. The biggest problem they have seems to be pass rush or lack of. Orakpo has freakish athletic ability and proved in workouts that he could move to OLB. The Browns envision the next coming of Demarcus Ware and pull the trigger on a player that hopefully doesn't remind new coach Mangini of last years Ware, Vernon Gholston.
6) Cincinati - T Andre Smith, Alabama. The Bengals could go several different directions here with WR Crabtree still on the board or trading down to pick up DL help; but I feel they stay and pick the last of the blue chip Tackles. No player has seen his stock fall as fast as Smith with his mental meltdowns, but he has been creeping back up when scouts review his game tapes. With the OL play being poor in Cincianti last year, the Bengals grab a guy who can step in and start from day one either at RT or RG while being groomed to be the LT.
7) Oakland - WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri. Ahh yes, the Raiders; always entertaining... on draft day at least. Al Davis loves speed and Maclin has it, as does Heyward-Bey, and Russell does need at least one target to throw to outside of TE Miller. It's hard to believe that he'd pass on a big name WR like Crabtree, or T Smith if he's still there; but then again crazy, old, Al doesn't do things normal. Maclin fits the "speed kills" motto, and should help QB Russell and RB McFadden.
8) Jacksonville - WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech. the Jaguars sensing the the top 3 OT's wouldn't fall signed stopgap free agent T Tra Thomas. That frees them up to fill their need at WR or DT; the Jags would be delighted if Crabtree slid past the Raiders. Maybe like Detroit it takes a few practice 1st round WR's to get it right and Crabtree could be that guy for JV. They could also trade down to rebuild a little quicker.
9) *New York Jets* - QB Mark Sanchez, USC. Green Bay is looking to trade down and some team looking to take Sanchez would be wise to move up past San Fransico, maybe even Seattle to get him. The Jets are built to win now, but with the retirement of Favre, they are left with a mild case of whiskey dick at QB. Publicly NY states that they believe they will win with either Clemens, Ratliff, or Ainge at QB... but then again every team says that with a new starter who's never played before. Sanchez is the only other TRUE 1st round QB this year and is the most ready to play now after coming out of a pro style college program. The price is steep, but so is the Jets pay roll after signing a slew of free agents last year who won't be around when the other two youngsters growing pains are behind them.
10) San Fransico - DE/OLB Everette Brown, Florida St. It's unknown if the 49ers would opt for Sanchez over the Hill/Smith winner at QB, but what is known is that SF needs to get a lot better on Defense with their back 7 being in bad need of repair. The 49ers need a pass rush and would be fortunate if Orakpo fell here, but will most likely have to pick between Everette Brown or Aaron Maybin. Brown is one of the best pass rushers in a long line of undersized fast DE's from FSU, and after measuring under 6'2, will have to make the move to OLB in a 3-4. Highly athletic with a quick 1st step SF rolls the dice on him to get after the QB like he did in college.
11) Buffalo - OLB Brian Cushing, USC. The Bills need more help at DE than at LB, but with a lack of DE's who can play in the 4-3 they opt for LB. Cushing is best suited for the strong side and would help stop the run, cover the TE, and rush the passer. Strength, hustle, and nose for the ball should make him a star in a blue collar town like Buffalo.
12) Denver - CB/S Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio St. The Broncos need to re-build a horrendous defense and will be switching over to a 3-4 at the same time. Without a true NT on the roster many feel that BJ Raji would be picked here, but with so few quality DB's in this draft, (worse DB class since 2000), Denver will most likely nab the only one carrying a 1st round grade. The Broncos will line up Champ Baily, Dre Bly, and Brian Dawkins and all 3 are over 30. Jenkins is from a long line of OSU CB's who go on to be solid NFL playmakers, but while he has talent, he may lack the elite athleticism needed at CB... luckily he has the size and instincts to transition to safety if needed.
13) Washington - DE Robert Ayers, Tennessee. Lacking a 2nd and 4th round pick, the Redskins should look to trade down, but with Snyder at the helm they could easily move up, or draft hot name boom or bust QB Freeman. What they can safely be said to need is a DE after Jason Taylor danced away. Ayers is a one year wonder for the 'Vols so there's some bust potential. Outside of the risk, he's the only DE with 4-3 size, (275 with frame to get up to 290), athletic enough to get to the QB, and played with good hustle this past season; he also gave top T prospects Smith and Oher problems in 1 on 1 drills at the Senior Bowl. Would team up well with new DT Haynesworth.
14) *Philadelphia* - T Michael Oher, Mississippi. New Orleans needing DB's and OLB will be looking to trade down as to not reach at the #14 pick. Philadelphia needs a LT and Oher is the last one left with a 1st round grade; they also have two 1st round picks to play with, (#21 and #28), which happen to be in the range that the Saints need to pick the players for their needs. The Eagles will have to move up to get Oher who may not even be available here this low. He is athletic enough to play LT and has the size to still be an asset in the run game.
15) Houston - CB Vontrae Davis, Illinois. Houston has needed a 2nd corner and a playmaker in the backfield ever since they were awarded a franchise. Tallent wise Davis is a top 10 pick, but personality wise he's another DeAngelo Hall. Still, in a class so devoid of CB's the Texans gamble that he can shut his mouth and shut down the AFC recievers that have torched them since their existence. If he can stop Indy at least once a year then he's worth the headache.
16) San Diego - DE Tyson Jackson, LSU. A true 3-4 end, Jackson would fill the void left by Olshansky signing with Dallas. There is a chance he may not fall this far, but you can believe the Chargers would pounce on him if he does. Naturally strong with great size for a DE, he is athletic enough to provide a rush from a position that is asked more to occupy blockers than get after the QB.
17) *Green Bay* - DE/OLB Aaron Maybin, Penn St. The Packers are looking to switch to a 3-4 with new D Co-ordinator Dom Capers so it's probable that they look to re-tool the front 7 with better suited personel. It's believed that they'll select NT Raji here, but with Ryan Simms currently there; I feel that they look instead for a pass rusher which usually are hard to find outside of the 1st round. Maybin proved at Penn St that he could get after the QB and showed great athleticism and upfield burst. With his low weight for a DE, and quickness and athleticism... he's a perfect canidate for a move to OLB in a 3-4. One other plus for the Packers is that he played in a cold weather confrence in the Big 10 so Lambeau winters shouldn't shut him down.
18) Denver - NT BJ Raji, Boston college. The Broncos are re-vamping the D and switching to a 3-4 so a NT is needed. They previously employed an undersized front 4 so their DT's can now slide out to DE and the DE's they've been drafting frequently as of late can move to OLB... but they don't have a big bodied guy to handle the Nose. Raji, whom many feel is a top 10 talent, posses great size weighing in at 337. Denver uses the "Cutler" pick to attempt to fill a hard position to find with a player who may fall to them. While Raji posses the strength to handle the NT, his game seems best suited for a 4-3 DT. Part of the reason for his fall to this pick is that he hasn't produced until his last season, seems to lack focus and stamina from time to time, and was immature with a lack of judgement early on in his college career. All that said, it's hard to find stout 340lb players.
19) Tampa Bay - DT Peria Jerry, Mississippi. The Buccaneers need to re-tool on D and even though most of the top tier players are gone, Jerry is a very solid player with a legit 1st round grade. With Ayers and Jackson gone at DE, and no 1st round athletic OLB available... Jerry fills a need at DT and should help in a confrence that runs the ball well.
20) Detroit - MLB Rey Maualuga, USC. With the "Roy Williams" pick the Lions nab the quarterback for the Defense. Many feel that they should select an OT to help protect Stafford, but with the D mostly to blame for 0-16, finding a top 15 talent to instantly improve that side of the ball would be wise. Maualuga is a big thumper who played big at a big time program; is physical enough and passionate enough to improve the Lions D from day 1.
21) *New Orleans* - OLB James Laurinaitis, Ohio St. The Saints get the player they were targeting earlier at 14. Even though DB is a stronger area of need, Laurinaitis would step into a starting role at WLB replacing the very average Scott Shanle. Instinctive and passionate player, won't wow with triangle numbers but will quickly become a leader for the Saints with his on field play and in the locker room.
22) Minnesota - T Eben Britton, Arizona. For a team that's a QB away from superbowl contention, they'd be wise to shy away from Freeman and instead start the 2nd run on OT's. Britton is the best of the 2nd tier OT's and is a natural fit at RT; a tough competitor with good size, he should step into a starting job right away.
23) New England - DE/OLB Clay Mathews, USC. With NE needing to replace aging defenders they could go a number of ways here with this pick. By trading Vrabel to KC they opened up a spot for a player that would most likely have been an upgrade over him anyways. Mathews is a Belicheck kind of player in that he is a passionate, cerebral, blue collar player who has the athletic ability to go with his hustle. His pedigree, (father Clay Sr played for Belicheck in Cleveland), and work ethic should make him a lock here.
24) Atlanta - TE Brian Pettitgrew, Oklahoma St. Even though the Falcons could have more pressing needs, it'd be hard to say that there's anybody better suited to a team. Pettitgrew is rare in the modern game in that he has phenominal size and run blocking for a position that has moved more toward "Big WR" in the college game recently. He also was a productive pass catcher at OSU and should help both Turner and Ryan.
25) Miami - OLB Clint Sintim, Virgina. I've seen where many have the New Jersey con-man selecting Rutgers WR Kenny Britt and his Keyshawn/T O Owens like size; but I feel that the Tuna goes with his other favorite position. The Dolphins need more LB's to complete their 3-4 transition and Sintim, who played for former Parcells assistant Al Groeh in college, not only showed he could rush the passer, but did so in a 3-4. Would team with Joey Porter and make QB's life difficult.
26) Baltimore - WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Marryland. Many have the Ravens replacing departed Bart Scott at ILB, but unless Maualuga falls here, I don't see them reaching for Jasper Brinkly. Instead I see them finding a vertical threat to match with their strong arm QB Flacco in the home state Heyward-Bey whose 40 times may even get him drafted as high as the Raiders at 7.
27) Indiannapolis - DT Evander Hood, Missouri. A bit of a reach here, the Colts take a solid player at a position of need who's athletic ability and penetrating play match their system. For Indy it should come down to WR with Nicks and Harvin a good fit or DT with Hood... since the 2nd round WR talent is deeper than the DT's Hood gets the nod.
28) **Cincinati** - RB Knowshon Moreno, Georgia. The Bengals make an offer to the Saints for the pick the got from trading with the Eagles, and mortgage next years pick plus their 2nd this year to get the player they covet after he worked out privately for them. Even though some will opt for home state Wells, Moreno is the top RB and is a need for the Bengals. With so many teams set at RB or using a rotation of them, they normaly arent thought of as need picks unless blue chippers. Cincinati stops Moreno's slide and pays to move up ahead of Arizona whom also happens to need a RB. They could also be tempted by Florida's Percy Harvin, a player whom trouble seems to follow.
29) New York Giants - WR Kenny Britt, Rutgers. It's a safe bet to say most Britt fans happen to be Giants fans aswell seeing as how the Giants play in NJ. With the release of Burress NY needs to replace the tall physical WR and his big play production. Britt's size is comparable and some scouts have said that he reminds them of Brandon Marshall physically and in talent.
30) Tennessee - WR Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina. The Titans have needed a WR ever since a Rams LB tackled a WR in the open field a yard short in the superbowl. Even though Percy Harvin is still on the board it's a safe bet that Fisher won't pick a guy with Pac-Man like baggage. Instead he opts for a guy whom scouts compare to Michael Irvin. Tenessee would love to see him slide past Indy and NY and right into their starting lineup.
31) Arizona - RB Chris Wells, Ohio St. Even though the Cardinals have some other needs, RB seems to be a pressing one with the expected departure of Edgerrin James; fortunatly for them one of the best at the position falls to where they pick. For a big back, (230lbs), Wells shows suprising speed and could be a big play threat. There is also a chance the 'Cards could move Boldin in a Roy Williams-esque trade and then grab big play WR Percy Harvin here.
32) Pittsburgh - T Gerald Cadogan, Penn St. The Steelers badly need to re-build their OL as well as draft to eventually replace an old DL. They should probably attempt to trade down in order to not reach for a player with a mid to low 2nd round grade, and with QB Freeman and WR Harvin still possibly on the board they may find a taker. If not and they stay at #32 then Cadogan edges out Beatty and Loadholt due to the fact that he's more physical that Beatty and more athletic and polished than Loadholt.
There you have it, my 1st round. I've got the 2nd done too but it took so fucking long just to type this 1st round that I don't have the strength to start a whole other one. Let me know what you think about what I have so far and I'll get the round 2 to you either tomorow or within the next couple of days.