There are some little surprises in here, and I'm not sure how much you guys will like your pick. But try and go on easy on me
1. Detroit Lions – Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
• Detroit could go in a lot of directions here; after all, they were 0-16. But, I think Stafford is the pick since he is arguably the best player in the draft and fills an immediate need. It’s hard to imagine that new coach Jim Schwartz believes Drew Stanton is the answer. Aaron Curry, Jason Smith, and Eugene Monroe are all very possible here.
2. St. Louis – Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
• St. Louis has showcased a pretty bad offensive line the past couple years. Undeniably their biggest need.
3. Kansas City – Aaron Curry, OLB, Virginia
• Very tough pick here, but I think we’ll see Curry off the board here. Curry’s teammate Monroe is also very likely here, but he is more of a LT and that’s not a problem for KC with Brandon Albert on board. New DC Clancy Pendergast worked with a 3-4 in AZ and needs another versatile LB in KC to make that scheme work.
4. Seattle – Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
• Another tough pick, especially with Michael Crabtree and Sanchez still on the board. However, this pick makes sense. Floyd “Pork Chop” Womack is off to Cleveland, leaving Sean Locklear starting at RT. Lockear is a good and versatile back-up, but probably not a starter. Monroe can play RT and shift over to the other side when Walter Jones hangs up his cleats.
5. Cleveland – BJ Raji, DT, Boston College
• Last year Cleveland could just not stop the run, ranking an abysmal 28th in the NFL. Raji is a monster of a man who could give that 34 defense the NT it needs.
6. Cincinnati – Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
• Carson Palmer is back and needs weapons. TJ Whosyourmama is gone, while his other favorite target, Chad Ochocinco, is demanding a trade. It’s possible, however, that the club likes Maclin a bit more and opts for him. With Stacy Andrews departure, OT is also an area of need, so Oher or Andre Smith are possibilities.
7. Oakland – Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
• Al Davis is a bit upset that physical freak Crabtree is off the board, but Macklin isn’t a bad compensatory prize for him. I personally find this is as a reach, but Macklin’s blazing speed is just too tempting for Al to pass up on. Plus, the Raider’s WR core is pretty depleted, so this speedster has a chance to make an impact from day 1.
8. Jacksonville – Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss
• Khalif Barnes is now a Raider, leaving the LT spot wide-open in Jacksonville. Oher presents good value here and fills a critical role for the Jags. Mark Sanchez is also possible, but I think JAX still trusts Garrard. There’s also a glaring hole at the WR position, but none left on the board warrant such a high selection. They’re about as desperate as it gets though, so Heyward-Bey is certainly not out of the question here. Watch for this pick to be traded to a team who will choose Sanchez.
9. Green Bay – Brian Orakpo, OLB, Texas
• Dom Capers is in town, so that means a new 34 defense. Kampman is an awesome pass-rusher and has one side locked down, but the opposite side is vacant. Orakpo is good value here, and may very well not last this long come draft day. Orakpo isn’t clearly better than some others at his position, however, so it’s possible that the Pack chooses Brown or Maybin instead. Knoshon Moreno or Beanie Wells could be a surprise pick here. Maybe even Jenkins, since GB’s corners definitely aren’t getting any younger.
10. San Francisco – Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
• Personally, I’d like to see Everette Brown right here. But, that’s irrelevant because this is based off of what I think will happen, not what I want to happen. Anyway, Marvel Smith has had recent injury problems, is aging, and is moving to a position he hasn’t played in a while, making him only a band-aid to the clubs need at OT. Additionally, from what I read from Maiocco, it seems like the club really wants an OT. Smith is a big time talent whose stock is falling due to questions surrounding his work ethic. If he proves the naysayers wrong, he could be the perfect RT that Singletary is looking for for his smashmouth style of offense.
11. Buffalo – Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
• A bit of surprise pick here. It’s no secret that Buffalo wants a pass-rusher, but most people would probably peg Brown here. I have a feeling that Brown’s height (or lack thereof) will spook some teams and lead them to consider other options more. Maybin’s stock has been on the rise and he could be the answer to Buffalo’s problems.
12. Denver – Mark Sanchez, QB, Southern California
• Jay Cutler is off to the windy city, leaving the Broncs with a motley crue of QB’s, including Chris Simms and Kyle Orton. Sanches is very good value here, so this is an easy pick for Denver. Although, I have a feeling that Denver won’t pick Sanchez here on draft day; scared that he’ll be off the board at this point, Denver will very likely move up a few spots to make sure they get their guy.
13. Washington – Everette Brown, DE, Florida State
• The Skins are another contender in the race for Sanchez, but it’s highly unlikely that he falls this far. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone if they move up to snag him. But if they don’t move up, Brown gets the nod. Washington fielded a very impressive defensive unit last year despite finishing almost last in the NFL in sacks. Brown can help that unit reach its full potential by giving it a true sackmaster that they’ve been missing. Jason Taylor’s spot awaits him.
14. New Orleans – Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
• Mike McKenzie is gone and as it stands, New Orleans has almost nothing to offer at CB outside of Usama Young, who has a lot of potential. The Saints don’t have a very impressive unit of safeties either, so if they really wanted, they could move Jenkins there. Brian Cushing from USC is another option here since OLB is a need for the Saints, but the value of Jenkins here is just too good to pass up.
15. Houston – Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut
• What Houston really needs here is a safety, but unfortunately none in this draft merit a 1st round selection. OLB is also a possibility with Cushing still available, but I think the Texans look toward the tremendously athletic Butler to help them out at another position of need, CB. Robinson is a great corner but he is not signed long-term and is unhappy with the franchise, so he may not play for them beyond the 2009 season. Furthermore, Reeves could probably be upgraded upon and Bennett might be best suited as a nickel back. Alphonso Smith is another possibility.
16. San Diego – Rey Maualuga, ILB, Southern California
• I’m very iffy about this pick, because a part of me believes that San Diego doesn’t value ILB’s greatly, and that they already have a decent amount of cash invested into their LB corps. Either way, the Chargers lack an ILB with a real presence, and Rey could be that guy. Tyson Jackson could also get the nod here, as a replacement for Igor Olshansky who left for Dallas this offseason.
17. New York Jets – Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State
• Brett is now officially retired, making Kellen Clemens the starter by default right now. Even though Clemens was drafted in the 2nd round recently, I doubt the Jets truly envision him as their signal caller.
18. Denver (from Chicago) – Tyson Jackson, DE, Louisiana State
• Mike Nolan is the new DC in town, so he’s going to implement his 34 style of defense. Tyson Jackson will be a 34 DE in for the Broncos and help improve their struggling run defense.
19. Tampa Bay – Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss
• Jerry is a Tampa-2 style DT who adds fresh blood to a defense in need of youth. Warrick Dunn is also on his last wind and the Cadillac hasn’t been the same since he was a rookie, so Moreno would make sense here. Sam Cushing could go here as well to replace Brooks, but I’m not so sure if he fits Tampa’s scheme very much.
20. Detroit (from Dallas) – Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
• Simple case of BPA right here. The Lions already have Morris and Smith, but Moreno’s value is excellent right here and gives them a sure-fire starter for the future. This year, the Lions could utilize all 3-backs dangerously. Plus, this is a good PR move, as it pairs Moreno up with college teammate and #1 overall pick, Matthew Stafford.
21. Philadelphia – Brian Cushing, OLB, Southern California
• A good, playmaking LB that seems to be a good fit for a Jim Johnson defense. Cushing is a good blitzer so that will appeal to the Eagles and especially DC Johnson, who sends his LBs to blitz so often. It also doesn’t hurt that OLB is a need for Philly.
22. Minnesota – Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
• Good value here for a position of need. Berrian had a solid year, but the Vikes finished near the bottom of the league in pass offense, partly because of their lack of weapons (and partly because their running game was so good). Heyward-Bey gives the Vikes a better, more balanced offense.
23. New England – Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
• Alphonso Smith is also a possibility here, but Davis’ athleticism is too appealing. The Pats currently don’t have any dominant CB’s on their roster, but the selection of Davis could change that. Clay Matthews and Larry English could very easily go here as well, since Vrabel is long gone and the New England LB corps as a whole is pretty old.
24. Atlanta – Ron Brace, DT, Boston College
• The surprise pick in round 1. DT is a need for Atlanta, as they finished 25th in the league last year in stopping the run. Also, Head Coach Mike Smith loves him some big boys, which is evident from his time at Jacksonville with Stroud and Peterson.
25. Miami – Clay Matthews, OLB Southern California
• Great player with very impressive motor. Seems like a Parcells type guy and could be an upgrade to Matt Roth.
26. Baltimore – Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina
• Derrick Mason had a fantastic year, but he is already 35 years old. Clayton, opposite of him, is pretty good, but probably not a #1 guy. Nicks can be groomed for a year or two before taking on a starting role.
27. Indianapolis – Evander Hood, DT, Missouri
• Good, penetrating style DT who fits the Cover 2 scheme that Indy runs.
28. Philadelphia (from Carolina) – Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Okalahoma State
• LJ Smith is now a Buc, leaving Celek and Schobel as the only TE’s on the roster. Celek had a couple big games, but I am not sure if they think of him as their TE of the future. Louis Delmas could also go here, to replace Brian Dawkins.
29. New York Giants – Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
• Plaxico is out the door, which means Eli is without that big target he can rely on. The Giants will draft Britt, a big and tall WR, to fill that void and eventually become Eli’s main man.
30. Tennessee – Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
• A lot of possibilities here, but I’m going with Johnson, the very athletic and gifted DE from GT. Last year, the Titans started Jevon Kearse, who was only able to produce a pedestrian 3.5 sacks. Kearse is also getting up there in years, which makes the need for a replacement that much greater. There’s also a chance Alphonso Smith goes here, considering Nick Harper is going on 35 years old. WR is a need too, but it’s hard to imagine the Titans selecting one this early.
31. Arizona – Beanie Wells, RB, Ohio State
• Amazing value here. As it stands, the Cards have Hightower, a promising youngster, and Edge, an older RB who is most likely on his way out pretty soon. Even though this pick might not improve the Cards much, since the O-line’s blocking is the real culprit, it’s a step in the right direction, since Hightower is questionable as a starter. If AZ can get some run-blocking, Wells could be excellent.
32. Pittsburgh – Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
• Another iffy pick for me. This one was hard because, well…Pitt just doesn’t have that many needs, so it’s difficult to say who they could be targeting. Plus, I’m not sure if Britton is a fit in Pitt’s smashmouth, pound-the-rock style football. But, Marvel Smith is now a 49er, and Starks is questionable as a starter at LT. I could maybe see Percy Harvin going here since Nate Washington left and Hines Ward is aging.