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3 Round Mock Draft...but wait, there's more!
1. Coming off of the worst season in NFL history, Detroit just hired Jim Schwartz as the new captain of their failboat. He inherits a team that is terrible at every position other than WR1. The “golden rule” is that if you don’t have a franchise QB, you need to take one at this point, but I personally believe that to draft a QB and put him behind an offensive line that boasts such stalwarts as Jeff “QB on his” Backus, Edwin Mulitalo, Stephen Peterman, and Gosder Cherilus, who gave up 23.5 sacks combined, despite all but Backus missing games, and didn’t open up many holes for Kevin Smith. Taking a page out of the Browns’ and Dolphins’ playbooks, the Detroit Lions select Andre Smith, OT, Alabama.
2. A ton went wrong for the Rams this season, but at least they achieved balance in their ineptitude by finishing 31st in both scoring offense and scoring defense. . There are a number of ways that they could go with this pick. Marc Bulger and Orlando Pace are both aging and have no real option developing behind them. Their entire secondary is an absolute wreck. They are also weak at the OLB spots, and DT is looking like a big need as well since La’Roi Glover is old and Adam Carriker has been a disappointment. At the end of the day, the Rams would be best served taking the BPA at this spot. Therefore, the St. Louis Rams select Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest.
3. With Pioli now in the fold in KC, chances are he’ll try to deal this pick so that he can get more bang for his buck. The direction of this pick could definitely change before draft day since Herm Edwards may still be sent packing. With that being said, the KC pass rush this season was atrocious. They only recorded 10 sacks on the entire season. For comparison, 12 players had more sacks than the entire KC team. If they keep this pick, they will go with the best pass rusher available. The Kansas City Chiefs select Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas.
4. Three years after trading a first rounder for Deion Branch, it’s safe to say that Seattle made a terrible decision. They also more or less traded Steve Hutchison for Nate Burleson, which was another mistake. Despite having the league’s worst pass defense, their horrible WR play is too much to overlook. The Seattle Seahawks select Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech.
5. Cleveland had one of the worst offenses in the NFL this past season, but plenty of young talent is in place and they should improve drastically once they give Quinn the QB spot and Braylon Edwards learns to hold on to the ball. RB could be a need, but there is no value at this point. The pass rush was pitiful, so Everette Brown or Aaron Maybin may be options here, but they would be better suited to take a CB who isn’t afraid to step up and help against the run. The Cleveland Browns select Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State.
6. The 2008 season was a huge disappointment for the Bengals, who many thought had a legitimate shot at the playoffs. They ended up having the worst scoring offense in the NFL despite having players like Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson, and TJ Houshmandzadeh because their porous OL couldn’t open up running lanes and was unable to keep the QB clean. While RB may be a tempting choice here, they would be better off addressing the OL. The Cincinnati Bengals select Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia.
7. It’s no secret that the Raiders are a huge mess. The past two seasons, they have invested heavily in Jamarcus Russell and Darren McFadden, but they have insisted in putting scrubs like Kwame Harris, Cornell Green, and Cooper Carlisle in front of them. The smartest thing that Al Davis could do would be to take an OT here. Perhaps the failure that was the “can’t miss” Robert Gallery is too fresh for Al, but since there aren’t any super-fast WRs for him to pick here, the Oakland Raiders select Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi.
8. The Jags were horrible this year and it was freaking awesome. Their vaunted defense was underwhelming and they could use an upgrade at DT after trading Stroud, MLB after giving up on Peterson, and CB, where Brian Williams has always sucked and Drayton Florence was a free agent bust, however there may not be any value at any of those positions here. Maualuga may be an option due to Del Rio’s USC ties, but his stock is slipping due to his measureables. They would probably be best suited to upgrade their Ol, where Tony Pashos and Khalif Barnes are below average at best. The Jacksonville Jaguars select Jason Smith, OT, Baylor.
9. Injuries wrecked what could have been a good season in Green Bay. AJ Hawk switched to MLB to cover for Nick Barnett who was lost for the season, which hurt their run defense. Their offense was ranked 5th in scoring, their secondary is solid, and their LBs are above average when healthy. That leaves their DL, where DE Michael Montgomery is average and could stand to be replaced. With Mike Nolan in place as their DC, I expect Green Bay to run a hybrid defensive scheme that mixes up that 4-3 and 3-4. The perfect fit for this is still on the board. The Green Bay Packers select Everette Brown, DE/OLB, Florida State.
10. For the past couple of years, the 49ers have been a buzz team who some predict to take the “next step”, but poor QB play has hindered them. The Alex Smith experiment was a failure, however there are now pieces in place that would help a young QB succeed, namely Joe Staley, Frank Gore, and Vernon Davis. While pass rusher and FS are both needs, the impact a good QB can make on a team can not be understated. The San Francisco 49ers select Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia.
11. After starting out hot, the Bills ended up falling flat on their faces in the second half of the season. They are solid all around, but could use a TE or WR to complete their offense since they’ve shown faith in Trent Edwards, an every down DE, and an OLB since they were proven to be weak against the run. Taking a chance on a physical freak who may prove to be the BPA here, the Buffalo Bills select Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech.
12. After surprisingly firing Mike Shanahan and hiring Josh McDaniels, it is highly likely that the Broncos switch to the 3-4, which will leave them with huge holes to fill. If Denver is wise, they will look at the Browns as a case study in what not to do when transitioning to a 3-4, and that’s take LBs before you have a solid DL. Marcus Thomas may make a decent DE in a 3-4, however they would still need another DE and a NT. However, with no viable options to fill these positions at this point, Denver looks to shore up a LB corps that will include DJ Williams, Elvis Dumervil, and Jarvis Moss. The Denver Broncos select Rey Maualuga, ILB, USC.
13. The Redskins are a pretty good team who happened to finish last in their division with an 8-8 record. Their main weakness was an inability to rush the passer due to poor DT play. It’s the same principle that we’ve seen here where the DE gets pressure, but the QB is able to step up into the pocket because the DTs are unable to collapse the pocket. What the Redskins need is a big DT who can play the run, but is also able to penetrate, and that’s why the Washington Redskins select BJ Raji, DT, Boston College.
14. The Saints are a decent team without any huge weaknesses. They could stand to add a RB, but probably not in the first as that would cause them to have a crazy amount of money tied up on the position. Their secondary is fairly average, but could be much better if they were able to replace Jason David, who has been pretty bad since arriving in NO, despite putting up good INT numbers. He would probably make a good NB. The New Orleans Saints select Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois.
15. Here it is. What we’ve all been waiting for. We all know the team’s needs, but there isn’t a viable option at FS, OC, or WLB. Beanie Wells is a thought, but we’re not looking for a starter, we’re looking for a guy who will be comfortable with 5-10 carries a game, and we can find that later on in the draft. Let’s take this opportunity to analyze the first round picks we’ve made since Kubiak has been the coach. Mario Williams was super athletic, streaky, and considered to be far from a finished product. Amobi Okoye was the youngest player eligible for the NFL draft in history, was able to collapse the pocket, and was far from a finished product. Duane Brown was a TE who was moved to RT for a season, then played LT for his senior season. He had good measurables, loads of potential, and was far from a finished product. This trend has continued for three years, and is most likely going to continue, similar to the Titans’ and Cowboys’ streaks of going one-and-done in the playoffs. The Houston Texans select Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State and his 15.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 PBU from this past season. He is undersized at the moment, but has the frame to get bigger without losing any speed. He will likely be a situational pass rusher his first season in the league, but he has the potential to be a very, very good DE.
16. San Diego had one of the worst passing defenses this past season despite having Antonio Cromartie (who played through a fractured hip) and Quentin Jammer on the outside. All signs point to bad safety play. Clinton Hart is an average player, and Eric Weddle has potential. This defense would be much better after replacing Hart. The San Diego Chargers select William Moore, S, Missouri.
17. The Jets would likely have been a much better team if they didn’t have Brett Favre throwing 2 INTs per game down the stretch, and would be wise to stay away from the drama that he will undoubtedly cause this offseason and just name Kellen Clemens the starter. He has a great OL in front of him, good RBs, and some pretty good TEs. However, WR needs to be addressed as Laveranues Coles is on the wrong side of 30, and the depth behind Jerricho Cotchery is sketchy. The New York Jets select Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri.
18. The Bears have decided that the QB job is Kyle Orton’s to lose. Now they’d be wise to give him some weapons because, while Hester may be a decent deep threat, Rashied Davis, Brandon Lloyd, and Marty Booker don’t get the job done. The Chicago Bears select Hakeem Nicks, WR, UNC.
19. Under Gruden, the Buccaneers have been one of the better teams in the NFL in terms of pure talent, which allows them to focus on one need and then draft mainly BPA. This season, their main weakness was a lack of penetration coming from the DT position, where Jovan Haye and Chris Hovan are the starters. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi.
20. The Lions are lucky to be back on the clock later in the first round after selecting Andre Smith 1st overall with a few other offensive weapons on the board. Without much hesitation, the Detroit Lions select Mark Sanchez, QB, USC.
21. The Cardinals have been a pleasant surprise this season after being picked to make the playoffs the past couple of years. While they have one of the more potent pass offenses in the NFL, their rush offense is ranked dead last in YPG. Edgerrin James is a free agent and will likely be let go. The team needs someone to split carries with Tim Hightower, and JJ Arrington does not appear to be that guy. The Arizona Cardinals select Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB, Ohio State.
22. The Vikings are likely a good QB away from going deep into the postseason, so expect them to take a stab at a guy like Jeff Garcia. That being said, the right side of their OL needs a boost since Ryan Cook has been a bit of a disappointment and Anthony Herrera has been pretty average. The Minnesota Vikings select Eben Britton, OT, Arizona.
23. The Patriots are a team that gets a lot out of a little in their secondary due to great play by their front 7. I fully expect them to continue trying to revamp their LB corps, which still features a few guys who were born in the Paleolithic Era. The New England Patriots select Clint Sintim, LB, Virginia.
24. The Falcons are a fairly balanced team that has a fair amount of talent all over the field. A few weak spots are RT, DT, and DB, but there really aren’t any value picks at this point in these positions. The best thing that Atlanta could do would be to give Matt Ryan another weapon and fill the void left by Alge Crumpler. The Atlanta Falcons select Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State.
25. Parcells is an old school run the ball and stop the run kind of guy, as evidenced by picking Jake Long last year despite more pressing needs. Continuing on that trend, the Miami Dolphins select Duke Robinson, OG, Oklahoma. Even Chad Pennington could average 4 YPC behind the left side of this line.
26. Ray Lewis, Bart Scott, and Terrell Suggs are all due to become FAs after the season, but I’m betting they all re-sign with Baltimore. With the defense more or less in place, Baltimore should look to upgrade their passing attack, which is in the bottom third of the NFL. Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton are both solid, but they need some depth behind them and someone that can take over for the 34 year old Mason. The Baltimore Ravens select Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland.
27. The Colts are a team that has very few weaknesses despite losing Marlin Jackson to IR, Quinn Pitcock to retirement, and Ed Johnson due to his own stupidity. DT is a glaring need, but Indianapolis isn’t the type of team that will reach on a player. The Indianapolis Colts select Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest.
28. After wisely trading out of the first round with Carolina last year, Philadelphia has two picks in the late first round to play around with. While they have one of the top defenses in the NFL, they could be even better if they had a true MLB, which would allow Stewart Bradley to move out to his natural position of SLB. The Philadelphia Eagles select James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State.
29. After losing Plaxico Burress for the season after he shot himself, it became painfully obvious that the Giants need a clear cut WR1. Amani Toomer and Domenik Hixon aren’t that guy. Steve Smith and Mario Manningham probably aren’t either. The Giants need a guy with some size that can get separation. The New York Giants select Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers.
30. After going one-and-done yet again, the Titans have to be wondering what went wrong. They don’t have any big play threats at WR, and luckily for them, there is one available. The Tennessee Titans select Percy Harvin, WR, Florida. So what if he’s the size of Laveranues Coles, injury prone, and has no true position in the NFL, he’s an exciting player!
Smoke 'em if you got 'em...
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