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Old 04-04-2006   #1
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Default Updated ESPN Mock Draft by Mel Kiper Jr.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/draft0...ory?id=2278820

Texans set to take Bush No. 1 overall
By Mel Kiper Jr.

Note: My first-round projections are based directly on the current position of each team in the draft and do not take into account potential trades.

It looks like the Houston Texans will take USC running back Reggie Bush with the No. 1 overall pick. The hottest spot in the draft to make a trade will be with the New Orleans Saints and the second pick. The only team the Saints could make a trade with -- and still get defensive end Mario Williams -- is the New York Jets. New York could trade up from the fourth overall pick and take USC QB Matt Leinart. Tennessee, which has the third pick, would then take Texas QB Vince Young. From what I have been told, the Titans have a very high opinion of Young.

The next place you could see a trade is with the sixth overall pick, owned by the San Francisco 49ers. The sixth spot is where you will begin to hear Maryland tight end Vernon Davis' name come up. Teams like the Cardinals, Rams and Broncos could all have an interest in the tight end; then again, the 49ers could keep the pick and draft Davis.

Here's another scenario. Young is still on the board when the Raiders pick at No. 7. They already have two quarterbacks (Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter), so they could make a deal with a team that has an interest in Young.

Another interesting spot to watch is with the Jets' second pick in the first round. They could go with Ohio State center Nick Mangold with the 29th pick, but don't be surprised if they take outside linebacker Bobby Carpenter, also from Ohio State. Carpenter is in the same mold of Mike Vrabel, another Ohio State alum. Vrabel's defensive coordinator with the Patriots last season was Eric Mangini, now the coach of the Jets. If the Jets don't take Carpenter, don't be surprised if the Steelers take him. Remember, before he signed with the Patriots, Vrabel originally was drafted by the Steelers.

As for the latest first-round projections, there are two noticeable changes. The first is that I have 10 defensive backs going in the first round. Florida State's Antonio Cromartie, who missed the entire 2005 season with a knee injury, had a tremendous individual workout (40-yard dash in the 4.3 range and a 44-inch vertical leap). In fact, he showed such great hands catching the ball that teams might be curious to see what type of wide receiver he could be. He's a cornerback in the NFL, but has the athleticism and hands to play on offense.

Cromartie isn't the only versatile defensive back in the first round. Michael Huff of Texas will initially be a cornerback in the NFL, but played safety in college; Ohio State's Donte Whitner played safety at Ohio State, but could be corner at the next level or a great cover safety; and Jason Allen was both a safety and corner at Tennessee. The true cover cornerbacks in the first round are Johnathan Joseph, Tye Hill, Ashton Youboty, Kelly Jennings and Richard Marshall.

The other noticeable change is how far the running backs (Laurence Maroney, LenDale White and DeAngelo Williams) have fallen, but it has nothing to do with their productivity. Arizona (10th pick) and Minnesota (17th pick) were looking at running backs in the first round before addressing those needs through free agency (the Cardinals signed Edgerrin James and the Vikings grabbed Chester Taylor).

One player from the Big Ten who has fallen is Penn State defensive end Tamba Hali. He didn't have great individual workouts; still, you cannot question his body of work on the field. Hali could still go late in the first round, but if he doesn't, a team will be getting a steal in the second round.

My Big Board will be updated the second week of April, while the next first-round projections will come out on April 17. The final projection will be April 28, the day before the draft.

First-Round Projections

1. Houston Reggie Bush, RB* USC
2. New Orleans Mario Williams, DE* NC State
3. Tennessee Matt Leinart, QB USC
4. N.Y. Jets D'Brickashaw Ferguson, T Virginia
5. Green Bay A.J. Hawk, LB Ohio St.
6. San Francisco Vernon Davis, TE* Maryland
7. Oakland Vince Young, QB* Texas
8. Buffalo Brodrick Bunkley, DT Florida St.
9. Detroit Michael Huff, DB Texas
10. Arizona Jay Cutler, QB Vanderbilt
11. St. Louis Chad Greenway, LB Iowa
12. Cleveland Kamerion Wimbley, DE/OLB Florida St.
13. Baltimore Haloti Ngata, DT* Oregon
14. Philadelphia Winston Justice, T* USC
15. Denver (from ATL) Chad Jackson, WR* Florida
16. Miami Donte Whitner, S* Ohio St.
17. Minnesota Ernie Sims, LB* Florida St.
18. Dallas Jason Allen, S/CB Tennessee
19. San Diego Johnathan Joseph, CB* South Carolina
20. Kansas City Tye Hill, CB Clemson
21. New England Santonio Holmes, WR* Ohio St.
22. Denver (from WSH) DeAngelo Williams, RB Memphis
23. Tampa Bay Antonio Cromartie, CB* Florida St.
24. Cincinnati Jimmy Williams, CB Virginia Tech
25. N.Y. Giants Kelly Jennings, CB Miami
26. Chicago Richard Marshall CB* Fresno St.
27. Carolina LenDale White, RB* USC
28. Jacksonville Marcedes Lewis, TE UCLA
29. N.Y. Jets (from DEN) Nick Mangold, C Ohio St.
30. Indianapolis Laurence Maroney, RB* Minnesota
31. Seattle Ashton Youboty, CB* Ohio St.
32. Pittsburgh Sinorice Moss, WR Miami

* denotes underclassman

Stock Rising

Late first round, early second round

Chris Chester, C -- Oklahoma
Orien Harris, DT -- Miami
D'Qwell Jackson, LB -- Maryland
Davin Joseph, G -- Oklahoma
Taitusi "Duece" Latui, G -- USC
Manny Lawson, DE -- NC State
Rocky McIntosh, OLB -- Miami
Leonard Pope, TE -- Georgia
Eric Winston, T -- Miami

Early to middle of second round

Joseph Addai, RB -- LSU
Brodie Croyle, QB -- Alabama
David Thomas, TE -- Texas
Zach Strief, T -- Northwestern

3rd round

Will Blackmon, CB/WR -- Boston College
Chris Gocong, DE -- Cal Poly SLO
Devin Hester, CB/WR/returner -- Miami
Tarvaris Jackson, QB -- Alabama St.
Calvin Lowry, S -- Penn St.
Danieal Manning, CB -- Abilene Christian
David Pittman, CB -- Northwestern St.
Willie Reid, WR/Returner -- Florida St.
Joe Toledo, T -- Washington
Guy Whimper, T -- East Carolina
James Wyche, DE -- Syracuse

Stock Dropped

Jason Avant, WR -- Michigan
Dominique Byrd, TE -- USC
Tamba Hali, DE -- Penn St.
Thomas Howard, LB -- UTEP
Mathias Kiwanuka, DE -- Boston College
Ko Simpson, DB -- South Carolina
Alan Zemaitis, CB -- Penn St.
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Old 04-04-2006   #2
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David Thomas as a 2nd rounder? AWESOME!!!!!!! I never thought he'd go until at least the 4th.
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Old 04-04-2006   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texans34Life
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/draft0...ory?id=2278820

One player from the Big Ten who has fallen is Penn State defensive end Tamba Hali. He didn't have great individual workouts; still, you cannot question his body of work on the field. Hali could still go late in the first round, but if he doesn't, a team will be getting a steal in the second round.
Oh man that would be great if Hali feel to the Texans.
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Old 04-04-2006   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caphorn
David Thomas as a 2nd rounder? AWESOME!!!!!!! I never thought he'd go until at least the 4th.
I heard about him being a third round pick after the Rose Bowl. He had a great game but if he's a second round pick it's probably later in the round.
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Old 04-04-2006   #5
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If Manny Lawson is still there, I'd have to go with him.
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Old 04-04-2006   #6
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Ko Simpson keeps falling down and down the board. Maybe we can get him in the third round
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Old 04-04-2006   #7
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Eric Winston might slip, thats good He did have a wonderful combine though.
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Old 04-04-2006   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Utah
Oh man that would be great if Hali feel to the Texans.
I know what you mean. Most years this guy is top half of the 1st.

I wasn't really looking at DE in the 2nd, but if Hali is there, that's tough to pass on, since we're still up in the air (Kalu/Babin/Peek?) on the non-Weaver DE spot.
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Old 04-04-2006   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Utah
Oh man that would be great if Hali feel to the Texans.
Don't count on it unless he lasts until the 3rd round somehow, I don't see the Texans taking him at #33 unless all the OLinemen and CBs that are worth that pick are gone. He has a good mixture of size and athleticism, although that has come into question a little the last month or so and he seems like a fairly lazy player.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeReal
If Manny Lawson is still there, I'd have to go with him.
I doubt Lawson makes it out of the 1st round, plus if people are concerned about Peek's weight then they should be that much more concerned about Lawson since he is 2-3 inches taller and 10 lbs. lighter than Peek. He is a nice athlete, but I think he'll go to one of the many teams that are now running a 3-4, he'd be a great passrushing OLB in that kind of system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TexanFan881
Ko Simpson keeps falling down and down the board. Maybe we can get him in the third round
I wouldn't be opposed to this at all, I don't overly like taking him in the 2nd round unless a lot of people I'm hoping/expecting to be available aren't there, but I think he'd be a great pick in the 3rd round if he somehow lasts that long.
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