It's been almost 2 months since I did my first mock draft. And a lot has happened. A lot of Senior Days, a lot of free agency signings. So it's about time to do the next version. Here we go:
1. Miami - Jake Long OT - Michigan
Bill Parcells is a "Hog" guy. He believes in enforcing your will at the line of scrimmage. And with Miami cutting tackles Shelton, Toledo and Alabi and only one signing of significance on the offensive line (guard Justin Smiley), Miami is in for some draft help. Matt Ryan is a possibility, but the buzz is that Parcells likes Chad Henne in the second round. That said, I think Parcells takes Henne's Wolverine teammate, Long.
2. St. Louis - Chris Long DE - Virginia
The Rams need help everywhere. And with Parcells taking one of their options off the board and the signing of Jacob Bell to help the offensive line, the Rams turn to the other side of the ball, namely defensive end. Little is 34 on one side, and Victor Adeyanju doesn't have a sack to his name on the other. Long has rocked his off-season workouts and will make the Rams happy he was there at 2.
3. Atlanta - Matt Ryan QB - Boston College
The Falcons are another team with needs all over the place. Their O-Line is a shambles; QB is a disaster, though they did get Michael Turner. That means Darren McFadden is not the pick here, so they turn to the nation's best signal caller, Ryan, and allow him to learn from the bench as Chris Redman and Joey Harrington get their butts kicked behind a terrible offensive line.
4. Oakland - Vernon Gholston DE/OLB - Ohio State
You really never know with "Weird" Al Davis. He marches to his own bagpipes. The moves he's made off-season—namely signing Tommy Kelly to a fat contract, trading for DeAngelo Hall, signing Gibril Wilson—seem to point to Al's displeasure with the defensive side of the ball. Also, he resigned Justin "Huggy Bear, Jr." Fargas and has a couple million in Dominic Rhodes to back him up. Combine that with the fact that Weird Al loves athletes and speed, make Gholston, this year's "Freak," the Raiders pick.
5. Kansas City - Jeff Otah OT - Pittsburgh
Buzz on the street is that ole' Herm loves this kid. And with KC's D-E-S-P-E-R-A-T-E need for offensive line help and their complete lack of interest they showed Ryan Clady's pro day, it seems Otah is the pick here. In all sincerity, I think the Chiefs try to trade down—Otah should be available still, around pick 9 or so, so see the Bengals actually taking this pick.
6. New York Jets - Darren McFadden RB - Arkansas
Again, I think this pick is a trade, especially with Dorsey still on the board. However, if the Jets stay here and the draft roles this way, they have to take McFadden. As much as I would hate that. Thomas Jones is still a solid back (last year's problems are the offensive line's fault, not his) and Washington provides the explosion and versatility the Jets need. Everyone compares McFadden to A. Peterson, though I don't see it. McFadden doesn't possess the breaking power that Peterson has. In any event, should the draft play out this way, McFadden has got to be the pick.
7. New England - Glenn Dorsey DT - LSU
I know, I know. Every mock on the planet has the Pats taking a CB. But New England has signed Fernando Bryant, Jason Webster and Lewis Sanders. And frankly, the draft doesn't truly have any of the CBs available worth this pick. Dorsey, on the other hand, is definitely worth this pick, and would be a gift to Belichek. Dorsey can used in a variety of ways (inside on a 3-4 or outside, or in a 4-3), makes others better, and is a force in whatever role (three-technique, over the ball) you play him.
8. Baltimore - Mike Jenkins CB - South Florida
Baltimore has been pretty quiet this off-season. And with needs to fill, cornerback being the most pressing (the Ravens will wait till later to grab a QB prospect), they grab talented Jenkins, a solid cover corner. The Ravens prefer taller corners (both Rolle and McAlister are over 6 feet), and with Jenkins fitting the bill as tall, the Ravens grab him.
9. Cincinnati - Sedrick Ellis DT - USC
As I said before, I believe KC and Cincinnati will swap picks. But either way, Ellis is the pick for the Bengals. With a truly dire need for help up the middle (the Bengals gave up over 120 yds per game on the ground last year), Ellis would be just what the Queen City prayed for.
10. New Orleans - Leodis McKelvin CB - Troy
New Orleans has done a heck of a lot of work on their defense this off-season. And that's good cause they needed to. But more still needs to be done. It seems like the Saints have been looking for an answer at corner for forever. Jason David was a bust, Usama Young didn't impress and Randall Gay is bust suited to a 3rd option. McKelvin helps them right away and can return kicks as well. Also, look for a trade up to the Jet's spot to grab Dorsey.
11. Buffalo - Malcolm Kelly WR - Oklahoma
An easy one here. The Bills pulled a great trade with their nabbing of Marcus Stroud. Shoring up their middle defense should help with their pass rush, and signing Kawika Mitchell and the return of Paul Posluzny should help with their run defense and LB corp. On the offensive side of the ball, the Bills have cut Sam Aiken and Peerless Price, leaving them with the cast of the "Lollipop Kids" as their receivers are all 5'10" or under. Kelly, at 6'4" gives new QB Edwards a nice target.
12. Denver - Ryan Clady OT - Boise State
Another pick that writes itself. With Lepsis's retirement, the Broncos need a LT who can step in and play their zone-blocking scheme. Last year's 3rd Round pick didn't play much and is no sure thing. Clady has the feet to fit in perfectly.
13. Carolina - Chris Williams OT - Vanderbilt
This pick is very much up in the air, as their are rumors about a possible Viking-Panther trade involving Julius Peppers and Gross going to Minnesota and Bryant McKinnie heading to Carolina. Also, the Panthers are shifting Travelle Wharton inside to guard, so they need some offensive line help in any case. They grab Williams to help out.
14. Chicago - Gosder Cherilus OT - Boston College
This is a little higher than most predicted the huge BC guy to go, but word is that Chicago is very interested in the BC lineman and has scouted him very closely. And let's face it, Chicago needs the help. A natural right tackle, Cherilus has impressed in the off-season workouts and would fit in nicely here.
15. Detroit - Rashard Mendenhall RB - Illinois
The Lions could go a number of ways here. Harvey, the pass rusher from Florida could help Rod Marinelli's defense, which could use help. Dan Connor would look nice, too in this defense. However, with Kevin Jones getting cut and Duckett heading to Seattle and Tatum Bell on a short leash with a one-year deal, the Lions grab a big, quick back to help out their offense.
16. Arizona - Aqib Talib CB - Kansas
The Cardinals get a little teary when they see Williams and Clady go off the board before them...it means they are likely to have to live with Mike Gandy at LT for another season. Talib has been a ballhawk his entire career, and has the right disposition for corner. At his Senior Day, he reportedly did well at the positional drills. Also, look for Rodgers-Cromartie here, but I think Kalib gets the nod.
17. Minnesota - Derrick Harvey DE - Florida
It seems like the Vikings have been drafting defensive ends in the first round a lot lately, with Kenechi Udeze and Erasmus James. And now with Udeze going for Leukemia treatment and James buried in the depth chart, Minnesota needs someone who could hound the passer. Harvey, a clone of former teammate Jarvis Moss, fits the bill.
18. Houston Texans - Jonathan Stewart RB - Oregon
The Texans dropped a chunk of change on Jacque Reeves to help out with their awful secondary. And they might not be done. With Dunta Robinson out till mid-season, the Texans might need more help. This pick could easily be spent on more secondary help, where the Texans were pretty abysmal. However, with Stewart sitting there, the Texans must ask themselves, is Ahman Green or Darius Walker the answer? Stewart is too good to pass up.
19. Philadelphia - Desean Jackson WR - California
For a team that passes the ball 70% of the time, the Eagles don't really have the most impressive WR corp. And if this is really Reid and McNabb's swan song (as is whispered), they need to get a playmaker tout suite. Jackson's speed is off the chart and can give the Eagles a Devin Hester-type threat every time he touches the ball.
20. Tampa Bay - Limas Sweed WR - Oklahoma
4th pick in a row that I didn't change from my January mock. Tweed fits exactly what Tampa needs—a big receiver that can play Little Chucky's offense.
21. Washington - Devin Thomas WR - Michigan State
The Redskins have been completely quiet this off-season. Not because they don't have needs; the O-line is old and thing on backups, they need help all across the defensive line and they have no wide receivers that scare anybody. That said, Devin Thomas has had a great off-season, including posting a 4.4 40 and 33 inches on his vertical leap. Head coach Zorn has publicly stated the Skins need help at WR; consider Thomas that request answered.
22. Dallas - Felix Jones RB - Arkansas
The Cowboys have been the subject of seemingly a jillion trade rumors this off-season; moving up to get McFadden, getting Ocho Cinco to help out at WR, and getting Pac-Man Jones to come in once the NFL says he can. All things being as they are now, I think Jerry Jones takes his namesake from his alma mater. I think Rodgers-Cromartie makes more sense, but I think Jerry gets his way.
23. Pittsburgh - Brandon Albert G - Virginia
The rumor mill has it that the Steelers have been scouting Quentin Groves hard. However, having spent their first two picks on linebackers last draft and with James Harrison having a breakout season with 8.5 sacks and a Pro Bowl berth, I can't see the Steelers grabbing another OLB with their first round pick. Also, Rothlisberger was sacked 47 times last season and having just signed him to a contract with a lot of zeroes on it, they probably want to keep him alive. The pick is Albert who steps in for the departed Faneca.
24. Tennessee - Kentwan Balmer DT - North Carolina
The Titans seem to be going back to the future this off-season, signing former Titans, Jevon Kearse and Justin McCareins. Other than that, and the Jake Scott signing, it's been relatively quiet. They passed on the wide receiver class of free agents, including Bryant Johnson, who many already had penciled in Nashville. Tenn lost a bunch of players off their defensive line, including Randy Starks, Antwan Odam and Travis Laboy. Their recent signing of Kearse and DE Philip Merling's recent hernia scares the Titans off and they take Balmer to help stop the bleeding on their defensive line.
25. Seattle - Sam Baker OT - USC
This might be a little high for Baker, but this is a need position. As this is Holmgren's last year, he needs someone to come in and play now. That leaves out any of the skill positions as it take a few years for those guys to get comfortable in his complex offense. Baker can come in with free agent guard Mark Wahle and solidify the line for Holmgren's last year.
26. Jacksonville: Phillip Merling DE - Clemson
Jacksonville only mustered up 37 sacks all last season and with Bobby McCray having fled to N.O., the Jaguars need for a pass-rushing end is even more dire. Merling isn’t a classic pass-rushing end, and falls a bit due to injury issues. The slide stops here as the Jaguars can pencil him close to right away as he is all-around solid and may be the most ready to start end in the draft. Kenny Phillips and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are other options.
27. San Diego: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie CB - Tennessee State
The Chargers are in a position to take the best player available. They take a gander at Dan Connor and Keith Rivers, but with Drayton Florence leaving for Jacksonville, they join cousins, Antonio and Dominique in their secondary. Coming off a lower level of competition, Rodgers-Cromartie can start slow behind Quentin Jammer and his cousin until he catches up to NFL speed.
28. Dallas: Antoine Cason CB - Arizona
In all honesty, if Rodgers-Cromartie slides past 22, I think Dallas trades up to get him. Or, they can stay here at 28 and take Antoine Cason, who may not have the athleticism and upside of Rodgers-Cromartie, but can help sooner. Reggie Smith is a possibility as well.
29. San Francisco - Keith Rivers LB - USC
The Niners must feel happier than an old uncle on Viagra in a whorehouse. Rivers slide (which has more to do with other teams' pressing needs rather than any lack of his ability) lands him right into the laps of the Niners who love his versatility and can use him in any number of ways. With the Niners having taken care of their passing woes with Isaac Bruce, Bryant Johnson and Mike Martz coming into town, they laugh as Willis and Rivers make for an excellent LB corp for years to come.
30. Green Bay - Brandon Flowers CB - Virginia Tech
Green Bay likes to play rough, in-you-face man-to-man. Enter Brandon Flowers. Although smallish, Flowers is a hard hitter and might be the best stick-to-your-hip cover corner this draft. And anyone watching the Green Bay-New York playoff game knows that the Packers need some new blood in their secondary. Reggie Smith is also a possibility, but I think that Flowers is better suited to what the Packers run and can come in an be the nickel corner right away.
31. New England - The Pats forfeited this pick due to their illegal spying.
32. New York Giants - Dan Connor LB - Penn State
The second after Green Bay selects Brandon Flowers, you can hear the New York crowd in the draft room start chanting Connor's name. There might be some chants of "Kenny Phillips" or "Reggie Smith," as Giants fans know their safety situation is pretty grim. However, Connor's just too talented to pass up and can slide in at Giant OLB right away.