Sunday, February 8, 2009

Preposterously Early Mock Draft

I know. Free agency hasn't even started. The NFL combine hasn't happened and Brett Farve hasn't even unretired yet. Still, that's no reason we can't take a wild guess at a mock draft yet, right? Here goes with a stupidly early mock draft.

1. Detroit Lions — Matthew Stafford QB — Georgia
The Lions could use help everywhere. And with two picks in the first round they should get some help right away. They go with the QB of the future, Stafford and hope he can do what Matt Ryan did for the Falcons last year.

2. St Louis Rams — Eugene Monroe OT — Virginia
We can be pretty assured this pick will be an LT, but which one? Right now, Monroe gets the pick ahead of the two Smiths and Oher as the best LT out there. Spags get his QB protector for the next decade.

3. Kansas City Chiefs — Michael Crabtree WR — Texas Tech
With the hiring of Haley as head coach of the Chiefs, it's likely that the Chiefs will go offense with their first pick. They need to anyway, as their offense was awful. Haley might try to recreate a passing offense like he had in Arizona with Boldin and Fitzgerald by pairing up Crabtree with Dwayne Bowe.

4. Seattle Seahawks — Aaron Curry OLB — Wake Forest
The Seahawks are upset that Crabtree is gone, but are happy to take the year's best defensive player to add to a terrible defense. Curry's size and speed helps the Seahawks immediately.

5. Cleveland Browns — Malcolm Jenkins CB — Ohio State
The cavalcade of new coaches continues; this time with Mangini in Cleveland. Mangini knows the value of a lockdown corner; he had Asante Samuel in New England and Darrelle Revis with the Jets. He gets his Cleveland version with Jenkins.

6. Cincinnati Bengals — Brian Orakpo DE — Texas
The Bengals have been looking for a pass rushing DE since seemingly the Carter administration. They reach a little here—since explosive DEs are always in demand (see the Jaguars last year trade up 20 spots for Derrick Harvey) and take the Longhorn Orakpo.

7. Oakland Raiders — Andre Smith OT — Alabama
Who the heck knows what Weird Al Davis is going to do? The smart thing would be to protect his young franchise QB with a franchise LT. Russell, who showed signs of improvement last year (6 TDs in his last 3 games) sure would appreciate it. But with Al Davis, ya never know.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars — Jason Smith — OT Baylor
Disappointing. That's the only way to describe the Jaguars 2008 season. Thought to be a Super Bowl contender, the Jags collapsed early and often. Jacksonville begins by getting an athletic LT to begin the rebuilding along their decimated OL.

9. Green Bay Packers — B.J. Raji DT — Boston College
Raji, the Boston College DT is the consensus pick here, and with reason. The former Eagle is a massive fire hydrant of a DT with quickness and can both stuff the run and rush the passer. With the Packers moving to a 3-4 defense, Raji makes sense.

10. San Francisco 49ers — Everette Brown OLB — Florida State
Suffice it to say, the Tulley Banta-Cain experiment is over in SF. The Niners need an explosive pass rushing OLB who can consistently put pressure on opposing QBs. Manny Lawson and Cain combined for just 3.5 sacks all season opposite Parys Haralson. The Niners reach a bit for Brown, but get a young explosive pass rusher.

11 Buffalo Bills — Brandon Pettigrew TE — Oklahoma State
It's too early to draft a OG, which the Bills really could use. Look for the Bills to possibly trade down. However, if they stay here, they should look hard at Pettigrew who can both run and block, and had a good Senior Bowl. Pettigrew would give young QB Trent Edwards a big target on 3rd downs.

12. Denver Broncos — Rey Maualuga ILB — USC
The Broncos need help everywhere on their defense. They take the best player available; Maualuga will help stop other teams from putting 150 ypg rushing right away.

13. Washington Redskins — Michael Oher OT — Ole Miss
Last year, 8 OTs went in the first round. This year, that trend continues, The Redskin bookend OTs are old. Oher helps that problem by adding youth. Some have Oher going 2nd to the Rams, but he falls a little due to an inconsistent motor.

14. New Orleans Saints — Vontae Davis CB — Illinois
The Saints don't have a 2nd or 3rd round pick, so they might look to trade down. However, they have needed a shutdown corner seemingly forever. Davis, a true talent, is a bit of a knucklehead, which causes him to fall to the Saints.

15. Houston Texans — Chris Wells RB — Ohio State
A surprise, but not a huge one, actually. A top flight DE or CB would be the best choice, however, without reaching or trading up, neither is available. The Texans do the next best thing, which is add a superior RB to team with Steve Slaton. Wells is a mega talent (better than his slot at 15) and would benefit from sharing the load.

16. San Diego Chargers — Aaron Maybin OLB — Penn State
The Chargers would have looked at Wells had he been here, but are happy to take Maybin as a consolation prize. Maybin is small, and probably would only be used in passing downs to start, but he has undeniable talent and can rush the passer, which is something the Chargers sorely need. Brian Cushing is also a possibility

17. New York Jets — James Laurinaitis ILB — Ohio State
If Farve is gone, the Jets have to look hard at Sanchez. In either case, Maclin or Harvin is also intriguing as speed in the WR department is a problem. However, new coach Ryan is a Parcells-type defense-first guy. He takes the young LB to solidify the Jets front 7.

18. Chicago Bears — Jeremy Maclin WR — Missouri
Apart from Hester, the Bears offense puts no fear into opposing defenses. Maclin, and his explosiveness, gives the other teams something to worry about.

19. Tampa Bay Bucs — Knowshon Moreno — Georgia
Tampa Bay needs to find out in the next 75 days if Josh Johnson is their future QB. Drafted by the former regime last year, Johnson is talented but raw. If the answer is no, Sanchez could be the pick here. However, Moreno, is an undeniable talent, and would add punch to a offense that could use a solid answer somewhere.

20. Detroit Lions — Brian Cushing OLB — USC
The Lions just take the best player available here. Cushing is do-everything OLB. The Lions need talent everywhere and are happy to grab him here.

21. Philadelphia Eagles — Eden Britton OT — Arizona
The Eagles are active on draft day, trading down or up often. They need a young OT and could trade up to grab Oher. However, Britton is rising on many draft boards and has the ability to play LT in the NFL—though they could wait till the 28th pick to address their OL.

22. Minnesota Vikings — Mark Sanchez QB — USC
It's becoming clear that Tavaris Jackson is not the guy to lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl—15 for 35 in the playoffs—and neither is Gus Frerotte. If Jeff Garcia is available, the Vikings could grab him, but barring a free agency pickup, the USC product would be a good pick here.

23. New England Patriots — Alphonso Smith CB — Wake Forest
The Patriots never successfully addressed their secondary problem the past couple of years. Smith, the consensus next best CB after Jenkins and Davis, gets plugged in at CB immediately.

24. Atlanta Falcons — Peria Jerry DT — Ole Miss
The Falcons might be building a Patriot-type dynasty down south. They hit on all 3 of their top 3 picks last year, with Ryan, Baker and Lofton getting starting jobs. Now, the hard part. Do it again. The Falcons grab the young DT from Ole Miss, Jerry to replace an aging Grady Jackson and help solidify the middle of the Falcon defense.

25. Miami Dolphins — Michael Johnson OLB — Georgia Tech
You know Parcells looked at the fact that Joey Porter had 17.5 sacks, and the next Dolphin on the sack list had 5. You know Parcells wants that to change. Parcells loves raw talent. Johnson has that—he's long (6'7") with explosive speed (4.65). Parcells and Porter will work on his inconsistent motor.

26. Baltimore Ravens — Percy Harvin WR — Florida
The Ravens are ecstatic that Harvin and his 4.35 speed fall to them. If he's not there, the Ravens should think about restocking their aging defense. D.J. Moore is a possibility here.

27. Indianapolis Colts — Sen'Derrick Marks DT — Auburn
The Colts have needed a run-stuffing DT for a long while; Marks fits their one-gap scheme well. However, with Marvin Harrison most likely retiring, a WR could be a possibility (Kenny Britt, or Darrius Heyward-Bey). Also, the Colts were awful at run-blocking last year, and with Duke Robinson available, he is a possibility.

28. Philadelphia Eagles — Darrius Heyward-Bey WR — Maryland
The Eagles drafted a good WR in DeSean Jackson last year. But at 5'9", he's a munchkin. Heyward-Bey has the size (6'3") and speed (the 4.40 range) to help out the Eagles passing game.

29. New York Giants — Kenny Britt WR — Rutgers
Much depends on how the Plaxico Burress case falls out. If Burress is not available (i.e. jail), look for the Giants to fill his place as a big receiver. The Giants did not look the same after Burress went down. Britt at 6'4" could be the replacement the G-Men need. A local kid as well.

30. Tennessee Titans — Alex Mack C — California
The Titans could go a number of ways here; a DT to replace Haynesworth should he go, a CB to help Cortland Finnegan, a game-changing WR. With the way this draft has shaken out, they grab the best player available. Mack emerged at the Senior Bowl as the best center in the college ranks. The Titans take him to replace Kevin Mawae as soon as he is ready, or slide him in at guard, where Mack has the size and skills to be a difference-maker.

31. Arizona Cardinals — Clint Stitim OLB — Virginia
Knowshon Moreno is the dream here, and LeSean McCoy is a real possibility as Edge James is paid far too well for a sub 4.0 ypc. However, the Cardinals OLB are aging and Karlos Dansby might leave via free agency. Stitum led all collegiate linebackers in sacks in 2008 and would be a welcome addition to the Cardinals defense.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers — Duke Robinson G — Oklahoma
If the Steelers don't get help along their offensive line this offseason, they should mail Ben Roethlisberger's checks to the local hospital. Duke Robinson is the best O-linemen available and would be an improvement from day 1. Williams Beatty or Max Unger is a possibility here as well.

So there it is. Tell me what you think. And since there's only 76 days to the draft, you should get started on your own mock draft.

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