Alright, the Super Bowl is complete…and next we turn our attention to the NFL Draft. As a fan of both college and pro football, the draft is one of my favorite times of year, tying both worlds together.
Here is my first stab at the draft. You can never really know what will happen until Free Agency at least, and after the Combine things become even clearer, but there will always be fun surprises for everyone on draft day.
In the meanwhile, we have 3 more months of speculation. Since it is still mostly a crapshoot right now, this Mock Draft is based on my perception of team needs and quality of players available, but only a few situations are based on assumed free agency movement. My assessment of the draft changes almost daily, based on seeing more video and engaging in further discussion about teams and players.
Please feel free to post your comments or even post your own picture of how you feel the draft will turn out. I love to hear what others have to say…Thanks for whatever you may have to contribute!
1. Houston Texans—Reggie Bush, RB USC: What can you say? Reggie will add a dimension to this team that every team in the league wants. Houston can pick up OL help in FA and the draft is deep in OL talent that is their biggest need IMO.
2. New Orleans Saints—Matt Leinart, QB USC: I like Vince Young better, but I think The Saints will want a "pro style" QB in the NFC South, because teams there already have prepared for a "running QB"...that said, I think Leinart will struggle and I am not convinced of his toughness...but he is still a worthwhile pick this year. They should try to trade down IMO, though.
3. Tennessee Titans—Vince Young, QB Texas: Tennessee will have to jump at this opportunity, though Ferguson would be a worthy pick here, too. I think The Titans score here, as I think Young understands how to wait in the pocket and throw first, but can run as well as anyone in the league...I am not worried about his "throwing motion", Young is a true leader and will be a great pro.
4. NY Jets—D'Brickshaw Ferguson, OT Virginia: I like Ferguson for The Jets. There biggest problem last year, despite the quarterback problems, was their horrible OL play...they will be fine with Chad...he will be in good shape next year with a little protection...they certainly could use Mario Williams though, because I am sure they will have to let Abraham go due to cap hell.
5. Green Bay Packers—AJ Hawk, OLB Ohio State: I think Green Bay's LB play is worse than their pass rush, but again, Mario Williams will be just as good a choice as Hawk. They could go either way.
6. Oakland Raiders—Mario Williams, DE NC State: I think the Raiders would be satisfied with either Williams or Hawk...depending on Green Bay's choice, and of course the coin flip with San Fran.
7. San Francisco 49ers—Jimmy Williams, CB Va Tech: This is the best Corner in the draft, and he will start immediately. It is possible that they might like Michael Huff here, who will also be great, but I think the value is with the Corner rather than a Safety...though both are versatile enough to play both positions, but if they win the coin flip, they might pick Mario Williams.
8. Buffalo Bills—Haloti Ngata, DT Oregon: Seems like there is no other option here. Ngata can fill the large hole left by Pat Williams departure last year. They could go for Oline.
9. Detroit Lions—Jay Cutler, QB Vanderbilt: I am not convinced yet that Detroit will take Cutler, but most likely they will. Detroit could go for Huff, Greenway or OL, but unless Harrington dazzles Marinelli in the pre-draft mini camp due to teams with new coaches, they will take Cutler as he IS truly a worthwhile pick here.
10. Arizona Cardinals—LenDale White, RB USC: If Cutler is still here, I would guess Arizona would take him, but White is a perfect feature back in the Denny's Offense, and JJ Arington will be relegated to "change of pace back"...I just don't see the RB's sliding like some do.
11. St. Louis Rams—Vernon Davis, TE Maryland: Davis is simply a difference maker and will be able to consistently burn LB's with his speed and athleticism...not to mention he simply has GREAT hands, maybe the best in the draft.
12. Cleveland Browns—Chad Greenway, OLB Iowa: The Browns D will continue to develop as the right pieces keep falling into place. Greenway is going to be a star in the League and a cornerstone for the Browns D.
13. Baltimore Ravens—DeAngelo Williams, RB Memphis: Not many have been talking about Baltimore picking an RB, but IMO, Deangelo Williams is as well-rounded a back as there is. Almost exactly the same size as Barry Sanders, he has the thickness to anchor in his blocking against the blitz, has excellent hands and tremendous running ability, vision, and experience.
14. Philadelphia Eagles—DeMeco Ryans, OLB Alabama: I think the Eagles will go for an LB here, though they could look to help on the OLine, or at WR...but IMO Ryans is their best value.
15. Atlanta Falcons—Michael Huff, S/CB Texas: Atlanta scores here. I think ESPN is right in saying Huff could be the next Ronnie Lott!
16. Miami Dolphins—Ko Simpson, S South Carolina: Simpson would go higher, probably if he waited another year (or 2), because he is raw but worth the pick and it helps give this D a shot of youth...they could look for more help at OL, too.
17. Minnesota Vikings—Bobby Carpenter, OLB Ohio State: If the RB's are gone, the Vikes need to take the next best LB and that is Carpenter...he has the size, speed and smarts that the great LB's have, he suffers from being overshadowed by AJ Hawk, but he will be shore up the Vikes weakest link on Defense. If LenDale White falls to here, they gotta grab him to have a playmaker and some power in the offensive backfield.
18. Dallas Cowboys—Winston Justice, OT USC: I think Dallas will take OLine for the first pick and could go with the athletic Winston or perhaps McNiell or Justice...if Huff or Simpson fall to here they potentially would consider them at the very least.
19. San Diego Chargers—Darnell Bing, S USC: A little (or a lot) of help to the defensive backfield is important to this Defense.
20. Kansas City Chiefs—Rodrique Wright, DT Texas: DLine and WR are biggest needs, IMO. Wright would be perfect to anchor this line and allow last year's first rounder, Derrick Johnson to be the playmaker he is.
21. New England Patriots—Lawrence Maroney, RB Minnesota: New England solves RB issues for years to come. I hope that doesn't piss off Dillon. They could possibly take Ernie Simms, or if one of the other LB's falls, they could use LB help for the old-timers on that D.
22. Denver Broncos (from Washington)—Santonio Holmes, WR Ohio State: If Denver wins the TO sweepstakes they will obviously look elsewhere, but Holmes is probably the best WR in the draft. They could also go with a DT, but they do have another 1st round pick...
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Hali Tamba, DE Penn State: Hali is a stud. He will be the next in line to replace the aging Simeon Rice. They could go OL here, too.
24. Cincinnati Bengals—Gabe Watson, DT Michigan: Their defense needs the plug in the middle of the line to make Thurman and Pollack effective. Watson's been falling because of a mediocre year, but his upside is too high.
25. New York Giants—Ernie Sims, OLB Florida State: Sure they had injuries, but those LBs were pathetic last year. Sims is the tenacious and speedy playmaker they need to compliment their pass rush. They could go with DT, OL or DB here too. They overachieved with a lot of holes last year.
26. Chicago Bears—Mercedes Lewis, TE UCLA: The Bears need passing targets, though I think they have some solid young WR's in Bradley and Berrian, but Lewis is an incredible talent that will balance this offense, and give them another outlet for Grossman.
27. Carolina Panthers—Leonard Pope, TE Georgia: The NFC Championship game revealed how much The Panthers need to have another target besides Smith. Pope will be awesome in the redzone, pretty much the opposite style of player than Smith, they get even more balanced next year.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars—Ashton Youboty, CB Ohio State: New England lit up the Jags Db's. This is their biggest need and Youboty is probably the best Corner on board. Maybe Hill or Cromartie would fit here.
29. Denver Broncos—Brodrick Bunkley, DT Florida State: Denver gets a stud here in a quick and penetrating DT to pair with Warren. They have tremendous depth on the DL, but here comes a higher quality player.
30. Indianapolis Colts—Taitusi Latui, OG USC: The Colts win big with a monster on the OL...Huge help for the run as well as those "protection problems" Peyton spoke of.
31. Seattle Seahawks—Sinorice Moss, WR Miami: Seattle gets one of the most dynamic playmakers in the draft with Moss. He will be able to be a returner and he will take over for Engram as he is getting OLD, and Warrick is a non-factor...
32. Pittsburgh Steelers—Antonio Cromartie, CB Florida State: Pittsburgh gets a true starting corner opposite of McFadden, as Ike Taylor is really a better nickel back. This will become an even scarier Defense.
ROUND 2 - coming soon