While the NFL Teams step up their preparations for the upcoming 2009 NFL Draft, these Football Cafe members wasted no time in doing their homework to prepare for their very own mock of the NFL Draft. Playing the role of a General Manager/Owner, the mockers will try to predict who their favorite teams will draft in the first three rounds of the 2009 NFL Draft. To avoid complexity, trades were not allowed in this mock but the mockers are given the flexibility to include in their discussion the possibility that the team might do a trade on draft day. Without further fuzz, hereunder is the full breakdown of the picks for the first two rounds. An explanation and a bit of discussion about the player were provided by the mockers to justify why the team might be drafting the particular player in mind.
1. Detroit Lions – Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia (GM: Dan Lambskin)
Missing on a 1st round pick, particularly on a quarterback, can be a setback for an organization like the Lions. As a fan, I dont agree with this decison of drafting Stafford. I think he lacks the accuracy and decision-making to be a franchise QB worthy of the #1 pick. He has a strong arm — big deal! He’ll make some highlight reels throwing bombs to Calvin Johnson and then throw the game away with an interception on 3rd and goal in the 4th quarter. I think at best he’ll be an adaquate QB.
As to why i think this pick gets made: four words — William Clay Ford Sr. He still likes to meddle in football affairs even though he does not have a clue. With an 0-16 team that went through several blackouts last year, he thinks a flashy QB will get fans back in the seats. It might and it might not. Regardless, it will be a bad decision, especially when this team will be looking at a top 10 and even top 5 pick again next year where better QBs like Colt McCoy and possibly Sam Bradford will be available.
Sadly, there are not any great options in this year’s draft. LT Jason Smith is a nice option but with Backus’s contract, it makes a fit difficult. They could draft Smith and either try him at guard until Backus can be unloaded, or they can go the other way, although I am not sure that Backus is capable. Eugene Monroe would be another nice option but i just don’t think the Lions would go that way. OLB Aaron Curry would be the safe pick but i am not sure how polished he is to play in the middle and the trade for Julian Peterson does not leave a spot for him to play on the outside.
Therefore, I think the pick is Stafford. I would say there is a 75% possibility that they would go with Matthew Stafford and 25% possibility that they would go with Jason Smith.
To quote Moochman: “Same As It Ever Was.”
2. St. Louis Rams – Jason Smith, OT, Baylor (GM: FantasyFutballGuru13)
There are a number of ways the Rams could go here, but I believe the best move is to take the clear number one tackle in the draft to replace recently released Orlando Pace. If the Lions were to take Smith, then I would expect the Rams to take Eugene Monroe. You could also make a case for Aaron Curry,, as there has been talk of bringing him in and playing him at MLB so that Will Witherspoon could move back outside where he belongs. B.J. Raji has also been brought up and would be a great fit for the Rams, but there are so many holes on this team and you could use that argument for nearly every player in the draft.
New head coach Steve Spagnuolo is making it clear he wants to use a power running game, and with that we saw the signing center Jason Brown from the Ravens and fullback Mike Karney from the Saints. Adding Jason Smith to anchor the left side of the line (and Marc Bulger’s blind side) should open up the run game even more and hopefully protect Bulger from being on the ground every play. The Rams surrendered 45 sacks last year, which is entirely unacceptable if you expect your quarterback to survive 16 games and be halfway productive.
3. Kansas City Chiefs – Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest (GM: logan)
Tackle, wideout, defensive end and linebacker are all positions of need, after the trade for Matt Cassell shored up the quarterback spot. At number three, it’s really a “take your pick” selection for the Chiefs with many talent-filled options at positions of need, with the exception of DE. Curry is regarded as one of the best players in this year’s draft on either side of the ball, much like Glenn Dorsey, the Chiefs’ first-round selection last year. With the possible change to the 3-4 defense, the coaches will likely move Tamba Hali to the LB position, making the LB starters Curry, Vrabel, Hali and Johnson, which is a solid group. Hali has shown that he isn’t suited to be a dominant end and would fit much better at the LB position. Curry makes a great pick in this scenario, but he is more than versatile enough to play the 4-3 as well.
This draft will probably be very heavy on the defensive side of the ball since the Chiefs really need to shore up the D-Line in order to make a permanent change to the 3-4 and there isn’t a defensive lineman worth drafting this high, so if Curry is there and the Chiefs don’t trade out, he should be the guy.
4. Seattle Seahawks – Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech (GM: NFL fan/The Lung)
Along with Curry, Crabtree is arguably the most talented player in this year’s draft. Despite the signing of Houshmandzadeh, the Hawks simply cannot afford to be caught with their pants down again after last year’s debacle at WR. Michael Crabtree is Seattle’s future number one receiver and the cornerstone of the franchise for the next decade.
5. Cleveland Browns – Brian Orakpo, DE/LB, Texas (GM: dmacblue)
Whilst Cleveland finished as a respectable middle-of-the-pack team in several defensive categories, including passing yards-per-game allowed, points-per-game allowed and total touchdowns, there is still room for vast improvement. Only one team (Kansas City) produced less sacks than the Browns’ 17. This is partially explained by the fact that everybody just ran all over Cleveland, so the ball was hardly ever in the opposing QBs hands! But I digress.
They simply cannot pass up an elite DE option like the All-American Orakpo , whose speed, athleticism, and the fact that he has also appeared at OLB for the Longhorns makes him a perfect fit for Mangini’s 3-4 defense. He won multiple awards last season, including Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year award. Now, many of us SEC fans will declare that defense is optional in the Big 12. Regardless, Orakpo is simply a dominating figure that can have an immediate impact in transforming and revamping the Browns’ defense, specifically its pass rush .
6. Cincinnati Bengals – Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia (GM: ustick/cincypalmer)
As a result of the Seahawks selecting Michael Crabtree at No. 4, the Bengals decision gets a heck of a lot easier. If two offensive tackles (Monroe and Jason Smith) are taken at this point, the team will be forced to decide between OT Andre Smith and RB Chris Wells. Instead, the team’s top need is filled by what many scouts consider to be the best tackle in this class.
Eugene Monroe could very easily be the top overall player in the draft. He is the prototypical offensive tackle (huge wingspan, excellent footwork and broad shoulders) and has the agility to stay with even the fastest defensive ends. Scouts feel as though he picks up blitzes and stunts better than anyone to come out in the last three years and uses his long arms and strong core to smother his assignments at the point of attack. Better yet, Monroe could easily put on 15-20 more pounds without losing a step.
Carson Palmer would be ecstatic if Monroe fell into their laps.
7. Oakland Raiders – Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri (GM: portisfan24)
With Crabtree off the board, and wide receiver being the biggest area of need for the Raiders, I feel Oakland will take Maclin. They need a burner for JaMarcus Russell to toss bombs to, and if Javon Walker can get back to his Green Bay form, the Raiders will actually have a pretty nice WR tandem. Tackle was my next option, but with Smith and Monroe gone, I feel Maclin will be the pick.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars – B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College (GM: daullaz)
With the signing of Tra Thomas, this pick comes down to three positions for the team: wide receiver, defensive tackle, and quarterback. With both top WRs off the board at this point, only Mark Sanchez and Raji will get a heavy look from the Jags. Since the team is really better than what their record indicates and expects to be in the 2009 playoff race, they will likely look to fill their more immediate need and take Raji, the top DT in this class.
The loss of Marcus Stroud was really felt throughout the entire defense last year and thus, adding a quality replacement will be at the forefront of the team’s off-season strategy. Raji had a huge senior season, posting 42 tackles, 16 TFLs, and 8 sacks in 13 games. He won’t have the greatest of stats in the NFL, but he is going to be a problem for opposing offensive lines and will likely occupy a great deal of attention and with that, the rest of the Jaguar defense will be able to elevate their play.
9. Green Bay Packers – Aaron Maybin, DE/LB, Penn State (GM: FantasyFutballGuru13)
If Raji was available (so close!), he would be the clear pick. Big Grease isn’t gonna be able to hold up the middle in the 3-4 and in fact, a big nose tackle is a definite option in the second round even with the need at OT. Reports are that Maybin had a great Pro Day. He apparently even weighs over 250 pounds, which is why I have him here inside the Top 10 picks. Maybin fits a big need for the Packers, as he will be able to help put pressure on the quarterback from someone other than Aaron Kampman, which has been a problem the last few years. With the switch to the 3-4, the Packers surely need a guy that can play both defensive end and outside linebacker positions.
The Packers might also pick Everette Brown or Tyson Jackson, if the Packers feel that Maybin’s stock hasn’t risen as much as I think it has.
10. San Francisco 49ers – Mark Sanchez, QB, USC (GM: grover99)
The 49ers need a QB, and Sanchez should fill those shoes nicely. They can let Hill or Smith start for a year and have Sanchez learn the system. They are going to be involved in the Jay Cutler sweepstakes, but I don’t think they will be able to get that done. (Editor’s Note: And they didn’t.)
Another option here is OT Andre Smith, Alabama if the coaching staff feels good about their QBs Hill and Smith. The offensive line needs to get some able bodies.
11. Buffalo Bills – Everette Brown, DE, Florida State (GM: Yianni2112)
The Bills are in desperate need of a pass rusher. I’m surprised that Brown was still on the board. He will be a perfect fit in Fewell’s conservative 4-3 scheme, which requires heavy pressure off the edges. Teamed up with a healthy Aaron Schobel, the Bills should be able to increase on their sack total and finally put pressure on opposing QBs, rather then letting them make a sandwich back there.
As mentioned earlier, I have seen Brown go as high as 3rd overall to KC in some mock drafts, so I am very happy with the pick. I would have even traded up to get him. For him to fall to 11th is a bonus!
12. Denver Broncos – Rey Maualuga, LB, USC (GM: Cupertino_11)
Denver has been experimenting with several players in the middle since the departure of Al Wilson and never found a worthy replacement. None have had the tenacity, grit, and size that characterize an inside linebacker such as Al Wilson. Maualuga can bring back that inside presence that Denver has lacked for the past few years and can fill a key cog in their quest to improve one of the worst defenses last year. The 49ers’ Nolan drafted Patrick Willis last year and he hopes to follow the same blueprint with Maualuga.
13. Washington Redskins – Andre Smith, OT, Alabama (GM: joejlitz)
Football is a game won on the offensive and defensive lines and the Redskins have needs at both positions. Lucky for them, there were still some great options available like Tyson Jackson, Michael Oher, and Andre Smith. Jackson might be the safe choice (least upside, but least likely to bomb) and would look great opposite Haynesworth, but Snyder isn’t known for playing it safe. Smith and Oher both have had their level of committment questioned and everyone knows about how Smith walked out in the middle of the Combine. Nonetheless, Smith is a dominant run blocker and that is what the Redskins need playing in the NFC East. His physicality and dominating skills should team perfectly with Clinton Portis being lined up for another great season and help push the Skins into the playoffs.
14. New Orleans Saints – Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State (GM: ustick)
The free agency signings in the secondary (cornerback Jabari Greer, safeties Darren Sharper and Pierson Prioleau) and the possible move of CB Usama Young to centerfield give the Saints a ton of flexibility. With two immediate starters brought in, the team can once again take the best player available at pick number 14. Personally, I think the Saints will try to trade this pick and move down in the round to acquire additional picks. In keeper and dynasty leagues, many owners are hoping this is not the pick. Pierre Thomas flashed some talent last year, but he is more of a third-down back. Mike Bell, on the other hand, is certainly not the answer for power in the Saints running game.
One of their top two needs is most definitely a big, bruising running back that could be an every-down runner and only Wells and Rashad Jennings fit that bill. However, this is a dangerous pick because Wells could be a boom/bust type of player. Wells has an incredible skill set as a down-field runner with a vicious stiff arm, but he can’t take plays off as he was prone to at OSU.
CB/FS Malcolm Jenkins could also be the pick if the Saints go defense here.
15. Houston Texans – Malcom Jenkins, CB, Ohio State (GM: mrtexansfan)
The Texans most definitely will draft a defensive player in the first round, and since they have signed DE Antonio Smith and DT Shaun Cody in free agency, that leaves DB and LB as early possibilities. Duante Robinson was not happy being franchised and Jacques Reeves cannot follow the ball over his shoulder, so there is a high certainty that Jenkins will start from day one. I look for the Texans to trade down as that has been their M.O. as of late, and if they do trade down, look for them to grab OLB Clay Mathews. Mathews had the 3rd fastest time in running the first 10 yards of the 40 in 1.49 seconds which means he is very fast off the ball and that is a quality which their new defense coordinator Frank Bush loves. And with Uncle Bruce becoming an assistant coach for the Texans and being a Houston icon, Mathews would be a fan favorite.
16. San Diego Chargers – Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU (GM: confused_jake)
It’s obvious that the Chargers need help on defense. With Olshansky leaving, there is a hole that needs to be filled and Jackson is ideal in that role. Ideally I wanted Maualuga, but he was already gone.
17. New York Jets – Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland (GM: mac-unit)
The three guys I considered here were Heyward-Bey, Knowshon Moreno and Josh Freeman. I eliminated Moreno because I am a fan of high picks who make an impact right away, and with Jones and Washington coming off the year they had in 2008, it would be hard finding carries for all three of them. I think the Jets will go with Freeman if the real draft goes like the way this mock has gone so far but as a Jets fan, I hope they don’t take Freeman. Based on my observation of his games, his accuracy is subpar and even though the Jets’ biggest need is QB, I wouldn’t want to reach for him in the 1st round, because QB is so thin this year and I don’t think he would go before the 2nd round. So that left me with the speedy wide receiver from Maryland. He looks like he could be the playmaker at WR that the Jets needed last year. It may seem like a bit of a reach but a 6′3, 206-lb receiver with 4.3 speed is too good to pass up here. Even though there is no Favre, it won’t hurt either of the Jets young arms to add a legitimate deep threat on the side opposite of Jerricho Cotchery.
18. Denver Broncos – Brian Cushing, LB, USC (GM: Cupertino_11)
Versatility, intensity, and aggressiveness. Being able to line up at numerous positions, Cushing would be a great addition to Denver’s “hybrid” 3-4 defense by being able to line up at DE, blitzing from the outside, or even manning the middle on occasion. With the additions of Rey Maualuga (Pick#12), Andra Davis (FA), and now Cushing, Denver has solidified the heart of its defense. Bringing in a run-stuffing DT in the second round would be the next step to giving this defense a little respect.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi (GM: TGM)
Admittedly, when I volunteered to take on drafting for another franchise, I had absolutely no idea about the Buccaneers’ draft needs. But after some research, it became evident that they have a lot of areas to address. QB, DT, WR and LB are their biggest needs. With that in mind, my gut feel is that they trade down the #19 spot in order to pick up the 2nd round pick they gave away to get Winslow from Cleveland. But since we’re not mocking trades…
Most mocks have the Bucs picking Josh Freeman from Kansas State to address their very questionable QB situation (many of these were before McJaygate, which is now a moot point anyway). Also, the Bucs have a new coach, and new coaches tend to want their “own guy” at the helm. There are rumors that the new regime is enamored with Freeman. The pick looks like a slam dunk, at least on the surface, right? Not so fast — Freeman is a junior coming out early. Is he ready to be thrown into the fire? Is Tampa willing to live and die with a rookie QB this season? What about 2008 fifth-round pick Josh Johnson? What about Brian Griese? Or Luke McCown? Are there possibly better options available in next year’s draft? Too many questions — and adding a rookie QB doesn’t provide enough answers.
So I think the focus has to go to other more immediate needs such as DT, WR or LB, especially with much purging this offseason. Gone are the likes of Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard on the offensive side and Derrick Brooks and Cato June on the defense. But what drew my attention was the D-Line, which is probably lacking both in terms of quality and depth more than anywhere else. So at this point in the draft, a player like Peria Jerry, who is widely considered the #2 DT in this year’s draft, provides Tampa with the anchor and a building block for Jim Bates new defensive scheme.
Other considerations: QB Josh Freeman, WR Percy Harvin, OLB/DE Michael Johnson.
20. Detroit Lions – Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi (GM: Dan Lambskin)
The Lions sorely need some help at defense and had Peria Jerry not been taken at pick number 19, i think that’s the way they would have gone. If Malaluga was still available, he would also get consideration but based on the remaining defensive players, i think the better value is in selecting a left tackle to help protect their investment in QB Matthew Stafford. Not sure what this means for Jeff Backus. The Lions might likely try playing him at the guard position and if that doesn’t work, they could look to trade or release him, as he is clearly not the answer at left tackle for the Lions, as evidenced by giving up 9.5, 15.5 and 9.25 sacks over the last three seasons.
If they do decide to go defense here, I think it would be DE Michael Johnson of Georgia Tech, but he is a bit undersized against the run and coach Jim Schwartz may want a bigger, stronger DE.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia (GM: sublimeandy)
I thought really, really hard about this mock draft. I considered Pettigrew, Britton, and possibly waiting later for a running back, but I couldn’t let the talent of Knowshon Moreno pass by. He might be the most talented RB in this draft class and he is a perfect fit for the Eagles. He runs very hard, is shifty and elusive, has soft hands and is also a high character/football knowledge guy. The only reason why he is still available is because he ran a 4.6. Well, Brian Westbrook ran a 4.57, so I’m not really that concerned about it. Westbrook is at the end of his rope and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start to break down hard. The Eagles currently have nothing behind Westbrook and this will take care of the RB situation for years to come.
As far as passing on Britton is concerned, if the Eagles thought that they needed a tackle then they would have taken Otah last year. It would defy logic and reason for them to pass up on Otah only to draft an OT this high, or possibly package and move up to take one of the top OTs. Andy Reid says he is prepared to move Shawn Andrews or Todd Herremans to left tackle, and I am going to take him at his word. I actually believe that the Eagles have pretty good O-line depth at this point and don’t think that taking an OT this high is neccesary. (Editor’s Note: With the trade for Jason Peters, the Eagles will pass on OT.)
It also seems that the Eagles are very high on Brent Celek, as far as a receiving TE goes. We could look at a blocking TE later in the draft.
22. Minnesota Vikings – Eben Britton, OT, Arizona (GM: bungle613)
Simply put, too many options. I believe if the draft falls this way, the Vikings would have dealt up a few spots to secure Oher. With Oher just off the board, the Vikings now have three players they are highly interested in. It now comes down to who will be available in the second to fill the other needs.
Eben Britton is the last player that can fill the need of a right tackle for the Vikings and had to be chosen here. Starting every game for Arizona at RT, the 6′6″, 310+ pound Britton will be a great fit and first-year starter for the Vikings. He certainly has some work to do, but his good technique (needs footwork though), great strength and size should be a fixture on the Vikings O-Line for years to come. With the Vikings run first attitude, drafting a natural run blocker is the way to go.
23. New England Patriots – Clint Sintim, OLB, Virginia (GM: daullaz)
New England started bringing in quality youth for their defense last year when they drafted Jerod Mayo in the first round, and now they will pair him with Sintim. He played some 3-4 at Virginia and notched 27 sacks in his collegiate career. He can really do a lot of things for that defense and fits into the Patriot mold perfectly, unlike Vontae Davis, the only defensive back worth this pick (even if New England actually spent high picks on DBs).
24. Atlanta Falcons – Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma St. (GM: daullaz)
The Falcons will likely be looking at defense in the first round and there are a couple of solid players on the board to choose from. However, Pettigrew offers far too much value for a run-first team to pass on. Pettigrew is a fantastic blocker at the TE position and will give the young Atlanta nucleus another great blocker. Also a great pass-catcher (though this part of his game will still need some work), Pettigrew is the final piece of the puzzle for the Atlanta offense, and the team will focus on defense for the rest of the draft.
25. Miami Dolphins – Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina (GM: TGM)
Although Miami made history last season going from 1-15 to 11-5 and claiming the AFC East title, there is still much work to do to offset years of mismanagement and bad drafting. With that in mind, I think come Draft Day, Miami will be looking to trade down out of the #25 position to pick up another pick. I think it’s conceivable they could move back 6-12 picks and pick up another second- or third-round pick in this year’s draft. If so, I fully expect Parcells to jump at the opportunity.
Several key positions have glaring holes. The most notable needs are: CB, OLB/DE, NT and WR. Many in Dolphins Nation expect Parcells and company to use their first-round pick on a defensive player (specifically either LB or CB). History shows us that. You could also argue that’s the most glaring need. But at this point in the draft, and with most of the blue chip prospects already off the board, one could also argue that you can get equivalently-valued players to fill those needs both at #44 and at #56.
So, in looking at the draft board and combining BPA along with filling a need position, as well as looking ahead and trying to predict or project other teams picks (based on their needs), I have a better idea of what prospects likely won’t be there when we pick again at #44. This is the key. The position I see most likely being targeted by several teams in the next 12-18 picks is the WR position. And with three out of the top five prospects already off the board, I just don’t think Miami can let a player like Nicks go by.
Nicks has prototypical size at 6′ 3/4″ and 212 lbs, is fast (ran 4.54 at the combine), has great hands, and will get you a lot of tough yards after contact. Maybe he is more of a possession receiver, but he can run by you and over top of you too. His stats have been on the rise every year of his college career, and he has played in a NFL-style offense at NC, so his transition to the NFL should be fairly quick and smooth, which is what you’re looking for with your first-round pick. With Miami’s need of a true #1 WR, Nicks not only fills that void, but he can also elevate every other receiver by simply being on the field. Ginn should benefit the most from his presence, as his speed will certainly exploit anyone on one-on-one coverage.
Many might argue WR is not nearly as needed as the other positions I have mentioned but in my opinion, Hakeem Nicks is simply to good to pass on. His addition improves not only our passing attack, but out entire offense.
26. Baltimore Ravens – James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State (GM: ustick)
This pick turned into a decision between Clay Matthews and Laurinaitis. This guy is a three-time All-American who is big (6′2 7/8″, 240) and has the athleticism to get anywhere on the field. His consistency is what the Ravens would covet the most. The guy never takes a play off. Even more enticing is that he can put on another 5-10 pounds of muscle, especially in his upper body, and still not lose a step. Remember, this is a guy who was a consensus top-five pick when he didn’t come out in 2008.
Losing Bart Scott to the Jets, the Ravens sorely need an instinctive force in the middle with Ray Lewis, even if Laurinaitis isn’t a perfect fit in a 3-4 scheme out of the gate. At the end of the day, this could be a vertical threat WR or Clay Matthews, but I think the Ravens would play it safe here in Round 1, shore up the middle and look for a speedy WR in round 2. 366 tackles in three years is incredible production, so Laurinaitis is their man.
27. Indianapolis Colts – Percy Harvin, WR, Florida (GM: PMoneyTKE)
The Colts biggest need far and away is DT, but with the top two tackles off the board, it came down to Evander Hood or Percy Harvin, who fills another need left with the release of Marvin Harrison. Though Hood did have a great workout at the Combine, I’m just not sure I’m sold enough to take him this high. Gonzalez has shown he is capable of replacing Marvin on the outside, and that leaves the slot open for Harvin. Harvin is an amazing talent and gives the Colts’ opponents a player who they have to address in their game plan. The Colts are in need of a home-run hitter type player and Harvin fits the bill.
28. Philadelphia Eagles – Alex Mack, C, California (GM: sublimeandy)
(Editor’s Note: This pick was made before the Jason Peters trade was completed.)
Did you really think the Eagles could make it through the first round without drafting someone weighing over 250 lbs? As I have said before, I think Andy Reid seriously thinks that Shawn Andrews can be our LT, and if not Andrews then Herremans. I have no problem with that and I trust Andy Reid’s judgment. However, that will open up one of the guard positions. Max Jean-Giles played well last year filling in for Andrews, but he broke his ankle and it is rumored that he might miss the season. Nick Cole also did a fine job filling in. Jamal Jackson is 30 and has never really been a consistent center. Alex Mack will solidify the position for a decade. Jackson can get in on the competition for the two guard spots. This pick would give the Eagles phenomenal O-line depth, and I think they could actually deal a player (maybe Nick Cole) if they made this pick.
29. New York Giants – Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers (GM: flotsamnjetsam)
With Plaxico Burress getting released, and with the other five wide receivers already off the board, this pick was easy. I’m actually hoping that the Giants trade for Edwards or Boldin, so that they can address other needs here. If they don’t trade for a proven WR, I think Britt could be a good replacement for Plax. He has great size (like Plax), and I think he has a lot of upside. Unless they get a proven WR, I think the Giants have to go with the best WR on their board with this pick. I can’t see the Giants going into 2009 with only Hixon, Smith, Manningham, and Moss as their top 4 WRs. Another bonus with Britt is that he went to high school and college in New Jersey.
30. Tennessee Titans – Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut (GM: WaCougMBS/daullaz)
The Titans have a few pressing needs they will be looking to address in the draft. First and foremost will be filling a few holes on defense. Albert Haynesworth is gone, the secondary has no depth, and the Titans could use an upgrade at linebacker. They’d also love to land an impact WR to add to their offense. Keeping those needs in mind, the best option at this point is Butler, a cornerback out of Connecticut whose stock is rising.
31. Arizona Cardinals – Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut (GM: cincypalmer)
With the likely departure of Edgerrin James and with Tim Hightower running like he is trying out for Dancing with the Stars, the need for Donald Brown is big. Although Brown may not be good as a goal-line runner, the Cardinals already have that role filled with Hightower, so they go with Brown to get the ball there.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers – Max Unger, C, Oregon (GM: The Lung)
I look for the Steelers to take the best available lineman in the draft, and at this point, it is Unger. Even though Pittsburgh was dominant this year, their offensive line was decent at best. Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl in spite its offensive line in 2008, but if the team wants to repeat as Super Bowl champions in ‘09 they’ll need to improve in the trenches. Unger has played every OL spot, and his high intelligence and toughness could see him starting right away.
1. Detroit Lions – Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech (GM: Dan Lambskin)
The Lions definitely need to address their defense in this round and with Laurinaitis off the board, they will shift their focus to the defensive line. Michael Johnson is a definite upgrade for their DE position. Johnson can rush the passer, although he may need to improve his run defense to be an every-down player. DT, CB or LB could also be an option here.
2. New England Patriots – Connor Barwin, OLB/DE/TE, Cincinnati (GM: madaslives911)
I think the Patriots will choose to spend their first two picks on the defense and with a lot of aging players in their roster, they need to infuse some fresh blood and more quality LBs. Barwin is a 3-in-1 package as he can play the OLB, DE or TE position. With his good showing at the Combine and with his versatility, the Patriots will be able to address their need for a DE if they can’t get Julius Peppers or Jason Taylor. Barwin can also play TE and if he’s comfortable playing that position, the need for depth at the TE position is also addressed. Barwin might be quite raw considering his limited defensive experience, but his explosiveness will hopefully make an immediate impact on the Pats defense and offense.
3. St. Louis Rams – Evander Hood, DT, Missouri (GM: FantasyFutballGuru13)
I didn’t really expect Hood to be here at this point, but since he is, the Rams jump on the opportunity to take him, as Hood can be that player who could help out their 29th-ranked rush defense that gave up an average of over 154 yards a game to opponents. The Adam Carriker/Clifton Ryan combo isn’t gonna get it done. The Rams need also need an ILB so they can move Witherspoon outside, but since Laurinaitis didn’t drop to their lap, they’ll snag a good DT that definitely has first round potential.
4. Cleveland Browns – Vontae Davis, CB, Ilinois (GM: dmacblue)
The Browns have many needs. Clay Matthews at LB and DE Larry Englsh are still there on the draft board and were strong considerations but in the end, Davis is the best player still available in one of the positions Cleveland is desperate for help at. Davis is a standout player from the Big Ten who proved comfortable with the better players that the Big Ten conference had to offer; thus, the NFL learning curve should not be as steep for him as the others.
With another pick coming in the second round for the Browns, LB, DE or RB will be afforded attention, but for now Davis was too good to pass on (pun intended!).
5. Seattle Seahawks – Clay Matthews, OLB, USC (GM: NFL fan)
While the Seahawks have the need to address the heir-apparent to Walter Jones, they simply cannot let this pick pass them by. Clay Matthews is just the kind of tough, gritty linebacker the ‘Hawks need to fill the big shoes left by Julian Peterson. He was a walk-on at USC whose intensity, on-field production, and work ethic earned him a stellar career and those traits should have probably garnered him a first round pick. Seeing him fall to #37 was simply too much for Seattle to resist. That, and given their tendency to draft ‘best value’ regardless of position, made Matthews a no-brainer pick given their vacancy at the position.
6. Cincinnati Bengals – Larry English DE/LB, Northern Illinois (GM: dmacblue)
The center and running back positions will be addressed with the next picks. A center is a priority but the Utah guy is a reach here.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest (GM: daullaz)
This is a really tough pick to make, as the Jaguars really need QB depth and bringing in Josh Freeman to develop as the heir apparent is the best long-term move for the club. However, he’s likely to be picked in the middle of the first round, so Smith is a much more likely pick for the Jaguars at this stage. The CB from Wake Forest also fills a big need, as the Jaguars need a starter opposite Rashean Mathis. Couple this pick with the Raji pick earlier, and the Jags should return to having one of the league’s top defenses. WR is also a serious consideration for this second-round pick, but no value presents itself with all the fringe first-rounders off the board.
8. Oakland Raiders – William Beatty, OT, Connecticut (GM: portisfan24)
After addressing their WR need in the first round, I think the Raiders will go OL in Round 2. Their offensive line leaves a lot to be desired, and JaMarcus won’t get any better if he is being constantly chased around the backfield. There is a bit of a dropoff in the OT position after Britton, so I could see the Raiders moving up if there’s a chance to get him. If not, they will settle for Beatty.
9. Green Bay Packers – Ron Brace, NT, Boston College (GM: FantasyFutballGuru13)
Since they weren’t able to get Raji in the first round, the Packers might bring in a huge tackle to bolster their run defense, which ranked 26th last season. Weighing around 330 pounds, Brace fits the 3-4 very well, and the Packers should be drafting a lot of guys to fit the new scheme this year. Had Beatty fallen to me in this this round, there’s definitely a possibility that I would’ve taken him, but since that was not the case, more players for the 3-4.
10. Buffalo Bills – Cody Brown, DE/LB, Connecticut (GM: Yianni2112)
The Bills are in need of an OLB. Last year, they were robbed of their top playmaker on the outside when Angelo Crowell opted to undergo a knee surgery. He is also a free agent, leaving his future as a Bills uncertain. (Editor’s Note: He has since signed with Tampa Bay.) Cody Brown, who played DE at Connecticut, will be a perfect fit as a OLB and can help bring the pass rush which the Bills so desperately need. I was thinking of going with a TE here, but that could wait until the third round as the guy I’m targeting should still be available in the third. Safety Louis Delmas of Western Michigan was a tempting pick here, but I feel the Bills need more help up front and with the additions of DE Everette Brown and DE/OLB Cody Brown, the Bills should be able to improve their pass rush, which in turn will help the performance of their defensive backs.
11. San Francisco 49ers – Sean Smith, CB, Utah (GM: madaslives911)
One of the glaring weaknesses with the 49ers defense last season was their pass defense, which ranked 20th in the league. Sean Smith can help address that problem and can also give support to a weak secondary by providing bump-and-run coverage. Smith has the capability to be a shut-down cornerback given his height (6-3), long arms, speed/quickness and aggressiveness.
The 49ers need all the help he could provide in defending passes against the great receivers of other teams in their division like Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. As a result, I think they will look to draft either a cornerback or a safety in the second round.
12. Miami Dolphins – Paul Kruger, DE/LB, Utah (GM: TGM)
Kruger is a 23-year old red-shirt sophomore DE for The Utes (he missed two years due to Mormon Church mission). As such, his lack of experience at the collegiate level is bit of a concern. But in 2008, he registered 61 tackles (16.5 TFL), 7.5 sacks, and 7 passes defensed. While not fast (4.9 40 at the combine), he’s one of those hard nosed “high-motor” guys that Parcells loves. At 6′4″ and 265 lbs, he’s a bit of a tweener, so I’d see him probably used as an OLB in our system. As such, I’d see him in some kind of a rotation with Matt Roth, or pushing Roth for the starting job altogether. Either way, he should help our front seven generate more of a pass rush. Projected as a mid-to-late second-round or early third-round pick, he’s only a marginal reach here. Ideally, Smith would’ve slid one more pick to me, and Kruger would’ve likely still been there at #56. As it is, I think he’s a solid choice and can be coached/converted into a very good OLB.
13. New York Giants – William Moore, S, Missouri (GM: flotsamnjetsam)
William Moore is a 6′0”-6′1″, strong, playmaking safety. The Giants added Kenny Phillips last year, but they lost James Butler in the off-season. Moore would add some depth to the secondary. The Giants have other needs, but I think Moore would be a very good pick here.
14. Houston Texans – Marcus Freeman, OLB, Ohio State (GM: mrtexansfan)
The Texans will look to improve the defense again. Freeman is a solid player with above-average speed who was overshadowed by James Laurinaitis, but nevertheless, Freeman has proven to be a sideline-to-sideline player. He has the ability to play all three LB spots, which adds more value for the Texans considering their lack of depth in the LB position.
15. New England Patriots – Louis Delmas, FS, Western Michigan (GM: LS2throwed)
The Pats could still use a young cornerback and most importantly, a big run thumper next to Mayo. However, there isn’t much value with those guys now and you could find an inside linebacker later like Scott McKillop or Frantz Joseph. For now, there is a glaring hole at the FS position, and getting arguably the top safety in this class at this point is a great value pick. Meriweather has done a great job at SS, but Harrison looks finished and Delmas could step right in and fill that role.
Delmas is a classic centerfielder, has great instincts and awareness, range to roam the secondary, and is very strong in run support, not afraid to come up and make the hit. He’s also a natural leader on defense and not afraid to step into a situation and take charge, as evidenced by the fact that he went to the Senior Bowl from a small school and took control of the defense. He has intangibles that could be hard to find in some players, and that would fit great with the Pats organization. He will also be able to complement Meriweather very well. Delmas and Meriweather gives the Patriots a safety tandem that can play the run, while being able to line up and cover man-to-man if need be, which is a huge advantage.
There were some veterans signed by the Patriots for their secondary, but they are not long-term solutions. Delmas is a very good value pick for a position of need. He can be groomed slowly the same way Meriweather was groomed.
16. Denver Broncos – Eric Wood, C, Louisville (GM: Cupertino_11)
With both Ziggy Hood and Ron Brace off the board (*shakes fist at FFG13!*), Denver decides not to dig too deep and instead switches to the other side of the ball where they draft the eventual replacement for 35 year-old Casey Weigman. While not garnering as many accolades as Alex Mack, Wood brings the same mental and physical capabilities needed to make all the line calls and stand face to face with increasingly bigger nose tackles. Having played all of the line positions at Louisville, Wood instantly becomes a priority backup along the line.
17. Cleveland Browns – Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State University (GM: dmacblue)
I have an inside tip that the Bears were looking at Robiskie with the upcoming 50th pick. With Winslow gone, Stallworth probably spending 2009 elsewhere, and Edwards almost certainly gone by this time next season at the VERY latest, it is critical for the Browns to go WR here, because Dave Patten aint gonna cut it!
Robiskie doesn’t excel per se, but his intangibles are strong. He is a cerebral guy from a strong footballing school with rock solid Browns and Ohio connections. He studies the game well, runs accurate routes and always seems to find a way to come down with the ball. Robiskie is a very solid and safe pick here.
18. Chicago Bears – Louis Murphy, WR, Florida (GM: dmacblue)
A reach perhaps, but: 6′ 3″, 207 lbs, and a 4.43 40 yard dash. You simply don’t bring in a QB like Jay Cutler, and not give him more than Devin Hester to play with. The Bears have no choice but to go WR here.
I really like this young man. I think he has a perfect mix of size and speed and will excel away from an admittedly superb college QB in the person of Tebow, who wasn’t all about getting the ball downfield. What he needs is an Elway-type arm to take full advantage of. I give you the Jay and Louis show. You can bookmark this – these two are gonna make Bears fans very very happy.
19. Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Chung, S, Oregon (GM: Cowboys 4 life)
The Cowboys filled some of their needs in the free agency market but still have few glaring needs, with the loss of a number of key players. The loss of cornerbacks Adam “Pacman” Jones and Anthony Henry makes them thin at the position. This will force them to let Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick compete for the starting role at the right cornerback position opposite Terence Newman. At safety, Roy Williams has been cut and Keith Davis is a free agent. Davis wants to come back and the Cowboys want him back. Money won’t be an issue. The Cowboys don’t have any answers and there are few options at a position that is arguably the weakest on the team. An upgrade is a must. The Cowboys signed Gerald Sensabaugh but addressing the safety position will still have to be a focus in the draft.
Urgent Need: A hard-hitting strong safety who can cover receivers and make plays is desperately needed.
Strong Need: A cornerback or two for depth.
20. New York Jets – Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State (GM: mac-unit)
I am surprised that Freeman fell this far. I was considering him for the Jets’ first round pick but chose Heyward-Bey over him. The Jets’ biggest need on paper is at the quarterback position. I don’t think Freeman can make a Flacco or Ryan type of an impact right away, but with his upside and arm strength, he has too good of a value at the 52nd pick to pass on, especially with how the Jets are thin at the QB position this year. My biggest concern with him is his accuracy and overall consistency. But if he can get a year or two holding the clipboard and still seeing a little bit of game time without being tossed to the wolves, he could develop into a great QB.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – Duke Robinson, OG, Oklahoma (GM: sublimeandy)
I didn’t want to do this. I really didn’t. This is the best available selection and it is very consistent with how the Eagles actually draft. There is no way Duke Robinson is even available at this point in the real draft but if he is, Andy Reid will snatch him up as soon as the clock starts. We love linemen and Duke Robinson is a big one. By adding Alex Mack and Duke Robinson, the Eagles offensive line will be set for years. Heck, they might not even have to draft another lineman for the rest of this draft and next year! I considered a CB at this position, but all the ones I was looking at are gone. I also thought about DE and OLB, but all the ones I was looking at are gone. As far as TE goes, we already have our receiving TE in Celek so there is no point in adding Cook or Coffman. I think the Eagles will address TE later in the draft and could add a strictly blocking TE in free agency. At this point, I would think it would be a lock to see one of the Eagles offensive lineman get traded, probably Nick Cole.
22. Minnesota Vikings – D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt (GM: bungle 613)
Once again, I may not agree with the selection but am fairly certain that with addressing OT in the first, and with the top 5-6 wide receivers off the board, the Vikings will address CB in the second. While Moore may not have an ideal size for the NFL, this kid can play. He is smart, fast and can read routes. He is also a playmaker, which is where the Vikings took a bit of a step back last year after putting up a solid turnover ratio in 2007. They need to get the ball back in their hands and Moore can do that. With the success of rookies the last few years at kick returner, I can also see the Vikings trying him out there. He is, in my opinion (by far), the best CB left on the board and had to be taken.
23. Atlanta Falcons – Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee (GM: daullaz)
His stock has gone up so much that he is likely to be a first-round selection in the NFL Draft. At this point, he represents incredible value for the Falcons. If he’s gone (as will likely be the case), the Falcons will turn to safety, in which case Rashad Johnson could be the selection here.
24. Miami Dolphins – Jairus Byrd, CB, Oregon (GM: TGM)
Still licking our wounds after missing out on Sean Smith at #44, Miami finally chooses a CB at #56 in Jairus Byrd. While Byrd’s 4.68 40 at his Pro Day on April 2 is less than impressive, he did display a solid 4.10 short shuttle and a very nice 6.75 three-cone drill. His poor 40 time could be the result of a groin injury he may not be fully healed from. Besides, all you need to do is watch a few Oregon games to know that he’s a ball hawk and a play maker. He has 17 picks in three seasons, tied for second most in team history.
At 5′10″ and 205lbs, he’s likely to be converted to FS at some point in his professional career. Bu, he’ll be asked to compete for a starting corner position in Miami’s new quarters defense. And competing with under-achieving former first round pick Jason Allen and former Arizona Cardinal and FA Eric Green, he has a chance to win the job outright.
Byrd is an aggressive player who provides solid run support with good tackling skills. As a junior, Jairus Byrd registered 74 tackles, four picks and an amazing 14 passes broken up. He also provides value as a special teamer who can return punts. Projected to go in the second round, he provides good value at pick #56.
25. Baltimore Ravens – Mike Mickens, CB, Cincinnati (GM: ustick)
If Mickens did not have a lingering knee injury halfway through 2008, he would have been a top-four CB in 2009. He had a terrific Pro Day, and the Ravens feel as though he would be a steal at this point. He clocked a 4.48 for Baltimore, raising his stock even more. Mickens’ closing speed is perhaps the best in this draft, and he is considered to be a pro-ready man-to-man cover corner.
With the value in this pick coupled with the Ravens’ immense need (everyone they signed this year has been cut for performance reasons on previous teams), I think cornerback is where they have to look at this point. It’s possible they would look for a CB in the first, but Ozzie Newsome has to feel good about this selection. Dawan Landry, Ed Reed and a young star like Mickens at CB would be a nice cornerstone on which to rely on in the secondary after releasing Rolle and McAlister.
26. New England Patriots – Victor Harris, CB, Virginia Tech (GM: LS2throwed)
I was definitely leaning toward taking a cornerback with this pick. Short term there are a few stop gaps in place, but a long term answer is needed at the position and Macho Harris fits the bill for the type of cornerback that New England employs. Here’s a guy who has great ball skills, very instinctive play-maker, can jam well at the line of scrimmage, and has that confidence and swagger you look for in a CB. The Pats play primarily zone coverage with their corners and let them read and react to the ball. Asante Samuel was the prototype and Harris is a guy who fits that same mold of a guy who will be much better suited in a zone scheme, reacting to the ball.
The Pats now have two safeties in Delmas and Meriweather who are elite coverage safeties. Harris can step in as a corner who will support the run and make plenty of plays on the ball. He is like Brandon Flowers last year (who was in a Cover 2 system last year and did very well): put him in a system where he can read and react on the ball, and not a primarily man-based scheme, and he’ll be a star at the next level. There’s no doubt about it.
27. Carolina Panthers – Ramses Barden, WR, Cal Poly (GM: madDog36)
Carolina’s primary needs are DL, WR, and a QB. Carolina has a huge need for a playmaker DL if Peppers leaves, but that can be addressed later. Since both top QBs are gone, and two of the DLs I was looking at are long gone, I have noticed a huge sleeper has fallen down. Big “Pharaoh” Ramses Barden would give Carolina a deep ball threat opposite Steve Smith. He can come in immediately as a starter and give opposing defenses headaches with his tremendous size. Let’s face it – there is not a WR in years that has been this lean and tall. Patrick Jeffers had a 1000-yard season with the Panthers a few seasons ago simply because he could go up and get it. Barden isn’t the fastest guy in the world, but when your lengthy and have a great vertical, you can make up for that. He’s that guy that can be sneaky fast. Just ask another long-time stud and great: Muhsin Muhammad. He will make an excellent tutor, considering he is basically the same WR only two inches shorter. It should be great seeing these two learn from each other.
O-line and WR were the deep in this draft, but the Panthers have decided to go this way.
28. New York Giants – LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh (GM: flotsamnjetsam)
The Giants lost Derrick Ward to the Buccaneers. Brandon Jacobs is a beast, but injury prone. Ahmad Bradshaw is great in his “fire” role, but I don’t think he could carry the full load. McCoy is a versatile runner who could also help the Giants’ passing game. He has excellent vision and instincts. Getting McCoy would provide much-needed insurance if ever Jacobs goes down. He’d allow the Giants to continue with their three-headed monster approach at RB. I think McCoy would be a good fit for the Giants, as long as he can improve his blocking skills.
29. Indianapolis Colts – Sen’Derrick Marks, DT, Auburn (GM: madaslives911)
The Colts haven’t really solved all of their problems on run defense, which had been terrible since 2007 and even more pathetic in 2008. Before their game against Miami last year, the Colts’ run defense had allowed an absurd 174.5 yards rushing per game and at the end of the regular season, the run defense was ranked 24th in the league. Thus, they really need to plug this big hole by drafting a player like Marks who has terrific speed and can make some huge penetration with run-stuffing plays in the backfield.
30. Tennessee Titans – Pat White, WR/QB, West Virginia (GM: daullaz)
At the very least, White will be an excellent return man. Now that he’s willing to consider a shift to WR, he’ll do a lot of good for a team looking to throw different schemes on the field (i.e. Wildcat). Jeff Fisher is just the kind of guy to grab Pat White and figure out ways to utilize him later. If White develops into a quality WR, he would bring much needed help to an underwhelming WR corps.
31. Arizona Cardinals – Phil Loadholt, OT, Oklahoma (GM: daullaz)
Having addressed RB with their first pick, the Cardinals will now turn to their second most-pressing need, the tackle position. Loadholt, with his massive frame and great strength, still has more room for growth. The reason he slipped this far is due to red flags in regards to his maturity and mental toughness, but his talent can’t be questioned. The Cardinals will try him out at left tackle and hope he sticks.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jarron Gilbert, DE, San Jose State (GM: The Lung)
The top five-technique defensive end in this year’s draft is Gilbert. He’s a tall, long-armed lineman with good base strength and an ability to stack blocks on the outside. Gilbert is freakishly athletic at 6′6″ and 290 lbs and has as much upside as any draft-eligible defender, and his stock has skyrocketed after a dominant senior season (NCAA-most 22 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks). He’s the steal of the draft with the last pick in Round 2.
That’s it for Day 1, but check out the Cafe’s picks for the third round of the NFL Draft!
Many thanks to the Cafe members WaCougMBS, The Lung, daullaz, joejlitz, NFL fan, sublimeandy, TGM, bungle13, FantasyFutballGuru13, mac-unit, cincypalmer, dmacblue, Dan Lambskin, ustick, mrTexansfan, PMoneyTKE, flotsamnjetsam, logan, portisfan24, grover99, Cupertino_11, confused jake, Yianni2112, LS2throwed, MadDog36 and Cowboys 4 life for their participation in this Cafe's Mock of the NFL Draft for without them, the mock draft and this article would not have been possible. Thanks a lot guys!
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