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Postby Free Bagel » Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:05 pm

2005 NFL draft, projected first round

1. San Francisco 49ers (2-14)
Aaron Rodgers* | QB | California
Like most teams drafting in the top five, the 49ers would like to trade down, stockpile picks and address more needs. The problem, however, is that the top of the 2005 NFL draft is a seller's, not a buyer's market. More than likely, the 49ers' best bet will be to stay put and draft the player they deem to be the most valuable at a high position of need. In our opinion, that player is Rodgers. Neither Tim Rattay nor Ken Dorsey is a franchise quarterback and Rodgers would be a significant upgrade over both. Some feel that Alex Smith (Utah) has the same or better NFL potential, but we don't see it. Rodgers lacks ideal height but he has terrific arm strength, good accuracy and above-average athleticism.

2. Miami Dolphins (4-12)
Ronnie Brown | RB | Auburn
The Dolphins have several needs, including running back, left offensive tackle and defensive end. Coach Nick Saban must first decide if A.J. Feeley is his quarterback of the future. If not, drafting a quarterback would be the right move. If, however, Saban can live with Feeley as his franchise quarterback for the future, drafting one of three top running backs in this class – Cedric Benson, Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams – becomes the next best move because there simply isn't an offensive tackle who warrants consideration with the second overall pick. Benson might be the more powerful runner and Williams might be the most elusive, but Brown is the best overall running back in this year's draft. Brown is big, strong and fast enough to carry a heavy load in the NFL and he also possesses considerably better skills in the passing game than those Benson and Williams.

3. Cleveland Browns (4-12)
Adam Jones* | DC | West Virginia
Ideally, the Browns would trade down, acquire extra picks and get a better value on one of only two legitimate offensive tackle prospects in this draft class – Alex Barron and Jammal Brown. Assuming, however, they get stuck at No. 3, new GM Phil Savage has to decide whether he wants to draft his quarterback of the future – Smith or Rodgers, depending on which is available – or go in a different direction. Judging by Savage's game plan when he was helping control things in Baltimore, it wouldn't surprise us if he built the team first and then plugged in the quarterback later. If that's the case, the Browns are likely to go after the defensive player who ranks highest on their board. In our opinion right now, that player is Jones. Not only does Jones have the cover skills, speed and toughness to develop into a "shutdown" cornerback in the NFL, but he also has loads of upside as an NFL return specialist. The Browns could really use a playmaker like Jones on defense and special teams.

4. Chicago Bears (5-11)
Braylon Edwards | WR | Michigan
The Bears desperately need a wide receiver who can stretch the field vertically, and Edwards is the best this class has to offer. Some think the Bears will shy away from using another top pick on a Michigan wide receiver, but that theory is ridiculous. For starters, the current regime wasn't in place when the Bears drafted David Terrell. Secondly, Edwards is bigger and faster than Terrell and made far more big plays at the collegiate level than Terrell did. In our opinion, Edwards is the best receiver in this year's draft and has elite NFL potential.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)
Carnell Williams | RB | Auburn
The Buccaneers could go in several different directions with this pick, including RB, OT, OG, DT or DB. Looking at the probabilities regarding how the top of the draft board will unfold, RB is likely to be the position that the Bucs will get their best value with the fifth overall pick. While Benson is a better fit for an offense looking for a load-carrying power runner, Williams is a better fit for Jon Gruden's version of the West Coast offense. Williams still needs to improve as a blocker, but he's the shiftiest and most elusive of the top three backs (Brown and Benson) and he has the hands to become a legitimate weapon as a receiver out of the backfield. It also won't hurt Williams' chances that Gruden fell in love with him while coaching him at the Senior Bowl.

6. Tennessee Titans (5-11)
Antrel Rolle | DC | Miami-FL
With so many questions about the future of veterans Fred Miller and Brad Hopkins, the team's biggest need could be offensive tackle. The problem, however, is that this year's class is void of a legitimate top-10 OT prospect. Instead of reaching for an OT with the sixth pick, look for the Titans to draft a higher-rated player at a different position of need. If the team is unable to re-sign free-agent DC Andre Dyson, cornerback could become a priority early in the draft. Rolle needs to run well in his postseason workouts in order to prove capable of holding up on an island at the next level. Assuming he does, Rolle has the size, instincts, toughness and athletic ability to quickly become a solid starter in the NFL.

7. Oakland Raiders (5-11)
Cedric Benson | RB | Texas
The Raiders would be elated if Benson fell to them at No. 7. Coach Norv Turner's offensive philosophy is to pound it out on the ground with a big, bruising back who can wear the opponent down and eventually open up some vertical opportunities with a play-action pass. The Raiders have a strong enough arm at quarterback with Kerry Collins, the speed at wide receiver and the bruising offensive line to execute that scheme, but what's missing is the "bell-cow" at running back. Benson doesn't have great speed or elusiveness, but he's a north-south runner with great vision, size and power – making him a perfect fit for Turner and the Raiders.

8. Arizona Cardinals (6-10)
Alex Smith* | QB | Utah
The Cardinals still have several needs to address in the upcoming draft, including RB, DT, DC and DE. However, after passing on Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger in last year's draft and coming to the realization that Josh McCown is not the future of the franchise's quarterback position, the Cardinals would love to see either Rodgers or Smith fall to them here. Smith certainly will need time to get bigger and stronger, and to make the transition from the Mountain West Conference to the NFL. But he has the athletic ability, accuracy, toughness and competitiveness to become a franchise quarterback in the NFL, especially with young standout WRs Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald to grow old with.

9. Washington Redskins (6-10)
Mike Williams* | WR | Southern Cal
The Redskins could use an impact, pass-rushing DE or an upgrade at center but Williams would be too good of a fit to pass up on. With inconsistent WR Rod Gardner likely heading out of town, the Redskins need a receiver who can stretch the field and better complement Laveranues Coles. Williams only has serviceable speed and he's been out of football for a year, but he is big enough and athletic enough to develop into a dynamic threat in the NFL.

10. Detroit Lions (6-10)
Heath Miller* | TE | Virginia
The Lions could use playmakers at defensive end and in the secondary, but upgrading the tight end position ranks higher on the wish list. Miller is the only sure-fire first-round prospect this class has to offer. He lacks Todd Heap and Tony Gonzalez-type speed, but he's just a notch below the elite in terms of playmaking ability. Miller has very good size, is a smooth athlete, has a terrific feel for the passing game and might have the best hands of any skill-position player in this draft.

11. Dallas Cowboys (6-10)
Shawne Merriman* | OLB/DE | Maryland
Depending on how the board shakes out, the Cowboys should walk away from the first round with two top prospects from the following four glaring positions of need: DC, DE, WR and OT. Merriman is a "tweener" DE/OLB who may need time before settling in as a full-time starter at one position in the NFL, but he has the speed, athleticism and pass-rushing skills to immediately upgrade the Cowboys' defense in that department.

12. San Diego Chargers (12-4)
Troy Williamson* | WR | South Carolina
Despite their impressive turnaround in 2004, the Chargers still have several positions of need to address. With that in mind, expect the Chargers to stay put with their two picks in the first round (12 and 28). Upgrading their free safety position is a need, but bringing in a vertical threat at wide receiver and an impact pass rushing DE/OLB rank higher on the wish list. Not many people are talking about Williamson right now, but wait until the combine is over. He has the size, long arms, hands and explosive speed to quickly develop into a deep threat in the NFL. Adding a playmaker like Williamson to go along with TE Antonio Gates and RB LaDainian Tomlinson would make the Chargers' offense frightening to match up against – no matter who is the signal-caller.

13. Houston Texans (7-9)
Derrick Johnson | OLB | Texas
The Texans need to get younger along the defensive line and also could use another receiver to help complement Andre Johnson, but passing up on Johnson here would be a mistake. Johnson could slip because of the position he plays, but in our opinion he's the best defensive player in this class. The Texans used a top pick on a pass-rushing OLB in Justin Babin last season but could use a more traditional linebacker to help improve their run defense and pass coverage. Johnson, who has experience inside and outside, is versatile enough to play different roles in the team's 3-4 scheme, and he's athletic and instinctive enough to upgrade the unit in both of the aforementioned areas.

14. Carolina Panthers (7-9)
Alex Barron | OT | Florida State
The team's biggest need is at right tackle, where Matt Willig and Todd Fordham didn't cut it a year ago. The Panthers could go in a different direction if they are unable to re-sign free agent Muhsin Muhammad, but Barron is a decent value at a much bigger position of need. Barron needs to become more physical but he has the size, strength and feet to develop into a starting right or left tackle in the NFL.

15. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9)
Eramus James | DE | Wisconsin
The Chiefs could use a vertical threat like Williamson if he dropped to them here. Otherwise, it's defense, defense, defense again. A pass-rushing defensive end would help most, followed by a corner who can hold up in man-to-man coverage and then an upgrade in terms of athleticism at the linebacker position. In this scenario, the Chiefs would have a tough choice to make between James, DE Dan Cody, DC Brandon Browner and DT Travis Johnson, and James is the best value at the position they need most. James is a risk-reward type prospect because of his injury history. However, he's the best pure pass-rushing DE in this class and he's worth taking a chance on in the middle of the first round.

16. New Orleans Saints (8-8)
Thomas Davis | DS | Georgia
The Saints are starving for an athletic upgrade at linebacker and Davis could be just the answer they are looking for. Davis played OLB early in his collegiate career but moved to DS and became an absolute terror as a sideline-to-sideline run stopper. Davis might not have the range and cover skills to develop into an elite DS in the NFL, but if he can add a few pounds to his 226-pound frame he has a chance to develop into a Derrick Brooks-type OLB in the NFL.

17. Cincinnati Bengals (8-8)
Travis Johnson | DT | Florida State
The Bengals need to use this draft to upgrade the middle of their defense. If Johnson falls to them at No. 17, the Bengals would be elated. After struggling through some off-the-field issues that affected his play early in his career at FSU, Johnson had a breakout season as a full-time starter in 2004. In our opinion, he's the best defensive tackle in this year's draft class and has a chance to make a huge impact early in his NFL career as a one-gap, penetrating DT.

18. Minnesota Vikings (8-8)
Shaun Cody | DE | USC
The Vikings might be looking for a wide receiver if they do indeed part ways with Randy Moss. If not, upgrading their defensive tackle position and secondary become the primary goals in the 2005 draft. If Davis is off the board, there isn't another safety worth reaching for with this pick. Cody is a much better value at a position of equal need, as the Vikings need to replace Chris Hovan at the three-technique position. Cody is a "tweener" DE/DT who would have to move outside to end in most NFL schemes, but he would be a perfect fit as a one-gap penetrating DT next to Kevin Williams.

19. St. Louis Rams (8-8)
Dan Cody | DE | Oklahoma
The Rams could use upgrades at right tackle (if Kyle Turley isn't back), offensive guard, inside linebacker and free safety, but none of those needs are as pressing as defensive end. The Rams missed Grant Wistrom's presence opposite Leonard Little last year and Cody has the athleticism, speed and pass-rushing instincts to step in as a rookie and immediately make an impact.

20. Dallas Cowboys (6-10)
Carlos Rogers | DC | Auburn
After addressing their need for a pass rusher with the 11th overall pick, the Cowboys should turn their attention to finding a potential shutdown cornerback. They badly underestimated their need at the position last season and it resulted in a major trickle-down effect for the entire defensive unit. Rogers has good size and speed. Most importantly, he is a physical cover corner with the athletic ability and confidence to play in the Cowboys' man-to-man defensive scheme.

21. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-7)
David Pollack | DE | Georgia
The Jaguars are stacked in the middle with Marcus Stroud and John Henderson, but they need help on the perimeter. In fact, an explosive edge rusher may be the one thing keeping this unit from reaching elite status. Pollack might lack ideal size and top-end speed, but he has the quickness, power and playmaking instincts to immediately contribute in the NFL. One thing is for sure; nobody in this class works harder.

22. Baltimore Ravens (9-7)
Mark Clayton | WR | Oklahoma
The Ravens are desperate for a wide receiver who can separate and stretch a defense vertically. They would like for one of the top-three receivers (Edwards, Williams and Williamson) to fall, but that's unlikely. Roddy White is a possibility, but we still think Clayton is the superior talent. His lack of size is concerning but he has very good speed, exceptional hands and is a threat after the catch.

23. Seattle Seahawks (9-7)
Matt Roth | DE | Iowa
Grant Wistrom was an upgrade when healthy, but he's aging and can't be counted on anymore as an every-down player. The Seahawks could use a young pass-rushing presence at the defensive end position, and Roth provides some versatility in that he can play defensive end and even move back to a rush-linebacker role when the team is in its nickel and dime package.

24. Green Bay Packers (10-6)
Channing Crowder* | ILB | Florida
The Packers need to find another pass-rushing presence opposite Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, and they also need an upgrade at linebacker. If they draft an inside linebacker, Nick Barnett can move outside. If they draft an outside linebacker, Barnett can stay home at his MLB position. Crowder, who is a "tweener" OLB/ILB prospect, would be a good fit because the team could try him at both positions and see which one fits best. Crowder is still raw, but he's a good athlete with a mean streak, two qualities the Packers' linebacker corps currently lacks.

25. Denver Broncos (10-6)
Marcus Spears | DE | LSU
This would be a good fit, as Spears is a "tweener" DE/DT who could play both roles for the Broncos. On first and second downs Spears could spend time as a power-end in order to better rest pass-rushing specialist Reggie Howard. On obvious passing down Spears could move inside to upgrade the Broncos' subpar interior pass rush.

26. New York Jets (10-6)
Brandon Browner* | DC | Oregon State
The Jets' most glaring weakness on either side of the ball is at cornerback, and luckily for them this year's draft class is loaded with top candidates at that position. Browner is a bit of an enigma as an unexpected early addition, but his combination of height and speed are intriguing. Browner has great experience in man-to-man coverage and he would be a great value for the Jets at No. 26.

27. Atlanta Falcons (11-5)
Roddy White | WR | Alabama-Birmingham
The Falcons are hot in pursuit of Randy Moss. If that deal falls through, the draft is their next best option in terms of providing Peerless Price legitimate complementary help. White left the Senior Bowl early with a hamstring injury but he proved during the first couple days of practice that he has the speed and playmaking capability to make a difference in the vertical passing game at the next level. If the Falcons do land Moss – or another legitimate starting WR during free agency – DS, DE and OG are the next three positions of need.

28. San Diego Chargers (12-4)
Daryl Blackstock* | OLB | Virginia
If the Chargers go after a vertical playmaker at wide receiver with their first selection, their attention should turn to the other side of the ball with the 28th pick. Drafting a free safety such as Oklahoma's Brodney Pool is a possibility, but Blackstock is a better value and fit. Blackstock was a dominant pass-rushing OLB in Virginia's 3-4 defense and he could serve a similar purpose within the Chargers' identical scheme.

29. Indianapolis Colts (12-4)
Justin Miller* | DC | Clemson
The Colts have a lot of young talent in their secondary, but they are still without a playmaker at the cornerback position. Miller is tough and aggressive, which makes him a good fit in Tony Dungy's scheme. Most importantly, he has great speed, athletic ability and ball skills. Not only could he upgrade the Colts' secondary right away, but he also could provide more explosiveness in the return game.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers (15-1)
Bryant Mcfadden | DC | Florida State
The Steelers could use this selection on an additional pass rusher at the rush-linebacker position, but cornerback is realistically their biggest need. Mcfadden had a terrific week at the Senior Bowl and should have solidified a spot late in the first round. He has good size, speed and athletic ability. More impressive, however, is his toughness, confidence and tackling skills. He has experience in man-to-man coverage and he could immediately provide an upgrade at the nickel cornerback position for a thin Steelers secondary. In our opinion, Mcfadden would be a perfect fit in the Steel City.

31. Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)
Anttaj Hawthorne | DT | Wisconsin
The Eagles could go in several different directions with this pick, including wide receiver, running back or defensive end. However, if Corey Simon bolts via free agency, the defensive tackle position will become one of the team's only glaring needs. Hawthorne's effort was inconsistent at the collegiate level, but when he turns it on he has as much talent and explosiveness as any other player at his position in this year's class. He doesn't have great size or the strength to hold up in a two-gap scheme, but Hawthorne has the initial quickness and upfield explosiveness to fit nicely into coordinator Jim Johnson's one-gap system.

32. New England Patriots (14-2)
Jammal Brown | OT | Oklahoma
The Patriots have other more pressing needs at cornerback and linebacker, but they've never been an organization that reaches for a position of need. They have gotten away with below-average individual talent at several offensive line positions, so drafting a lineman with a good deal of upside with their first pick would make a lot of sense. Brown needs to become more physical, but he has the size and feet to develop into a solid starter in the NFL.

A couple noteworthy things. "Pac Man" Jones way up at number 3, and also this is the second straight mock to put Derrick Johnson way down at #13.
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Postby bagobonez » Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:12 pm

Sigh... I don't know why people feel they have to go out on a limb just to have a unique mock draft. Cedric Benson the 3rd RB off the boards? C'mon ESPN. Derrick Johnson probably will be drafted by Cleveland, and if not, there is NO WAY he makes it to #13.

This is just silly. How do these people have such a dream job but suck so much at it?
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Postby mtryanks12 » Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:13 pm

This mock is BS. Johnson is too late, tampa has no reason to shoot for RB, and the dolphins are better off drafting a QB and picking up a FA RB. Oh, and jammal brown to the Pats???????? :-? :-?
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Postby SwiperNoSwiping » Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:13 pm

Wow, that is the highest I have seen PacMan yet. His stock has blown through the roof. Before doing the Early Mock he was behind a lot of people at CB.

That was the 2nd one in a row with the Bears taking Braylon too...Didn't they learn with David Terrell?

The Lions with the TE again? I don't like that pick at all for them. They need to go defense.

DJ at #13? Please...The best player in the draft needs to find a home before then. I smell holdout if he goes here. The man deserves to be paid like a #1.

Chiefs taking Erasmus James? I like that they went defense, but go secondary. Eric Crouch is not THAT good.

Funny to see Marlin Jackson fall out of the first rd too...

Ok those are just my first glances...Some surprises there though...

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Postby Azrael » Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:37 pm

Real mocks suck. Fantasy mocks rule.
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Postby mutantseabass » Fri Feb 11, 2005 11:38 pm

IF the Lions take Heath Miller with the 10th pick i will be so pissed. We need a safety, please Millen draft on the D side of the ball.

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Postby joshyboy72 » Fri Feb 11, 2005 11:53 pm

If the Browns take PacMan at that pick I will die of laughter.

I don't see Cadillac going that early, and Benson that late.

I don't see Alex Smith lasting that far.

Either these mocks are just horrible or I need a pair of glasses. B-)
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Postby no1cowboysfan » Sat Feb 12, 2005 4:31 am

I'm sorry, but I hate this mock. If this actually happens, which for all I know it might, props to them. But this is crazy...

Ronnie Brown at 2? DJ at 13? Pac-Man at 3?

ESPN is insane...

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Postby Bennett4prez » Sat Feb 12, 2005 12:02 pm

I love Derrick Johnson, but the Cafe has him WAY overrated.

He is a surefire first-rounder. I'll even say he is a top half of the first round. But, #13 is NOT a stretch.

1) Rolle is the best defensive player in the draft, not Johnson.

2) Look at who has the top 9 picks, have similar, if not bigger holes on the defensive side, and so they draft accordingly.

3) I do not think Johnson will fall to the #13 pick, but I would say it's just as much of a stretch to put him as high as some of the Cafers are suggesting. I have him as my 7th best player in the draft, just behind Mike Williams. But, teams have to go with needs.
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Postby SwiperNoSwiping » Sat Feb 12, 2005 3:02 pm

I agree with you on parts there B4P...I do think DJ is the best player in the draft. He is amazing.

But I do agree that the teams will draft what they need. I can see him honestly lasting until the Lions go at 10. I would really be surprised if they passed up on him if he was there. I think he would be an incredible steal at that point in the draft, with the majority of teams taking RB or QB ahead of them.

I think Cleveland would be about the only other place he could end up. Unless someone trades up, since there is a lot of depth at RB it seems. That I could see more than DJ going at 13 or around there.

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