Still a rookie to CBS Sportsline, with a lot of opinion! I have read several "expert" blogs as well as fellow member's opinions on what the 2009 NFL Draft is going to look like. Historically, mock drafts are impossible to get right. Trades, team needs, GM's draft patterns - all shape into what has really become a staple to the corporation known as the NFL.
From what I have seen in a majority of mocks is that this year's class will feature a strong group of offensive tackles and pass rushers. Significantly less talent at the Quarterback and running back position has been addressed. A month ago, Mark Sanchez was a good quarterback, with a day remaining, the media has built his case to the point where some folks feel he is a top 5 pick.
My picks are based off my own opinions, good ol' fashion fun and some serious luck! I don't want to be %100 correct in my mock, I just want to have more correct picks than my buddy on draft day. Enjoy, and let me know if you think I am full of it. Hey, at least you are reading this post right now!
1. Lions - Jason Smith (OT, Baylor) - Matt Stafford, Mark Sanchez? This guy must be their pick? I don't know. Giving Matt Stafford some gigantic contract doesn't seem too bright. He is a good prospect, don't get me wrong. Who has the tools to be an immediate starter? Jason Smith does. Don't think Aaron Curry will land here either, especially with the signing of Julian Peterson. With a lot of picks early, the Lions can go QB later. With the last ranked defense, they can also grab few solid picks later.
2. Rams - Eugene Monroe (OT, Virginia) - recently I heard Sanchez' name at #2. Another smoke screen. I also heard of Crabtree going here to oppose Donny Avery. I don't buy either. The loss of Orlando Pace is truly a massive hole to fill on the O-Line. If Bulger is going to survive this year, he is going to need some help. NFL ready? Check. Monroe, arguably considered just as good as Smith, will be a solid, safe choice.
3. Chiefs - Michael Crabtree (WR, Texas Tech); Pioli very well could take Curry at #3. I think with the loss of TE Tony Gonzales and not many picks in the first couple rounds, the Chiefs go with the top WR, possibly top prospect in this year's draft. He had a smaller injury this offseason. Did that hamper his draft stock? Maybe so, if you consider him falling out of the top 5. I think the Chiefs put a lot of investment into Matt Cassel. Opposite of speedster Dwayne Bowe, Crabtree will give a big, Randy Moss-esque target that could have a stand-out year.
4. Seahawks - Aaron Curry (LB, Wake Forest) Matt Hasslebeck told the media he didn't mind if the Hawks' drafted a QB at the fourth pick. Maybe so, maybe not. Regardless, the Seahawks are a pretty conservative team. With the fourth pick, they will get a stud to build the middle of a defensive scheme. Curry can be used like Brian Urlacher in Chicago - they can literally build their defense around this guy. The Hawks had a lot of injuries at the WR position last year, but injuries heal and they picked up TJ. Seneca Wallace is a nice backup in Seatlle. Makes sense to grab Curry. He should pan out to be a decent player in the NFL (at least according to EVERYONE).
5. Browns - Brian Orakpo (OLB/DE, Texas) - Just yesterday, rumors were swept around that the Browns had traded Braylon Edwards to the Eagles. Also rumored was that Brady Quinn could be a part of a trade before draft day. Both of these I assume to be smoke screens. All of a sudden, Jamal Lewis is their "guy" at RB. An immediate need is at LB. Orakpo brings the heat. Perfect for the 3-4 defensive scheme in Mangini's defense.
6. Bengals - Andre Smith (OT, Alabama) Carson Palmer took the Cincy team during a recent workout, stating he is tired of losing and things are going to change! Sure, Palmer has been injured and this team has lacked any real depth. If Palmer wasnt on his butt half the time, or injured due to lack of protection maybe guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick would still not have any playing time. Andre Smith - interesting cat. Too cool for the combine? His stunt cost him a lot of guaranteed money moving out of the top 5. Still worth of a top 10 pick? Sure is. He seems to have the tools for success with immediate impact. The lowly Bengals need help on both sides of the ball, but having someone to block opponents, keeping Palmer healthy is a top priority for Marvin Lewis.
7. Raiders - Tyson Jackson (DE; LSU) JaMarcus doesn't get his top receiving threat - Crabtree is already off the board. With more than half a decade of top 10 picks, the Raiders need help. The Raiders last two Top 10 picks were both on the offensive side of the ball in Russell and Darren McFadden. This pick could go anywhere - we are dealing with Al Davis here. Jackson's stock is rising at the right time. He is indeed a solid football player. The Raiders have the inside LB taken care of. Now they need more help to keep the offense on the field. Maclin is a sexy pick here too, but again, this is Al Davis we are talking about.
8. Jaguars - BJ Raji (DT, Boston College) - If any trade goes down, it will impact the 8th pick in this year's draft. Publicly, the Jags front office has said they are wanting out of this spot. Somebody is going to jump, and I put my money on Washington trading their 1st round pick in 09' and a future 3rd rounder to grab Mark Sanchez. If it doesn't go down, the Jags can use this pick to grab a talented DT in Raji. Its a win-win for the so-so Jags. MJD is going to need the help after Fred Jackson left for Buffalo. They can adress this in later rounds. Raji is going to be a very good football player. I personally think he has more upside than Aaron Curry does. DT's are difficult to find, and Del Rio will appreciate the support on his d-line.
9. Packers - Aaron Maybin (OLB, Penn State) I find this to be the hardest choice in the top 10. The Packers two years ago were a Super Bowl contender. Brett Favre left and the team sunk into mediocrity. Another team with a need for depth on the defense, Maybin is sure primed to work with AJ Hawk to bolster the LB corps for years to come. Joe Pa has bred some serious LB's at Penn State - Maybin a prime example. He will wow Lambeau. Green Bay should be happy with this selection.
10. 49ers - Michael Oher (OT, Ole Miss) The 49ers. Once a winning franchise with guys like Ronnie Lott, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. With Alex Smith and Sean Hill still battling for the starting QB spot, the 49ers will consider having somebody there to stop the defense. Stafford and Sanchez are still available here, but I think Singletary's run-first oriented offense proves that this should be somewhat of an obivous pick. Oher has one incredible story to tell. There is serious debate he deserves to go higher or lower than this pick. With raw talent and serious, serious upside, Oher can start at RT opposed from fellow first rounder Joe Staley, providing much needed relief for the QB. If the 49ers do take a QB, look at them gambling MUCH later in this year's draft.
11. Bills- Brian Cushing (LB, USC) Jason Peters is now an Eagle. The top 4 OTs are off the board, so the team figures they can find some value with their second 1st round projection. Buffalo has a pretty decent offense. . The team has Terrell Owens for a year and they picked up Fred Jackson. This helps out JP Losman. Among the linebacking corp is another Penn State prodigy. The thing with Cushing is he truly is a freak of nature. He was a 4-year starter at USC. That has to say something. I also had Malcolm Jenkins and/or Brandon Pettigrew here, but Cushing is too good to pass up.
12. Broncos - Everette Brown (OLB/DE, Florida State) - surprising how many linebackers are considered a top 20 pick. Mike Nolan is in need of help with his new defense. With their franchise QB now in Chicago, the Broncos will need immediate depth at a super young defensive unit. Denver has stated they need defensive help. Sanchez or Stafford here doesn't seem right. I think they are serious going with Kyle Orton to start the season. Brown is a nasty mofo. Unlike other FSU draft busts, he seems to be a real value if he falls to the 12th spot.
13. Redskins - Mark Sanchez (QB, USC) - Daniel Snyder doesn't like Jason Campbell's attitude. In fact, Campbell just threw a fit saying he would be really upset if the Skins drafted a QB. All top OT's are off the board. Even if they did grab someonne to protect Campbell, I still don't think he would succeed. Washington plays in a tough division. They need a star to compete. Sanchez stock has risen dramatically over the last month or so. The Skins got Haynesworth to bolster their defense. With minimal picks in this draft, they need a big time selection. I have them trading up to #8 with the same pick. This could be a very good, or very, very, very bad choice here.
14. Saints - Chris Wells (RB, Ohio State) - I guess the Saints want three running backs to levee some relief for Drew Brees. Moving Reggie Bush into the ultimate utility role, the Saints get a bruiser to compliment Pierre Thomas. They have a so-so defensive unit, but acknowlede the need for another running back. They need the secondary help on defense, but after Malcolm Jenkins' publicly came out saying one position has a better pay day than another, Peyton and his young squad can bolster an already solid offense.
15. Texans - Malcolm Jenkins (DB, Ohio State) - Jenkins stock dropped a little after his monetary intentions went public. With this mock's draft heavily leaning on OT's and defense (with the exception of secondary positions), Houston grabs the best DB. Jenkins can play safety and corner. He is big and can match up with bigger receivers. Houston needs help on defense. Mario Williams needs the help on the line, but adding some security behind him is a serious priority for this club.
16. Chargers - Larry English (DE; Northern Illinois) - LT still has some gas in the tank, and the emergence of Darren Sproles will divert this squad from jumping on a RB in a weaker RB class. English a bonafide animal. He's huge and the Bolts need a pass rusher. This is a reach, which is why I am picking him to go here. If they want to get a RB, grab him much later in the draft.
17. Jets - Matt Stafford - (QB, Georgia) - Stafford most likely will be taken before this pick. I don't know what it is about him, but I think he is not worthy of the 1st selection overall. Stafford has skills to be considered in the 1st round. The Jets have a high mark on Josh Freeman too. If the choice is here, they should pick Stafford over Freeman. This whole left by the future HOF'er in Favre is too big to ignore. This team could trade up for a QB. Regardless, they take a quarterback here. If Stafford and Sanchez are gone, they go with a RB to add needed depth.
18. Broncos - Rey Maualuga (LB, USC) - Maualuga is an interesting prospect. He worked with a group of 1st round draft picks, possibly showing a huge SC corp drafted early. Maualuga has the smarts to lead the younger Broncos defense. Flirting with the possibility of a QB here might be an option, but knowing McDaniels jocks Cassel, which didn't work out, I think he would take too much heat for giving up Cutler via trade for an unproven QB. By grabbing Brown and Maualuga, Mike Nolan still has a younger defense to work with, but a much better defense compared to last year.
19. Bucaneers - Peria Jerry (DT, Mississippi) - Signing Byron Leftwich fizzled out the fact the Bucs have some ties with Kansas State's Freeman. They got rid of Jeff Garcia, but plugging the defensive holes was what they were lacking during the downfall known as the 2008 season. During the second half last year, teams ran all over this team. It was a free pass through the middle of the line. Jerry is the second rated DT in this draft. Might not have the credentials as Raji, but the skills are up there. He is a bruiser and can move for a big man. Good choice here.
20. Lions - Clay Matthews (LB, USC) - They passed on Stafford according to this mock. The Lions have Daunte Culpepper and a guy named Stanton who is still young. Its hard to divert this squad from taking a QB. If they are as bad as they were last year (which is pretty much statistically impossible at this point), they can find a QB in a much bigger draft class in 2010. Matthews can work with Peterson in the middle. He can play alongside the veteran and learn from him. Matthews was a walk on at USC and won a starting role. Says a lot coming from this school's LB class.
21. Eagles - Knowshon Moreno - (RB, Georgia) - The Eagles got a good OT from the Bills. Westbrook can't do everything by himself. I know McNabb wants a TE he can throw to.. LJ Smith not the answer. Regardless, Moreno and Chris Wells are both the "elite" RB's in this year's class. Pettigrew is a reach to me for some reason. McNabb can lay the rock to his RB's and let Peters help with the holes. Regardless, Philly should be a good team this year. Adding depth at RB is a priority for sure.
22. Vikings - Ebon Britton (OT, Arizona) - For a while I had the Vikings penciled in as taking a wide receiver. I changed my mind. They need depth at OT. Tavaris Jackson needs the time to get the ball to guys like Bernard Berrian. Britton has some raw talent and seems like he can be used for depth until solidifying a starting role. This pick could go in a few different directions, but with such a huge talent class at OT, they should grab him up quick. Other needs like a CB, even a WR can be found later on.
23. Patriots - James Laurinitias (LB; Ohio State) - Bellicheck really likes to draft defense early. The Linebackers are not getting any younger. He can learn from the vets in New England. At Ohio State, the guy really was a leader and stand out player. His smarts and athletic ability are promising with a lot of room to grow. He can be groomed the way NE wants to do so. A good pick for a stacked team. With Tom Brady back, I had thoughts of a TE going here. I dont think Ben Watson is the answer. Im going with History on my side.
24. Falcons - Vontae Davis (CB; Illinois) - I also had a TE going to this spot, until yesterday when I found out Tony Gonzales was traded for a 2010 2nd rounder. The Falcons are making big strides by scoring on Gonzales and taking the needed risk by selecting Matt Ryan 3rd overall last year. The defense can use help in the secondary. They got burned a lot last year. Davis has the skills but the stock dropped with his attitude (similar to that of his brother ; Vernon Davis). Again, good skills, and they take a big CB with the makes for a booked DB on this team for years to come.
25. Dolphins - Darius Butler (DB, UCONN) - Parcells is known to draft defense. They went with Long last year, and I feel like saying this is my guaranteed pick for the 20-32 pick range. Butler can read the field and can manage the secondary. The Phins were quite a story last year. What a big improvement from 1-15 to 11-5. Day and night. If Pennington can do what he did last year, and the offense can keep rolling, Miami can focus on defense. Butler is a solid pick at #25.
26. Ravens - Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR; Maryland) - the Ravens might go DE here, but seeing that 10 or so have already been selected, it makes sense to give Joe Flacco a compliment to Mark Clayton. Heyward-Bey is a big, tough WR with serious speed. He can immediately bolster a rather young offense. Considering the Ravens are known as a defensive team, they will still have a lot of defensive picks showing up to camp, just not with their first selection. The WR will need some time to get settled playing in the NFL, and could drop out of the first round completely. IMO, he is a top 3 WR in this year's class and deserves to go in the first round.
27. Colts - Evandor Hood (DT) - the Colts have Peyton Manning and two Pro-Bowl calibour defensive ends. They need help in the middle of the their D-Line. The O-line isn't getting any younger. They could find another Anthony Gonzales with this pick but I don't see a WR being picked right away. The Colts can only get better from their dismal playoff performance last year. This is a Super Bowl contending team, and with Hood in the mix, learning from his peers, he could mold into a Pro Bowler a few years down the road.
28. Bills - William Beatty (OT) - The Bills need to replace Peters. They go with big-man Beatty to play for Buffalo. I had Brandon Pettigrew going here, but think there is more value with Beatty at this pick. There are a few tight ends available later, and with the addition of TO to their offense, another big play-maker may not be the answer. What the Bills need is help at Tackle. By trading Peters, they must grab a tackle here. If a big named tackle slipped to #11, they would go tackle first. Beatty could be a hidden gem overlooked by such a deep class of tackles.
29. Giants - Hakeem Nicks (WR; North Carolina) - I had Percy Harvin here. The New York media was salivating when he tested positive for weed at the combine. Harvin would not last in NY. Plaxico Burress already ignited the bad press by shooting himself in the leg. The Giants would be doing the same thing by bringing in a guy whom was so clueless to smoke a fatty before one of the biggest days in his life. Nicks on the other hand is a hard worker. He has solid feet and can run routes solidly. I can see a LB here, but the biggest need is getting lil Eli Manning another target to throw to. Nicks doesn't have the size that Plax does, but has some interesting upside they might want to go after.
30. Titans - Alex Mack (C, California) - Titans are known to avoid playmakers. Well, not-so-much the case after the Vince Young nightmare. The team is solid. They could use another DB aside Cortland Finnegan, but I see Fischer and giving Chris Johnson and LenDale White some running room. Mack was a standout, both academically and physically for Cal. He is a quick learning, hard-working guy who can be a staple at the line for a decade or longer. Although he has room to learn, he can do so with the help of his new teammates and NFL coaches.
31. Cardinals - Michael Johnson (DE) - Everyone is saying the Cardinals need help on offense. They might get lucky for the draft and get rid of Boldin for a higher pick. If not, they could use some support on the pass rush. Johnson, a physical specimen to say the least, can come in for AZ and learn. The offense is golden. They were just in the Super Bowl and play in a weak NFC West. Bolstering their defensive unit is a priority, and if Wisenhunt really wants a RB, they can use Boldin for a trade or trade later on in the draft. Donald Brown, RB from UCONN still might be their pick.
32. Steelers - MAx Unger (OG, Oregon) - Steelers are the reigning champs, so they need to add some youth and depth to their championship roster. Unger is a beast who could play a few different positions on the line. Guys like Alan Fanaca aren't getting any younger, and Tomlin has a team whom is solid across the board. The can add depth where needed, but a guy like Unger, who is a blip under the radar, just might pan out.