Sunday, February 22, 2009

2009 First Round Mock Draft v1.0

The 2009 NFL Draft is still two months away, but I've been quietly working on my first round mock draft for a while now and I thought now would be a good time to release my current version publicly.

Obviously it will undergo changes (probably daily) between now and late April, especially once free agency begins and teams start eliminating needs. Nevertheless, this is the way I see things shaking out at this point in time. Let me know what you think!

1. Detroit Lions - Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia

The Lions obviously need a franchise quarterback, but I predict they go the safe round with the best all-around left tackle in the draft in Monroe.

2. St. Louis Rams - Jason Smith, OT, Baylor

Smith's stock is on the rise and the Rams take Orlando Pace's eventual replacement here.

3. Kansas City Chiefs - Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest

The Chiefs are thin at linebacker and Curry - possibly the best overall prospect in the draft - would be a great addition, in their expected conversion to the 3-4.

4. Seattle Seahawks - Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia

Michael Crabtree is a strong possibility here and I had him here myself up until five minutes ago, but Matt Hasselbeck appears to be past his prime and can't stay healthy. If Stafford falls into their laps, it wouldn't surprise me to see them pull the trigger.

5. Cleveland Browns - Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State

Desperately in need of some talent at cornerback, the Browns take the local product and top corner available in Jenkins.

6. Cincinnati Bengals - Andre Smith, OT, Alabama

Smith's stock is plummeting right now after a disastrous NFL Scouting Combine experience, but a good Pro Day will keep him in the Top 10 and the Bengals, in need of a young left tackle, have never been an organization to shy away from players due to character concerns.

7. Oakland Raiders - Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

Desperately in need of a wide receiver for JaMarcus Russell, Al Davis gets very fortunate here when a Top-5 talent drops into his lap.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars - Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss

Khalif Barnes is unlikely to return as a free agent and the Jaguars liked what they saw of Oher when they coached at the Senior Bowl.

9. Green Bay Packers - Brian Orakpo, LB, Texas

The Packers aren't entirely equipped with the personnel to run Dom Capers' 3-4 scheme, but Orakpo would give them a great pass-rushing linebacker.

10. San Francisco 49ers - Everette Brown, LB, Florida State

Desperately in need of a pass rusher to team with Manny Lawson, the 49ers pass on a risky Mark Sanchez in favor of the extremely talented Florida State underclassman.

11. Buffalo Bills - Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State

Linebacker Kawika Mitchell and defensive end Ryan Denney tied for the team lead with four sacks each in 2008. Needless to say, a little pass rush upgrade is needed.

12. Denver Broncos - B. J. Raji, DT, Boston College

The Broncos don't have many pieces to run the 3-4 they will likely implement, but Raji gives McDaniels his own Vince Wilfork in Denver.

13. Washington Redskins - Tyson Jackson, DE, Louisiana State

The Redskins are thin at both defensive tackle and defensive end, and Jackson could be a productive player at either position in their 4-3 scheme.

14. New Orleans Saints - James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State

Jonathan Vilma is a free agent and they have little else at linebacker, so Laurinaitis who be a great pick here and give the Saints a reliable and versatile linebacker for years to come.

15. Houston Texans - Larry English, DE, Northern Illinois

The Texans need someone to help Mario Williams rush the passer and English is the best defensive end left on the board.

16. San Diego Chargers - Rey Maualuga, LB, Southern California

The Chargers could use some inside linebacker help alongside Stephen Cooper and Maualuga would be the perfect fit.

17. New York Jets - Mark Sanchez, QB, Southern California

Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff likely aren't the answer and if Sanchez falls this far I expect the Jets to jump on him.

18. Chicago Bears - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri

The Bears luck out here with the No. 2 receiver in the draft dropping to No. 18. Teamed with Devin Hester, Maclin helps the Bears start to build a respectable receiving corps.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss

Jerry's stock is on the rise and he's a perfect fit for defensive tackle in Tampa's scheme.

20. Detroit Lions - Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State

Having selected their bookend tackle first overall, the Lions get their rookie quarterback with the pick they acquired from Dallas in the Roy Williams deal.

21. Philadelphia Eagles - Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State

Not an absolute need pick, but the Eagles couldn't pass on this kind of value here and Wells would be the perfect complement to Brian Westbrook.

22. Minnesota Vikings - Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois

There's little depth behind an aging Antoine Winfield and with the Josh Freeman already off the board the Vikings opt for the No. 2 corner in the draft in Davis.

23. New England Patriots - Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest

There's little talent at cornerback on the Patriots' roster and Smith could be their new Asante Samuel.

24. Atlanta Falcons - Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State

Atlanta has no starting-caliber tight ends on the roster (or backup tight ends, for that matter) and they grab the position's most complete prospect in Pettigrew here.

25. Miami Dolphins - Brian Cushing, LB, Southern California

Cushing could play anywhere in the Dolphins' 3-4 scheme, replacing Channing Crowder or giving them a starting outside linebacker opposite Joey Porter.

26. Baltimore Ravens - D. J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt

Chris McAlister's gone, Samari Rolle wants out and there isn't much remaining on the roster. Moore injects some talent and youth into the position.

27. Indianapolis Colts - Percy Harvin, WR, Florida

With Marvin Harrison on the way out, the Colts pick up a versatile athlete in Harvin to line up with Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez.

28. Philadelphia Eagles - Eben Britton, OT, Arizona

Both Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan are old and pending free agents, so it makes sense for Philly to grab the best tackle left on the board here.

29. New York Giants - Clay Matthews, LB, Southern California

A receiver like Heyward-Bey or Kenny Britt to replace Plaxico Burress is a strong possibility, but Matthews would be a huge upgrade for the Giants at outside linebacker.

30. Tennessee Titans - Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland

The Titans lack a true No. 1 receiver and Heyward-Bey possesses a great blend of size and speed they could really use.

31. Arizona Cardinals - Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia

Edgerrin James' career is winding down and Moreno would give the Cardinals a great tag-team partner with Tim Hightower.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers - Duke Robinson, OG, Oklahoma

Chris Kemoeatu is a free agent and Kendall Simmons is coming off a torn Achilles' tendon. Robinson's the best guard in the draft and would be a great addition to the Steelers' line.