Tuesday, April 7, 2009

2009 First Round Mock Draft, v2.0

It's been over a month since I posted the first version of my mock draft, and a lot has happened with NFL free agency, trades, the combine, pro days, etc. I thought now would be a good time to post my current mock draft, as the 2009 NFL Draft is less than three weeks away. Enjoy!

1. Detroit Lions - Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia

Detroit is sorely lacking a young quarterback for the future, and Stafford's the best at his position in this year's draft. A franchise left tackle like Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe would be the alternative.

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

Orlando Pace is gone and the Rams don't really have anybody to replace him. Smith is arguably the best of the best in a great class of tackles, so he gets the nod here.

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

The Chiefs are converting to the 3-4 defense under GM Scott Pioli despite lacking many of the key personnel. Curry just might be the best all-around player in this draft and would be a great fit at inside linebacker.

4. Seattle Seahawks - Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia

There's a voice in my head telling me Mark Sanchez could be the pick here, but Monroe is the more obvious choice. Walter Jones isn't getting any younger and Monroe might be the best overall tackle in the draft.

5. Cleveland Browns - Brian Orakpo, LB, Texas

Kamerion Wimbley has really declined since his rookie season and a better pass rush is needed. Orakpo has all the physical tools and has the potential to be a quality 3-4 outside linebacker.

6. Cincinnati Bengals - Andre Smith, OT, Alabama

A nose tackle like B. J. Raji is a strong possibility, but left tackle is Cincy's most glaring need with Levi Jones on the way out. Smith certainly comes with his share of concerns, but the Bengals have never really shied away from that, have they?

7. Oakland Raiders - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri

The best offensive tackle available would make sense here. Heck, so would the best receiver. But we all know Al Davis loves speed, which is why I think he goes with Maclin over Michael Crabtree.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars - Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

Jacksonville is toying with the idea of a quarterback, but David Garrard is still solid and a more glaring need in wide receiver. The Jaguars haven't had much luck drafting wideouts high in recent years, but Crabtree is the real deal and would be an excellent pick.

9. Denver Broncos (proj. trade with Green Bay) - Mark Sanchez, QB, Southern California

I don't normally project trades, but Green Bay's pick will be in high demand with Sanchez on the board and San Francisco waiting behind them. I see them moving down and accumulating more picks.

The Broncos got Kyle Orton in the Jay Cutler deal, but he's been shaky in his career thus far and I'm not convinced he's a long-term solution. Head coach Josh McDaniels gets his own young quarterback to groom here.

10. San Francisco 49ers - Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State

A pass-rushing outside linebacker like Everette Brown is possible here, but San Francisco needs a young franchise quarterback and will have to grab Freeman if they want to find it in this draft.

11. Buffalo Bills - Everette Brown, DE, Florida State

The Bills desperately need help getting to the quarterback and Brown possesses the qualities to be a far better pass rusher than anyone they currently have on the roster.

12. Green Bay Packers (proj. trade with Denver ) - B. J. Raji, NT, Boston College

Ryan Pickett is a capable nose tackle in Green Bay's new 3-4, but he's entering the last year of his deal and is nearing 30. The Packers pull of a great trade and still get the top 3-4 nose in the draft in Raji at 12.

13. Washington Redskins - Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi

Jon Jansen's pretty much finished and Chris Samuels isn't getting any younger. Oher is a great value here and though he has some bust potential, he may very well be a Pro Bowl left tackle and has all the tools to do it.

14. New Orleans Saints - Malcolm Jenkins, FS, Ohio State

Jenkins' speed has been a concern in the pre-draft process, but that's okay because he could still be a quality safety and that's one of New Orleans' biggest needs. Darren Sharper is the short-term fix, and Jenkins provides a great young player to hold down the position long-term.

15. Houston Texans - Clay Matthews, LB, Southern California

Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing are the more well-known USC linebacker prospects, but Matthews has had the best offseason of the bunch and his stock is on the rise. Houston has a need at linebacker and Matthews is my somewhat surprising pick here.

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

I'm concerned about Maualuga's maturity and he has one of the highest bust potentials in the draft in my book, but there's no denying his talent. Maualuga would be a great fit at inside linebacker in San Diego' 3-4 and could anchor the unit for years to come.

17. New York Jets - Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland

With all three of the top quarterbacks off the board, the Jets turn to their other big need of wide receiver. The team desperately needs a replacement for Laveranues Coles to start opposite Jericho Cotchery, and Heyward-Bey possesses all the necessary tools to be that guy.

18. Denver Broncos - Tyson Jackson, DE, Louisiana State

As the Broncos convert to the 3-4 scheme, they'll need more fitting personnel and Jackson is just that. He's far and away the best 3-4 end in the draft and would be a great value for Denver here.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi

Jerry is a hot prospect right now and is just Tampa's kind of defensive tackle. If Josh Freeman is off the board by the time the Bucs are picking, all indications are they'll go with Jerry.

20. Detroit Lions - Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee

Ayers doesn't have impressive collegiate numbers, but he had a great senior season and is a prospect on the rise. He's a complete defensive end that will certainly upgrade the position in Detroit.

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

A luxury pick for Philadelphia, Wells provides a great complement to Brian Westbrook in what could become one of the league's best tailback tandems. Obviously, more glaring needs like offensive tackle and tight and will garner strong consideration as well.

22. Minnesota Vikings - Eben Britton, OT, Arizona

Minnesota's biggest need is right tackle and Britton is the best tackle on the board. Corner is also a possibility here, but Britton just seems like a sensible and quality pick.

23. New England Patriots - Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois

I originally had Darius Butler here, but with the best corner in the draft falling into their laps I think the Patriots would be fools to pass on Davis. Linebacker is also a need area, but cornerback is a big concern for New England and Davis would be a great addition to the secondary.

24. Atlanta Falcons - Brian Cushing, LB, Southern California

Curtis Lofton looks to be capable of holding down the middle linebacker spot in Atlanta, but the outside spots are still in need of upgrades and Cushing would be a great pick here. He very well may go higher than this, but I have him falling and Atlanta grabbing him.

25. Miami Dolphins - Larry English, LB, Northern Illinois

A corner like Darius Butler will garner strong consideration, but I think Miami goes with a 3-4 pass rusher in Round 1 and looks for someone like Utah's Sean Smith to fill the corner void in Round 2.

26. Baltimore Ravens - Aaron Maybin, LB, Penn State

Aside from Terrell Suggs, the Ravens are sorely lacking a pass-rushing outside linebacker. Cornerback might be a bigger need but general manager Ozzie Newsome usually stays true to his board and takes the best player available. Maybin could go much higher, but limited college experience and a high bust factor causes him to drop to 26.

27. Indianapolis Colts - Percy Harvin, WR, Florida

Indy doesn't have many glaring needs, and Harvin would be a great addition to a receiving corps that just lost an aging Marvin Harrison. If anyone is able to get the most out of the dynamic Harvin, it's Peyton Manning.

28. Philadelphia Eagles - William Beatty, OT, Connecticut

Offensive tackle might just be Philly's biggest need after losing both Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas in free agency, and with Britton off the board the Eagles will go with the next-best player in Beatty. A tight end like Brandon Pettigrew is also possible, though the class at that position is deep and they can address it in the next few rounds.

29. New York Giants - Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers

The Giants finally turned the page on the Plaxico Burress this week and thus are in need of a big man at receiver. Britt fits the bill and the local product out of Rutgers seems like a great fit here.

30. Tennessee Titans - Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina

The Titans lack a true No. 1 wideout and could use some young talent at the position. Nicks is a quality prospect and the best at his position still available, so he gets the nod here.

31. Arizona Cardinals - Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut

Edgerrin James is clearly on the way out and the team could use a back to pair with power rusher Tim Hightower. Georgia's Knowshown Moreno could get the nod here, but Brown's stock has been rising and I think he goes first.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers - Max Unger, C, Oregon

The Steelers obviously don't have many glaring needs, so they'll use this final pick of the first round to add depth to their offensive line. Unger is a versatile player and could push Justin Hartwig at center as early as this season.