That’s right, I’m not even going to wait until free-agency is over. The biggest additions have been made, and unless Barry Bonds signs to play running back for the Raiders or Roger Clemens misremembers his story and reports to Texans’ camp, team needs will be about the same. I will not lead you to temptation, but deliver you to the best mock draft this side of Bill Parcells’ own draft board. I’m old, I’m on the very of insanity, but my football knowledge is here for you to mock… yeah! Draft… Yeah!
- Miami Dolphins (1-15)
Needs: MLB, OT, G, DT, CB, QB, LB
Chris Long, DE, Virginia
I think the Dolphins pass on Matt Ryan, because when all is said and done, they will see that he’s not that far ahead of Brohm and Flacco. Chris Long is a sure thing, hard worker, and a perfect fit for a Bill Parcells team.
- St. Louis Rams (3-13)
Needs: CB, DE, G, OT, OLB
Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
This biggest impact player not named Darren McFadden, Dorsey will finally give the Rams a force up the middle on their defense. Heck, they might even stop the run every once in a while, too.
- Atlanta Falcons (4-12)
Needs: QB, OT, DT, RB, S
Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
The Falcons signed Michael Turner, so there is no way they go with McFadden here. Matt Ryan is almost assured to get picked #1 or #3, with me having him go 3rd to Atlanta. He’ll be a good start in the right direction for this struggling franchise.
- Oakland Raiders (4-12)
Needs: OT, DT, WR, DE, RB
Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State
This is considered early for Gholston, but if he’s not an Al Davis guy, I don’t know who is. His huge strength and speed index should make him speed rushing fixture opposite Derrick Burgess.
- Kansas City Chiefs (4-12)
Needs: OT, DE, C, WR, CB
Jake Long, OT, Michigan
The Chiefs will take Jake Long, if he’s there. Despite the trixy language by Chiefs brass, they don’t have the medicine balls to take another running back after shelling out all that dough for LJ, last season. McFadden slips yet another spot.
- New York Jets (4-12)
Needs: WR, NT, ILB, G, OLB
Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
The winner of the biggest change in team income goes to the Jets. New York will sell infinite McFadden jerseys after the draft, and all the hype after free agency spending and D-Mac’s signing will continue to roll in the publicity in New York.
- New England Patriots (16-0) via San Francisco
Needs: LB, CB/S depth,
Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
I would like to see the Patriots select a corner here, but I doubt that they’re willing to pay a guy like Jenkins or McKelvin all that scratch when they just let an All-Pro, proven cornerback go for the same amount of money. Top 10 picks get paid, and they might as well get a stud defensive lineman. That makes Ellis the only pick I see working. A trade down is a huge possibility.
- Baltimore Ravens (5-11)
Needs: CB, QB, OLB, DE, OT
Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy
The Ravens need help in their secondary whether they want to believe it or not. They give up a ton of long passes, and they’ll need their defense to be better in that aspect if they want to return to their winning ways. I like McKelvin the most, but Talib and Jenkins rate out very close in my books.
- Cincinnati Bengals (7-9)
Needs: DT, LB, OT, DE, TE, discipline
Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina
I personally don’t know how the Bengals will pass up on Rashard Mendehall or Jonathan Stewart, two guys who run and catch very well… But they will, and when they do, a defensive playmaker is probably the best choice anyway. Balmer’s going to be a stud.
- New Orleans Saints (7-9)
Needs: CB, DT, MLB, TE, OLB
Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas
The Saints still need help in the secondary. Vilma and Morgan will sure up the linebacker crew if they can get anywhere close to healthy. Gay is a solid corner, but he’s not a shut down guy. If a guy like Ellis is here, sure, they’ll take him, but if not, don’t be surprised if they go for the best corner. Talib’s size and ball skills should get him picked up.
- Buffalo Bills (7-9)
Needs: CB, TE, WR, LB, DT
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State
Now this is a perfect example of a guy that used the combine to vault himself from a late first/early second round pick to possibly the top half of Round 1. That’s good, hard work. Buffalo addressed their defensive line, and now a good cover corner could go a long way in solidifying that defense.
- Denver Broncos (7-9)
Needs: OT, DT, S, MLB, G, WR
Ryan Clady, DE, Boise State
I really love Clady’s game. The Broncos could use help on the offensive line, and Clady would protect Cutler for years. There are lots of receivers the Broncos could pick-up to take Walker’s spot, and while they aren’t the most predictable group, I think Clady’s elite athleticism and upside make him perfect for Denver.
- Carolina Panthers (7-9)
Needs: QB, WR, DE, OLB, OT
Phillip Merling, DE, Clemson
I really like Merling, and think he is as talented and complete as any defensive end in the draft. If the Panthers want an eventual replacement for Rucker, or just a guy who could take some pressure off Peppers now, this is the right guy. He does everything well.
- Chicago Bears (7-9)
Needs: QB, OT, DT, G, RB
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois (Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville)
Adrian Peterson and Cedric Benson are not the answer at running back in Chicago, and while they definitely need some help at receiver, unless their in love with one, they’ll wait until the second, or trade up into the latter half of the 1st. Mendenhall is a local kid, and he’s as good as any back in this draft. Right away, he gives the Bears a feared rusher. They ought to like that enough to take him here.
- Detroit Lions (7-9)
Needs: OT, G, CB, S, DE
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon
The Lions resigned Tatum Bell, but I have to be honest, all that does is add a warm body to an untested group. With Duckett now Seattle’s problem, and Kevin Jones’ fragile frame released, the Lions won’t pass on the opportunity to draft Mendenhall or Stewart, unless they see future star in a guy like Kevin Smith or Matt Forte. All are powerful and fast, and will be good for a system that wants to run the ball more. Stewart and Mendenhall are studs. This would be a great pick, so the Lions probably won’t do it, but I can’t pass it up.
- Arizona Cardinals (8-8)
Needs: OLB, CB, TE, RB, DE
Keith Rivers, LB, USC
They need a linebacker, (because they lost their youngster, Blackstock, and they just aren’t good at the position). This guy is the best in the draft, what more can I say? Yhatzee!
- Minnesota Vikings (8-8)
Needs: DE, S, QB, TE
Calais Campbell, DE, Miami
Campbell is a big cat, and he can do everything for the Vikings. He’s good against the run, and while he’s not an elite speed rusher like Gholston, or even as refined as Merling, he is a good end prospect with play now ability. If it’s pass rushing the Vikes want, Derrick Harvey could be their guy.
- Houston Texans (8-8)
Needs: CB, G, WR, S, OT
Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida
I don’t see the Texans getting their hands on either Medenhall or Stewart as many mock drafts have predicted. Those two runners are too versatile, powerful, and fast to get by a couple teams that are really looking to improve that position and build for the future. Mike Jenkins, possibly the best corner in the bunch, is still on my board, and the Texans could use help at corner, especially as they sit in the Colts division.
- Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)
Needs: OT, S, WR, LB, TE
Malcom Kelly, WR, Oklahoma
Unable to pry an elite receiver away from the Cardinals, Patriots, or Bengals, the Eagles might just take a chance on Mr. Kelly of Oklahoma. He’s got he size and speed to be a great player, but I’m not so sure they waste a 1st round pick on receiver with all the depth there is. Still, if they like one more than the others, and they get their pick here, they might just splurge and hope for the best.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7)
Needs: OT, WR OLB, CB, QB
DeSean Jackson, WR, California
What more can I say, except Jackson is definitely this drafts Joey Galloway. While the Bucs know how fragile a smallish speedy receiver can be, they also know how dynamic they can turn out. Galloway is old and still a big homerun threat, looking to the future, maybe Jackson is their man.
- Washington Redskins (9-7)
Needs: WR, DE, S, OT, CB
Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida
The Redskins need explosive players on defense if they want to take the next step. I know that many believe they’ll go receiver here, but there are so many available that passing on a super-athlete like Derrick Harvey seems ridiculous. The Redskins’ brass seems to finally be figuring it out, so I say they take Harvey.
- Dallas Cowboys (13-3) (from 10-6 Cleveland)
Needs: CB, WR, OT, ILB, RB
Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt
The Cowboys might want Felix Jones here, but they make the smarter move by taking Chris Williams, a big dominant offensive tackle from Vanderbilt. Williams’ stock is moving up, and they’re lucky to get him this late.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6)
Needs: OT, C, DE, G, RB, CB
Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh
Tackles back to back: Jeff Otah is a big force of freakish nature, as his size and power will certainly help Willie Parker get into the end-zone more than once next season. Otah didn’t test out like a hero at the combine, but teams know what he can do; he’ll be a 1st round pick for sure.
- Tennessee Titans (10-6)
Needs: WR, CB, TE, WR, OL
Limas Sweed, WR, Texas
It usually doesn’t work like this, but Sweed could be a great fit for the Titans as well as his former college quarterback. Sweed showed enough speed to show pro scouts that he wasn’t Mike Williams incarnate, and he could give Young a comfortable boost out wide.
- Seattle Seahawks (10-6)
Needs: OT, DT, RB, TE, G
Dustin Keller, TE, Purdue
The Seahawks are currently hoping that Jonathan Stewart’s toe dilemma and surgery cause him to drop to them at 25. I doubt it, but think he’d be a great addition for them. Right now, he’s gone, so the Hawks do what they do best and take a tight end, the speedy and productive Dustin Keller. If they fall in love with a wideout, they may go that direction.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (11-5)
Needs: DE, SS, CB
Jerod Mayo, LB, Tennessee
Mike Peterson is a solid linebacker, but he’s getting up there in age (31) and his games played record over the last few years isn’t impressive (5 in ’06; 10 in ’07). Mayo is a smart player with very good tackling ability and he has the instincts to man the middle for years in Jacksonville.
- San Diego Chargers (11-5)
Needs: G, OT, NT, FB, RB
Chilio Rachal, OG, USC
The Chargers have done nothing in free agency, aside from resigning Billy Volek. They have lost a lot. Chilio is one of the very best guards in the draft, and he could really help get the Chargers running game going again this year.
- Dallas Cowboys (13-3)
Needs: CB, WR, OT, ILB, RB
Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas
Some see the Cowboys going for Chris Johnson here, the speedster out of East Carolina, but I don’t buy it. Sure, he’s a very fast and explosive player, but against strong big conference defenses, Felix averaged over 8 yards a carry, and he was a force. He might not time out like Superman, but on the field, his explosiveness is evident. Jones would be a great compliment for Barber.
- San Francisco 49ers (5-11) (via 13-3 Colts)
Needs: WR, OT, OLB
Gosder Cherilus, OT, Boston College
With Bryant Johnson signing, and Bruce all ready to go for his former coach, I don’t think the 49ers will use their 1st rounder on yet another receiver. Bryant only has a 1 year deal, and Bruce is old as dirt, but they have more needs to address here. A sleeper pick could be Brian Brohm, but I think they’ll go more useful, and that brings me to Gosder Cherilus. This kid is versitle, and he could fill in and help on the line right away. Lord knows the quarterbacks in Mike Martz’ offense will need it.
- Green Bay Packers (13-3)
Needs: OT, S, CB, TE
Fred Davis, TE, USC
Davis might not have the highest stock right now, but his body of work is very impressive. He was the leading receiver for the Trojans, from the TE spot, and everyone knows that a big athletic pass catching receiver is a young quarterback’s best friend. Mr. Rogers could use Davis immediately.
- New York Giants (10-6)
Needs: OLB, CB, S, OT, DT
Kenny Phillips, S, Miami
Can the Giants luck out again? They lost Gibril Wilson, but they signed Sammy Knight. They don’t care, if a stud safety prospect like Phillips slips all the way to them sitting with the last pick of round 1, you can bet your bills that they’ll take him. Phillips can do a lot, and has many upside, very, very many upside.
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