“The FINAL Straw”
It’s draft time, and all this mockery is about to be done with. However, with the draft less than a week away, I figured I might as well snap off my last mock draft. This is how I think it will go down, except for trades. I’m mocking around as if no trades happen. This is how it looks.
1. Miami Dolphins (1-15) – Jake Long, OT, Michigan
The Dolphins already signed Long, so chances are, he makes it official-official on Saturday. I hope the Dolphins don’t take the full 10 minutes – that’d really chap my balls.
2. St. Louis Rams (3-13) – Chris Long, DE, Virginia
It’s between Chris Long and Glenn Dorsey, and I think the talent level is so close that they’ll go for the defensive end with fewer question marks. It doesn’t always pay to be safe, but I think it does in this case.
3. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) – Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
Absolute stud that could very well be considered the best player in this draft. Yes, that’s right McFadden fans. From the defensive side of the ball, Dorsey is as dominant as any player in the draft.
4. Oakland Raiders (4-12) – Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
The Raiders signed Fargas to a nice sized contract and have Rhodes and 2nd year player Michael Bush. However, none of those guys has D-Mac upside, and if there’s ever been a perfect Al Davis player, this guy is it. He’ll instantly make the franchise more money – which is important, because, you know, this is a business.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (4-12) – Vernon Gholston, DE, OSU
With Jared Allen gone, Gholston is a nice pick up. He doesn’t have the complete package that Allen had, but he’s the best defensive end prospect left, and I think he’s got as much upside as anyone in this draft. His numbers are grand and he’s had very explosive games against big-time competition.
6. New York Jets (4-12) – Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
Remember, the Jets are about to trade their starting defensive tackle to the Denver Broncos. With Gholston, Long, and McFadden all gone, this pick seems perfect, plus, Ellis is a stud so the value is good.
7. New England Patriots (16-0) – Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State
I don’t see the Patriots picking here. Somehow, they’ll finagle their way down the draft board, maybe even out of the 1st round altogether. However, if they stay, and I don’t mock trades so they’ll stay in my draft, Ryan Clady has great upside and decent value. He’s the best OT in the draft, in my opinion.
8. Baltimore Ravens (5-11) – Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
Something tells me Kyle Boller isn’t the guy the Ravens hoped he’d be. Troy Smith didn’t get a chance late last season, so he mustn’t be more than a backup in their minds. Enter the highest rated QB prospect in the draft. Matt could be the savior this team always hoped for.
9. Cincinnati Bengals (7-9) – Keith Rivers, LB, USC
Rivers is legit. His ability to make plays all over the field and use his brain to do the right thing (on and off the field) makes him a great choice for this flailing franchise. Oh, and trade Ocho Dinko.
10. New Orleans Saints (7-9) – Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy
The Saints could use McKelvin as a starting corner right off the bat, because their secondary sucks. Leodis can do many things, and his coverage skills will immediately help a porous Saints defense.
11. Buffalo Bills (7-9) Dominique Rodgers – Cromartie, Tennessee State
The Bills get the most gifted corner in the draft. He may not be polished, and he may give up a few big plays, but it’d be hard to argue anyone’s upside over this small school corner. Everyone knows he has the bloodlines, and the Bills need secondary help.
12. Denver Broncos (7-9) – Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois
The Broncos never pick running backs high, and they need help in more than a couple places, but I happen to think the world of Mendenhall. I thought the same about Maroney, and Splinter said he would have taken Laurence if Cutler was gone. So, this year he takes Rashard.
13. Carolina Panthers (7-9) – Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh
The Panthers are said to love them some enormously powerful and talented left tackle from Pittsburgh. For a team that struggles to protect their quarterback and rarely does any damage on the ground, I can see why Otah would grab their attention.
14. Chicago Bears (7-9) – Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt
The Bears need help on the offensive line desperately, because if they aren’t a threat to run the ball, they are dead in the water. I love Jonathan Stewart but the smart pick would be to lock down a top-tier offensive lineman like Williams. Then anyone can run.
15. Detroit Lions (7-9) – Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida
Mike Jenkins would be a great fit in Detroit. I think he’s the most polished corner in the draft. He does things right. Watching film of him has him moving up my draft board, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
16. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) – Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida
The Cardinals could use a freak of nature type pass rusher on the outside. Right now, offenses are allowed too much time, putting pressure on their defense. I know DE isn’t the biggest team need, but a guy like Harvey here seems like a great deal.
17. Kansas City Chiefs (via MN) (4-12) – Branden Albert, G, Virginia
The Chiefs got two great cornerstones for their offense. They’d be lucky to get Branden this late, as his stock is flying right now. However, the way things went, two tackles were chosen before him, and he makes his way to Kansas City.
18. Houston Texans (8-8) – Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas
Talib is a great physical corner with ball skills and illusiveness in the return game. He’s a game breaker, something the Texans really need on a blossoming defense.
19. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) – Phillip Merling, DE, Clemson
There’s a reason the Eagles have tried to pick up every high-profile receiver with a “contract problem” that has requested a trade. It’s because they’ve been through all these receiver prospects and don’t like one enough to take here. So, they go for a defensive end that could help right away against the run and pass.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7) – DeSean Jackson, WR, Cal
I still like Jackson to go here. You either love him or hate him, and who knows what Chucky is thinking, but I’m willing to believe that a team with Joey Galloway still making big plays in his 30s has to think highly of a guy like Jackson.
21. Washington Redskins (9-7) – Devin Thomas, WR, Mich St.
The Redskins have always needed size and athleticism at the wide receiver slot, and Thomas gives them a great opportunity to pick that up in Round 1. He’s no Chad Johnson, but he’s available, and he only costs one pick.
22. Dallas Cowboys (13-3) (via Cle.) – Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas
Jones may be a bit small but he’s explosive. He’s basically a guy that would give the Cowboys everything they don’t think Marion Barber gives them. He sees the field really well, and there’s not too much wear on those tires.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) – Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon
I know there’s not a big need here, but Stewart is a superb talent with the size to punish opponents. Pittsburgh has always been a “best player available” type team, and I think Stewart is that.
24. Tennessee Titans (10-6) – Limas Sweed, WR, Texas
I like Malcom Kelly more, but apparently Sweed is higher on most draft boards. His numbers are better, and his body of work is at least as good. I just think Kelly has more upside. The Titans won’t and they’ll make Vince more comfy with his favorite receiver.
25. Seattle Seahawks (10-6) – Kentwan Balmer, DT, NC
Balmer is a very good defensive tackle that received a lot of attention from offensive opponents. He can rush the passer and stop the run. The Hawks always seem to be looking for defensive line help, and a guy from an unheralded team seems to be a great fit here. From about here on out, I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of the quarterback-needy teams make a trade to acquire the 2nd tier signal callers. However, without a trade, Ryan will be the only QB chosen in Round 1.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (11-5) – Lawrence Jackson, DE, USC
I like Jackson more than the rest of the defensive ends on the board, and think he can really help a Jaguars team that struggles with pressuring opponents. A wild card here could be Jarod Mayo.
27. San Diego Chargers (11-5) – Chilio Rachal, OG, USC
Without the real need to reach for anyone, or take a value pick here, the Chargers could be an ideal trade partner. However, if they do stay here, why not take an offensive lineman with humungous upside. USC’s Chilio Rachal is definitely that.
28. Dallas Cowboys (13-3) – Gosder Cherilus, OT, BC
It would be smart for the Cowboys to pass up the opportunity to draft a receiver, because there are too many question marks there. Another very good offensive lineman, like Gosder would be a great choice and could really help them moving forward. WR in Round 2.
29. San Francisco 49ers (5-11) (via Colts) – Quentin Groves, DE, Auburn
Groves not only fits a need for the pressure hungry 49ers defense, but he is a good value pick with nice upside. He had a down year, sure, but his ability has never been questioned, and he could be a nice piece for a young Niners defense.
30. Green Bay Packers (13-3) – Dustin Keller, TE, Purdue
People talk about Keller like he’s some workout warrior that just jumped on the scene with some nice combine times. Quit it, folks. Keller did work at Purdue, and was definitely their most feared receiving threat. He’ll be another tool for the Packers passing game.
31. New York Giants (10-6) – Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona
From what people have been saying, Cason may slip into the first round. I believe he is a first round talent, and the Giants could always use more help against the pass. Cason played on a bad team, but he’s a very good player that can do it all.