The draft is less than 48 hours away and many things can still happen. Tony Gonzalez was traded to the Falcons today and that should be the first of many trades to come in the next day or so. This is my last mock for the year so I included my second round picks for the first time. I hope everyone enjoys the draft this weekend as it should be a lot of fun.
1. Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford QB Georgia: Right now Stafford looks like he will be the guy. Look for the Lions to try and get a deal with him in the next 24 hours.
2. St. Louis Rams: Jason Smith T Baylor: The Rams really need help on the offensive line and it will come down to either Eugene Monroe or Smith. Smith has more upside so he gets the nod here.
3. Kansas City Chiefs: Eugene Monroe T Virginia: People have had Aaron Curry slotted here for months but it makes more sense to invest over $30 million in a left tackle then a linebacker. Don’t be surprised if the Chiefs try to trade down or surprise everyone and take Tyson Jackson who they love.
4. Seattle Seahawks: Mark Sanchez QB USC: The Seahawks would love to take one of the top offensive tackles here but if they are both gone, Sanchez is a great fit. Matt Hasselbeck will turn 34 this year and Sanchez will be able to learn the offense his first year or two. Don’t completely rule out the Seahawks trading this pick either as it could be a hot commodity with Sanchez still on the board.
5. Cleveland Browns: Aaron Curry LB Wake Forest: The Browns would be ecstatic if Curry fell to them. He and D’Qwell Jackson could be a very good linebacker tandem for years to come. If Curry is off the board, don’t be surprised if they take Michael Crabtree as they are still looking to shop Braylon Edwards or Tyson Jackson who would be a great fit to their 3-4 scheme.
6. Cincinnati Bengals: Andre Smith T Alabama: Even though Smith has done everything a player is told not to do in the draft process, he is still a top 10 talent. Don’t completely rule out BJ Raji either as the Bengals were really interested in taking Sedrick Ellis last year. But when it’s all said and done Smith actually has less character concerns than Raji does.
7. Oakland Raiders: Jeremy Maclin WR Missouri: This Raiders are in need of a big play receiver and Maclin has the speed that Al Davis craves.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech: The Jaguars would love to trade down but unless Sanchez is still on the board, that is very unlikely. Ever since Jimmy Smith retired the Jaguars have been looking for a number one receiver and Crabtree is their guy. He’s arguably the best player in the entire draft and if it wasn’t for his ankle injury could have been a top four pick. Don’t be surprised if the Jaguars are interested in Raji as well but since they are looking at character he may not fit the mold.
9. Green Bay Packers: BJ Raji DT Boston College: With the Packers switching to a 3-4 defense, Raji would be the nose tackle they are looking for to stop the run. Other players to consider here are Brian Orakpo, Tyson Jackson and the dark horse Michael Oher as their offensive line is getting older.
10. San Francisco 49ers: Brian Orakpo DE Texas: The 49ers would love for either Sanchez or Crabtree to fall here but that is looking less likely every day. Orakpo could develop into the player that the 49ers thought Manny Lawson would be which is providing a consistent pass rush from the outside linebacker position. Don’t be surprised if Aaron Maybin is considered here as some think he may have more upside and Orakpo is viewed by some as a workout warrior.
11. Buffalo Bills: Michael Oher T Mississippi: Now that they have traded Jason Peters, the Bills really need help on the offensive line and Oher is the best tackle available. Don’t be surprised if the Bills try and trade up as they now have two first round picks but some other players they could take here include Aaron Maybin, Robert Ayers and Brandon Pettigrew.
12. Denver Broncos: Tyson Jackson DE LSU: Last year the Broncos had one of the most explosive offenses in the league but the defense prevented them from making the playoffs. Now that they are switching to a 3-4 scheme, Jackson is the perfect fit as he is the best 3-4 end in the class. The Broncos could also consider trading up to get Mark Sanchez and BJ Raji is an option if he is still available.
13. Washington Redskins: Aaron Maybin DE Penn State: The Redskins upgraded their defensive line this offseason when they signed Albert Haynesworth but after releasing Jason Taylor, they still need a pass rusher. That’s where Maybin comes into the picture. Maybin may have more upside than any other pass rusher in the class and could develop into an all pro. The Redskins have also shown interest in pretty much any quarterback other than Jason Campbell so don’t be surprised if they try trading up for Sanchez or shock everybody by taking Josh Freeman.
14. New Orleans Saints: Malcolm Jenkins CB Ohio State: Chris Wells going here is starting to become a trendy pick but that isn’t necessarily a need. People tend to forget that Pierre Thomas actually had a very good season last year and while he isn’t a bruiser like Deuce McAllister, he is very effective. The Saints can score with anyone in the league but their secondary has always been a problem. Jenkins gives them versatility as he can play both corner and safety and considering the Saints need help at both, he’s a perfect fit.
15. Houston Texans: Brian Cushing LB USC: Other than DeMeco Ryans, the Texans aren’t that strong at linebacker. To make matters worse, Ryans wants a new contract and he hasn’t received one from the Texans yet. Cushing could come in right away and be a very effective starter and if Ryans stays, they could have the start of a very good linebacker corps. Some other players that the Texans could consider are Cushing’s college teammate Clay Matthews as his uncle, Bruce who is a Hall of Fame tackle is on the team’s coaching staff and Peria Jerry as neither Amobi Okoye or Travis Johnson have lived up to expectations so far.
16. San Diego Chargers: Robert Ayers DE Tennessee: The Chargers would love for either Tyson Jackson or Malcolm Jenkins to be here but Ayers would be a very good fit as the Chargers don’t get much pass rush from the end positions. Ayers has been flying up draft boards ever since his great performance at the Senior Bowl and if he continues to play like that in the NFL, he should be a force for years to come.
17. New York Jets: Josh Freeman QB Kansas State: Due to his physical attributes, Freeman has really been skyrocketing up draft boards in the past few months. Right now the Jets quarterbacks are Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff. While Clemens and Ratliff have both showed flashes of potential, neither of them is the answer. The Jets may also try and trade up for Mark Sanchez or take a big play receiver such as Darrius Heyward-Bey.
18. Denver Broncos: Vontae Davis CB Illinois: A couple of years ago, the Broncos had arguably the best starting corners in the league as they had Champ Bailey and Dre’ Bly. While it isn’t their fault that the front seven couldn’t get pressure on the quarterback, Bailey and Bly weren’t very productive last year and are both in their 30’s. Davis could come in right away and contribute as a nickel corner while being groomed to be the number one corner in a couple of years.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Michael Johnson DE Georgia Tech: Every year there are a couple of surprises in the first round. This would be one of them. The Bucs are said to be in love with him and for good reason. On paper, Johnson is a top ten pick at 6’6 266 pounds and 4.6 speed. The biggest question surronding him is about his motor and how he has the tendencies to take plays off. If he gets everything in order, Johnson and Gaines Adams could be a very dangerous tandem for yers to come. The Bucs could also consider Peria Jerry after losing Javon Haye this offseason as well as Freeman if available but the recent signing of Byron Leftwich could prevent that from happening.
20. Detroit Lions: Peria Jerry DT Mississippi: It was obvious from the first week of the season when the Lions allowed over 200 yards to Michael Turner that run defense was an issue. After Cory Redding was traded it is even more important for the Lions to take a defensive tackle and Jerry is a very good value here.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Knowshon Moreno RB Georgia: Considering last year’s draft it’s hard to believe that it would take this long for a running back to be picked. Brian Westbrook is getting older and is still very injury prone so it is important for the Eagles to get a durable backup. Some view Moreno as one of the ten best players in the draft so he would be an excellent value here. Chris Wells is also a possibility here but like Westbrook, he has trouble staying healthy.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Eben Britton T Arizona: As good as Adrian Peterson is, he could be even better if the Vikings improved the right side of their line. Britton could come in right away and start at right tackle which is the position he could be better suited for in the pros.
23. New England Patriots: Clay Matthews LB USC: Matthews is the perfect Patriots player. A hard- nosed player who worked his way up as a walk on at USC, Matthews could have more upside than any of his fellow USC linebackers. The Patriots have six picks in the top 100 so if they have really set their eyes on someone, they have the potential to trade up.
24. Atlanta Falcons: Louis Delmas S Western Michigan: This is another surprise as many people have Delmas as a 2nd round pick even though he’s the best safety in the draft. The Falcons have a very big need at safety and to compete against teams in their division such as the Saints, it is important to get an upgrade at the position. After the trade to aquire Tony Gonzalez, another player to consider is Evander Hood as the Falcons almost drafted Glenn Dorsey over Matt Ryan last year and they still need to address the need.
25. Miami Dolphins: Everette Brown DE Florida State: When the whole draft process started, Brown was considered a top ten pick. Considering the Dolphins are in need of a pass rusher, Brown is too good a value for Bill Parcells to pass up at 25. The Dolphins could also go after a corner such as Vontae Davis if he fell here or a big receiver such as Darrius Heyward-Bey or Hakeem Nicks.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Rey Maulauga LB USC: Not many people at the beginning of last season would have thought Maulauga falls past the top ten let alone the top 20. Maulauga though is a perfect player for the Ravens defense. He plays with a swagger and would bring youth to the linebacker position. Most people think the Ravens will go with the local player Darrius Heyward-Bey but at 26, Maulauga is too good a value for Ozzie Newsome to pass up.
27. Indianapolis Colts: Evander Hood DT Missouri: Hood is a perfect fit for the Colts defensive scheme and would immediately bring energy to a unit that had only two sacks last year. If Hood isn’t available, the Colts could go after a receiver to replace Marvin Harrison.
28. Buffalo Bills: Brandon Pettigrew TE Oklahoma State: The Bills are really considering taking Pettigrew at 11 so if he was here at 28 they would be doing cartwheels in the war room. Pettigrew is the most complete tight end in the class and would add another weapon for Trent Edwards to throw to.
29. New York Giants: Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Maryland: After the highly documented release of Plaxico Burress, the Giants are looking for a playmaking receiver. That defines Heyward-Bey who ran the fastest time in the 40 yard dash at the combine at 4.30. The Giants might also consider trading their pick for an established receiver such as Braylon Edwards or Anquan Boldin.
30. Tennessee Titans: Darius Butler CB Connecticut: When you are in a division that has the Colts and a receiver like Andre Johnson, it’s important to have good corners. Butler is climbing up team’s draft boards and would give the Titans another quality corner to start opposite Cortland Finnegan. Butler has added value as well as he can replace Chris Carr in the return game.
31. Arizona Cardinals: Chris Wells RB Ohio State: Even though they currently have Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower, running back is a position the Cardinals need to address. James has made it clear he doesn’t want to return to the team while Hightower is more of a complementary back. Wells would be a great value here and at this point in the draft is too good to pass up.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alphonso Smith CB Wake Forest: For a team that has such a good defense, it’s hard to believe that the Steelers corners are as bad as they are. Smith could come in right away and compete for a starting job. He is a very experienced corner who has very good instincts for the ball. If he was two inches taller, the 5’9 Smith would be a top 15 pick.
33. Detroit Lions: William Beatty T Connecticut: The Lions still need to address the left tackle position and after Beatty, the better talent at the position really starts to dry up.
34. New England Patriots: Sean Smith CB Utah: Smith is still a very raw corner as he is a converted wideout. He does have excellent range and could also help out right away at safety.
35. St. Louis Rams: Brian Robiskie WR Ohio State: Robiskie would be an excellent possession receiver to compliment Donnie Avery’s big play ability.
36. Cleveland Browns: Larry English DE Northern Illinois: The Browns still need to find somebody who can rush the passer and English is an excellent value here.
37. Seattle Seahawks: Donald Brown RB Connecticut: Brown here would give the Seahawks great value as he will come in and contribute right away. Don’t be surprised if he ends up putting up numbers similar to Matt Forte last year.
38. Cincinnati Bengals: Alex Mack C California: The Bengals continue to build their offensive line as they pick the best center in this year’s class.
39. Jacksonville Jaguars: Phil Loadholt T Oklahoma: After signing Tra Thomas this offseason, the Jaguars don’t need a left tackle to come in and play right away. Loadholt would be a great developmental pick and would start in the next year or so.
40. Oakland Raiders: Jamon Merideth T South Carolina: The Raiders really need help on the offensive line and Merideth is clearly the best tackle left on the board.
41. Green Bay Packers: Paul Kruger DE Utah: Kruger isn’t very flashy, but he gets the job done and could come in right away and be effective as a situational pass rusher.
42. Buffalo Bills: Lawrence Sidbury DE Richmond: Sidbury is flying up the draft boards as he had very good workouts and also has the ability to be used as an outside rush linebacker. He is a bit of a developmental project coming from a small school, but he can pay big dividends.
43. San Francisco 49ers: Kenny Britt WR Rutgers: The 49ers are in need of a big play receiver and Britt who many view as a first round caliber receiver, is a great value at 43.
44. Miami Dolphins: Hakeem Nicks WR North Carolina: There is rumor that the Dolphins are interested in Nicks at 25 so if he fell here it would be an excellent value. Nicks is a physical receiver that the Dolphins really need to compliment Ted Ginn.
45. New York Giants: Clint Sintim LB Virginia: Sintim at 45 would be an excellent value as he is arguably the best pass rushing linebacker in the draft.
46. Houston Texans: William Moore S Missouri: At the beginning of the season, Moore was considered a first round pick. Even though he had a rough senior year, he would give the Texans a playmaker at safety that they have never had.
47. New England Patriots: Connor Barwin DE/LB Cincinnati: Barwin is a great pick for the Patriots as he is a converted tight end who is still very raw. Given time, he could turn into an elite pass rusher.
48. Denver Broncos: James Lauranitis LB Ohio State: Lauranitis is one of the safest picks in the entire draft and for a team with a bunch of holes on defense, would be a great value at 48.
49. Chicago Bears: Percy Harvin WR Florida: Due to the failed drug test and other character concerns, Harvin falls here. He may not be kind of receiver the Bears are looking for but him and Devin Hester on the same field would give defensive coordinators nightmares.
50. Cleveland Browns: DJ Moore CB Vanderbilt: Moore could come in right away and contribute as a nickelback and eventually overtake Brandon McDonald and start across from Eric Wright.
51. Dallas Cowboys: Jarron Gilbert DT San Jose State: Defensive tackle is a big need for the Cowboys and they will fall in love with Gilbert’s freakish athleticism.
52. New York Jets: Derrick Williams WR Penn State: The Jets may have missed out on the bigger name receivers, but they still get a playmaker in Williams who will also help in the return game.
53. Philadelphia Eagles: Jared Cook TE South Carolina: Even though Brent Celek has shown glimpses of potential, Cook is an excellent receiver who would give Donavan McNabb another target. If he improves his blocking, he could become something special.
54. Minnesota Vikings: Juaquin Iglesias WR Oklahoma: Even though they drafted Sidney Rice and Aundrae Allison a few years ago, the Vikings are still looking for help at the receiver position. Iglesias could come in right away and compete for the number two spot.
55. Atlanta Falcons: Ron Brace DT Boston College: The Falcons will consider drafting a defensive tackle in the first round and would get great value if they took BJ Raji’s sidekick here.
56. Miami Dolphins: Rashad Johnson S Alabama: Even though safety isn’t really a need, Johnson is too good a talent for the Dolphins to pass up.
57. Baltimore Ravens: Mike Wallace WR Mississippi: The Ravens are in need of a big play receiver and Wallace fits the mold. He has 4.3 speed and could contribute right away in the return game.
58. New England Patriots: Pat White QB West Virginia: When you are as deep as the Patriots, you can afford to take risks like this. White is a proven winner and even though he will never play quarterback on the Patriots, defenses will always have to game plan for him the few plays he is in the game.
59. Carolina Panthers: Sen’Derrick Marks DT Auburn: The Panthers defensive line is getting older and developing Marks to play inside is a step in the right direction.
60. New York Giants: Duke Robinson G Oklahoma: Even though the Giants have arguably the best offensive line in the league, they still need to groom some young players. Robinson has lots of potential and when the team decides to go younger could come in and start.
61. Indianapolis Colts: LeSean McCoy RB Pittsburgh: McCoy would be an excellent value for the Colts as he is a very good receiver out of the backfield and would give the Colts a very good 1-2 punch at running back with Joseph Addai.
62. Tennessee Titans: Fili Moala DT USC: The Titans still need to replace Albert Haynesworth and Moala is the best defensive tackle on the board. If Moala plays anything like his cousin Haloti Ngata, the Titans will be getting a steal.
63. Arizona Cardinals: Andy Levitre G Oregon State: The Cardinals really need help on their offensive line and Levitre is good enough to come in and compete for a starting job.
64. Pittsburgh Steelers: Eric Wood C Louisville: The Steelers offensive line was considered the team’s “Weak link” last year and Wood can come in and be their center for the next decade.