I hadn’t planned on putting together another mock, but some of the things I’ve been seeing tell me I’d be wise to make a few updates. Mocks are never truly finished products and could be tweaked as long as you want to look at them. The key, as we head into the home stretch, is to be able to see through the smokescreens and make your best determination of the likelihood of what you hear happening.
Significant changes? A couple.
1) Detroit Lions – Matthew Stafford, QB (Georgia)
No change here. Reports are that there’s a deal drawn up for Aaron Curry if they can’t work things out with Stafford. Curry won’t go 1st.
2) St. Louis Rams – Jason Smith, T (Baylor)
Again, no change.
3) Kansas City Chiefs – BJ Raji, DT (Boston College)
Big hand clap to Gil Brandt if Tyson Jackson goes in the top 5, but I’m sticking with Raji. IMO, this comes down to whether the Chiefs think they're worse off with Tank Tyler at NT or Glenn Dorsey and Turk McBride at DE. The odds appear to be against me, but I personally would go with the best defensive lineman and most dominant defensive player in the draft.
4) Seattle Seahawks – Eugene Monroe, T (Virginia)
I never include trades in my mocks, but here’s where I could easily see one going down. Whether it’s a smokescreen or not, Tim Ruskell (without any quotes) has reportedly come out and said he’s not drafting a QB. Makes sense to me. Why state this publicly? I think he’s setting things up to let teams (Washington & NYJ) know that they don’t have to deal with KC at #3 in order to move up for Sanchez. You can trade with Seattle and get him at #4. Whether or not this article has any validity, I still don’t see them drafting Sanchez. That said, they could still go in a number of ways. Crabtree could play right away, as could Curry. I’d really like to put Curry here, but will the Hawks tie up top 5 money in a SLB after franchise tagging LeRoy Hill (even though it’s a short term investment) at $8.3 million? It’s either Monroe or Crabtree IMO, and knowing Ruskell’s preference for tenured college football players, if they don’t move down, I think Monroe is still the pick.
5) Cleveland Browns – Aaron Curry, LB (Wake Forest)
I still think it’s Curry.
6) Cincinnati Bengals – Andre Smith, T (Alabama)
The guy would have been a top 5 pick if he didn’t have the worst offseason in draft prospect history. I’ve had him going quite a bit lower, but when Mike Lombardi talks, I listen. Especially when he uses a word like “lock”. I’m not terribly comfortable with this pick, but maybe that’s a good thing. If teams can put aside Smith’s last 4+ months and he can overcome them as well, he’s a steal.
7) Oakland Raiders – Michael Crabtree, WR (Texas Tech)
Al Davis still gets the top receiver. FWIW, reports have the Browns taking him off their board because of his attitude. I’ve met the guy, and yeah he’s got a bit of a confident/cocky air about him, but I didn’t see anything terribly offputting in my brief encounters with him. Not that I necessarily would, but just from what I’ve seen, I wouldn’t say he’s any more of a diva than any other extremely talented receiver. Terrell Owens’ he’s not.
8) Jacksonville Jaguars – Mark Sanchez, QB (USC)
If the Jets and Skins can’t/don’t move up to #4 to get Sanchez and the Seahawks let him slide, I think Jacksonville will take him. If Sanchez is off the board, after the signing of Torry Holt to help address receiver, I think Monroe makes a lot of sense (I assume he's here if Sanchez isn't). Yes, they signed Tra Thomas, but he’s not a long term answer.
9) Green Bay Packers – Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB (Texas)
10) San Francisco 49ers – Jeremy Maclin, WR (Missouri)
I’m doing a 180 here. Someone much more in the know than myself seems pretty confident that Everette Brown won’t be the Niners’ pick. Let Brown’s fall begin.
11) Buffalo Bills – Michael Oher, T (Mississippi)
I had the Bills going DE post-Peters trade, but that was with Andre Smith as the top tackle on the board. Is he going to be an NFL LT? Generally you don’t take RT’s at #6, but the Bengals need help at both ends of the line. With the Bills’ need being a definite LT, I think Oher would interest them more than the next highest rated DE.
12) Denver Broncos – Tyson Jackson, DE (LSU)
Fine, I’ll move him up the board. The overwhelming Jackson talk in the last couple of days is kind of surprising. If he’s really that highly regarded, the Broncos would take him with their first pick.
13) Washington Redskins – Brian Cushing, LB (USC)
With the top tackles off the board, the Skins address the hole at SLB. Despite the need at DE, I still think they pass on Brown.
14) New Orleans Saints – Malcolm Jenkins, CB (Ohio State)
I’m not changing this pick.
15) Houston Texans – Clay Matthews, LB (USC)
Or this one either.
16) San Diego Chargers – Rey Maualuga, LB (USC)
Unless they take Eben Britton to play RT, they’re not going to find proper value here at positions of greatest need (SS, RT, DE, RG, NT). I think they go best (or one of the best) player available.
17) NY Jets – Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR (Maryland)
18) Denver Broncos – Vontae Davis, CB (Illinois)
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Everette Brown, DE (FSU)
If he falls, it will be because of size/weight concerns. I’ll be plenty pleased if he were to be on the board when the Bucs pick. I don’t like English any less, but I’m guessing the Bucs would take Brown over English if both were available. I still think it comes down to picks 9-11. If he makes it past them, the only other possible option I see, barring trade, is Houston. The longer this goes, the more I’m liking the likelihood of him being there at #19. (The rest of my Bucs draft remains the same.)
20) Detroit Lions – Robert Ayers, DE (Tennessee)
21) Philadelphia Eagles – Knowshon Moreno, RB (Philadelphia)
22) Minnesota Vikings – Eben Britton, T (Arizona)
23) New England Patriots – Larry English, DE/OLB (N. Illinois)
Hard working, high motor defensive player just seems like a fit in New England.
24) Atlanta Falcons – James Laurinaitis, LB (Ohio State)
25) Miami Dolphins – Darius Butler, CB (U Conn)
26) Baltimore Ravens – Hakeem Nicks, WR (UNC)
With Jackson off the board, I think it’s Hicks or Pettigrew. I’ll go with the WR since Todd Heap’s still fairly mobile and they brought in LJ Smith. Neither one has a heck of a lot of time left, but do they really need another TE with this pick? FWIW, they did workout Nicks with Flacco.
27) Indianapolis Colts – Peria Jerry, DT (Mississippi)
28) Buffalo Bills – Aaron Maybin, DE (Penn State)
He’ll probably go higher than this, but with Buffalo going T at #11 and Everette Brown seemingly ahead of him, I’m not seeing exactly where at this point. Since they passed up a pass rusher with their first pick, the Bills would be smart to grab one here; even with Pettigrew still on the board.
29) NY Giants – William Beatty, T (U Conn)
If they keep this pick and Nicks is off the board, I’ll go with Beatty. I really don’t see them drafting Kenny Britt.
30) Tennessee Titans – Alphonso Smith, CB (Wake Forest)
No change. They reportedly won’t touch Percy Harvin.
31) Arizona Cardinals – Chris Wells, RB (Ohio State)
32) Pittsburgh Steelers – Alex Mack, C (California)
Top 5 picks of Round 2:
33) Detroit Lions – Ron Brace, DT (Boston College)
If the Lions come away with Stafford, Ayers, and Brace with their first three picks, I think they’ll get an A+ from the gurus. They need a run stuffer, and he’s good value here.
34) New England – Brandon Pettigrew, TE (Oklahoma State)
Great pick if I do say so myself. Ben Watson and Chris Baker are on the wrong side of their career peaks. Why not give Tom Brady another stud receiving target?
35) St. Louis Rams – Sean Smith, CB (Utah)
They need a competent starter opposite Ron Bartell, and Smith could be that guy.
36) Cleveland Browns – Kenny Britt, WR (Rutgers)
They get a guy to go with Braylon Edwards. I don’t see a CLE/NYG trade going down.
37) Seattle Seahawks – Donald Brown, RB (U Conn)
I think they could really use a guy like Donald Brown as they move to a ZBS. He’s a quick hitter who was very productive.
I think this is it unless the Lions/Stafford talks break down today. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m pretty geeked up for this weekend.