Not too much need of an intro here.....the title says it all. This is a blend of both what I think teams will do and what I think they *should* do, so the eventual accuracy probably won't be the best. Still, I had a lot of fun doing it and I hope y'all enjoy it.
1. DETROIT LIONS--Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
This is about as close to a guarantee as you can get. The Lions are pretty much pressing reset on the whole franchise, and the first step is a QB. Some people have Jason Smith going here, but the reality is that the franchise needs a face...it's really just how rebuilding is done.
2. ST. LOUIS RAMS--Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
With Orlando Pace gone, this is a no-brainer. Smith is the best OT prospect in the draft and Bulger or whoever will be their QB in the near future needs to be kept upright.
3. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS--Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
The Chiefs have a lot of holes across the board, so a number of options would make sense here. That being said, their defense is terrible and to land maybe the most polished, NFL-ready player in the draft at #3 is a steal. They'll take him.
4. SEATTLE SEAHAKWS--Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
I don't know if I've seen a single pick that has people arguing more than this one. I think it'll be Crabtree because of what happened to Seattle's receivers last year. They were practically signing any plumber or cab driver who maybe had once seen a football game. Jim Mora, Jr. won't want to risk repeating that fiasco in his first year, and Crabtree can be an amazing weapon for years to come.
5. CLEVELAND BROWNS--Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
The Cleveland pass rush was pathetic, verging on non-existent last year. Enter Orakpo, a dynamic player who just happens to be the #1 rated DE in this draft.
6. CINCINNATI BENGALS--Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
I've seen a number of possibilities placed here in various mock drafts, but I think Monroe makes the most sense. They simply will never succeed if Carson Palmer is flat on his back looking up at the sky all year. With Smith off the board, Monroe is the best option.
7. OAKLAND RAIDERS--B.J. Raji, NT, Boston College
I've seen two main choices here in a lot of mock drafts: Darius Heyward-Bey and Jeremy Maclin. I really hope Al resists the temptations for both. Bey is SERIOUS reach here at #7. I have him as an early/mid-second rounder. While not as much of a reach, Maclin too would be unwise. I don't have him as a top-10 myself and in any case there are more pressing needs.
I don't know about you guys, but I'm sick and tired of seeing the middle of our defensive line plugged by losers, has-beens and never-weres. William Joseph? Gerard Warren? Fred Wakefield? Come on. Raji is an absolute beast. A better D-Line would free up Morrison and Howard to work their magic. Raji is an instant upgrade. I've been over and over this in my mind and I don't think any other person on the board at this point could help the team as much as B.J. Raji. I just hope Al agrees.
8. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS--Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
Obviously, I can't mock trade scenarios. I can only go with the assumption that every team will keep their pick. We know that won't happen, obviously, and from what I'm seeing this is the most likely place for trade #1 to happen.
But I still have to select a pick that makes sense for the Jags and I think Sanchez is the way to go for them. He'll need a year on the bench to develop, so they can give David Garrard another chance to regain his form.
9. GREEN BAY PACKERS--Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
Green Bay is switching to a 3-4 this year. Jackson is the #1 3-4 defensive end in the draft. You do the math.
10. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS--Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
Maybin is young and his potential and upside are absolutely amazing. He's young, he's raw and he could be a superstar if given the right coaching. Mike Singletary, anyone?
11. BUFFALO BILLS--Robert Ayres, DE, Tennesee
The Bills pass rush was anemic last year. Ayres is the best pure 4-3 DE in the draft. He's a solid kid and can help the Bills right away.
12. DENVER BRONCOS--Everette Brown, DE, Florida State
With Jackson off the board, Brown is the best choice for a new 3-4 defense like Denver is switching to. He can also play some linebacker if called upon.
13. WASHINGTON REDSKINS--Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
The Redskins need an upgrade at tackle and they need someone to block for Clinton Portis. With Andre Smith hurting his prospects with his work ethic and character issues, Oher makes the most sense. He's a beastly run blocker with a mean streak. He's just what the 'Skins need.
14. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS--Malcolm Jenkins, CB/S, Ohio State
The annual attempt by the Saints to upgrade their secondary. Jenkins' stock has dropped a bit, but his versatility (corner or safety) and undeniable talent make him the logical choice.
15. HOUSTON TEXANS--Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
This one is rather speculative on my part. Johnson is such a freak of nature, that I think the Texans will maybe reach a bit to take him here and try to create one of the most fearsome pass-rushing combos in the league. Mario Williams and Johnson coming off the edges will make quarterbacks stay awake at night with terror.
16. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS--Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
Smith's talent is too great for him to fall any farther, especially when you consider that the Chargers need someone to block for LT in the worst way.
Well, the first half of the first round is done. Coming later today or tomorrow: 17-32! I've been sketching out a second round mock draft too, but I'm not sure about posting it yet. We shall see. In any case, enjoy!