On the eve of the NFL draft, this is my final update. My picks have been analyzed and re-evaluated. There have been a number of changes due to trades and signings. This is an extremely tough year to mock in my opinion because a number of trades could occur on draft day.
So here is my final update:
1) Detroit Lions- Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia:
Pro Football Talk recently reported that the Lions will draft Matt Stafford if they come to terms with him. So, the only way that Stafford doesn't go first overall is if there is a stall in the negotiations. The Lions have to take Stafford here. He's coming out of a pro-style offense, he has an amazing arm and he's very intelligent.
2) St. Louis Rams- Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia:
Multiple sources are confirming that St. Louis will select Eugene Monroe with the second overall pick. I have had Jason Smith at this pick in my last mock because I think he is a better tackle, but sometimes you have to listen to a bunch of sources that say the same thing.
3) Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest:
This pick has been debated all year, but I believe the Chiefs will go with Curry here. The Chiefs selected Branden Albert last year, so taking Monroe and moving Albert around would not make a lot of sense. Also, Aaron Curry is the best player available, and the Chiefs are switching to a 3-4 defense.
4) Seattle Seahawks: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech:
I've had a left tackle here for a while, so why the change? Well, in a recent article, Seahawks president Tim Ruskell expects Sean Locklear to be Walter Jones' successor at left tackle. This was a major reason why I changed this pick to Crabtree. Also, the Seahawks need to add more weapons for Matt Hasselbeck. They still have a need at WR, even with the T.J. Houshmanzadeh signing, because often injured Deion Branch and Nate Burleson are not adequate options as the second receiver.
5) Cleveland Browns: Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas:
Michael Crabtree is an option here if he is available, but the Browns need a player that can get to the quarterback. Brian Orakpo is probably the best pass rusher in the draft, so not many other players make sense at this pick if Crabtree is taken number four.
6) Cincinnati Bengals: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor:
The Bengals must select an offensive tackle here, so they will grab either Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe, whoever is nto off the board. Lucky for Bengals fans, Jason Smith is probably the better prospect and should fall to them at number six. With no proven left tackle on the roster, the Bengals almost have to select Jason Smith.
7) Oakland Raiders: Darius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland:
A source close to the Raiders said that Al Davis envisions Trevor Scott as his right defensive end of the future, and that they would not a player in that position in the first round. I believe that rules out Michael Johnson, so I am going with Heyward-Bey. Al Davis loves athleticism and good 40 times. Heyward-Bey has both.
8) Jacksonville Jaguars: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College: (Trade Scenario)
If Jacksonville keeps this pick, I believe Raji will be chosen. The Jags struggled against the run without Marcus Stroud, so Raji is a great replacement that will aid Jacksonville's defense. I also believe that the Broncos will trade up and grab Mark Sanchez with this pick. We'll see what happens, but assuming there is no trade, Raji is the man here.
9) Green Bay Packers: Aaron Maybin, DE/OLB, Penn State:
This pick is between Tyson Jackson and Aaron Maybin. Both make sense, but the Packers currently do not have a solid pass rusher opposite Aaron Kampman. Aaron Maybin is one of the best players available here, so I believe Ted Thompson will pull the trigger on the rush linebacker here.
10) San Francisco 49ers: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC:
If the Broncos trade up with the Jags, Sanchez will not be available at number ten. Assuming there is no trade, the 49erswill grab Sanchez here. There is no question that the Niners have a need at QB, as they tried to acquire Kurt Warner. Mike Singletary needs "his guy", and Sanchez could be that guy.
11) Buffalo Bills: Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi:
With Jason Peters being traded to the Eagles, the Bills are in need of a suitable replacement at left tackle. Lucky for them, they can choose between Andre Smith and Michael Oher. Other than quarterback, left tackle is the highest position of value in football, so the Bills need to make sure they secure one in the first round.
12) Denver Broncos: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU: (Trade Scenario)
The Broncos could trade up for Mark Sanchez. If not, they'll take whomever falls between B.J. Raji and Tyson Jackson. Realistically, Rajiwill not fall to them at number twelve, but Jackson is a great player as well. He fits Denver's new 3-4 defense, and will do a great job defending the run, something in which Denver cannot do.
13) Washington Redskins: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama:
Despite Andre Smith's off the field issues, I believe Dan Snyder will pull the trigger on him with this pick. He is still a very talented player that can play either tackle positions. Plus, Washington is in need of a right tackle.
14) New Orleans Saints: Malcolm Jenkins, CB/FS, Ohio State:
The Saints did fill their CB void this off-season, and Brian Cushing is a strong option here, but I believe the Saints will take Jenkins. Jenkins can play free safety, and that is exactly where New Orleans will put him. The bottom line is the Saints desperately need an upgrade at free safety, so Jenkins is a solid pick here.
15) Houston Texans: Clay Matthews, LB, USC:
I believe that Matthews, not Cushing or Maualuga, will be the first USC linebacker taken this year. The Texans will take the best player available if they do not trade down, and Matthews is a great option here as an upgrade at SAM.
16) San Diego Chargers: Eben Britton, OT, Arizona:
This will probably be the first slight reach of the draft. With Tyson Jackson, Andre Smith and Michael Oherall off the board, the Chargers will select the next best offensive tackle. In this case, its Eben Britton. Britton will be an automatic upgrade at right tackle over current starter Jeromey Clary, who played awful last season.
17) New York Jets: Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State:
The Jets have a new coach, so a QB is a strong possibility here. Josh Freeman's stock has risen into first round status, and even draft expert Mike Mayock stated that the Jets will "heavily consider" Josh Freeman with their first round pick. I agree with Mike.
18) Denver Broncos: Rey Maualuga, LB, USC:
The Broncos are switching to a 3-4 defense this upcoming year, so inside linebacker is a huge need for them. They really have no inside linebackers that are any good, so Maualuga should be the guy here. He is a tough player and is perfect for the 3-4 scheme that Denver is employing.
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Brian Cushing, LB, USC:
Peria Jerry is an option here as well, but I believe that the Bucs will be looking for their next great outside linebacker in round one, with Derrick Brooks gone. Brian Cushing is a fantastic player that should be a top fifteen prospect in my opinion, so this pick has great value here.
20) Detroit Lions: Everette Brown, DE/OLB, Florida State:
I do not think the Lions will take a tackle with their second pick. A pass rusher is a much greater need. Lucky for Detroit, Everette Brown has fallen way lower than he should be. If he is here, I definitely believe that the Lions will take him.
21) Philadelphia Eagles: Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State:
Brandon Pettigrew is an option with this pick, but as an Eagle fan, I think(unfortunately) that Andy Reid and the coaching staff believe that Celek is the starter at TE for now. That being said, Philly needs help converting short-yardage situations, and someone to help carry the load with Brian Westbrook.
22) Minnesota Vikings: William Beatty, OT, Connecticut:
Ryan Cook is just a terrible right tackle, so the Vikings could use someone to replace him this season. Look no further than William Beatty. He can play both tackle positions and if he is available for Minnesota, they will grab him.
23) New England Patriots: Larry English, DE/OLB, Northern Illinois:
The Patriots drafted an inside LB (Jerod Mayo) last year, and I believe they will continue to amp their aging linebacker corps by drafting a pass rusher. Mike Vrabel was traded to Kansas City, so the OLB spot is one that the Pats will look to improve on draft day. English is a solid pass rusher that is better suited for the 3-4 scheme.
24) Atlanta Falcons: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee:
The Falcons traded for former Chiefs TE Tony Gonzalez, so Brandon Pettigrew is no longer an option here. Now that the trade is out of the way, the Falcons will focus on defense. They need another stud defensive lineman opposite John Abraham. Robert Ayers is a fantastic player that will greatly benefit the Falcons.
25) Miami Dolphins: Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois:
Character and steroid issues and rumours have caused Davis' stock to fall a bit. Lucky for Miami, he has a strong chance of falling to them. Davis is a fantastic talent, and would definitely be an upgrade to Miami's secondary. Cornerback is still a huge need, with rush linebacker being a close second option here.
26) Baltimore Ravens: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri:
I am reading a lot of mock drafts that have Maclin going in the top ten, and almost all of them have Maclin going prior to this pick somewhere. I am just not buying that. Although the Raiders have a shot of drafting him, he just isn't a top ten prospect. At this pick, the Ravens can upgrade their receivers, which is a position of need for them.
27) Indianapolis Colts: Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi:
Defensive tackle has always been a problem for the Colts, especially after the Ed Johnson marijuana scandal. The Colt's run defense should be addressed on draft day. Peria Jerry is a solid pick here, as he has top twenty talent.
28) Buffalo Bills: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma:
The Bills can thank the Chiefs for trading Tony Gonzalez to Atlanta because their chances of drafting Brandon Pettigrew are now extremely high. The Bills are in desperate need of a tight end, as they do not have a starting caliber one on their current roster. Pettigrew is a fantastic football player and the Bills should be very excited if they are able to grab him.
29) New York Giants: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia:
I have Moreno here for a few reasons. One- the Giants can grab a receiver in round two. Two- this pick could be traded to Cleveland, so if the Browns are on the clock here, they will consider Moreno. Three- with most of New York's needs addressed, the team will take the best player available. At this pick, its Moreno.
30) Tennessee Titans: Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut:
The Titans have a few small needs at the moment. They could go after Evander Hood or Sean Smith, but I think Butler makes the most sense here. Butler is a fantastic player and Nick Harper's days as a solid CB are numbered. Butler is also the best player available at this spot.
31) Arizona Cardinals: Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut:
The Cardinals will be hoping for Knowshon Moreno to fall to them. It probably won't happen, so Donald Brown will be the pick. Edgerrin James is pretty much done, while Tim Hightower isn't much better. Brown can add another dimension to the Cardinals offense that struggled running the ball at times last season.
32) Pittsburgh Steelers: Alex Mack, C, California:
If Alex Mack falls to the Steelers, they will not pass up on him. Mack is one of the best centre prospects in recent memory and would be an enormous upgrade to the Superbowl Champs' offensive line. Justin Hartwig surrendered more sacks (6.5) than any other center in the NFL in 2008, so Mack makes sense here.
Thanks to all for reading my Mocks, whether you read one or all, I greatly appreciate it. Enjoy the draft!