The first day back after getting married and I've already able to knock out a brand new draft, that's awesome. There may be a few surprises, a few head scratchers, but is you want to ask why please do and I'll try to give the best explanation I possible can.
Next week of course is the draft and around this time I will unleash my final draft, maybe even a full draft and see how accurate I can make it. This draft also will include what trades I think may happen, so if it looks a bit off then, that's why.
1. Miami Dolphins- Jake Long, OT, Michigan
Thankfully folks have finally let the talk about Matt Ryan going number one die down, it was ridiculous to begin with and I have a tough time putting him in the top ten anyways. Reports are coming out that the Dolphins have begun talking contract with Jake Long. A bit shocking, but when you’re offense has bigger needs at this point then your defense it doesn’t shock me all that much. Long will walk in and become their best offensive lineman at the start of training camp. Imagine how good Ronnie Brown will be when he actually has blockers and isn’t producing all the yards by himself, which if watched last season, is what he did.
2. St Louis Rams- Chris Long, DE, Virginia
His father played for the LA Raiders, now his son will be drafted by the team that were neighbors, the Rams. It was a toss up, if Jake Long was here he’d be taken but since he isn’t the Rams have more of a need for a defensive end right now the defensive tackle. Leonard Little and James Hall are their two starters, you telling me Long won’t come right in and cause havoc in a very weak NFC West?
3. Atlanta Falcons-Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
This will shock some of you, but look at who the new coach is. The Jaguars built their stellar defense around their defensive linemen and their defensive tackles in particular. You also need a leader who is solid, upright, and is a great representative for your organization. Glenn Dorsey is easily one of the best roles models in this draft, which is something the Falcons need after Vick, hall and letting Warrick Dunn go.
4. Oakland Raiders- Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
I know, all the talk is about Darren McFadden being the man in Oakland, but remember they have four running backs already. Note to Phil Savage, trade something to Oakland and get Michael Bush, this kid will be a star if he stays healthy and the perfect replacement for Jamaal Lewis after this year. Now you’re wondering, why not Vernon Gholston then? Their starting defensive tackles are Gerrard Warren and Terrell Sands, you tell me why the go with the Trojan instead of the Buckeye.
5. Kansas City Chiefs-Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
Yes, I think Herm Edwards takes a chance, I don't care if Brodie Croyle is his boy or not. The two options they have right now were far form stellar last season and the Chiefs faithful aren't exactly a patient bunch. The Chiefs will be a team everyone will be watching as what they do could start a flurry of trades trying to get up and I can see the Jets trading down to acquire picks.
6. New York Jets- Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
Leon Washington and Thomas Jones are nice backs, but do you honestly think the Jets and Mangini are going to let Darren McFadden slip to the Patriots? If they don’t take him themselves, they’ll sell the spot to the Cowboys who will gobble him up like a fat kid with a cupcake. They will not allow McFadden to go to the Patriots, even if they fans boo the selection, which they will no matter who it is.
7. New England Patriots (via 49ers)- Vernon Gholston, DE/OLB, Ohio State
The Patriots lost both starting corners in free agency so the drafting a corner seems like the smartest move, but look what I said above. They take the best player available and at this time the best player available is Vernon Gholston. There are a good number of corners in this draft who can be very good players, so they don't need to pay that high corner money at this point in the draft, which the Patriots are also very wary to do. Gholston is a tweener between defensive end and outside linebacker which fits their style of play perfectly.
8. Baltimore Ravens-Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy State
I'm not sure there will be a run on the corners in the first round as many else do. I think you'll see that tackle run, but not completely sold on corners, that's a lot of money to sink into a player. Ozzie Newsome is a part of those GMs though who take the best player available, most of the time, Kyle Boller was far from the best. Give McKelvin a year to adjust to this higher level of playing and in two years he'll be one on one with Braylon Edwards.
9. Cincinnati Bengals-Keith Rivers, OLB, USC
Defense, defense, defense, this should be the mantra of the Bengals' draft. I think Rivers will fit into their defense very well, specially with their adjustment to the 3-4 coming on. He's also an upstanding citizen, which is something else they need to look for when drafting. Some think they may go after a wide receiver here as well with the departure of Chris Henry, but outscoring your opponents doesn’t work when you can’t stop them from scoring.
10. New Orleans Saints-Phillip Merling, DE, Clemson
If the Saints somehow are able to land Glenn Dorsey watch New Orleans go nuts for the LSU Tiger. I wouldn't put it past the Saints trading up to try to land Glenn Dorsey which would continue to grab huge support from the community as they are coming down from the Reggie Bush excitement. Drafting Merling though allows them to move one of the bigger d-ends they have right now to tackle as their defensive line is still a big weakness for the Saints.
11. Buffalo Bills- Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State
They've had one of the best draft records the last three or so years and this very well may be the year we see Buffalo really start to compete for that wild card spot. I say wildcard because as long as New England has Tom Brady I don't see any team in the AFC East over taking them. I'm a big fan of Talib and I think he fits in beautifully with mentality they're building in Buffalo, but the raw athletic potential that Rogers-Cromartie possesses may be too good to pass up. Talib also is a bit susceptible to giving up the long bomb, which New England would take advantage of at every change.
12. Denver Broncos-Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State
Their offensive line is old, inexperienced and in shambles. This isn't good when your offense is on the shoulders of a third year quarterback. They need to protect Jay Cutler, and Ryan Clady I think is the best fit for their zone blocking scheme. He’s the most athletic lineman in the draft, so for a team that does zone blocking and plenty of pulling of their linemen this just makes the most sense.
13. Carolina Panthers- Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina
I know that many of you are looking at me right now like…huh?! Hear me out, Carolina loves drafting local kids and Balmer is the next best defensive tackle on the board. They have zero inside presence right now, and that isn’t helping Julius Peppers at all. Their defensive tackle need to be able to occupy many blockers at once, and they weren’t able to do this last year. Now I can see them moving down to make this pick, but he won’t be there in the second round so it has to be made in the first.
14. Chicago Bears-Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois
I've been preaching that the Bears will take a tackle for a very long time, but today this hit me. Benson hasn't worked out that well, and why not take the best Illinois player to enter the draft in decades? This kid is PHE-NOMINAL and I think is the best running back in the draft and will be a legitimate superstar, the kind Reggie Bush was supposed to be. It also works fan wise, taking the local college prospect is almost always looked at positively by the fans.
15. Detroit Lions- Jeff Otah, OT, Pitt
They have stated that this year they are focusing on the running game, they must establish the running game. Well, one has to block to establish the running game. If Mendenhall is available you'll see a path of fire where the Lions ran up to hand his card in, but with him gone they have to get the best lineman available. Otah is also a great left tackle, which may actually give Jon Kitna some time to actually throw the ball this year, instead of always being knocked on his ass.
16. Arizona Cardinals-Chris Williams, OT, Vandy
This is a big question mark for people, as they have a few big areas they could focus on in the first round. I went with the offensive tackle, help facilitate Edge running the ball and give some protection to Kurt Warner and Matt Leinart. Williams is a solid tackle who should make his share of pro bowls.
17. Minnesota Vikings-Derek Harvey, DE, Florida
I think the Vikings could go offensive tackle here as well, but for some reason I couldn't stop but picking Derek Harvey. They've almost been Lion-esque at times when it comes to drafting defensive ends in the first round and here it isn't much different. I think it gives them some speed at the end position that they're missing right now.
18. Houston Texans-Kenny Phillips, S, Miami
They will sit there, hoping and praying like good Texans, that Kenny Phillips land in their laps at number eighteen. They've been building that defense up to beat the Colts, putting this Miami General in charge of your air force is the next stop in toppling Peyton.
19. Philadelphia Eagles-DeSean Jackson, WR, Cal
They have their pick of wide receivers, but I went with DeSean Jackson purely because of his return ability. He would take the load off of Westbrook, and we have seen over the last two years how return men are becoming more and more of a factor in the NFL, this just continues that trend.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida
Their defense has been solid for years, almost a decade it seems, but with that comes age and it's time to start restock piling their shelves. I think Mike Jenkins is the type of player Jon Gruden adores. I think he has untapped physical potential, he could be the most athletic player in this draft, and could be a huge steal at 20. He has the potential to be a damn good shut down corner and the fact that he’s a bit of local kid also helps the team. He may turn out to be the best corner of this draft.
21. Washington Redskins-Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma
Pass rush is what they need most of all, but at 21 the real big name defensive ends are gone. Jason Campbell needs that tall wide receiver who can go up and snatch a pass if he's going to become one of those elite quarterbacks in the NFC. Kelly gives him that option, and moves Randal-El back to the slot, where he plays his best.
22. Dallas Cowboys (via Browns)-Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas
Step one, protect Tony Romo. At least, that's what it should be. Jerry Jones though is getting older and a bit more reminiscant about his past. He also hasn't seen Arkansas players this good come into the NFL since maybe the 70s. I believe he is determined to take one of those Arkansas running backs and make him a star. He doesn't want to risk losing Felix Jones, he takes him with their first of two.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers-Quentin Groves, DE/OLB, Auburn
They lost Alan Faneca, so taking Albert with their first round pick seems like a no-brainer, but rumor is circling that the Steelers are infatuated with Quentin Groves. One can see why, he is a dynamic player with great physical prowess and fits well into their defensive system. They can wait until the second round to grab a guard, Groves though won't be there.
24. Tennessee Titans-Limas Sweed, WR, Texas
I think there isn't a question that they will take at least two wide receivers in the draft, starting in the first round. Here though it depends on who the Eagles take, and they sort of get the left overs. I think Kelly and Sweed are so close together that it's a toss em. I do think over the long haul though Sweed is the better NFL caliber player as were Kelly may be a number 2 or slot receiver. It doesn't matter though, the Skins have selected Kelly and that allows the Titans to reunite Sweed and Young.
25. Seattle Seahawks-Fred Davis, TE, USC
They took care of some of their needs via free agency, especially at the running back position. Now they have Alexander, Morris, Duckett AND Julius Jones. I wouldn't be surprised if each of them got their own specific down and distance, maybe even 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th downs. So drafting a running back is no longer a first round priority. I still think they need a dynamic tight end for the west coast offense and Fred Davis to me is above and beyond the best tight end in the draft.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars- Lawrence Jackson, DE, USC
Lawrence Jackson is an absolute steal for the Jaguars at 26. His mentality is one that fits in with a defense with many weapons. In college folks were more worried bout the linebackers and Ellis, which allowed him to do great things, the same thing will be true in a sense in Jacksonville. It also may give them the best defensive line in football, if they didn’t have that already.
27. San Diego Chargers-Gosder Cherilus, OT, Boston College
They have this one draft pick until I think the fourth or fifth round, maybe even until 2009 the rate they're going. They desperately need another offensive tackle to book end their offensive line, protect the trash talker and LT. To me, this is the only kind of pick that makes sense with as few picks as they have in this draft.
28. Dallas Cowboys-Curtis Lofton, ILB, Oklahoma
Once again I think they will go away from what people expect them to do. Their inside linebackers don't exactly strike fear in the hearts of anyone, even with the Zach Thomas addition. Taking Curtis Lofton, a player much in the same mold of Zach Thomas, allows him to learn from the veteran and become the general that defense needs.
29. San Francisco 49ers (via Colts)- Branden Albert, G, Virginia
You have two young, well one young the other finally getting playing time, quarterbacks who need protection. You have a young running back who needs holes opened. You began reconstructing the offensive line last year with Joe Staley, I think they should work on solidifying the middle with the best guard in the draft. His addition with David Baas makes the Niners even nicer inside. I wouldn’t be shocked if they took a center in the third or fourth rounds either.
30. Green Bay Packers- Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas
The Packers are an interesting team as they don't have that many weaknesses and needs in regards to the draft. Their corners are getting quiet old, especially in the NFL and it may be time to draft a corner in the first time, for the first time in a very long time. I'm more sold on Aqib Talib then other people are, but then I paid more attention to Kansas the majority of the season then others, who only watched them at the tail end of the season.
31. New York Giants-Erin Henderson, OLB, Maryland
They lost Mitchell in the offseason, who was all over the field during the Super Bowl. I can't say enough how much I enjoy watching Erin Henderson play. I think he would fit in very well with that Giants style of football. The other option I can see here is maybe going after Antoine Cason and getting another young corner, or reaching for a safety like Josh Barrett or Kevin Ellison.
32. Miami Dolphins-Brandon Flowers, CB, Virginia Tech
A strong, physical corner that fits the Parcells system
33. St Louis Rams-Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona
Though the need for protection is high, they can’t stop anyone’s passing game right now
34. Atlanta Falcons (via Raiders)-Chad Henne, QB, Michigan
They have their defensive centerpiece, now they need the field general on offense
35. Kansas City Chiefs-Reggie Smith, CB, Oklahoma
Same situation as St Louis with linemen, difference is their corners are around fifty years old
36. New York Jets- Calais Campbell, DE, Miami
This gives them a hugely athletic kid at the corner
37. Atlanta Falcons-Terrell Thomas, CB, USC
They traded Hall to Oakland, now they must replace him
38. Baltimore Ravens-Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville
Why didn’t Tampa take him round 1? He’s not old enough for Gruden
39. San Francisco 49ers- Early Doucet, WR, LSU
Manningham is tempting, but Doucet is the perfect type of receiver for Martz’s offense
40. New Orleans Saints-Dustin Keller, TE, Purdue
Ask Brees if he misses Antonio Gates at all
41. Buffalo Bills-John Carlson, TE, Notre Dame
This is a receiving threat that is something the Bills don’t have right now, reliable.
42. Denver Broncos- Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan State
I don’t understand the fascination with Thomas, so naturally Denver will drop the ball with him
43. Carolina Panthers-Joe Flacco, QB, Delaware
This gives Flacco time to learn behind Jake Delhomme
44. Chicago Bears-Sam Baker, OT, USC
The number one complaint amongst Bears fans? The O-Line
45. Detroit Lions-Michael Grant, CB, Arkansas
Running game may be the name, can’t stop the pass, however, is another symptom of a bad team
46. Cincinnati Bengals-Red Bryant, DT, Texas A&M
Rumor has it they’re going 3-4 so they need a brick wall in the middle
47. Minnesota Vikings- Mario Manningham, WR, Michigan
Tavares Jackson isn’t a great quarterback, so give him an under achieving receiver
48. Atlanta Falcons (via Texans)- Tavares Gooden, OLB, Miami
The Falcons will completely rebuild their team during this draft, that’s how many picks they have in the second round
49. Philadelphia Eagles- Josh Barrett, S, Arizona St
They finally attempt to fill that whole next to Brian Dawkins
50. Arizona Cardinals- Cliff Avril, DE/OLB, Purdue
They lose a talented tweener, Avril may be better then what they lost
51. Washington Redskins- Dan Connor, ILB, Penn State
How Dan Connor falls this low is beyond me, Skins fans look, London Fletcher ain’t exactly a rookie
52. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Xavier Adibi, OLB, Virginia Tech
One of the fastest outside backers in the draft, should fit in well with their style
53. Pittsburgh Steelers-Chilo Rachal, G, USC
They get their Faneca replacement after all
54. Tennessee Titans- Tracy Porter, CB, Indiana
Pacman is going to Dallas in some fashion, so a replacement is going to be needed
55. Seattle Seahawks- Kevin Ellison, S, USC
It seems like every year the Seahawks are looking for a safety in the draft
56. Green Bay Packers (via Browns)-Jonathon Stewart, RB, Oregon
You’re scratching your heads, well are the Packers completely sold on fumbleruskie?
57. Miami Dolphins (via Chargers)- Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
A big physical player who manages to almost always get into the backfield
58. Jacksonville Jaguars-Trevor Laws, DT, Notre Dame
Their type of defensive tackle, something they horde like a kid on Halloween
59. Indianapolis Colts- Jason Jones, DE, Eastern Michigan
They’re not afraid to take a smaller school player, specially when he has tremendous upside
60. Green Bay Packers-Oniel Cousins, OT, UTEP
They need to protect their “rookie” quarterback as best they can
61. Dallas Cowboys-Donnie Avery, WR, Houston
Avery would be the perfect speedy slot receiver they need so badly
62. New England Patriots-Spencer Larsen, ILB, Arizona
To replace a Wildcat one must use another Wildcat
63. New York Giants-Ahtyba Rubin, DT, Iowa State
Love this kid, may be the best d-tackle when it’s all said and done
64.Miami Dolphins- James Hardy, WR, Indiana
65.St. Louis Rams- Anthony Collins, OT, Kansas
66.Kansas City Chiefs- Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina
67.Carolina Panthers (via Jets) – Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
68.Atlanta Falcons- Brad Cottam, TE, Tennessee
69.New England Patriots (via Raiders)- Dwight Lowery, CB, San Jose State
70.Chicago Bears (via Niners)- DaJuan Morgan, S, North Carolina State
71.Jacksonville Jaguars (via Bills) – Dexter Jackson, WR, Appalachian State
72.Buffalo Bills(via Ravens) – Lavelle Hawkins, WR, Cal
73.Minnesota Vikings (via Broncos)- Mike Pollack, C, Arizona St
74.Carolina Panthers- Chris Ellis, DE, Virginia Tech
75.San Francisco 49ers (via Bears) – Tyrelle Johnson, FS, Arkansas State
76.Detroit Lions- Roy Schuening, G, Oregon State
77.Cincinnati Bengals- Chris Harrington, DE, Texas A&M
78.New Orleans Saints- Dre Moore, DT, Maryland
79.Houston Texans- Jamaal Charles, RB, Texas
80.Philadelphia Eagles- Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers
81.Arizona Cardinals- Charles Godfrey, CB, Iowa
82.Minnesota Vikings- Pat Sims, DT, Auburn
83.Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Josh Johnson, QB, San Diego
84.Washington Redskins- Marcus Howard, DE/OLB, Georgia
85.Tennessee Titans- Marcus Harrison, DT, Arkansas
86.Seattle Seahawks- Robert Felton, G, Arkansas
87.Detroit Lions (via Browns)- Ali Highsmith, OLB, LSU
88.Pittsburgh Steelers- Patrick Lee, CB, Auburn
89.Jacksonville Jaguars- John David Booty, QB, USC
90.Chicago Bears (via Chargers)- Andre Woodson, QB, Kentucky
91.Green Bay Packers- Kennan Burton, WR, Kentucky
92.Dallas Cowboys- DeJuan Tribble, CB, Boston College
93.Indianapolis Colts- Beau Bell, ILB, UNLV
94.New England Patriots- Matt Forte, RB, Tulane
95.New York Giants- Thomas DeCoud, S, Cal
96.Washington Redskins (NFL compensatory pick)- Frank Okam, DT, Texas
97.Cincinnati Bengals (NFL compensatory pick)- Earl Bennett, WR, Vanderbilt
98.Atlanta Falcons (NFL compensatory pick)- Phil Loadholt, OT, Oklahoma
99.Baltimore Ravens (NFL compensatory pick)- Jolon Dunbar, ILB, Boston College