Run-TLC is the King of Mock
1. Dolphins – RB – Darren McFadden – Arkansas. Miami would love to trade down, but no one will be desperate enough to bite. After shopping the pick around to no avail, they go BPA. Run D-MC is being touted as an Adrian Pederson clone and is, by default, this draft’s “playmaker”. Don’t assume having Ronnie Brown puts Miami out of the running for McFadden. The two-back system trend doesn’t look to be waning and the two of them would be a fearsome (albeit, expensive) backfield. Miami can fill in their myriad D/O-line gaps in the later rounds. McFadden puts asses in the oft vacant seats at Pro Robbie Stadium. DT Glenn Dorsey seems to be the popular choice here but he’s not a prototypical lineman for the (Parcells) Dolphins system and there are concerns about his suspect ankles.
2. Rams – OT – Jake Long – Michigan. Orlando Pace may be balking on retirement, but if he’s not gone this year, he’s gone next year. The Rams go pragmatic in a draft filled with question marks and take the one (pretty much) sure thing in Jake Long.
3. Falcons – DT – Glenn Dorsey – LSU. The Falcons would and should be able to trade down here, amass picks, and still get their QB. But who is so desirable at this spot that a team will hand over picks to jump up? The QBs in this draft are a huge gamble at #3. Falcons swallow their pride and go BPA.
4. Raiders – DE – Chris Long – Virginia. Al Davis keeps it in the family and makes the feel-good pick here. He would have liked to have Darren Mac in the backfield with JaMarcus Russell, but drafting the son of a Raider legend who looks primed to follow in daddy’s footsteps is a no-brainer…IF McFadden is gone.
5. Chiefs – DT – Sedrick Ellis – USC. If the board shapes up like this and Jake Long is gone, Ellis is the solid, sensible pick. The 24th ranked run defense gets markedly better with this pick. The OT need can be adequately addressed in the later rounds.
6. Jets – DE/OLB – Vernon Gholston – OSU. The Giants showed us that the key to beating the Patriots is getting pressure on Tom Brady. Since the Jets see the Pats twice a year, this speedy, deceptively strong tweener is a perfect 3-4 system fit and will instantly bolster the Jets’ anemic pass rush. N.B. Gholston was the only player to beat Jake Long for a sack last year.
7. Patriots – S – Kenny Philips – Tha U. The Patriots will most likely go CB here, but I like to think that out of spite and sour feelings after the “perfect” embarrassment/spygate, they go with a typical bully safety from Tha U: hard-hitting, fast, and mean. Rodney Harrison and Kenny Philips in the middle of the field will ensure a lot of out patterns being thrown.
8. Ravens – CB – Mike Jenkins – South Florida. Some less astute Ravens fans will be screaming “But dey need a cudderback, nawt neaux cawner!!!”. The QB need would be most strategically dealt with in the form of Delaware’s Joe Flacco in the 2nd/3rd (Bawlmer can, and hopefully will, have their very own Roethlisberger!) QB is a worry, but not a need. They do, in fact, need a “cawner”…badly. Cory Ivy? Ronnie Prude? And, sorry Neal, Willie Gaston, despite being a generous tipper, is not the answer. Mike Jenkins is the best corner in the draft and a dangerous kick-off return threat. It may be seen as a drawback that he did not resist arrest when hemmed up for a disorderly conduct charge, but common sense/knowing the ledge is a quality you want in a corner.
9. Bengals – OLB – Dan Conner – Penn State. The pick here would have been James Laurenitis, had he not stayed in school. The knock on Conner is that he has the athleticism of his John Goodman-on-Roseanne namesake, the upside is he hits like Darlene. Dan also made a few prank calls to a retired Penn State coach, enough calls for it to be deemed harassment and was suspended by the team in ’05. Every locker room needs a cut-up, and Conner seems to fit the mold. USC OLB Keith Rivers may be an option here, but ankle surgery and the lack of a wacky, jerk-offish sense of humor will cause the Bengals to pass on him.
10. Saints – CB – Leodis McKelvin – Troy. Corner is a glaring need for the Saints. McKelvin was the pride of the Sun Belt and his stock is rising. In a CB-rich draft, Leodis is a standout local prospect that can sew up receivers for years to come. He is also one of the few elite corners in the draft with no (reported) “character issues”.
11. Bills – WR – DeSean Jackson – Cal. No one expected the Donte Whitner pick, did they? No. So Buffalo once again bucks the system and adds to their army of smurfs with another under 6” receiver. Josh Reed, Lee Evans, AND DeSean Jackson? Maybe I’m coming down with Matt Millenitis, but that would be a tiny, scary threesome for a defense to face.
12. Broncos – OT – Ryan Clady – Boise State. Maybe Jay Cutler can materialize into the QB the Broncos thought he’d be with some time to throw. After spending a 1st round pick to protect the dopey-looking kid, another dodgy year will be tough to excuse.
13. Panthers – OLB – Keith Rivers – SoCal. I have Rivers dropping this far because of his ankle surgery. The Panthers need Oline help, but Rivers’ value on the board at this time is too high to pass up. Pittsburgh’s Jeff Otah is a possibility if Kool Keith is off the board.
14. Bears – OT – Jeff Otah – Pittsburgh. The Bears have the most intriguing pick in the draft. They clearly need QB help, but are they solid enough at their other positions of need to gamble of one of this year’s crop of mystery QBs? My guess is no. Cedric “The Entergainer” (sorry) Benson will get the help he needs to be the RB he was expected to be and whoever is under center at season’s start will have less likelihood of being creamed. 6’6” 340, that’s pretty big…I guess.
15. Lions – DE – Derrick Harvey – Florida. If people are impressed by the combines, Harvey might not fall this far. Combines remind me of Tony Mandarich, so I don’t put much stock in them. The Lions will be getting a rough diamond here. If he polishes up nice, Millen will look like genius for once.
16. Cardinals – RB – Jonathan Stewart – Oregon. The stars align and need mingles with availability to meet in perfect synchronicity. Stewart goes from a cool solid-color uniform to a super ugly solid-color uniform, and the Cards fill arguably their greatest need with arguably the best RB in the draft.
17. Vikings – QB – Matt Ryan – BC. Ryan plays this year’s Brady Quinn and sits like an idiot in his church/wedding/funeral suit with a camera in his face for 16 picks until the Vikes bail him out. I’m going out on a limb having Ryan slip this far, but if he does, he’s not getting past Minnesota. If Ryan IS off the board, Brian Brohm won’t be. One of the big three QBs go here.
18. Texans – OT – Chris Williams – Vanderbilt. The law firm of Schaub, Rosenfels & Associates need full-coverage. It’s Williams or Baker, depending on who’s there. If both remain, I’m going with Williams because Baker was a recent (2004) guard convert and Williams has more experience at the position. And also, just cuz.
19. Eagles – WR –James Hardy – Indiana. This pick hinges on the fate of D. McNabbulous. Let’s pretend he’s staying. The one year he had weapons the Eagles came a tummy ache away from a championship. Conventional wisdom would have the Eagles going WR, although they may still be gun shy after the FredEx debacle. Hardy is a rangy target with sure hands which will help to snag some of those more errant McNabb throws. This pick instantly makes the Eagles a more dangerous/complex team.
20. Buccaneers – WR – Malcolm Kelly – Oklahoma. Bewaaare, ye Bucs fans, QB at #20 is a siren luring the Bucs’ galleon into the craggy rocks. Brian Brohm or Matt Ryan is no improvement over Jeff Garcia. No one wants to commit to him, but if you build around Garcia and he’ll get you where you need to be, he’s proven that. So give him a cutlass with which to swashbuckle. Galloway is ready for the boneyard. Shanghai Hardy or Kelly, whoever be available.
21. Redskins – DE – Philip Merling – Clemson. Marvin Lewis has reaffirmed that Chad Johnson isn’t going anywhere, so the Redskins might actually have to use their first round draft pick to select a player out of college. Jim Zorn can introduce himself as the new voice of reason by selecting Philip (Tha Wizzzard©) Merling. This is a solid, unglamorous, albeit, necessary pick. Miami’s DE Calais Campbell is an alluring possibility, but his tackles dropped by nearly half this year compared to his sophomore season. This glaring symptom of junioritis will not be looked upon favorably by scouts. Security over gamble, Merling over Campbell.
22. Cowboys – WR – Early Doucet – LSU. He’s got a cowboyish name, so Early Doucet makes sense here. Limas Sweed is a possibility, too, but he sounds more like he should be at Jabba’s palace backing up Sy Snoodles. WR is one of the Cowboys’ three major needs. But with two 1st round selections, they can address their CB need with the #28 pick. Julius Jones is in the final year of his contract, so RB is also a consideration. Rutgers’ Ray Rice should still be available for Dallas in the 2nd. Marion Barber III and Ray Rice would be a fun backfield tandem.
23. Steelers – OT – Anthony Collins – Kansas. Sam Baker might be the pick here, but hamstring problems and a poor Senior Bowl workout may cause him to fall. Young Turk Anthony Collins will fit the bill for a porous Steelers line which had Big Ben running for his life most of last season.
24. Titans – WR – Limas Sweed – Texas. The Titans reunite Vince Young with former Longhorns teammate Limas Sweed. Young needs weapons badly. Had the Titans successfully addressed WR earlier, Norm Chow might still have a job.
25. Seahawks – QB – Andre Woodson – Kentucky. Just as every draft has its shocking, noodle-scratcher picks, so should every mock draft. Here it is. Is it me, or is Matt Hasselbeck a liability in franchise QB clothing? He’s like a loser Brett Farve. New QB coach Bill Lazor will need fresh clay to mold. Matt is 32 and not getting wiser or better with age. Shaun Alexander’s need for a young premier back to give him a rest comes in the form of WV’s Steve Slaton in the 2nd round.
26. Jaguars – DE – Calais Campbell – Tha U. The Jags need to arm David Garrard but with the remaining WRs not worth a #26 pick, another desperate need is filled. Campbell stays instate and gives Actionville the edge-rusher which would nicely compliment their D-line.
27. Chargers – CB – Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – Tennessee St. Not only is this a feel-good pick, pairing DRC with his cousin Antonio, but it solidifies the Chargers secondary. With so many good players on the board for which San Diego has no real need, the Bolts may opt to trade down.
28. Cowboys – RB – Rashard Mendenhall – Illinois. Despite needing a CB, Mendenhall is still on the board in my metalogical draft. Dallas goes for value and brings in another RB to share carries with MB III.
29. 49ers – DT – Kentwan Balmer – North Carolina. SF is in need of a WR threat, but a more pressing issue is their inability to stop the run. There will be one of the top ten WRs remaining when SF picks again at #39. Mario Manningham will be available if they’re lucky. The Niners are due for some luck.
30. Packers – CB – Antoine Cason – Tennessee St. If not Cason, one of the elite five CBs will drop to the Packers who need to look for replacements for their thirtysomething corners. Pack gets good value here.
31. Patriots. The Patriots pick is forfeited in return for dishonoring themselves and the game.
32. Giants – RB – Felix Jones –Arkansas Wow, I really painted myself into a corner. Giants go BPA in this highly unlikely scenario where Felix Jones slips to #32, thereby making an already solid backfield more solid-er.
That’s right, no Brian Brohm in the 1st round. Miami snags him at #32. Exeunt.