Wednesday, January 10, 2007

2007 NFL Mock Draft (1st Edition)

Sure it's only January and the playoffs are just getting underway, but it's never too early to start talking about the NFL draft (especially if you're one of the poor, unfortunate souls who considers yourself a Texans' fan). Besides, what other non-sporting sports event receives this much attention? Football fans just can't get enough when it comes to the draft. So without further adieu, here is my foray into this April's fun-fest. Keep in mind, with the combine, individual workouts and all-star games things are bound to change a great deal in the coming months. As for underclassmen, I'm including those who have already declared as well as those whom I think will be throwing their names in the hat any day now.

x -- still to be determined by coin flip
y -- still to be determined by playoffs
+ -- underclassman

Are you sure you want to come out this year, JaMarcus?

1. Oakland Raiders (2-14)
+ JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU

This one seems like a no-brainer. True, Russell was blessed when he got to showcase his prodigious arm against Notre Dame's powder-puff defense. And there's no question he struggled at times against the more stout defenses of the SEC. But he possesses the highest upside of any quarterback in this draft and we all know how much the Raiders love big-armed QBs. The question is, will Oakland ruin Russell's career before it even begins?

2. Detroit Lions (3-13)
Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame

Another slam-dunk. Funny, that Detroit took some heat for winning its final game of the season and seemingly blowing its shot to draft Quinn. But thanks to the Sugar Bowl, they're going to get him anyway. But I've said it before and I'll say it again: I think Quinn has bust written all over him. That's just me. And wouldn't it be funny if, after years of selecting first round wide receivers, the Lions pass on this year's stud, Calvin Johnson, and he ends up making them regret it in the end?

3. x-Cleveland Browns (4-12)
+ Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma

This is where things start getting a little dicey. The Browns have all kinds of needs, like pretty much every 4-12 team in the history of the NFL. They want a QB (do you trust Chaz Frye?), but there isn't one available here. This could be Johnson, a D-lineman or OT Joe Thomas. But, for now, I think Peterson's mix of size and speed will be too hard to pass up. One thing to watch out for with regards to Peterson: There are whispers circulating that his body might have more wear and tear than originally thought. If so, his stock would obviously fall.

4. x-Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12)
Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin

Johnson will be very tempting here, but Tampa's O-line is a disgrace and has been for years. Thomas is clearly the cream of the crop and there would be a LONG list of suitors if the Bucs decide they want to trade down.

5. Arizona Cardinals (5-11)
Alan Branch, DT, Michigan

Johnson is clearly the best player left on the board but the Cardinals can't possibly take him with Fitzgerald and Boldin already on board. The guy they really need, Thomas, is already gone so this is a prime trade down spot. But if they keep the pick, they could do a lot worse than a 330 pound playmaker like Alan Branch.

6. Washington Redskins (5-11)
+ Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech

Johnson is the obvious pick here. After spending way too much money to resurrect the Smurfs in D.C., Joe Gibbs and co. wise up and select this 6' 5'', 235 pound stud from Georgia Tech.

7. Minnesota Vikings (6-10)
+ Gaines Adams, DE, Georgia

So if running the ball and stopping the run are the keys to success in the NFL, how come the Vikings, who did both, finished 6-10? For one thing, they couldn't rush the passer and Adams would certainly help in that regard. Of course, Minnesota needs help at the WR and safety positions too, so Dwayne Jarrett, Sidney Rice and LaRon Landry are also possibilities here.

8. Houston Texans (6-10)
+ Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU

Hey, I've got an idea! Why don't the Texans draft a D-lineman in the first round for the fourth year in a row! Get excited, fans! Seriously though, Houston still needs help in the trenches and Dorsey is a beast who would clog up the middle and help DeMeco Ryans become even more of a playmaker at MLB. Obviously, the Texans need O-line help, but there just isn't anyone here worth grabbing. the aforementioned Landry is also a possibility. Oh, and I should add that many mock drafts have Adrian Peterson falling to the Texans. It's possible, when you consider how few of the top 7 teams need RB help, but I'm not buying it... yet.

Another D-lineman in the 1st round! Yay!

9. Miami Dolphins (6-10)
LaRon Landry, S, LSU

We've mentioned him twice already, so might as well slide Landry into the 9 slot. Say what you will about Nick Saban, but he obviously saw the writing on the wall with this aging group and got the heck out of dodge before the poop really hit the fan. The Fish need a boatload of help.

10. Atlanta (7-9)
+ Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC

I know they've already invested so much in the WR position, but at some point they have to get Mike Vick someone who can actually hold onto the ball. Dwayne Jarrett should fit the bill as long as he doesn't go on the Mike Williams diet plan upon entering the league.

11. San Francisco 49ers (7-9)
Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville

The 'Niners need help on defense, so why not add a 19 year old building block? That's right, this kid has already graduated and won't turn 20 until June. One of the best stories going right now.

12. Buffalo Bills (7-9)
Leon Hall, CB, Michigan

Hall would help form a very nice Big Ten CB pair with the already established Nate Clements (who's an Ohio St. grad). Wait a second... A Big 10 pair? In the secondary? Maybe that's not such a great thing after all.

13. St. Louis Rams (8-8)
+ Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas

Very possible Anderson is off the board already by this point. But if he's still here, the Rams would love to put him opposite Leonard Little.

14. Carolina Panthers (8-8)

Levi Brown, OT, Penn State

Brown is a bit of a reach here, but the Panthers really need to solidify their offensive line.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska

A quick and powerful 290 pound defensive end, Carriker can help breathe some life back to the Steelers' pass rush.

16. Green Bay Packers (8-8)
+ Marshawn Lynch, RB, Cal

Hard to believe Ahman Green has much more left in the tank. So why not bring in Lynch, and do what New England did with Maroney and Dillon this year?

17. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)
+ Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Ohio State

Considering the NFL's infatuation with speed, it's hard to imagine Ginn slipping this far. But he's not a great route runner (yet), so he still has much to prove when it comes to showing he can be a legitimate number one WR at the pro level.

Try to avoid those nasty endzone celebrations okay, Teddy?

18. Cincinnati Bengals (8-8)
Quentin Moses, DE/OLB, Georgia

Who knows whether Odell Thurman will return to the Bengals, so why not replace him with another, more well-behaved Georgia grad?

19. Tennessee Titans (8-8)
+ Sidney Rice, WR, South Carolina

It's time to get VY some help on the edge and Rice would be a nice fit. If Jarrett slips (a definite possibility), he's another option here.

20. New York Giants (8-8)

+ Darrell Revis, CB, Pittsburgh

The Giants' secondary is a mess and it's time to retool. Revis would be a solid start.

21. Denver Broncos (9-7)
+ Reggie Nelson, S, Florida

Nelson is one of the biggest defensive playmakers in this draft. You better believe the Cowboys would love to get him, so don't be surprised if they make a play to move up and ensure his services.

22. Dallas Cowboys (9-7)
Tank Tyler, DT, North Carolina State

You can never have too many stout defensive linemen. Just look what happened to Dallas when Greg Ellis got hurt.

23. Kansas City Chiefs (9-7)
Deymeion Hughes, CB, Cal

The Chiefs desperately need to upgrade their talent at WR. But the only remaining wide-out who fits here would be Notre Dame's Jeff Samardzija. Just one problem; he wants to play baseball and football. Are you really going to use the 23rd pick him then? I'm guessing no, but K.C. might go ahead and roll the dice.

24. y- New England Patriots (from Seattle)
+ Jarvis Moss, DE/OLB, Florida

Just a perfect fit for the Pats' 3-4. Would be a great addition, especially with Bruschi and Vrabel aging.

25. New York Jets (10-6)
Kenny Irons, RB, Auburn

Jets have got to enlist some help in the backfield. I'm not crazy about Irons, but he's the top-rated RB available at this point.

26. y- New Orleans Saints (10-6)
Patrick Willis, ILB, Ole Miss

Saints offense is loaded so now it's time to take care of the D. Willis is the best LB in a weak class.

27. y- Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
Marcus McCauley, CB, Fresno State

Eagles always love to stock up on good corners.

28. y- New England Patriots (12-4)
LaMarr Woodley, DE/OLB, Michigan

If the Patriots get Moss AND Woodley in this draft, look out.

29. y- Indianapolis Colts (12-4)
+ Lawrence Timmons, OLB, Florida State

Timmons can run like the wind and we all know how much Tony Dungy values speed on defense.

30. y- Chicago Bears (13-3)
Zach Miller, TE, Arizona State

Bears don't really have a lot of holes (except for their QB). Since they can't replace Sexy (unless they want a statue like Brian Brohm), they might as well give him another target. One other thing: I originally had Samardzija's slide ending here, but since the Cubs' own his baseball rights, that just seemed too weird. But who knows, it might actually work.

31. y- Baltimore Ravens (13-3)
Justin Blalock, OT/OG, Texas

Another team that can truly take the "best available". Good chance to solidify the offensive line or find Jamal Lewis's replacement if there's an RB they like.

32. y- San Diego Chargers (14-2)
Jeff Samardzija, WR, Notre Dame

Chargers need help at WR and in the secondary. If Samardzija is still on the board, his slide ends here.

Lots more draft stuff to come in the near future. Also, weeks 2 playoff predictions and analysis will be posted by Friday morning. Feel free to post your own thoughts and comments. And finally, I promise there will be plenty of basketball and baseball columns at some point. But it's football time right now, ya know?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

With the trades and acquisitions made going into the draft, plus the bulk of the team that is carried over from last season, and the trades and draft picks made during the draft, it sure seems like the Pats are going to be the team to beat in the AFC this season, and perhaps in all of the NFL.

Considering the Pats were almost in the Superbowl last season with a pathetic receiving corps and that they've added very talented players into said receiving corps this season, barring some nasty injury(ies), they look to be the team to take it all.I say injury(ies) because I think they could survive an injury or two to some positions, but if they lost Brady they'd probably have a hard time recovering.

I wish I could say that the Redskins did well in the draft and/or in free agency but so many holes still exist that I'm not sure they'll be significantly better than last season. I suppose on face they should be if they can keep their corners healthy. With Landry (argh, hard to type that name as a Redskin!!) back there with a healthy secondary they might be able to cheat up more and put more pressure on opposing QBs. Might.

They still have what should be a lot of talent in the receiving positions, and Campbell should be better, but they don't have the quality on either line (offense or defense) that I wish they'd have, so it could be yet another year of .500 at best, or worse.

Still, the NFC East looks to be the NFC Least again this season. None of the teams there look like they'll be that good, and none really look ready to step up and take the division.

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