Will the Cleveland Browns regret giving up their 2008 selection for Brady Quinn?
You know the drill, folks. This is my final writeup before the NFL season begins (although I've only released one prior to this, this one has gone through many incarnations). The order was taken from some season predictions I made a month or so back, and while it isn't perfect, it served me well enough. Please do not ***** about where I have your team picking. Outside of that I welcome all questions, criticism, and threats of painful and vaguely sexual bodily harm. (and as always "*" indicates an underclassman)
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Andre Woodson, QB, Kentucky
If the Bucs do end up picking #1 overall, two things are certain. (1) Jon Gruden will be long gone and (2) so will his lengthy depth chart of quarterbacks. Woodson posted impressive stats in the SEC last year, and if he can repeat that production, he has all the physical tools to be taken this high.
2. Tennessee Titans: Calais Campbell*, DE, Miami
The pressure to take a top offensive talent to take pressure off Vince Young will be immense, but the Titans may have trouble passing on a talent like Campbell. Standing (towering) at 6-8 280, Campbell appears to be the kind of defensive end prospect that Julius Peppers and Mario Williams were.
3. Kansas City Chiefs: Jake Long, OT, Michigan
The future of Kansas City Chiefs and the use of this pick will be decided by the Larry Johnson situation. If he leaves for greener bank vaults, you better believe that the top of the Chiefs big board will be a runner (most likely McFadden). However, if Johnson re-signs, the Chiefs must start pumping youth into an dilapidated offensive line. Long is the perfect kind of blocker for the power running system in Kansas City.
4. Dallas Cowboys (via Cleveland): Darren McFadden*, HB, Arkansas
Was this worth Quinn? If Dallas sits in this position, that will be the question in Cleveland. The Cowboys, who have been searching for that premier back since Emmitt Smith left for his swan song in Arizona, would be ecstatic to get a chance at the explosive McFadden, who is perhaps the most impressive runner to come out of the SEC since Bo Jackson.
5. Detroit Lions: Kenny Philips*, SS, Miami
Although the Lions have needs on offense, Mike Martz might not be able to talk the front office into passing on the sensational Philips. Arguably the best defensive player in football last year, Philips is the next in a long line of great safeties from Miami. With the ability to play all over the secondary effectively, Philips would go a long way towards shoring up a questionable secondary in Detroit.
6. New York Giants: DeSean Jackson*, WR, California
After cutting Luke Petitgout in the offseason and with a young quarterback in desperate need of a confidence boost, you figure the Giants would target an offensive lineman (such as, say, Sam Baker). Instead, the Giants go for the flashy move and select the multi-dimensional Jackson. Capable of returning punts and burning corners deep, Jackson would be a welcome addition to an offense which has been seeking a counterweight to Burress for several years now.
7. Atlanta Falcons: Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville
This is probably the only thing that could make Falcon fans feel good about the fiasco that has been Michael Vick. Bobby Petrino would leap at the opportunity to bring in his college quarterback, and Brohm would be entering an offense that suits his talents extremely well and that he is already familiar with. The only question is, with Vicks massive contract, could Atlanta afford the pick?
8. Oakland Raiders: Glenn Dorsey, DT, Louisiana State
Outside of Derrick Burgess and Warren Sapp, the Raiders have had tremendous issues generating a pass rush. Although Sapp picked up 10 sacks in 2006 and showed up in fantastic shape to training camp this year, he is by no means an every down player anymore. Owner Al Davis has a history of taking defensive tackles high in the 1st round, and Dorsey is a Sapp-clone who could hold down the undertackle position very well.
9. Houston Texans: Sam Baker, OT, Southern California
New quarterback Matt Schaub figures to have a rough year with shoddy o-line protection, so picking up a solid pass blocking left tackle who fits Coach Kubiak’s blocking scheme is a good move.
10. Green Bay Packers: Jonathan Stewart*, HB, Oregon
Although Brandon Jackson is a nice runner, he’s not a feature back. Stewart is built like the perfect NFL runner, and has a style very conducive to Green Bay’s running system.
11. Arizona Cardinals: Vernon Gholston*, OLB, Ohio State
The switch to the 3-4 defense caught everyone a little off guard, especially Arizona’s roster. Dansby has the strongside locked down, but the Cards are still lacking a pass rusher on the weakside. Gholston is a very explosive and strong pass rusher who would be a great fit in Arizona’s new defense.
12. Miami Dolphins: Chris Long, DE, Virginia
This is a match made in heaven. If Miami intends to stick with the 3-4 defense, they need to get some youth in that front 7, and they need to do it fast. Chris Long, son of former NFL great Howie Long, has played 3-4 DE his entire collegiate career, and has done a fantastic job of it.
13. Seattle Seahawks: Keith Rivers, LB, Southern California
The Seahawks could be looking for a wide variety of things come next April, but at this point it definitely appears like they could use a playmaking coverage linebacker to play opposite Julian Peterson. Rivers is a fantastic athlete who has even stood out in one of the best linebacker corps in the nation.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers: Derrick Harvey*, DE, Florida
There aren’t two defensive schemes more different than the 3-4 and the Cover 2, and new head coach Mike Tomlin has the wonderful task of making that transfer in one year or less. Pass rushing defensive ends are crucial in Tomlin’s Cover 2, and Harvey is a very quick athlete who can get to the quarterback.
15. Washington Redskins: Justin King*, CB, Penn State
Although the Redskins addressed their secondary by drafting LaRon Landry, the safety out of Louisiana State, there is still a bit of mystery in their cornerback corps. Drafting King, a great athlete who has experience on offense and defense, would go a long way towards shoring up that group.
16. Minnesota Vikings: Early Doucet, WR, Louisiana State
Although the Vikings took wideout Sidney Rice in the 2007 NFL draft, the Vikings receiving corps still looks pitiful. With a young quarterback in need of targets, don’t be surprised to see the Vikes target a pass catcher.
17. Buffalo Bills: Martellus Bennett*, TE, Texas A&M
The Bills seem to be building a nice looking offense, but they still lack that security blanket for JP Losman (and no, the fact that Lee Evans is almost always open deep doesn’t make up for that). Bennett, a 6-7 250 lb. monster, is a two way athlete (basketball) that seems to have all you’d want in a tight end.
18. New York Jets: Tommy Blake, OLB, Texas Christian
I think I’ve been bemoaning the lack of a true 3-4 WLB on that Jet defense forever now, and while I liked the addition of thumper David Harris, they still need that force on the outside to put pressure on the quarterback. Blake is a pass rushing master with a mean streak, and definitely has the ability to play standing up on that Jets defense.
19. Jacksonville Jaguars: Zach Bowman, CB, Nebraska
Jack Del Rio seems to be setting up a defense in Florida that requires a lot man coverage, and while Rashean Mathis is a very nice corner, the other side seems a bit lacking. Bowman has serious injury concerns, but if he had played a full college career, he would have most certainly been a top 10 pick.
20. New England Patriots (via San Francisco): Dan Connor, LB, Penn State
New England did a great job at fortifying their outside linebacker crew, but they’re still lacking youth and athleticism in the middle (and I somehow doubt that 7th round pick Oscar Lua is going to change that). Dan Connor is yet another great ‘backer export from Penn State, and he’s do a wonderful job playing inside on the Pats defense.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Tyson Jackson*, DE, Louisiana State
With the future of Justin Smith on the team at bit of a question, and with a general lack of depth on the defensive line, the Bengals pick up Tyson Jackson. With the size to play both inside and outside, and the ability to move like a man 50 lbs. lighter, Jackson would provide an instant boost to the Bengals defense.
22. Denver Broncos: Jonathan Hefney, S, Tennessee
The Broncos failed to pick up their safety of the future this past offseason, and with an aging and shallow safety corps, it appears like one of the team’s biggest needs. Although small, Heffney is a proven playmaker who hits with a surprising amount of force for his size.
23. New Orleans Saints: Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona
Many, including myself, bemoaned the Saints decision to take wideout Robert Meachem in the 1st round instead of going for a top notch defensive talent. New Orleans could use help at linebacker and in the secondary, but ultimately opt for Cason, a very talented corner with great ball skills.
24. Philadelphia Eagles: Limas Sweed, WR, Texas
Yeah, yeah. The Eagles don’t take 1st round wideouts. Gotcha. With the exit of Donovan McNabb looking like a distinct possibility, the Eagles might feel pressure to get QB of the future Kevin Kolb a nice big target to throw to. If Sweed can ever become a little more consistent, he has the talent to be a #1 receiver.
25. Dallas Cowboys: Malcolm Kelly*, WR, Oklahoma
The duo of Owens and Glenn is getting older, and I’m not sure the Dallas front office feels that Patrick Crayton is the future. Kelly is a very acrobatic wideout with the knack for making the impossible catch, and would be a nice #3 option until the team needed him to step into a full starting role.
26. Chicago Bears: Xavier Adibi, LB, Virginia Tech
Briggs is officially in camp for the Bears, but considering how they dragged their feet to give him money the first time round, I don’t think that the chance of them opening their check book for Briggs come free agent time is all that likely. Look instead for them to grab a linebacker like Adibi, who fits into Briggs’ weakside position very well.
27. Carolina Panthers: DeMario Pressley, DT, North Carolina State
Although the Panthers could go a myriad of ways with this pick (keep an eye for a left tackle like Barry Richardson or Ghosder Cherilus), the uncertainty that surrounds Kris Jenkins is too much to overcome. The Panthers rely upon their defensive line to keep the rest of their defense frosty, and Pressley would go a long to make that middle intimidating again. Possibly the 4th defensive lineman taken from NC State in 2 years, Pressley is more in the athletic realm of a Mario Williams than a John McCargo, and could potentially go much higher than I have him slotted here.
28. San Francisco 49ers (via Indianapolis): Adarius Bowman, WR, Oklahoma State
Because Rashaun Woods worked out so well, right? Despite the history in place, you have to imagine that the Niners would leap for a shot at Bowman. Despite some injury and (minor) character concerns, Bowman is a very physical and very talented player who would fit that San Francisco offense like a glove.
29. New England Patriots: Michael Oher*, OG, Mississippi
New England makes another value pick with the supreme blocker that is Oher. Probably capable of playing all 5 offensive line positions in some capacity, Oher blocks like a man on a mission (or maybe two men, considering his size).
30. San Diego Chargers: Jonathan Goff, LB, Vanderbilt
Although not a team with a lot of holes, the San Diego Chargers could use top notch talent on the inside of their linebacker corps. Although they picked up two promising youngsters in Anthony Waters and Brandon Siler during the most recent draft, only Waters is assured a spot and he still has a few injury concerns from college. Goff is a great run defender who could play a similar position as Donnie Edwards did.
31. St. Louis Rams: Barry Richardson, OT, Clemson
With Orlando Pace getting older and not much in the way of depth behind him, the Rams select the large and agile Richardson. An impressive talent, Richardson could go much higher if he puts it all together this year.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Aqib Talib*, CB, Kansas
That Ravens defense sure is intimidating, but Samari Rolle seems be causing the rest of the defense to pick up his slack. Talib is a very natural coverman who is smooth in coverage and makes up for his lack of athleticism very well. He would be a nice fit in Rex Ryan’s defense.