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Before the Combine, 1st Round

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  • Before the Combine, 1st Round

    2007 NFL DRAFT

    ROUND 1
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    1. Oakland Raiders

    The Oakland Raiders have addressed the defense with the last few draft classes, and those efforts have produced a stellar defensive unit that is of playoff caliber, but now the team must look to build and improve the offense which unfortunately was one of the worst the league has seen in years. The hiring of proven offensive coordinator Greg Knapp is a great step towards that, but new head coach Lane Kiffin has 3 major goals in restoring The Silver and Black: (1) develop some measure of success and consistency in a horribly porous offensive line that stunts the offense as a whole; (2) deliver stability at wide receiver, where there are forces antagonistic to the concept of team leadership and work ethic; and (3) maybe most of all, produce a quarterback of the future.

    Those 3 goals take the form in 3 of the top prospects in this draft: OT Joe Thomas of Wisconsin, WR Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech, and QB Jamarcus Russell of LSU. Joe Thomas might be the franchise left tackle that the Raiders haven't yet received from 2004 2nd overall pick and fellow Big Ten OT Robert Gallery, although having had different offensive line coaching with every year of Gallery's professional career thus far (including 2007) has a major stumbling block in the young man's development. Calvin Johnson could quite conceivably be the best wide receiver prospect seen yet, truly a prospect without flaws, and would prove ample in filling the void created by the Kiffin's removal of team malcontents Randy Moss and Jerry Porter.

    But at the end of it, a team must have a quarterback by which to steer the franchise to success, and Jamarcus Russell offers that in an excellent package. He has all the physical tools deserving of consideration for the first overall pick, being able to deliver the ball just about anywhere and however on the field, but more importantly he also displayed the mental tools in improving his play and responded to coaching - including decision-making, football acumen, and mechanics - over the course of his collegiate career at LSU, playing against the best athletes that college football has to offer in the SEC. Kiffin begins a new era for the Oakland Raiders with the selection of his franchise quarterback.

    The Oakland Raiders select QB Jamarcus Russell, LSU
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    2. Detroit Lions

    Head coach Rod Marinelli is one year into his attempt to restore the Detroit Lions franchise to annual playoff contention, and the team still has a great needs for talent in all three phases of the game. The Lions are considering a handful of prospects: QB Brady Quinn of Notre Dame, another prmosing and highly talented quarterback deserving of a Top 5 pick, much like Carson Palmer of years before; OT Joe Thomas, the aforementioned prospect who could serve as an all-important franchise left tackle, a likely improvement over current starter Jeff Backus who could play elsewhere on the offensive line and improve that position, and DEs Gaines Adams of Clemson and Jamaal Anderson of Arkansas, two highly-rated prospects at the vital end position where the Lions need playmakers.

    However the Arizona Cardinals, in the effort of improving their franchise, propose a trade agreement to the Lions in which they choose to ultimately accept 3 Day One draft picks for the 2nd overall pick.

    * Trade *
    The Arizona Cardinals trade their 1st round/ 5th overall pick, 3rd round/ 69th overall pick, and their 2008 2nd round pick to the Detroit Lions for their 1st round/ 2nd overall pick.

    2. Arizona Cardinals f/ Detroit Lions

    The Cardinals paid a price in moving up to draft OT Joe Thomas, but it's a move that new head coach Ken Wisenhunt considers worth it considering how Thomas grades as an elite prospect over the next few years' worth of draft classes and what he can provide to a young team that is as highly talented as it inexperienced in consistently winning games. With the addition of Thomas as well as proven offensive line coach (as well as future Hall of Fame inductee lineman) Russ Grimm, the Cardinals can provide the greater challenge to the NFC West division crown that many expected of them in the last few years, now that they've finally addressed their deservingly-maligned offensive line.

    The Arizona Cardinals select OT Joe Thomas, Wisconsin
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Jon Gruden wasn't axed after the 2006 season because of the understanding given to the freakish injury Chris Simms suffered last season, but if the team produces similar results this season, he should hope those feelers his agent is already sending catch root somewhere. In the meantime he's still the head coach in Tampa, and the two major areas he's got to address are: (1) the defensive line which is a shell of what it once was in years past, a liability which stunts the rest of the defense; and (2) whether or not Chris Simms is in fact his franchise quarterback.

    QB Brady Quinn is available and quite tempting as a signal-caller to build a team around, possibly even moreso than Simms, though that's not known to the franchise at the moment. And given the need for talent to get the Buccaneers back to a winning season, the team will have to pass.

    Speaking of the aforementioned defensive line that's in desperate need for talent, 4 prospects are in serious consideration in the Tampa Bay war room: the aforementioned DEs Gaines Adams and Jamaal Anderson, and DTs Amobi Okoye of Louisville and Alan Branch of Michigan. Okoye shows great promise as a playmaking 3-technique tackle that is incredibly valuable to a Cover 2/Tampa 2 defense, and Branch is a Richard Seymour-sized prospect who can be the ire of opposing offensive lines.

    But there's also WR Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech who is incredibly tempting to the offensive-minded Gruden, not only giving the franchise the second option in the passing game in conjunction with Joey Galloway but also be the future for the franchise when the speedy veteran starts to decline. Former 1st round pick Michael Clayton hasn't come close to his excellent rookie year which was based on him being the only worthwhile option, and last year's draft pick Maurice Stovall really has proven anything yet though opportunities have been limited thus far.

    The decision boils down to two freakish-sized athletes, Calvin Johnson and Jamaal Andersonn and the Buccaneers ultimately decide to select the playmaker at defensive end to help a line that has become less and less impactful in recent years, seeing the departures of Warren Sapp, Anthony McFarland, and Simeon Rice. With Rice lining up at the end, the struggling defense can get back on track to being one of the league's better units.

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select DE Jamaal Anderson, Arkansas
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    4. Cleveland Browns

    Head coach Romeo Crennel is in a make-or-break season of his own, needing to show tangible improvement (read: more wins) from the struggling Cleveland Browns to save his job, so he's looking for an elite talent worthy of the 4th overall pick who can also contribute in a big way sooner than later. But general manger Phil Savage receives a trade offer from the Minnesota Vikings that he decides to accept, knowing that he can still land the player he has in mind at the 7th overall pick.

    * Trade *
    The Minnesota Vikings trade their 1st round/ 4th overall pick, 3rd round/ 72nd overall pick, and 4th round pick to the Cleveland Browns for their 1st round/ 4th overall pick.

    4. Minnesota Vikings f/ Cleveland Browns

    Much like he has at quarterback and runningback, head coach Brad Childress needs to rebuild his wide receiver core and there's no better prospect to do that with than WR Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech. They tried to trade up with Tampa Bay even though they are conference rivals, but the Buccaneers war room wouldn't risk their opportunity to draft DE Jamaal Anderson. It's not a cheap move by any means, but Johnson is absolutely worth it as he offers everything a head coach and a franchise could want in a wide receiver, whether it be measurables or intangibles.

    Also, the Vikings did an excellent job in hiring Leslie Frazier from the Colts to be their defensive coordinator to place of the departed Mike Tomlin. Frazier was the defensive backs coach for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2002 when the Eagles had their best defenses in the last decade or so, became Marvin Lewis' first defensive coordinator in Cincinnati and did a good job for two years despite the lack of talent across the board, and joined the Colts in 2005 as a special assistant to the head coach/ defensive backs coach to help the Colts have their best defensive back play in the Coach Dungy era. Frazier will help the Vikings' highly inconsistent secondary and maintain the Cover 2/Tampa 2 defensive scheme installed last year.

    The Minnesota Vikings select WR Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    5. Detroit Lions f/ Arizona Cardinals

    The Detroit Lions are back on the clock, and most of the prospects they targeted before at the 2nd overall pick are still available. Credit to the deservingly-maligned Matt Millen for the trade down to acquire more picks, for a team lacking talent.

    And it's the trade down that allows for Millen to do what's absolutely best for one of the league's worst franchises in the last decade: draft Brady Quinn. Give the team the franchise quarterback it hasn't had in years upon years upon years, give the franchise a face it can sell to the fans as it tries to rebuild to the better. The trade for more picks allows Millen the opportunity to select Brady Quinn with the caveat of acquiring necessary talent elsewhere, and Quinn can sit on the bench for a year learning under the figurative wing of competent starter Jon Kitna and offensive coordinator Mike Martz, the former being up in age and the latter a constant candidate to leave for another team. What sealed the deal for the Lions is the undeniable truth that there isn't a quarterback prospect in the next two years' possible draft who equals Quinn, even if Brian Brohm improves with a new coaching staff at Louisville.

    The Detroit Lions select QB Brady Quinn, Notre Dame
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    6. Washington Redskins

    The Washington Redskins are going into the 2007 Draft without their 2nd round pick, 3rd round pick, and 4th round pick, drawing many a jeer. But they still have the 6th overall pick which Joe Gibbs, who won't likely remain past 2007, plans to use to acquire an instant playmaker.

    Enter DT Alan Branch of Mchigan to anchor the inside of Washington's defensive line. In the NFC East, if you can't take the run away from your division rivals as well as put pressure on their quarterbacks, then you're going to have a hard time winning (case in point, the Redskins in question); the Redskins can't score enough points for that to happen, and the Redskins pass coverage is such that they can't afford to bring in men to blitz the quarterback, so that's going to have to fall on the defensive line. Having Branch in the middle opens up opportunities for DEs Andre Carter, who wasn't the worst of their FA signings of a year ago and can actually put pressure on the QB, and Phillip Daniels. All of which helps mask a secondary that could be better, but there isn't time for Gibbs to undertake that overhaul.

    The Washington Redskins select DT Alan Branch, Michigan
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    7. Cleveland Browns f/ Minnesota Vikings

    The Browns really didn't have much of an immense interest in QB Brady Quinn, as they need to solidify their offense and if anything are looking to bring in a veteran QB to the core consisting of young, inexperienced quarterbacks Derek Anderson and Charlie Frye. Neither of the aforementioned quarterbacks are able to sustain the offense in and of themselves, they don't have that capability, but with a running game to drive the offense, the passing game with all of that talent at wide receiver and tight end is then able to thrive instead of consistently fail as they did last year. And with the franchise having to endure a consecutive year without all-pro center LeCharles Bentley, thanks to the utter stupidity of the team to continue associating with the staph-riddled Cleveland Clinic, the team would do well to lessen the degree of difficulty on the offense by focusing on running the ball more. And that's where Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson comes in, a stud RB prospect who is built for the NFL and can contribute from the day he's signed to a contract.

    Even if the Browns don't significantly increase the win-loss record, if the offense can significantly improve, Crennel has a good chance to buy another year. Offense sells tickets.

    The Cleveland Browns select RB Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    8. Houston Texans

    The Houston Texans' top candidates - Adrian Peterson, Brady Quinn, and Jamaal Anderson - are unfortunately off the board before their 8th overall pick, but the team could use more talent at a countless number of places on the roster and could thus benefit themselves greatly with some of the remaining prospects.

    One such candidate is Gaines Adams, though Kubiak would have preferred Anderson thanks to his ability to defend the run which remains a sore spot for the defense. The team might look to bring in some much-needed talent at safety with either senior leader S Laron Landry and junior playmaker S Reggie Nelson available, although the 8th overall pick maybe a bit high for either. Or perhaps the team chooses to address the offense, which also has quite a bit of room to improve, by drafting RB Marshawn Lynch of California Berkeley; Lynch is an all-purpose stud back who can line up in a one-back set, two-back set, I-formation, and anywhere on the field as a receiver - to basically make plays and move the chains, which would be a major boon to the limp David Carr-led offense despite the presence of one of the best wide receivers in the game in Andre Johnson.

    But as tempting as Marshawn Lynch is, head coach Gary Kubiak again eschews a 1st round RB for a consecutive year in favor of fortifying the still-work-in-progress defensive line with a playmaking stud, namely DT Amobi Okoye of Louisville. Despite only being an amazing 20 years-old come season's start, the highly promising Okoye can give the Texans a presence inside who can play well against both the run and the pass to accompany "Super Mario" on the edge. The AFC South is rapidly becoming one of the best divisions in all of football, as every single division rival has worked hard in recent years to contend with the newly-crowned Super Bowl XLI Champions Indianapolis Colts on both offense and defense.

    The Houston Texans select DT Amobi Okoye, Louisville
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    9. Miami Dolphins

    Newly appointed head coach Cam Cameron has inherited a Miami Dolphins team that has great talent in certain areas, but also needs to add youth and talent in others and DE Gaines Adams is a prime example of both. Adams didn't help his cause by turning in a no-show at the Senior Bowl, but the Dolphins nonetheless immediately jump on the chance to add the consistent senior and team leader of the Clemson Tigers to their fold. With Dom Capers remaining as defensive coordinator, Adams can play as a potential 3-4 OLB as well as 4-3 DE, alongside some of the league's best in Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas.

    The Miami Dolphins select DE Gaines Adams, Clemson
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    10. Atlanta Falcons

    The Atlanta Falcons have a new head coach of their own in Bobby Petrino, and his first (and intelligent) order of business is to build an offensive line that is as versed in pass blocking as it has been in run blocking. Enter OT Levi Brown of Penn State, a promising, well-sized left tackle prospect - if nothing else, he's an improvement over last year's LT Wayne Gandy - who can help in that regard. Should Brown not ultimately be the future at left tackle, he will undoubtedly find a starting position on the rebuilt offensive line that he can man for years to come.

    The Atlanta Falcons select OT Levi Brown, Penn State
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    11. San Francisco 49ers

    Head coach Mike Nolan has done a stellar job in resurrecting the San Francisco 49ers from the gutter it once was in, and the team is jumping with joy that offensive coordinator Norv Turner won't in fact be leaving for Dallas - especially budding superstar RB Frank Gore, who said in the week leading up to Super Bowl XLI on the NFL Network that he was hoping and praying that Turner wouldn't leave the young but highly promising team. QB Alex Smith, who saw a drastic improvement in his game under the mind and eye of Turner, and TE Vernon Davis emphatically echoed those sentiments. Hanging on to Turner is the best off-season move by this franchise, but there's still the matter of the draft.

    The team has spent high draft picks on offense in recent years, some mentioned above, but the defense needs addressing to - primarily the front seven, which needs younger and more importantly better talent. Enter DE Adam Carriker of Nebraska, who wowed everyone and anyone at the Senior Bowl with great speed to accompany his size and strength. A team leader for a talented Cornhuskers defense in recent years, Carriker played against constant double teams but never once complained or made note of it, displaying a professional apititude in handling himself and his commitment to the team. Mike Nolan appreciates all of that and gladly selects the big man to improve his team, with the versatility to play 3-4 DE, 4-3 DE, and 4-3 DT.

    The San Francisco 49ers select DE Adam Carriker, Nebraska
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    12. Buffalo Bills

    The free agency losses of CB Nate Clements and MLB London Fletcher will have everyone penciling in a player at either of those two positions to the Buffalo Bills, but such is not the case for GM Marv Levy and the Buffalo Bills. Partly because there isn't a player at either of those two positions who grades high enough to be the 12th overall pick, but more importantly because DE Charles Johnson of Georgia does grade out high enough and ultimately is the favor of the Bills' hearts. The team takes an incredibly strong look at playmaker and all-purpose back RB Marshawn Lynch as RB Willis McGahee's days being numbered in Buffalo, but Johnson is a pass-rushing threat at defensive end who also holds up well against the run, and is a perfect fit for the Bills' defensive scheme to play across from 2006 Pro Bowl DE Aaron Schobel and cause havoc on opposing offenses.

    The Buffalo Bills select DE Charles Johnson, Georgia
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    13. St. Louis Rams

    Some of the defensive prospects that the St. Louis Rams were hoping would reach them unfortunately haven't, understandably, but they are still in great position to better themselves with the 13th overall pick. The run defense was one of the league's worst in 2006, a big reason for that being the play (or lack thereof) at the nose tackle position: North Carolina State DT DeMarcus "Tank" Tyler, a stout and terribly strong defender inside, thus draws consideration by the Rams.

    But a team with a poor record must use the draft to find players it wouldn't normally be able to acquire, and a team must also stick to its identity. For the Rams, the latter is undoubtedly offense and being one of the league's more enjoyable teams to watch from a fan perspective for the last decade or so. WR Issac Bruce has been a sterling and consistent example for so many years but undeniably is in the latter portion of his superb career, and the Rams provide a fond farewell to slot receiver and impending free agent Kevin Curtis.

    So with that in mind, and answering the former portion of the above statement whereby teams jump at the chance to sign special players to their fold, Ohio State WR Ted Ginn Jr. comes to the forefront for head coach Scott Linehan. Ginn Jr. can immediately step in as a slot receiver, learning the game under elite route-runners Torry Holt and Issac Bruce, and with Bruce's impending retirement can then step in as the #2 man. And quite honestly, Torry Holt seems to be always be nicked with a small injury or two throughout the last few seasons, and generally isn't the young buck he was back in 1999 helping this team to a Super Bowl title.

    But in that mold of the Super Bowl team, the experienced veteran Holt can be the figurative Issac Bruce to the freakishly fast Ginn Jr.'s Torry Holt in two years' time. And of course, Ginn Jr. can immediately provide his playmaking skills to an abysmal Rams' kick and punt return game, much like Devin Hester offered to the Chicago Bears team that believed he could, providing hidden yardage to the team.

    The St. Louis Rams select WR Ted Ginn Jr., Ohio State
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    14. Carolina Panthers

    The Carolina Panthers are tempted by WR Robert Meachem of Tennessee and WR Dwayne Bowe of LSU to provide a long-term, playmaking solution at wide receiver across from Steve Smith, as well as LB Lawrence Timmons to give the team a playmaker it has been missing at linebacker since the departure of Will Witherspoon to free agency.

    Yet with veteran FS Mike Minter being a cap casualty, head coach John Fox turns in the card with "Laron Landry" written on it as fast as possible. Landry is arguably the best defensive back in this draft and an even better team leader, just the type of player Fox is looking for to help rebuild his defense to its once lofty status.

    The Carolina Panthers select S Laron Landry, LSU
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    15. Pittsburgh Steelers

    New head coach Mike Tomlin has some players in mind, especially on the defensive side given aging veterans, free agents and cap casualties to be, and of course the impending return of the Cover 2 to its birthplace, but he decides to accept a trade offer from long-time rival Jacksonville.

    * Trade *
    The Jacksonville Jaguars trade their 1st round/ 17th overall pick and 5th round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for their 1st round/ 15th overall pick.

    15. Jacksonville Jaguars f/ Pittsburgh Steelers

    Head coach Jack Del Rio isn't exactly giddy to be giving up a draft pick to a rival team like the Steelers, but with the chance that the Green Bay Packers or a team trading with the Packers grabbing FS Reggie Nelson of Florida, he felt he had to move up the board for the opportunity to draft the junior ballhawk who can take the place of departing free agent Deon Grant.

    The Jacksonville Jaguars select S Reggie Nelson, Florida
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    16. Green Bay Packers

    The Green Bay Packers don't have a runningback of the future, or even the present should Ahman Green not be resigned, but here they are with the 16th overall pick and a Top 10 talent in California Berkeley RB Marshawn Lynch is still on the board. As stated earlier, the ability and versatility of Lynch would greatly add to both the running and passing games for the Packers for the next few years, be it an experienced veteran in Favre or the young Aaron Rodgers as the signal caller. Lynch is a Southern California kid though, whether or not he ultimately takes to Green Bay is to be determined, but it's worth finding out with a prospect that reminds many of Edgerrin James in his youth - a stellar comparison, if ever there was.

    The Green Bay Packers select RB Marshawn Lynch, California
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    17. Pittsburgh Steelers f/ Jacksonville Jaguars

    The Steelers trade down and still have the top prospects they have in mind, namely DE Quentin Moses of Gerogia and DE Jarvis Moss of Florida. Moss gets the slight nod from the Steelers because they think his ceiling is a bit higher, being able to provide a pass rush at 3-4 OLB as a rookie and then a 4-3 DE afterwards.

    The Pittsburgh Steelers select DE Jarvis Moss, Florida
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    18. Cinncinnati Bengals

    Head coach Marvin Lewis was secretly hoping for S Laron Landry to reach his pick, providing him his Rod Woodson in Cincinnati, but both Landry and S Reggie Nelson have had their names declared earlier. A cornerback is also a strong consideration, as both Tory James and Deltha O'Neal won't be calling themselves Cincinnati Bengals for much longer, causing the team to continue their efforts to bring in younger and more importantly better talent as they began doing last year with 2006 1st round pick CB Jonathan Joseph. And Marvin Lewis, with his inescapable affection for linebackers, salivates at OLB Lawrence Timmons and the prospect of what he could provide to the team as Lewis grooms him.

    But although the Bengals made great strides in their run defense last year, their pass rush was almost non-existant and that spells trouble for any secondary in the league, nevermind a struggling secondary as the Bengals. Instead of spending an inordinate amount of cap space on DE Justin Smith, who is more of a balanced DE than any serious pass-rushing threat, to a long-term deal, the Bengals choose to instead move on by selecting the lightning-quick, natural pass-rusher Quentin Moses of Georgia. Moses also has immense potential as a 3-4 OLB which doesn't go unnoticed by Lewis as he might transition to the 3-4 scheme.

    The Cincinnati Bengals select DE Quentin Moses, Georgia
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    19. Tennessee Titans

    The Tennessee Titans' spectacular run last year which almost put them on the playoffs shouldn't disgiuse the defense that is still lacking in areas and the team not having a legitimate number one wide receiver for young quarterback Vince Young to throw to. And while there's available talent to address the defense, none overtake Tennessee WR Robert Meachem who can give the team the consistent pass-catcher, thanks to his size and hands, as well as the vertical threat, thanks to his speed, it hsa desperately needed for years.

    The Tennessee Titans select WR Robert Meachem, Tennessee
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    20. New York Gaints

    With WR Amani Toomer nearing his retirement and WR Plaxico Burress plaguing the team with bouts of inconsistency as well as effort that is in question by his teammates, the New York Gaints were eyeing WR Robert Meachem and are eyeing WR Dwayne Bowe of LSU as possible selections to give Eli Manning a solid, dependable receiver he can count on for the next few years.

    But the team has ignored its secondary for too long, having suffered for signing every mediocre (if that) free agent available to them, and wisely opt to discontinue that course of action. The biggest problem with the Gaints secondary is actually the lack of a true free safety, but with Landry and Nelson off the board, the Giants decide to take their top-rated cornerback in the draft in CB Darrell Revis of Pittsburgh - the difference in talent from Revis to a cornerback they could select in the 2nd round is greater than the difference in talent from a potential safety here than in that 2nd round spot, for example. Plus Revis can additionally serve as an able return man for Big Blue, providing even greater value.

    The New York Giants select CB Darrelle Revis, Pittsburgh
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    21. Denver Broncos

    Whatever aspirations for championship cpntention the Denver Broncos have had in recent years were ultimately foiled thanks to the inability to generate consistent pressure on opposing team's quarterbacks without dedicated blitzing (which leaves the rest of the defense vulnerable), so head coach Mike Shanahan and his staff decide to select a prospect they've become enamored with in recent months in DE Victor Abiamiri from Notre Dame. A fine, sculpted athlete with superb measurables - especially his long arms - and the abilty to play both the run and the pass, including the occassional drop into coverage if so asked by newly appointed defensive coordinator Jim Bates who was a fantastic hire by Shanahan, Abiamiri can help alleviate that area of need for the Broncos.

    The Denver Broncos select DE Victor Abiamiri, Notre Dame
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    22. Dallas Cowboys

    The Dallas Cowboys receive a trade offer from the New England Patriots, and decide to accept moving two spots down in the 1st round and acquiring an additional pick. Jerry Jones loves a trade down, but it's good thinking as they are still guaranteed one of the players they have in mind.

    * Trade *
    The New England Patriots trade their 1st round/ 24th overall pick and 6th round pick to the Dallas Cowboys for the 1st round/ 22nd overal pick.

    22. New England Patriots f/ Dallas Cowboys

    While the Patriots move up the 1st round may not seem like much, it means a great deal for the team as they ensure themselves of LSU WR Dwayne Bowe as their draft selection. If the Patriots are going to draft a wide receiver, Bowe fits their profile as a senior receiver with excellent size and measurables who worked on his craft in a pro system at LSU, able to put his hands to good use in both the passing game but also the running game - Bowe is quite likely the best run-blocking wide receiver in this year's draft, and that benefit doesn't go unnoticed by head coach Bill Belichick and VP of Personnel Scott Pioli.

    The New England Patriots select WR Dwayne Bowe, LSU
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    23. Kansas City Chiefs

    Not too long ago the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive line was once the standard of excellence as well as the standard of stability, but now face key losses in Pro Bowl maintays LT Willie Roaf and RG Will Shields in successive off-seasons. The Chiefs like the potential of OT Joe Staley of Central Michigan, but can't come to select the young man partly because they feel the 23rd overall pick may be too high for him but moreso because of well-decorated WR Dwayne Jarrett of Southern California. They team can't pass up such a physical specimen who not only has a penchant of making plays, but also experience in playing big games thanks to the hype and success of the Trojans in recent times.

    Head coach Herm Edwards is far from the league's best in terms of determining an excellent gameplan and handling clock management, but he is superb in getting the most out of his players and what they can offer to the team, which helps alleviate minor concerns about Jarrett's character. Landing Jarrett brings some much-needed talent to the wide reciever core, which hopefully can draw attention away from workhorse RB Larry Johnson.

    The Kanas City Chiefs select WR Dwayne Jarrett, Southern California
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    24. Dallas Cowboys f/ New England Patriots f/ Seattle Seahawks

    Whether it be new head coach Wade Phillips or "Football Man" Jerry Jones the owner, whoever ultimately decides the selection of what many believe to be the best guard in this draft, OG Ben Grubbs from Auburn, knows that the excellent-sized lineman will offer a level of quality to the left guard position for years to come. It's no secret that the offensive line is easily the weakest link of the Cowboys offense, but adding Grubbs' excellent capability in both the run game and pass game, just as he did at Auburn facing some of the nation's best defensive talent and helping producee some of the nation's best rushing attacks, will go along way to addressing that.

    The Dallas Cowboys select OG Ben Grubbs, Auburn
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    25. New York Jets

    Head coach Eric Mangini had some potential candidates in mind coming into the first day of the draft, CB Leon Hall of Michigan not being one of them as the team thought his availability unlikely. The team does need to add some talent to the defensive line, but DT DeMarcus Tyler of North Carolina State doesn't grade high enough for the Jets to not gladly select what they consider a sterling piece to their secondary in Hall.

    The New York Jets select CB Leon Hall, Michigan
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    26. Philadelphia Eagles

    The Philadelphia Eagles had CB Leon Hall in their sights, but his selection opens the door for another prospect they had a keen eye on as he last also lasted longer than expected: Ole Miss LB Patrick Willis. An athletic, north-south force who can attack the line of scrimmage and any runningback that dare cross it with football in hand, Willis is the future of the middle linebacker position for the Eagles but will learn under the wing of ace veteran Jeremiah Trotter in the meantime. Willis also gives the Eagles the ability to move 2006 draft pick LB Omar Gaither to weakside linebacker and stabilize that position, and will be an immediate presence on special teams. The Eagles might not normally select a linebacker with their 1st round pick, but feel strongly enough about Willis to provide an exception rather than the rule.

    The Philadelphia Eagles select LB Patrick Willis, Mississippi
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    27. New Orleans Saints

    The New Orleans Saints produced an amazing turnaround from 2005 to 2006, one that captivated many, but the success of last year doesn't eliminate the fact that the team needs more talent in all three levels of the defense. CB Leon Hall and LB Patrick Willis would have been strong considerations in that regard, as LB Lawrence Timmons of Florida State and CB Aaron Ross of Texas are now, but the team constantly faced difficulty in stopping the opponents' rushing attack and the defensive line takes spotlight. Now the Saints have a superb duo at defensive end in Will Smith and Charles Grant, it's defensive tackle that needs addressing to - especially with DT Hollis Thomas being a free agent and more importantly a substance-abuse positive test result away from a year-long suspension. 2006 Coach of the Year Sean Payton will address linebacker and cornerback in due time, but North Carolina State DT Demarcus "Tank" Tyler being the bullish force inside that he is, able to cause havoc to opponents' running games as well as occassionally disrupt the pocket, makes him the Saints' choice.

    The New Orleans Saints select DT DeMarcus Tyler, North Carolina State
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    28. New England Patriots

    The wide receiver position addressed with their first of two 1st round picks, the New England Patriots look to other areas then. ILB Tedy Bruschi is reaching the retirement plateau just as WR Troy Brown is, and the team has budding linebackers reaching free agency thanks to expiring contracts as well, so linebacker becomes just as strong a matter of consideration and decision for head coach Bill Belichick, VP of Personnel Scott Pioli, and the rest of the front office. What helps them in this case is LB Paul Posluszny of Penn State, a picture-perfect example of a linebacker and a captain for a team instead of just a defense. Posluszny returned to his 2005 level of production by the end of the 2006 season, needing time to not just recover from the knee injury he suffered in a BCS Bowl game early in 2006 but also learning a new positon at middle linebacker for his team. Having an instinctual talent with a blue-collar work ethic, which more times than not results in making plays on the field, is part and parcel of Belichick's successful Patriots term.

    The New England Patriots seelct LB Paul Posluszny, Pennsylvania State
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    29. Baltimore Ravens

    The offensive line of the Baltimore Ravens is undergoing a great deal of change, ultimately for the better, and the team must alos determine what to do at the runningback position as the franchise's future does not include former standout Jamal Lewis. But general manager Ozzie Newsome can't pass up such a talent as Florida State LB Lawrence Timmons, a inexperienced prospect who is a bit raw but holds an incredibly high ceiling. Drafting Timmons allows the Ravens to groom him under the current veteran linebacker core that he will eventually become a promising part of as players on this roster age. It's not a coincidence that the Ravens defense of 2006 was the league's best and sent a number of players to the Pro Bowl, thanks to draft picks such as this made by Newsome over the years.

    The Baltimore Ravens select LB Lawrence Timmons, Florida State
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    30. San Diego Chargers

    The Draft can't do anything to help the San Diego Chargers recover from losing both their offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator to head coaching vacancies this off-season, compounding an already tense situation as head coach Marty Schottenheimer is operating under the last year of his contract, but it can help the team bring in talent where necessary. And for the Chargers, wide receiver and safety are the two biggest areas of concern. Vincent Jackson is a promising player who blossomed a good deal in 2006, but veteran Keenan McCardell looks to be on his last legs and Eric Parker isn't viable past a #3 receiver, so the team takes a strong look at WR Sidney Rice of South Carolina. However the team hasn't been able to solidify the safety position in the last few years throuigh either the draft or free agency, and because of that have still struggled there and thus have had a pass coverage that wasn't near as good as other facets of the team. Thus the team takes ballhawk FS Brandon Meriweather of Miami, the type of highly talented but questionable in character prospect the Chargers haven't been afraid to give a second chance to.

    The San Diego Chargers select FS Brandon Meriweather, Miami
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    31. Chicago Bears

    The Chicago Bears don't have the look of NFC Champions of previous years, figurative one-year wonders, as they are built for the long-term thanks to general manager Jerry Angelo's efforts of building through the draft and spending wisely. And his work is no less easy this year despite recent success, but signing Angelo and head coach Lovie Smith to long-term extensions is the first step to meeting that challenge with the hopes of continuing the aforementioned success for the franchise.

    The Bears franchise tagged Pro Bowl LB Lance Briggs for the 2007 season but all indications are that the price of his next contract will ultimately be paid by a suitor in free agency in 2008 than by the Bears, so the search for his successor at weakside linebacker has already begun. The offensive line was one of the league's best in 2006, but age is a concern at many positions and G Ruben Brown is strongly considering retirement, so an excellent guard like OG Aaron Sears of Tennessee or a left tackle of the future in OT Joe Staley of Central Michigan draw great consideration by the Bears. But Angelo sticks to what has made him the most successful, drafting the most talented player available in the efforts of fielding the best team possible each and every Sunday, and so whatever linebacker or offensive lineman draft pundits of the world pencil in for the Chicago Bears means little as he opts to select TE Zach Miller of Arizona State.

    There's a developing trend every other year - 31st overall pick Todd Heap to the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, 24th overall pick Dallas Clark to the Indianapols Colts in 2003, 30th overall pick Heath Miller to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005 - where the first tight end off the board manages to last until the bottom of the 1st round, thanks to a wild run for defensive players and wide receivers, and the talented team that can afford to draft the equally talented tight end is paid dividends in the next few years for doing so. The Bears have done a superb job of acquiring and developing talent at WR, Bernard Berrian and Mark Bradley provide a promising future at the wide receiver position, but the Bears must now look to the tight end position to improve their offense and Miller offers that; TE Des Clark has done very well in the last two years but the Bears are getting the most out of him already and have little else past him, which opens the door for Miller to step in as second in the depth chart until he eventually advances to the top, as the young man nicknamed "The Truth" by his college teammates has everything you could ask for physically in a dynamic tight end. He can line up in a 2-TE set and take advantage of the run looks the offense provides as well as help the run game with his run blocking, he can line at the slot and possibly even out wide to confuse opposing defenders and open passing lanes, and he has a remarkable penchant for making the catch in third down and end zone situations which can only help Rex Grossman in his development as the starting quarterback of the Chicago Bears.

    It's the sort of move that makes the Bears not look like one-year wonders in the NFC, after all.

    The NFC Champions Chicago Bears select TE Zach Miller, Arizona State
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    32. Indianapolis Colts

    The remarkable improvement in success for the Indianapolis Colts defense throughout the playoffs was an immense factor for the franchise in becoming Super Bowl XLI World Champions, but while the tweaks that were made in defensive scheme helped a great deal in that cause, the greatest contributor was improved execution by the players on the field. For that execution to continue in this new 2007 season and the challenging schedule it provides, the Colts need to bring in additional talent and players willing to work on every play, as has especially been the case of their 1st round picks under president/genreal manager Bill Polian and his ace scouting staff.

    The Colts do look at wide receiver, as Marvin Harrison may not stay as durable as he has for so long and the team needs a slot receiver to take over for injury-riddled WR Brandon Stokley, but aren't enticed by any of the prospects remaining to pull the trigger. Even though OT Tarik Glenn is a Top 3 left tackle in the league, he is in a contract year and will have 31 years of age come training camp, so the Colts might be drawn to Central Michigan OT Joe Staley - especially considering Polian has scouted him in person.

    But the injuries suffered by the defensive line in 2006, namely starting DTs Corey Simon and Montae Reagor exposed not only the pitiful lack of depth at the position but also the dependence of the quick defense to succeed from that foundation up front. The Colts did well to trade their 2006 2nd round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to reunite head coach Tony Dungy with DT Anthony McFarland, who offered the team with its only feasible presence at nose tackle but also as a blossoming team leader to many younger players, a value well above the 64th overall pick although the cost is commensurate. The team plans on having an even more prominent team leader at defensive tackle in Montae Reagor, who will provide a strong defender against the run thanks to not having to line up at nose tackle with McFarland present, to return to the team in 2007 after fully recovering from the car accident that sidelined him in 2006. Speaking of nose tackle, Corey Simon would be an excellent candidate to take snaps at the position if his future wasn't so unclear, leaving many to expect he'll receive a Championship ring despite not taking a snap in the 2006 and not be seen again in a Colts uniform.

    Still, both McFarland and Reagor are veteran players who are only signed through 2008, and should Simon in fact not return in 2007, the team would be without a legitimate 3-down defensive tackle behind their two starters for a consecutive year, a critical flaw in both tackle rotation and emergency purposes. Unless that is they do something that is, and that something is draft DT Brandon Mebane of California Berkeley.

    One of the best defensive tackles in college football of the last two years, Mebane has what could be the most explosive first step of this year's tackle class and is a pass-rushing force, but also proved to be great against the run because of his strength and the leverage his 6-1, 305-lbs. frame affords - measureables the Colts aren't afraid to shirk away from. He continued to play at a high level despite facing a heavy dose of double teams in 2006 thanks to the success he earned in 2005, the high motor he plays with on every snap being critical in his undeniable classification as a "disruptor." His aforementioned capability allows him to play both undertackle and nose tackle for the Colts' Cover 2/Tampa 2, fitting the bill of what the Colts look for in their successful string of 1st round for the last few years: prospects as talented as they are motivated, with high marks for character, that the team can build around as it continually tries to contend for championships. Polian and his staff will of course be criticized by "experts" for supposedly reaching on Mebane, but they were in the exact situation last year with Joseph Addai: (1) there were specific teams in the early 2nd round who would have drafted Addai if given the opportunity, thus making a trade down a foolish at best risk; and (2) the drop-off from Addai to the next runningback on the Colts' draft board is even greater this year with Mebane and the next 3-tech tackle prospect.

    The Super Bowl XLI World Champions Indianapolis Colts select DT Brandon Mebane, California Berkeley
    __________________________________________________ ___________

    Comments, criticisms, etcetera welcome. That is if you've managed to actually read this blasted thing.
    Pugnacity, testosterone, truculence, and belligerence.

  • #2
    Any Mock that has KC taking Jarrett I LOVE.A+++++ :D :D


    • #3
      Give the Bengals a CB (Revis).

      Justin Smith is getting franchised and Tory James won't be back while there is a decent chance Deltha O'Neal won't be either.


      • #4
        Hate the Rams pick we will resign Kevin Curtis


        • #5
          Originally posted by T-RICH49
          Any Mock that has KC taking Jarrett I LOVE.A+++++ :D :D
          Even though I have a feeling that Edwards would like to take a lineman, I can't see him passing up Jarrett.

          Originally posted by PalmerToCJ
          Give the Bengals a CB (Revis).

          Justin Smith is getting franchised and Tory James won't be back while there is a decent chance Deltha O'Neal won't be either.
          I know that the Bengals don't have a 3rd round pick this year, having spent it on LB Ahmad Brooks in the 2006 Supplemental Draft, but I think they have an excellent shot at a quality cornerback in the 2nd round. This year's class may not have a lot of 1st round talent at cornerback, but there's Day One depth.

          I haven't worked through much of the 2nd round just yet, but I'm guessing there's going to be a strong cornerback run there just like there were strong defensive end and wide receiver runs in the 1st. Especially for those teams in the top-half of the round, who didn't grade a cornerback high enough for their consideration.

          Originally posted by KCJ58
          Hate the Rams pick we will resign Kevin Curtis
          If they did re-sign Curtis, that might change the pick I suppose. Can't say Curtis is the guy I would want taking Bruce's spot as a starter when he steps down, but maybe that's just me.
          Pugnacity, testosterone, truculence, and belligerence.


          • #6
            great miami pick he is my biggest hope to snag


            • #7
              Horrible Jets pick, we have much bigger needs then corner.

              Designs by Thule


              • #8
                Feel free to provide a selection that you think is more likely, I'd appreciate it.

                I doubt DeMarcus Tyler ultimately grades out as a guy Mangini would take in the 1st round, and while consideration was given to OG Aaron Sears, the Jets would have a excellent shot at acquiring him with their very early 2nd round pick from Washington.
                Pugnacity, testosterone, truculence, and belligerence.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jonathan_VIlma
                  Horrible Jets pick, we have much bigger needs then corner.
                  I disagree, I think Hall would be a great pick here. CB is one of our main needs. IMO, unless hall or revis is left to us 1st round and we decide to stay where we are, i say take a CB round 2 or 3. but, with hall or revis left, i think we should take one of them. however, if hall/revis is left, and so is carriker or lynch, then i say wait till round 2.


                  • #10
                    Great job on the overall draft and I like Carriker for the niners. Must have taken a while to write it all up! :shock:


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jonathan_VIlma
                      Horrible Jets pick, we have much bigger needs then corner.
                      Really? Who do you want?


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cavalier17
                        Great job on the overall draft and I like Carriker for the niners. Must have taken a while to write it all up! :shock:
                        Picks changed as I was writing it this week, actually. The earlier draft had Tampa Bay taking Calvin Johnson, Timmons to the Bills, and Detroit trading up to get Charles Johnson, among other things.
                        Pugnacity, testosterone, truculence, and belligerence.


                        • #13
                          I'm not sold on the Saints taking DeMarcus Tyler as all indications from Saints sources have us targeting a MLB or CB.

                          Beastly sig by BoneKrusher

                          Super Bowl XLIV Champions
                          WHO DAT!


                          • #14
                            Graet Miami pick. Only thing that I find questionable is why Detriot would trade down to get Brady Quinn. He is a top 3 prospect in this draft and you'd have to think that if they wanted him they'd take him a the 2nd spot to make sure they got him instead of gambling that he falls. I think if they traded back that it would be with an eye towards taking a guy like Anderson or Adams because they are almost guaranteed that one will be there at number 5 and there's a slim chance that Quinn falls.


                            • #15
                              calvin johnson falls right into the Vikings hands, I love it i completely agree that the bucs will take a defensive linemen. Although im not sure about trading all the way up to 4. I dont see the Browns risking a trade down past 8 in fear of texans not being able to pass on AP and i dont see the Lions Trading down past 8 either on fear of 2 teams lacking faith in there QB situation(Texans, Dolphins) would take Brady Quinn. The Redskins on the other hand have 1 draft pick in the first 4 rounds of the draft due to other trades, and they have more needs so they may be more likely to trade with other teams to aqquire more picks so the vikings trade up there and get their man and they save some value doing it



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