1) Detroit Lions: Aaron Curry LB, Wake Forest; Taking nothing away from Matt Stafford or Mark Sanchez, but there is not a franchise caliber quarterback in this year’s. So it would be wise of the Detroit Lions to avoid them with this number 1 pick and perhaps find Sanchez or Stafford with their second first round pick. Previously I had a tackle in this spot, but none of the guys at the combine blew me away with their performance, therefore the Lions should choose the best available athlete.
2) St. Louis Rams: Jason Smith OT, Baylor; The big man is on the move after putting in a solid workout at the combine. Smith jumped up on my draft board after proving his strength at the combine. The knock on Jason Smith was he would be undersized, but after showing impressive strength the size issue does not matter anymore.
3) Kansas City Chiefs: Eugene Monroe OT UVA; Yes, the Chiefs have a glaring hole at quarterback but look for them to fill that hole later in the draft. Perhaps Kansas State product Freeman or maybe a trade for a Pioli guy. One thing is for sure, it does not matter who is taking the snaps if there is no one to protect him. Enter Eugene Monroe who will link with former UVA teammate and top draft pick Brandon Albert.
4) Seattle Seahawks: Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech; This pick could change depending on how Crabtree’s foot injury heals, and what he decides to do with surgery. However, as of right now he is still the best receiver in the draft even with a stress fracture. He does not need breakaway speed on the clock to be good, just asks Larry Fitzgerald about that.
5) Cleveland Browns: Malcolm Jenkins DB OSU; The Browns need up on defense, I originally had them slated to pick a defensive linemen at this spot, but I was not impressed enough with anyone to fit them in this high in the draft. I did like Malcolm Jenkins though, especially if they move him to the safety position.
6) Cincinnati Bengals: Brian Orakpo DE Texas; Tweaked his hamstring during the combine, but he will be fine by rookie camp. More importantly he can play DE or OLB and will make an impact on the Bengals struggling defense.
7) Oakland Raiders: Andre Smith OT Alabama; He’s big, he has a mean streak, and he has off the field issues. Sounds like a perfect fit for Al Davis and the Radiers. I could also see them going receiver with this pick, but then that would be more of a Matt Milan Detroit Lions move.
8) Jacksonville Jaguars: Chris Wells RB OSU; Fred Taylor was cut for salary cut reasons. Beanie Wells most likely is not a feature back but he can be a great power back compliment to Maurice Jones-Drew.
9) Green Bay Packers: Brian Cushing OLB USC; With the Packers switching to a 3-4 defense, they will need more speed on the edges. Bringing in Brian Cushing gives them an OLB who can put his hand in the dirt and rush the passer as well as someone who can play contain against the run.
10) San Francisco 49’ers: Michael Oher OT Ole Miss; Head coach Mike Singletary wants to run the ball. He cannot do that effectively with the offensive line that is currently in place in San Fran. Although Oher did not test well at the combine, I cannot believe he is going to fall as far as some have him projected (18th or lower).
11) Buffalo Bills: Everette Brown DE/OLB Florida State; The Bills want to improve their defense through the draft. Brown is a talented end who can become an anchor on any defensive line. Toss in his ability to stand up and be a big backer and you got a lock.
12) Denver Broncos: B.J. Raji DT Boston College; This is a very difficult choice, the Broncos need to improve their defense and they have several options. The sexy pick is Rey Maualuga but the smart pick is B.J. Raji. The big tackle can become a staple on a Denver line that needs serious help.
13) Washington Redskins: Rey Maualuga LB USC; The Redskins need help on both their offensive and defensive lines. However, having Maualuga fall into their laps is too good an opportunity to pass on. The Skins can get defensive linemen during free agency (Albert Haynesworth).
14) New Orleans Saints: Vontae Davis CB Illinois; The Saints need help on the defensive side of the ball, and Davis provides an instant upgrade on the corners. He can be a bit of a head case due to a lack of concentration, but he is a solid pick for the Saints.
15) Houston Texans: Tyson Jackson DE LSU; Jackson is a smart pick for the Texans because he is a legitimate 4-3 defensive end, which is a dying breed in the NFL. Tyson Jackson would be a great addition on the opposite side of current Texan Mario Williams.
16) San Diego Chargers: Knowshon Moreno RB, Georgia; Even if the Chargers manage to keep Sproles and Tomlinson, that duo is not a long term answer. Sproles is not an every down back, and you have to think Tomlinson will sign a short deal with the goal of going to richer grounds.
17) New York Jets: Matt Stafford QB, Georgia; The Jets don’t have a solid answer at quarterback now that Brett Favre has gotten his football days out of his system. Stafford may not be ready to perform at a high level just yet, but he does have the makings to become a solid contributor on offense.
18) Chicago Bears: Darious Hayward-Bey WR, Maryland; If there was ever a team that could use a weapon at receiver it is the Chicago Bears. They found themselves a running back last year in the draft and Orton has turned into a serviceable quarterback. Hayward-Bey gets the nod as the receiver because the Bears already have a return man in Hester, therefore Jeremy Maclin is eliminated, and Harvin’s slow 40 times eliminates him from contention.
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Aaron Maybin DE/OLB, Penn State; After the cuts of today, it is obvious the Bucs want to get younger and they are ready to go into a rebuilding mode. Aaron Maybin is a big boy who could one day develop into a good linebacker.
20) Detroit Lions: Mark Sanchez QB, USC; If the Lions remain patient with the number one pick, they can reap the reward here with the twentieth. While I do not think Sanchez is a franchise QB, picking him up with the twentieth pick makes him a lot cheaper. Think of it in the same way as when the Cleveland Browns drafted Brady Quinn a few years back.
21) Philadelphia Eagles: Eben Britton OT, Arizona; The Eagles need to get young at offensive line. Their tackles while good are about 1,000 years old combined. Don’t get me wrong, Britton is not near the caliber of the other tackles that are going in this round, but he is good and could become a Pro-Bowl lineman one day.
22) Minnesota Vikings: Percy Harvin WR, Florida; The Vikings need options at the receiver position. A quarterback would be nice too, but those are a little harder to come by. Harvin ran a little bit slow at the combine but he can still be a good receiver in the NFL.
23) New England Patriots: James Laurinaitis LB, OSU; While the Patriots could use a safety, James Laurinaitis just feels like he fits in well on the Patriots. He did not test well at the combine because he does not have blazing speed or strength. What he does have is the ability to play hard and make tackles. You have to think he fits the mold of a Patriots player.
24) Atlanta Falcons: Brandon Pettigrew TE, Oklahoma State; Pettigrew did not have the impressive combine that we hoped for, and that is why he fell this far in the draft. However, he is still the most complete TE available this season. Pettigrew will become a favorite got to target for the Falcons.
25) Miami Dolphins: Clay Mathews OLB, USC; Mathews is a Parcells type of guy. He walked on at USC and became a standout on their star studded defense. He comes from a football family and has a high football IQ. Combined with Joey Porter Mathews could become a great producer.
26) Baltimore Ravens: Alphonso Smith CB, Wake Forest; The Ravens are looking to improve their secondary, they also love play makers. Although Smith is only 5’9 he knows how to find the ball 21 interceptions in his colligate career prove that.
27) Indianapolis Colts: Jeremy Maclin WR, Missouri; Marvin Harrison is gone, so the Colts will need to upgrade their receiving core. Maclin will be able to step in and be a number two behind Reggie Wayne. He also provides a boost in the return game.
28) Philadelphia Eagles: LeSean McCoy RB, Pittsburgh; The Eagles could easily go with a receiver with this pick. It honestly depends on what they do in free agency. If a T.J. Houshmandzadeh or Boldin don’t come to town then the Eagles draft a receiver. Assuming Philadelphia can pick up a wide out then they should go running back to help spell Brian Westbrook.
29) New York Giants: Hakeem Nicks WR, North Carolina; The Giants need someone to replace Plaxico Burress. Hakeem Nicks is a big receiver who could play a big role in the red zone offense.
30) Tennessee Titians: Michael Johnson DE, Georgia Tech; This is a guy that at one time I thought was a top 10 draft pick. Thanks to his workout at the combine Johnson has played up his draft stock.
31) Arizona Cardinals: Larry English DE/OLB, Northern Illinois; The Cardinals can always improve on the defensive side of the ball. Karlos Dansby was franchised but chances are he will be one after next season. Bringing in English makes that transition a lot easier.
32) Pittsburgh Steelers: Max Unger C, Oregon; He’s the best center in the draft without a doubt. He has also spent time at every spot on the line, so he could prove to be a very valuable asset for the world champs.