Join us at 3pm EST this Saturday, April 25th for a live draft blog. Many of our NFL bloggers will be chiming all draft long and in particular during the first round of coverage on Saturday. It is finally upon us. Let the chaos begin as I feel many trades coming that will rival that many that happened in last years first round. I will not be here till later in the evening as I have a Flyers game I will be attending. Frank & Kevin will be here as many of our bloggers to handle the duties till I arrive. I will do my best to go over everything and reply.
1. Detroit: Matthew Stafford, QB (Georgia) – The Lions could go a number of ways here and in my humble opinion think they should take an offensive lineman and worry about a QB once they have a capabl line in front of him so he doesnt end up being the next David Carr.
2. St. Louis: Jason Smith, OT (Baylor) – Smith has really jumped up in many teams minds. He is the most athletic lineman in this draft and could probably step right from day 1. He still will need to work on placing his hand on the ground which would be the least of the Rams worries.
3. Kansas City: Tyson Jackson, DE (LSU) – This might seem crazy. But I don’t think it is at all, the new GM came from a team that knows the value of a good defense. Jackson will lend more right away then Curry would for a team that honestly needs help all over on both sides of the ball. Jackson is a perfect fit. He can get to the QB, stop the run and even take on double teams to free up another rusher.
4. Seattle: Eugene Monroe, OT (Virginia) – This makes the most sense in my mind. Walter Jones is 35 and finished the year on injured reserve. This will be a huge concern if he is not able to come back till the early part of the season. It will be hard to have anybody be the quarterback if you don’t have a good tackle on the blindside. How effective will any quarterback be if he is always on his back?
5. Cleveland: Aaron Curry, LB (Wake Forest) – You might wonder why not Crabtree. Well as of this moment they haven’t moved Edwards as the team most talked about wanting him feels the asking price is too high. With that said they turn their attention to the defense which needs just as much help and take the best player on the board and some say best player in the draft. They can still move Edwards but that will depend on who wants to meet the demands and who is on the board at that time.
6. Cincinnati: Andre Smith, OT (Alabama) – I have heard the Bengals coaches love this kid and are not in the least scared away by what he has done to hurt his value. Offensive & defensive lines are the 2 greatest areas of need for this team. Having lost Andrews via free agency they really need to replace him and protecy Palmer. Palmer has had far to many injuries in recent years and can’t help them from the sidelines.
7. Oakland: Michael Crabtree, WR (Texas Tech) – I know he hasn’t run a 40 time and how much Al Davis loves that and tends to shy away from players he has no figures on. But I am sure he didn’t expect Crabtree to slide to this spot. He can help this team right away and give them the big 3 teams look for on offense.
8. Jacksonville: Mark Sanchez, QB (USC) - With all the hype surrounding Sanchez I still think he slides. The price might be to high for teams to move up ahead of this selection. Del Rio has strong USC ties and might use this pick as motivation for Garrard or may move him to a team willing to pay a price.
9. Green Bay: B.J. Raji, DT (Boston College) – Switching to the 3-4 they need a dominant nose tackle who can handle double teams, put pressure on the quaterback, and even disrupt the run. He will help them from the start and give them something to build on going forward.
10. San Francisco: Michael Oher, OT (Ole Miss) - Wanting to move Joe Staley back to right tackle this would be a ideal pick. He can learn the ropes by playing right tackle for a few years and then move over to left tackle when he gets things nailed down.
11. Buffalo: Brian Orakpo, DE (Texas) - A steal for the Bills, they should jump at Orakpo. He is a pitbull and will strengthen a very week front 7. He won’t be enough by himself but with the rest of the draft this is a nice start in rebuilding a weak pass rush.
12. Denver: Robert Ayers, DE (Tennessee) – It’s been obvious the need this team has and it’s spent a majority of the off-season trying to fix the defense. Also having a front 7 that doesn’t put fear into anybody, they’ll address it with at least 1 of their 2 first round picks. Ayers is a one year wonder but it was a good 1 year. He’s also been blowing people away from the senior bowl on and hasn’t stopped.
13. Washington: Aaron Maybin, DE/OLB (Penn St) – He is an explosive player who had a monster season at Penn St and has been impressing scouts and GM’s around the NFL. He is more of a defensive end but probably could also play linebacker giving the Redskins flexibility in how they wish to use him.
14. New Orleans: Malcom Jenkins, DB (Ohio St) – I have looked at many mock drafts and they seem to like Wells for the Saints. It is a need but not nearly as big of one as defenive back. They gave up far to many big plays and they’ll need to eliminate that more then finding a back for Reggie Bush. It might be in their best interest to select that later or see who is cut from teams later.
15. Houston: Brian Cushing, LB (USC) – Cushing is probably the best of the trio USC used as thier main linebackers this past season. He is good against the run, can cover not only tight ends but some wide recievers, is a solid tackler, & if need be can even put his hand on the ground and rush. His ability to do so much is why the Texans select him in an effort to help out.
16. San Diego: Rey Maualuga, ILB (USC) – Injuries his senior year and at the combine have him sliding this far to the Chargers. He is an explosive player that would fit perfectly in this defense alongside Merriman.
17. New York Jets: Jermey Maclin, WR (Missouri) – A very raw player who has very good speed & return ability. He does need to work on his route running and improving his hands but that’s going to be a quicker improvement and help them sooner the if they select Josh Freeman who is at least 2 years away from helping any NFL team. They could try to trade up but I don’t know if they can they lack the muscle really to even get high enough to select Sanchez.
18. Denver: Clay Matthews, OLB (USC) – A high motor high energy player he is a perfect outside linebacker for another team switching to the 3-4. He like Cushing can rush, stop the run, & cover tight ends. This will be a nice addition and continuing improvement to the defense.
19. Tampa Bay: Everette Brown, DE (Florida St) – Teams like Brown but I can’t find a reason why he is sliding but that doesn’t matter to Tampa Bay. They released many players this off-season in a effort to get younger and rebuild. Brown will be a very nice compliment along the line.
20. Detroit: Peria Jerry, DT (Ole Miss) – Trying to literally rebuild the entire team will not be a easy task. They did bring in Grady Jackson to take up space on the line but he is a short term fix. Jerry can learn from him and improve his own skill set to be a beast and disruptive force.
21. Philadelphia: Knowshon Moreno, RB (Georgia) – I have my doubts this will actually happen but if it does I can’t see even Reid hesitating to make Moreno the pick. One huge
are of need the Eagles have is somebody to take a bit of the load off of Westbrooks shoulders. He is starting to show signs of the toll his body has taken over the years. Moreno is basically a younger version and can step in right away to help.
22. Minnesota: Eben Britton, OT (Arizona) – Right tackle is a sore spot for a team that has such a good running attack. They could go wide receiver but I would think they need to fix the line so they can not only continue the run game but help them give whoever the quarterback is time to pass.
23. New England: Darius Butler, DB (UConn) – He did not have a interception this season but that wasn’t because he wasn’t any good. It was because teams didn’t wanna throw his way and test his ability. Butler is right up the alley the Patriots like, he can also handle returns & even play wide receiver. Think Troy Brown but the defensive version.
24. Atlanta: Vonte Davis, DB (Illinois) – He has all the talent in the world but it’s been said he even tuned out Ron Zook who many people have said they love to play for and learn the game. Davis can help solve the Falcons problems of giving up the long ball but they’ll have to hope his ego doesn’t get in the way.
25. Miami: James Laurinaiti, LB (Ohio St) – Right up “the tuna’s” alley. The work ethic, the motor, the hard nosed style of play would be nice to add to the team. For whatever reason teams have took to much stock in the senior year he had. They should be looking at his first 3 years and not just the last one. In this case staying around didn’t help him but it will help Miami.
26. Baltimore: Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR (Maryland) – A nice unkown talent in my eyes. He can make some sick catches only to drop catches you think would be routine. Heyward-Bey did not play in a offense that hepled him shine or even showcase what he can do in the NFL. Baltimore needs something to replace Mason who is unhappy with his contract and getting up in age.
27. Indianapolis: Brian Robiske, WR (Ohio St) – Not very fast but I think he has the next best set of hands in the draft. He is also a soild route runner. Not needing a burner he fits the style of the Colts and can be a solid #3 receiver.
28. Buffalo: Brandon Pettigrew, TE (Oklahoma St) – Still a possible top 15 pick he ends up being selected last in the 1st. Having a need here also it will help them take some pressue Owens is sure to see with the limited weapons on offense.
29. NY Giants: Kenny Britt, WR (Rutgers) – Not really needing much they have a luxary few teams have in the NFL. While Britt is only 6’3″ he can play the position with adding speed, quickness, and down the field play making ability that this team will need with not bringing back Toomer and the unknown status of Burress.
30. Tennessee: Hakeem Nicks, WR (North Carolina) – I know the Titans do not like taking receivers in the 1st round. But Nicks is the best on the board and is often compared to Boldin of the Cardinals. He can help the pass offense and maybe take some pressure off the run game and give them a more balances attack.
31. Arizona: Donald Brown, RB (UConn) – Not to sure this is where they go with still not having released James. Brown has stepped in front of Wells as the 2nd best running back in the draft and a more natural for the position then Hightower. After leading the NCAA in rushing he can take the ability to carry the load if need be and maybe break a long run here and there to the house.
32. Pittsburgh: William Beatty, OL (UConn) – He will be a future type pick for the Steelers who will need depth at this position. His best known for his run block (Donald Brown) which is fine for the champs as that is what they do best. He is not a bad pass blocker but he’ll have time to get better as season progresses along.
About the Author
Written by Kevin Lee
Kevin has had an extensive career as a sports writer and radio show host for almost 10 years. Kevin has covered the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA College Football and Basketball. From covering the BCS Championship Game to the Final Four and the Stanley Cup Finals, he has done it all. He has been featured on numerous sports radio stations in Canada and the United States and often a weekly guest on numerous XM and Sirius Satellite radio shows. He has also had his work featured on FoxSports.com.