NFL Draft watch: Early Dec. Mock Draft, Picks 1-9

You asked for it, you got it.  3k's early December mock draft, or at least the first third or so of Rd 1.  Enjoy.

1.) Detroit (0-16) - Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma

I just don't see who they can beat.  They're really really bad a every position except WR.  Luckily, the Roy Williams trade gives them some draft options.  Despite the options, the Lions need a QB to galvanize the fan base and get the organization motivated.  If Oklahoma wins the Big 12 championship and beats Alabama, Sam Bradford might come out early as a 3rd-year sophomore.  With all the hype behind him coming off of a Nat'l Championship, playing at a media-heavy position, and maybe winning the Heisman, I don't see anyone else going first.

2.) Seattle (2-14) - Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

Seattle needs youth and talent in their receiving corps.  With Crabtree, you get a phenomenal talent who has ony played better in the big games.  Another third-year sophomore, but I don't think Tech can repeat the success they had this year, and he might be hesitant to stick around and risk injury next year knowing this year was their best chance.

3.) Cincinnati (2-13-1) - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri

Cincinnati will, in all likelihood, not re-sign T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and Chad Johnson won't be there much longer.  The front office has often said they are not interested in keeping older WR's on the team, so they would be a nice fit for Maclin, a super athlete who could assume return duties and give them a great option in the passing game.  Another third-year sophomore... any upper classmen want to get drafted?

4.) Oakland (3-13; str. of sched.=138) - Andre Smith, OT, Alabama

Another tough one for me.  This pick, however, allows them to get over the Robert Gallery bust and provide more protection for JaMarcus Russell and Darren McFadden.  The Raiders could be two years away from being a very, very good team with that offensive duo and the least known shutdown CB in the league, Nnamdi Asomugha.  That's why I struggled with this one; the Raiders might go for Malcolm Jenkins (CB, Ohio St.) or Vontae Davis (CB, Illinois) so that when Asomugha leaves, assuming he does, they still have a top CB in the secondary.  Still waiting for the Rams to show up?

5.) Kansas City (3-13; str. of sched.=144) - Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia

This was a tough one for me, because I could definitely see KC drafting the best lineman on the board at whatever position they end up at, but the chance to get a real franchise QB will probably be too tempting.  Especially if they can sit him for a year behind Croyle while they continue to rebuild.  I saw Stafford play in high school and just laughed at 2 or 3 throws.  His arm is phenomenal, he has great poise under pressure (think Roethlisberger), and his touch is great.  He's got all the tools.  Having a nice junior year too.

6.) San Francisco (4-12; str. of sched.=120) - Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois

Davis would be a nice complement to CB Nate Clements to help improve the league's 29th worst passing defense.  This one came down to Davis vs. Jenkins; Jenkins is but stronger and larger, and thus similar to Clements.  So that's NFC West teams in Seattle and San Fran, meaning St. Louis finishes 2nd in the division.  Scary thought.

7.) St. Louis (4-12; str. of sched.=132) - Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss

The first senior to come off the board in this mock.  Oher helps our struggling O-line and takes some pressure off of Orlando Pace.  With Pace's recent injuries, it also addresses the depth at the position so that,  if/when Pace gets injured next year, Oher and Alex Barron would hold down the tackle position.  Think this is too high for St. Lou?  I projected this based on wins against Seattle and San Fran.  Losses to either of those two pushes us up higher on the board...and puts a ton more pressure to trade down.

8.) Jacksonville (4-12; str. of sched.=137) - Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas

Orakpo and Michael Johnson (Georgia Tech) are the two strongest DEs in the draft.  Orakpo is faster and more agile, Johnson is just huge.  The Jags need a real pass rush threat because Paul Spicer isn't getting it done.  What a disappointing year for the Jags.

9.) Cleveland (4-12; str. of sched.=142) - Chris "Beanie" Wells, HB, Ohio St.

The Browns need some speed in their ground game.  Jamal Lewis can still pound, but he's lost much of the acceleration he had when he played for Tennessee and then for Baltimore in the NFL.  This gives the Browns a powerful offense with Wells, Edwards and Winslow providing a triple threat and Joe Thomas (best OT in the league?) paving the way.

Well, that's it for this edition.  Top 9 picks are all 4-win teams or worse, so if St. Louis, like I mentioned, loses, their status increases.  Of course if they lose to either SF or Seattle, who are on this list, that helps our draft position.  Yak it up.

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