I'm changing the title of these since I'm going to try to roll them out with more frequency, albeit with less explanation as to the picks which I'll leave to the comment section.
I'm also going to leave out the post-pick comparison to other mocks. I'll do that in follow up posts after the mock, because I want to keep these focused on discussion and that stuff just seems to complicate things. Besides, you can always head to the official TST mock draft database to compare and contrast. We'll try to update it regularly.
I am going to put links to the players' scouting reports from ESPN (which I think are available to everyone, not just Insider subscribers) and Mocking the Draft underneath names for readers who want a bit more information on each player if available; those will be represented by the acronyms 'ESPN' or 'MTD'. Pretty self-explanatory.
And at the end of the pick, I'll put a "Pulse of the Nation" link to each teams' respective SBNation blog and pick a recent story to keep us abreast of what each team's fan base is monitoring.
So one more TST mock before the combine. Kiper, your thoughts?
1.) Detroit - Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
Nothing to change my mind on this yet.
2.) St. Louis - Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
Lot's to change my mind on this one, though. Does his versatility (many are suggesting he may fit better as a guard than a tackle in the NFL) make him more valuable or less to teams and specifically to ours? Would we be better served with Eugene Monroe (OT, Virginia) or Michael Oher(OT, Ole Miss)? Is the fact that Jason Smith (OT, Baylor) is a converted TE a good or bad thing? I'm so much less certain pick than I was a month or two ago. Damn you, conventional wisdom.
3.) Kansas City - Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
MTD (I have no idea what ESPN is waiting for on this one...)
I know I might be the only person mocking Crabtree to KC, but I just can't envision them passing on him. If nothing else, they'll pick him and immediately trade the pick one spot down to Seattle (who is desperate for a young, talented WR) for a DE picked by (or through?) Seattle and something extra. He's just too good, too athletic and too hyped (given his separation from other WR's and the "We need a Larry Fitzgerald" mantra echoing through front offices across the NFL) to drop to #4.
Pulse of the Nation (Arrowhead Pride): On pick value and recent blockbuster draft day trades.
4.) Seattle - Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
Monroe is tied with Crabtree as I write this for the second most popular mock pick for the Rams (3 mock picks each) after Andre Smith (9 mock picks). It would seem the consensus is that either A-Smith or Monroe is the top OT with Oher and J-Smith battling for the 3rd and 4th spot.
Pulse of the Nation (Field Gulls): John Morgan argues that Seattle GM Tim Ruskell has his eyes on Patrick Chung (S, Oregon).
5.) Cleveland - Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest
Like Stafford at #1, I still feel confident about this one.
Pulse of the Nation (Dawgs By Nature): Nothing draft related. DBN is one of the thinnest SBN NFL blogs I've seen, and most of their recent discussion has been on revamping the front office down through the coaches. Sound familiar?
6.) Cincinnati - Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
The CW seems to pushing Orakpo hard as the top DE. I still like Aaron Maybin (DE, Penn St.) and Everette Brown (DE, Florida St.) in the discussion for top DE, but hype momentum determines top draft picks and Orakpo's getting it. So at this point, I have to go with Orakpo as the first DE off the board.
7.) Oakland - Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss
I still think Oakland's need for an OT (both in terms of production and mentality to get over Robert Gallery) pushes them for an OT here. I wouldn't be surprised, however, if they took Rey Maualuga (MLB, USC) here.
8.) Jacksonville - Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
Another confident mock pick.
Pulse of the Nation (Big Cat Country): If you haven't ever been by BCC, you should. They're handing out scouting reports like Bush's Treasury Department handed out bailout cash. FSBlueApocalypse compiles a report on Oher as part of their Better Know a Draft Prospect Series and pushes the meme that Jax will take an OT with their first pick. Props to BCC for the series.
9.) Green Bay Packers - Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn St.
Switches with Orakpo.
Pulse of the Nation (Acme Packing Company): Another SBN member not talking draft. What is with you people? bizzle4 slides some draft talk at the end of a piece looking at the future Green Bay 3-4 defense. Of note are three names he mentions that he thinks would fit in that D: Orakpo, Maybin and Maualuga (which surprised me. I like A.J. Hawk).
10.) San Francisco 49ers - Everette Brown, DE, Florida St.
11.) Buffalo Bills - Bradon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma St.
Can we consider this a lock yet?
12.) Denver Broncos - B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
I only feel uncomfortable about this because with Green Bay moving to a 3-4 (which Denver is too), they might feel compelled to draft Raj-zilla. I think they have pieces in place that can make it work, though. Not so for Denver. If GB does snap Raji up, I would slot the Broncos to grab Knowshon Moreno (HB, Georgia).
Pulse of the Nation (Mile High Report): styg50, who is covering the NFC West at MTD, stopped by on Monday to talk draft with us. Over at MHR, his home blog, he ranks the DTs. BTW, if you haven't been over to MHR, you should. Need more convnicing? You need to enroll in Mile High Report University.
13.) Washington Redskins - Rey Maualuga, MLB, Southern California
I had Michael Johnson (DE, Georgia Tech) here last time, but I think the hype pushing Maualuga (he is a hell of a run-stopper) will convince the Redskins it's time to bring in London Fletcher's successor. And about those O-line and D-line issues? Well, these are Dan Snyder's Redskins. I'm sure thay'll find a free agent to drop a ton of money at.
14.) New Orleans Saints - Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio St.
I'm still have trouble justifying this to myself. Someone in the top 6 needs to pick this guy, but I'm not sure which team up until now will pull the trigger.
15.) Houston Texans - Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
The DE pick for the Texans is picking up serious steam. If Houston does go that route, they could have the best pair of DEs in the NFL soon.
Pulse of the Nation (Battle Red Blog): A found a post from mid-January that is worth reading. TransientTexan put together the teams with the top 14 picks, their position needs and a best case / worst case scenario from a Houston viewpoint.
16.) San Diego Chargers - Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss
The Chargers might be forced to grab a RB in either Moreno or Chris Wells (HB, Ohio St.) by the time the draft arrives depending on what San Diego does with LT & Darren Sproles. If they aren't pressed into taking a running back, Jerry upgrades their interior defensive line and should give Merriman some help upon his return.
17.) New York Jets - Mark Sanchez, QB, Southern California
Whether Favre retires or not, they'll need some potential here; Kellen Clemens, the former Oregon standout, doesn't bring much. Regardless, a post-Favre era that sees Sanchez and Clemens on the Jets' depth chart bodes well.
Pulse of the Nation (Gang Green Nation): GGN hasn't hopped on the draft train yet, but I'm sure they will soon in their "2009 Possibility" series, which kicked off with the dream signing of Nnamdi Asomugha.
18.) Chicago Bears - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
Chicago needs help on offense. A lot of help. Maclin is a start.
19.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
A Florida receiver going to Tampa Bay. This seems familiar...
20.) Detroit Lions (via Dallas Cowboys) - James Laurinaitis, MLB, Ohio St.
And in a single draft, the Lions snag their future franchise QB with a MLB defensive general to boot.
Pulse of the Nation (Pride of Detroit): Right around New Year's Day I stopped by PoD to see what they thought about their #1 pick. NOTE: Lions fans are still defensive about the 2008 season, so tread lightly.
21.) Philadelphia Eagles - Knowshon Moreno, HB, Georgia
The weakest crop of running backs to hit the draft in a while. That doesn't mean that one of them won't have a productive career. Most are betting that "one" will be Moreno. Philadelphia has two aging and oft-injured backs in Westbrook and Buckhalter. Moreno gives them flexibility at the position and an answer for the future.
22.) Minnesota Vikings - Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
Giving Adrian Peterson more blocking is good...except for teams that play Minnesota.
A solid Sam-style linebacker to pair with Jerod Mayo adds youth to an aging defense. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Pats pick a CB to fill the chasm Asante Samuel left. Any of the top 5 CBs - Jenkins, Vontae Davis (CB, Illinois), D.J. Moore (CB, Vanderbilt), Alphonso Smith (CB, Wake Forest), or Sean Smith (CB, Utah) - would fit.
24.) Atlanta Falcons - Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
In reality, someone will have to take Davis higher than this. Someone will catch Mel Kiper fever and take the best player on the board, not the best player at the position they need the most help at. But since I do my mocks by need not BPA (Best Player Available), Davis comes late in the game. Expect him to come off very soon after Jenkins to a New Orleans or a Houston.
25.) Miami Dolphins - Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina
Miami needs some aerial threats to help out Chad Pennington. Nicks, at 6'1" and more than 200 lbs., would give Miami some power in their receiving game.
Pulse of the Nation (The Phinsider): Matty I has gone through the team needs dedicating a thread to each one and analyzing the performance of players already on the roster at that position followed by trade targets, FA targets and potential draftees. His piece on WRs is very thorough. I wouldn't mind seeing a similar series here.
26.) Baltimore Ravens - Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
It's either a WR or CB for Baltimore in the 1st this year, unless an absolute steal drops in their lap. Hey-Bey is a local star and would have tons of fan support, so I'd be surprised if they don't make him a Raven. Like I mentioned after Cushing at 23 for the Pats, if Jenkins and Davis are gone here, their CB options are D.J. Moore, Alphonso Smith or Sean Smith.
27.) Indianapolis Colts - D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt
Similar to Baltimore's WR/CB dilemma, Indy has to choose between OT and CB; I see a lot more valuable CBs on the board at the end of the 1st than the remaining OTs outside of the big 4 and Britton - such as Jamon Meredith (OT, South Carolina) and Phil Loadholt (OT, Oklahoma). Thus, 'tis a CB for thee Coltes.
28.) Philadelphia Eagles (via Carolina Panthers) - Louis Delmas, S, Western Michigan
How much more does Brian Dawkins have in the tank? Delmas renders that question moot. With Quintin Mikell at SS, a FS here gives the Eagles a pair of safeties with both youth and talent. Delmas will have a lot to prove at the combine since his competition while at Western Michigan doesn't stand up to the caliber of competition so many of the names above faced.
29.) New York Giants - Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
With Plaxico in limbo (how long before the Cowboys make the call?), the Giants need a WR to pair with Steve Smith v2.0. Britt gives them a large, physical WR that can be a possession type guy if he learns to use his 6'4" frame against NFL coverage.
30.) Tennessee Titans - Sean Smith, CB, Utah
The conventional wisdom is pushing the Titans to take a WR here. I don't think they need depth (which is what I see Britt and Hey-Bey bringing). They need a legitimate #1 WR. Since they don't have a shot at Crabtree (barring a huge trade), they'll probably look to bolster their secondary, linebacking corps and interior line (since Kevin Mawae is old. Really old.). The Sean vs. Alphonso Smith debate will be just as tough to judge as the Andre vs. Jason Smith one. Sean, however, has 6" (!) of height on Alphonso, and the Titans two starting CBs are around 5'10", so a nice 6'2" CB should help them cover the passing attacks of the Colts and Texans (read: Andre "Best receiver in the NFL" Johnson).
31.) Arizona Cardinals - Chris "Beanie" Wells, HB, Ohio St.
This guy comes with serious injury concerns. Then again, so did Adrian Peterson... If nothing else, this should allow the Cardinals to put their running back issue to bed.
Pulse of the Nation (Revenge of the Birds): Remember my story on the beginning being the end and the end being the beginning and all that crap? While their team was making their way to the Super Bowl, some Cardinals fans couldn't help but think about the draft. Opening salvo: "The Arizona Cardinals are in the Super Bowl and the draft should be the last thing on our minds..", but here's some draft talk. I love football fans.
32.) Pittsburgh Steelers - Alex Mack, C, California
I'm going to hope all the way up to draft day that Mack falls to our 2nd round pick, but he's a definite fit here. The Steelers will be looking at guards, centers and defensive ends, and Mack is an immediate NFL-ready center. They could grab another center or Duke Robinson (G, Oklahoma), but those would seem to be stretches at this point. They could also go for Tyson Jackson (DE, LSU) or Paul Kruger (DE, Utah) if they want to add a pass rusher in the 1st round.
Pulse of the Nation (Behind the Steel Curtain): Again, celebrations for the past are short for NFL fans. Just two days after their 6th Super Bowl ring, a post on the Steelers' draft options racked up 65 comments. Favorite quote from steelguy99:
And I love Ram nation. And football.
Have at it.