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NFL Draft watch: Late Dec. Mock Draft, Picks 1-11

Updated mock from the last mock (here), which was about a month ago.  I based that draft order on how I predicted the final two games of the season for every team and calculated strength of schedule based on those predictions.  Don't say I'm not working for you.  Also keep in mind my most recent O-linemen rankings (here) and MLB rankings (here).  Mel Kiper Jr.'s hair is officially on the clock...

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

Well, I predicted one record correctly.  It was probably the easiest to predict.  I still think it's obvious they need a QB.  It'll be between Bradford and Matthew Stafford (Georgia).  My prediction in the last mock of Oklahoma making it to and winning the BCS Championship is still a possibility, and if OU does win, I think the hype behind him after that game and the Heisman will motivate the Lions to pick him.  Good luck turning that ship around.

2.) St. Louis (2-14) - Andre Smith, OT, Alabama

Andre Smith made his case as the best tackle in the game as a junior.  He shows all the skills you want to see out of an OT.  6'4" is a great height for an OT because it will keep him low enough to the ground not to have his leverage taken out like you see with so many taller linemen.  And his 340 lbs. should be enough, you would hope.  If you're eager to see him in the Sugar Bowl, let me take a Linehan (my new slang for dropping a #2) on that idea.  ESPN is reporting here (with extra analysis here) that Alabama coach Nick Saban has suspended Smith from playing for "improper dealings" with an agent.  It sucks because I would have loved to get one last look at him in a high-profile matchup, but, alas, it is not to be.

3.) Kansas City (2-14) - Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

With Larry Johnson on his way out of Kansas City, the Chiefs need a running back for next year.  The problem is that a top-tier back that can fill Larry's shoes doesn't exist in this year's draft (I'm not sold on Knowshon Moreno as a NFL beast).  After RB, they need another WR on the Chiefs besides Dwayne Bowe (who is Louisiana greatness).  With LJ leaving and Tony Gonzalez aging, KC is going to have to rely on an aerial attack for the near future, and the trio of Mark Bradley, Will Franklin and Devard Darling (great name) will not make it happen.  And with just 10 sacks (an NFL low), the Chiefs need a pass rush threat to replace recently departed Jared Allen

4.) Seattle (4-12) - Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia

I think this will be the first big trade of the draft.  Seattle is in horrible shape as a franchise.  They have way too many average position units (including the big three on offense, QB, WR, & RB).  I could see them taking Eugene Monroe (OT, Virginia), but they have depth at OT.  Matt Hasselbeck and Seneca Wallace aren't a duo that inspires optimism.  They need a complete overhaul of their offense.  Oh, how the mighty fall.

5.) Cleveland (4-12) - Aaron Curry, OLB/DE, Wake Forest

Nobody's stock has risen higher in recent weeks than Curry's.  An absolute pass rush machine, Curry has size, speed and durability having played in every game as a starter in the last three years.  His pass coverage is below-average, so I could see him transitioning a la DeMarcus Ware.  Cleveland needs youth here; Willie McGinest, Cleveland's OLB, and La'Roi Glover both played before football players wore shoulder pads.  They could trade down to fill some offensive needs since Jamal Lewis will be 30 in August, their line wasn't too effective despite Joe Thomas' great play, and the Derek Anderson/Brady Quinn ordeal is yet to yield a real answer.  How bad was it?  Cleveland scored a whopping total of 31 points in their final 6 games of the season.  Paging Mike Martz...

6.) Cincinnati (4-11-1) - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri

I still think the Bengals have to snag Maclin here.  If not, we might see some interesting names at WR for Cincy next year.  (My pick for best WR name: the Browns' Syndric Steptoe.  Sounds like something out of one of them Harry Potter books).  They could go for a CB here as well, meaning either Malcolm Jenkins (Ohio St.) or Vontae Davis (Illinois).

7.) Oakland (5-11) - Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio St.

Will the Raiders ever get a decent receiver again?  Not this year.  Nothing really available unnless they want to stretch for Florida's Percy Harvin.  Nnamdi Asomugha is as good as gone, and they'll need a top CB to replace him as he is arguably the best CB in the NFL.  Jenkins could lessen the blow of Aso's departure.  (another good name can be found on Oakland's D-line: Greyson Gunheim.  Sounds like a hero in an old western)

8.) Jacksonville (5-11) - Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia

What a disappointing year for the Jags.  Monroe gives them an immediate upgrade on the O-line, something the Jags desperately need.  They could also use a WR, but like Oakland, I doubt they'll stretch so far for Harvin.  Of course both could trade down...

9.) Green Bay Packers (6-10) - Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn St.

Green Bay's below-average pass rush gets an injection of youth and speed with Maybin.  Linebacker U.'s best pass rusher in ages could be the next Dwight Freeney.  I can't wait to see how he does at the combine, especially in comparison to Everette Brown (Florida St.) and Brian Orakpo (Texas).

10.) San Francisco 49ers (7-9) - Everette Brown, DE, Florida St.

The 49ers won 7 games.  Amazing.  What are they going to do at QB?  Shaun Hill, J.T. O'Sullivan, and Alex Smith make for a dilemma of mediocrity.  Do they jump for Mark Sanchez?  I sure hope so.  If they can keep their sanity through this pick, though, I think they make it back-to-back defensive ends by selecting EB.  Notice how many teams need a WR?

11.) Buffalo Bills (7-9) - Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma

Robert Royal isn't cutting it for the Bills.  The former LSU pick doesn't get many looks from J.P. Losman or Trent Edwards.  They could bolster the O-line here as well with Michael Oher (Ole Miss), whose stock has dropped like the S&P 500, or Jason Smith (Baylor).


Will any of these be on point?  Probably.  Hurry up and discuss; only four months left!