Astute fantasy players know the importance of entering draft day with a Plan B, because rarely if ever do things go as planned. With that in mind — along with the knowledge that mock drafts, especially this far out, are speculation piled upon speculation — here’s a revamped look at Mock Draft 1.0 — with this caveat: no team can take the same player they took in the original. Let’s call this Mock Draft 1b and see what NFL teams might do if their best-laid plans go awry.
1. Detroit Lions — Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
Couldn’t take: Matt Stafford, QB, Georgia
If the Lions don’t think Stafford is worthy of sending them down the same QB/LT path the Falcons followed last year, maybe they’ll take the Browns approach and go LT/QB. Smith’s status as the top tackle on the board isn’t necessarily cemented, but he seems like the better fit for an NFC North offense.
2. St. Louis Rams — Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
Couldn’t take: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
The Rams want a tackle, they need a tackle, and the fast-rising Monroe is hardly a consolation prize. In fact, I’ve seen some rankings that have him ahead of Smith. Either way, the Rams should be adding to their offensive line with this pick.
3. Kansas City Chiefs — Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest
Couldn’t take: Everette Brown, DE/OLB, Florida State
The Chiefs need a pass rush, they may need a quarterback, and as of this writing they still need a coach. Scott Pioli struck gold with a first-round linebacker last year in New England; perhaps he’ll look for more here.
4. Seattle Seahawks — Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
Couldn’t take: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
Tough call, as 13 of the 16 mocks I’ve seen thus far have Crabtree heading to Seattle. The Seahawks could use a defensive tackle but this may be too soon for B.J. Raji, so they look for the heir to future Hall of Famer Walter Jones.
5. Cleveland Browns — Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State
Couldn’t take: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
If Curry is gone the Browns still have multiple directions they can go. I have Wells here but I’m not necessarily convinced that’s how they’ll roll; if a linebacker wows them in interviews and/or workouts at the combine they could take Rey Maualuga or Brian Cushing (or another Buckeye, James Laurinaitis), and if they want to move away from the style of football they played with Jamal Lewis in the backfield they could draft a more versatile back like Knowshon Moreno.
6. Cincinnati Bengals — Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
Couldn’t take: Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
If T.J. Houshmandzadeh leaves via free agency they’d have to consider Crabtree here, or maybe they move down and let someone else snag Crabtree here (Philly with their two first-rounders, perhaps). But if Oher and the other three top tackles are off the board expect Marvin Lewis to address his defense, specifically the pass rush.
7. Oakland Raiders — Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
Couldn’t take: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
There’s just no way Al Davis can resist Crabtree. He may not be able to resist Jeremy Maclin if Crabtree is off the board. The smarter move would be Oher, but he doesn’t run a 4.3.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars — Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
Couldn’t take: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
The Jags have their fingers crossed that one of the four elite tackles will still be on the board for them, but they do have fallback plans just in case—think B.J. Raji in the middle of that defense or Maclin as a playmaking option in the passing game. In this scenario, however, they’re thrilled to start rebuilding their line with the protagonist from “Blindside”.
9. Green Bay Packers — Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
Couldn’t take: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
Maybe the Pack thinks Ryan Pickett is the guy to clog the middle of their defense in a conference where they’ll see Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, and Kevin Smith six times a year. But if Raji isn’t an option, they need to get younger on the corners and Jenkins is the best one available.
10. San Francisco 49ers — Matt Stafford, QB, Georgia
Couldn’t take: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
Facing a fate similar to that of Aaron Rodgers or Brady Quinn, Stafford goes from first overall to 10th in this mock. And it’s no certainty that the Niners are thinking quarterback, though they don’t seem convinced Shaun Hill is their man. It’s possible Stafford slides even further if the Niners roll with Hill (or Alex Smith) and look for offensive line help.
11. Buffalo Bills — Everette Brown, DE, Florida State
Couldn’t take: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
Different player, same basic need: pressuring the passer. Aaron Maybin, Michael Johnson, and Ty Jackson could enter the picture as well.
12. Denver Broncos — B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
Couldn’t take: Rey Maualuga, ILB, USC
In this area of the draft the Broncos should have plenty of linebackers to pick from, but if Raji falls this far you’d have to think he’d be perfect as the point man for Mike Nolan’s defense.
13. Washington Redskins — Brian Cushing, OLB, USC
Couldn’t take: Aaron Maybin, DE/OLB, Penn State
With Maybin not an option, the Redskins have plenty of options—but none of them clear-cut. To get a pass rusher like Johnson or Jackson, an outside linebacker like Cushing, a hybrid like Larry English, even an offensive tackle like Eben Britton… it’s a bit of a reach down most boards.
14. New Orleans Saints — Rey Maualuga, ILB, USC
Couldn’t take: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
If Jonathan Vilma leaves via free agency this may be a better fit for the Saints than a cornerback would be anyway. Or, if they do retain Vilma and focus on upgrading the secondary, Vontae Davis enters the picture.
15. Houston Texans — Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
Couldn’t take: D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt
Again, plenty of options. If it’s not Moore in the secondary it could be Vontae Davis; if it’s not Maybin, maybe it’s Michael Johnson or Robert Ayers to rush the passer opposite SuperMario. Of course, that would make it four first-round picks spent on the defensive line in the past five drafts.
16. San Diego Chargers — James Laurinaitis, ILB, Ohio State
Couldn’t take: Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
Again this year it appears as if the Chargers’ need for an O-line upgrade will fall victim to the needs of the teams in front of them. If they don’t reach for line help they could still get in on the linebacker run with Laurinaitis. This, of course, assumes the Sproles/LT situation is resolved and the Bolts don’t need to add a back like Moreno.
17. New York Jets — Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
Couldn’t take: Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
Brett Favre wasn’t the answer and may not be back, and Kellen Clemens hasn’t shown anything special. Sanchez could very well fall into their laps, though there are enough teams ahead of the Jets who could deal down and take him off the board before that happens.
18. Chicago Bears — Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
Couldn’t take: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
I addressed the annual Bears conundrum (building lines vs. adding playmakers) in the first mock, leaning towards a playmaker. So this time I’ll go the other way and give them some more pass rushing assistance. Rapidly rising Robert Ayers might also warrant consideration here.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
Couldn’t take: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
There will be quality backs in Round 2, so while I don’t think the Bucs would pass on Moreno if he’s still on the board here that’s the rule here. So instead they’ll look for defensive line help and bring in Jackson, who may actually be a better fit at tackle in Tampa Bay’s scheme. Ayers or Larry English on the outside and Peria Jerry on the inside are possibilities as well.
20. Detroit Lions (from Dallas Cowboys) — Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
Couldn’t take: James Laurinaitis, MLB, Ohio State
There’s no quarterback of the future to be had here, unless they feel strongly about Josh Freeman and don’t think he’ll make it to #33. There’s plenty of work to do on the defensive side of the ball, so the task of restocking begins with one of the better corners in the draft.
21. Philadelphia Eagles — Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
Couldn’t take: Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB, Ohio State
Philly likes their linemen big, so if the 6-6, 310-pound Britton is still on the board you have to think he’ll be wearing green—though they could also eye line help a few picks later and tab playmaking help like Moreno or Maclin here.
22. Minnesota Vikings — D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt
Couldn’t take: William Beatty, OT, Connecticut
Beatty’s not an option, Josh Freeman would be a reach, and there’s no sense adding another receiver like Maclin or Harvin if they don’t have anyone to throw the ball to him. That leaves the Vikes to address either their defensive line with Peria Jerry or their secondary, and with Moore still on the board I opted for that route.
23. New England Patriots — Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest
Couldn’t take: Brian Cushing, OLB, USC
The Patriots don’t necessarily have to draft for need, though selecting Smith here certainly does address some issues they had last season. There may also be a lesser-known linebacker like Clint Sintim they’re looking at, or Clay Matthews certainly seems like a Bill Belichick type of player.
24. Atlanta Falcons — Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
Couldn’t take: Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi
I’m not a big fan of this selection, but if Mike Mularkey really is getting head coaching feelers elsewhere then the fact that he doesn’t use his tight ends much doesn’t come into play as dramatically. Jerry is the ideal fit here, but per the rules of this Plan B draft he’s off limits.
25. Miami Dolphins — Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
Couldn’t take: Derius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
This would be an almost ideal situation for the Phins, to have a talented playmaker like Maclin added to a roster that isn’t exactly teeming with guys who keep defensive coordinators up at night. Picking a “skill” position player presumes the Dolphins keep Vernon Carey or fill his spot via free agency.
26. Baltimore Ravens — Clint Sintim, LB, Virginia
Couldn’t take: Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest
Cornerback pickings are slim at this stage of the draft, and with three starting linebackers entering free agency this may be a position of need for Baltimore. Sintim offers versatility, but Clay Matthews would be in the mix as well. And if the Ravens feel the need for secondary help, cornerback Sean Smith of Utah might be the pick.
27. Indianapolis Colts — Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi
Couldn’t take: Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
Harvin is still there and still tempting to the Indy offense, but Jerry would help shore up the Colts’ defensive front. A solid DT would help keep Indy’s ends from seeing all kinds of double teams, put a large body between the opposing offensive line and their small but quick linebackers, and give the Colts some much-needed assistance in the run-stopping department.
28. Philadelphia Eagles (from Carolina Panthers) — Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
Couldn’t take: William Moore, S, Missouri
Yes, running backs in the NFL are becoming more disposable every year, but a talent like Moreno is unlikely to last this deep into the real NFL draft. If he does Philly won’t hesitate to use him to replace the likely-to-depart Correll Buckhalter as a backup/change of pace/heir to Brian Westbrook.
29. New York Giants — Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
Couldn’t take: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
If the Giants are hoping to replace Plaxico Burress via the draft, this may be their best shot. They could also find help along the offensive line in UConn’s Will Beatty or along the defensive line in USC’s Fili Moala or Auburn’s Sen’Derrick Marks.
30. Tennessee Titans — Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
Couldn’t take: Fili Moala, DT, USC
Previous drafts have demonstrated the Titans love speed, and Harvin brings plenty of that to the table. Imagine how an offense with Harvin and Chris Johnson could stretch the field; you can bet Jeff Fisher has. Plus, a speedy complement to the more physical Justin Gage might actually give the Titans a semblance of a passing threat.
31. Arizona Cardinals — Clay Matthews, OLB, USC
Couldn’t take: LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh
Not that running back isn’t a need—you did see the Super Bowl, didn’t you?—but with McCoy not an option there’s nothing on the board that’s worth reaching for. Instead, the Cards add Matthews not only to address the potential departure of Karlos Dansby but also just to flesh out a linebacking corps that could lose as many as three members to free agency.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers — Will Beatty, OT, Connecticut
Couldn’t take: Duke Robinson, OG, Oklahoma
Robinson isn’t an option, but after a strong Senior Bowl showing center Alex Mack of Cal could be. Beatty needs to bulk up, but the Steelers are clearly a passing team and need to keep Ben Roethlisberger upright and Beatty’s footwork should allow him to play left tackle in the NFL.