The bulk of the important free agency signings have been completed, and teams are now turning their full attention to draft preparations. Misinformation continues to leak out, and there may be a big move or two (Jay Cutler, Julius Peppers, Anquan Boldin, Brady Quinn) still in the offing. But for the most part all the pieces of the puzzle have been dumped out on the table; here’s the latest attempt to assemble them into the picture that is the NFL’s 2009 draft.
NFL Mock Draft - Version 1.0 | Mock Draft - Version 2.0
1. Detroit Lions — Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
Mock 2.0: Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest
Mock 1.0: Matt Stafford, QB, Georgia
Three mocks, three different picks for the Lions—which likely means that in Mock 4.0 you can pencil them in for Eugene Monroe. To use a baseball analogy, the Lions—particularly new coach Jim Schwartz—seem like they’re going to try to drive the ball but not swing wildly for the fences.
2. St. Louis Rams — Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
Mock 2.0: Monroe
Mock 1.0: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
The Rams are perfectly situated. Best-case (for them), the Lions take Stafford and the Rams get their choice of Monroe or Jason Smith; worst-case, they “settle” for whichever potential franchise left tackle the Lions don’t take.
3. Kansas City Chiefs — Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest
Mock 2.0: Everette Brown, DE/OLB, Florida State
Mock 1.0: Brown
The Chiefs still need a pass rusher, but better to add Curry—probably the best player in this draft—than reach for an end or hybrid DE/OLB in a class where there doesn’t appear to be an elite cream-of-the-crop player.
4. Seattle Seahawks — B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
Mock 2.0: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
Mock 1.0: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
Seattle would prefer to have one of the offensive tackles fall to them, but unless they’re sold on the commitment level of either Andre Smith or Michael Oher they’ll probably switch to the other side of the ball and take the fast-rising Raji.
5. Cleveland Browns — Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas
Mock 2.0: Orakpo
Mock 1.0: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
Eric Mangini would look like Usain Bolt sprinting to the podium if Curry is still on the board when the Browns pick. That’s not gonna happen, and it’s just as unlikely they’ll keep Beanie Wells in-state when a decent back should be available in Round 2. That leaves the choice down to Orakpo and Everette Brown, and Orakpo would seem to be the better fit in Mangini’s 3-4 scheme.
6. Cincinnati Bengals — Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
Mock 2.0: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
Mock 1.0: Oher
Michael Crabtree is the knee-jerk reaction pick to losing T.J. Houshmandzadeh, but the Bengals have a bunch of young wideouts they hope to develop while Laveranues Coles and Chad Ochocinco (it’s league-sanctioned now) give Carson Palmer quality targets. The Bengals coaching staff saw Oher up close at the Senior Bowl; if they weren’t comfortable with what they saw, Andre Smith is a fallback plan.
7. Oakland Raiders — Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
Mock 2.0: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
Mock 1.0: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
Would it surprise anyone if Al Davis picked the fastest wide receiver on the board? Of course not. But he also has a ton of money tied up in JaMarcus Russell and Darren McFadden, and unless he wants to expose them to regular beatings the offensive line must be upgraded. Smith’s stock has fallen, but character concerns have never scared Davis away and flab or no flab Smith obviously can play. Crabtree is also an option.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars — Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
Mock 2.0: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
Mock 1.0: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
The Jags still need help at left tackle, but the elite options are already gone. Plus, right now their starting receivers are Dennis Northcutt and Mike Walker. Jeremy Maclin would be an option and his receiver skills give him an edge, but Crabtree is the more polished pass-catcher..
9. Green Bay Packers — Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
Mock 2.0: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
Mock 1.0: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
Jackson isn’t the pass rusher the Packers might be hoping for, and he may not even be the best defensive end on the board. But he’s a fit for the new-look Green Bay defense, with the ability to play end in a 3-4 and the strength to stand up to the run games of the NFC North. Jenkins makes sense as well, though the Pack might be able to wait and pick up a corner later in the day.
10. San Francisco 49ers — Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
Mock 2.0: Matt Stafford, QB, Georgia
Mock 1.0: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
Here’s another team sad to see the offensive tackles already picked over. With Alex Smith back and the offense switching to a run-first focus, the need for a quarterback isn’t as great. There is a need for some help on the outside, and Maclin’s skills in the return game help as well.
11. Buffalo Bills — Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
Mock 2.0: Maybin
Mock 1.0: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
Maybin and Everette Brown are the best pass rushers on the board, and that feels like the direction the Bills will go. The tight end class is deep enough that they’ll find help there in a later round, so Buffalo will use the opportunity to add an edge rusher.
12. Denver Broncos — Brian Cushing, OLB, USC
Mock 2.0: Rey Maualuga, ILB, USC
Mock 1.0: Maualuga
Maualuga’s stock has slipped a bit, and Cushing is versatile enough to play inside or outside. The Broncos could also use help up front, with Everette Brown or Peria Jerry in the conversation.
13. Washington Redskins — Clay Matthews, OLB, USC
Mock 2.0: Brian Cushing, OLB, USC
Mock 1.0: Aaron Maybin, DE/OLB, Penn State
And you wonder why Danny Snyder hates the draft. Unless he buys a higher pick the Skins won’t have a shot at Cushing or one of the elite offensive tackles, so this pick will boil down to a shot at a pass rusher like Everette Brown or the safer pick in the versatile Matthews.
14. New Orleans Saints — Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
Mock 2.0: James Laurinaitis, ILB, Ohio State
Mock 1.0: Jenkins
If Jenkins proves fast enough to play corner in the NFL he’ll pair with Tracy Porter to give the Saints a quality tandem. If Jenkins winds up needing to slide to safety… well, the Saints have needs there as well.
15. Houston Texans — Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
Mock 2.0: Davis
Mock 1.0: D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt
The Texans found some defensive line help via free agency and can wait until a later round to pick up a bigger back to complement Steve Slaton. That should free them up to take the athletic Davis, unless they’re partial to another corner, Utah’s Sean Smith, or yet another first-round defensive lineman, Peria Jerry.
16. San Diego Chargers — Rey Maualuga, ILB, USC
Mock 2.0: Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
Mock 1.0: Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
The Bolts were prepared to reach for Duane Brown last year before the Texans beat them to the punch, so they could very well pull the trigger early on a next-tier lineman like William Beatty or Eben Britton. But a chance to add Maualuga to the Shawne Merriman-led defense is too good to pass up.
17. New York Jets — Matt Stafford, QB, Georgia
Mock 2.0: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
Mock 1.0: Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
Could the Jets really have their choice of quarterbacks this deep into the draft? It’s entirely possible, unless someone behind them starts trading up. The fallback plan would likely be Percy Harvin or Darrius Heyward-Bey.
18. Denver Broncos (from Chicago Bears) — Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
Mock 2.0: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
Mock 1.0: Maclin
The Broncos need defensive help and could easily find more here. If Sanchez is on the board at this spot they likely won't pass on the opportunity to fill their newly created quarterback void with a "system" style signal caller that is a good fit for the new offense being installed.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi
Mock 2.0: Jerry
Mock 1.0: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
Percy Harvin is an option here, but the need to shore up the interior of the Tampa defense coupled with the availability of Jerry seals the deal.
20. Detroit Lions (from Dallas Cowboys) — James Laurinaitis, MLB, Ohio State
Mock 2.0: Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
Mock 1.0: Laurinaitis
It’s not at all surprising that an 0-16 team has multiple needs to fill; among those many needs is in their linebacking corps. Clint Sintim is an option, but he’s a better fit for a 3-4. The Lions might also be more willing to swing for the fences with a bonus first-round pick, in which case they could take a shot at the considerable upside offered by Josh Freeman.
21. Philadelphia Eagles — Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
Mock 2.0: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
Mock 1.0: Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB, Ohio State
Philly should be able to get a capable back to spell and eventually replace Brian Westbrook with its second first-round pick, so they can use this selection to shore up their line. The Eagles have traditionally favored larger linemen, so Britton gets the nod over William Beatty.
22. Minnesota Vikings — William Beatty, OT, Connecticut
Mock 2.0: Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest
Mock 1.0: Beatty
With a draft choice deemed too valuable to trade for Jay Cutler the Vikings can attempt to fill one of three holes on their offensive line. Beatty isn’t a great fit at right tackle, but he’s better than anything they trotted out at that position last year. Percy Harvin is also an option, but it would be tough for Sage Rosenfels to get him the ball if he’s throwing from a supine position.
23. New England Patriots — Clint Sintim, OLB, Virginia
Mock 2.0: Clay Matthews, OLB, USC
Mock 1.0: Brian Cushing, OLB, USC
Even before they shipped Mike Vrabel to Kansas City the Pats needed help at linebacker. Everette Brown is a candidate, but Sintim may be more ready to step in as a three-down linebacker. The Patriots might also use this selection to address their secondary with Sean Smith and wait until the second round for a linebacker like Connor Barwin.
24. Atlanta Falcons — Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
Mock 2.0: Pettigrew
Mock 1.0: Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi
While Atlanta has needs on defense, no one on the board here jumps out at them. They could certainly trade back, especially with teams looking for one of the elite running backs or Darrius Heyward-Bey here. If they must have defense DT Ziggy Hood would be a fit, but Pettigrew is a fit as well—both as a blocker in their run game and as a bigger target for Matt Ryan—and offers more value at this spot.
25. Miami Dolphins — Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
Mock 2.0: Larry English, DE/OLB, Northern Illinois
Mock 1.0: Heyward-Bey
Yes, Bill Parcells loves him some defense. But the Dolphins need a bigger receiver to team with Ted Ginn—and if he can flat-out fly, like Heyward-Bey can, that’s a bonus. If the Maryland speedster is still on the board in the 20s you can expect some jockeying to move up and get him.
26. Baltimore Ravens — Sean Smith, CB, Utah
Mock 2.0: D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt
Mock 1.0: Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest
Smith has great size for a corner and has moved up since the Combine. With Samari Rolle and Chris McAlister gone, the Ravens will be looking for help in the secondary. Baltimore might also be looking at linebackers, but Everette Brown and Larry English don’t quite fit their specifications; UConn LB Cody Brown is a fit but should be available in a later round
27. Indianapolis Colts — Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
Mock 2.0: Harvin
Mock 1.0: Harvin
Seems too good to be true, Harvin consistently slipping to the Colts—and yet, there he is on the draft board, just waiting to fill Marvin Harrison’s shoes and catch slants from Peyton Manning. If Indy must go defense, Missouri DT Ziggy Hood is in their wheelhouse.
28. Philadelphia Eagles (from Carolina Panthers) — Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
Mock 2.0: Will Beatty, OT, Connecticut
Mock 1.0: William Moore, S, Missouri
Will Moreno still be on the board at 27? Probably not, but right now the feeling in the NFL is that backs are somewhat disposable and a better value in a later round. That said, a team like the Browns could very likely be looking to deal back into the round for a shot at a back like Moreno and Philly wouldn’t have an issue with trading down; they’d be just fine with Donald Brown later on.
29. New York Giants — Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
Mock 2.0: Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
Mock 1.0: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
The Giants addressed their defensive line via free agency, but they could be in the market for linebackers if the position hasn’t been picked too clean. A developmental tackle like Jamon Meredith is another option, but both those itches could be scratched in a later round. The ideal fit would be Heyward-Bey as a tall, fast replacement for Plaxico Burress; Britt isn’t as fast but has the size and ball skills to complement Steve Smith & Co.
30. Tennessee Titans — D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt
Mock 2.0: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
Mock 1.0: Fili Moala, DT, USC
Every year the Titans seem to need a wideout, and every year they go another direction. Why mess with the pattern? If a speed guy like Maclin, Harvin, or Heyward-Bey is still on the board maybe they’ll buck that trend; otherwise, a replacement for Albert Haynesworth (BC’s Ron Brace or Mizzou’s Ziggy Hood) or a cornerback with return skills like Moore or Darius Butler would make the most sense.
31. Arizona Cardinals — LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh
Mock 2.0: Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State
Mock 1.0: McCoy
Yes, Wells is still on the board and if Ken Whisenhunt is thinking about transitioning from the Kurt Warner-led passing attack to something more ground-oriented that might be the better pick. And you have to think a team like the Browns would be working the phones to trade back up and get a shot at Wells. But McCoy’s pass-catching ability would be a better fit for this offense—unless the Cards think Jason Wright will fill that role.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers — Max Unger, C, Oregon
Mock 2.0: Duke Robinson, OG, Oklahoma
Mock 1.0: Robinson
The Steelers could draft for depth or eventual replacements just about anywhere on the defensive side of the ball, opting to groom a lineman like Robert Ayers or a corner like Alphonso Smith. But their biggest need is for offensive line help, and the versatile Unger was recruited as a guard, played two seasons at left tackle, and is being drafted as a center; he’ll fit wherever the Steelers need him.