With all of the underclassem having declared for the draft, I can start a more accurate mock draft now. I haven't been on very much, but there is now way I could miss making some mockdrafts, like I did last year. Here is my first 2009 NFL mock draft, I hope you like it.
1. Detroit Lions (0-16) - Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia (Jr.)
With the Lions completing the NFL's first-ever winless, sixteen game season, they have plenty of holes to fill. Of coruse, quarterback is one of them. Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow all have decided to return to college and this leaves Matt Stafford as the clear-cut number one quarterback in the draft. Stafford, a junior out of Georgia, is ready to go with a cannon arm and more than enough accuracy to go along with it. He isn't a scrambler, but he can run the ball effectively every once in a while. His numbers aren't of Sam Bradford's quality, but his talent may be just as good.
2. Saint Louis Rams (2-14) - Andre Smith, OT, Alabama (Jr.)
The Rams desperately need to rebuild their offensive line. They needed help along the o-line last season, but drafted Chris Long instead of a lineman. Now, it seems that either Andre Smith or Michael Oher are their best options. Andre Smith had a great season and helped lead Alabama to the SEC Championship Game. Smith is a big guy, but he is agile even with his 6'4", 340 pound frame. After his dominant season, there is no question that Andre Smith is good enough to be taken at this place in the draft.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14) - Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss (Sr.)
The Chiefs were competitive at times this season and could be on the right track. Scott Pioli, their new GM, could see stacking up the offensive line is the way to ease the path from here. The Chiefs drafted a good guard last season in Branden Albert, so they do have one good lineman on the left side. Oher could replace Albert at left tackle, moving Albert to left guard where he belongs. This would give the Chiefs a good, young left side. Oher has good size and athleticism. His quickness, agility and balance are all impressive. Powerful in the running game, nimble in the passing game, Oher could be a special player.
4. Seattle Seahawks (4-12) - Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech (Jr.)
The Seahawks suffered huge setbacks in injuries this season, most notably at the wideout position. They need help along the offensive line as well, but it is hard to pass up on a talent like Crabtree. Crabtree may have been the best receiver to ever grace the field at Texas Tech and although Texas Tech has a pass-happy offense, Crabtree most likely was not a product of the system. Crabtree is 6'3" and 215 pounds, He can be physical up the middle, or he can sprint by you down the sidelines. This two time Biletnikoff winner has loads of talent.
5. Cleveland Browns (4-12) - James Laurinaitis, ILB, OSU (Sr.)
The Browns have many choices at the number five spot here. Their choices range from Knowshon Moreno and Beanie Wells all the way to Brian Orakpo. I went with Laurinaitis since the Browns badly need a defensive presence. To me, it was between Laurinaitis and Maualuga. I chose the in-state talent in Laurinaitis, OSU's star. The Browns had a disappointing season this year after a surprising one last year. Laurinaitis had an amazing four-year career with OSU. He seems to always be in on the tackle, he makes big impact plays and he roams sideline to sideline with ease.
6. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1) - Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas (Sr.)
After yet another dreadful season by the Bengals, there are a number of positions taht can be upgraded on this team. They defenitely need a boost at the defensive end position. Orakpo is a true pass-rusher and an incredibly skilled defensive player. In his senior year at Texas, Orakpo was beating linemen senseless, ending it with 10 1/2 sacks and 18 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. This pass rushing expert was an All-America and the Bronco Nagurski winner this season. Against Oklahoma, Orakpo put up a clinic against Oklahoma's skilled lineman, Phil Loadholt.
7. Oakland Raiders (5-11) - Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia (Sr.)
I have given up on trying to predict the Raiders pick. I never know if Al Davis will go with the smartest player to take, or the flashiest. Who knows? He could go with Percy Harvin here or even Michael Johnson. The Raiders would be smart to draft Michael Johnson since they have a big hole at defensive end, they also could use an offensive lineman, like Eugene Monroe. Monroe is another nimble big man available in this draft. Monroe could use some more strength, but there is no question that he is good enough to have a successful NFL career.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11) - Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest (Sr.)
The Jaguars had a very, very disappointing season this year (I picked them to win the Super Bowl), most likely due to injuries along the offensive line. Their offensive tackles are still pretty good and I don't see any guards worthy of this #8 pick. Another need they have is outside linebacker. Aaron Curry has played his way into this top ten draft pick. He had a phenomenal season and has rocketed up the draft boards. Curry is a big-play outside linebacker who delivers big hits. He is big, athletic, physical, instinctive and experienced. What else could you want?
9. Green Bay Packers (6-10) - Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech (Sr.)
The Packers could use help all along their defensive line. They could use a new defensive tackle and a new defensive end. Johnson is a defensive end who is rising up draft charts. He is a great pass rusher. He is very quick, very agile and has the perfect arm length. He put his ability to shed tackles and reach the quarterback on display this season. However, he struggles against the run. He was only put in the game at Georgia Tech during passing situations until last season when he finally became a full-time starter. His inability against the run could bring his value down.
10. San Francisco 49ers (7-9) - Mark Sanchez, QB, USC (Jr.)
The 49ers made some strides late this season and round out the top ten of this draft. Everyone knows now that Alex Smith is definitely not the future of this franchise. Therefore the 49ers must find a new future at the quarterback position. Sanchez decided to declare early for the draft, but coach Carroll disagreed with him. Pete spoke pubicly about how he doesn't think Sanchez is ready. Personally, I would trust Pete, but I don't think anyone else is as ready as Sanchez. I wouldn't draft Sanchez if I was looking for immediate success.
11. Buffalo Bills (7-9) - Eben Britton, OT, Arizona (Jr.)
The Bills left tackle, Jason Peters, after his long hold out, gave up the most sacks of any starting left tackle. That's not good at all. The Bills need to protect Trent Edwards, their quarterback of the future. Edwards suffered a concussion at one point during the season. They need to upgrade his blocking. Britton is, you guessed it, an athletic, big offensive lineman. People have compared him to Ryan Clady. Clady was very successful in his rookie year with the Denver Broncos. Britton needs to learn better technique and once he has done that, he should be all set.
12. Denver Broncos (8-8) - B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College (Sr.)
The Broncos would love to build on last year's excellent draft. In the 2008 draft, the Broncos acquired Ryan Clady, who performed very well in his first season, and Eddie Royal. Their passing game worked very well, and their secondary played well, too. What they really need to improve is their run defense. Raji should be able to help that. Raji is very strong and he is an absolute beats against the run. He has embarassed offensive lineman throughout this year's Senior Bowl. His first step has been the main reason for him being able to beat these lineman.
13. Washington Redskin (8-8) - Jason Smith, OT, Baylor (Sr.)
The Redskins have a few needs. They could use help at three places along their offensive line, defensive tackle and defensive end since Jason Taylor is getting older and was injured much of last season. Jim Zorn had an impressive first year and Jason Campbell seemed like he was maturing. The offensive tackle position is absolutely stacked in this draft. Smith is athletic enough to be a left tackle in the NFL. He isn't as great all-around as the tackles rated above him as he is lacking a little in the running game, but excels against the past. He will easily handle the speedy defensive ends off of the edge.
14. New Orleans Saints (8-8) - Malcolm Jenkins, CB, OSU (Sr.)
The Saints obviously don't need to work on their passing game and their running game is passable. Who knows, maybe Reggie Bush will suddenly be reborn as the star he was in college. Therefore the Saints once again turn to improving their defense. Their secondary could really use some help and Malcolm Jenkins seems to be a future start at cornerback. He was a definite first rounder last season, and now he is a possible top ten pick. Jenkins is a very experienced corner who has great technique and his talent might be even better.
15. Houston Texans (8-8) - Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois (Jr.)
The Texans had a surprisingly successful season this year. Their running game had greatly improved, thanks to Steve Slaton's emergence towards the end of the season. Matt Schaub played well coming back from his injury. Their defensive line played well and the secondary is really the only area of this team that needs a good amount of work. Vontae Davis is an extremely versatile cornerback who can match up with some of the best wide receivers or he can blitz and reach the quarterback. He is able to stop the run as well. He is the brother of Vernon Davis and has the same athleticism as him.
16. San Diego Chargers (8-8) - Rey Maualuga, ILB, USC (Sr.)
The Chargers have been one of the best teams over recent years of drafting good talent. Almost all of their starters were drafted by their team. They don't have many holes on the team at all. However, inside linebacker would be one of their biggest holes. Maualuga would be a great pick here. He would fit into a 3-4 defense very well. Maualuga has good sizy and uses that size to his advantage by being physical. He is a force agaisnt the run and is capable of reaching the quarterback when he is blitzing. He can be a bit inconsistent, but he is versatile and he has upside.
17. New York Jets (9-7) - Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia (RS So.)
The Jets did a great job of filling holes last offseason by signing Kris Jenkins and Alan Faneca. Therefore, they don't have as many holes this offseason. They started off 8-3, but he had a disappointing finish and missed the playoffs. They could use a good middle linebacker, but Knowshon is very hard to pass up all the way down at number seventeen. Leon Washington is great and Thomas Jones had a good year, but Jones is thirty and running backs age like milk. If you don't think Moreno is athletic, just go on Youtube and search "Knowshon Moreno Central Michigan".
18. Chicago Bears (9-7) - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri (RS So.)
The Bears are trying to turn Devin Hester into an offensive weapon. Hester has shown some progress, however without Muhsin Muhammad to lign up opposite him anymore there are no other receivers for defenses to focus on. Maclin could certainly distract defenses. Maclin may have been the fastest player in the nation, but it's close with Percy Harvin and Darrius Heyward-Bey. With Kyle Orton seeming like a pretty good solution for their quarterback situation. Maclin has good size and exceptional speed which would easily make him the weapon the Bears are looking for.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7) - Nate Davis, QB, Ball State (Jr.)
Unless the Buccaneers see Josh Johnson as their quarterback of the future they need to draft a quarterback. Jeff Garcia is aging and he took a turn for the worse down the line last season. Nate Davis has the potential to be their future. He is comparable to Joe Flacco. He is a small school talent out of Ball State, and he has a strong arm with pretty good accuracy. He is capable of buying time in the pocket with his movement. He put up great stats ever since he was a part-time starter and Ball State fared fairly well, too.
20. Detroit Lions (from Dallas) (9-7) - Chris Wells, RB, OSU (Sr.)
The Lions already adressed their situation at quarterback with the first pick of this mock draft. They took Matt Stafford first overall. However, I think the Lions should just go after the best player available. In this case, I think that would be Chris "Beanie" Wells. Wells is a very strong running back. He is hard to bring down and broke plenty of tackles throughout his special college career with the Buckeyes. He was a workhorse and tore teams up in big games. Wells has had some injuries in the past that may be a concern to many of the teams in the NFL.
21. Philadelphia Eagles (9-6-1) - Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State (Sr.)
The Eagles could use an offensive tackle to replace Tra Thomas as well as a tight end since L.J. Smith isn't really a good #1 tight end. Therefore they could use this pick for either of these two positions. At this spot, Brandon Pettigrew is a steal. I don't see how they could possibly pass up on him at this spot. Pettigrew is a freak, he is a rare offensive talent. He has great size for a tight end, but also is an athletic freak. His hands are great and he can make the catch in traffic. He also blocks well in the running and passing game. There is nothing else you could want in a tight end.
22. Minnesota Vikings (10-6) - Phil Loadholt, OT, Oklahoma (Sr.)
The Vikings could use their pick if they don't trust Tarvaris Jackson with their future. Also, they could use a right offensive tackle. Well, that's what Loadholt is. He is a superb run blocker, but not the greatest pass blocker ever. He can help pave a path for Adrian Peterson, on the opposite side of Steve Hutchinson. He was embarassed consistently by Brian Orakpo when Oklahoma faced Texas this season. This shows that Loadholt will struggle with speed off of the edge. If the Vikings draft him, they will either need to keep a tight end there to help him block speed, or somehow develop better pass blocking.
23. New England Patriots (11-5) - Brian Cushing, OLB, USC (Sr.)
This is the pick I really care about, being a New England fan and native. There are plenty of players I want here; James Laurinaitis, Rey Maualuga, Aaron Curry, Malcolm Jenkins and Vontae Davis. Unfortunately, not very many of those are realistic. However, I am not about to complain about Brian Cushing. Cushing is extremely versatile, the kind of player Belichick loves. He can play inside or outside, or in a 3-4 or a 4-3. Does that not scream Bill Belichick? If Cushing lasts this long, I would be shocked that we, I mean the Patriots, passed up on him.
24. Atlanta Falcons (11-5) - William Moore, SS, Missouri (Sr.)
The Falcons improved greatly over the last year. Matt Ryan was everything that Atlanta could have hoped for, as was Michael Turner. Their defense played well, but three of the defensive leaders are getting older. Lawyer Milloy is currently 35 years old and the Falcons need to find someone to replace him. William Moore is a ball-hawking, big-hitting safety who has no trouble stopping the run. He should excel learning from Milloy. He doesn't have much experience as a starter, having started for only two years and has a few durability concerns.
25. Miami Dolphins (11-5) - Clint Sintim, OLB, Virginia (Sr.)
The Dolphins improved a huge amount from last season, ten wins that is. Bill Parcells already has done a great job filling holes like quarterback and the improvement of Joey Porter has been a huge help. One question is who is lining up opposite of Joey Porter? Right now, the answer would be Matt Roth, who isn't exactly a pro-bowler. Clint Sintim would most likely be much better than Roth. Sintim is very versatile and he was a leader for the Virginia defense. He is an excellent pass rusher who sheds blocks with ease. He could prove to be a very good NFL player.
26. Baltimore Ravens (11-5) - Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest (Sr.)
The Ravens are yet another team that improved from last season and made it into the playoffs, all the way to the AFC Championship, actually. Last season I was saying that the Ravens needed to add some youth to their cornerback corps, but quarterback was a more pressing need. Now seems like the time for them to address that issue with a player like Alphonso smith or D.J. Moore. Smith is a cornerback with plenty of ball skills. He played a little bit of receiver and he certainly has the hands capable of making great catches. He is a gambler with good leaping ability.
27. Indianapolis Colts (12-4) - Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss (Sr.)
The Colts could use two talented defensive tackles. Another, less pressing need is a guard taht would take Pollack's position and move Pollack to center, where he is supposed to play. Peria is a very, very athletic defensive tackle. The Colts seem to love speed on defense so why would that change now? Jerry is very fast for a defensive tackle. He isn't very big, only 290 pounds (seems like a weird thing to say to me) and he is already 25 years old. However, he is a good worker and has a great motor. He had superb production against some of the best teams in the nation.
28. Philadelphia Eagles (from Carolina) (12-4) - Tory Kropog, OT, Tulane (Sr.)
The Eagles addressed their need for a dominant franchise tight end earlier in the draft by drafting Pettigrew, now their biggest need is offensive tackle. They need an offensive tackle to replace Tra Thomas. The tackle out of Tulane may not be worth a first round pick, but this is the Eagle's biggest need and Kropog does have some good upside. Also, he could use some work on run blocking, but he is a superb pass blocker which is what the Eagles need. They need to protect the quarterback and Kropog is capable of doing that.
29. New York Giants (12-4) - Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
The Giants could use a left tackle since their current left tackle really should be on the right side, but this isn't a dire need since their offensive line is pretty good right now. Also, an outside linebacker wouldn't hurt. However, I went with a receiver as a replacement for Plaxico Burress. The Giants seemed to struggle late in the year without their star receiver. I would have gone with Percy Harvin, but Heyward-Bey has the advantage in height, 6'3" as opposed to 5'11", and injury history. Heyward-Bey is a talented receiver, who doesn't ahve amazing numbers because Maryland didn't have the most prolific offense.
30. Tennessee Titans (13-3) - Alex Mack, C, Cal (Sr.)
The Titans do not have very many holes to fill on this team. They could use a good #2 cornerback to cover the side that Cortland Finnegan isn't or a dominating receiver, but I went with Alex Mack to learn under the aging Kevin Mawae. Who better to learn under than the perennial pro-bowler, Mawae? Alex Mack, the senior out of Cal, is the best center in this year's draft. He has good size and his athleticism is decent. He has experience as a three year starter at Cal. That means he went up against defensive tackles like Fili Moala and Sedrick Ellis.
31. Arizona Cardinals (9-7)* - Evander Hood, DT, Missouri (Sr.)
When you're in the Super Bowl, you obviously don't have many positions that need to be upgraded. Of course, the Cardinals' offense is more than good enough and their secondary was impressive. However, the defensive line could use someone who can play nearly all of the positions. Well, say hello to Evander Hood, Arizona. The senior from Missouri is very fast and quick for a defensive tackle which means he would be able to move over to end if you wanted him to. He has been called a "jack of all trades", which is exactly what the Cardinals could use on their line.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)* - Max Unger, C, Oregon (Sr.)
The Steelers, despite being in the Super Bowl will have some holes. Not necessarily right now, but plenty of their lineman are able to enter free agency this offseason. They lost Alan Faneca a few years ago and could lose a few more blockers. Therefore, like the Cardinals, they could use someone to play all along the line, only this time, it's the offensive line. Unger is that person. Unger, a four year starter at Oregon, is pretty good at a bunch of different things; balance, awareness, mobility, range, competitiveness. However, his ability to stop speed rushers off of the edge is a problem, which is why he is better suited as an interior lineman.
* order could change based on Super Bowl
Well, there you have it. I hope you liked it and I hope it wasn't too long.