Saturday, March 15, 2008

Rock Out With Your Mock Out 2a

Here is McShay's latest mock from ESPN's Scouts, Inc. He still has the Dolphins taking Boston College QB Matt Ryan #1 overall. I don't see it.

1. Miami Dolphins -- Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
Record: 1-15 | Needs: CB, OT, QB, WR, DE, S, LB
Previous mock selection: Same
Yes, I'm well aware that DE Chris Long has become the trendy selection for the Dolphins at No. 1 overall. Although Chris Long is certainly worthy -- as is OT Jake Long -- I'm sticking with Matt Ryan until more definitive information becomes available regarding Miami's assessment of John Beck as its potential franchise quarterback moving forward.

2. St. Louis Rams -- Chris Long, DE, Virginia
Record: 3-13 | Needs: DE, WR, C/G, OLB, CB
Previous mock selection: Same
Chris Long has to be the Rams' best-case scenario at No. 2 overall. Long is not a prototypical edge-rusher, but he's a disruptive force in all facets of the game. He possesses rare versatility and a motor that never quits. Long would be an excellent complement at left end opposite the speedy Leonard Little, who recently reworked his contract.

3. Atlanta Falcons -- Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
Record: 4-12 | Needs: QB, DT, OT, G, TE
Previous mock selection: Jake Long, OT, Michigan
Ryan should be the Falcons' selection if he's available. If not, it will be a difficult decision between Dorsey and Jake Long. The team has needs at both positions, as well as many others, so it really can't go wrong in that regard. Assuming Dorsey gets a clean bill of health, he seems to be the direction the team is headed. Dorsey is the type of impact defender the Falcons are looking to build their defense around.

4. Oakland Raiders -- Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
Record: 4-12 | Needs: DT/DE, WR, OT, G/C, OLB
Previous mock selection: Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
The re-signing of Tommy Kelly gives the Raiders two good defensive linemen -- with Derrick Burgess being the other -- but the ideal plan is to play Kelly at end. Retaining Kelly certainly frees the team up to go in a different direction with this pick (RB Darren McFadden), but it does not eliminate Ellis (or Dorsey, if available) from the discussion. Ellis, who notched 58 tackles and 8.5 sacks as a senior at USC, could solve many problems for this unit.

5. Kansas City Chiefs -- Jake Long, OT, Michigan
Record: 4-12 | Needs: OT, CB, QB, G/C, WR, RB
Previous mock selection: Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State
The Chiefs' 2008 draft pretty much hinges on Long's availability at No. 5. Needless to say, this is the dream scenario for Executive VP/Assistant GM Carl Peterson, head coach Herm Edwards and the rest of Kansas City front office.

6. New York Jets -- Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
Record: 4-12 | Needs: DE, CB, WR, LB, RB
Projected pick: Same
The Jets have spent a bundle of cash targeting needs in free agency, which frees the organization from being handcuffed to any particular position with this pick. Arguments can be made for and against both McFadden and DE/OLB Vernon Gholston. From my perspective, Gholston's recent workout times might have sent his draft stock soaring but on film he disappears in too many games. He flashes elite talent and belongs in the top 10, but I could not rationalize taking him ahead of McFadden if needs are not a driving force in the equation.

7. N.E. Patriots (from 5-11 S.F.) -- Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State
Record: 16-0 | Needs: ILB, CB, OLB, ROT/G, S
Previous mock selection: Same
Gholston would seem like a natural fit as an outside linebacker in the Patriots' 3-4 scheme. Assuming Gholston is ready to contribute immediately, Mike Vrabel could move back to inside linebacker in order to stabilize the interior.

8. Baltimore Ravens -- Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State
Record: 5-11 | Needs: QB, CB, OT, OLB/DE, WR
Previous mock selection: Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy
The Ravens are one of the wild cards in the top 10. They will take the best available talent even if he doesn't fit a need, and odds are none of the available players at their need positions will be worthy of the eighth overall pick. An argument could be made for one of the top cornerback prospects here, but Clady carries a better grade, in my opinion, than any corner in this class, and he possesses the combination of size and feet to potentially take over for perennial Pro Bowler Jonathan Ogden.

9. Cincinnati Bengals -- Keith Rivers, OLB, USC
Record: 7-9 | Needs: DT, TE, LB, S, DE
Previous mock selection: Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
The team is starving for defensive playmakers. Defensive tackle is the Bengals' biggest need, but there's no DT prospect worth selecting here if Dorsey and Ellis are off the board. The Bengals are unsettled at outside linebacker and Rivers has emerged as far-and-away the top prospect at that position in the 2008 class. He is a complete linebacker with a very good combination of size, quickness, power and toughness. He also plays with an excellent motor and could quickly emerge as a much-needed leader for this unit.

10. New Orleans Saints -- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tenn. St.
Record: 6-9 | Needs: CB, DT, TE, LB, WR
Previous mock selection: Keith Rivers, OLB, USC
Rodgers-Cromartie is one of the fastest rising prospects in the 2008 class right now. The small-school product stood up to the big boys at the Senior Bowl, and then wowed scouts a few weeks later with one of the smoothest workouts of any DB at the combine.

11. Buffalo Bills -- Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy
Record: 7-9 | Needs: WR, CB, TE, DE, OT/OG
Previous mock selection: Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma
The Bills need a big receiver but there's enough depth in this year's class to address that need later. The wise play with the 11th pick is to secure an elite cover corner like McKelvin, who also brings explosive return ability to the table, and then go after a big, playmaking wideout like Indiana's James Hardy in Round 2.

12. Denver Broncos -- Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt
Record: 7-9 | Needs: DT, OT, LB, WR, CB/RS
Previous mock selection: Same
The Broncos ranked 28th in scoring defense and 30th in rushing defense last year, which explains the free-agent additions of linebacker Boss Bailey and safeties Marquand Manuel and Marlon McCree. Finding an upgrade at defensive tackle is the next priority, but Dorsey and Ellis are off the board and it's too early to take North Carolina's Kentwan Balmer. The Broncos can at least use the pick to solidify the offensive line with Williams, then target a DT like Auburn's Pat Sims in Round 2.

13. Carolina Panthers -- Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh
Record: 7-9 | Needs: ROT, FS, WR, TE, RB, DE
Previous mock selection: Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida
Otah, a massive right tackle prospect with loads of potential, is ideally suited for Carolina's power-running game. The Nigerian-born, 339-pounder could potentially serve as the final piece to a Panthers' offensive line attempting to shuffle all five starting spots after last year's injury-riddled season. Defensive ends Derrick Harvey and Phillip Merling are also possibilities with this pick.

14. Chicago Bears -- Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois
Record: 7-9 | Needs: OT, QB, RB, OG, WR
Previous mock selection: Same
Local product or not, spending a first-round pick on a running back for the second time in four years would be a tough pill to swallow. But the Bears have done nothing to address the situation during free agency, and the well has run dry at this point when it comes to top offensive tackle talent. In addition to his size, burst and versatility, Mendenhall would provide a level of toughness that the Chicago ground game lacked with Cedric Benson as the primary ball-carrier in 2007.

15. Detroit Lions -- Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida
Record: 7-9 | Needs: ROT, LB, RB, DT, DE
Projected pick: Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh
This is a tough scenario for the Lions, who would like to add one of the top four offensive tackles in the draft. And although Oregon's Jonathan Stewart would be an upgrade at running back, the team doesn't appear headed in that direction after inking a one-year with Tatum Bell, who will compete with Kevin Jones and Brian Calhoun for carries. Instead, Harvey seems like a sensible choice. He is not as explosive as his former teammate Jarvis Moss, who was selected 17th overall by the Broncos last year, but Harvey is a more complete player who should eventually emerge as an impact every-down starter in the NFL. And he would immediately upgrade Detroit's mediocre crop of defensive ends that includes Jared DeVries and Dewayne White.

16. Arizona Cardinals -- Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas
Record: 8-8 | Needs: CB (FS), RB, LOT, DE, WR
Previous mock selection: Same
It would be tough to pass on Stewart here because his versatility and big-play potential would complement current RB Edgerrin James very well. The 2008 running back crop is extremely deep, however. So the smart play is to grab one of the premier defensive backs before the well dries up at that position. Talib tends to gamble a bit, but teams have to like his versatility and playmaking skills as a 6-foot-1, 202-pound cornerback, return man and occasional wide receiver.

17. Minnesota Vikings -- Phillip Merling, DE, Clemson
Record: 8-8 | Needs: DE, CB, WR, QB, OT/OG
Previous mock selection: Limas Sweed, WR, Texas
Merling has an outstanding combination of size, quickness and power, which would make him a good fit in a rotation that includes Ray Edwards and Brian Robison in Minnesota.

18. Houston Texans -- Jonathan Stewart*, RB, Oregon
Record: 8-8 | Needs: CB, RB, LOT, S, DE
Previous mock selection: Same
Houston has spent its last five first round picks on the defensive side of the ball -- and it could easily be six of the Texans opt for a cornerback like Mike Jenkins -- but Stewart is too talented to pass on considering Houston's current running back situation. Aging veteran Ahman Green is best suited in a rotation at this point in his career while Darius Walker and Chris Taylor are nothing more than solid reserves. Stewart has the bulk, burst and versatility to immediately emerge as a difference-maker in the No. 2 role, while also providing a boost in the kickoff return game.

19. Philadelphia Eagles -- Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma
Record: 8-8 | Needs: WR, S, LB, OT/OG, DE
Previous mock selection: Phillip Merling, DE, Clemson
The Eagles have steered away from first-round receivers since the Freddie Mitchell fiasco, but they have struck out during free agency and may have the pick of the litter come April 26th. Kelly has yet to workout due to a lingering hamstring injury, which could certainly cause him to slip if it's not completely healed by draft weekend. But assuming he's healthy, Kelly is a fluid athlete with outstanding size and arguably the strongest hands of any receiver in this class.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- DeSean Jackson, WR/RS, California
Record: 9-7 | Needs: WR (RS), CB, LOT, DT, DE
Previous mock selection: Same
Sure, Jackson has limitations at 5-10, 169 pounds, but he's the fastest and most dangerous open-field weapon this class has to offer. If Jackson gets with a creative offensive coach like Tampa's Jon Gruden at the next level, he could emerge as versatile home run threat

21. Washington Redskins -- Limas Sweed, WR, Texas
Record: 9-7 | Needs: WR, S, DE, OT, DT
Previous mock selection: Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan State
The Redskins top priority is to add a playmaker at wide receiver. There projects to be a run of wide receivers in the bottom half of the first round, so the Redskins should get involved here before they get shut out. Sweed has been bothered by a nagging wrist injury but has an impressive blend of speed and size.

22. Dallas Cowboys (from 10-6 CLE) -- Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida
Record: 13-3 | Needs: CB, WR, RB, NT, G/C
Previous mock selection: Same
Assuming owner Jerry Jones doesn't package picks to trade up, expect Dallas to use its two picks to address needs at corner, receiver, offensive tackle and possibly running back. Jenkins' combination of size, speed and athleticism is outstanding and his recognition skills continue to improve each season. Jenkins also brings versatility to the table with his ability to play some safety and chip in on returns if necessary.

23. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Branden Albert, G, Virginia
Record: 10-6 | Needs: OC, OT, OG, DE (3-4), WR
Previous mock selection: Same
The Steelers are expected to invest multiple draft picks on offensive linemen. Albert is a massive guard with good feet and a finisher's mentality. Although most of his experience is at guard, he has the frame to give it a try at tackle if a team should so choose.

24. Tennessee Titans -- Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina
Record: 10-6 | Needs: WR, DT, CB, G/C, LB
Previous mock selection: Early Doucet, WR, LSU
Titans QB Vince Young still needs lots of polishing as a passer and needs at least one perimeter weapon -- and no, Justin McCareins does not count. Considering Tennessee's recent draft trends, though, Young shouldn't hold his breath on Day 1. The last time Tennessee drafted a receiver in the first two rounds was 2003 (Tyrone Calico, second round) and the team hasn't spent a first-round selection on a wideout since Kevin Dyson in 1998. Balmer is a fast-rising prospect with very good size, power and quickness. He would be a nice complement to Albert Haynesworth on the inside.

25. Seattle Seahawks -- Dustin Keller, TE, Purdue
Record: 10-6 | Needs: TE, WR, DT, OL, RB
Previous mock selection: Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina
Keller and USC's Fred Davis are neck-and-neck atop the tight-end board. Davis is a bigger, more complete prospect with very good overall athleticism, but Keller takes it to another level in terms of overall explosiveness. Keller will never be a good in-line blocker but very few H-backs display his potential to create mismatches in the passing game. Seattle is looking for a playmaker at that position, so don't be surprised if Keller sneaks off the board late in Round 1.

26. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Calais Campbell, DE, Miami
Record: 11-5 | Needs: DE, DT, DC/SS, OL, OLB
Previous mock selection: Mario Manningham, WR, Michigan
The Jaguars hope they addressed their wide receiver issues in free agency with the additions of Jerry Porter and Troy Williamson, which leaves the defensive line as the team's top draft priority early on.

27. San Diego Chargers -- Brandon Flowers, CB, Virginia Tech
Record: 11-5 | Needs: ROT, CB (No. 3), RB, S, NT
Previous mock selection: Gosder Cherilus, OT, Boston College
Offensive tackle is a strong possibility, especially with Cherilus still on the board, but the team lost its nickel corner in free agency and Flowers would be a good fit in that role. His stock is slipping due to poor workout numbers, but Flowers is a smooth cover corner with very good ball skills and instincts, which is why I think his production will end up far exceeding his draft value.

28. Dallas Cowboys -- Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan State
Record: 13-3 | Needs: CB, WR, RB, NT, OG/OC
Previous mock selection: Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas
If Jerry Jones can't strike a deal to move up, he could settle for Jones, the other first-round running back prospect from Arkansas. The better value, however, would be at wide receiver with either Thomas or Manningham. Despite his lack of ideal game experience, Thomas is higher on many boards because he's such a dynamic open-field runner for his size, both after the catch and in the return game.

29. S.F. 49ers (from 13-3 IND) -- Gosder Cherilus, OT, Boston College
Record: 5-11 | Needs: WR, OT, OLB, OG/OC, CB
Previous mock selection: James Hardy, WR, Indiana
Wide receiver is a need, but the 49ers can find a comparable prospect and better value early in Round 2. Cherilus is a right tackle prospect who struggled a bit playing on the left side as a senior. If he ends up in San Francisco he would move back to his more natural spot on the right side and allow the more athletic Joe Staley to move to left tackle.

30. Green Bay Packers -- Kenny Phillips, S, Miami
Record: 13-3 | Needs: CB, OT, S, TE, PT
Previous mock selection: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State
The Packers would rather draft a cornerback, but they would settle for the top safety prospect in this year's weak crop. Phillips has the natural athleticism and can be a powerful hitter for his size. However, he needs good coaching to change his inconsistent ways.

31. New England. Patriots -- Pick forfeited
Record: 16-0 | Needs: ILB, CB, OLB, OL depth
Previous mock selection: Same
The Patriots lost this pick as part of the penalty handed down for illegally taping Jets coaches from the sideline in Week 1.

32. New York Giants -- Jerod Mayo, OLB, Tennessee
Record: 10-6 | Needs: OLB, S, CB, OG/OT, DT
Previous mock selection: Dan Connor, LB, Penn State
The Giants are in need of a legitimate upgrade at linebacker and Mayo possesses just the type of athleticism and versatility to find a nice niche within this unit.

Todd McShay is the director of college football scouting for Scouts Inc. He has been evaluating prospects for the NFL draft since 1998.

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