Saturday, March 1, 2008

Rock Out With Your Mock Out

Here's ESPN insider Todd McShay's latest mock, from a free preview of ESPN insider (LINK). I would be shocked (not as shocked as hearing Ted Ginn's name called last year) if Ryan is the pick at 1. I think it will be one of the Longs. He has Brohm dropping out of the 1st, I could see the Fins take him at the first pick in the 2nd round, or trading with someone who wants him there.

1. Miami Dolphins -- Matt Ryan, QB, Boston CollegeRecord: 1-15 Needs: OL, DT, LB, CB, QBPrevious mock selection: SameThe odds are good that Miami will be stuck with this pick. After all, no pick in the top seven has been dealt since the 2004 draft. This pick should come down to three players: Ryan, OT Jake Long and DE Chris Long. By no means am I convinced that Ryan is the pick. In fact, if the Dolphins do not sign a tackle in free agency, then Jake Long becomes the logical choice. However, until there's word from Dolphins camp that John Beck is the quarterback of the future, Ryan makes the most sense. Ryan has all the physical tools of a franchise quarterback and -- more importantly -- he possesses rare intangibles.

2. St. Louis Rams -- Chris Long, DE, VirginiaRecord: 3-13 Needs: DE, OT/G, CB, OLB, WRPrevious mock selection: SameIf the Rams draft Jake Long, there's a good chance they would have to move him to right tackle or guard for the next couple of seasons while perennial Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Pace finishes out his career. Paying that type of money for a guard is a tough pill to swallow. Dorsey and fellow DT Sedrick Ellis have been mentioned with this pick, but the team has blown a lot of money on the defensive line in recent years and shouldn't push its luck after scoring with Adam Carriker a year ago.
While nothing seems to fit perfectly here, Chris Long makes the most sense. Long is not a prototypical edge rusher, but he's a dominant playmaker with rare versatility and a motor that never quits. He can serve as a good complement at left end opposite the speedy Leonard Little, who recently reworked his contract.

3. Atlanta Falcons -- Jake Long, OT, MichiganRecord: 4-12 Needs: QB, OT, DT, RB, SPrevious mock selection: Darren McFadden, RB, ArkansasRyan should be the Falcons' selection if he's available. If not, it will be a difficult decision between McFadden, Dorsey and Jake Long. The team has needs at all three positions, but upgrading its offensive line is most pressing and Long is without question the safest choice.

4. Oakland Raiders -- Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSURecord: 4-12 Needs: OT, DT, WR, DE, RBPrevious mock selection: SameThe Raiders are financially strapped and will not want to dish out top-five money one year after selecting QB JaMarcus Russell with the top overall pick. If McFadden is still on the board, don't count out a blockbuster trade by owner Al Davis, since Cowboys owner and Arkansas alum Jerry Jones already has made his interest known.
Retaining Tommy Kelly gives the Raiders two good defensive linemen, and while that certainly frees the team up to go in a different direction with this pick (McFadden?), it does not eliminate Dorsey or Ellis from the discussion. Assuming he is cleared medically by team doctors, Dorsey is rated higher than Ellis and should be the pick. He could provide the type of interior disruption the Raiders' defense was lacking a year ago.

5. Kansas City Chiefs -- Ryan Clady, OT, Boise StateRecord: 4-12 Needs: LOT, G, CB, DE, CPrevious mock selection: Jake Long, OT, MichiganThe Chiefs' No. 1 priority this offseason should be solidifying their offensive front. However, with Jake Long off the board in this scenario, Kansas City is faced with the unenviable decision of drafting need versus value. Clady is not a top-five prospect, nor is any other tackle in this class for that matter. The team ideally would like to trade down and still get Clady, Chris Williams or Jeff Otah, which is a possibility considering McFadden, Ellis and DE/OLB Vernon Gholston are still on the board. If stuck at No. 5, though, the assumption is Kansas City will draft the highest-rated tackle on its board.

6. New York Jets -- Darren McFadden, RB, ArkansasRecord: 4-12 Needs: NT, WR, LB, G, RB Projected pick: SameMcFadden is the value pick, Gholston is the need pick. If presented with this opportunity, the Jets should take a page out of the Vikings' book and pull the trigger on McFadden. While he's not a yard-churning bell cow like Peterson, McFadden is an elite athlete with the size, home run speed and versatility to significantly upgrade the Jets' tired offense from last season.

7. N.E. Patriots (from 5-11 San Francisco) -- Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio StateRecord: 18-1 Needs: LB, CB, DS, OL, RBPrevious mock selection: Leodis McKelvin, CB, TroyThe Patriots would like to inject some youth at linebacker, which is why Gholston makes so much sense with this pick. Gholston is a bit inconsistent, but he also is one of the premier pass-rushers in the 2008 class and fits perfectly as a rush linebacker in the Pats' 3-4 scheme.
If Gholston is off the board and New England can't trade out, the next priority is to find a replacement for Asante Samuel, a free agent who can't be franchised for a second consecutive year.

8. Baltimore Ravens -- Leodis McKelvin, CB, TroyRecord: 5-11 Needs: QB, CB, LOT, ILB, DE/OLBPrevious mock selection: Sedrick Ellis, DT, USCUnless Ryan slips, Baltimore will need to wait at least a round to address its seemingly endless need for an upgrade at quarterback. Ellis is not an ideal fit for its defensive scheme and wouldn't fill a need position, but in this scenario he is a strong possibility for a Ravens organization that is among the league's most disciplined when it comes to drafting for value.
With all that in mind, McKelvin makes the best match. He is the most natural cover corner this class has to offer and he also can provide competition for Yamon Figurs in the return game.

9. Cincinnati Bengals -- Sedrick Ellis, DT, USCRecord: 7-9 Needs: DT, TE, DE, LB, OTPrevious mock selection: Derrick Harvey, DE, FloridaEllis falling to pick No. 9 has to rank among the best-case scenarios for coach Marvin Lewis and the Bengals. The team is starving for defensive playmakers, especially along the front. Ellis, who notched 58 tackles and 8.5 sacks as a senior at USC, could solve many problems for this unit.

10. New Orleans Saints -- Keith Rivers, LB, USCRecord: 6-9 Needs: CB, LB, TE, DT, CPrevious mock selection: Mike Jenkins, CB, South FloridaCornerback and linebacker are the Saints biggest areas of need and Rivers is the best athlete available at those positions. Rivers 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 the Saints defense.

11. Buffalo Bills -- Malcolm Kelly, WR, OklahomaRecord: 7-9 Needs: WR, DT, CB, LB, TEPrevious mock selection: SameKelly is the type of big receiver the Bills need to add to their roster as a complement to Lee Evans. Kelly is unusually fluid for a bigger wideout and he might have the strongest hands of any player in the 2008 draft.

12. Denver Broncos -- Chris Williams, OT, VanderbiltRecord: 7-9 Needs: DT, OT, MLB, S, WRPrevious mock selection: Ryan Clady, OT, Boise StateWilliams still needs to get stronger and play with more of a mean streak, but he is one of the fastest rising players in this class because of his combination of size, mobility and intelligence. Williams would be a fine fit in Denver's zone-blocking scheme.

13. Carolina Panthers -- Derrick Harvey, DE, FloridaRecord: 7-9 Needs: OT, DE, WR, DS, DTPrevious mock selection: Chris Williams, OT, VanderbiltInstead of drafting a young signal-caller who would need time to develop, look for the Panthers to bring in veteran competition for Matt Moore, who showed some signs late in the season.
Drafting a defensive end like Harvey is a much wiser decision. Harvey is not as explosive as his former college teammate, Jarvis Moss, who was selected 17th overall by the Broncos last year. However, Harvey is a more complete player and should quickly emerge as an impact every-down starter in the NFL.

14. Chicago Bears -- Rashard Mendenhall, RB, IllinoisRecord: 7-9 Needs: QB, OL, RB, DT, SPrevious mock selection: Brian Brohm, QB, LouisvilleOffensive tackle is certainly a possibility, especially with Clady, Williams and Otah all emerging as solid first-rounds prospects behind Jake Long. However, if Clady and Williams are off the board, don't be surprised if GM Jerry Angelo takes advantage of this year's talented crop of running backs by selecting either Mendenhall or Jonathan Stewart with this pick. Either would provide more explosiveness and versatility than the team has seen from current starter Cedric Benson.

15. Detroit Lions -- Jeff Otah, OT, PittsburghRecord: 7-9 Needs: OT, G, CB, S, DEProjected pick: Aqib Talib, CB, KansasThe Lions' secondary is undermanned and would welcome the services of Talib or Mike Jenkins with this pick. However, the run on offensive tackles is nearing its end and Otah is the type of mauling right tackle this unit needs in order to raise its level of physicality in 2008.

16. Arizona Cardinals -- Aqib Talib, CB, KansasRecord: 8-8 Needs: CB, OLB, TE, RB, DEPrevious mock selection: Rahard Mendenhall, RB, IllinoisThe Cardinals' most pressing need is at cornerback, and the team would have a couple of strong prospects to choose from in Talib and Jenkins. Talib tends to gamble too much and his footwork needs some polishing, but many teams love the potential they see from this 6-foot-1, 202-pound playmaker with 4.4 speed.

17. Minnesota Vikings -- Limas Sweed, WR, TexasRecord: 8-8 Needs: DE, S, WR, QB, TEPrevious mock selection: DeSean Jackson, WR/RS, CaliforniaBelieve it or not, Minnesota still is in the market for help at wide receiver and defensive end, despite investing first- or second-round picks in the past four drafts on WRs Troy Williamson (2005) and Sidney Rice (2007) and DEs Kenechi Udeze (2004) and Erasmus James (2005).
DE Phillip Merling would be a strong consideration, but he doesn't project as a pass-rushing difference-maker, which is what the Vikings need. Sweed, on the other hand, has the potential to develop into the big, playmaking wideout the team has been looking for since Randy Moss left town. Sweed could emerge as the premier talent from this year's receiver class so long as a nagging wrist injury is behind him.

18. Houston Texans -- Jonathan Stewart*, RB, OregonRecord: 8-8 Needs: CB, RB, S, LOT, DEPrevious mock selection: SameThe Texans need a featured back to go along with QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson, and Stewart has the bulk, burst and versatility to quickly fill that role. He also could offer a boost in the kickoff return game.

19. Philadelphia Eagles -- Phillip Merling, DE, ClemsonRecord: 8-8 Needs: WR, DE, S, OT/G, MLBPrevious mock selection: Phillip Merling, DE, MiamiEagles OTs Jon Runyan and William Thomas aren't getting any younger, so Otah would be a possibility here if he were available. The Eagles are also in search of a home run threat at wide receiver, so don't count out Jackson, either. However, Merling has an outstanding combination of size, quickness and power that would make him a good fit opposite wide end Trent Cole in Philadelphia.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- DeSean Jackson, WR/RS, CaliforniaRecord: 9-7 Needs: WR, CB, RB, QB, CPrevious mock selection: Mario Manningham, WR, MichiganSure, Jackson has limitations at just 5-foot-10 and 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 Jon Gruden at the next level he could emerge as versatile home run threat.

21. Washington Redskins -- Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan StateRecord: 9-7 Needs: WR, S, DE, OT, CBPrevious mock selection: Phillip Merling, DE, ClemsonThe Redskins' top priority is adding a playmaking receiver to the roster. 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. Thomas might not have the ideal size Washington is looking for, but he's a well-built wide out with strong hands and excellent run-after-catch ability.

22. Dallas Cowboys (from 10-6 Cleveland) -- Mike Jenkins, CB, South FloridaRecord: 13-3 Needs: CB, WR, OT, RB, ILBPrevious mock selection: Sam Baker, OT, USCAssuming 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 as a cornerback who can also play some safety and chip in on returns if necessary.

23. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Branden Albert, G, VirginiaRecord: 10-6 Needs: C, OT, DE (3-4), RB, GPrevious mock selection: Jeff Otah, OT, PittsburghThe Steelers could use two of their first three picks on offensive linemen. Albert is a massive guard with good feet and a finishers' mentality. While most of his experience is at guard, Albert has the frame to give it a try at tackle in the NFL if a team should so choose.

24. Tennessee Titans -- Early Doucet, WR, LSURecord: 10-6 Needs: WR, DE, DT, CB, CPrevious mock selection: Limas Sweed, WR, TexasThe Titans need to draft a legitimate weapon for QB Vince Young to target in the passing attack. While Doucet lacks ideal deep speed, he is a quick, well-built receiver with reliable hands and proven run-after-catch ability.

25. Seattle Seahawks -- Kentwan Balmer, DT, North CarolinaRecord: 10-6 Needs: ROT, DT, RB, TE, GPrevious mock selection: SameIt is unlikely current Seattle starting RB Shaun Alexander will ever return to his 2005 MVP form, and backup Maurice Morris has proved to be at his best when limited to a complementary role. However, with McFadden, Stewart and Mendenhall all off the board, look for the Seahawks to go in a different direction here. Balmer is a fast-rising prospect with very good size, power and quickness. He would be a welcomed addition to Seattle's thin interior defensive line.

26. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Mario Manningham, WR, MichiganRecord: 11-5 Needs: DE, WR, CB, SS, OLPrevious mock selection: Early Doucet, WR, LSUThe Jaguars should use this pick on the best available receiver or pass-rusher. Auburn DE/OLB Quentin Groves would be a possibility after he blazed a 4.5-second 40-yard dash at the combine. However, Manningham is a better option. He inevitably will slip following his marginal 40 times at the combine, but Manningham is one of the rare receivers who lack elite physical tools but simply know how to separate and make big plays. He could be a steal this late.

27. San Diego Chargers -- Gosder Cherilus, OT, Boston CollegeRecord: 11-5 Needs: ROT, NT, S, CB, RBPrevious mock selection: SameThe Chargers can select the best available athlete if they want to, but the right side of their offensive line could use an upgrade, and Cherilus projects as a solid starting right tackle in the NFL. Cherilus' stock is on the rise following his impressive showing at the Senior Bowl.

28. Dallas Cowboys -- Felix Jones, RB, ArkansasRecord: 13-3 Needs: CB, WR, OT, RB, DSPrevious mock selection: SameIf owner Jerry Jones can't strike a deal for McFadden, he could settle for Arkansas' other first-round running back prospect. Jones is a speedster who could complement current Dallas RB Marion Barber well and provide a home run threat in the return game.

29. S.F. 49ers (from 13-3 Indianapolis) -- James Hardy*, WR, IndianaRecord: 5-11 Needs: WR, OT, OLB, DE, QBPrevious mock selection: SameThe 49ers need a playmaker at wide receiver to take the attention away from TE Vernon Davis and pressure off QB Alex Smith. Hardy comes with some baggage and he needs some polishing, but no receiver in this class possesses a more imposing combination of size and natural athleticism.

30. Green Bay Packers -- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tenn. St.Record: 13-3 Needs: CB, OT, S, TE, PTPrevious mock selection: SamePackers QB Brett Favre certainly would welcome the addition of a tight end like USC's Fred Davis, who can stretch the seam and generate yards after the catch. However, the team has a more pressing need in the defensive secondary, and Rodgers-Cromartie is one of the fastest-rising prospects in the 2008 class right now. The small-school product proved capable of playing with the big boys at the Senior Bowl, where he demonstrated outstanding versatility and athleticism playing both free safety and cornerback throughout the week.

31. N.E. Patriots -- Pick forfeitedRecord: 16-0 Needs: ILB, CB, OLB, OL depthPrevious mock selection: SameThe 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 -- Dan Connor, LB, Penn StateRecord: 10-6 Needs: LB, OT, S, WR, CBPrevious mock selection: Keith Rivers, OLB, USCThe Giants are in need of an immediate and legitimate upgrade at linebacker, and Connor is instinctive and athletic enough to contribute immediately on the inside or the weak side.
Todd McShay is the director of college football scouting for Scouts Inc. He has been evaluating prospects for the NFL draft since 1998.

No comments: