Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rock out with Your Mock Out IV

Here is ESPN's Todd McShay's latest mock draft

The seventh version of Scouts Inc.'s mock draft is a bit different than its predecessors. Rather than simply projecting a pick and how he fits with a particular team, we're examining scenarios that could confront each team and how those circumstances would impact their thinking.

For instance, what happens to the rest of the top five if the Dolphins can get an agreement in place with OT Jake Long? How would things snowball if DE Chris Long ends up in Oakland? We're still making projected picks, but this time we're taking a closer look at how the effect of those picks would cascade down the first round.

Things are still fluid but this is our best take on how Round 1 would play out if the draft were held today:

1. Miami Dolphins -- Jake Long, OT, Michigan
Record: 1-15 Needs: OT, CB, WR, QB, G
Scenario 1: The Dolphins would like to trade down for multiple picks, but finding a trade partner is highly unlikely at this point.
Scenario 2: Select Long, with the priority on having a deal in place prior to draft day.
Scenario 3: DE/OLB Vernon Gholston and DT Glenn Dorsey are also in the picture, while DE Chris Long and QB Matt Ryan do not appear to be on the short list.

2. St. Louis Rams -- Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
Record: 3-13 Needs: DE, DT, WR, C, OLB, OT
Scenario 1: If Jake Long is the first overall pick the team will face a tough decision between Dorsey and Chris Long.
Scenario 2: Jake Long is a possibility if he's available, but with perennial Pro Bowl OT Orlando Pace returning to health opposite former first-round right tackle Alex Barron, it makes more sense to address the defensive line.

3. Atlanta Falcons -- Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
Record: 4-12 Needs: QB, DT, OT, G, TE

Scenario 1: Expect Dorsey to be the pick if he's still on the board.
Scenario 2: If Dorsey is gone, Ryan is the no-brainer selection. And for the record, I think Ryan is the right choice no matter what.
Scenario 3: In the unlikely possibility that Ryan and Dorsey are the first two picks, Jake Long would be the Falcons' selection.

4. Oakland Raiders -- Chris Long, DE, Virginia
Record: 4-12 Needs: DE/DT, OT/G, SLB, WR, RB
Scenario 1: The Raiders' dream scenario -- the son of Hall of Famer Howie Long -- slipping to the fourth pick is definitely a likely scenario.
Scenario 2: If Chris Long is gone then RB Darren McFadden becomes the pick. Owner Al Davis is in love with McFadden's speed and envisions a young, explosive backfield that features McFadden and last year's No. 1 overall pick, QB JaMarcus Russell.
Scenario 3: If Long and McFadden are off the board the Raiders would look to bolster the defensive front with the top available prospect from the group of Dorsey, Gholston and DT Sedrick Ellis.

5. Kansas City Chiefs -- Branden Albert, OT/G, Virginia
Record: 4-12 Needs: OT, CB, DT, G, C, WR, QB
Scenario 1: If Jake Long somehow falls this far, he's the pick.
Scenario 2: Trade back and acquire more picks to better address a slew of needs.
Scenario 3: As much as it pains me to admit it, Mel Kiper's info on this pick seems to be accurate. It feels like a reach to me but the Chiefs evidently think enough of Albert to take him if they are stuck here.
Scenario 4: The Chiefs could also consider Ryan, Dorsey or Ellis.

6. New York Jets -- Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
Record: 4-12 Needs: DE, CB, WR, FS, ILB, RB
Scenario 1: Though running back isn't a top need, McFadden is the versatile and explosive weapon the Jets' offense has been missing for years.
Scenario 2: If McFadden is off the board Gholston is the pick. The Jets could use his pass rushing ability to take some pressure off OLB Calvin Pace, who came over in free agency.
Scenario 3: If both McFadden and Gholston are off the board the Jets will scramble to try to find a trade partner.

7. N.E. Patriots (from 5-11 S.F.) -- Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
Record: 16-0 Needs: ILB, OLB, CB, ROT, TE
Scenario 1: The Patriots will try to trade to out of this pick because they're unlikely to get good value at their positions of need. With that in mind, they are hoping Ellis and/or Ryan slip this far in order to drive up the value of the pick.
Scenario 2: New England could upgrade over Nick Kaczur at right tackle by selecting Albert if he's available. Albert is skyrocketing up draft boards and is talented enough to push for immediate playing time.
Scenario 3: Don't be surprised if the Patriots ignore need and take Ellis if he's still available. He would represent the best value.
Scenario 4: Gholston is the final option, but I feel he is overrated at this point and the Patriots rarely reach.

8. Baltimore Ravens -- Vernon Gholston, DE/OLB, Ohio State
Record: 5-11 Needs: CB, QB, LOT, OLB, DE, ILB
Scenario 1: The ideal situation is Ryan slipping and allowing the Ravens to address their quarterback woes.
Scenario 2: Keep an eye on Ellis. The team is reportedly very high on him and he would be a great value even though he doesn't fill a pressing need.
Scenario 3: If Ryan and Ellis are both gone the Ravens will shop this pick aggressively.
Scenario 4: If they can't get one of their top two players and are unable to trade out, the Ravens would then look at Gholston, Albert and CB Leodis McKelvin, in that order.

9. Cincinnati Bengals -- Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State
Record: 7-9 Needs: NT, DE, LB, WR, C
Scenario 1: If Ellis is on the board at this point he is surely the pick. In fact, Cincinnati reportedly likes him so much that it could move up a spot or two to get him.
Scenario 2: If Ellis isn't available the Bengals will look to trade back because there would not be a player on the board representing great value at their positions of need.
Scenario 3: If Cincinnati is stuck here with Ellis is off the board the possibilities include Clady, OLB Keith Rivers and DE Derrick Harvey.

10. New Orleans Saints -- Keith Rivers, OLB, USC
Record: 6-9 Needs: CB, DT, LB, TE, ROT, S
Scenario 1: The Saints would love to get Ellis so there's a strong possibility they will join the Bengals in trying to move up.
Scenario 2: If a trade doesn't happen Rivers would fill a need and offer too good a value to pass up.
Scenario 3: While taking any corner at this point is a reach, the Saints are in desperate need of help at the position so McKelvin, South Florida's Mike Jenkins, and Tennessee State's Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are also possibilities.

11. Buffalo Bills -- Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan State
Record: 7-9 Needs: WR, TE, CB, DE, FS
Scenario 1: Wide receiver is the top need and the word on the street is the Bills will reach for Thomas if they can't make a deal to trade back a few spots.
Scenario 2: Cornerback is a possibility and McKelvin and Jenkins seem like the best fits if the Bills go that route.
Scenario 3: While it doesn't seem like a pressing need, don't be surprised if the Bills end up pulling the trigger on Harvey. With Anthony Hargrove suspended for the 2008 season and Al Wallace expected to depart through free agency, Buffalo needs help at end.

12. Denver Broncos -- Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt
Record: 7-9 Needs: OT, WR, DT, MLB, S
Scenario 1: Denver is in need of a defensive tackle after finishing 30th against the run last year and with a substantial dropoff in talent after Ellis and Dorsey, the Broncos are yet another team that could look trade up.
Scenario 2: If the Broncos are unable to get Dorsey or Ellis they should look to address the offensive tackle position. While Pittsburgh's Jeff Otah ranks slightly higher than Williams, Williams makes more sense here because he moves his feet better than Otah and is a better fit for Denver's zone blocking scheme.
Scenario 3: RB Rashard Mendenhall and LB Jerod Mayo are darkhorse picks.

13. Carolina Panthers -- Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida
Record: 7-9 Needs: ROT, FS, DE, RB, TE
Scenario 1: Harvey is flying up draft boards following a superb on-campus workout and the Panthers need a young insurance policy at the position. Carolina signed free agent Tyler Brayton but Julius Peppers, who is entering the final year of his contract, is coming off his worst season as a pro and aging veteran Mike Rucker is contemplating retirement.
Scenario 2: Right tackle is also a pressing need for the Panthers so Otah is a possibility as well.
Scenario 3: Carolina made DeShaun Foster a cap casualty and he has since signed with San Francisco, leaving DeAngelo Williams and free-agent signing LaBrandon Toefield to compete for the starting job at this point. Considering Williams has averaged 9.1 caries per game over his first two seasons and Toefield has appeared in just six games over the past two years, Mendenhall would make some sense.

14. Chicago Bears -- Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh
Record: 7-9 Needs: OT, QB, RB, WR, G
Scenario 1: With both starters north of 30 and a glaring lack of depth behind them, Chicago needs help at offensive tackle and Otah would be a good fit for the scheme. Otah is big, strong and quick enough to quickly develop into an excellent drive-blocker.
Scenario 2: If Mendenhall is available, the Bears will have to consider taking him because the power back would be a great fit for their scheme. And if he slips to them and none of the top five offensive linemen are still on the board, Mendenhall becomes the obvious choice.
Scenario 3: Louisville QB Brian Brohm is another possibility but would be a reach here, so it's likely Chicago will wait to address that position.

15. Detroit Lions -- Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois
Record: 7-9 Needs: RB, DE, OT, LB, DT
Scenario 1: Kalimba Edwards never lived up to expectations after signing a lucrative contract in 2006 and the Lions made him a cap casualty this offseason, so they are in the market for an end who can provide some pressure off the edge. Harvey doesn't have elite top-end speed but he's quick and athletic for his size and has the potential to develop into a productive edge rusher.
Scenario 2: If Harvey is off the board Mendenhall becomes the best choice. He would give Detroit the physical runner it currently lacks.
Scenario 3: Offensive tackle is a possibility should any of the top five prospects fall this far.
Scenario 4: Mayo is a consideration as well as the Lions have need at linebacker.

16. Arizona Cardinals -- Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy
Record: 8-8 Needs: CB, FS, RB, LOT, WR, S
Scenario 1: Arizona needs to bolster its defensive backfield and the good news for the Cardinals is that they can take the best available safety or corner because Antrel Rolle can line up at either position. Should McKelvin be off the board, Rodgers-Cromartie would be their guy as he has the versatility to move to safety should he struggle early on at corner.
Scenario 2: Jenkins has that same versatility and we rank him just below Rodgers-Cromartie, so he is also a candidate.
Scenario 3: The Cardinals are looking for a back who can complement RB Edgerrin James, and because Arkansas' Felix Jones would be a reach and Oregon's Jonathan Stewart is coming off toe surgery, there is an outside chance Arizona would trade up in an effort to get Mendenhall.

17. Minnesota Vikings -- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tenn. St.
Record: 8-8 Needs: DE, QB, OT, CB, WR
Scenario 1: The ideal situation is for Harvey to fall this far and fill Minnesota's biggest need.
Scenario 2: If Harvey isn't available then Rodgers-Cromartie makes sense because the Vikings could stand to add another corner. Plus, he would be a good value here.
Scenario 3: Minnesota takes the best available athlete.

18. Houston Texans -- Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida
Record: 8-8 Needs: CB, LOT, DE, G, C, S
Scenario 1: According to this scenario, there will be a run on corners in the middle of the first round and Houston would love to see one of the top three fall into its lap. Jenkins has the tools to develop into a No. 1 corner and fill the Texans' most pressing need.
Scenario 2: If the top four corners are gone Houston should look to trade out.
Scenario 3: If the Texans don't get a corner and can't trade out then RBs Jones and Stewart would be options.

19. Philadelphia Eagles -- Jerod Mayo, OLB, Tennessee
Record: 8-8 Needs: S, WR, LB, OT, G, DE
Scenario 1: Philadelphia puts a high premium on offensive linemen in the early rounds, so if any of the offensive linemen listed above slip the Eagles will make that move.
Scenario 2: Omar Gaither is expected to move outside after the departure of Takeo Spikes, leaving a void on the inside. Mayo is capable of filling that need and giving Philadelphia an insurance policy. Plus, he's is versatile enough to move outside should Gaither struggle there.
Scenario 3: The Eagles haven't drafted a receiver in the first round since taking Freddie Mitchell in 2001, but Thomas is an intriguing possibility if available because he has the tools to develop into a No. 1 wideout.
Scenario 4: Miami S Kenny Phillips is admittedly a reach, but there's a chance the Eagles could take him here because they need help at safety and Phillips is the clear No. 1 in a weak safety class.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas
Record: 9-7 Needs: WR, LOT, QB, CB, DT
Scenario 1: WR Joey Galloway continues to produce but is 36 years old, and on the other side the 32-year-old Ike Hilliard has already lost a step. Making matters worse, Michael Clayton has struggled since his outstanding rookie season in 2004 so Tampa Bay needs an infusion of youth and talent at receiver. Thomas, who has a rare blend of size and speed, has steadily risen up draft boards over the last year and has experience in a West Coast scheme, making him the right choice here.
Scenario 2: If Thomas is gone, as is the case in this scenario, the Bucs could take the next-best receiver on their board, perhaps DeSean Jackson.
Scenario 3: Cornerback is a secondary need and Talib would be a good value at this late point in the first round.

21. Washington Redskins -- Phillip Merling, DE, Clemson
Record: 9-7 Needs: WR, S, DE, OL, CB
Scenario 1: Washington is likely hoping that Thomas lasts this long because the Redskins need a No.1 who's big enough to hold his ground against physical coverage and is fast enough to stretch the field.
Scenario 2: If the Redskins decide they can fill their need at receiver in the second round, Clemson DE Phillip Merling is an alternative.
Scenario 3: Finally, if the other two scenarios don't pan out WR James Hardy has the size and speed Washington is looking for, though he's not as fluid in his routes as Thomas.

22. Dallas Cowboys (from 10-6 CLE) -- Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas
Record: 13-3 Needs: CB, WR, RB, OT, S
Scenario 1: Cornerback should still a priority even if the team does complete a trade for Pacman Jones, but unless one of the top four corners slides this far the Cowboys likely won't pull the trigger.
Scenario 2: Dallas is not expected to make a blockbuster trade in order to pick McFadden, but Jones would fill the need for a speedy complement to the more physical Marion Barber.
Scenario 3: Dallas could also select the best available receiver here.

23. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina
Record: 10-6 Needs: DE (3-4), OT, WR, G, FS
Scenario 1: Balmer lined up at defensive tackle at North Carolina but is also an excellent fit at defensive end in a 3-4-scheme. Injuries limited 32-year-old Aaron Smith to 11 games last year and the Steelers' run defense struggled without him. Balmer could push Brett Keisel for the starting job opposite Smith this year, allowing Keisel to provide excellent depth as the No. 3.
Scenario 2: After defensive end, offensive tackle is Pittsburgh's greatest need so Boston College's Gosder Cherilus is another option, though he would be a reach here.
Scenario 3: Pittsburgh could also select the best available receiver here.

24. Tennessee Titans -- DeSean Jackson, WR, California
Record: 10-6 Needs: WR, DE, DT, CB, OLB
Scenario 1: Tennessee should jump on Balmer if he gets past Pittsburgh because he would immediately challenge for a starting job alongside Pro Bowl DT Albert Haynesworth.
Scenario 2: The Titans have an abundance of size at receiver but lack ideal explosiveness and have some problems separating from coverage when running routes underneath. Jackson has the burst to get open quickly and the run-after-catch ability to turn an underneath completion into a long gain. In addition, getting him would give an average punt return unit a boost.
Scenario 3: Merling is another possibility, as Tennessee will probably look to address the defensive end spot in the first three rounds.

25. Seattle Seahawks -- Limas Sweed, WR, Texas
Record: 10-6 Needs: TE, WR, DT, OL, S
Scenario 1: Bobby Engram led the team with 94 catches last year but is 35 years old, Nate Burleson remains inconsistent and Deion Branch tore the ACL in his left knee in the Seahawks' playoff loss to Green Bay. In other words, Seattle needs help at receiver and Sweed would be a great pick this late in the first round.
Scenario 2: Efforts to draft a tight end who can be a featured weapon in the passing game have come up short, so the Seahawks signed Jeb Putzier in the offseason. However, Putzier has struggled the past three seasons so Seattle could still take either Purdue TE Dustin Keller or USC TE Fred Davis here.
Scenario 3: Safeties Brian Russell, Mike Green and Omare Lowe are all on the wrong side of 30 so Seattle could infuse some youth there. Phillips is by far the best available safety in a weak class and would fill that need.
Scenario 4: Balmer would also be a consideration if he slips.

26. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Calais Campbell, DE, Miami
Record: 11-5 Needs: DE, DT, SS, OT, WR
Scenario 1: The Jaguars need help along the defensive front and Campbell is the best available defensive lineman in this scenario.
Scenario 2: Jacksonville could also stand to upgrade over Tony Pashos at right tackle, making Cherilus an option.
Scenario 3: Phillips is a possibility for the Jags as well.

27. San Diego Chargers -- Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon
Record: 11-5 Needs: ROT, S, RB, NT, CB
Scenario 1: San Diego clearly needs a right tackle, but value clearly trumps need in this case. Stewart's toe surgery has caused his stock to drop but he has great speed and size. He would be an excellent replacement for free agent departure Michael Turner and he wouldn't have to carry a punishing load as the backup to LaDainian Tomlinson.
Scenario 2: If the Chargers don't take Stewart, Cherilus is the logical pick.
Scenario 3: ILB Dan Connor is also a possibility.

28. Dallas Cowboys -- James Hardy, WR, Indiana
Record: 13-3 Needs: WR, CB, RB, G, C, QB, NT
Scenario 1: After filling their need at running back earlier in the first round the Cowboys would love to address cornerback here, but a trade for Pacman Jones and/or a lack of value at corner at this point would mean a receiver makes more sense.
Scenario 2: The Cowboys could also use this pick on CB Brandon Flowers.

29. San Francisco 49ers (from 13-3 IND) -- Gosder Cherilus, OT, Boston College
Record: 5-11 Needs: ROT, OLB, WR, OL, QB, CB
Scenario 1: San Francisco did well to get OTJoe Staley in the first round last year, but Jonas Jennings has had problems staying healthy and doesn't appear to be the answer at left tackle. The 49ers can move Staley and his quick feet to the left side and then plug Cherilus in on the right, where he has the size and quickness to make an immediate impact.
Scenario 2: If Cherilus isn't available expect San Francisco to address wide receiver needs, possibly with Malcolm Kelly.

30. Green Bay Packers -- Brandon Flowers, CB, Virginia Tech
Record: 13-3 Needs: CB, S, OT, TE, QB
Scenario 1: CBs Charles Woodson and Al Harris are both on the downsides of their careers and there is no heir apparent behind them, so Green Bay needs to inject youth and talent at corner. Flowers lacks ideal speed, but doesn't make a lot of mistakes and is comfortable jamming receivers at the line, making him a good fit for the Packers' scheme.
Scenario 2: Safety is also a pressing need, so don't be surprised to see Green Bay take Phillips if Flowers comes off the board earlier than expected.

31. New England Patriots -- Pick forfeited
Record: 16-0 Needs: ILB, CB, OLB, OL
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 -- Kenny Phillips, S, Miami
Record: 10-6 Needs: S, OLB, CB, WR, G, , DT
Scenario 1: Phillips makes sense here because the Giants need help at safety after losing Gibril Wilson to free agency and they aren't going to find much value at safety in the later rounds.
Scenario 2: Connor would be a good choice as well because he would offer solid value at one of the Giants' positions of need.
Todd McShay is the director of college football scouting for Scouts Inc. He has been evaluating prospects for the NFL draft since 1998. Scouts Inc.'s Steve Muench also contributed to this report

No comments: