Mock drafts typically not worth even toilet paper status, but anyone have an opinion on DeAngelo Williams out of Memphis? My dream draftee would be LenDale White, but doesn't sound like he is going to fall that far.
1. Houston Texans
Reggie Bush, RB, USC
Comment: It makes more sense for the Texans to trade down, draft the offensive tackle they so desperately need, use the extra picks to fill additional holes (again, focusing on the offensive line), and roll with Domanick Davis as their running back. But that's far too logical to happen in today's NFL, so the Texans will take Bush, trade or sit Davis, and wonder why he can't run like he did behind the superior offensive line he had at USC.
2. New Orleans Saints
Mario Williams, DE, North Carolina
Comment: The Saints will most likely trade down now that they've signed quarterback Drew Brees. Then again, Drew's deal is structured in a manner that suggests the Saints could release him after this season. If they have any concerns about his injured shoulder, they could stick to what we all assumed was their draft plan - selecting Matt Leinart or one of the other top quarterbacks. Offensive tackle D'Brickshaw Ferguson is also a candidate.
3. Tennessee Titans
Matt Leinart, QB, USC
Comment: You have to believe someone (maybe the Jets) will find a way to trade up to the second spot and snatch Leinart. But if he falls to the Titans, he'll be reunited with his old OC Norm Chow. He'll also be on the Carson Palmer Plan, sitting for a year behind McNair before taking over the team—and making Billy Volek available to the highest bidder as well. If Leinart's gone, D'Brickashaw Ferguson is an option.
4. New York Jets
Jay Cutler, QB, Vanderbilt
Comment: The Jets' quarterbacking situation is very bleak right now, with Chad Pennington fresh off his second major surgery in as many seasons and no other reliable options on the roster. Meanwhile, a strong arm and outstanding post-season workouts have vaulted Culter from obscurity at Vanderbilt into the top of the first round. The Jets could chose to help fix their offensive line woes by taking D'Brickashaw Ferguson, but a top-notch quarterback will be too much to pass up.
5. Green Bay Packers
A.J. Hawk, LB, Ohio State
Comment: The Packers have copious needs on defense, so expect them to go with the best available player on that side of the ball. An All-American with excellent speed and tackling skills, Hawk will line up next to emerging star Nick Barnett and benefit from the signing of Ryan Pickett. He has more than enough talent to make an immediate impact for the Green and Gold. However, if Mario Williams happens to fall here, he may be too enticing for the Pack to pass up.
6. San Francisco 49ers
D'Brickashaw Ferguson, T, Virginia
Comment: The 49ers already have mammoth offensive tackle Jonas Jennings playing on the left side, so either he or Ferguson would have to make the transition to the right side. The Niners have major o-line needs, so this move makes a lot of sense if Ferguson is still available. Then again, head coach Mike Nolan's club has so many needs that it will be a total crapshoot if Ferguson is off the board when their pick comes up. They are also a candidate to trade down, particularly to a team that wants to sneak in front of the Raiders if one of the big three quarterbacks is still available.
7. Oakland Raiders
Vince Young, QB, Texas
Comment: Andrew Walter may be the Raiders' current quarterback of the future, but if Young slides down the draft board Al Davis won't be able to contain himself. Sure, Oakland has other needs—they also covet Mario Williams—but nabbing Young would be exactly the kind of big splash Davis needs to make. Who knows, maybe Al will move the team back to the Rose Bowl, where Vince has had a fair amount of success.
8. Buffalo Bills
Haloti Ngata, DT, Oregon
Comment: Buffalo has lost both Sam Adams and Pat Williams over the last two offseasons, so a young defensive lineman who can take up blockers would be a welcomed addition. Ngata, a consensus All-American last season, has enough size and strength to control the line of scrimmage and give the Bills an infusion of talent on the line. The Bills have other needs they need to address, but getting the top defensive tackle at No. 8 makes perfect sense.
9. Detroit Lions
Michael Huff, S, Texas
Comment: If there was a receiver Matt Millen could justify taking here, we're afraid he probably would. Instead, he'll turn his attention to the defense, more specifically the secondary, and Huff is the best defensive back in this year's draft class. He is currently projected to be a safety in the NFL, but he is talented and athletic enough that he could also see time at corner if the Lions chose to use him there.
10. Arizona Cardinals
Winston Justice, T, USC
Comment: Running back? Check. Wide receivers? Check. Quarterback? Well, it's a check in Dennny Green's mind, at least. The only area of concern that Cards have offensively is on the line. They're so desperate for big ugly help that they've signed Texans castoff Milford Brown to play guard—and consider him an upgrade. The Cards have some holes on the defensive side of the ball, but don't forget that Green drafted offensive tackles Korey Stringer and Todd Steussie with first-round picks during the early years of his tenure with the Vikings.
11. St. Louis Rams
Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland
Comment: The Rams have done a decent job of addressing their defensive needs via free agency. There's still work to be done, but we don't think offensive-minded head coach Scott Linehan would be able to pass on the most dynamic tight end in this year's draft. Davis's stock is booming thanks to his show-stealing performance at the scouting combine. The thought of Davis lining up at tight end with Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, and Kevin Curtis at wideout should make fantasy owners salivate. Plus, current starting tight end Brandon Manumaleuna is better suited for the H-back role.
12. Cleveland Browns
Tamba Hali, DE, Penn State
Comment: For the first time in quite a while the Browns aren't picking in the top 10, and based on their stellar free agency work so far we don't expect them to return to that level any time soon. The addition of Willie McGinest is nice, but another pass rusher would certainly be welcome in Cleveland, and Hall fits the bill. Romeo Crennel could also pursue a shifty back like DeAngelo Williams to team with Reuben Droughns, because—strange as this may sound—the Browns don't have that many holes to fill.
13. Baltimore Ravens
Brodrick Bunkley, DT, Florida State
Comment: On the flip side of the free agency coin, the Ravens found their defense gutted by defections, especially in the interior of their line. Because the first priority of the Baltimore defense is to keep blockers off Ray Lewis, a space-eating defensive lineman like Bunkley is the perfect fit. Baltimore could also look for linebacker help, with guys like Ernie Sims and Chad Greenway still on the board.
14. Philadelphia Eagles
Santonio Holmes, WR, Ohio State
Comment: It appears the Terrell Owens experiment didn't work out, leaving the Eagles once again searching for downfield targets. Holmes is the best option of a thin receiver crowd, but unless Philly does something in free agency it's a position of need. The Eagles could also look at LenDale White to fill a role similar to what he did in college, handling between-the-tackles work while Brian Westbrook works the outside, and if Bunkley slips past the Ravens the Eagles would love for him to replace the void left by Corey Simon's departure.
15. Atlanta Falcons
Ko Simpson, S, South Carolina
Comment: Falcons general manager Rich McKay has offered free agent safety Lawyer Milloy a three-year contract, but the team is hoping to find two new starting safeties to replace the tandem of Keion Carpenter and Bryan Scott. Defensive end is another area of need, but the Falcons are trying to swing a trade with the Jets for John Abraham. Simpson appears to be the best safety prospect in this year's draft class, so the Falcons will be giddy if he falls this far.
16. Miami Dolphins
Jimmy Williams, CB, Virginia Tech
Comment: The Sam Madison/Patrick Suirtain era is a thing of the past, and the Fins would be wise to add a potential shutdown corner if one falls to them on draft day. Williams can also play safety if called upon, but he was an excellent corner at Virginia Tech and that is Miami's bigger need at the moment. If Williams is gone when the Dolphins select, fellow cornerbacks Kelly Jennings, Tye Hill, and Johnathan Joseph may hear their name called.
17. Minnesota Vikings
Ernie Sims, LB, Flordia State
Comment: It wouldn't shock us if the Vikings attempt to package this pick along with their two second-round draft picks to move up high enough to select one of the big three rookie signal callers. After all, current starter Brad Johnson will turn 38 in September, and new head coach Brad Childress has talked openly about his desire to find a young signal caller to develop. Still, the Purple have major needs at linebacker, so getting Sims would be a nice consolation prize.
18. Dallas Cowboys
Chad Jackson, WR, Florida
Comment: Running a 4.35 40-yard dash at the Combine sent Jackson's stock northward and he his now the favorite to be the second wideout taken off the board. Terry Glenn is currently the Cowboys' only legitimate burner, and even if they corral Terrell Owens this offseason, the receiving corps needs an injection of youth and speed. That makes Jackson an excellent fit in Big D, but they may also chose to address needs at safety and linebacker.
19. San Diego Chargers
Tye Hill, CB, Clemson
Comment: Hill started his college career as a running back, but Clemson moved him to corner and the results were spectacular. He has blazing speed and finished his senior year as a finalist for the Jim Thorpe award. That's good news for the Chargers, who are no strangers to spending picks on a cornerback. Hill has the talent to start opposite of Quentin Jammer as a rookie and would be an upgrade over Drayton Florence and Sammy Davis, two products of San Diego's 2003 draft.
20. Kansas City Chiefs
Sinorice Moss, WR, Miami
Comment: Offense hasn't been an issue for the Chiefs for many years, but that doesn't mean they won't be looking for a wideout on draft day. Moss' speed would be a huge asset to an offense that is full of average receivers without that extra gear. Dante Hall is the most explosive player on the team, but he has never been able to translate his return prowess into receiving success. If K.C. doesn't grab a speedy wideout, look for them to upgrade their secondary or defensive line.
21. New England Patriots
LenDale White, RB, USC
Comment: Unless they project to be elite players, running backs always fall on draft day. This year will be no exception, as White will last longer than many causal observers realize. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, however, as he will end up with the NFL's model franchise and learn the pro ropes as the understudy to Corey Dillon. He will likely see some time as a short-yardage back this year and may take over for Dillon as the featured back in 2007.
22. Denver Broncos (from Washington Redskins)
Kamerion Wimbley, DE, Florida State
Comment: The Broncos took a bunch of castoffs from the Browns last offseason and spun them into gold, but this year they will be upgrading their defensive line through the draft. Trevor Pryce was let go for cap reasons earlier this month, which creates a need for a defensive end that Wimbley would help satisfy. They may also chose to go with Mathias Kiwanuka, another end who has seen his draft stick fall mightily since the start of the college season.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Marcus McNeill, T, Auburn
Comment: McNeill could fill a big need at right tackle, as the team has no intention of re-signing free agent flop Kenyatta Walker. Keep in mind that lefty Chris Simms is projected as the starter, which means the new right tackle will be responsible for protecting his blindside. Thus, there is a chance that a rookie such as McNeill would be asked to move to left tackle if the team lands a proven starter via free agency to play on the right side.
24. Cincinnati Bengals
Marcedes Lewis, TE, UCLA
Comment: Marvin Lewis would prefer to shore up his improving defense, with players like Bunkley and Simpson candidates should they slide down the draft board. However, the prospect of adding a play-making tight end—in a division where everybody's got one—might be too much for the Bengals to pass up. Expect a tug-of-war in the Cincy draft room, assuming they let Chad Johnson or Carson Palmer in; otherwise, Lewis might vote defense and carry the day.
25. New York Giants
Ashton Youboty, CB, Ohio State
Comment: Sheik what? The Giants seem to have lost their Will(s) in the secondary, and lucky for them this draft is flush with secondary help. Youboty is the most proven commodity and will step into Tom Coughlin's defense immediately. The G-Men would also have to consider Chad Greenway and DeMarco Ryans if they're still on the board, or they could find themselves reaching for a defensive lineman. With so much talent available at corner, and the Giants in need at that position, don't expect them to stray.
26. Chicago Bears
Dominique Byrd, TE, USC
Comment: Bears general manager Jerry Angelo openly discussed the team's need for a pass-catching tight end at a recent fan convention. That doesn't necessarily mean they'll use their first-round pick to acquire such a player, but we can't rule it out either given that all 22 offensive and defensive starters are expected to return next season. Wide receiver is another possibility now that the team failed to acquire hometown boy Antwaan Randle El, who sold out by taking the big bucks from Dan Snyder and the Redskins.
27. Carolina Panthers
Chad Greenway, LB, Iowa
Comment: With Will Witherspoon rolling around naked in his pile of money in St. Louis, the Panthers have a hole to fill at linebacker. Starter Dan Morgan is always injured, so the Panthers could use the draft to add depth even if they acquire a linebacker in free agency. The coaching staff isn't sold on third-year wideout Keary Colbert as a No. 2, so don't rule out a wide receiver with this pick.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars
DeMeco Ryans, LB, Alabama
Comment: The Jags threw us a curve last year by reaching for Matt Jones, and they might muck things up again this time around if they think DeAngelo Williams could be the potential heir to Fred Taylor. However, the free agent loss of Akin Ayodele leaves a vacancy in the linebacking corps, one that—if FSU's Ernie Sims isn't available—Ryans would be ideally suited to fill.
29. Denver Broncos
Leonard Pope, TE, Georgia
Comment: The Broncos finally figured out what the rest of the football world has always known: Jeb Putzier shouldn't be your starting tight end. Pope is the best remaining option in one of the deepest tight end drafts in years, making him a great fit in Mile High. At 6-7, he will be a prime target for Jake Plummer all over the field, especially in the red zone. This is also a great class for running backs, so they may also go that route now that Mike Anderson is in Baltimore.
30. Indianapolis Colts
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Memphis
Comment: Could the Colts really get this lucky? Each time they've lost their marquee back, they've replaced him via the draft; of course, when they selected Marshall Faulk and Edgerrin James, they were drafting in the first four picks. But running back isn't a big position of need this year, so there's a possibility Williams can slide into Edge's slot in the Indy juggernaut and keep the machine humming along. If Williams doesn't make it to No. 30, Minnesota's Laurence Maroney is the likely fallback plan.
31. Seattle Seahawks
Kelly Jennings, CB, Miami
Comment: The Seahawks went back and forth between Kelly Herndon and Andre Dyson as starting cornerbacks opposite Marcus Trufant last season. Dyson was released prior to free agency, but that doesn't mean the team is sold on Herndon as an every week starter. Other needs include linebacker and defensive end, and wide receiver could also be an option now that Joe Jurevicius has moved on. For that matter, safety is also a concern now that former starter Maquand Manuel has signed with the Packers as a free agent.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers
Nick Mangold, C, Ohio State
Comment: The Steelers just keep reloading via the draft, and even at the end of Paul Tagliabue's round there will be a quality player available. The Steelers could look at linebacker Bobby Carpenter or one of the defensive backs to keep the perpetual Steel Curtain Machine machine rolling, but with incumbent center Jeff Hartings getting on in years this would be a great opportunity to introduce new blood to their offensive line. Mangold's stock has climbed to the point that he may not make it out of round one, but if he's there he's the logical pick for the defending World Champions.