After the news broke yesterday with Jay Cutler being traded to the Bears, it is an appropriate time to unleash our next mock draft. Wherever Cutler landed, there was going to be a ripple effect on draft boards and now we have a little bit more clarity where teams may zero in on a quarterback.
I did my best to differentiate from Chris’ first mock, as our goal is not necessarily to correctly predict every pick down the line, but to give readers an idea of possibilities that each team has and combined we hope to correctly predict every outcome. I also am a firm believer of just going down line the, pick by pick for a mock and not try to fill in holes.
1.) Detroit Lions – Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
It is rumored that the Lions offered up this pick for Cutler, but the Broncos turned it down due to the price tag of the top pick. Lions go with the safer pick with the money that they will have to spend.
2.) St. Louis Rams – Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
Many people have the Rams taking either Smith or Eugene Monroe here, but the Rams have as big of a hole at receiver as they do at tackle. Crabtree is arguably the most talented player in the draft.
3.) Kansas City Chiefs – Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
This could be toss-up between Monroe and Aaron Curry. New Chiefs boss Scott Pioli builds the Patriots-way from the line back and adds some protection for Matt Cassel.
4.) Seattle Seahawks – Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
It is hard to imagine the highest-rated quarterback drop out of the top-10, which could be a possibility if he gets past Seattle. The Seahawks get their future QB, who can sit and learn for a couple years behind Hasselbeck, similar to the Favre-Rodgers scenario.
5.) Cleveland Browns – Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest
The Browns have made it known they are very high on Brian Orakpo, but probably aren’t expecting Curry to be here. He is and they will take the former Demon Deacon instead to help shore up their defense.
6.) Cincinnati Bengals – Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
Marvin Lewis has said he wants to get back to the power running/play action style of offense that was successful a few years ago and Smith will be a major piece to keep Carson Palmer healthy. Smith has off-field red flags, but right after the end of the college season he was pegged to be the top pick in the draft, so the talent is there.
7.) Oakland Raiders – Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
Conventional wisdom does not apply to the Raiders, so they pass on Orakpo and B.J. Raji to improve their defense. Al Davis loves speed and adding Maclin to Darren McFadden and JaMarcus Russell does add a lot of intrigue.
8.) Jacksonville Jaguars – B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
Well, it looks like Raji is good friends with Puff the Magic Dragon and could have a Warren Sapp-eque drop down the board. I don’t buy the Mark Sanchez talk here and with the top OT’s and WR’s off the board, they take the best player on the board, who will go nicely next to John Henderson and last year’s top pick DE Derrick Harvey.
9.) Green Bay Packers – Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas
This is a dream scenario for the Packers. Now, I don’t know if Orakpo will be here come April 25, as a lot has to do where Stafford gets selected and if Cincinnati and Oakland decide to go defense with their picks. But in this mock, Orakpo is available and is the top-rated hybrid player to fill the other OLB spot opposite of Aaron Kampman. Chris had Everette Brown here in his last mock draft, which very well could be the guy if Orakpo is gone. The former Longhorn is very versatile and could move to DE in 4-3 sets, if needed. If Andre Smith falls here, Thompson will have to take a strong look at him as well and don’t count out the possibility of trading out this spot, especially if Stafford falls or if a team that lost out in the Cutler sweepstakes covets Mark Sanchez.
10.) San Francisco 49ers – Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
San Francisco was one of the teams in the Cutler sweepstakes, as it seemed like a 1/3 of the league was. Mike Singletary got the defense to play last year and Shaun Hill isn’t the answer at QB, as Sanchez is.
11.) Buffalo Bills – Robert Ayers, DE, Tennesse
Ayers is a player who is flying up everyone’s boards and while I don’t like to follow the experts I am buying in here. Both Aaron Maybin and Everette Brown are both considered hybrid players, where as Ayers is a true DE to fit into the Buffalo’s 4-3 scheme.
12.) Denver Broncos – Everette Brown, DE/OLB, Florida State
The Broncos have two picks to work with now and could package something together with a second or third rounder to move up and snag Sanchez or Stafford. However, the defense was horrible last year, 29th in total defense and 26th in total sacks, so Brown helps improve that pass rush.
13.) Washington Redskins – Aaron Maybin, DE/OLB, Penn St.
It looks like the Redskins finished second to the Bears in acquiring Cutler, but don’t panic with Jason Campbell still on board. Maybin is the pick to add a pass rusher next to Fat Albert, and hopefully doesn’t lend his Old Country Buffet punch card to the rookie.
14.) New Orleans Saints – Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio St.
The Saints need help on defense, especially secondary where Mike McKenzie still has a job. The versatile Jenkins, who might end up seeing time at safety as well, will bring in some relief.
15.) Houston Texans – Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
After signing Antonio Smith, the Texans have solidified their defense front for the time being. One of the USC linebackers may go here, but Harvin is the pick to add a fast, slashy threat to compliment freak of nature Andre Johnson.
16.) San Diego Chargers – Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
Is it just me or does Maualuga scream Junior Seau? He may be more Lofa Tatupu than Seau, but either way he adds some needed insurance with the uncertain health of Steriod err… I mean Shawn Merriman.
17.) New York Jets – Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB, Ohio St.
This is such a tough team to predict, as they obviously have need at QB, but is Josh Freeman any better off than Kellen Clemens? WR or OLB could be a possibility, but with uncertainty at quarterback and the shelf life of Thomas Jones may be winding down, Wells will help pound the rock.
18.) Denver Broncos (from Chicago Bears) – Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
Orton is not the long term answer at QB, but is a nice stop gap to give McDaniels a chance to draft a QB in the second or third round to develop over Freeman. Switching to a 3-4 scheme, new coordinator Mike Nolan gets an anchor for his defensive line.
19.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas St.
Even with Gruden gone, the Bucs still go after another quarterback. Cutler probably would have landed here if the Bucs had more assets to work with, but they are happy to take Freeman.
20.) Detroit Lions (from Dallas Cowboys) – Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
A little higher than most mock drafts out there, but the Lions finished dead last in the NFL last year with four interceptions and Leigh Bodden is gone. Defensive line could be a possibility, as could Freeman if he is available.
21.) Philadelphia Eagles – Knowshown Moreno, RB, Georgia
The Eagles have two first round picks and could take a WR that McNabb always seems to want with their second pick, but right now Moreno represents more value than any WR left on the board.
22.) Minnesota Vikings – Michael Oher, T, Ole Miss
As much as I hate to say it, the Vikings don’t have a lot of holes, but tackle is one of them. I hear that they are big on Harvin and need another threat in the passing game, but Oher is a major upgrade over Ryan Cook/Artis Hicks combo.
23.) New England Patriots – Brian Cushing, LB, USC
With Vrabel in Kansas City and Bruschi’s career coming to an end, the Patriots reload with Cushing and put him along last year’s rookie of the year Jerod Mayo.
24.) Atlanta Falcons – Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma St.
Pettigrew is the draft’s top rated TE and has fallen down the boards a bit since the combine. However, Atlanta doesn’t pass on the big man who can not only block, but be a nice safety valve for Matt Ryan.
25.) Miami Dolphins – Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
Listed at 6’3” and 218 lbs, Britt is the big, physical receiver to compliment Ted Ginn, Jr. and open up the Dolphins passing game.
26.) Baltimore Ravens – Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
Joe Flacco has shown more promise than any other quarterback the Ravens have trotted out and they give them another weapon to work with and Heyward-Bey can flat out fly.
27.) Indianapolis Colts – Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss
A little surprised that Jerry fell to the Colts, but that is how sometimes a mock works. Indianapolis won’t pass on him, but if he’s gone Evander Hood of Missouri may be the pick.
28.) Philadelphia Eagles (from Carolina Panthers) – Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
McNabb will have to wait for another weapon in the receiving game, but don’t rule out the possibility of a trade for a veteran receiver (maybe Anquan Boldin?) with one of their two picks. Britton adds some much needed youth and depth to their offensive line.
29.) New York Giants – Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina
I’ll put this in a simple way: Plaxico Burress has a tendency of going Cheddar-Bob and shooting himself in the leg and Nicks doesn’t.
30.) Tennessee Titans – Evander “Ziggy” Hood, DT, Missouri
With all the first-round caliber receivers off the board, the Titans snag Fat Albert’s replacement. Hopefully Hood doesn’t have an penchant for stomping on heads.
31.) Arizona Cardinals – Donald Brown, RB, UConn
Edge is getting dull in the desert and will be gone sooner than later. Brown adds some versatility to running game to compliment Tim Hightower.
32.) Pittsburgh Steelers – Clay Matthews, LB, USC
A pure value pick for Pittsburgh, who just seems to breed linebackers. The James Harrison contract situation may not end pretty either, Matthews is insurance for that.