After countless requests from my cult following (my form of jersey popping) I have decided to deliver the much anticipated and highly credible COMPLETE 1st Round NFL MOCK DRAFT:
1. Miami Dolphins: Jake Long, T Michigan With the Dolphins announcing that Long has agreed in principle to an offer, he'll join the likes of Hall of Famer Ron Yary, and future Hall of Famer Orlando Pace as the only offensive lineman to be the top pick. If you determine Ronnie Brown is enough backfield and John Beck is enough QB, then why not protect them?
2. St. Louis Rams: Chris Long, DE Virginia The Rams need a pass rusher way more than they need a defensive tackle (Dorsey) and in many scouts mind Chris Long is the best defensive prospect in the entire draft.
3. Atlanta Falcons: Glenn Dorsey, DE Louisiana State Blank & Co. need a little bit of everything and with Dorsey you get alot of one great thing. It's a start, they have some work to do. The second round will have a quarterback for them, none as good as Matt Ryan.
4. Oakland Raiders: Darren McFadden, RB Arkansas The prospect of having the most explosive player in the draft right in your hand is way to much for Al Davis to give up. Kiffin probably doesn't want another rusher but this is Oakland and only the guy in the white jumpsuit has any say.
5. Baltimore Ravens: (from Kansas City Chiefs) Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College Your first blockbuster of the day is delivered by the Chiefs to the Ravens, subject to the Ravens not giving up too much along with their eighth pick overall this should happen. You all know how I feel about Matt Ryan and John Harbaugh feels the same way. Those who think this wasn't necessary, the Patriots are at #7 and Carolina is looming at #13. I can hear the deal rumbling from Foxboro.
6. New York Jets: Vernon Gholston, DE Ohio St. The gift has landed in the lap of Jets fans and thank god because right after the cross town rivals win the Super Bowl they needed something. The Buckeye pass rusher will instantly be a hit in New York improving a weak defense, not to mention getting him before the Patriots do.
7. New England Patriots: Branden Albert, G/OT Virginia I've become more and more convinced that New England may be forced to actually use this pick. After the blockbuster Chiefs/Ravens deal New England won't be holding anything more than the seventh pick, to early to draft a corner and they don't use rookie linebackers. New England lost the Super Bowl because their offensive line got outplayed, Albert can play both offensive line positions and will eventually replace Matt Light, it's a good pick.
8. Kansas City Chiefs: (from the Baltimore Ravens) Ryan Clady, OT Boise St. Clady is a very good offensive tackle and the second best available in the draft. Selecting him anchors an offensive line in need of help since the retirement of future Hall of Famer, Willie Roaf. After months of draft rumours the Clady talk hasn't died down, the Chiefs and Ravens did each other a great favor.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Sedrick Ellis, DT USC Remember how I said that the Jets needed to improve their defense? Well the Bengals defense is worse, Ellis was a two-time All Ameican at USC and in his senior campaign absolutely crushed offenses to the tune of 58 tackles and 8 sacks. The California native is under 300 pounds and can move better than any nose in the draft. Great effective choice for the Bengals. (once they agree to move Ocho Cinco, they'll have more picks to work with)
10. New Orleans Saints: Keith Rivers, LB USC Why not? Rivers is the latest of USC linebackers to wear #55, following the likes of Junior Seau and Willie McGinest, that's good company. Rivers is BY FAR the best linebacker in the draft and the Saints clearly aren't going for a DB in 2008, reunited with his former USC teammate Reggie Bush the top rated LB stays in the top ten.
11. Buffalo Bills: Derrick Harvey, DE Florida Plenty of corners on the board but the Bills are the last team in the AFC East to pick, they have to go impact, Harvey is certainly impact. The 6'4 defensive end ran the 40 in 4.75 which shows his speed off the edge, enough speed to beat Patriots tackle Matt Light. If Brady can't get the ball off, who cares how bad Randy beat your DB's.
12. Denver Broncos Malcolm Kelly, WR Oklahoma Where I think that this may be a bit of a stretch the 6'4 Kelly has been an outstanding receiver for the Sooners since 2005 and the Broncos certainly have offensive issues, give Cutler better protection and more weapons then make the decision on how good he really is.
13. Carolina Panthers: Chris Williams, OT Vanderbilt It is safe to say that Carolina will probably end up in the 5-10 area of the draft in 2009 so they address their need of a perfect fit zone blocker in the quick tackle Chris Williams from Vandy in 08'.
14. Chicago Bears: Jeff Otah, OT Pittsburgh Definitely could see the Bears improve their backfield with the 14th pick (Mendenhall or Stewart are options) Otah is a much safer bet and can instantly improve the Bear offense which needs significant line help.
15. Detroit Lions: Phillip Merling, DE Clemson Being a Boston College fan I've seen Merling compete in the ACC and he is legit. A major part of the Lions collapse last year was due to their inability to put pressure on the quarterback. Lions would have loved to get a DE like Harvey from Florida but they coudln't move further up, Merling fits.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Rashard Mendenhall, RB Illinois No, I'm not going to tell you he is 1B to Darren McFadden because that is just rediculous but with the Cardinals ranking in the bottom five of the NFL in rushing yards last year they need to take Mendenhall. Leinart w/ a backfield then we can determine what he really is.
(Before we get to pick 17, I'll let you know that I know I haven't drafted a single corner yet and there is a reason behind that. I'm a firm believer that everyone of these teams knows after watching the Super Bowl & the playoffs that games are won in the trenches and this draft has alot of trench guys, quality trench guys)
17. Minnesota Vikings: Brian Brohm, QB Louisville Tarvaris Jackson? That is who you are planning on living and dying by? Vikings take Brohm and sit him for the first few weeks then let him play. Brohm can move better than both Flacco & Henne, significantly, and is more accurate than both of them. Five months ago we were still debating wether Brohm or Ryan was the top selection. Minnesota has a great offensive line and excellent backfield, the lifespan on that isn't real long just ask the folks in Seattle.
18. Houston Texans: Mike Jenkins, CB South Florida Playing against Peyton Manning twice a year is brutal enough and Jenkins could help. Along with former number 1 overall, Mario Williams and breakout LB DeMeco Ryans, Jenkins could anchor the Texans secondary for years to come, I'd say that is a pretty good nucleus. He's the best corner in the draft and has played against stronger competition than McKelvin & Rodgers-Cromartie.
19. Philadelphia Eagles: Devin Thomas, WR Michigan State Get McNabb some help if the clock hasn't already struck midnight for the McNabb/Reid show then it's approaching and fast. Thomas is a big wide receiver who had a good bowl game against Boston College, no quality offensive lineman worthy of this pick so the Eagles get the next best help, a receiver.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DeSean Jackson, WR California Once considered a top ten selection Jackson will be a much needed boost of youth for this cor that includes 32 year old Ike Hilliard & 37 year old Joey Galloway. Jackson also pays for himself on the return game which could use some help in Tampa.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: (from the Washington Redskins) Jonathan Stewart, RB Oregon Here is my 2nd Blockbuster of the day, with Stewart still available and Washington in need of a big wide receiver i.e. Chad Johnson, the Bengals agree in terms to a deal that sends the pro bowl wideout to Washington in exchange for the 21st pick overall and a King's ransom. Limas Sweed, WR Texas is still on the board and is very big but Snyder goes for name, not potential. Stewart would win this job in training camp and Rudy Johnson would become well he's already become useless.
22. Dallas Cowboys: Leodis McKelvin, CB Troy State Only one team that picks ahead of their next pick at 28 needs a wideout, Tennessee, James Hardy from Indiana and Limas Sweed are still available but Jones wants a top flight corner and McKelvin is that guy. Banking on the Titans taking one of the two then Jones will go for what is remaining, if both are gone expect the running back, Felix Jones from Arkansas.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers: Gosder Cherilus, OT Boston College Despite Big Ben wanting taller wideouts the bigger offensive concern is on the line. Losing Alan Faneca in free agency was a huge blow for the Steelers and what better than to replace him with a Boston College rookie OT; Like USC quarterbacks, BC linemen are always a good choice.
24. Tennessee Titans: Limas Sweed, WR Texas Vince Young to Limas Sweed, that looks pretty damn good to me. Finally Vince Young gets a tool to work with on the offense, added bonus the kid is from Texas. The 6'4" Longhorn may not even be available at this point but if he is there isn't any chance the Titans pass on him.
25. Seattle Seahawks: James Hardy, WR Indiana Hardy is one of the top four receivers in the draft and gives Seattle another offensive weapon, adding Duckett & Jones in the off season they are staying away from running backs and Hardy will be a welcome addition to an offense which needed improvement.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars: Quentin Groves, DE Auburn Groves is ranked as high as the 3rd best defensive end in the draft and would be a great selection for the Jags. My preseason pick to make it to the AFC championship, Jacksonville was looking to strike it big in the first round but would be satisfied with Groves at this point.
27. Green Bay Packers: (from San Diego Chargers) Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB Tennessee State May be a reach for Green Bay to jump ahead of Dallas and San Francisco to make the selection neither of them are making but with Rodgers-Cromartie dropping, the second round is looming and teams are trying to move up to draft the corner. San Diego really isn't interested in paying first round dollars for a guy they could get in the second round but will have to; See pick 30. Cromartie
28. Dallas Cowboys: Felix Jones, RB Arkansas He won't be there when Dallas selects in the second round and give Jerry some credit he'll have had a very good first round when the day is over. Felix can give Marion a blow this year and allow Cowboy fans not to rid themselves of their Julius Jones gear. The Razorback Alum is to enticing for Jerry to pass up on. Felix played B to McFadden in college and will have no problem doing the same for the bruising Marion Barber.
29. San Francisco 49ers: Kentwan Balmer, DT North Carolina The 49ers need to address their run defense and defense as a whole. Ranking in the lower half of the NFL in both pass and rush defenses, Balmer should provide pressure and with Patrick Willis the 49ers could be building a solid very young solid defense.
30. San Diego Chargers: (from Green Bay Packers) Anthony Collins, OT Kansas adding a second tier offensive tackle to the mix is good enough for the 30th pick overall. Collins is a quality tackle and there isn't any takers to trade back into the first round so the Chargers will have to deal with it.
31. New York Giants: Kenny Phillips, S University of Miami Remember how much I love BC lineman, well Miami DB's Ed Reed and the late Sean Taylor have a new member of their club, Kenny Phillips. Phillips is a playmaking free safety with great skill, my opinion is that Phillips is the best safety in this years draft and best overall DB. The Giants are getting a player at 31.
Live the Draft, Love the Draft . . .