01-25-2005, 07:39 PM
01-25-2005, 08:25 PM
1. San Francisco
Projected: Aaron Rodgers, QB California
Preferred Braylon Edwards, WR Michigan
If New England beats Philadelphia, that will mean none of the 46 quarterbacks selected in the first two rounds of the draft since 1990 will have won a Super Bowl for the team that picked them. One of the last 57 since the 1984 draft have won a Super Bowl for their team with only Troy Aikman bucking the trend. O.K., so it's not right to say it's worthless to take a quarterback in the first round since three of the four teams in the 2005 conference championships went in the first round, but San Francisco needs more than just a good signal caller and will try to move down for multiple picks. Matt Leinart's decision to return to USC is a killer. Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith aren't nearly worth a number one overall pick (and aren't slam-dunk first round-caliber talents compared to last year's crop). Desperate for offensive playmakers, San Francisco can take one of the few sure things in Edwards. Chad Henne might have been good, but there was a reason a freshman Michigan quarterback looked like a star. No. 1 has the best combination of size, strength and speed of any receiver in the draft.
Projected: Cedric Benson, RB Texas
Preferred Ronnie Brown, RB Auburn
Nick Saban will want to kick off his Miami career with defense, but the Dolphins first and foremost need a running back. Cedric Benson would appear to be the obvious choice, but Ronnie Brown has the same all-around skills, is faster, bigger, is a better receiver, and has almost no tread on the tires.
Projected: Alex Smith, QB Utah
Preferred Mike Williams, WR USC
The Browns will be interested in starting a new era with a bright young quarterback to build around. The team needs far more firepower at receiver and the former Trojan star will be more than worthy of being a top five pick. Everyone will undervalue him because of the time off; that will be a huge mistake.
Projected: Carnell Williams, RB Auburn
Preferred Cedric Benson, RB Texas
Even with Rex Grossman coming back, the Bears will think long and hard about taking Rodgers or Smith if either one is available. The offensive line was supposed to be a strength and turned into a mess while the receivers are mediocre on their best days, but it's most important to take the best player available at the four. Thomas Jones and Anthony Thomas aren't anything special and aren't proper centerpieces of an offense. Even though a ton of dough was dropped on Jones, Williams or Ronnie Brown belong in the Windy City.
5. Tampa Bay
Projected: Ronnie Brown, RB Auburn
Preferred Carnell Williams, RB Auburn
Exactly how much longer do you think Michael Pittman has? Another weapon for soon-to-be starter Chris Simms will help the average Buc offense. Don't dismiss the idea of trading down to get multiple defensive players later in the first round.
Projected: Erasmus James, DE Wisconsin
Preferred David Pollack, DE Georgia
James is the Alex Brown of the 2005 draft living off a few really big performances. The Badger star was neutralized by the end of the year. Pollack doesn't have the same size as James, but he has the look of a ten-year pro with multi-Pro Bowl appearances. With his tenacity and drive, he'll accept nothing less.
Projected: Adam Jones, CB Oakland
Preferred Aaron Rodgers, QB California
The Raiders have spent a ton of time, energy and dough over recent years on early draft picks for the secondary. It hasn't worked out well with injuries and no pass rush leading the way to the league's 30th ranked pass defense. A running back is a more pressing need but the top three are gone. A young quarterback would be nice.
Projected: Alex Barron, OT Florida State
Preferred Heath Miller, TE Virginia
With one of the league's most promising young receiving corps, the addition of Miller would make this an even more explosive attack. Most likely, the Cardinals will try to beef up the offensive line and none are better than Barron.
Projected: Braylon Edwards, WR Michigan
Preferred Roddy White, WR UAB
The Skins need a serious upgrade at receiver if the Joe Gibbs era is going to turn around.
Projected: Derrick Johnson, LB Texas
Preferred Derrick Johnson, LB Texas
This is too far for Johnson to fall as someone will probably trade up to snake him in the top seven. Even though linebacker isn't a screaming need for the Lions, you always go for the best player available.
Projected: David Pollack, DE Georgia
Preferred Alex Smith, QB Utah
It's not fair to even breathe the name Lawrence Taylor around a prospect, but if anyone knows how to coach high intensity defensive players, it's Bill Parcells. The Cowboys are also desperate for a quarterback.
12. San Diego (from NYG)
Projected: Mike Williams, WR USC
Preferred Troy Williamson, WR South Carolina
If you're going to invest your future in Phil Rivers, you need to give him more than Antonio Gates to throw to.
Projected: Antrel Rolle, CB Miami
Preferred Alex Barron, OT Florida State
Pair Rolle with last year's first round draft pick, Dunta Robinson, and the Texans have one of the league's best young cornerback pairs. Getting another big and talented body to protect David Carr wouldn't be a bad idea either.
Projected: Elton Brown, OG Virginia
Preferred Jammal Brown, OT Oklahoma
The Panthers have a talented young quarterback and some big-time running backs (when healthy). More beef on the line is needed even though more defensive help is a priority.
15. Kansas City
Projected: Dan Cody, DE Oklahoma
Preferred Dan Cody, DE Oklahoma
The Chiefs will have to pass up desperately needed young receiver prospects for defense, defense, defense, defense and more defense. A lineman with all-around skills like Cody would be a good start.
16. New Orleans
Projected: Travis Johnson, DT Florida State
Preferred Adam Jones, CB West Virginia
The Saints equally stunk against the run and pass so it'll be a case of best-defensive-player available.
Projected: Heath Miller, TE Virginia
Preferred Antrel Rolle, CB Miami
The Bengals need help in the secondary, but a talent like Miller might be too good to pass up. This is an offense on the verge of being as devastating as any in the league and Miller would be a tremendous piece to the puzzle.
Projected: Thomas Davis, S Georgia
Preferred Travis Johnson, DT Florida State
For the 177th straight season the Vikings need to upgrade the defense. Getting Johnson to pair with Kevin Williams on the interior would be a dream; Davis wouldn't be a bad pick either.
19. St. Louis
Projected: Channing Crowder, LB Florida
Preferred Carlos Rogers, CB Auburn
Run defense is the Rams' biggest issue with a talented young cover-corner a close second. There should be plenty of good value players available for the choosing.
20. Dallas (from Buffalo)
Projected: Jammal Brown, OT Oklahoma
Preferred Matt Roth, DE Iowa
The aging O line needs an infusion of new blood, but the defense is where the value is at from the mid-first round to early in the second. A combination of Pollack and Roth would be devastating even though there are too many needs to go heavy in one spot that isn't all that bad.
Projected: Shawne Merriman, DE Maryland
Preferred Mark Clayton, WR Oklahoma
Merriman is a tweener able to grow into a superstar pass rusher. Jacksonville needs offense too much to select the Terp star, but it's doubtful he'll fall any further than this.
Projected: Roddy White, WR UAB
Preferred Roscoe Parrish, WR Miami
It's hard to know whether or not Kyle Boller is a living, breathing NFL quarterback with Travis Taylor and Clarence Moore at receiver. Boller needs several more targets than just Todd Heap.
Projected: Shaun Cody, DT USC
Preferred Shawne Merriman, DE Maryland
Versatility is the key to the Seahawk defense. Cody can play tackle or end while Merriman can grow into a big outside linebacker or a good sized speed end.
24. Green Bay
Projected: Carlos Rogers, CB Auburn
Preferred Erasmus James, DE Wisconsin
In a division with Randy Moss, it's never a bad thing to have good corners. The Packers give up way too many big pass plays to stand pat with their secondary. No, Erasmus James won't be around this long.
Projected: Anttaj Hawthorne, DT Wisconsin
Preferred Thomas Davis, S Georgia
Denver doesn't have a glaring weakness, but an overall talent upgrade everywhere is desperately needed to be a serious contender again.
26. NY Jets
Projected: Kevin Burnett, LB Tennessee
Preferred Marlin Jackson, CB Michigan
Another receiver would be nice and a quarterback would be a luxury, but more the Jets need more depth and more playmakers on defense. There will be several blue-chippers to choose from.
Projected: Adam Terry, OT Syracuse
Preferred Elton Brown, OG Virginia
The better the offensive line, the better Michael Vick will be. Vick can overcome a mediocre receiving corps if he has time to operate, but don't assume a Roddy White or Mark Clayton wouldn't go here.
28. San Diego
Projected: Brodney Pool, S Oklahoma
Preferred Ernest Shazor, S Michigan
San Diego was 31st in pass defense despite investing a tone of time, dough and effort in Quentin Jammer and Sammy Davis on the corner. Something still has to be done to improve the pass D, so look for the Chargers to use at least one first round pick on an elite safety.
Projected: Darryl Blackstock, LB Virginia
Preferred Shaun Cody, DT USC
Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are brilliant ends to build a defense around. The more elite athletes to help out the front seven, the better.
Projected: Matt Roth, DE Iowa
Preferred Vernand Morency, RB Oklahoma St
Pittsburgh has a lot of interesting choices ahead if Plaxico Burress really does want out. Roth would fit in well with the 3-4, but an explosive running back would make even more sense considering the tread on the Bus's tires and Duce Staley's injury issues.
Projected: Justin Tuck, DE Notre Dame
Preferred J.J. Arrington, RB California
Another running back would be nice, but that won't happen. A pass rusher like Tuck would be a luxury; a tackle is more likely.
32. New England
Projected: Corey Webster, CB LSU
Preferred Brandon Browner, CB Oregon St
The Troy Brown experience was nice, but the Patriots need full-time defensive backs. There should be several good ones to choose from highlights by Webster, Browner and FSU's Bryant McFadden.
01-25-2005, 10:51 PM
A draft of Williams and Merriman looks a lot better to me. Tackle could be a need, but OLB/DE is a much bigger one. And Mike Williams, even with ?, is the best talent left there.
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