The NFL season is over. No more speculating. There are 20 teams whose spots are solidified, with many of the playoff teams that have no chance in the playoffs (Giants, Titans, etc.). It seems that all of the teams know where they will draft. Barring an upset, the Patriots and the Cowboys will have the 31st and 32nd spots. Now, it's time for mock drafts.
1. Miami Dolphins-Darren McFadden/RB/Arkansas: I know, most people like Glenn Dorsey, but offenses win championships. Defenses are very important, but offenses win championships. The Dolphins do have Ronnie Brown, but as the Colts, Bears, Patriots, and Saints showed last year, 2 back systems work as well, if not better, than one back. How did LaDanian Tomlinson and Larry Johnson do in the playoffs last year? Exactly. Courtney Brown didn't help the Browns win. Mario Williams has been great for the Texans, but they aren't in the playoffs. They may be if they had Joseph Addai, Maurice Jones-Drew, or Laurence Maroney. The Patriots have a great offense but not a great defense, and they are undefeated. You can't build a team around a defensive tackle. You can build one around a great running back.
2. St. Louis Rams-Jake Long/OT/Michigan: The Rams need an offensive line. They have a great QB, but it doesn't matter since he's always on his back. It seems like they have everything in place for a run, except the offensive line. Jake Long is a great offensive lineman who was the anchor for a good Michigan offense.
3. Atlanta Falcons-Andre Woodson/QB/Kentucky: Out of all of the QBs in the NFL draft, he is the most pro ready. Sure, everyone seems to love Matt Ryan, but in my mind, he is one of the most overrated QBs in the nation. He threw 2 INTs against Notre Dame, and his completion percentage was sub-.500 against Virginia Tech in the game he "clinched" the Heisman. Woodson threw nine less interceptions and five more touchdowns than Matt Ryan against a much tougher schedule. Woodson is a much better QB than Ryan.
4. Kansas City Chiefs-Glenn Dorsey/DT/LSU: With Jake Long and Andre Woodson off of the board, the Chiefs will select the best player left. The Kansas City defense has improved drastically since the days of Trent Green and Priest Holmes. Brodie Croyle deserves one more year, and the offense still has great potential. This defensive line with Glenn Dorsey and Jared Allen could be fierce.
5. Oakland Raiders-Chris Long/DE/Virginia: It's fate that the son of a Raiders legend would end up playing on the same team. Chris Long, son of Howie, is making a name for himself by being by far the best defensive end prospect in the country and being able to play both 3-4 and 4-3, a valuable asset if there would be a coaching change. The Raiders D went downhill after last year. The Silver and Black need about everything, but Long is the best player left on the board.
6. New York Jets-Trades the 6th pick and the 69th pick to the Dallas Cowboys for the 22nd pick and 31st pick of the 2008 NFL Draft. The Cowboys take Malcolm Jenkins/CB/Ohio State: I know the Cowboys wanted Darren McFadden, but he's gone, and the Jets would be looking to trade down with Chris Long and McFadden off of the board. The Cowboys secondary is terrible, and the cornerbacks are getting older. Jenkins is a physical corner with great talent.
7. New England Patriots-Trades the 7th pick to the San Francisco 49ers for the 30th pick, the 38th pick, and cash. The Niners take Ryan Clady/OT/Boise State. The Niners trade to get their own pick, and the Patriots get two lower picks to get a good corner and a good linebacker. What a great deal. With Jenkins taken, the Patriots would not need this pick. Clady is a monster who paved the way for Ian Johnson during their amazing 2006 season. He would help a San Francisco offensive line that gave the QB no protection, leading to the multiple injuries.
8. Baltimore Ravens-Matt Ryan/QB/Boston College: As I've said multiple times, I do not like Matt Ryan, but he will go this high. Whichever team takes him will have just wasted a pick, but I do these mock drafts off of what I think they will do and what the should do. This time, "what I think they would do" trumped "what I think they should do." Ryan had a great season for the first 6 or 7 games.
9. Cincinnati Bengals-James Laurinaitis/MLB/Ohio State: The Bengals linebackers were terrible from week one. They are one of the main reasons that every team besides the Ravens and the Rams put up 20 or more points on them. The Bengals have to get a strong leader. Laurinaitis could lead this defense from day one, and he's local. What more could you want?
10. New Orleans Saints-Mike Jenkins/CB/South Florida: The Saints defense was burned all year long. Yesterday, Kyle Orton had a pretty good game against them. Yes, the Kyle Orton. The one who backed up Rex Grossman and Brian Griese. Jenkins is a fast, hard-hitting corner. Jason David is clearly not the answer. Jenkins could make an immediate impact in the nickel formation.
11. Denver Broncos-Sedrick Ellis/DT/USC: The Broncos defense was terrible. They could not stop the run if their lives depended on it. Ellis is a giant defensive tackle who also could make an impact in the pass rush. The Broncos' defensive line needs major help.
12. Buffalo Bills-Malcolm Kelly/WR/Oklahoma: It's pretty close between DeSean Jackson and Kelly here, but Jackson is more of a returner than a receiver, and the Bills already have solid special teams. Kelly would be a perfect number 2 receiver to Lee Evans.
13. Carolina Panthers-Kenny Philips/S/Miami: Phillips is a playmaker. The Panther defense did improve some with Jon Beason, but they still need a good secondary. Phillips could end up being the next Ed Reed. He could easily evolve into one of the greatest defensive backs in history.
14. Chicago Bears-Brian Brohm/QB/Louisville: Da Bears need a quarterback. It's better to take one early than to wait. The Bears need a lot of help on offense, but they are just one year removed from a Super Bowl appearance. They could easily rise to the top of the NFC again next year.
15. Detroit Lions-Vernon Gholston/DE/Ohio State: The Lions have a terrible pass defense, but some of that comes from the defensive line's inability to get consistent pressure. Gholston was fantastic against the good offensive line of Michigan.
16. Arizona Cardinals-Quentin Groves/DE/Auburn: In my opinion, Groves is very underrated in this draft. He's a fantastic pass rusher and can play outside linebacker and defensive end in the 3-4. He would be perfect for the Cards' transition to the 3-4.
17. Minnesota Vikings-DeSean Jackson/WR/Cal: Safety is the biggest need, but I can't see another safety being taken until the middle of the second round. DeSean Jackson is a major playmaker, and maybe he won't drop as many passes as Troy Williamson.
18. Houston Texans-Rashard Mendenhall/RB/Illinois: Big blow to Illinois in losing Mendenhall, one of the most underrated backs in the country. Ron Dayne has been a pretty good power back for the Texans, but Darius Walker can't take a team to the playoffs. Mendenhall has the ability to be a major playmaker.
19. Philadelphia Eagles-Sam Baker/OT/USC: Maybe Donovan McNabb wouldn't get injured every other game if he had a line that could protect him. Now, Osi Umenyiora can't get 6 sacks with a real offensive tackle.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Jonathan Stewart/RB/Oregon: Carnell Williams had a very serious knee injury earlier in the year. It's questionable if Williams will be at full strength for next year. Stewart has amazing vision for a running back. He could make a major impact on a Tampa Bay offense that is aging quickly.
21. Washington Redskins-Calais Campbell/DE/Miami: The Redskins have a very good secondary, but they can't get any pressure on the QB. Campbell is a very good pass rusher and is pretty good in the run defense as well.
22. New York Jets (From Cleveland through Dallas)-Dan Conner/LB/Penn State: Conner could be a valuable run stopper at middle linebacker in the 3-4. The Jets are the hardest team to draft for. They have a young QB, a good running back, decent wide receivers, and they covered offensive line and the secondary in the last two drafts. They just need to take the best player left on the board.
23. Seattle Seahawks-Felix Jones/RB/Arkansas: Some reports say that Jones would stay at Arkansas, but he'll probably realize what a dumb move it would be to stay at the school that a pass-heavy offense is going to be established at. He'll go pro and replace Shaun Alexander, whose aging very quickly.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers-Jeff Otah/OT/Pitt: The Steelers have given up way too many sacks, especially for a team that runs it so often. With Alan Faneca leaving after this season, Otah could play at either guard or tackle given his 340 pound frame.
25. Tennessee Titans-James Hardy/WR/IU: Hardy is one of the hidden gems in this class. He is very tall, very fast, and has a great vertical. He reminds me of Calvin Johnson. If he played at Michigan instead of Indiana, he'd be every scout's favorite receiver.
26. New York Giants-Reggie Smith/CB/Oklahoma: I don't know what the corners were thinking against New England, but Moss burned them on a fly route two plays in a row! The Giants need Smith to fix that terrible secondary.
27. San Diego Chargers-Frank Okam/DT/Texas: San Diego is another tough team to draft for. I doubt they would take another wide receiver in the first round, and it's always hard to find a prospect that can help right away in a 3-4, but Okam could be a dominant nose guard in the NFL. Luis Castillo is often hurt, my guess from the steroid needles, and Jamal Williams is 32 believe it or not. Okam could be a valuable piece on a defense that gave up almost 300 yards to Adrian Peterson.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars-Mario Manningham/WR/Michigan: Manningham could be a great slot receiver for a Jags receiving corps that is led by Dennis Northcutt. Again, Dennis Northcutt. The one who couldn't get on the field with the Browns.
29. Green Bay Packers-Aqib Talib/CB/Kansas: Talib has very good hands for a cornerback and played both ways during his junior year. Al Harris and Charles Woodson are both in their thirties. It's time to start looking for a replacement.
30. New England Patriots (From Indianapolis through San Francisco): Antoine Cason/CB/Arizona: Asante Samuel may go into free agency this year depending on how much Randy Moss demands. Cason may be the most pro ready corner in this draft.
31. New York Jets (From Dallas): Adarius Bowman/WR/Oklahoma State: Bowman is very athletic and could be Clemens' number one target from the start. He was also coached by a man who was 40, so that's a plus.
32. New England Patriots: FORFEITED
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, San Francisco 49ers
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, Dallas Cowboys
, Darren McFadden
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