Mock draft 5.0: After the Combine
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Peter Schrager / FOXSports.com
Posted: 55 minutes ago
After a week of 40-yard-dashes, Wonderlic tests, and countless cliche-ridden player interviews, the NFL Scouting Combine has come to an end.
While out in Indy, David Irons played the role of comedian, Calvin Johnson played the role of Superman, and Tank Tyler played the role of the Incredible Hulk. Over 300 players descended upon the Indianapolis Convention Center, where over 300 members of the media picked, prodded, and dissected them like cattle. In the end, there were winners, losers, and players who saw their stocks remain exactly the same.
The NFL free agency game kicks up this week, with several top flight players rumored to be going a variety of places. Where's Nate Clements end up? Cato June? How about Michael Turner? We'll have to wait and see. All of that should play a role come the NFL Draft.
Previous mock drafts: 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.0
MOCK DRAFT: Round 1
Pick Team Player Pos. School Class Previous Rising/Falling High/Low
1. Raiders JaMarcus Russell QB LSU Junior 1st SAME 1st / 10th
There were some ugly whispers being muttered out in Indy this week on Russell. First, he was described as "doughy" by scouts and members of the media, then his passion for the game was questioned, and finally -- his work ethic tested. In the end, he'll be alright. Russell, who didn't participate in any of the throwing drills this week, will still be the first player taken in April's draft. The owner of arguably the most powerful arm in NFL history, Al Davis and Lane Kiffin will cherish the thought of him throwing bombs while dressed in silver and black.
2. Lions Joe Thomas OT Wisconsin Senior 2nd SAME 2nd / 5th
Thomas wowed everyone during his workout this week. A 6-foot-6, 311 lb. beast of a left tackle, Thomas had scouts scraping their jaws off the carpet after he ran a 4.8 40-yard-dash. He's everything you'd want in a first round pick. Smart, hard-working, a natural leader -- no one has anything negative to say about the kid. A good story on Thomas? Back in 2005, Wisconsin's defensive line was banged up and getting beaten up. The best offensive lineman on the squad, Thomas volunteered to step in and play some D-Line. A game in, Thomas tore up his ACL -- ending his season. Any regrets? Nope. None at all. He contends that it was his duty to volunteer in that spot, and wouldn't do anything different if he had to do it all again. Hard not to love this kid. And from all accounts, Matt Millen, Rod Marinelli and the rest of the Lions front office brass do.
3. Browns Adrian Peterson RB Oklahoma Junior 3rd SAME 3rd / 8th
Any doubts about Peterson were erased after his combine workout over the weekend. The former Heisman Trophy finalist ran a perfect 4.35 40-yard-dash, aced all of his interviews and came in built like a machine. With an upright running style and moves that are straight out of the And 1 basketball tour, the Eric Dickerson comparisons are hard to avoid. Cleveland will be tempted to take both Brady Quinn and Gaines Adams in this spot -- but won't pass on Peterson, a potential future Hall of Fame running back.
4. Buccaneers Calvin Johnson WR Georgia Tech Junior 4th SAME 2nd / 4th
The word out of Indianapolis is that not just Tampa, but every team in the NFL -- all 32 -- have Calvin Johnson as the top rated player on their boards. However, Oakland (they need a quarterback), Detroit (Matt Millen would sooner draft a kicker with the second pick than another receiver), and Cleveland (Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow were taken in consecutive years in the first round) all have more pressing needs than the receiver spot. Truthfully, so do the Bucs. But Gruden and co. can't pass on Johnson at 4. His performance at the combine this week was the stuff that legends are made of. The Atlanta native surprised scouts by deciding to run the 40-yard dash only minutes before his scheduled heat. Using East Carolina quarterback James Pinkey's track shoes, Johnson wowed everyone, clocking in at an unheard of 4.35 seconds. 6'6 guys that weigh 235 pounds aren't supposed to do that. Go ahead and get those pewter "Johnson" jerseys made up now.
5. Cardinals Gaines Adams DE Clemson Senior 7th (+2) 5th / 7th
In my last mock draft, I flip-flopped Adams with Arkansas's Jamaal Anderson. Scratch that. Adams will undoubtedly be the first defensive player taken in April's draft. For whatever reason, his stock had begun slipping a bit since the end of the season and the start of the combine. Foolish. The 2006 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, a kid who played 8-on-8 football in high school, dominated the combine drills on Monday. As FOXSports.com's John "Czar" Czarnecki wrote in his column Tuesday, "Going strictly by his numbers, Adams blew away his competition by running a 4.64 40-yard dash and also finishing no worse than third in his group in three other categories. When going by these numbers, Adams could be this year's Mario Williams. He could go anywhere in the top 10 and possibly even the top five based on his overall performance. There wasn't one defensive coach yesterday who wasn't blown away by his 40 time." The Buzzsaw down in Arizona would be delighted to bring Adams on board.
6. Redskins Alan Branch DT Michigan Junior 6th SAME 6th / 6th
Branch didn't have an Adams-like week at the combine, but he didn't hurt his stock either. Weighing in at over 330 pounds, Branch still ran a 5.09 40-meter dash, and pounded out 33 consecutive bench press repetitions of 225 pounds. The Redskins D got beat up all year long. Branch is a beast in the middle, able to both stop the run and rush the passer. The Redskins can't go wrong taking him here.
7. Vikings Jamaal Anderson DE Arkansas Junior 5th (-2) 5th / NR
A few of the other mock drafts have the Vikings going receiver or taking Brady Quinn here, but I can't see Minnesota passing up on Anderson. Described by some as a Richard Seymour clone, Anderson can be the pass rusher Minnesota's D so desperately needs. Though the Minnesota run defense was one of the best in the league in '06, the team sorely missed a pass rushing threat off the end. Kenechi Udeze started 16 games and recorded zero sacks. Erasmus James is still recovering from a 2005 injury. Anderson, who recorded 13.5 sacks for Arkansas in '06, could be the perfect fit.
8. Texans Levi Brown OT Penn State Senior 8th SAME 8th / 31st
Is David Carr going? Staying? Who knows. Word around the league a week ago was that it was a done deal -- Carr was going to be either waived or traded. Now, the buzz out of Indy is that Rick Smith, Gary Kubiak and co. are happy with their quarterback situation. Whether Carr, Jake Plummer, or even Sage Rosenfels is at the helm next year -- the Texans' absolutely atrocious offensive line is going to need improvement. Rookie Charles Spencer played well until an injury sidelined in him in '06, but there's not much else as far as front five protection in Houston goes. Brown makes the most sense here. The second best lineman in the draft, the two-time All American can start at either tackle or guard as soon as next year. He'll protect the Texans' quarterback right away ... whoever that may be.
9. Dolphins Brady Quinn QB Notre Dame Senior 9th SAME 1st / 9th
Quinn could very well turn out being this year's Aaron Rodgers or Matt Leinart -- a quarterback who slips one pick after another in the draft. In Quinn's case, it would be for no other reason than the fact that the first eight teams drafting in the first round (aside from Oakland) have more pressing needs than quarterback. Cam Cameron would be delighted to see the golden boy from Notre Dame fall in his lap at this spot. A no-brainer if he does.
10. Falcons LaRon Landry S LSU Senior 11th (+1) 9th / 11th
Atlanta's receiving corps were a nightmare in '06. The only spot on the field that was potentially worse was safety. LaRon Landry is a once-in-a-generation player. Already considered the top defensive back in the draft entering Tuesday's combine session, Landry blew scouts away with a jaw-dropping 4.32 in the 40. A four-year starter at LSU, and the defensive leader of the nation's No. 1 unit in '06, the Falcons would be grabbing a franchise cornerstone by selecting him at 10. The brother of Ravens starter Dawan Landry, he'll make an impact right away.
11. 49ers Amobi Okoye DT Louisville Senior 20th (+9) 11th / 32nd
San Francisco's defense is a work in progress. With some question marks at both defensive back and defensive line, they can go a number of ways with the 11th pick. Okoye has arguably the biggest "upside" in the entire draft. Only 19, he's an all Big-East performer who's well ahead of the curve. He didn't blow anyone away at the Combine, but apparently impressed team personnel from all over the league in his interviews. San Francisco gave up over 120 rushing yards per game. The teenager could help immediately in '07. And did we mention ... he's 19?
12. Bills Darrelle Revis CB Pittsburgh Junior 12th SAME 9th / 15th
There's been plenty of talk surrounding the Bills this off-season. Weird stuff too. The McGahee trade rumors have picked up in recent days. I don't see how/why Buffalo would get rid of the former Pro Bowl performer just yet. Moreover, backup Anthony Thomas is an unrestricted free agent this season. My gut tells me the Bills hold on to the former Miami standout and he churns out a great comeback year. The Bills may have more issues at cornerback than anywhere else on the field, though. If Buffalo allows Nate Clements to walk as a free agent this off-season (as is the prevailing thought around the league), they could be looking at a serious hole to fill at the position. Revis is a lock-down corner who was an interception hound and a dangerous special teams return man in his three years at Pitt. By his count, he was thrown at only 10-15 times all season, with two of those resulting in interceptions. Along with the Donte Whitner and Ko Simpson picks last year, and Revis this time around, the Bills could find themselves with one of the most young and promising defensive backfields in the entire league by the time the draft is complete.
13. Rams Patrick Willis LB Ole Miss Senior 13th SAME 12th / 13th
Willis was the star of Mobile at the Senior Bowl a month ago. The Butkus Award winner and SEC Defensive Player of the Year, he recorded 137 tackles and had three sacks in '06. A complete package who can go sideline to sideline, Willis will pay immediate dividends for the Rams' often inconsistent defense. The St. Louis Dispatch reported late Tuesday night that St. Louis was releasing Dexter Coakley. Willis can fill in right away.
14. Panthers Reggie Nelson S Florida Junior 14th SAME 13th / 14th
Some mocks have the Panthers grabbing a receiver here. And yes, Carolina certainly needs a complimentary piece to Steve Smith at the position. But I see John Fox and co. going defense here. Carolina's safeties underwhelmed in '06. Nelson had 50 tackles, six interceptions and countless huge hits for the BCS Champion Florida Gators in '06.
15. Steelers Leon Hall CB Michigan Senior 15th SAME 8th / 15th
Though Ike Taylor signed a big multi-year contract last off-season, he was a great disappointment in '06, getting beaten regularly and ultimately benched. Pittsburgh can go a variety of ways with this pick, but I see them going corner, bolstering a pass defense that got absolutely lit up last year. Hall had a solid Combine, getting positive marks from most everyone in attendance. One of the Big Ten's best defensive players, he could start immediately for Mike Tomlin's defense in '07.
16. Packers Greg Olsen TE Miami Junior NR 16th / NR
With Bubba Franks near the end of his pro career and David Martin likely not the long-term answer, the Packers might reach on Olsen and lock up their tight end of the future with the 16th pick. The latest tight end to emerge from the U, Olsen impressed scouts with a 4.45 40-meter-dash, jumping ASU tight end Zach Miller on draft boards in the process. Running back is a need for Green Bay, and Cal's Marshawn Lynch will most definitely be available. Some mock drafts had Lynch ranked higher than Adrian Peterson entering the combine. Now? After a lackluster performance, there's doubts he's even one of the top three backs in the draft. On the other hand, Olsen's stock is rising, and could soar even higher after his Pro Day on March 3rd.
17. Jaguars Ted Ginn, Jr. WR Ohio State Junior 19th (+2) 17th / 19th
The latest rumor out of Jacksonville has the Jags making a run at Randy Moss. Mike Tice, Moss's old coach in Minnesota, is now with the Jaguars coaching staff. Whether or not there's any truth to it, one thing is certain -- the Jags' wide receiver situation is somewhat bleak. Matt Jones, Reggie Williams, and Ernest Wilford -- though all tall and physically gifted -- have not emerged as No. 1 targets. That said, Jacksonville's spent first round picks in two of the last three years on wide receivers. Do they go that route again? If Ginn's available at 17, I think so. A dual threat, the Ohio State speedster could serve as Jacksonville's kick returner as well.
18. Bengals Paul Posluszny LB Penn State Senior 18th SAME 18th / 25th
Few players have ever had a college resume quite like Posluszny. The former Bednarik winner, Butkus winner, and All-Big Ten linebacker recorded 100 tackles in three of his four seasons in Happy Valley. As for being a "character guy" -- everyone who's ever met the kid says he's a natural leader who brings out the most in his teammates. Cincinnati's had some troubles off the field in the past few years; no need to worry about that with Poz. On the field, Posluszny's a rock -- consistent and productive. There's little doubt he'll be a solid performer at the next level.
19. Titans Daymeion Hughes CB Cal Senior 27th (+8) 19th / NR
Much of this selection will depend on the future of Adam "Pacman" Jones. As of Wednesday, Jones was still with the Titans. That could all change by the last weekend in April, if not next week. Either way, the Titans can't go wrong by taking a corner in this spot. Though Jones was a breakout star in '06, Tennessee's other starting corner -- Reynaldo Hill -- struggled immensely. Hughes would be a major upgrade at the position. The winner of the prestigious Lott Trophy as a senior, the All-Pac 10 performer had eight interceptions and came up with an impressive 67 tackles in '06. Receiver is a major need for Tennessee, but this year's draft is rich with wideouts. Passing on one of the big names in the first round doesn't mean they won't land another one later in the draft.
20. Giants Marshawn Lynch RB Cal Junior 16th (-4) 14th / 20th
Tiki who? If the Giants can land Lynch at 20, it will be hard for Jerry Reese and co. to pass him up. Though his Combine performance did nothing to inspire the masses, Lynch was as explosive and dynamic a tailback there was in college football last season. Big Blue can go a variety of places at this spot: Linebacker, offensive lineman, cornerback, even wide receiver. I think they go the best player available route. And in this case, that man is Mr. Lynch.
21. Broncos Adam Carriker DE Nebraska Senior 21st SAME 21st / NR
Carriker was terrific in Mobile a few weeks back at the Senior Bowl. Though his senior season at Nebraska featured few awe-inspiring highlights, his overall career in Lincoln was steady, if not superb. Denver's defense glowed in the first eight weeks of the season, only to crumble down the stretch. Carriker will be a nice addition to the unit. At the Combine, he held his own -- keeping himself in the 10-25 range for April's draft.
22. Cowboys Dwayne Jarrett WR USC Junior 10th (-12) 10th / 22nd
Though the Cowboys likely have more glaring needs at safety and the offensive line, Jerry Jones would be delighted to scoop up a talent like Jarrett with the 22nd pick. Dallas's passing game was among the league's best in '06. However, the Cowboys starting wideouts are not getting any younger. Terrell Owens is 33. Terry Glenn is 34. Jarrett didn't perform at the Combine due to a groin injury, but should be ready to go for USC's pro day. And with all the questions and comparisons to Mike Williams over the past week, be ready to see a man with a chip on his shoulder.
23. Chiefs Dwayne Bowe WR LSU Senior 23rd SAME 23rd / NR
Though Robert Meachem probably out-performed Bowe at the Combine, the LSU star -- with his bone-crushing blocking skills and superior hands -- is likely the next wide receiver taken in this draft. Kansas City can't trot out Samie Parker and Eddie Kennison as their starting wideouts on opening day yet again. They just can't. K.C. will take a wideout that's ready to start next year. Bowe's that guy.
24. Patriots (from Seahawks) Lawrence Timmons LB Florida State Senior 17th (-7) 17th / NR
New England's linebackers aren't getting any younger. Look for the Patriots front office to try to scoop up a young outside linebacker with tons of potential. Timmons is that guy. Having backed up Ernie Sims in '05 as a sophomore, the FSU star didn't get much burn until this past season, where he broke out as a pass-rushing terror and was an All-ACC Honorable Mention. Timmons is a physical freak, but a little raw around the edges. He has a tendency to over-run plays and rely on his athleticism to make up for mistakes. Playing alongside the Patriots' herd of veteran linebackers in practice every day -- he'll learn the game from the very best. Though he may not contribute next year, he could be a star in the future.
25. Jets Aaron Ross CB Texas Senior 25th SAME 25th / NR
Ross took his draft stock to new heights in his senior season. Injuries riddled the Jets at the cornerback spot all year. Andre Dyson went down, forcing names like Hank Poteat and Drew Coleman to get serious action. Ross is a top-flight corner who can likely start immediately for an NFL team. In '06, he was the Longhorns defensive leader, intercepting six balls and racking up 80 tackles. He performed well at the Combine, likely neither helping or hurting his stock.
26. Eagles Anthony Spencer DE Purdue Senior NR 26th / NR
Andy Reid and co. like to build their drafts from the inside out. Spencer will fit perfectly in that tradition. The former Purdue star will more than likely play DE at the next level, but could probably be used as a linebacker as well. He ran an impressive 4.7 40-yard-dash, and benched 30 reps of 225 pounds at the Combine.
27. Saints Chris Houston CB Arkansas Senior NR 27th / NR
Houston's another player who saw his draft stock rise at the Combine. The former Razorback ran a mind-numbing 4.32 40, and benched 225 pounds 27 times -- the most of any of the defensive backs in Indianapolis. A standout in '06 for the SEC West champions, Houston could likely start in front of Fred Thomas and Jason Craft as soon as next year.
28. Patriots Robert Meachem WR Tennessee Junior NR 28th / NR
The Patriots would be delighted to see Meachem fall to them at 28. The second-rated receiver on several draft boards, Meachem wowed critics at the Combine this week. The Tennessee standout broke out of a pack of wide receivers, tearing off a 4.39 40, and hauling in everything in sight in the catching drills. There have been a lot of comparisons to Carl Pickens -- a fellow former Tennessee star. New England got along just fine without Deion Branch in '06, but still never saw a prime No. 1 target emerge. Chad Jackson battled injuries, and Jabar Gaffney and Reche Caldwell likely played over their heads. If Meachem's available, look for Belichick and Co. to scoop him up.
29. Ravens Justin Blalock OT Texas Senior 22nd (-7) 22nd / NR
Baltimore could go running back in this spot or look to bolster their offensive line. Blalock's an All-Big 12 performer who played in several big games as a collegiate star. Able to likely play tackle or guard, the 6-4, 330 pound force makes sense at 29.
30. Chargers Michael Griffin S Texas Senior NR 25th / NR
Aside from wideout, the one weak spot on the Chargers roster last season was safety. Griffin, an All-Big 12 performer, can help immediately. Griffin's one of those guys who just seems to be involved in every play. A tackling machine, the senior recorded 116 from the safety spot in 2006. He could start as a rookie for the Bolts in '07.
31. Bears Tank Tyler DT N.C. State Senior NR 31st / NR
Two guys named "Tank" on one defense? Hey, it's possible. The Bears defense was fifth best in the league in '06. With very few holes to plug immediately on both sides of the ball, Chicago may take a bit of a risk on Tyler. Backing up Tank Johnson and Tommie Harris, Tank (the N.C. State one) could serve as a third DT on one of the league's most dangerous units. The N.C. State standout did 42 reps of 225 pounds, the most in his group, at the Combine. A clog in the middle, Tyler would be the fourth player from the Wolfpack '05 defensive line drafted in the first round.
32. Colts Brandon Siler LB Florida Junior NR 24th / NR
Indianapolis may lose Cato June to free agency as early as next week. They'll look to bolster the position through the draft. Siler was a three-year contributor for the Gators, and served as the defensive leader on a loaded BCS Title winning unit.
Out of the Top 32: Jarvis Moss (DE, Florida, 24th), Quentin Moses (DE, Georgia, 26th), LaMarr Woodley (LB, Michigan, 28th), Sidney Rice (WR, South Carolina, 29th), Johnnie Lee Higgins, Jr. (WR, UTEP, 30th), Arron Sears (OG, Tennessee, 31st), Buster Davis (LB, Florida State, 32nd).