Russell is Raiders' pick -- for now
By Todd McShay
There are some significant changes to the top-10 picks of this updated mock draft. Although there was temptation to give the Raiders WR Calvin Johnson at the top spot, the only way I can justify such a move is if they sign a veteran quarterback.
Elsewhere, DE Gaines Adams is a reach at No. 2, but I'm working under the assumption the Lions trade down at least two spots to get a better value on him. The one rumor I did give in to is the Browns taking RB Adrian Peterson instead of QB Brady Quinn with the No. 3 pick. As explained below, this is a worst-case scenario for Quinn, who could experience a Matt Leinart-like free fall to the Vikings at No. 7 or the Dolphins at No. 9 overall.
In addition to the noticeable shuffling atop the board, I've added a second round to this version of the 2007 mock draft. Check back next week, when I project all 255 picks in the seven-round process.
+ -- Underclassman
1. Oakland Raiders (2-14)
Projected pick: +JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU
Needs: QB, DT, OT/G, TE, WR, LB, CB, RB
It seems owner Al Davis' captivation with WR Calvin Johnson grows with each passing day. If the Raiders can talk the Lions into a deal for veteran QB Josh McCown, it will free Davis to pull the trigger on Johnson with the No. 1 overall pick. Until then, Russell makes the most sense for a team loaded with talented wide receivers (Randy Moss, Jerry Porter and Ronald Curry) but nobody to get them the ball.
2. Detroit (3-13)
Projected pick: Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
Needs: QB, ILB, CB, TE, S, WR, C, DT, DE
The Lions hold the keys to the entire top of the draft. The aforementioned McCown trade could throw the entire top of the board into flux. Ironically, such a trade could rob the Lions of their trade value at No. 2. The Buccaneers are rumored to be interested, but only if Johnson is still on the board. Assuming, for these purposes, Russell goes No. 1 to the Raiders, the Lions should strike a deal to move down at least two spots and get a better value for Adams, who is the top pass-rushing talent in the 2007 class.
3. Cleveland (4-12)
Projected pick: Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
Needs: CB, QB, RB, LOT, DL, S, OLB, WR
The Browns would love to land Russell with this pick. If he's gone, GM Phil Savage will have a tough decision between Peterson and QB Brady Quinn. Although Savage and his staff are still debating the subject, there are rumblings that they are leaning toward Peterson. Recently signed free-agent RB Jamal Lewis has loads of mileage on his legs and the team signed him only to a one-year deal. The veteran back could split carries with Peterson, which would give the rookie a year to get acclimated before turning him loose as the full-time starter in 2008.
4. Tampa Bay (4-12)
Projected pick: +Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
Needs: WR, DT, S, DE, CB, OT, RB, TE
The Bucs are reportedly already in discussions with the Lions to trade up if Johnson is on the board at No. 2 overall. Coach Jon Gruden must be salivating at the possibility of working with a dynamic playmaker like Johnson. As a side note; if the Buccaneers can't land Johnson they'll look to bail out of this pick.
5. Arizona (5-11)
Projected pick: Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
Needs: OT, WLB, CB, DT, DE, TE, S, P
This is best-case scenario for a Cardinals team in desperate need of an upgrade at offensive tackle. Thomas is the premier offensive line talent in the 2007 class and he's ready to start immediately.
6. Washington (5-11)
Projected pick: Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville
Needs: DT, DE, G, S, CB, WR, OLB, QB, TE
After setting a franchise record with only 19 sacks in 2006, the Redskins must upgrade their pass rush. Because Adams is no longer on the board, Okoye becomes the next-best option. The 19-year-old has bulked up to 300-plus pounds and recently ran the 40 in the 4.8-second range at an on-campus workout.
7. Minnesota (6-10)
Projected pick: Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
Needs: WR, DE, CB, TE, C/G, QB, DT, RB
There are conflicting reports coming out of Minnesota regarding the Vikings' interest in Quinn. Although they still like the potential of QB Tarvaris Jackson (last year's second-round pick), it would be awfully difficult to pass on Quinn if he slips to No. 7. Also, don't be surprised if the Vikings use Quinn as bait to trade out of this pick, especially with the Dolphins sitting just a couple spots below them.
8. Atlanta (7-9)
Projected pick: +LaRon Landry, S, LSU
Needs: S, DE, OT, CB, G, DT, RB, PK, MLB, QB
OT Levi Brown is a possibility, especially with new head coach Bobby Petrino looking to get bigger and more physical along the offensive line. However, Landry is the more highly rated prospect at a position of equal need. A four-year starter in the SEC, Landry should be ready to start immediately in the NFL.
9. Miami (6-10)
Projected pick: Levi Brown, OT, Penn State
Needs: OT/G, QB, DL, CB, TE, WR, S, RB, LB, C
The Dolphins may consider moving up if Quinn begins to fall. Otherwise, expect them to take the best available offensive or defensive lineman at No. 9. Brown, who is this draft's second-rated offensive tackle behind Thomas, has the size and mobility to solidify the Dolphins' left tackle position for years to come.
10. Houston (6-10)
Projected pick: Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
Needs: CB, WR, S, DT, OLB, DE, OT, RB
The Texans need to find a quality starter opposite Dunta Robinson and Hall is the top-rated cornerback in this year's class. Also to consider; if the Browns don't take Peterson at No. 3 overall, he could slip to the Texans at No. 10. Houston has more pressing needs after signing veteran RB Ahman Green, but it would be awfully tough to pass on Peterson -- one year after passing on Reggie Bush (Saints).
11. San Francisco (7-9)
Projected pick: +Alan Branch, DT, Michigan
Needs: DT/DE, OLB, S, OT, WR, RB, ILB, TE, FB, C/G
Instead of reaching for WR Ted Ginn Jr., the 49ers should use this pick to bolster their defensive front. Branch is slipping on many teams' boards due to fear regarding his inconsistent motor and potential for weight issues. But if the 323-pounder is still on the board at No. 11, it could prove to be a worthwhile risk for the ascending 49ers.
12. Buffalo (7-9)
Projected pick: Patrick Willis, ILB, Mississippi
Needs: RB, CB, OLB, TE, DT, FB, WR, ILB, FS
It's too high to take a chance on RB Marshawn Lynch and Hall is already off the board. That's why, in this scenario, the Bills should address a lesser need by taking Willis, who ranks as the premier linebacker prospect in the 2007 class. Willis has the workout numbers to match his production as a three-year starter in the SEC.
13. St. Louis (8-8)
Projected pick: +Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas
Needs: DT, DE, LB, CB, RB, G/C, WR, S
The Rams will focus on defense early in the draft. With Okoye and Branch off the board, there isn't an ideal fit at defensive tackle. Taking Anderson would make a great deal of sense, as he has the size and agility to emerge as an impact full-time starter in the future. As a rookie, Anderson could rotate with newly acquired James Hall at the end spot opposite Leonard Little.
14. Carolina (8-8)
Projected pick: +Greg Olsen, TE, Miami
Needs: TE, S, ILB, DE, OT, WR, OLB, DE
The Panthers could use this pick to address needs at safety (Reggie Nelson and Michael Griffin) or linebacker (Lawrence Timmons and Paul Posluszny), but Olsen is the best fit if Willis is off the board. Olsen is the only first-round talent in this year's tight end class and has the speed to take pressure off WRs Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson.
15. Pittsburgh (8-8)
Projected pick: +Lawrence Timmons, OLB, Florida State
Needs: OLB, G, DE, CB, RB, WR, C, ILB, TE, FB
The Steelers need to address their outside linebacker situation early in this year's draft. While Posluszny and DE/OLB Jarvis Moss are possibilities, Timmons seems to make the most sense as new head coach Mike Tomlin transitions from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defensive alignment. Timmons can provide some pass-rushing production in the team's current 3-4 system, but he also projects as a better fit as a weakside linebacker in the 4-3 scheme.
16. Green Bay (8-8)
Projected pick: +Marshawn Lynch, RB, Cal
Needs: RB, S, TE, WR, DT, CB, OLB, G
The Packers are in desperate need of offensive playmakers. QB Brett Favre could help maximize Lynch's explosiveness and versatility if they're working in the same backfield in 2007.
17. Jacksonville (8-8)
Projected pick: Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska
Needs: S, DE, QB, OLB, WR, CB, DT, MLB, TE, G, P
The Jaguars could use this pick on a better pure pass-rusher or on a safety like Nelson, but Carriker is the better value in this scenario. At 296 pounds, Carriker has the size, strength, quickness and technique to develop into a quality every-down starter at the next level.
18. Cincinnati (8-8)
Projected pick: +Darrelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh
Needs: CB, DT, OLB, TE, S, OT, WR, DE, QB
The Bengals are likely to use this pick on the best defensive player available, particularly at cornerback, defensive tackle and outside linebacker. Revis' outstanding workout at Pittsburgh's pro day last month helped solidify his standing in the mid-to-late first-round range. Revis is instinctive in zone coverage, supports the run effectively and also has value as a potential punt return specialist.
19. Tennessee (8-8)
Projected pick: +Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Ohio State
Needs: WR, RB, CB, DE, DT, MLB, G/O, S, OLB, QB
The Titans would be elated if Ginn Jr. slipped to them at No. 19. Ginn Jr. has the speed to stretch the field vertically for QB Vince Young, who needs more weapons to work with on the perimeter. The Titans would benefit from Ginn Jr.'s world-class speed in the return game, as well.
20. N.Y. Giants (8-8)
Projected pick: Paul Posluszny, LB, Penn State
Needs: OLB, CB, OT, DT, WR, RB, TE, G/C, P, PK, ILB
The Giants' biggest need is at the outside linebacker position, so Posluszny is a perfect match at No. 20 overall. The career tackles leader at "Linebacker U", Posluszny is instinctive, quick and tough enough to take over as a starter immediately.
21. Denver (9-7)
Projected pick: +Jarvis Moss, DE/OLB, Florida
Needs: DE, WR, S, OT, DT, MLB, RB, CB
The Broncos solidified their secondary by trading for Dre' Bly, who will start opposite Champ Bailey. Drafting a pass-rushing threat like Moss would be the next step toward fixing a pass defense that ranked 21st in 2006.
22. Dallas (9-7)
Projected pick: Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU
Needs: CB, WR, OT, DE, PK, C, S, NT, ILB, OLB
The Cowboys would have to consider a cornerback like Aaron Ross or offensive tackle Joe Staley, but Bowe is a better prospect at another position of need. The 6-foot-2, 222-pound wideout displays the size, agility and playmaking skills to develop into a quality starter at the next level. As a rookie in 2007, Bowe could serve as an excellent third option behind aging veterans Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn.
23. Kansas City (9-7)
Projected pick: +Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC
Needs: WR, OT, DT, CB, DE, QB, G, FB, LB, C
Despite his subpar workout results at USC's recent pro day, Jarrett is one of the top-four receivers in this class and he's enough of a playmaker to warrant the Chiefs' consideration at No. 23 overall. If Kansas City doesn't go with a wide receiver, it could find a similar value at cornerback with Aaron Ross, offensive tackle with Joe Staley or defensive tackle with Justin Harrell.
24. New England (12-4) (from Seattle)
Projected pick: Aaron Ross, CB/RS, Texas
Needs: ILB, S, CB, OLB, RB, OT, QB, P, NT
The Patriots never act as if they're handcuffed by needs during draft weekend, but the Asante Samuel situation should increase their interest in this year's cornerback crop. Ross lacks ideal man-to-man cover skills but he has the size, instincts and playmaking ability to emerge as a difference-maker in the type of zone-heavy defensive scheme the Patriots run. Ross also can help in the return game, which adds to his value.
25. N.Y. Jets (10-6)
Projected pick: +Chris Houston, CB, Arkansas
Needs: CB, OLB, TE, WR, NT, ILB,C, QB, S
Considering their need of an upgrade at cornerback, Houston should be on the Jets' short list of prospects in this scenario. Different teams have differing opinions regarding Houston's value. Although he certainly has room to improve in regards to his technique and overall run-support skills, Houston is blessed with outstanding speed, athleticism and upper-body strength.
26. Philadelphia (10-6)
Projected pick: Michael Griffin, S, Texas
Needs: CB, S, DE, OLB, RB, WR, TE, MLB
Although the Eagles certainly can use depth at several different positions, it's hard to find a glaring weakness at any starting spot on their depth chart. One thing is certain; the Eagles will not be handcuffed by positions of need in this year's draft. With that in mind, Griffin is a good value because he brings experience and versatility to the table after notching 250 tackles during his last two seasons at Texas.
27. New Orleans (10-6)
Projected pick: Justin Harrell, DT, Tennessee
Needs: :CB, LB, DT, WR, TE, DE, G/C, QB
The Saints would likely take a top cornerback should Ross or Houston fall to them at No. 27. However, the team could address another position of need by drafting Harrell, who is one of the late-rising prospects in this year's class for a couple reasons. First, teams are comfortable that he's completely recovered from a torn biceps injury that sidelined him most of his senior season. Second, there isn't enough supply at the defensive tackle position to meet the demand of NFL teams.
28. New England (12-4)
Projected pick: +Reggie Nelson, S, Florida
Griffin would be a better fit if he falls because he's more versatile than Nelson. The team could also use this pick on ILB John Beason. But in this scenario, Nelson is the best available option. At 6 feet and 198 pounds, Nelson has very good range and playmaking potential as a center fielder-type free safety. Also remember that head coach Bill Belichick loves players from Florida because he has tremendous respect for coach Urban Meyer.
29. Baltimore (13-3)
Projected pick: Joe Staley, OT, Central Michigan
Needs: CB, OT, OLB, ILB, FB, C/G, QB, S, DE
The Ravens will look to target the best available player at cornerback, linebacker and offensive tackle. In this scenario, Staley is the pick. He's a fast-rising prospect with excellent feet and the frame to get bigger/stronger. With Jonathan Ogden threatening to retire, Staley becomes the future at left tackle for the Ravens.
30. San Diego (14-2)
Projected pick: +Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee
Needs: WR, S, ILB, CB, DL, RB, G, OT, OLB, LS
The Chargers would be thrilled if the speedy Meachem fell to them. Although he may never be a pure No. 1 receiver in the NFL, Meachem has the speed and playmaking skills to exploit defenses when they overcompensate for RB LaDainian Tomlinson and TE Antonio Gates. The team also could take the best available safety or linebacker with this pick.
31. Chicago (13-3)
Projected pick: +John Beason, OLB, Miami
Needs: DT, OLB, WR, TE, RB, OT, QB, S, G
The Bears need to address the outside linebacker position early, even if they fail to trade disgruntled starter Lance Briggs prior to draft weekend. Beason is a fringe first-rounder with the size, quickness and tackling skills to emerge as a quality starter in the NFL. Durability concerns and lack of ideal range in coverage keep him from competing with Willis, Timmons and Posluszny higher on the board.
32. Indianapolis (12-4)
Projected pick: Anthony Spencer, DE, Purdue
Needs: OLB, DT, ILB, RB, G, CB, WR, OT, QB
The Colts have much bigger needs at linebacker and defensive tackle, but Spencer is their kind of player. Undersized with very good speed and up-the-field playmaking skills, Spencer could be a steal late in the first round if he builds on the progress he made as a senior at Purdue (nation-best 26.5 tackles for loss).
33. Oakland -- Ben Grubbs, G, Auburn
34. Detroit -- Trent Edwards, QB, Stanford
35. Tampa Bay -- +Charles Johnson, DE, Georgia
36. Cleveland -- +Eric Wright, CB, UNLV
37. Chicago (from Washington via N.Y. Jets) -- Steve Smith, WR, USC
38. Arizona -- Marcus McCauley, CB, Fresno State
39. Atlanta (from Houston) -- Justin Blalock, G, Texas
40. Miami -- Drew Stanton, QB, Michigan State
41. Minnesota -- +Sidney Rice, WR, South Carolina
42. San Francisco -- LaMarr Woodley, DE/OLB, Michigan
43. Buffalo -- +Antonio Pittman, RB, Ohio State
44. Atlanta -- Tim Crowder, DE, Texas
45. Carolina -- Brandon Meriweather, S, Miami
46. Pittsburgh -- Arron Sears, G, Tennessee
47. Green Bay -- +Zach Miller, TE, Arizona State
48. Jacksonville -- Craig Davis, WR, LSU
49. Cincinnati -- Turk McBride, DT, Tennessee
50. Tennessee -- Ryan Kalil, C, USC
51. N.Y. Giants -- Tony Ugoh, OT, Arkansas
52. St. Louis -- David Harris, ILB, Michigan
53. Dallas -- Jonathan Wade, CB, Tennessee
54. Kansas City -- Josh Wilson, CB, Maryland
55. Seattle -- Tank Tyler, DT, N.C. State
56. Denver -- +Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Ohio State
57. Philadelphia -- Brian Leonard, FB/RB, Rutgers
58. New Orleans -- Tanard Jackson, CB, Syracuse
59. New York Jets -- Ikaika Alma-Francis, DE/OLB, Hawaii
60. Miami (from New England) -- Ray McDonald, DE, Florida
61. Baltimore -- Quentin Moses, DE/OLB, Georgia
62. San Diego -- Eric Weddle, S, Utah
63. N.Y. Jets (from Chicago) -- Jason Hill, WR, Washington State
64. Tampa Bay (from Indianapolis) -- Daymeion Hughes, CB, Cal
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN Insider.