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 was some talk of the Raiders showing interest in Jake Plummer during the free agency period. Nothing came of it. And if you are aware of the Al Davis/Mike Shanahan relationship — you'd know that a) the Raiders and Broncos won't be swapping players anytime soon, and b) if they were to — the Apocalypse would be amongst us. The Raiders are taking Russell. There's no doubts there. Then again, in March of '06, no one doubted that the Texans were drafting Reggie Bush.
2. Lions Joe Thomas OT Wisconsin Senior 2nd SAME 2nd / 5th
The Lions made some solid off-season moves in the past two weeks, creating a bit of noise in the free agency game. Don't be fooled, just because Detroit bolstered their offensive line by signing George Foster does not mean they're still not hot for Joe Thomas. The Wisconsin All-American tackle wowed scouts at the combine and has everything Matt Millen and Rod Marinelli would like to see in a first round draft pick. A tremendous player and an even better kid, Thomas will anchor the Lions offensive line for years to come.
3. Browns Brady Quinn QB Notre Dame Senior 9th (+6) 1st / 9th
Arguably the most curious pick in the entire draft, the Browns can go a variety of ways here. Running back? Defensive line? Offensive line? They can use help in all of those areas. In the end, I think they take Quinn, the golden boy out of South Bend. The Jamal Lewis signing was only a 1-year deal, and Reuben Droughns was traded to New York — meaning there is still a "running back for the future" void on the Browns roster. Peterson would be the ideal fit. But, you don't pass on franchise quarterbacks when they're available and you desperately need one. Quinn — whose stock has been about as volatile as the Dow this month — sneaks back up to number 3.
4. Buccaneers Calvin Johnson WR Georgia Tech Junior 4th SAME 2nd / 4th
he only no-brainer in the first round. Any chance of the Bucs moving up to get Brady Quinn was squandered when they went out and acquired about 40 quarterbacks in the off-season. The word out of Indianapolis was 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 was the stuff that legends are made of. His performance on the field next year may be even more impressive.
5. Cardinals Gaines Adams DE Clemson Senior 5th SAME 5th / 7th
Adams' stock continues to rise and rise. Some mocks have him going as high as number 2 to Detroit. Don't be shocked if the teams end up swapping picks. With the underachieving Leonard Davis gone to Dallas, the Cards would love nothing more than seeing Joe Thomas in Buzzsaw red. If they can't work out a deal to get Thomas, Adams will be the pick. The 2006 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, the kid who played 8-on-8 football in high school dominated the combine drills in Indianapolis. As FOXSports.com's John "Czar" Czarnecki wrote in his column the Tuesday after Adams' combine performance
, "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." Can't go wrong there.
6. Redskins Alan Branch DT Michigan Junior 6th SAME 6th / 6th
Branch didn't dazzle at the combine, but his stock didn't quite slip either. A 330 pound clog in the middle, he'll be the top DT drafted in April. The Redskins' rush defense was an embarrassment all season long. Though not sexy by any means, this is a sound pick.
7. Vikings Jamaal Anderson DE Arkansas Junior 7th SAME 5th / NR
The Vikings have done little to improve upon their lackluster pass rush situation thus far this off-season. Signing Vinny Ciurciu wasn't exactly like bringing in Lawrence Taylor, and losing Napoleon Harris to Kansas City didn't help. 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 0 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
A curious off-season thus far in Houston. The Ahman Green contract is one of the great mysteries of mankind, and experts seem to think Jordan Black got a bit too much from Rick Smith and co. as well. Moreover, the quarterback situation went from a tumultuous open book situation into nothing at all. Peaceful, easy, feeling. Apparently, David Carr is the guy after all. Even with the Black signing, the Texans offensive line is in dire need of improvement. Brown's a two-time All American who can start immediately for Gary Kubiak. Look for Houston to swipe him up at number 8.
9. Dolphins Amobi Okoye DT Louisville Senior 11th (+2) 9th / 32nd
One of the busiest teams this off-season, the Dolphins defense picked up Joey Porter and DB Cameron Worrell, but lost Dan "Big Daddy" Wilkinson in the middle. On the offensive side of the ball, Randy McMichael, Sammy Morris, Travis Minor, and Wes Welker are gone — with David Martin now on board. Look for the 'Phins to take a gamble and go with the 19-year-old Okoye, here. A standout at Louisville with arguably the most "upside" in the entire draft, Okoye will learn the game from some of the NFL's best defensive players in Miami.
10. Falcons LaRon Landry S LSU Senior 10th SAME 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 number one 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 Adam Carriker LB Ole Miss Senior 21st (+10) 11th / NR
San Francisco's defense is in the midst of a complete overhaul. Though the Niners missed out on Adalius Thomas in the free agency game, they brought in Nate Clements at cornerback, Aubrayo Franklin at DT, Michael Lewis at safety, and former Patriot Tully Banta-Cain at linebacker. Look for them to pick up Nebraska's Carriker to bolster the pass rush with this pick. Arguably the best player at the Senior Bowl in Mobile last month, Carriker jumped into the top 20 of the draft with a solid combine. 11 might be a little high — but he fits a need for San Francisco.
12. Bills Adrian Peterson RB Oklahoma Junior 3rd (-9) 3rd / 12th
Whoa. Talk about a dream come true. Will Peterson slip to 12? I highly doubt it. But, if Cleveland goes with Quinn, there doesn't seem to be another team in the top 11 slots that would be targeting a running back. Sure, the Bills need help at other positions. And yes, they did just re-sign Anthony Thomas. But none of that matters. If Peterson's somehow available at 12, Marv Levy and co. will scoop him up before Buffalo's pick even goes on the clock.
13. Rams Patrick Willis LB Ole Miss Senior 13th SAME 12th / 13th
Along with Carriker, Willis was a standout in 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 Rams brought in Drew Bennett, Randy McMichael and Travis Minor to bolster the offense through free agency. They'll focus on defense here. A linebacker that does it all, Willis is the perfect pick at 13.
14. Panthers Reggie Nelson S Florida Junior 14th SAME 13th / 14th
Nelson solidified his spot as a top 15 pick with a 4.35 40 at Florida's Pro Day last week. Any doubts about his speed were put to rest. A star in 2006 on the national champion Gators' defense, Nelson can start as a rookie for whichever team drafts him. Carolina's a logical fit. Quiet in the free agency game, John Fox will look to bolster his hit-or-miss secondary with the kid out of Gainesville.
15. Steelers Paul Posluszny LB Penn State Senior 18th (+3) 15th / 25th
A little high for "Poz"? Maybe. But Posluszny's a Western Pennsylvania kid who will quickly endear the Steelers faithful. With Joey Porter gone to Miami, the tireless worker and former Bednariak and Butkus award winner could fill the void at linebacker for the Steelers. Pittsburgh's defense was uncharacteristically off-the-mark in '06, and Mike Tomlin and co. can go a number of ways in the draft. Linebacker is a need and Posluszny will be an immediate crowd favorite. Whether he fits in Tomlin's scheme is a bit of an unknown — but I see the Steelers taking the risk and finding out.
16. Packers Marshawn Lynch RB California Junior 20th (+4) 14th / 20th
With Ahman Green gone to the Texans, the Packers will look to fill their starting running back position. Lynch is the perfect running back for the West Coast offense, able to both run and receive with the best of them. Lynch answered questions about his speed and work ethic with an impressive Combine performance in Indianapolis. He'll start right away for the Packers. And a few years down the road — his old college teammate, Mr. Aaron Rodgers, will be the one handing him the ball. That is, of course, if Brett Favre doesn't decide to keep on playing into the next decade. Hey, it's possible.
17. Jaguars Ted Ginn, Jr. WR Ohio State Junior 19th SAME 17th / 19th
Don't be fooled. Signing Dennis Northcutt did not mean the Jaguars addressed their dire need at wideout. The Jags' wide receiver situation is still bleak. Northcutt, Matt Jones, Reggie Williams, and Ernest Wilford — though all tall and physically gifted -- are not number one options. If Ginn's available at 17, I think the Jaguars grab him. A dual threat, the Ohio State speedster could serve as Jacksonville's kick returner as well.
18. Bengals Leon Hall CB Michigan Senior 15th (-3) 8th / 18th
With Brian Simmons and Kevin Kaesviharn both signing with New Orleans this off-season, there are some holes to be filled on the Bengals defense. Look for Hall, a lock-down corner who wowed critics with 4.3 speed at the combine, to be the first corner taken in April's draft. While some mocks have him going as high as 5 to Arizona, somewhere around the 15-20 range seems more likely. On top of being experienced and tested, Hall's a character guy — something especially important in Cincinnati.
19. Titans Darrelle Revis CB Pittsburgh Junior 12th (-7) 9th / 19th
One of the many wide receivers likely to still be on the board at this point will be tempting for Tennessee. But Revis will be hard to pass up if he's available. With the future of Adam "Pacman" Jones in limbo at the moment, grabbing a top-flight corner to play alongside newly signed Nick Harper will be a priority for Tennessee. By his count, Revis was thrown at only 10-15 times all season, with 2 of those passes resulting in interceptions. A speedster, he curiously opted not to run at the combine. That left scouts scratching their heads, but should not hurt his draft stock to the point where he slips out of the top 3 cornerbacks taken in the draft.
20. Giants Lawrence Timmons LB FSU Junior 24th (+4) 17th / NR
Curious off-season for Jerry Reese and the Giants. After staying quiet for the majority of the free agency period, the G-men traded wide receiver Tim Carter to the Browns in exchange for Reuben Droughns. Now, they have one big, rumbling back to back-up another big, rumbling back. Hmm ... If Marshawn Lynch is available at 20, don't be shocked if the Giants take him, adding a third running back to the mix. The Giants linebacker situation, however, is a more pressing need. The LB spot has been an embarrassment come January over the past two seasons. Injuries have riddled the position both years. Chase Blackburn? Alonzo Jackson? These are not the guys you want on the field in the playoffs. Timmons is a physical specimen and a student of the game. Able to play both the D-line and the outside linebacker positions, he's the versatile defensive player the Giants defense sorely needs.
21. Broncos Jarvis Moss DE Florida Junior NR 21st / NR
With the additions of Dre Bly, Daniel Graham, and Travis Henry to the Denver roster, the Broncos picked up depth at a lot of key positions. One spot they didn't really improve upon was at defensive end. Moss is compared to fellow former Gator, Javon Kearse. "Freak" or not, he's considered a bit of a project — blessed with tremendous physical talent. Denver can go a lot of ways with this pick. Taking a risk on Moss isn't a bad idea.
22. Cowboys Dwayne Jarrett WR USC Junior 22nd SAME 10th / 22nd
This pick hasn't changed on my mock. Sure, the Cowboys likely have more glaring needs at safety. But, Jerry Jones would be delighted to have a talent like Jarrett fall into his lap with the 22nd pick. Let's face it — the Cowboys starting wideouts, as good as they are, aren't getting any younger. Terrell Owens is 33. Terry Glenn is 34. Jarrett is slipping like a rock on most mock drafts. Other teams' losses will be Dallas' gain.
23. Chiefs Dwayne Bowe WR LSU Senior 23rd SAME 23rd / NR
Samie Parker and Eddie Kennison simply can not be KC's starting wideouts on opening day yet again next season. K.C. will take a wideout that's ready to start next year. Whether it's Bowe, Jarrett, Ginn, Meachem, or even Sidney Rice will depend upon the first 22 teams in the draft. I think Bowe's the guy.
(from Seahawks) Anthony Spencer LB/DE Purdue Senior 26th (+2) 24th / NR
No team picked up as many valuable contributors through free agency than the Patriots. Adalius Thomas, Sammy Morris, Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth, Kyle Brady, and Kelley Washington will all make immediate impacts next year. The Patriots lost versatile up-and-coming linebacker Tully Banta-Cain, however. They'll look to pick up another defensive player, one that can play a variety of positions in the 3-4, through the draft. Spencer 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. He fits the Belichick mold.
25. Jets Aaron Ross CB Texas Senior 25th SAME 25th / NR
If Robert Meachem's still on the board — as projected here — the Jets will have to take a long, hard look at the Tennessee star. That said, cornerback's still the most glaring hole on the Jets roster. Andre Dyson went down last year, forcing names like Hank Poteat and Drew Coleman to get serious action. Ross was arguably the best cornerback in college football last season. In '06, he was the Longhorns defensive leader, intercepting six balls and racking up 80 tackles. He'd start on opening day for New York.
26. Eagles Robert Meachem WR Tennessee Junior 28th (+2) 26th / NR
Andy Reid and co. rarely take offensive players in the early rounds of the draft, but will need to consider taking whichever top wideout slips to them at 26 in April. One of the big names — Ginn, Jarrett, Bowe, Rice or Meachem — will likely be around by the time Philly's on the clock. With Donte Stallworth signing with New England, the Eagles are left with Reggie Brown and Greg Lewis as their top targets. That won't cut it. Meachem ran a 4.39 40 and had arguably the best combine of any of the wide receivers in Indianapolis ... And that includes Calvin Johnson.
27. Saints Chris Houston CB Arkansas Senior 27th SAME 27th / NR
New Orleans beefed up its defense through free agency by signing former Bengals Brian Simmons and Kevin Kaesviharn. Even so, there's still a bit of uncertainty at cornerback. Houston's draft stock skyrocketed 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 Michael Griffin S Texas Senior 30th (+2) 25th / NR
Injuries have sidelined Rodney Harrison over the past few seasons, and in the twilight of his career, New England may look to add depth to the safety position. Griffin was an All-Big 12 performer in '06, and was known around the college ranks as one of the most effective tacklers in the game. As a senior, he recorded 116 tackles for the Longhorns. Let Harrison show him the ropes, and you have New England's hard-hitting, lights-out safety of the future.
29. Ravens Justin Blalock OT Texas Senior 29th SAME 22nd / NR
For a minute there, it seemed like Michael Bush may be sneaking into the first round to Baltimore. And then the Ravens went out and traded for Willis McGahee. I think they go lineman, here. Blalock's an All-Big 12 performer who played in several important games as a collegiate star. Able to likely play tackle or guard, the 6-4 330 pound force makes sense at 29.
30. Chargers Brandon Meriweather S Miami Senior NR 30th / NR
Arguably the top coverage safety in this draft, Meriweather may go higher than 30. On the other hand, if character issues play a role, he could slip out of the first round. Meriweather, who has since apologized for the incident, was famously caught on film stomping on a defenseless player during the Miami-FIU brawl last season. Terrence Kiel's departure from San Diego opens up a spot at the safety position. Meriweather has the skills to start as soon as next season. But is he worth the risk?
31. Bears Greg Olsen TE Miami Junior 16th (-15) 16th / NR
Chicago brass would be delighted to see Miami's latest tight end prospect slip to 31. Olsen stole the show at the Combine, out-dueling Arizona State's Zach Miller in just about every head-to-head competition. The kid from Jersey ran a 4.45 40-yard dash and had a solid day catching the ball. Though he underwhelmed in his junior season, he'll likely still be the first tight end taken in the draft come April. Desmond Clark's still a fabulous tight end, but he isn't getting any younger. Adding some depth to the position can't hurt.
32. Colts Brandon Siler LB Florida Junior 32nd SAME 24th / NR
Nick Harper's gone. So are Dominic Rhodes and Brandon Stokley. Cato June may be gone soon too. The Colts may be in the old "Best Player Available" spot come the 32nd pick. Some possibilities? Daymeion Hughes, Sidney Rice, Tony Ugoh -- the list goes on. I see them going with Siler, a three-year contributor for the Gators who served as the defensive leader on a loaded BCS Title winning unit.