(Sorry if someone already posted this) Rodgers makes sense for Niners Scouts Inc. Our scouts have been tracking the top NFL prospects since last summer, evaluating their in-season performances both on film and in person, comparing notes with NFL personnel experts and scouting the Senior Bowl as well as the Shrine and Las Vegas all-star games. Individual scouting reports from that legwork can be found in DraftTracker. Below is our second crack at mapping out the first round. We'll be scouting the Indianapolis combine and various individual workouts, as well as zeroing in on NFL teams' ever-changing needs to make sure our projections remain accurate and realistic. * = underclassman 2005 NFL draft, projected first round 1. San Francisco 49ers (2-14) Aaron Rodgers* | QB | California Like most teams drafting in the top five, the 49ers would like to trade down, stockpile picks and address more needs. The problem, however, is that the top of the 2005 NFL draft is a seller's, not a buyer's market. More than likely, the 49ers' best bet will be to stay put and draft the player they deem to be the most valuable at a high position of need. In our opinion, that player is Rodgers. Neither Tim Rattay nor Ken Dorsey is a franchise quarterback and Rodgers would be a significant upgrade over both. Some feel that Alex Smith (Utah) has the same or better NFL potential, but we don't see it. Rodgers lacks ideal height but he has terrific arm strength, good accuracy and above-average athleticism. 2. Miami Dolphins (4-12) Ronnie Brown | RB | Auburn The Dolphins have several needs, including running back, left offensive tackle and defensive end. Coach Nick Saban must first decide if A.J. Feeley is his quarterback of the future. If not, drafting a quarterback would be the right move. If, however, Saban can live with Feeley as his franchise quarterback for the future, drafting one of three top running backs in this class – Cedric Benson, Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams – becomes the next best move because there simply isn't an offensive tackle who warrants consideration with the second overall pick. Benson might be the more powerful runner and Williams might be the most elusive, but Brown is the best overall running back in this year's draft. Brown is big, strong and fast enough to carry a heavy load in the NFL and he also possesses considerably better skills in the passing game than those Benson and Williams. 3. Cleveland Browns (4-12) Adam Jones* | DC | West Virginia Ideally, the Browns would trade down, acquire extra picks and get a better value on one of only two legitimate offensive tackle prospects in this draft class – Alex Barron and Jammal Brown. Assuming, however, they get stuck at No. 3, new GM Phil Savage has to decide whether he wants to draft his quarterback of the future – Smith or Rodgers, depending on which is available – or go in a different direction. Judging by Savage's game plan when he was helping control things in Baltimore, it wouldn't surprise us if he built the team first and then plugged in the quarterback later. If that's the case, the Browns are likely to go after the defensive player who ranks highest on their board. In our opinion right now, that player is Jones. Not only does Jones have the cover skills, speed and toughness to develop into a "shutdown" cornerback in the NFL, but he also as loads of upside as an NFL return specialist. The Browns could really use a playmaker like Jones on defense and special teams. 4. Chicago Bears (5-11) Braylon Edwards | WR | Michigan The Bears desperately need a wide receiver who can stretch the field vertically, and Edwards is the best this class has to offer. Some think the Bears will shy away from using another top pick on a Michigan wide receiver, but that theory is ridiculous. For starters, the current regime wasn't in place when the Bears drafted David Terrell. Secondly, Edwards is bigger and faster than Terrell and made far more big plays at the collegiate level than Terrell did. In our opinion, Edwards is the best receiver in this year's draft and has elite NFL potential. 5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11) Carnell Williams | RB | Auburn The Buccaneers could go in several different directions with this pick, including RB, OT, OG, DT or DB. Looking at the probabilities regarding how the top of the draft board will unfold, RB is likely to be the position that the Bucs will get their best value with the fifth overall pick. While Benson is a better fit for an offense looking for a load-carrying power runner, Williams is a better fit for Jon Gruden's version of the West Coast offense. Williams still needs to improve as a blocker, but he's the shiftiest and most elusive of the top three backs (Brown and Benson) and he has the hands to become a legitimate weapon as a receiver out of the backfield. It also won't hurt Williams' chances that Gruden fell in love with him while coaching him at the Senior Bowl. 6. Tennessee Titans (5-11) Antrel Rolle | DC | Miami-FL With so many questions about the future of veterans Fred Miller and Brad Hopkins, the team's biggest need could be offensive tackle. The problem, however, is that this year's class is void of a legitimate top-10 OT prospect. Instead of reaching for an OT with the sixth pick, look for the Titans to draft a higher-rated player at a different position of need. If the team is unable to re-sign free-agent DC Andre Dyson, cornerback could become a priority early in the draft. Rolle needs to run well in his postseason workouts in order to prove capable of holding up on an island at the next level. Assuming he does, Rolle has the size, instincts, toughness and athletic ability to quickly become a solid starter in the NFL. 7. Oakland Raiders (5-11) Cedric Benson | RB | Texas The Raiders would be elated if Benson fell to them at No. 7. Coach Norv Turner's offensive philosophy is to pound it out on the ground with a big, bruising back who can wear the opponent down and eventually open up some vertical opportunities with a play-action pass. The Raiders have a strong enough arm at quarterback with Kerry Collins, the speed at wide receiver and the bruising offensive line to execute that scheme, but what's missing is the "bell-cow" at running back. Benson doesn't have great speed or elusiveness, but he's a north-south runner with great vision, size and power – making him a perfect fit for Turner and the Raiders. 8. Arizona Cardinals (6-10) Alex Smith* | QB | Utah The Cardinals still have several needs to address in the upcoming draft, including RB, DT, DC and DE. However, after passing on Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger in last year's draft and coming to the realization that Josh McCown is not the future of the franchise's quarterback position, the Cardinals would love to see either Rodgers or Smith fall to them here. Smith certainly will need time to get bigger and stronger, and to make the transition from the Mountain West Conference to the NFL. But he has the athletic ability, accuracy, toughness and competitiveness to become a franchise quarterback in the NFL, especially with young standout WRs Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald to grow old with. 9. Washington Redskins (6-10) Mike Williams* | WR | Southern Cal The Redskins could use an impact, pass-rushing DE or an upgrade at center but Williams would be too good of a fit to pass up on. With inconsistent WR Rod Gardner likely heading out of town, the Redskins need a receiver who can stretch the field and better complement Laveranues Coles. Williams only has serviceable speed and he's been out of football for a year, but he is big enough and athletic enough to develop into a dynamic threat in the NFL. 10. Detroit Lions (6-10) Heath Miller* | TE | Virginia The Lions could use playmakers at defensive end and in the secondary, but upgrading the tight end position ranks higher on the wish list. Miller is the only sure-fire first-round prospect this class has to offer. He lacks Todd Heap and Tony Gonzalez-type speed, but he's just a notch below the elite in terms of playmaking ability. Miller has very good size, is a smooth athlete, has a terrific feel for the passing game and might have the best hands of any skill-position player in this draft. 11. Dallas Cowboys (6-10) Shawne Merriman* | OLB/DE | Maryland Depending on how the board shakes out, the Cowboys should walk away from the first round with two top prospects from the following four glaring positions of need: DC, DE, WR and OT. Merriman is a "tweener" DE/OLB who may need time before settling in as a full-time starter at one position in the NFL, but he has the speed, athleticism and pass-rushing skills to immediately upgrade the Cowboys' defense in that department. 12. San Diego Chargers (12-4) Troy Williamson* | WR | South Carolina Despite their impressive turnaround in 2004, the Chargers still have several positions of need to address. With that in mind, expect the Chargers to stay put with their two picks in the first round (12 and 28). Upgrading their free safety position is a need, but bringing in a vertical threat at wide receiver and an impact pass rushing DE/OLB rank higher on the wish list. Not many people are talking about Williamson right now, but wait until the combine is over. He has the size, long arms, hands and explosive speed to quickly develop into a deep threat in the NFL. Adding a playmaker like Williamson to go along with TE Antonio Gates and RB LaDainian Tomlinson would make the Chargers' offense frightening to match up against – no matter who is the signal-caller. 13. Houston Texans (7-9) Derrick Johnson | OLB | Texas The Texans need to get younger along the defensive line and also could use another receiver to help complement Andre Johnson, but passing up on Johnson here would be a mistake. Johnson could slip because of the position he plays, but in our opinion he's the best defensive player in this class. The Texans used a top pick on a pass-rushing OLB in Justin Babin last season but could use a more traditional linebacker to help improve their run defense and pass coverage. Johnson, who has experience inside and outside, is versatile enough to play different roles in the team's 3-4 scheme, and he's athletic and instinctive enough to upgrade the unit in both of the aforementioned areas. 14. Carolina Panthers (7-9) Alex Barron | OT | Florida State The team's biggest need is at right tackle, where Matt Willig and Todd Fordham didn't cut it a year ago. The Panthers could go in a different direction if they are unable to re-sign free agent Muhsin Muhammad, but Barron is a decent value at a much bigger position of need. Barron needs to become more physical but he has the size, strength and feet to develop into a starting right or left tackle in the NFL. 15. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9) Eramus James | DE | Wisconsin The Chiefs could use a vertical threat like Williamson if he dropped to them here. Otherwise, it's defense, defense, defense again. A pass-rushing defensive end would help most, followed by a corner who can hold up in man-to-man coverage and then an upgrade in terms of athleticism at the linebacker position. In this scenario, the Chiefs would have a tough choice to make between James, DE Dan Cody, DC Brandon Browner and DT Travis Johnson, and James is the best value at the position they need most. James is a risk-reward type prospect because of his injury history. However, he's the best pure pass-rushing DE in this class and he's worth taking a chance on in the middle of the first round. 16. New Orleans Saints (8-8) Thomas Davis | DS | Georgia The Saints are starving for an athletic upgrade at linebacker and Davis could be just the answer they are looking for. Davis played OLB early in his collegiate career but moved to DS and became an absolute terror as a sideline-to-sideline run stopper. Davis might not have the range and cover skills to develop into an elite DS in the NFL, but if he can add a few pounds to his 226-pound frame he has a chance to develop into a Derrick Brooks-type OLB in the NFL. 17. Cincinnati Bengals (8-8) Travis Johnson | DT | Florida State The Bengals need to use this draft to upgrade the middle of their defense. If Johnson falls to them at No. 17, the Bengals would be elated. After struggling through some off-the-field issues that affected his play early in his career at FSU, Johnson had a breakout season as a full-time starter in 2004. In our opinion, he's the best defensive tackle in this year's draft class and has a chance to make a huge impact early in his NFL career as a one-gap, penetrating DT. 18. Minnesota Vikings (8-8) Shaun Cody | DE | USC The Vikings might be looking for a wide receiver if they do indeed part ways with Randy Moss. If not, upgrading their defensive tackle position and secondary become the primary goals in the 2005 draft. If Davis is off the board, there isn't another safety worth reaching for with this pick. Cody is a much better value at a position of equal need, as the Vikings need to replace Chris Hovan at the three-technique position. Cody is a "tweener" DE/DT who would have to move outside to end in most NFL schemes, but he would be a perfect fit as a one-gap penetrating DT next to Kevin Williams. 19. St. Louis Rams (8-8) Dan Cody | DE | Oklahoma The Rams could use upgrades at right tackle (if Kyle Turley isn't back), offensive guard, inside linebacker and free safety, but none of those needs are as pressing as defensive end. The Rams missed Grant Wistrom's presence opposite Leonard Little last year and Cody has the athleticism, speed and pass-rushing instincts to step in as a rookie and immediately make an impact. 20. Dallas Cowboys (6-10) Carlos Rogers | DC | Auburn After addressing their need for a pass rusher with the 11th overall pick, the Cowboys should turn their attention to finding a potential shutdown cornerback. They badly underestimated their need at the position last season and it resulted in a major trickle-down effect for the entire defensive unit. Rogers has good size and speed. Most importantly, he is a physical cover corner with the athletic ability and confidence to play in the Cowboys' man-to-man defensive scheme.