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Insider Only NFL Mock Draft Version 1

Our first NFL Mock is now available. We will be doing 2-3 mock drafts per month leading up until the NFL Draft in April. (Photo courtesy of SD Dirk)
1. DETROIT LIONS, MATTHEW STAFFORD, QB, GEORGIA (6-2 235 lbs) РI really do not believe that either Stafford or Bradford is worthy of the top selection in this year’s draft, but the Lions need at the position is probably going to force them into the selection. Stafford has the big arm and is probably the safer pick at this point. With that said, both Bradford and Stafford are not definitely entering the draft. If (and I don’t see this happening) both Stafford and Bradford remain in school for another season there is not a quarterback worthy of the top selection. Two other options for the Lions are to either address the offensive line by drafting Andre Smith or Michael Oher, or they could trade the pick. With that said, we are way too far away from the draft for me to be projecting trades
2. ST. LOUIS RAMS,  ANDRE SMITH, OT, ALABAMA (6-4 340lbs) РLast year the Rams were hoping that Jake Long would fall to them. That didn’t turn out as they had hoped, and the Rams ended up going to the defensive line. This year, if the Rams remain at pick number two, they will go with Andre Smith to take their left tackle spot. If Smith ends up going first overall then I would expect the Rams to go with Oher.
3. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS, BRIAN ORAKPO, DE, TEXAS ( 6-3 255lbs) – Orakpo has pulled even with Michael Johnson on my defensive end rankings. He will be able to fill the hole created when the Chiefs disposed of Jared Allen. Orakpo has a fantastic work ethic and has greatly improved his pass rush. Sam Bradford is a possibility at this pick but the Chiefs are expected to be active in free agency for a quarterback.
4. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, MICHAEL CRABTREE, WR, TEXAS TECH (6-2 208lbs) РThis is a tough pick. The Seahawks could go in many different directions here. The first option that will at least cross the minds of Seahawks’ management is Sam Bradford. Matt Hasselbeck is getting old and a new coach may want to go in his own direction. The Seahawks could also go with Michael Oher who could play either guard or tackle for them. There are other options that will definitely be discussed before the draft but I think they will go with Crabtree. Crabtree is by far the best receiver available and he would absolutely bolster a poor receiving squad in Seattle. Although he is the top rated receiver, I would not be shocked to see the Seahawks go with Jeremy Maclin who is more of a playmaker.
5. CLEVELAND BROWNS, MALCOLM JENKINS, DB, OHIO STATE (6-0 195lbs)- This is an easy pick if Jenkins is still on the board when the Browns pick at five. If Jenkins is gone then Vontae Davis would most likely be the pick but it isn’t as much of a lock. Jenkins is fast and is a great cover corner. He is also versatile enough to play safety in the NFL as well. Don’t look too far into this pick. It will be Jenkins.
6. CINCINATTI BENGALS, MICHAEL JOHNSON, DE, GEORGIA TECH (6-7 270lbs)- This pick is a little bit tougher than the Browns at five. The Bengals have an atrocious pass rush and Michael Johnson will immediately be able to help that. Johnson is a little bit of a reach at six, just like Orakpo is a bit of a reach at three to the Chiefs, but both are play makers on defense. Don’t be surprised if the Bengals go with Michael Oher here. Also, there is a possibility the Bengals will go with either Knowshon Moreno or Beanie Wells. Both of those backs are severe reaches at six, and the Bengals could wait until their second round selection and probably get Javon Ringer or Shady McCoy, maybe even Beanie Wells.
7. OAKLAND RAIDERS, EUGENE MONROE, OT, VIRGINIA (6-5 310lbs)- Monroe is not the best offensive lineman available at this point but he is a much better fit for Oakland than Michael Oher. Monroe will be able to jump in and start at tackle for the Raiders, where I still think Oher needs some work. I do consider Oher to be the better long term prospect.
8. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS, VONTAE DAVIS, CB, ILLINOIS (5-11 203lbs) – This pick will come down to two players for the Jaguars. They will either be going with Rey Maualuga to replace Mike Peterson, or they will be going with Davis. Davis has already stated that he will be foregoing his senior season to enter the draft so we know that he will be there. Maualuga would be a solid replacement for Peterson if/when he leaves the Jags, but at this point I believe Davis is the better selection.
9. GREEN BAY PACKERS, AARON CURRY, LB, WAKE FOREST (6-1 248 lbs) РIf Vontae Davis or Malcolm Jenkins is available when the Packers select then I would be very surprised to see them go in a direction other than the secondary. With that said, I don’t believe Davis or Jenkins will be there. Therefore, the Packers will probably go with Aaron Curry. Curry is a fantastic value at nine and is a very smart pick. Pairing with A.J. Hawk and Nick Barnett, Curry would complete a dominant linebacker group in Green Bay.
10. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS, SAM BRADFORD, QB, OKLAHOMA (6-3 218lbs) – This is a pretty easy pick for the 49ers at ten. Bradford is a solid value pick at ten and is still young. The 49ers do not have a franchise quarterback for Mike Singletary to move forward with and Bradford can be that quarterback.
11. BUFFALO BILLS, JERMAINE GRESHAM, TE, OKLAHOMA (6-5 266lbs) РThe Bills do not have a legitimate tight end in their offense right now. Gresham is by far the best tight end available as long as he decides to leave Oklahoma and enter the draft. Gresham is young and is a big red-zone threat as well as being a possession receiver. He may have to improve his blocking a bit, but Buffalo will be able to overlook that when they make this pick. The only other ways I see the Bills going are with either Curry, who probably won’t be here at eleven, or Michael Oher.
12 DENVER BROCOS, GERALD McCOY, DT, OKLAHOMA (6-3 245lbs) РMcCoy’s stock is rising faster than any other player in college football right now. He has jumped up to #5 on my defensive tackle charts and is still rising. Although he isn’t the best available defensive tackle, he is by far the best fit for Denver. If Denver does go in a different direction with this pick I would expect that it would be at the same position, just a different prospect like B.J. Raji. Terrance Cody is still the highest rated defensive tackle on my board but he just does not fit in Denver’s defensive scheme.
13. WASHINGTON REDSKINS, AARON MAYBIN, DE, PENN STATE ( 6-3 250 lbs)- Maybin is a very high rising prospect and this is probably the best case scenario for him at this point. Jason Taylor’s future is in doubt and the Redskins have to improve their pass rush. I consider Maybin a bit of a risky pick due to his one year wonder status which is why he should declare himself eligible for the draft this year. If there was a solid value for a 4-3 defensive tackle available I would probably change the pick, but at this point that just isn’t an option. Tyson Jackson looks to be a very good fit for the Redskins but he is a bit of a reach at 13. Look for him as a possible second round selection if he falls that far.
14. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS, JAMES LAURINAITIS, ILB, OHIO STATE (6-2 240lbs) – I am a little bit higher on James Laurinaitis than Rey Maualuga which is why I have the Saints going with Laurinaitis here. If the Saints retain Jonathan Vilma then they will lose this pick to the Jets. Therefore, if the Saints do get rid of Vilma, which is what I expect, then they should go to the linebacker position with the pick. Both Laurinaitis and Maualuga look to be great NFL players so it is hard to miss with this pick.
15. HOUSTON TEXANS, TAYLOR MAYS, S, USC ( 6-3 225 lbs)- Houston needs to improve their depth and overall performance from their safety position. Taylor Mays will be able to step up and improve the Texans’ run defense while also providing security in their pass defense. The other way the Texans could go is back to the defensive line where they have grabbed Mario Williams and Amobi Okoye. Both players have been successful and another defensive end could be in the picture if Mays is not around at pick 15.
16. NEW YORK JETS, REY MAUALUGA, ILB, USC (6-1 260 lbs) РThis is the absolute worst case scenario for Maualuga who very well could go ahead of Laurinaitis to the Saints. This is also the best case scenario for the Jets who should be ecstatic to get a player of Maualuga’s caliber at pick 16. Maualuga, if he does indeed fall this far, will work beside David Harris in the future in what is shaping up to be a very tough New York defense.
17. CHICAGO BEARS, DARRIUS HEYWARD-BEY, WR, MARYLAND (6-2 206 lbs) РThe Bears would love to grab Sam Bradford or Matthew Stafford with this pick but neither of those two players will fall to the 17th pick. If Stafford or Bradford would fall past the 49ers then I would expect the Bears to make an effort to trade up to get one of the two, possibly to Buffalo’s selection. If they do stay with the pick I would expect them to go with Heyward-Bey who is the best remaining receiver. He isn’t as much of a playmaker as Jeremy Maclin but he is a much more polished receiver.
18. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS, BRIAN CUSHING, OLB, USC ( 6-2 250 lbs) РThe Tampa Bay defense started to falter towards the end of the season. Some may contribute that to the departure of Kiffin, their defensive coordinator, but I think Derrick Brooks’ age may be catching up with him. Cushing will be able to fit into his natural position in Tampa, and he won’t be rushed into the defense since Brooks may have a year or two left.
19. DETROIT LIONS (from the Dallas Cowboys) MICHAEL OHER, OL, MISSISSIPPI ( 6-5 330 lbs) – Oher is a fantastic value at this selection for the Lions (keep in mind that this is as a result of the Roy Williams trade). Oher is a very versatile lineman who can really play any position on the line except for center. He will probably end up taking over at left tackle but we will have to see where he gets placed. This will not be a difficult selection for the Lions if Oher ends up falling to them.
20. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS,  WILLIAM MOORE, S, MISSOURI (6-1 230 lbs) РMoore is a solid pick here for the Patriots. Often times it seems as if Moore is everywhere on the field. He moves very well and doesn’t get beat badly too often. The main knock on him is that he isn’t a big hitter and is not the most physical safety available.
21. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS, BRANDON SPIKES, ILB, FLORIDA (6-3 245lbs) – This is one of the easier picks of the draft. San Diego is in need of another man in the middle of the box and they will be lucky if Spikes falls to them at 21. Spikes has improved his overall game significantly this season but it is still unknown if he will declare himself eligible for the draft this year.
22. ARIZONA CARDINALS, KNOWSHON MORENO, RB, GEORGIA ( 5-10 207 lbs) РMoreno will be the first running back taken in this years’ draft if he enters. Edgerrin James will most likely be out of Arizona after the season, and Tim Hightower is not an every-down back that will be needed in Arizona for Matt Leinart to succeed. Moreno has the speed and ability to get the outside that is needed to balance out the running attack. I don’t see Arizona going in any other direction if Moreno is available when they select.
23. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, JASON SMITH, OT, BAYLOR (6-4 300 lbs)- Some consider Jason Smith to be the best offensive tackle available in the draft, I don’t agree at all. At best he is the 4th best available lineman, which means he is a very solid prospect. Winston Justice is not working out for the Eagles and Smith should fit in well.
24. MINNESOTA VIKINGS,  ALPHONSO SMITH, CB, WAKE FOREST ( 5-9 190lbs) РSmith is a very smart pick for the Vikings and looks to fit in very well with their system. He is a great tackler on the outside and is a very good cover corner as well. The other option being thrown around is the Vikings addressing their offensive line, but I don’t agree with that in this scenario. There isn’t an offensive tackle worth taking at this point and a great value pick is the only way an offensive tackle could be justified with this selection.
25. ATLANTA FALCONS, NDAMUKONG SUH, DT, NEBRASKA ( 6-4 305 lbs) РB.J. Raji is the best available defensive tackle not named Terrance Cody but Cody in no way fits in with Atlanta. Raji presents two problems for the Falcons. The first is that he has had many behavioral issues and I doubt that the Falcons and Arthur Blank are going to take a risk on another character issue player. The second problem is that it is unknown how well Raji is going to be able to play defensive tackle in the NFL’s 4-3 defense (even though he has lost some weight and gained some speed). That leaves two options for the Falcons, the first being Tyson Jackson. Jackson is an Adam Carriker type player who played defensive end in college but could move inside for the NFL game. The other option is Ndamukong Suh. I have Atlanta taking Suh here, a player who has been improving his draft status significantly in the past few months and is a much safer selection.

26. MIAMI DOLPHINS, TERRANCE CODY, DT, ALABAMA (6-4 375lbs) – Miami is heading towards the 3-4 defense and there is a player available that is perfect for them to start it with. Terrance Cody looks to be a very solid selection for the Dolphins. Cody ends up being the second defensive tackle taken even though he is the best defensive tackle prospect available. The reason for that is that he only fits in as a nose tackle in the NFL, and that is not a position in high demand for too many teams.
27. BALTIMORE RAVENS, JEREMY MACLIN, WR, MISSOURI (6-1 200 lbs) РMaclin is a fantastic value at 27 for the Ravens. Maclin is a very explosive player and he should fit very well into Baltimore’s offense. Derrick Mason is getting old and it is still unclear how Mark Clayton is going to turn out. Maclin, even if he doesn’t pan out as a receiver, is a phenomenal special teams player and is a player that opposing defenses have to plan for.
28. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS, B.J. RAJI, DT, BOSTON COLLEGE (6-1 334lbs) РRaji is the best defensive tackle prospect available and although he may not fit into the Colts’ system perfectly he is too good of a value pick to pass up when there is a need at defensive tackle and you are picking 28th. He also has some behavioral issues, and that is the only reason he is still available for the Colts at pick 28.
29. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (from the Carolina Panthers), PATRICK CHUNG, S, OREGON (6-0 210lbs) РBrian Dawkins is getting old and the Eagles need to address the safety position in the draft. With both William Moore and Taylor Mays likely gone when the Eagles select for the first time in the draft I expect them to wait on Chung. Now, with their second pick of the first round I expect the Eagles to go after Chung. Chung is a very well rounded player who hits hard and is a solid run stopper from the secondary. Chung’s biggest knock is that he is very often caught out of position. He does have above average speed to aid recovery.
30. PITTSBURGH STEELERS, DUKE ROBINSON, OG, OKLAHOMA (6-5 335 lbs) РThe Steelers have a ton of options here. I have them going with Duke Robinson in the first round, the best offensive guard available by far at this point (if you aren’t including Oher as a guard). If the Steelers choose to go for a tackle, which isn’t too unlikely, then they would still have a great option in Eben Britton, who is a pretty solid value pick at 30. Britton has improved very much this season and has a great work ethic. He looks to be a Pittsburgh type player. I don’t see them going for a quarterback, running back, full back, tight end or wide receiver in the first round.
The Steelers could go with Alex Mack, a center out of California, but he looks to be a guy that the Steelers could grab in the late second round. On the defensive side of the ball the Steelers once again have multiple options. Defensive tackle does not seem to be a position Pittsburgh will be looking at in the first round. Defensive end however is much more of a possibility. There is an abundance of quality defensive ends available that are of a high quality. George Selvie, Greg Hardy, Everette Brown and Jerry Hughes are all fantastic options at the D-end spot. I don’t see the Steelers going after a linebacker in the first round and if they go to the secondary I would expect D.J. Moore, a corner out of Vanderbilt, to be the top option. Right now I expect the Steelers to take Duke Robinson, but that is not the best case scenario.
My best case scenario for the Steelers at this point has Michael Oher falling to them at 30. This, while unlikely, is not impossible and would be a phenomenal addition to the offensive line. In the second round the best case scenario would be George Selvie. Selvie is a great defensive end who had a disappointing junior season, which may cause him to return to South Florida for his senior season, but would be a fantastic value in the second round if he declares and ends up falling that far. Then if the Steelers would be able to grab Alex Mack in the third round I would consider that a perfect first three rounds for a team selecting 30th.
31. NEW YORK GIANTS, KENNY BRITT, WR, RUTGERS (6-4 214lbs) РPlaxico Burress is most likely done as a New York Giant and his absence has shown. The Giants need a big target downfield and Kenny Britt is that guy. Percy Harvin is a possibility here but he doesn’t fit in as well considering the Giants already have Sinorice Moss and Steve Smith. Britt has the ability to get down the field and he has solid hands.
32. TENNESSEE TITANS, PERCY HARVIN, WR, FLORIDA (5-10 187 lbs) – The Titans still need to give Vince Young some help in the wide receiver department. Harvin is quick and very agile. He has great speed and is often able to make something out of nothing. Harvin does have some injury issues that have him behind Jeremy Maclin. Harvin should be a great player to have when Young gets back to being the starter in Tennessee.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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