Alex – Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
No QB you ask? It’s a sure way to waste money and guarantee a failure without a line to protect them. Smith is one of the top tackles in a very deep draft. But this is supposed to be the last tackle-rich draft in a while. Smith is very athletic and strong. He’ll help protect whoever is quarterbacking for the Lions in ’09.
Remember, they have another pick in the first round that could be used on a QB depending on how the draft shakes out, along with possible trade and free agents available. Jim Schwartz came from a disciplined system in Tennessee that preached strength along the lines. If he has any say on this pick, it will go to offensive tackle. He saw first hand in Tennessee that you don’t need an above average quarterback if you have a great line. But then again, this is the lions. Is Charles Roger’s still available?
Andy – : Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
This was a seriously tough choice for me. While I believe Stafford has all the tools to be a great QB, how much use will those tools be behind a porous o-line? I think Jason Smith the OT out of Baylor would be the better and safer choice in this spot, but this is the Lions we are talking about. The 0-16, worst season in the history of the NFL, Lions. Yah, enough said.
2 St. Louis
Alex – Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
Spagnuolo is a defensive minded coach, so B.J. Raji or Curry are also possibilities here. But after investing quite a few 1st round picks on defense in the past few years (Chris Long, Adam Carriker) and releasing their stalwart LT Orlando Pace, they NEED to go tackle here. Lots of sights have them going defense or QB here, but I don’t think it will happen. Granted, Bulger has underperformed the past couple years and is showing signs of Carr-itis, who is to blame? The line!
I still think that as long as Bulger isn’t suffering ill-effects from the beating he’s taken, he can still be an above average QB. And given their division, they have a shot if they can keep him upright. Monroe is a skilled lineman they can slot into the LT position for the next 10 years. It will help both Bulger and Steven Jackson. You’re paying both these guys alot of money, spend a bit more to give them the protection they need to earn that cash.
Andy – : Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
In a move that illustrates that MAYBE the Rams have an idea what they are doing, they released Orlando Pace in a very top heavy offensive tackle draft. The new staff will surely look to inject youth into one of the most important positions that is often overlooked by perennial bottom feeding teams (see Detroit above). They will be thrilled to find Jason Smith here, though Monroe out of Virginia is still a legitimate pick.
3 Kansas City
Alex – B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
Quick, who is 6’2″ and 325 lbs and the most important player on the Patriots defense? Vince Wilfork.
Raji, 6’2″ and 337lbs, is in the same mold. Pioli, a Belicheck deciple, realizes that the most important position in the 3-4 defense the Chiefs are implementing, is the defensive tackle. They need a big, strong body to occuply blockers for their linebackers to make plays. This will allow them to shift Glenn Dorsey to end, which will allow him to use his speed to rush the QB better and make plays on the runner.
Todd Haley is an offensive coach, and he’s got the foundation of a solid team on that side of the ball. So the pick definitely goes to defense, and its not often you can pick a solid nose tackle that can transform a defense the way Raji can.
Andy – Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest
This could be the biggest no brainer choice that I will make in this draft. With the new Pioli led regime in place, I have no doubt that the focus here is defense. The offense, has the potential to be potent, and I believe will surprise a lot of people this year with their explosiveness. The defense, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Having Curry learn the ropes from a player, who many consider the epitome of a “team player”, in Mike Vrabel is an ideal situation. Curry has a lot of potential and having the ability to learn under a player like Vrabel is too great of an opportunity to pass on. This defense needs Curry.
Alex -Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
Ideally, I would trade down if I was them. But nobody wants a top 10 pick because of the money owed to these players. They filled their DT need with the Redding trade. They do have needs at OLB and Safety. Curry and Orakpo are available, and there is no defensive back worth a pick this high. This is a LB-deep draft, so I’m going with a QB of the future.
Stafford has the “tools” you look for in a QB. He’s strong, tough, and can make all the throws. But he is too raw to succeed if forced to play quickly in the NFL. This is the perfect situation for him. He can learn from a very well coached QB in 34 year old Hasselbeck for a year or two. He’ll learn how to hit the crossing pattern to Houshmanzadeh that he would struggle with early in his career. Seattle fans might not appreciate this pick in ’09, but when Hasselbeck breaks down in a year or two, they will be happy to see this guy under center.
Andy – Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
While I could very easily see B.J. Raji the DT out of BC going here, or even Stafford(how old is Hasselbeck? Between the bald head and back problems, I’m uncertain if he’s in his 30’s or a 60 year old man who has falsified his birth certificate, someone needs to run with that). The way the picks have fallen for me however, there is no way Seattle doesn’t take the 2nd best tackle in the draft at #4. Monroe is slightly less valued than Jason Smith, but not enough so where this talented, but underachieving team does not take him here.
Alex – Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forrest
The Browns have more needs than they should. This team imploded last year, and its unfortunate. They had talent, but couldn’t manage it. Now they don’t have an established QB, lost an All-Pro TE, and might lose a star WR. But Mangidiot’s pedigree is defense.
Curry appears to be the player Vernon Gholston was supposed to be. A great workout player and the way Curry performed in college suggests it will translate to the field. He can play all the linebacker positions, and rush the QB. He’ll complement Wimbley as a bookend rusher. Despite all the deficiencies the Browns face in the secondary and the uncertainties on offense, this is the correct pick to help stablize the franchise.
Andy – Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
Look for Cleveland to pick up a solid talent in Orakpo to shore up a weak pass rush, and hopefully help out a defense that has been nothing better than average for a few years. Scouts have concerns over Orakpo’s durability, but Orakpo surely would have concerns about playing for Mangina, let’s call it even and move on.
Alex – Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
Offensive Tackle need? Check
Talented tackle available? Check
Character issues? Check
Sounds like Smith is the perfect recipe for Marvin Lewis and the Bungles. After losing Stacy Andrews to the Eagles, they need somebody to protect Carson Palmer. Smith is very talented, if his head is on right. That’s a big question with Smith, but Marvin Lewis and Paul Brown think they can mentor him into a good person, just like Chris Henry, Odell Thurman, etc. Good luck Bengals fans…
Andy – B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
I could hear Marvin Lewis and Mike Brown crying a little when Seattle took Monroe off the board.
They need an OT to protect Fitzpat… hey wait a second, they have a pro-bowl caliber QB in Carson Palmer, who has been completely incapable of staying healthy behind an awful offensive line. That doesn’t mean that they should reach and take the 3rd best tackle with so much talent left on the board at other need areas. Raji is a (massive) force at DT. He is the only DT in the draft that sports pundits seem to agree is elite at the position and should help solidify a weak defense.
Alex – Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
I’ll climb on the bandwagon of “experts” making this pick for Al Davis. Maclin has the necessary game-breaking speed to make Davis cream himself. He can dominate from the returner positions, and begin to grow into the role of number one receiver for JaMarcus Russell. He’ll be able to contribute right away, because his speed will allow him to get open deep for Russell’s canon. After generating 2,833 all-purpose yards at Missouri this year, you cannot argue that he will be a player in the NFL. Crabtree, if healthy, would have been the pick for the Raiders. But Davis loves seeing speed, and Maclin’s the pick.
Andy – Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
This pick goes against the 3 commandments I’ve remembered from church.
1. Though shall not steal.
2. Though shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife.
3. Al Davis will only draft a player with a quick 40 time.
Well, this year is the exception. Crabtree is a phenomenal talent and as old and senile as Al Davis is, he will not pass on Crabtree regardless of the lack of 40 time.
Alex – Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
Matt Jones, Ernest Wilford are just a couple of examples of the failure the Jags have had in drafting WRs. With Mike Walker, Dennis Northcut and Troy Williamson rounding out a terribly uninspiring corp, Crabtree is a no-brainer. He’s big, strong, and sure-handed. He can make the catch in traffic and is a great red-zone threat.
I don’t buy the Sanchez talk, as Garrard just signed a large contract a year ago. While he had a terrible year last year, so did Fred Taylor and MJD, who averaged career lows in YPC. This can be attributed to a line that was decimated my injuries last year. With key players coming back, this team would be best served bolstering a need position. With an above-average defense, this team can rebound to respectability with a sure-fire NFL receiver like Crabtree. He’s the most talented player in the draft, and getting him at 8 is a steal.
Andy – : Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
The Jags are in need of a playmaker at WR (maybe Matt Jones will finally have his break out year…on the local prisons football team). Garrard got the extension and money he was looking for, and then proceeded to have a terrible season. While I don’t believe Garrard is the answer for this team, he was lacking an offensive line after a multitude of injuries, it is probably just a little too soon to give up on the QB that you thought was your future. He still completed a high percentage of his throws last season (62.6%), and was being asked to do a lot more, with no running game around to hide his flaws.
Maclin will give the Jags and Garrard the threat they need out wide.
9 Green Bay
Alex – Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas
With a switch to the 3-4 defense, the need for a pass rusher is big for Green Bay. He can become the bookend needed for Kampman at OLB, with ugly AJ Hawk moving inside. And instead of being forced to come off the field in the sub-packages, he can stay at LB to provide a pass rush with Kampman moving to end to provide more pressure. The key to a successful 3-4 defense is versatility, and Orakpo provides it. The only other pick that would make sense here is Jenkins from Ohio State, but I think GB can pick up a solid defensive back in round 2.
Andy –Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
Dom Capers’ is changing the packers defense to the 3-4 which makes the need for a pass rushing LB/DE opposite of Aaron Kampmann very pressing.
The packers will seriously look at the supreme talent of Malcolm Jenkins at CB for an eventual replacement for the quickly aging Woodson and Harris. However I think need outweighs convenience here and they take Maybin with this pick.
10 San Francisco
Alex – Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
He is the top-rated defensive back in the draft. I say defensive back because there isn’t a consensus around the league about whether he will be able to stick at CB in the NFL. That’s fine, because they have Nate Clements to hold down the number one CB position. Jenkins can easily play number 2 on this team, and if not, they have a need at safety. He’s got great ball-skills. The only question is elite speed. Whichever position Jenkins fits at should be fine for this team, they have needs at both spots.
If Andre Smith falls down here, I’d say he would fit. Except for the fact that Singletary is strict coach, who demands maximum effort from his players. And that’s a knock on Smith, from his days in Alabama. And we all know, how the coach feels, “We cannot make decisions that cost the team, and then come off the sideline and it’s nonchalant. No. … I’d rather play with 10 people and just get penalized all the way until we have to do something else rather than play with 11 when I know that right now that person is not sold out to be a part of this team.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EB5-yJM3vJc
While I’m sure Singletary has since learned that there is no penalty for playing with too few players, I don’t think his QBs would agree with a 4 man line. Come to think of it, with his knowledge of the rulebook, maybe they should trade this pick for McNabb. They could really put some wrinkles into the gameplan by going into overtime with 10 men on the field. Coach will be giddy when they don’t get penalized, and after losing, Donovan will never have to admit to not knowing the game could’ve ended in a tie.
Andy – Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
Andre Smith has been under intense scrutiny ever since he made the mistake of running the 40 with his shirt off. However, his flabby physique should not make SF forget the immense talent that he has. Not taking him here would be a mistake, as he could play opposite of Joe Staley and instantly solidify an otherwise questionable line. Another possible pick here is Mark Sanchez, as a Shaun Hill and Alex Smith tandem at QB isn’t striking fear into the hearts of many…other than 49er’s fans of course.