Tue Apr 21 07:16pm EDT
Shutdown Corner combined with SB Nation to put together this 2009 Mock Draft. The individual blogs, linked with their respective picks, made the selections for their team, and here they are with a bit of our analysis mixed in. The audio version is available here (and yes, it should be noted, these selections were made before Philadelphia traded to acquire Jason Peters from Buffalo).
Pride of Detroit: For Detroit, it is wiser to spend the top overall pick on someone that can immediately have an impact and make this team better. Stafford simply wouldn't do that, and although the Lions will have to find a franchise QB someday, it is not necessary to do that right now. [more]
MJD: Aaron Curry's going to be a fine player, but I just don't know about spending that kind of money on a guy who isn't a quarterback, doesn't rush the passer, or doesn't anchor an offensive line. I understand if you don't like Stafford, but I think Jason Smith would've made a bit more sense than Curry. Jimmy Fallon's not going to like this pick, either.
Turf Show Times: Drafting Jason Smith complements the Rams signing of C Jason Brown, and gives the offensive line a young core of players that will steady the offense and allow the team to get the most out of their investments in skill players like Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson for years to come. [more]
MJD: It's the right move. It's the only move. If you don't have some semblance of an offensive line, you're not going to be able to accomplish anything offensively, and the Rams O-line has been an embarrassment for at least a couple of years. It's time to end the sadness.
Arrowhead Pride: Offensive line is the direction I think that Haley and Scott Pioli will go with their first pick this year. It is the safest, most reliable position to draft at No. 3 overall. With this pick, you want a player who is going to be with your team for 10-plus years and Eugene Monroe can be that player. [more]
MJD: I like the pick, and if you're a Chiefs fan, you've got to like the idea of restoring the offensive line to its former glory. Though at the same time, I couldn't blame Todd Haley if he couldn't resist the idea of putting Michael Crabtree opposite of Dwayne Bowe. As a Chargers fan, I'd be appreciative if he didn't.
Field Gulls: For all the notorious risk of drafting a quarterback early in the first, the riskier proposition is assuming you can fill the position through other means. Great quarterback play is the trend-fast model for winning a Super Bowl, and great quarterbacks are historically taken early in the first round. [more]
MJD: Interesting. Stafford drops to fourth (which I think is unlikely on draft day), and the Seahawks snatch him up in anticipation of Matt Hasselbeck getting old and creaky. It won't help in 2009, but in the long run, it could turn out to be a brilliant, franchise-altering move.
Dawgs by Nature: With Aaron Curry going right away to the Lions, the next best choice is Texas LB Brian Orakpo. Orakpo excelled in college as a pass-rusher. His superior athletic ability and strength gives him the potential to make the successful transition to a 3-4 OLB in the NFL. [more]
MJD: Given the group of players that's available and the holes that
the Browns have on the roster, it'd be hard for them to screw up here. You can't
blame them for going defense (and recent rumors may even suggest that Aaron
Curry would be available here). Michael Crabtree's gotta be considered to be in
play here, too, as Cleveland, for reasons I've yet to grasp, seems intent on
getting rid of Braylon Edwards.
6. Cincinnati Bengals
The Pick: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
Cincy Jungle: Whether it’s Andre Smith, Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe, or Michael Oher, the Bengals will, and should, go after an offensive tackle in the first round, stabilizing the offensive line so Carson Palmer and the Bengals can actually succeed with a critical vertical game. [more]
MJD: Do you think there's someone in the Bengals organization who actually pushes the Bengals to draft people with character issues? Is there someone who says, "Eh, these guys are about equal on our draft board, so let's go with the guy most likely to eat a jar of paste for breakfast." I don't know. Andre Smith might be the world's nicest guy, but he handled the combine and interview process about as well as Brooks handled his release from Shawshank. Still, the performance and the track record are there. High-risk, high-reward on this one.
Silver and Black Pride: Every living, breathing, silver and black bleeding Oakland Raider fan is foaming at the mouth for the chance at seeing Michael Crabtree team up with a very young offense that already has Zach Miller, Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, Johnnie Lee Higgins and JaMarcus Russell. [more]
MJD: If Crabtree's still available at the seventh overall pick, Roger Goodell should have to actually gift wrap him and put a bow on his head for the Raiders. Some offensive line help wouldn't hurt here, either, but you're just not going to get better value than Crabtree at seven. His name is going to look fantastic across the back of tinfoil spiked shoulder pads.
Big Cat Country: Putting new blood on the defensive line is the most important goal for the Jaguars for the 2009 Draft, and with B.J. Raji on the board at 8, seems an obvious pick. Raji brings to the line a burst of youth and energy to a group that's not seen a new starter in quite some time. [more]
MJD: I love the pick, and I love the fit. When the Jaguars were good (you know, before last year), Marcus Stroud and John Henderson were the backbone of the team. If you can rebuild that with B.J. Raji, then I say you do it. I think he's got the potential to be the breakout star of this draft.
Acme Packing Company: The pass rush has struggled the last couple seasons and the complete collapse (and eventual release) of DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila left them with little pass rush from the weak side. They really need a DE/LB Terrell Suggs type player who can provide double digit sacks, line up as a down lineman, and be able to drop back in pass coverage when needed. [more]
MJD: The Packers need someone who can get after the quarterback; a Cutler-killer, if you will. They'll be asking Brown to make the transition from DE to outside linebacker in a 3-4. If he makes some mistakes in coverage early on, I'm sure they can live with that if he's pressuring the pocket.
Niners Nation: As great as he was in college, he has not been playing organized football all that long so he's still a raw talent. However, if you could develop him appropriately, as Grumpy Guy said on NN, you'd lock down right tackle for the next 10 years. A trio of youngsters like Oher, Joe Staley and Chilo Rachal would put the 49ers in a very solid position going forward. [more]
MJD: This is the first pick where it becomes a little bit weird that Mark Sanchez keeps falling, though it's hard to argue with an offensive line pick, no matter where it comes. You can never have too many good ones, Oher's the last one available before a significant drop-off, and if the Niners don't take him here, he wouldn't last much longer.
Buffalo Rumblings: We see the 6-foot-4, 252-pound Maybin as a player who could potentially fit the mold of a Jason Taylor. He's long and thin, but has underrated functional play strength. He's got long arms, which will help him force fumbles and tip passes (there's the playmaking). He's got great burst off the line. This kid's potential is through the roof. His athleticism offers the team schematic versatility, something that exactly zero of Buffalo's run-of-the-mill defensive end group does. [more]
MJD: I like the pick. The biggest questions about Maybin seem to be that he's a "'tweener," meaning that his size doesn't lend itself perfectly to a particular position. If that's the biggest knock you've got on a guy, then that guy's in pretty good shape. All kinds of 'tweeners have shown they can play, and Maybin's talented enough to make use of his skills somewhere on the field.
Mile High Report: Malcolm Jenkins will plug right into the slot corner and start from Day 1. With the ability to play some safety as well, Jenkins also provides the Broncos a lot of flexibility and whether Jenkins ends up as a CB or FS, he has great players to learn from in Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins. [more]
MJD: Here's another spot where Mark Sanchez could have gone, if only because Josh McDaniels might enjoy running another talented quarterback out of town. But you can't blame the Broncos for going defense here, since they played without one last year. Jenkins definitely fills a need, and I like his positional flexibility.
Hogs Haven: London Fletcher is getting old, and Rocky McIntosh has a lot of mileage on his knees. The Redskins front office needs to inject some youth and talent into the linebacking corps, which makes Brian Cushing our guy. [more]
MJD: Cushing's probably been considered by the last few teams, so in that sense, the Redkins are lucky to get him here. In another sense, they probably had bigger needs at offensive line and pass rusher, but they're picking a little late to get the cream of the crop at either of those positions. Also at this spot, we can't ignore the rumors that Dirty Dan Snyder is into Mark Sanchez.
Canal Street Chronicles: Having addressed the improvement of the defensive backfield, this now leaves outside linebacker as the other area of need for the team. Matthews' teammate as USC, Brian Cushing, would have been a more desirable pick but alas he was just taken off the board. So Clay Matthews it is. [more]
MJD: The pick might seem like the NFL Draft equivalent of cheating off of someone else's paper. "What should we do? I don't know, what did the team before us do? They look a linebacker from USC. Fine, let's do that!" But Clay Matthews is no stretch here, as he's been climbing draft boards and a lot of teams have fallen in love with him. The Saints will welcome the pressure he'll put on quarterbacks.
Battle Red Blog: The Texans have never had a stud free safety, and we think Smith could be that guy. In his senior year, he totaled five (5) interceptions; what impressed us the most was the 151 return yards and the TD that came from those interceptions. At 6-foot-3, Smith would be a great asset if he could play not only FS but also occasionally switch to CB to neutralize the advantage a taller wideout typically has. Some might consider this selection a reach, but if Smith plays to his potential, the Texans will have a playmaker for their secondary and therefore would be vindicated. [more]
MJD: On many draft boards and mock drafts, this would be considered a stretch. But you know, it's a need, and if you really, really like a guy, then you should go get that guy. Just know that Mel Kiper is going to yell at you.
Bolts From the Blue: On the Chargers, he will team up with Shawne Merriman, Stephen Cooper and Shaun Phillips to make one of the better linebacking corps in the NFL. He will bring an ability to blitz from the inside, rarely seen last season, but should also be able to drop into coverage. A big hitter in the middle should do a lot to shore up a disappointing defensive squad from last season; especially when coupled with more aggressive play calling by Ron Rivera. [more]
MJD: Inside linebackers from USC have tended to do well with San Diego. Inside linebacker and safety are the two defensive positions the Chargers desperately need to address, and this hits one of them. There's not a safety prospect out there right now that brings as much value as Maualuga does at linebacker. Let's just keep him away from Erin Andrews.
Gang Green Nation: Since the Jets are returning the AFC’s leading rusher, Thomas Jones, and Leon Washington, who averaged 5.8 per carry a year ago, this might seem unnecessary. The reality is Jones will be 31 at the start of the 2009 season. He is a senior citizen in terms of running back age. It could all go south for him at any moment. He is also reportedly unhappy with his contract. Since Drew Rosenhaus is his agent, there is no telling how ugly this could get. When all of this is coupled with the reality that cutting Thomas next offseason will clear out about $6 million in cap room, this is probably his last season in green and white. A succession plan needs to be in place sooner rather than later. [more]
MJD: Then draft a running back next year. I get the points you're making, but the Jets have too many needs (WR, QB) and there are too many players who fit those needs (Jeremy Maclin, Mark Sanchez) for them to be taking running back depth that's not immediately necessary. To me, it's the biggest head-scratcher so far.
Mile High Report
The Pick: Clint Sintim, LB, Virginia
Mile High Report: Sintim is the perfect player to toss in at OLB in the Broncos new 3-4 scheme. With Elvis Dumervil and Jarvis Moss huge question marks, the Broncos need to bring in some impact talent that can get to the passer as well as cover in space. Sintim has proven he can get to the quarterback, registering 20 sacks the past two seasons at Virginia. [more]
MJD: And the Bradyquinnization of Mark Sanchez continues. Like the Sean Smith pick by Houston, I think this one falls under the category of, "If you like a guy, go get him." You don't want to look at the guy excelling in another uniform in five years, thinking that you passed on him because he "didn't represent good value" at the time. Sintim's a lot lower than this on most draft boards, but he does fill a need in Denver.
Buc 'Em: With the lack of ability to trade in this year’s mock draft this isn’t the ideal situation for us as we would have liked to trade back to get English while acquiring a second-round pick. With Percy Harvin, Mark Sanchez and Beanie Wells still available this was a tough, tough decision. The defense collapsed last season and so it has to be addressed since it was ignored in free agency. [more]
MJD: I wonder about this one. I get that you want to address defense, but I think Maclin and Sanchez represent way more of an upside, and even if you are hellbent on going defense, I'm not sure English is better than Tyson Jackson or Robert Ayers. I don't see the pick as a colossal failure or anything, it just seems like there were more appealing options out there.
Pride of Detroit
The Pick: Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss
Pride of Detroit: I strongly considered addressing the need for a defensive end, offensive lineman or cornerback and would have been happy with picking a player at one of those positions. Since the Lions will be back on the clock to start the second-round, though, it gave me the opportunity to take Peria Jerry and quickly look ahead to pick No. 33. There will still be good players available at each of those positions, giving the Lions the chance to pick up another potential starter. [more]
MJD: That's two picks in the top 20, and twice, Detroit has ignored two of their biggest weaknesses, quarterback and offensive line. It's not that I don't think Jeria's a good player. A lot of people think he can be an impact player on the inside of the line. But two picks, no offensive lineman, and no quarterbacks, even when Mark Sanchez was still on the board at 20?
Bleeding Green Nation: Now, WR is not the Eagles biggest hole on offense. That would be running back or TE. There are no RBs or TEs avaialable in this spot that are as dangerous or simply as good as Jeremy Maclin. [more]
MJD: I think that if Maclin drops this far, he's absolutely the right pick for the Eagles, though I think you're selling Brandon Pettigrew short as a tight end prospect. If things were to actually go down like this on draft day, and Maclin falls this far, it's a gift for the Eagles. Along with De'Sean Jackson, they've now got the makings of an actual receiving corps. It almost feels weird to even type that about the Eagles.
Daily Norseman: With the Bears having paid through the nose to acquire their "franchise quarterback," it's dawned on me that the best way to have a guy develop to that sort of status is to draft one and develop him yourself. While the Vikings have had the tendency to try to develop quarterbacks after taking them a little later in the selection process -- they have only selected two QBs in the first round in franchise history (Tommy Kramer in 1977 and Daunte Culpepper in 1999) -- they're in a position in this scenario to take a guy who, by all rights, should not be available at this spot. [more]
MJD: Absolutely. I'm sure the Vikings that after acquiring Sage Rosenfels, that they were done with quarterback this offseason, but if Sanchez is there at 22, they have to take him. Maybe there's a fleeting thought given to Vontae Davis for a second, but only a second. In this scenario, it would have to be Sanchez.
Pats Pulpit: With a mediocre showing in the defensive backfield, New England has had a tough couple of years defending against the pass. I believe letting Asante Samuel go to Philly was a major mistake for our front office and they need to get a ball hawk back in the mix, a guy willing to take risks. Davis is just the kind of guy. [more]
MJD: Some youth in the secondary certainly wouldn't be a bad thing for the Patriots, but I was thinking this might be a nice spot for James Laurinaitis. A bit undersized, maybe, but he's got the character and work ethic that the Patriots love, and they always seem to make it work with those kinds of guys. Still, at this point, Vontae Davis is pretty good value and the Pats are in a good position to address linebacker a little later.
The Falcoholic: A highly decorated college player, Laurinaitis eats a bowl of nails and fire for breakfast every morning and tops it off with a cold glass of motor oil. This tough choice is a tough kid, no doubt. We have our middle linebacker of the future in Curtis Lofton, so I would fully anticipate that the fast-learning Laurinaitis would move to the outside. He doesn't have elite strength, but I fully believe he has the speed, intelligence and tackling ability to make that transition work. [more]
MJD: Aside from the gastrointestinal problems he's going to develop with that diet, I like the pick. It's kind of a "Let's just take the best player available, and hope we can find somewhere to play him" strategy, which, at this point in the draft, is not a bad idea. If it was me, I would've liked to see tight end Brandon Pettigrew come off the board here, though.
The Phinsider: The Dolphins must come out of day one of the draft with a cornerback – a player who could push to start opposite Will Allen right from the moment he walks through those doors. And UConn’s Darius Butler fits that criteria. He ran the fastest 40 among all corners at the Combine (4.46) and then improved his time to a 4.38 at his pro day, according to Mike Mayock. Butler possesses the best footwork among all corners in the draft and he probably has the most fluid hips – allowing him to change directions and to turn and run effortlessly. [more]
MJD: I appreciate a good, fluid set of hips as much as the next guy, and I like this pick. Some might argue that the Dolphins should go receiver here, and it is an area of need, but Bill Parcells doesn't care much for receivers in the first round. Given some of the recent rumors concerning the Dolphins, one wonders if Beanie Wells isn't a possibility here.
Baltimore Beatdown: You can have your Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin, Darius Heyward-Bey, even Michael Crabtree (his foot injury worries me). For pure football skills, including the combination of size, strength, route running, YAC ability and yes, speed (football speed, not just 40 yard dash speed), Hakeem Nicks would be the perfect fit for the Baltimore Ravens with the 26th pick in the first round in April's NFL Draft. [more]
MJD: I couldn't agree more that Nicks has a huge upside, but we've got to acknowledge some downside, too. He doesn't have great speed, and his Wonderlic score was reported to be really low. I think there's some risk here, but it doesn't mean I don't like the pick. I do. Nicks, particularly for the 26th pick overall, has a massive upside.
Stampede Blue: Adding Ziggy Hood would immediately address two key weaknesses at the DT spot: Point of attack, and inside pass rush. The Colts have not had consistent push from the three technique DT or the nose tackle since Ed Johnson was cut last season. With Hood, the Colts could play him either at NT or three tech DT. He was the fastest DT at the NFL Combine, and his quickness combined with is tenacity would allow him to thrive in a Tampa-2 d-line scheme. [more]
MJD: Hood fits the bill here nicely, just as described above. As far as need and value are concerned, you really can't do much better at this point in the draft.
Bleeding Green Nation
The Pick: Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut
Bleeding Green Nation: Running back might very well be the Eagles' biggest need going into this draft. With the departure of Correll Buckhalter in free agency, the Eagles are left with next to nothing to backup Brian Westbrook. Westbrook is all but guaranteed to miss a few games over the course of the year and be listed as questionable for the ones he does play... plus he'll be hitting that magic age of 30 where the death watch for the career of an NFL running back begins. When you look at just how much of the Eagles' offense flows through Westbrook, it's imperative to have an heir apparent to him that can be the kind of dual running/receiving threat he is. [more]
MJD: I love the pick. Brown might be rated a little lower on most draft boards, but he fits the Eagles scheme and he absolutely fills a need. I think it's pretty unlikely that things go down this way on draft day, but I think it's a gutsy and smart call here.
Big Blue View: I recognize that Heyward-Bey is a boom or bust risk, that many think his production will never match his physical tools. But, the upside of all of those physical tools combined with the need the Giants have made this an easy choice. Had any of the USC linebackers still been available that might have given me pause. Same with North Carolina wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who might be more polished right now and might be a 'safer' pick at wide receiver, but doesn't have the star potential of DHB. [more]
MJD: With Plaxico no longer a part of the equation in New York, receiver's a decent bet in the first round, considering that it's a reasonably deep receiver class. My personal preference is for Nicks, but with him off the board, Heyward-Bey's a nice option, too.
Music City Miracles: The Titans are in a great position in this draft because they don’t have any glaring needs, except maybe receiver, but they don’t believe in those. They will be able to take the best available player on the board, and Tyson Jackson is easily the best player available on this board. If he is available at #30 in the real draft, the Titans will run their card up to commissioner Goodell. [more]
MJD: At last, Tyson Jackson finds a home. There's no way he's going to be available at this point on draft day, but if he is, the Titans will be breakdancing.
Revenge of the Birds: His down field and powerful running style should make Ken Whisenhunt giddy and the Cardinals offense much more balanced. Of course an offense with 'ole Gray Beard under center will always be a pass-first system but Wells will pair well with Tim Hightower to make a punishing one-two punch at running back. With the Cardinals not having to rely on Wells to carry the offense, his transition to the professional level should be easier than some expect and having another back to share carries with will, hopefully, keep him healthy. [more]
MJD: Well, this worked out well. Running back is the biggest need on the Cardinals roster, and the guy who might be the best running back in the draft falls in their laps at 31. If Wells is still around at this point on Saturday, consider it a lock.
Behind the Steel Curtain: No comment. [more]
MJD: Center's a popular position for Steelers in just about every mock draft out there. There's some disagreement about the center, though. Some say Alex Mack, some say Eric Wood, some say Max Unger. If it were up to me, I'd go with Max Unger, because his name makes him sound like a 1930s detective.
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