Mock Draft VII: Smith moves into top spot

As the NFL draft draws closer, the National Football Post will continue to increase our coverage. Here’s our first three-round mock draft of the season breaking down more potential scenarios that could play out on draft weekend.

First round

Photo Smith’s athleticism was on display at the scouting combine.
(Scott Boehm/Getty)

1. Detroit Lions: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
All indications point toward the Lions bypassing a quarterback with the first overall pick and opting for a left tackle. Smith is a former tight end who possesses the feet and athleticism to be a mainstay for the Lions over the next decade.

2. St. Louis Rams: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
The Rams have holes on both sides of the ball, but for the offense to become a threat, they’ll need to upgrade the talent on their offensive line. Monroe is a physically gifted tackle with smooth feet and excellent body control for the position. He should be able to step in and immediately improve the Rams up front.

3. Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest
The Chiefs lack any real playmakers on the defensive side, and Curry adds an instant physical presence to the linebacker position. He’s a do-it-all athlete with a rare blend of size and athleticism. He should contribute from day one.

4. Seattle Seahawks: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
The Seahawks have picked in the back end of the draft over the past five years and find themselves in a unique situation this year with a top-five pick. Expect them to look long and hard at a franchise quarterback who can be groomed as Matt Hasselbeck’s eventual replacement. Sanchez possesses an ideal skill set for the Seahawks West Coast attack and is a better fit than QB Matthew Stafford.

5. Cleveland Browns: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
The Browns need to add another pass rusher to their defense in order to create more pressure off the edge. Orakpo is a gifted athlete with an impressive skill set and rare workout numbers.

6. Cincinnati Bengals: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
The Bengals need to improve the overall talent on their offensive line, and Smith is as gifted as any lineman in the draft. He comes with some baggage, but his physical talents still warrant a top-10 pick.

7. Oakland Raiders: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
The Raiders have been one of the league’s worst run defenses the past five years, so a hefty run defender like Raji makes a lot of sense. He has the power to eat up run lanes inside and would instantly upgrade the Raiders’ D-line.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
Quarterback is an option here, but with Crabtree still on the board, I expect the Jaguars to again try and upgrade their wide receiving corps. He’s one of the draft’s top talents and appears destined to become one of the league’s top wideouts. He gives the Jaguars a No. 1 threat at receiver, something they’ve sought for years.

9. Green Bay Packers: Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
The Packers need to add someone to their front seven with this pick, and I think Maybin makes the most sense. He is arguably the draft’s top pass rusher and does a great job firing off the snap and attacking upfield. He’s been soaring up draft boards of late and should become the impact pass rusher the Packers need in their new 3-4 scheme.

10. San Francisco 49ers: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
The 49ers are in need of a WR, OT and OLB, but with a talent like Stafford still on the board, he becomes too good to pass up. Stafford has the kind of physical skill set GMs crave and gives San Francisco its much-needed quarterback of the future.

11. Buffalo Bills: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
Ayers has been flying up draft boards in recent weeks and could end up in the top 10. However, he’s a great fit for the Bills at No. 11 as his power at the point of attack and ability to rush the edge should allow for an instant impact on defense.

12. Denver Broncos: Everette Brown, OLB, Florida State
Brown is an explosive edge rusher who might be a bit undersized to play as a down 4-3 DE. However, he’s an ideal fit in the Broncos’ 3-4 scheme and should be able to use his burst and athleticism to terrorize quarterbacks off the edge.

13. Washington Redskins: Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
The Redskins need to find an offensive lineman at and add some much-needed youth to their O-line. Oher possesses all the physical tools to play left tackle at the next level, although his technique and instincts could force him to right tackle.

14. New Orleans Saints: Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State
The Saints need to add a big, physical runner to their offense in order to become more productive on third down. Wells is one of this year’s most physical runners and has the vision and footwork to become an every-down back.

15. Houston Texans: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
The Texans need help throughout their secondary, and Jenkins has the versatility to fill a variety of roles. He possesses good footwork and a smooth transition but might lack the speed to play corner in the NFL. Worst-case scenario, he fills a void at safety for the Texans and adds some needed ball skills to the Houston secondary.

16. San Diego Chargers: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
With the loss of DE Igor Olshansky to free agency (and the Cowboys), the Chargers could be in the market for some additional defensive linemen. Jackson is an ideal fit in the Chargers’ 3-4 defense and gives San Diego some depth at defensive end.

17. New York Jets: Clay Matthews, OLB, USC
Matthews is the kind of instinctive, versatile defender head coach Rex Ryan loves to have on his defense. He has the ability to line up at either inside or outside linebacker and should make an impact wherever he plays.

18. Chicago Bears: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
The Bears need to add more talent to their offensive and defensive lines, but a playmaker on offense is still a top priority. Maclin has not run as well as expected this postseason, but his explosion is obvious on tape, and he would give the Bears some big-play capability on offense.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State
The Buccaneers need to find a quarterback the franchise can build around for the future. Freeman has the tools needed to become a star, but he needs time to develop.

20. Detroit Lions (from Dallas) Rey Maualuga, ILB, USC
The Lions opted for a left tackle with their first pick but need to significantly add more talent to the defensive side of the ball. Maualuga is an aggressive, downhill linebacker who would be able to come in and make an immediate impact inside.

21. Philadelphia Eagles: William Beatty, OT, Connecticut
With question marks still at the left tackle position in Philly, an athletic lineman like Beatty makes a lot of sense. He still needs to add more power to his frame, but he has the length and footwork to handle the speed of the left side.

22. Minnesota Vikings: Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
Minnesota has question marks on the right side of its offensive line and needs to find a right tackle to upgrade that position. Britton is a bit short-armed for the left side, but he plays with great technique and base strength and should find a home at RT.

23. New England Patriots: Connor Barwin, OLB, Cincinnati
Barwin has been flying up draft boards lately and just seems to have that competitive, workmanlike quality the Patriots love. He would be an ideal 3-4 OLB who would add some much-needed athleticism to the Pats’ linebacker group.

24. Atlanta Falcons: Sean Smith, CB/FS, Utah
Smith is one of the most physically impressive corners to come along in years and has the size and fluidity to play corner or free safety. He does a great job in press coverage and would add a lot of versatility to the Falcons’ secondary.

25. Miami Dolphins: Brian Cushing, OLB, USC
A lot of questions have surfaced about Cushing in recent weeks. However, he’s a tough, instinctive player who has the ability to play inside and outside in the Dolphins’ 3-4 defense.

26. Baltimore Ravens: Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
Even with the addition of CB Domonique Foxworth, the Ravens still need to add a more physical presence to the cornerback position. Davis is one of the draft’s most athletic cornerbacks but is considered a boom or bust pick.

27. Indianapolis Colts: Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi
Jerry is an explosive, quick-twitch lineman who has the ability to fire off the ball and consistently penetrate the backfield. He’s an ideal fit for the Colts’ one-gap scheme and should make an instant impact.

28. Philadelphia Eagles (from Carolina): Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
The Eagles need to find a tight end who can handle defensive ends on the edge. Pettigrew is a receiving/blocking option who would instantly upgrade the position in Philadelphia.

29. New York Giants: Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina
The Giants need to find a receiver at some point, and the physicality and size of Nicks makes him an attractive option at the end of Round 1. He’s a polished route runner who does a nice job changing speeds and using his size to separate. He would be a nice target for QB Eli Manning to hit over the middle.

30.Tennessee Titans: Jarron Gilbert, DT/DE, San Jose State
The Titans need to find a replacement for DT Albert Haynesworth, and Gilbert has the frame and explosion to develop into a good interior lineman. He possesses an impressive first step, long arms and makes a living in opponents’ backfields.

31. Arizona Cardinals: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
Moreno is considered one of the draft’s top talents, however, running backs always seem to fall on draft weekend. He’s a good fit in the Cardinals’ spread offense and should help in not just the run game but also as a receiver.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alex Mack, C, California
The Steelers need to add youth to their defensive line, but with Gilbert off the board, expect them to address their D-line in later rounds. Mack is the draft’s top center prospect and has the ability to play anywhere on the interior. He would be an instant upgrade inside.

Second round

33. Detroit: Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
A talented pass rusher with a rare skill set.

Photo James Laurinaitas
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)

34. New England (from Kansas City): James Laurinaitis, ILB, Ohio State
An intelligent defender who adds some needed youth to the Patriots at inside linebacker.

35. St. Louis: Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
A big-play wideout who has the ability to replace WR Torry Holt down the line.

36. Cleveland: Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut
Adds some much-needed talent and playmaking skills to the Browns’ secondary

37. Seattle: Phil Loadholt, OT, Oklahoma
A massive right tackle prospect who fills a big void.

38. Cincinnati: Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut
Gives the Bengals a legitimate threat at the running back position.

39. Jacksonville: Evander Hood, DT, Missouri
A talented interior lineman who has the ability to cause havoc inside.

40. Oakland: Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
The kind of explosive, vertical threat the Raiders crave.

41. Green Bay: Ron Brace, DT, Boston College
Gives the Packers some much-needed depth and talent at nose tackle.

42. Buffalo: Duke Robinson, OG, Oklahoma
Should be able to come in and fill the void left by OG Derrick Dockery.

43. San Francisco: Larry English, OLB, Northern Illinois
The kind of quick-twitch pass rusher the Niners’ defense is lacking.

44. Miami (from Washington): Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
A big, physical wideout who knows how to move the chains and work the middle of the field.

45. N.Y. Giants (from New Orleans): Max Unger, OL, Oregon
Adds some depth and versatility to the Giants’ offensive line.

46. Houston: Shonn Greene, RB, Iowa
Gives the Texans a nice complement to RB Steve Slaton in the run game.

47. New England (from San Diego): Eric Wood, C, Louisville
A tough, blue-collar lineman who has the versatility to play center or guard.

48. Denver: Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest
Smith is one of the draft’s most fluid corners and should instantly upgrade the Denver secondary.

49. Chicago: Herman Johnson, OT/OG, LSU
A big, physical mauler who has the versatility to play guard or right tackle.

50. Cleveland (from Tampa Bay): LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh
Adds a much-needed big-play threat to the Browns’ run game.

51. Dallas: Louis Delmas, FS, Western Michigan
Has the range and athleticism to be a big help in the Cowboys’ secondary.

52. N.Y. Jets: Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State
A polished wideout who should step in and contribute from day one.

53. Philadelphia: William Moore, S, Missouri
A physically gifted safety who could be the replacement for S Brian Dawkins.

54. Minnesota: D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt
A fluid corner whose draft stock was hurt by his poor 40 times.

55. Atlanta: Lawrence Sidbury Jr., DE, Richmond
A small-school defensive lineman who has the burst and length to generate pressure off the edge.

56. Miami: Coye Francies, CB, San Jose State
A tall, long-armed corner with good closing speed and ball skills.

57. Baltimore: Juaquin Iglesias, WR, Oklahoma
A polished route runner with good hands and presence over the middle.

58. New England: Patrick Chung, SS, Oregon
A hard-hitting safety who gets by on instincts.

59. Carolina: Sen’Derrick Marks, DT, Auburn
The kind of interior pass-rush threat the Panthers need.

60. N.Y. Giants: Jared Cook, TE, South Carolina
Gives the Giants a vertical threat at the tight end position.

61. Indianapolis: David Veikune, DE, Hawaii
The Colts rely so much on DE Dwight Freeney and DE Robert Mathis off the edge that another pass rusher has to be a priority this offseason.

62. Tennessee: Sherrod Martin CB/FS, Troy
One of the nation’s most fluid defensive backs, Martin has the ability to play corner and free safety.

63. Arizona: Jamon Meredith, OT, South Carolina
A smooth athlete who has the feet and body control to play left tackle.

64. Pittsburgh: Fili Moala, DT, USC
Has the size, length and power to play the five-technique in the Steelers’ 3-4 defense.

Round 3

65. Detroit: Dorell Scott, DT, Clemson
Another needed piece to the puzzle on the Lions’ defense.

66. St. Louis: Tyrone McKenzie, OLB, South Florida
The Rams need to upgrade their outside linebacker position. McKenzie fits the bill.

67. Kansas City: Paul Kruger, DE, Utah
The Chiefs need to find some kind of pass rush threat off the edge.

68. Seattle: Marcus Freeman, OLB, Ohio State
The Seahawks need to find a replacement for OLB Julian Peterson.

69. Dallas (from Cleveland): Andy Levitre, OG, Oregon State
Gives the Cowboys some needed youth and depth on the offensive line.

70. Cincinnati: Antoine Caldwell, C, Alabama
The Bengals are in desperate need of a talented center.

71. Oakland: Rashad Johnson, S, Alabama
A tough, ball-hawking safety who fills a void in the Oakland secondary.

72. Jacksonville: Troy Kropog, OT, Tulane
An athletic lineman with the potential to develop into a left tackle.

Photo Clint Sintim
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)

73. Green Bay: Clint Sintim, OLB, Virginia
Even with the selection of Maybin in the first round, the Packers need to continue to add pass rushers to their 3-4 defense.

74. San Francisco: Fenuki Tupou, OT, Oregon
A massive RT prospect with smooth feet and a strong upper body.

75. Buffalo: Shawn Nelson, TE, Southern Miss
The type of vertical threat the Bills need at the tight end position.

76. N.Y. Jets (from New Orleans): Trevor Canfield, OG, Cincinnati
A tough offensive lineman who plays with a mean streak; could come in and start right away.

77. Houston: Zack Follett, OLB, California
An aggressive, downhill linebacker who knows how to get after the QB.

78. San Diego: Gerald McRath, ILB, Southern Miss
Adds athleticism to the Chargers’ inside linebacker position.

79. Denver: Jonathan Luigs, C, Arkansas
The Broncos have to find an eventual replacement for C Casey Wiegmann.

80. Washington: Kraig Urbik, OG, Wisconsin
Adds youth to the interior of the Redskins’ offensive line.

81. Tampa Bay: Ricky Jean-Francois, DT, LSU
A long-armed, explosive interior lineman who possesses impressive tools but is very raw.

82. Detroit (from Dallas): Rhett Bomar, QB, Sam Houston State
The Lions finally take a shot on their potential franchise quarterback.

83. Green Bay (from N.Y. Jets): Gerald Cadogan, OT, Penn State
An athletic lineman who has the length and feet to play either tackle or guard.

84. Chicago: Mitch King, DT, Iowa
A penetrating, one-gap defensive tackle.

85. Philadelphia: Andre Brown, RB, NC State
Gives the Eagles some needed power in the run game.

86. Minnesota: Darcel McBath, FS, Texas Tech
A well-built safety with a nose for the ball.

87. Miami: Pat White, QB, West Virginia
Imagine all the wrinkles the Dolphins could add to their Wildcat offense with White at the helm.

88. Baltimore: Alex Magee, DT/DE, Purdue
A long-armed defensive lineman with an ability to hold the point as a five-technique defensive end.

89. New England: James Casey, TE, Rice
A do-it-all player with some of the best hands and ball skills in this year’s draft.

90. Atlanta: Dannell Ellerbe, ILB, Georgia
Adds athleticism and gives the Falcons some versatility at linebacker.

91. N.Y. Giants: Kevin Barnes, CB, Maryland
Barnes is a nice value here with the potential to develop into a starting corner.

92. Indianapolis: Derrick Williams, WR, Penn State
Does a nice job separating down the field and would be a nice fit in the Colts’ offense.

93. Carolina: Mike Thomas, WR, Arizona
The Panthers need to find a third receiver who knows how to work the slot. Thomas is this year’s best.

94. Tennessee: Darry Beckwith, LB, LSU
An aggressive downhill linebacker who plays bigger than his frame indicates.

95. Arizona: Cody Brown, OLB, Connecticut
An athletic pass rusher who can fill a variety of roles on the Cardinals’ defense.

96. Pittsburgh: Jairus Byrd, CB, Oregon
The Steelers need to find a replacement for CB Bryant McFadden.

97. New England (compensatory): Victor Harris, CB, Virginia Tech
An instinctive corner with great ball skills and closing speed.

98. Cincinnati (compensatory): Chase Coffman, TE, Missouri
The Bengals are in desperate need of an upgrade at tight end.

99. Chicago (compensatory): Stephen McGee, QB, Texas A&M
Possesses all the physical skills but needs time to develop.

100. N.Y. Giants (compensatory): Rashad Jennings, RB, Liberty
A big, athletic back who would be a nice addition to the running back rotation in New York.