As a number of prospects see their stock rising after the postseason all-star games, the National Football Post offers up its second mock draft of the season:
1. Detroit Lions: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
With so much money being wrapped up in the No. 1 overall pick, expect the Lions to look for the "safest" prospect at this stage in the draft. Much like the Dolphins did last year with Jake Long, the Lions may be persuaded to land a physical tackle prospect who can secure the left side of their offensive line and find their quarterback of the future later.
2. St. Louis Rams: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
The Rams need to start infusing talent along their offensive line and find an eventual replacement for LT Orlando Pace. Monroe reminds some scouts of former Virginia tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson and is a natural pass blocker on the edge. He still needs to add some power to his frame, but Monroe should be able to come in and make an immediate impact on the Rams' offensive line.
3. Kansas City Chiefs: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
Chiefs GM Scott Pioli may take a page from the book of his former co-worker, Thomas Dimitroff, and bring in a franchise quarterback at pick No. 3 to begin the re-building process in Kansas City. Stafford possesses a big-time arm and the ability to make all the throws.
4. Seattle Seahawks: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
The Seahawks are in desperate need of a bona fide No. 1 receiver who can help take pressure off the receivers around him. Crabtree is currently the top-rated prospect on many draft boards, and at pick four he would be quite a bargain.
5. Cleveland Browns: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
The Browns need to add a pass rusher at some point in the draft, but at this stage I don't feel there's a guy who warrants the fifth overall pick. Jenkins will come in and instantly improve the Browns' secondary. OLB Aaron Curry has gotten a lot of attention here, but I feel his skill set would be underutilized in a 3-4 defense.
6. Cincinnati Bengals: Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss
The Bengals' offensive line was depleted by injuries last year, and with RT Stacy Andrews possibly leaving via free agency, adding an offensive lineman is a must. Michael Oher is the most gifted offensive lineman in the draft, although at times he simply does not play up to his abilities. He was occasionally dominant at the Senior Bowl, but at other times he was beaten by inferior opposition. However, Oher is a guy with a lot of upside and should be a big help in the Bengals' attempt to keep QB Carson Palmer clean next season.
7. Oakland Raiders: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
The Raiders are in desperate need of help along the offensive line, but I simply can't see owner Al Davis going for a tackle like Jason Smith with Maclin on the board. Maclin is going to run lights out at the combine, and the possibility of pairing QB JaMarcus Russell with a vertical threat like Maclin will be too much for Davis to pass up.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
The Jaguars took a big step backward in 2008, in large part because of their inability to be stout along the defensive line. The loss of DT Marcus Stroud really hurt Jacksonville up front, and the idea of pairing Raji with John Henderson would really help the Jaguars return to the type of physical football they're known for.
9. Green Bay Packers: Brian Orakpo, OLB/DE, Texas
With the Packers making the transition to a 3-4 defense next season, it's imperative that they find athletes who can generate pressure and rush off the edge. Enter Brian Orakpo, a hybrid OLB/DE who displays impressive power and strength for a guy his size. He combines speed and flexibility off the edge and should really excel attacking the corner as a 3-4 OLB.
10. San Francisco 49ers: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
The 49ers have had some success with QB Shaun Hill occasionally leading the offense over the past two years. But the 49ers must realize they are never going to be a playoff contender with Hill at the helm. With the quarterback class as weak as it is this year, Sanchez could be long gone by pick No. 10, but at this stage, he is too much of a value to pass up.
11. Buffalo Bills: Everette Brown, DE, Florida State
The Bills need to add more explosive, pure pass rushers off the edge in order for their defense to take that next step. Brown is an undersized, quick-twitch pass rusher who knows how to reach the corner and get after the QB. He plays a lot stronger than his 6-4, 252-pound frame would indicate and would be a nice complement to defensive ends Aaron Schobel and Chris Kelsay.
12. Denver Broncos: Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest
The Broncos' defense has been one of the worst in the NFL the past four years and needs an infusion of talent at nearly every position. Ideally, B.J. Raji would fall to the Broncos and Denver could address some needs up front. But with Raji off the board, expect the Broncos to take the best defensive player available, which happens to be Curry. He's a legit top-10 prospect, but I just don't see many teams with a big need for at LB. Curry should come in and make an immediate impact helping the rebuilding process on defense.
13. Washington Redskins: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
The Redskins' offensive line is one of the oldest in the NFL, and you could see it wear down as the year went on. LT Chris Samuels will be 32 by the time the 2009 season begins, and question marks surround Jon Jansen and Stephon Heyer at RT. Smith is a former TE who displays excellent foot quickness and coordination. He's a bit raw but has the athleticism to evolve into a high-caliber left tackle at the next level.
14. New Orleans Saints: D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt
The Saints spent a ton of money this season trying to rebuild their defense with little success. They need to add some cover men in the secondary, and Moore fits the bill. He's a fluid, explosive corner who displays good click-and-close ability on all levels of the field. He jumps routes as well as any corner in the draft and would likely start from day one in New Orleans.
15. Houston Texans: Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
Maybin might be best suited to play as a 3-4 OLB at this stage because of his lack of girth. However, the possibility of having Maybin's pass-rush ability opposite DE Mario Williams is too much for the Texans to pass up and will enhance their third-down defense.
16. San Diego Chargers: Rey Maualuga, MLB, USC
The Chargers don't have many needs on either side of the ball, but the lack of talent inside at middle linebacker sometimes sticks out. Maualuga is an aggressive, downhill backer who can blitz and stuff the run inside. He is somewhat limited in pass coverage but plays with great emotion and would be an ideal fit for the Chargers' 3-4 defense.
17. New York Jets: Brian Cushing, OLB, USC
The USC linebackers come off the board on back-to-back picks as Jets head coach Rex Ryan drafts the type of versatile athlete he loves. Cushing has an impressive skill set, but it's his instincts, technique and versatility that make him the prospect he is. Cushing will be able to line up at any of the Jets' four linebacker spots and will be key to the new "attacking style" defense that Ryan wants to install.
18. Chicago Bears: Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
The Bears have consistently struggled scoring points over the past five seasons, and adding a playmaker like Harvin would go a long way toward giving Chicago another big-play threat. Harvin is still developing as a receiver, but he is dynamite with the ball in his hands and will give opposing defenses fits in the passing game.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss
With head coach Raheem Morris now at the controls, expect him to try to infuse talent along the defensive line. The Bucs' defense wore down toward the end of the season, and a young, penetrating tackle like Jerry would be a great fit. Perry is very underrated at this stage, but after a strong Senior Bowl performance, expect him to be the second DT off the board in April.
20. Detroit Lions: Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State
The Lions' gamble pays off, as they can still grab a possible franchise quarterback in the first round without being forced to pay him No. 1 overall money. Freeman is very raw and still needs a lot of work, but he has the best physical skill set of any QB in the draft and gives Lions fans something to look forward to in the future.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State
The Eagles have been unwilling to not only draft a player in the first round the past couple years, they are also gun shy about selecting anyone outside of the offensive or defensive lines. However, with Wells still on the board and the Eagles having struggled in short-yardage situations this year, this pick makes a lot of sense.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina
The Vikings would like to get their hands on one of the top three quarterback prospects in this draft, but with all of them off the board, expect them to settle on a receiver like Nicks. Nicks is a polished route runner and will give the Vikings the type of presence they need over the middle. With wideout Bernard Berrian consistently opening up the field vertically, Nicks should have a lot of room to operate underneath.
23. New England Patriots: Clay Matthews, OLB, USC
Typically, the New England Patriots don't draft linebackers in the first round. But after selecting Jerod Mayo last year and having to sign Junior Seau and Rosevelt Colvin toward the end of the season, the Patriots need to bring some bodies into the fray. Enter Clay Matthews, an overlooked USC linebacker who had one of the more impressive Senior Bowl performances last week. He is an ideal rush OLB and showcases the instincts, toughness and blue-collar mentality the Patriots crave.
24. Atlanta Falcons: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
With the Falcons beginning to build something special on offense, a tight end is still a big need for Matt Ryan & Co. Not only would Pettigrew become Ryan's best friend underneath, but Pettigrew is a powerful blocker and would enhance the Falcons' rush attack on the outside. He isn't the type of vertical threat some teams crave, but as a dual receiving/blocking combo, Pettigrew is as good as it gets.
25. Miami Dolphins: Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
If we've learned anything from Dolphins GM Bill Parcells over the years, it's that he loves to draft big. Parcells adores big, athletic players who can come in and fit his 3-4 scheme. Johnson is a bit raw and struggles holding the point of attack as a down lineman, but his blend of size, speed and burst make for an ideal fit as a rush 3-4 OLB. He's a very enticing pick at No. 25.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Darius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
With age starting to rear its head at receiver Derrick Mason, the Ravens would be best suited to bring in a talented receiver to help build chemistry with their young signal caller Joe Flacco. Heyward-Bey might be the draft's top size/speed prospect and has possibly the most upside of any receiver in the draft.
27. Indianapolis Colts: Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest
With CB Kelvin Hayden scheduled for free agency, a big piece of the Colts' secondary could be on the way out. Smith, a possible replacement, might be the draft's most polished and fluid cover man. He does a great job mirroring defenders in coverage and has the range and ball skills to make an immediate impact in the Colts' cover-two scheme.
28. Philadelphia Eagles: Eben Britton, OT, Arizona
With both of the Eagles' starting tackles over the age of 34, some youth will need to be added via the draft. Britton is a long, physically built tackle with smooth feet and coordination in pass protection. He isn't real dominant in any aspect of his game, but he offers the Eagles some flexibility at the tackle position next season.
29. New York Giants: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
Make no mistake, Moreno is one of the draft's top 20 prospects. But there simply aren't many teams in need of a running back in the first round. With New York running backs Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward scheduled for free agency, a value like Moreno is simply too good to pass up. Moreno is a natural runner with good patience and vision through the hole. He displays the ability to make men miss and will be a nice fit for the Giants' rushing attack.
30. Tennessee Titans: James Laurinaitis, MLB, Ohio State
The Titans are a team without many holes across the board and have the luxury of taking the best player available. Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis is a good value at No. 30 and offers an instant upgrade over current MLB Stephen Tulloch. Laurinaitis plays both the run and pass well and has the instincts and passion to excel in the Tennessee defense.
31. Arizona Cardinals: Shawn Nelson, TE, Southern Miss
The Cardinals got absolutely no production from the tight end position this season and lack an athlete who can create plays in the passing attack. Nelson is an imposing 6-5 target with legit 4.5 speed and knows how to separate down the field. He would be dynamic in the Cards' passing attack, and after being a solid third-round prospect prior to the Senior Bowl, he's poised to start moving up draft boards. With a strong combine, he should be right in the mix as a low first-round pick.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers: William Beatty, OT, Connecticut
No surprise here. The Steelers really struggled blocking defenses up front this season and need to add talent across their offensive line. Beatty has enjoyed quite a rise up draft boards since the beginning of the year. He is a long, athletically gifted tackle who possesses the foot speed to play on the left side. He's a bit thin in the pants at only 296 pounds but displays the technique and leverage to hold his own in the run game.
33. Detroit Lions: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
Ayers represents the first step toward rebuilding the Lions' defense. He should come in and play right away.
34. St. Louis Rams: Sean Smith, CB/FS, Utah
The Rams need to upgrade their secondary, and Smith has the versatility to play a variety of roles.
35. Kansas City Chiefs: Larry English, DE, Northern Illinois
The Chiefs finished the 2008 season with the fewest sacks in the NFL (10). English can help.
36. Seattle Seahawks: LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh
Seattle needs to improve its offensive and defensive lines, but a talent like McCoy at this spot is too good to pass up.
37. Cleveland Browns: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
Jackson is the type of 5-technique defensive end the Browns were lacking last season.
38. Cincinnati Bengals: Shonn Greene, RB, Iowa
Greene is the type of physical inside runner the Bengals need to take pressure off quarterback Carson Palmer and their passing game.
39. Oakland Raiders: Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
Davis is a talented corner with the size and speed that owner Al Davis covets. He could be an insurance policy for free agent corner Nnamdi Asomugha.
40. Jacksonville Jaguars: Duke Robinson, OG, Oklahoma
With no left tackle on the board worthy of the pick, the Jaguars add talent to the interior of their O-line.
42. San Francisco 49ers: Jarron Gilbert, DE, San Jose State
Expect Gilbert to move up draft boards in the coming months. He possesses the ideal length and power to play the 5-technique in the 3-4.
43. Buffalo Bills: James Casey, TE, Rice
The Bills finally grab a tight end who can get down the field and cause mismatch problems in the pass game.
44. Denver Broncos: Clint Sintim, OLB, Virginia
The Broncos get their outside rush linebacker for new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and his 3-4 defense.
45. Miami Dolphins: Louis Delmas, FS, Western Michigan
With no corner or tackle on the board worthy of the pick, the Dolphins go with the top safety in the 2009 draft class.
46. New York Giants: Juaquin Iglesias, WR, Oklahoma
The Giants need to add more talent at wide receiver, even if Plaxico Burress returns in 2009.
47. Houston Texans: Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
The Texans need to find a complement to wideout Andre Johnson, and Britt has the size and playmaking skills to be that guy.
48. New England Patriots: Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut
The Patriots need to add talent to their secondary. Butler not only has the ability to cover down field, he will also come up and stick you in the run game.
49. New York Jets: Alex Mack, C/G, California
The Jets need to add some youth and power inside, and Mack has the versatility to play either guard spot.
50. Chicago Bears: Sen'Derrick Marks, DT, Auburn
An ideal one-gap defensive tackle who should come in and make an immediate impact on the Bears' defense.
51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: David Veikune, DE, Hawaii
With no quarterbacks or receivers on the board worthy of the pick, the Bucs go back to the D-line looking to retool a former strength.
52. Dallas Cowboys: Herman Johnson, OG, LSU
The Cowboys love massive offensive lineman, and I expect Johnson to lose about 20 pounds from his 382-pound Senior Bowl weight and compete for a starting spot in Dallas.
53. Carolina Panthers: Chase Coffman, TE, Missouri
With no legit downfield tight end threat on the roster, Coffman will help enhance the Carolina offense.
54. Minnesota Vikings: Nate Davis, QB, Ball State
With a big dropoff at the quarterback postion after Davis, the Vikings bite the bullet and take a much-needed QB.
55. New England Patriots: Max Unger, C/OG/OT, Oregon
Unger has the ability to line up at every postion along the offensive line. He'll give the Patriots a versatile pass protector up front.
56. Atlanta Falcons: Paul Kruger, DE, Utah
Atlanta needs to find a complement to defensive end John Abraham, and Kruger has the burst and motor to fill the bill.
57. Miami Dolphins: Pat White, QB, West Virginia
A bit of a wild card here, but imagine how intriguing it would be for the Dolphins to have a player who can actually make plays with his arm in their wildcat formations.
59. Indianapolis Colts: Mitch King, DT, Iowa
An ideal three-technique defensive tackle who will be able to shoot gaps and attack up field in the Colts' Cover 2 defense.
60. Philadelphia Eagles: Tyronne Green, OG, Auburn
Green consistently showcases the ability to get good movement off the ball and has one of the strongest punches in the draft.
61. New York Giants: Fili Moala, DT, USC
The Giants are in need of some depth up front. Moala is an explosive big body who knows how to attack up field.
62. Tennessee Titans: Derrick Williams, WR, Penn State
Tennessee is still searching for a No. 1-type receiver, and Williams has the upside to develop into that kind of player.
63. Arizona Cardinals: Connor Barwin, DE/TE Cincinnati
Defensive end Bertrand Berry is scheduled for free agency, so an edge rusher needs to be brought in. Plus, if the Cardinals want to go for a running back in the first round, Barwin has experience at both defensive end and tight and could double on both sides of the ball.
64. Pittsburgh Steelers: Eric Wood, C/G, Louisville
Wood is a powerful interior lineman who displays a good punch and toughness inside, an ideal fit for the Steelers' offensive line.
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