Hola to the ever loyal readers. With Senior Bowl (Spanish for Mr. Bowl) practices just about wrapped up I figured it was as good a time as any to post a new Mock Draft
1. Miami Dolphins- Jake Long OT Michigan
Jeff Ireland and Tuna have a big job ahead of them in revamping a roster virtually devoid of talent -- what talent is there is past it's prime. No matter who the Phins take, they will end up with a really good player. Glen Dorsey isn't a great fit for 3-4, I'm not sure Chris Long has the upside you need from a #1 pick (though I like him an awful lot.) Jake Long can anchor the Miami line for the next decade help keep the QB (whoever it is) healthy.
Good: Long is a very advanced OL prospect who profiles as a true stud LT. Great size, strength, and quickness. Leader of those Michigan teams.
Not So Good: Almost anything is nitpicking with Long, but he's not as good a prospect as Joe Thomas last year. Very well rounded but isn't crazy-lights-out-dominate in any one area.
Perfect World: Legit All-Pro left tackle...and he has a very high likely hood of reaching his plateau.
2. St. Louis Rams - Glenn Dorsey DT LSU
The Rams may covet Dorsey more than the Dolphins do but if Glenn Dorsey falls into your lap, you have a very easy draft decision.
Good: Truly disruptive force inside the DL. Big strong man, with unbelievable burst and quickness. Good lateral movement. Plays the run well, but getting pressure is what makes him really special. Consistently moves the LOS backward. Best player on the best team in college.
Bad: Again, not a lot to fill up this spot. Has battled injuries, played through pain all the past season and was rarely 100%. May be a tad immature; but really nothing to worry about.
Perfect World: Hall of Fame, transcendent talent who is a nightmare for opposing linemen. Young Warren Sapp.
3. Atlanta Falcons - Matt Ryan QB Boston College
The Atlanta organization is in shambles, but the reclamation project should begin with a QB.
Good: Size, arm strength, and delivery are all prototypical for NFL QB. Productive at a high level, played in pro style offense. Earns very high marks for leadership.
Bad: Arm is not elite, throws a few too many INTs, completion % has gone down in each of the past three years. I may put too much emphasis on his Va Tech game where he was visibly rattled and felt ghost pressure all day - I worry about him having a mild case of David Carr disease.
Perfect World: He could emerge as a franchise QB but personally I think it's unlikely, could be a less whiny Eli Manning.
4. Oakland Raiders - Darren McFadden RB Arkansas
Value surpasses need, I don't think Al Davis can help himself if Run DMC is still on the board.
Bad: Um....well...nope, can't think of anything.
Perfect World: All-Pro franchise back who is a threat out of backfield and can pop the occasional trick play on you, should be the 2nd best back in football (behind Peterson) very soon...may already be the 2nd best RB on earth.
5. Kansas City Chiefs - Chris Long DE Virginia
KC really needs help along the LOS, while they may prefer Jake, Chris Long could team up with Jared Allen to form the best white DE tandem in recent memory.
Good: Incredibly strong with tremendous natural talent but plays with even better technique - testament to the coaching he has received in his career, from both his dad and Al Groh. Versatile, can play inside or out in 4-3 or anchor a 3-4 from the end. Had an impressive 14 sacks and 19 TFL this year.
Bad: Is not a speed rusher and may have some difficulty as a rookie playing against linemen who are as smart and strong as he is.
Perfect World: Howie 2.0, a great DE who is equally effective putting pressure on the QB and shutting down the run.
6. New York J-E-T-S - Vernon Gholston DE THE Ohio State
While the Jets won karma points for their week 17 victory, they lost points in the draft - moving from #3 to #6 overall and missing out on a chance as really elite player.
Good: Very good strength and speed combo from the outside. Can probably play OLB in 3-4 or DE for short bursts. The only player to get a sack off of Jake Long. 22.5 sacks and 30.5 TFL over the past two seasons.
Bad: Very limited starting experience - just started two years at OSU. Still raw.
Perfect World: A slightly smaller Greg Ellis who gives Jets fans something cheer about other than molesting women at halftime.
7. New England Patriots - Mike Jenkins CB South Florida
It saddens me that the Pats get to add a top 10 player to their team, even worse that this draft matches up well with their few needs.
Good: Great size/speed combo. Has the natural ball skills to make big plays. Extremely quick COD skills. Good potential as return man. Played some safety at USF. Makes great breaks on ball. When asked about Jenkins' speed USF head coach Jim Leavitt invoked the name, "Deion."
Bad: Always looking to make the big play, can be susceptible to big play action passes. Doesn't like to tackle. Charged with misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and opposing or obstructing an officer without violence during the 2007 off-season.
Perfect World: #1 shut down corner who makes Pats fans say, "Asante who?"
8. Baltimore Ravens - Brian Brohm QB Louisville
Remember back in 2006 when the Ravens were one of the best teams in football? You won't hear many Ravens fans espouse the wonders of parity because that means good teams have to fall from grace.
Good: Good size, frame, arm. Very smart and experienced. Extremely productive - over 10,000 career yards. Plus accuracy.
Bad: Required surgery for a torn ACL in 2005, torn ligaments in his thumb in 2006 and most recently went under the knife to repair his non-throwing shoulder in January of '07. Played in an offensive system that pumped up his numbers and didn't ask him to make a lot of difficult throws. Mobility is very limited and he isn't much of a threat to scramble.
Perfect World: Jim Kelly...but more likely, a few burgers shy of Drew Bledsoe.
9. Cincinnati Bengals - Sedrick Ellis DT USC
I was somewhat skeptical of the Ellis buzz but his performance at the Senior Bowl this week has officially made me a believer. The Bengals need help all over that D and Ellis is the type of unique, high upside, high character, high motor guy that would be perfect for the Ohio Tigers!
Good: Well I kinda just said a lot of them, but Ellis a disruptive 4-3 DT who will require constant double teams. Very quick, great hand placement and sheds blocks well. Has the energy of an Eduardo Najera or David Lee - or insert your favorite basketball energy guy - but the skill of an All-Star.
Bad: It's odd to call someone 6'1'', 290 lbs small but for a DT in today’s NFL he is somewhat undersized ... and people only worry about HGH and PEDs in baseball ... thus should be valued much more highly by 4-3 teams than 3-4 ones.
Perfect World: LaRoi Glover
10. New Orleans Saints - Aqib Talib CB Kansas
Saints slipped this year, while a lot of focus was on their offense who really struggled early on the 'Aints' D needs mucho helpo especially in the secondary.
Good: Talib has elite level ball skills, very good COD, great height for a CB - 6'2''. He was the best DB in college last year and versatile enough to play some WR for Kansas. Very good return man. 11 picks over the past 2 years.
Bad: I worry about his top end speed. If he runs really well in the combine he could jump over Mike Jenkins and be the top CB but for now he might be half a step slow to be a legit shut down corner.
Perfect World: Good #1 corner who makes big plays, helps out in all areas of the game who you don't feel real comfortable leaving in man on a go route.
11. Buffalo Bills - Malcolm Kelly WR Oklahoma
Outside of Lee Evans the Bills' WR corpse leaves much to be desired.
Good: Kelly isn't the #1 on every board but I have a pretty sizable man-crush on this Sooner -- which just goes to show how good he is since I am generally anti Sooner. Kelly has the size, speed, route running ability, hands, big play ability, possession...ness (that's a word!) in short everything you could want from a #1 WR. Despite being a junior he has most of the OU receiving records. Very polished even though he only played with a real good QB this past year (Sam Bradford who was a freshman.)
Bad: Lacks elite top end speed...but it's still good enough for him to get open deep.
Perfect World: 98% of Larry Fitzgerald and Trent Edwards' best friend.
12. Denver Broncos - Ryan Clady OT Boise State
After years of being among the best in the league the Denver's OL is in need of some help. Kenny Phillips is also a very real possibility here since John Lynch is quite old - but still awesome!
Good: Clady is a mountain of a man, 6'6'' 320lbs, but is very good playing in space. May run the best 40 of any LT in this draft. Big enough to engulf defenders. Tremendous Upside Potential.
Bad: Clady's still young and fairly raw.
Perfect World: The next great Denver Lineman.
13. Carolina Panthers - Calais Campbell DE The U
Martin Rucker has likely played his last game for the Panthers and without help Carolina's front 7 will not be near as feared as it has been the past few seasons.
Good: 6'8'' 290lb ends who run 4.8's don't just grow on trees.
Bad: Campbell came into the year with extremely high expectations and was viewed as possible top 3 pick, he didn't meet expectations - though he was not horrible 6 sacks, 12.5 TFL. He'll impress people at the combine but playing with Julius Peppers on the other side has a way of getting the best out of people.
Perfect World: Pro-Bowl end who puts up big sack numbers.
14. Chicago Bears - Andre Woodson QB Kentucky
Not Breaking News: The Bears could use a QB.
Good: Woodson has the size, frame, arm strength, accuracy, and footwork that should make NFL brass drool. Set NCAA record for most consecutive throws without an interception. HUGE CEILING
Bad: Needs to improve decision making, played in a system that limited QB reads. Floats a few too many passes - although he was the gun to make all the throws. His release is a little long - but it's not like he's Byron Leftwich or anything. There is a flame out possibility with him.
Perfect World: All time draft steal, Franchise QB... next McNabb?
15. Detroit Lions - Jeff Otah OT Pitt
Good: 6'6'' 340lbs. Very strong. Good enough athlete to play LT.
Bad: Needs lots of refinement. Only has two years of D-1 experience (JUCO guy who spent two years at the NFL breeding ground Valley Forge Military Academy.) Probably won't start right away.
Perfect World: Project who rewards patience by anchoring your line for a decade.
16. Arizona Cardinals - Keith Rivers OLB USC
Most mocks have the Cards taking a RB here - and they could use one - but I believe that NFL teams will see the depth of this RB class - as good as any in recent memory - coupled with the success of teams who use the tandem running back system and guys like Stewart/Mendenall/Felix Jones (who have 1st round ability) will drop thanks to very low marginal utility.
Good: Very fast, sideline to sideline range. Will lay a highlight reel hit. Experienced, 4 year starter. Recognizes plays quickly and plays with great aggression. Comes from program with very good record for producing NFL LBs.
Bad: Undersized for some schemes, future is likely as 4-3 WSB which limits his draft value - although fits well for a team like Arizona if they stay 4-3. Doesn't consistently wrap up, goes for knockout too often.
Perfect World: Key contributor on a championship level D who racks up triple digit tackle numbers year in and year out.
17. Minnesota Vikings - Derrick Harvey DE Florida
Minnesota hasn't had great luck with first round DE's in the recent past (although Udeze still offers a lot to like) while WR may be a more pressing need the org philosophy seems to be "don't take WR's in the first round, only defensive ends."
Good: Pressure player. Very good speed on the outside. Best game was in BCS Championship when he single handily knocked Troy Smith down 2 rounds in the draft.
Bad: Somewhat of a one dimensional guy. Needs to stand up against the run better. Worry about him getting knocked around as an every down end vs the run. May be better as a 3-4 OLB or money package pass rush specialist.
Perfect World: A guy who gets to the QB regularly in big spots. Minnesota's version of Green Bay's KGB?
18. Houston Texans - Kenny Phillips S THE U
Houston could go RB here but that would hurt my RB's will slide theory...and besides, have the Texans ever gone for offense when everyone thought they would?
Good: Just about everything! Phillips is 6'2'' 210, and runs in the mid 4.4's. A junior with three years of starting experience for a school with a pretty good track record for sending guys to the league, especially safeties. Solid in run support, really good in coverage. Can play anywhere in the secondary. Ball hawk.
Bad: Sometimes too aggressive and still a little raw, will go for the big hit or pick when he should just wrap up the ball carrier or bat the pass down. Hips are probably a little slow opening to line him up on an island too often vs WRs.
Perfect World: Game changing safety.
19. Philadelphia Eagles - Sam Baker OT USC
The lineman formerly known as Tra Thomas is on his last legs and Winston Justice apparently sucks.
Good: Baker is an experienced, technically sound player with solid size 6'5'' 305. Very smart player who gets the most out of his ability.
Bad: Not a great athlete. Needs to get stronger, can be beaten off the edge by good speed rush. Not a mauler, was rarely 100% healthy the past couple years.
Perfect World: Baker lacks the high upside of other first round linemen in this draft but is a solid bet to be a scrappy, hard-working, starter. If his NFL career fails, he can call his dad who is Commish of the Arena Football League.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DeSean Jackson WR Cal
One of my favorite prospects in this draft could be the long term replacement to Joey Galloway.
Good: Speed, speed, speed. Jackson is a big time playmaker who is a threat to take it the distance anytime he touches the ball. One of the best return men in the nation. Good hands, leaping ability.
Bad: On the smaller side, 6'0'' 178lbs. Needs to improve his route running to be a #1 receiver. Should struggle to get off a jam against physical corners. Character concerns...thinks he's as good as he can be, not as good as he is. Pac-10 WR's have a very poor track record of success...TJ Whosyourmomma and Ocho Cinco being about the only notable exceptions.
Perfect World: Pro-Bowl return man and big time vertical treat who creates space for everyone else. If he doesn't improve his route running he'll stay a slot guy...Santana Moss on the downside and Galloway on the higher side.
21. Washington Redskins - Limas Sweed WR Texas
This pick is pretty clearly going to be either a WR or a pass rusher. The way this mock worked out Limas is the best value on the board and represents the type of big-target, possession WR that Washington lacks. Sweed would thrive playing with burners like Moss and Randle El on the outside, a good running game, and a receiving threat at TE (like Cooley.)
Good: Sweed has the size, hands, and natural receiving ability to be a top flight NFL receiver and constant red-zone threat. Very fluid athlete, good leaper...dominated jump balls in college. Not afraid to go over the middle, first down machine.
Bad: In the 40 yard dash obsessed draft world we live in Sweed will not blow anyone away, he lacks great top end speed. Phenomenal talent when on the field, is coming off an injury [only played in 6 games this past year.]
Perfect World: A poor man's Keyshawn.
22. DALLAS COWBOYS - Leodis McKelvin CB Troy
While I had visions of taking McFadden with the Browns' pick last summer things change. (Really Derek Anderson, you picked this year to be amazing?!?!???) As I covered recently, there are still plenty of reasons to be happy as a Cow fan and one of them is that Dallas can add a CB, WR, and RB with their 3 top 60 picks.
Good: I would be lying to you if I said I watched lots of Troy football this season, but the more I study McKelvin the more I like him. He's a great size/speed/athleticism combo with great man on man cover skills. He makes quick breaks on the ball, is a solid tackler and All-American return man.
Bad: Troy didn't quite face SEC level competition...more along the lines of Big 10... so he will have a bigger jump than most to the NFL.
Perfect World: Rashean Mathis... small school corner turned NFL stud.
Note: I'm excited for the possibility of me getting drunk and making Leonidis McLovin jokes at the TV!
23. Pittsburgh Steelers - Anthony Collins OT Kansas
That's right, two Kansas Jayhawks going in the first round and it's not even the NBA draft.
Good: If you were to design the perfect LT prospect you'd get someone who looked a lot like Anthony Collins. The 6'5'' behemoth is a svelte 315 pounds and could run a 5.0 40...now linemen don't have run 40 yards downfield very often but his quickness/ability to be left in space vs speed rushers/ability to pull outside on screens and run plays makes Collins a very intriguing prospect.
Bad: Despite his obvious physical gifts, Collins is somewhat of a finesse tackle. He played in a very pass heavy spread offensive system and needs to get stronger in order to be an effective run blocker at the NFL level.
Perfect World: Athletic starting LT who is terrific in pass protection
24. Tennessee Titans - Reggie Smith DB Oklahoma
WR is obviously a real possibility with this pick but secondary help is also needed in the Volunteer State.
Good: Smith is a big, physical DB with good speed. Effective vs the run and has pretty good cover skills. Has played both safety and corner for OU. Junior three year starter has lots of experience in big games.
Bad: I listed his position as DB because I'm not sure if he'll play corner or safety at the next level. Likely would be most effective at S since his hips are a little too stiff to be left on an island too often.
Perfect World: He's able to stay outside and becomes a good #2 corner.
25. Seattle Seahawks - Kentwan Balmer DT UNC
Some people (I'm looking at you Mel Kiper) have Balmer much higher than this, but I'm not as enamored with him. To me Sedrick Ellis is closer to Dorsey and Balmer is to Ellis. However he is a one-gap DT who can get pressure up the middle and Seattle needs that.
Good: Balmer had a good senior year for the Tar Heels in which he logged 59 of his 93 career tackles. Big and extremely strong. Good run stopper inside.
Bad: Not a true NT. One year wonder...why wasn't he this good before?
Perfect World: Solid starting DT on a good defense.
26. San Diego Chargers - Gosder Cherilus OT Boston College
The Chargers will return one of the NFL's most talented rosters but could some help on the OL.
Good: At 6'7'' 315lbs, Cherilus engulfs defenders and plays with great technique. From a program with a great record for producing NFL linemen. Very hard worker was a four year starter at BC.
Bad: Future will be at RT or inside at guard. Lacks the huge upside of most of the other big line prospects in this draft. Started 37 consecutive games at right tackle but he moved to the left side as a senior and had some struggles. Can get beat by great speed rushers. Needs to get a little stronger - but has the frame to add some bulk and not loose anything.
Perfect World: Next in the long line of BC linemen who carve out good solid careers.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars - Chris Ellis DE Va Tech
The Jags go off the board every once in a while and Ellis is the type of player that a scouting director can really get infatuated with.
Good: Ellis is one of the best speed rushers in this draft and could really wow people at the combine. Has great football intelligence, anticipates action/snap very well. Tremendous acceleration for a big guy. Gets great jumps on plays, gets to the QB and can make plays from behind in pursuit.
Bad: May be a little small to play every down, 6'4'' 255. Biggest concerns are injury and character. Has torn the labrum in his right shoulder twice. Suspended in 2006 after he was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and obstructing justice.
Perfect World: Valuable pass rusher who plays 40 snaps a game...a little better version of Darryl Tapp.
28. Green Bay Packers - Brandon Flowers DB Va Tech
While GB may be tempted to try and find a new toy for Favre, they would be wise to nab the top DB on the board with this pick. Harris and Woodson are both on the wrong side of 30 and Atari Bigby starts so the Pack need for young DB should be obvious.
Good: Very tough, aggressive DB with good top end speed. Very productive - 86 tackles and 5 picks this season. Played a lot of corner in college but looks more like a SS to me.
Bad: A little too thick to play corner, 5'10'' 200lbs. Hips are a little stiff, vulnerable to double moves by quicker WR's.
Perfect World: I really think highly of Flowers and could see him as a top 10 safety capable of covering TE/RB's in man and laying the wood to anyone who comes over the middle.
29. DALLAS COWBOYS - Mario Manningham WR Michigan
Both TO and Glenn are closer to the end of their careers and the beginning (in Glenn's case he may already be there) and while Patrick Crayton is a pretty good WR Dallas has no one else on its roster who could step up and be a potential #1. Personally, I'm very conflicted on Manningham I loved everything he did in college up until the Ohio State game this year (see, below: Bad)
Good: On speed/route running/hands there may not be a better WR in this draft than Manningham. He's from a great program and was amazingly productive (over 2,300 yards in his career, caught 72 balls this season.) Averaged almost 17 ypc for his career and was a touch down machine.
Bad: Came down with a very bad case of alligator arms against Ohio State this year, started hearing footsteps and dropped several catchable balls. Looked visibly rattled. Little on the small side, 6'0'' 180 and could stand to get a little stronger vs the press.
Perfect World: Donald Driver
30. San Fransico 49ers - James Hardy WR Indiana
The 9ers may have been the worst team in football this year and have plenty of holes to fill.
Good: Hardy is one of those guys that transfixed me casually watching games this fall. A 6'7'' WR with unbelievable hands is really eye catching. He's a narrow waisted guy who gets in and out of his breaks well. Massive, massive hands. Very good athlete, should really make people take notice at the combine. Caught 191 passes in three years, 36 touchdowns and over 2,700 yards.
Bad: As great an athlete as he is, he lacks great timed speed. Played in a pass first offense, so despite his size he needs work as a run blocker. Is somewhat frail, slender for his massive frame.
Perfect World: Joe Jurevicius/ Drew Bennett
31. New York Giants - Ali Highsmith OLB LSU
I really can't believe the Giants are in the Super Bowl...
Good: Highsmith can go sideline to sideline with the best of them. Great athlete who plays well in coverage. Great motor, always around the ball. Good leader, coming off a great year (100 tackles, 9 TFL, 3 sacks, 8 PBU.)
Bad: Just 6'1'' 225. Limited to being a WSB in a 4-3. Needs to get strong
Perfect World: See Rivers, Keith
** I'll have round 2 up soon as well as some videos of select prospects.