Welcome Bronco fans to my first 2009 NFL Mock Draft. Now that Free Agency has given us a little direction I decided to put together a mock to give an idea of where players may fall. I look forward to your comments and reading what direction you hope the Broncos go.
1. Detroit Lions - Matthew Stafford QB Georgia - Detroit desperately tries to trade the pick but can't find any takers. In this economy the emphasis on value is hightened and other teams won't bite. The Lions also take a serious look at Aaron Curry but ultimately decide that the chance for a potential franchise QB is too good to pass up.
2. St. Louis Rams - Eugene Monroe OT Virginia - Monroe benefits from Andre Smith's fall from grace and now has moved to the top of the OLine list. St. Louis will also take a look at Curry but they decide they need to keep their QB upright and pull the trigger on Monroe. Michael Oher could be the call here as well but Monroe is a better pass blocker.
3. Kansas City Chiefs - Aaron Curry LB Wake Forest - The best player in the draft finally gets his name called and it's the worst possible place for Broncos fans. The Chiefs are slowy building a nice team. They could be good quicker than one might think.
4. Seattle Seahawks - B.J. Raji - DT Boston College - With the recent signing of TJ Houshmandzadeh the Seahawks will look for a staple in their Defensive Line. Raji is the best DT on the board. Offensive Tackle may be a viable option as well.
5. Cleveland Browns - Brian Orakpo - DE/LB Texas - The Browns have issues on both sides of the ball so they go Best Player Available at a position of need. They will definitely look at Crabtree but decide on Orakpo who brings the total package on the edge. Orakpo is one of the better defensive players available regardless of position.
6. Cincinnati Bengals - Jason Smith - OT Baylor - Smith had a fantastic combine and is shooting up draft boards. Some mocks I see show him being the first OT selected. Michael Oher can't believe it! Two Offensive Lineman taken ahead of him but that's the way the cookie crumbles.
7. Oakland Raiders - Michael Crabtree - WR Texas Tech - We all know that Al Davis loves speed and talent and he won't pass up on Crabtree. The Raiders have been looking for a true #1 receiver for awhile. After the failed Moss experiment, the failed Porter experiment, the failed Walker experiment, now it's Crabtree's turn to show and prove.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars - Vontae Davis - CB Illinois - The Jags love defense and can't resist the versatility of Davis. His size and speed allow him to play Cornerback or Safety. Davis should excel in coverage and also is able to play in the box. His versatility and athleticism are what gets him selected before Malcolm Jenkins.
9. Green Bay Packers - Brian Cushing - LB USC - The Packers wanted Raji but with him being off the board, they take their next favorite player. Cushing will pair with A.J. Hawk and give the Packers fans reason to cheer. The blue collar Cushing is a hard worker that will be a fine addition to any defense.
10. San Francisco 49'ers - Rey Maualuga - LB USC - Rey follows his USC teammate as they go in precession. Rey fits the mentality and attitude that Head Coach Mike Singletary likes. The Niners have plenty of needs to fill, QB and OT just to name a few and Sanchez and Oher are available. The Niners just resigned Takeo Spikes to a reported two year deal so I am not a 100% that Rey goes to San Fran but paired with Patrick Willis the Niners will have one formidable Inside LB core.
11. Buffalo Bills - Michael Oher - OT Ole Miss - Buffalo has a good Left Tackle in Jason Peters but he doesn't exactly invoke comfort. With the recent release of LG Derrick Dockery it would be too difficult to pass up on Oher. He plays with a mean aggressiveness that Buffalo fans will embrace. His pass protection skills may not be that great but he will likely start off at Guard and be groomed for Left Tackle. Eventually he will supplant Peters.
12. THE DENVER BRONCOS Select... Tyson Jackson - DE LSU - I could argue 6 ways to Sunday on how Knowshon Moreno would instantly help this team. He is the prototypical Zone Blocking running back. The recent garbage between McDaniels and Cutler may open the door for an "I'm Sorry" pick and Moreno will do more for Cutler's career than anyone in the draft. With that said, the Broncos have added 3 RB's to the team and now have enough RB's on the roster to run their own scrimmage. Sorry Moreno fans, but it seems a long shot at this point. McDaniels won't open himself up to any more criticism so look for Denver to go the safe conservative route. The Broncos have addressed many needs in FA but the Defensive front 7 needs more talent. Adding players like Ron Fields, Darrell Reid & Andre Davis seems to imply that McDaniels is adding depth and insurance in Free Agency and looking for impact players in the draft. Look for McDaniels to start planting some seeds in the trenches. Jackson is an NFL ready DE, he is stout against the run, strong at the point of attack and is a prototypical DE for the 3-4. His pass rushing skills will need to be developed but at 6-5 and 290 pounds, Jackson has the perfect build for the position.
13. Washington Redskins - Andre Smith - OT Alabama - The man who fell from grace after gaining too much weight, was out of shape and left the combine, hears his name selected when Daniel Snyder realizes he doesn't care! Smith could still be the most gifted O lineman in the draft and all the fuss over the combine might be motivation for him to show and prove. Malcolm Jenkins is very attractive to Washington but ultimately the decide to bolster the line.
14. New Orleans Saints - Malcolm Jenkins - CB Ohio State - The Saints desperately need help in their secondary and are absolutely thrilled that Jenkins falls to them. He will likely be an immediate starter and will add a nice dimension to their defense. If Jenkins had a better combine he would probably go to Jacksonville but the Saints do their homework, watch film and realize that Jenkins is the real deal.
15. Houston Texans - Jeremy Maclin - WR Missouri- The Texans have a few options here that make sense. Jeremy Maclin is a good choice but with Nick Ferguson not getting any younger our friend Kubiak wants to go with William Moore but realizes he can get Safety help in Round 2. Maclin has all the skills to succeed at the next level and will be a threat opposite Andre Johnson.
16. San Diego Chargers - Knowshon Moreno RB Georgia - !@#$^%(*^#%!!!!!
17. New York Jets - Mark Sanchez - QB USC - Well Brett has finally moved into retirement, we think, and the Jets need to start seriously thinking about their QB situation. They have been an active player in Free Agency and new coach Rex Ryan will bring his Baltimore defense mentality to the Jets. Often in the NFL when a new coach comes to town it means a new QB is coming to town also. Sanchez may be a bit raw but he is a natural leader and should be a good NFL QB.
18. Chicago Bears - Aaron Maybin - DE/LB Penn St - Maybin had a great combine and is great value here for the Bears. They do need help on the OLine and could be tempted to reach out and grab an OT but Maybin is too good to pass up on. The Bears love defense and they improve the front seven on day one of draft day.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Josh Freeman QB Kansas State - New Head Coach Raheem Morris will need to find a QB for the future of his team. Freeman has a big arm but his accuracy is suspect. Perhaps the Bucs grab a defensive player like Evander Hood or Larry English but for now Freeman is the call.
20. Detroit Lions - Peria Jerry - DT Ole Miss - The Lions need interior help after the failed Shaun Rogers experiment. Jerry is a good DT who can get into the backfield and be disruptive. It wouldn't suprise anyone to see the Lions grab an Offensive Lineman like Eben Britton or William Beatty to protect their first overall pick but Jerry is too good to pass up on.
21. Philadelphia Eagles - Eben Britton - OT Arizona - With two picks in the first round the Eagles address a need with the first one. They did obtain Stacey Andrews in Free Agency but still need help on the OLine. Britton gets the nod and Andy Reid continues his string of drafting a Lineman in the first round, much to the dismay of many Eagles fans.
22. Minnesota Vikings - Percy Harvin - WR Florida - The Vikes just added Sage Rosenfels and want to give him a weapon to throw to. Harvin is the type of receiver that can really do some damage on quick hitches and short slants. With Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin opposing defensive coordinators may lose sleep. WIth Bernard Berrian streching the field vertically, Harvin could terrorize the underneath routes.
23. New England Patriots - Clay Matthews - DE/LB USC - Clay Matthews is a Patriots kind of guy. He fits what Bill Belichick likes to do and he comes from a football family. Matthews was the fourth person in his family to play at USC so you know he is football savy. Matthews has a big upside due to his athleticism and work ethic.
24. Atlanta Falcons - Darius Butler - CB Connecticut - The Falcons have added some nice pieces on offense with Matt Ryan and Michael Turner. Their front seven could use some youth but Butler is climbing up draft boards and Atlanta has a need for a Cornerback. Look for the Falcons to address NT or LB in Round 2.
25. Miami Dolphins - James Laurinaitis - LB Ohio State - Laurinaitis has Parcells written all over him. James may not be the most physically gifted LB in the draft but he is a football player who has produced at a major football college all four years he was there. Laurinaitis will start next to Crowder and give the fish a couple of tackling machines.
26. Baltimore Ravens - Larry English - DE/LB Northern Illinois - The Ravens lost Bart Scott and will be looking to add a LB in the draft. English is from a small school but he is a talented edge rusher who will help the Ravens add pressure, a thing they love to do. It wouldn't suprise me to see them snag Hakeem Nicks or Darrius Heyward-Bey as they do need to get Flacco some more weapons at WR.
27. Indianapolis Colts - Darrius Heyward-Bey - WR Maryland - Heyward-Bey's 40 time at the combine moved him into the first round. He is a blazer. The Colts said goodbye to longtime standout Marvin Harrison and need a true deep threat to go with Reggie Wayne. Heyward-Bey allows Peyton to air it out deep.
28. Philadelphia Eagles - Chris Wells - RB Ohio State - The new NFL trend is pairing two dynamic running backs together. The Eagles follow suit and pair Wells with Westbook. Word from 123Eagles at "Thewarnest.com" is that the Eagles are very high on LeSean McCoy and they desperately want a running back with the loss of Buckhalter. The possibilty of trading up is also viable with all their available cap space.
29. New York Giants - Brandon Pettigrew - TE Oklahoma State - The only knock on Pettigrew is his speed, but he is an excellent blocker and a precise route runner. The Giants' Kevin Boss doesn't present the threat that Jeremy Shockey did and the Giants will look to upgrade the position.
30. Tennessee Titans - Evander Hood - DT Missouri - Hood will step in and try to replace Albert Haynesworth who went to really green pasturesin Washington. Evander will need a little time to reach Haynesworth's ability but he has the potential. Tennessee may also look at WR or CB but Hood is too good to pass up here.
31. Arizona Cardinals - Donald Brown - RB Connecticut - With Moreno and Wells off the board the Cardinals grab an all around good back and a great fit for them. Brown is a hard runner between the tackles, has the speed to get to the edge and has decent hands out of the backfield. With Edge likely on his way out, Arrington now a Bronco, the Cards add a speed back to compliment Tim Hightower.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers - Alex Mack - C California - Far too often for any Steeler's fan liking the Franchise QB is going down. The Super Bowl Champs look to bolster the interior of their OLine and Mack is the best interior OLineman available. It wouldn't shock me to see them grab a CB after losing McFadden to Free Agency but Mack is by far the best Center available and will be an upgrade over Justin Hartwig or Greg Warren.
Obviously there are many obsticles to forecasting draft picks. Some teams may find trade options, the Eagles and Lions have multiple first round picks and may trade up or down depending on their strategies. I look forward to the draft more than I do Free Agency and can't wait for April. Till then all we can do is imagine the possibilities.
Please feel free to talk about the draft and tell me who you hope to see Denver select. So many options and many of them good ones. Let the debate continue on...