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A few weeks ago I was sifting through mock drafts when I found one labeled “Movie Character Mock Draft” on Tirico Suave. I was curious, so I read through the piece and found it to be pure genius. The author used a number of famous sports roles to generate the pool from which all 32 NFL teams drafted, creating a mock draft from fictional characters. I have decided to give this a run for the 2009 NFL Draft.

I would like to give credit to Tirico Suave for its 2008 Movie Character Mock Draft and to The Money Shot for its 2007 Movie Character Mock Draft. Good work, guys.

Without further ado, here is my take on how this year’s draft would look if movie characters were on the board.

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moxon1. Detroit Lions – QB Jonathan Moxon (Varsity Blues)
Jonathan “Mox” Moxon is talented, strikingly handsome, and wickedly accurate with the football. Detroit needs a franchise quarterback in this year’s draft and they can find it with Moxon. Not to mention that Mox and Lions center Dominic Raiola have already worked out an agreement to help Raiola fight the Lions’ fans. Before any play, Raiola can audible with a brief description of which fan is really grinding his gears. Mox will subsequently beam the ball into the stands for a knockout blow as he has infamously done to mascots and parents alike.

lastik2. St. Louis Rams – OT Louie Lastik (Remember The Titans)
Someone said football, so Louie came running. The Rams need help in a number of ways in 2009, but their greatest offseason task is to replace Pro Bowl LT Orlando Pace. Lastik might need some help on footwork at the next level, but he has been pounding buffets since he was three years old all in preparation of this day. The only problem is that the first “your mama” joke Louie attempts in training camp might put him the IR for the year. Lastik has the natural size and strength to play OT in the NFL, now its up to the Rams to see how well they can develop his talent.

boucher3. Kansas City Chiefs – LB Bobby Boucher (The Waterboy)
At some point, and insane amount of talent cannot continue to go unnoticed. Bobby Boucher starred at South Central Louisiana State University, providing nearly all of the Mud Dogs’ offense and defense. Scouts took immediate notice of Boucher’s emotional style of play and innate ability to predict the opposing quarterback’s snap count. Boucher could fall further in the draft if teams are unable to determine his mother’s involvement in his life. Ms. Boucher has made numerous threats to different franchises concerning the well-being of her son, and many teams are concerned of her involvement should they draft Boucher. Kansas City seems undeterred, however, and will look to adress their thin linebacking corps with this pick.
jumbo4. Seattle Seahawks – OT Jumbo Fumiko (The Replacements)
In 2001, the Seattle Mariners signed Ichiro Suzuki and he instantly became a fan favorite. In 2009, the Seahawks also hope to sign a future Japanese sports star. The Seahawks have a number of holes which they could address with the No.4 pick, but their porous o-line cost them a number of games in 2008, and they need to take a top-tier talent here to keep their offense afloat. An additional bonus is Jumbo’s ability to run the ball. He highlighted his legs in the film when he scored a rushing TD, and Seattle’s rush offense is terrible. Look for a William Perry-esque FB set when Fumiko goes to Seattle.

franklin5. Cleveland Browns – WR Clifford Franklin (The Replacements)
The Cleveland Browns are in talks to trade their marquee WR Braylon Edwards before draft day. GM All-Star Phil Savage will respond to this by using the No.5 overall pick to bolster a failing receiving corps. Losing TE Kellen Winslow and WR Braylon Edwards in one offseason is brutal, but Savage will take WR Clifford Franklin here to try and lessen the blow. Why? He’s fast! Who cares if he can’t catch, Phil Savage is on the Al Davis train of thought which focuses on speed and speed alone. Besides, Braylon Edwards never caught the ball and Cleveland paid him a lot of money. Why not do it again?

billbybob6. Cincinnati Bengals – OT Billy Bob (Varsity Blues)
Cincinnati undoubtedly has to address its struggling offensive line with the No.6 pick. Billy Bob makes the most sense for them here, as he is a massive prospect with ungodly strength and commitment. Don’t worry about the alcoholism and run-ins with the police, the Bengals have an excellent training program in place led by WR Chris Henry to teach draft picks how to get arrested without getting cut from the team. Billy Bob might miss three or four weeks due to jail time, but in Cincinnati no one cares about that. He will be an excellent addition to the Bengals offensive line.

gump17. Oakland Raiders – KR Forrest Gump (Forrest Gump)
Al Davis will still be reeling from the loss of WR Clifford Franklin’s speed when Oakland goes on the clock. He will turn to the backup plan, the speedy kick returner from the University of Alabama, Forrest Gump. Davis is well-aware of the package he is drafting. Gump can’t catch, throw, block, or read a playbook. But what Gump can do is run. There is an outside shot that Davis drafts Sea Biscuit with this pick, as the horse has shown off tremendous speed at the combine, but for now expect Davis to follow through on the one-dimensional runner Forrest Gump. Don’t worry about a lack of potential. Al Davis loves kids with high perceived potential who might not pan out, doesn’t he JaMarcus?

tidwell18. Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Rod Tidwell (Jerry Maguire)
The global economy knew it was in trouble when WR Rod Tidwell signed Scott Boras as his agent. Boras has been in negotiations with several teams and is reportedly asking for $723 million dollars a year. Tidwell’s only response is the line that made him famous… “Show the the money!” The Jags signed Torry Holt, but let’s be honest, is that enough to fix the most self-destructive and morally gray receiving corps in the NFL. Vegas odds say that Tidwell goes here, which works for Jacksonville because Matt Jones and Reggie Williams are already in Vegas trading lines of blow off of urinals. Tidwell is a headcase, but Jacksonville has no problem with dysfunctional receivers. Consider him signed.

rudy9. Green Bay Packers – DE Daniel Ruettiger (Rudy)
Rudy… Rudy… Rudy… The fans chant makes any sports fan instantly sentimental. Green Bay will capitalize on Rudy’s college popularity by drafting him to start on their defensive line. The Packers are switching to a 3-4, which means they need speed rushers off the outside who have the versatility to play linebacker as well. Rudy fits the bill, as a lesser sized speed rusher who can also join the linebacking corps. Green Bay fans have been desperately searching for another icon since Brett Favre left town. Aaron Rodgers might be the man, but then again he might not be. Rudy is a slam-dunk fan favorite who can sell tickets, sell jerseys, and maybe an emotional leader of this team… kind of.

slater10. San Francisco 49ers – A.C. Slater (Saved By The Bell)
Bayside High’s badass jock rounds out the top 10 picks in this year’s draft. Slater was a multi-sport star at Bayside, competing in basketball, football, wrestling, and mullet awareness training. Mike Singletary and the Niners are hopefully starting a new era in San Francisco, and it is fitting for them to draft a new quarterback. Slater was chosen because of his similarities to USC QB Mark Sanchez. Curly black locks, droves of teenage girls who want them, and a hometown California kid who is sure to be a fan favorite. Don’t forget, this cat can drum, dance, and show off his eight-pack with the best of them.

lattimer111. Buffalo Bills – DE Steve Lattimer (The Program)
Steve Lattimer is one of the premiere defensive prospects in this draft. Sure there are drawbacks, namely the ‘Roid-Rage and an uncanny ability to put his face through car windshields, but in terms of sheer talent Lattimer is a top-five talent. Buffalo is in need of a pass rushing defensive end to line up opposite Aaron Schobel, and if Lattimer falls to them here he is a perfect fit. One glaring problem with this pick is how Lattimer will interact with newly-acquired WR Terrell Owens. With Lattimer on ‘Roid-Rage and Owens on TO-Rage the Bills locker room might be burned down by late August. The most severe casualty: QB Trent Edwards. Lattimer is going to bury him in practice while Owens bashes him in the media… Trent’s best bet would be to use that Stanford degree and head into the business sector.

wyler12. Denver Broncos – QB Jake Wyler (Not Another Teen Movie)
There is much speculation over whether or not Josh McDaniels and the Broncos will try and replace recently departed QB Jay Cutler via the draft or gamble on former Bears great Kyle Orton. This pick makes sense for a number of reasons, but mostly because Wyler fits every criteria that McDaniels apparently loves. First, Wyler was a high school starter. McDaniels made his love for high school starters apparent when he tried to ship a 25-year-old Pro Bowl quarterback out of town for a Patriots system QB with an excellent high school resume. Second, Wyler currently sits the bench (positive spin: he is resting his arm). McDaniels also loves bench-warmers, because QB Matt Cassel had “rested his arm” for about six years before Jesus Christ Tom Brady got hurt this year. McDaniels sees another high-school-great-turned-bench-warmer available here and will no doubt pull the trigger.

bateman13. Washington Redskins – LB Danny Bateman (The Replacements)
Dear Daniel Snyder, who is the craziest, most controversial person you can draft at No.13? Snyder has a taste for big names, and behind Jerry Jones he is the most free-wheeling owner on the market. Snyder has no problem dumping big money into a prospect if he is guaranteed results. Bateman fits this perfectly, as he is a cop with an anger problem. Great character builder but also great football instinct. The Redskins linebacking corps needs help on the outside, and even MLB London Fletcher is aging. Adding Bateman gives the Redskins a loud and talent-laden linebacker with enough years ahead of him to bolster a linebacking corps.

steffen14. New Orleans Saints – CB Steffen Djordjevic (All The Right Moves)
What kind of movie list would this be if Tom Cruise didn’t show up somewhere? The New Orleans Saints secondary had so many holes in it last year that at one point the referees stopped play to make sure there were indeed 11 players on defense. New Orleans re-signed all-world LB Jonathan Vilma, so the linebacking corps is set, but they need talent in their secondary, especially at cornerback. Steffen Djordjevic (pronounced Jore-Juh-Vitch) is a fundamentally-sound cornerback with (no pun intended) all the right assets for the Saints defense. Ironic twist of the year: Djordjevic gets drafted by Philadelphia or Pittsburgh and despite going pro does not get to leave the state of Pittsburgh…

roseanne115. Houston Texans – LB Nancy Seavers (Backfield In Motion)
The Houston Texans need a dominant defensive player to plug into their front seven with this pick. It could be a defensive end, which would allow superstar DE Mario Williams to avoid being triple-teamed, or it could be an outside linebacker, which the Texans are very shallow at. Instead of picking one or the other, the Texans are going to select a DE/LB hybrid in LB Nancy Seavers. Quite simply, the Texans need the most dominant force available in this draft. If Rosie O’Donnell is not in the draft pool then Nancy Seavers is far-and-away a one-woman wrecking crew. It is unclear whether Seavers will hold out on her contract, as there are several perks that she demands. Most notably she demands a DVD copy of every Tom Arnold movie (which might not exist) and a lifetime-for-free card to the nearest Outback Steakhouse.

icebox116. San Diego Chargers – LB Becky “Icebox” O’Shea (Little Giants)
An NFL Draft first will happen here when two women are drafted back-to-back for the first and only time in history. Becky “Icebox” O’Shea had an excellent performance against the Little Cowboys, highlighted by her goal line stuff of Cowboys All-Star RB Spike Hammersmith. When the Icebox isn’t out trolling for Devin Sawa look-a-likes, she is one of the most dominant linebackers in football. The Chargers enter this draft very thin at linebacker, and worrying about the expiring contract of LB Shawne Merriman. O’Shea gives San Diego depth and youth at linebacker, something they will gladly take.

airbud17. New York Jets – WR Air Bud (Air Bud: Golden Receiver)
The New York Jets lost a lot of offensive talent this offseason. While new head coach Rex Ryan led his band of Baltimore refugees to New York, most of the talent he brought was on the defensive side of the ball. One of the Jets’ greatest needs in this draft is a playmaking wide receiver, and they can find that in WR Air Bud. Air Bud has the speed and hands to make himself a star in the NFL (notice he is dragging his toes on the Air Bud 2 cover shown to the left), the only question is if he will be able to comprehend the playbook or simply run the Devery-Henderson “Go Deep!” route every play. Air Bud is a high risk and high reward kind of pick, and new coach Rex Ryan might be ballsy enough to make it.

romo18. Denver Broncos – LB Guard Lambert (The Longest Yard)
Something about Lambert’s appearance looks so familiar to the Broncos organization… The Broncos signed MLB Andra Davis this offseason, but they have to know that more depth is needed. Guard Lambert had an excellent performance in the Guards v. Prisoners game, and scouts say he is playing the best football of his life. Needles and curse words aside, Lambert has the tools to be an All-Pro linebacker in the NFL, and the Broncos will take a waiver on him come draft day.

foxx19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – QB Willie Beamen (Any Given Sunday)
I’m not sure if this pick is more appealing for the hot-headed nature of QB Willie Beamen or the what-might-have-been spats with always scowling ex-head coach Jon Gruden. In this year’s draft, the Buccaneers are very interested in Kansas State QB Josh Freeman. Beamen holds nearly every talent that Freeman boasts, a rhyming name, and Grammy-winning musical talent. Pwned. The Bucs need a solid quarterback. While QB Byron Leftwich might be an answer, they can’t go all-in on a quarterback who has busted out of a few other cities. Beamen is an insurance policy on Leftwich and a potential quarterback of the future.

gruff20. Detroit Lions – K Nigel Gruff (The Replacements)
This much is certain: even if QB Jonathan Moxon is the solution to Detroit’s offensive woes, the Lions probably won’t be scoring many TD’s this year. What should Detroit do to guarantee they get on the board more than last year? Select a kicker who is good from about 75yds and in. Gruff has easily the strongest leg in NFL history, as he set an NFL-Record with the Washington Sentinels (and made the kick with distance to spare). An added bonus is Gruff’s sense of humor and savvy interactions with the media. The fans will love him, and if the Lions offense stalls as much as we are expecting he could set NFL Records for field goals attempted, field goals made, points scored, and also win the NFL Rookie of the Year and NFL MVP awards. Too much potential to pass up.

danza21. Philadelphia Eagles – K Barney Gorman (The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon)
The Philadelphia Eagles draft strategy may as well read: First, take the most logical choice and throw it out the window. Second, take the player who could help Donovan McNabb the most and also throw it out the window. Third, take the player who the fans want and let him join the other two on their way out the window. The Eagles front office will see K Nigel Gruff taken at No.20 and go into a frenzy over whether there is about to be a run on kickers in this draft. To play it safe and make sure that they get the kicker they want they will pull the trigger on K Barney Gorman at No.21 instead of waiting until the sixth or seventh rounds. It’s always funny in Philadelphia…

turley22. Minnesota Vikings – FB Turley (The Longest Yard)
With this pick the Minnesota Vikings front office will finally admit that passing the ball is no longer an option. QB Sage Rosenfels will return to the bench, where he can’t fumble a game away to the Colts, and QB Tarvaris Jackson will execute a newly-implemented power option playbook. Turley makes perfect sense here, because if you are going to run the ball every down you need a bruising fullback to clear the way. RB Adrian Peterson will recover from a near-coronary he suffered when Minnesota made this pick (he was expecting another WR or defensive player) and be ready to run the ball in 2009. Look out for Minnesota to break records in total carries, total rushing yards, and quarterback fumbles.

willis23. New England Patriots – UTIL David Dunn (Unbreakable)
Bill Belicheck has an uncanny ability to get 100% out of every player who suits up for him. In this year’s draft, he will take a waiver on former high school football star David Dunn, who has recently discovered that he has superhero strength and abilities. Dunn might be a little rusty, but he will undoubtedly be the first player in NFL history to play at least one snap from every position on the field. His speed is excellent, his strength is unmatched, and he has one of the most brilliant coaches in history to move him around the field. This pick could be scary good…

jackson1jackson224. Atlanta Falcons – OG Andre & Jamal Jackson (The Replacements)
Prior to this pick it was illegal to draft two players with the same pick. However, the Jackson brothers made a visit to Roger Goodell’s house, put a few bullets in one of his cars, and just like that the Falcons can draft both players with the same pick. Atlanta’s draft strategy is simple: Protect Matt Ryan at all costs. QB Matt Ryan is obviously the future in Atlanta, and the Falcons front office has no problem drafting top-tier offensive linemen who can run-block for star RB Michael Turner and pass-block for star QB Matt Ryan. Defense can wait, for now the Falcons want to follow priority number one: keep Matt Ryan off of his back.

tweeder25. Miami Dolphins – WR Charlie Tweeder (Varsity Blues)
Every expert in the world has Miami taking a wide receiver with this pick. The Dolphins receiving corps is full of good but not great receivers, and at some point you need more star power than just WR Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn lobbied heavily for this pick, as he is a big fan of Tweeder’s career at West Canaan High School and is dying to learn the Tweeder Endzone Dance. The Dolphins front office has their work cut out for them in stopping Tweeder’s off-field antics (especially stealing police cars and driving them around town while naked), but if they can straighten him out off of the field he has serious star power on it.

boobiemiles26. Baltimore Ravens – RB James “Boobie” Miles (Friday Night Lights)
There is good news and bad news that comes along with this pick. The good news is that Miles can add some star power to a muddled down Ravens running back pool. RB Willis McGahee is falling apart, RB Leron McClain is more of a fullback than anything else, and RB Ray Rice has moments of brilliance but can’t seem to hold them together. Miles’ highlight reel from high school is breathtaking, and his career at Permian High School is easily enough to warrant a draft pick. The bad news is that Miles has only one leg. He shredded up his ACL and MCL pretty bad in his senior year, and while he contends that he can play on it, scouts are not so optimistic. It is yet to be seen if Miles can produce at the next level, but Baltimore is going to take a waiver on him and see if they can land top-five talent at No.26.

switowski127. Indianapolis Colts – DT Switowski (The Longest Yard)
Some day the Indianapolis Colts hope that someone not named Dwight Freeney will introduce themselves to an opposing quarterback. Freeney is a freak of nature, and opposite DE Robert Mathis is also a good pass rusher, but there is a glaring hole at DT that needs to be filled immediately. Switowski is a little bit soft, the Colts are confident that they can toughen him up training camp. The Colts front office knows you can’t coach sheer size and Switowski is loaded with it. If the Colts can grab a solid DT with this pick look out for their front seven in 2009.

goldberg28. Buffalo Bills – LB Joey Battle (The Longest Yard)
Bills fans can mark this pick as the moment that the Buffalo locker room is destined to implode. In football terms the pick makes sense, because Battle bolsters the Buffalo linebacking corps and complements No.11 pick DE Steve Lattimer to greatly improve the Bills defensive front seven. Unfortunately, chaos will ensue when Battle enters the Buffalo locker room. One day, WR Terrell Owens is bound to walk by as Battle and (as Paul Crewe calls it, his pet iguana) are showering. When Owens sees Battle’s manhood he will instantly feel belittled and go into a TO-esque media frenzy about all the things that are wrong in Buffalo. Book it, it’s happening.

irvin29. New York Giants – WR Deacon Moss (The Longest Yard)
Teammates are selected back-to-back here as LB Joey Battle and WR Deacon Moss will fly off the board one after the other. The New York Giants lost WR Plaxico “Cheddar Plax” Burress this offseason and are currently trying to fill that void via trading (see the Braylon Edwards trade rumors for more details). If a trade doesn’t work out, the Giants will use the No.29 pick to address their wide receiver problems. The only drawback to WR Deacon Moss is that he is, unfortunately, in prison. The good news is that he is replacing another receiver in legal trouble, so he can’t really look any worse. Moss is the best receiving talent available here and if the Giants still need a receiver he is a lock to be picked.

kane30. Tennessee Titans – QB Joe Kane (The Program)
The Tennessee Titans front office has had many late-night drinking parties lamenting the fact that they let local icon QB Jay Cutler slip past them a few years back in favor of that-guy-who-was-good-in-college QB Vince Young. QB Kerry Collins is currently at the helm, but one has to think of how many years the Kerry Collins Show can continue. Drafting QB Joe Kane here is good for a few reasons. First, it provides more competition at QB in Tennessee, which spurs players to play better. Second, it allows more options if/when Kerry Collins dies of old age while under contract in Tennessee. The problem is that Tennessee doesn’t know about Joe Kane’s drinking problem yet, and the only way to find out is when he is arrested for public intoxication in downtown Nashville. If both Kane and Young continue to ride the pine in Tennessee, look for several late night drinking parties and the inaugural “Joe and Vince’s drunken karaoke party.”

brown31. Arizona Cardinals – RB Wendell Brown (Varsity Blues)
With J.J. Arrington leaving town for Denver and Edgerrin James being placed in a nursing home last month, the Arizona Cardinals are facing serious depth problems at running back. RB Wendell Brown is a perfect choice here. Why? Because he is used to never getting the ball, and in Arizona they host a pass-happy offense. By Brown’s own admission, West Canaan High School’s coach Bud Kilmer ran him a lot between the 20’s, but when it came down to the red zone the quarterbacks always threw for TDs. How insignificant is he? I couldn’t even find a picture of him without James Van Der Beek’s ugly mug in it as well… He better get used to being ignored in Arizona too, because on the goal line there is one play call and one play call only to get used to: lob it up to Larry Fitzgerald! Brown is a talented running back and a good fit for the Arizona Cardinals.

petey32. Pittsburgh Steelers – CB Petey Jones (Remember the Titans)
The Pittsburgh Steelers look ready to repeat as Champs. They have lost minimal talent this offseason, and should be able to run their team as efficiently as before with the tools they have in place for 2009. One of their greatest offseason losses was CB Bryant McFadden. The Steelers will try to replace him with this pick, taking CB Petey Jones (not his racist pal Alan) with the No.32 pick. Jones looked like a shutdown corner playing for T.C. Williams High School, and the Steelers could use that kind of talent in their secondary. Jones beat the other high school teams and beat racism in general… That’s some serious talent.

Early Second Round Draft Choices
QB Frank Cushman (Jerry Maguire)
QB Shane “Footsteps” Falco (The Replacements)
RB Earl Meggett (The Longest Yard)
RB Julian Washington (Any Given Sunday)
DT Andre Krimm (Necessary Roughness)
DE Julius Campbell (Remember The Titans)
LB Gerry Bertier (Remember the Titans)
CB Earl Wilkinson (The Replacements)
SS Brian Chavez (Friday Night Lights)

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Well, that’s it for the 2009 NFL Movie Character Mock Draft!

Please comment below on who I missed and who shouldn’t even be here!

sk.

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Several key free agent acquisitions have changed the landscape of this draft. From here on out when changes are made the reasons will be listed below along with the previous pick.

—Updated April 23

It’s that time of the year again… less than a week from the 2009 NFL Draft and Mock Drafts around the world are in full swing. The RTS Writers got together and hammered out how we believe the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft will shake out. Read and respond with what you think we got right, wrong, and anything else that’s on your mind!

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detroit51. Matthew Stafford – QB (Georgia)

It seems that RTS has already gone one-for-one in this year’s draft. Stafford has been our pick here since day one and by Thursday (April 23) the Lions and Stafford might have a deal worked out. Detroit is in the rebuilding phase, and it has become clear that Daunte Culpepper is not the answer. Matt Stafford is the best quarterback available in the draft, and while he might not have the mindset to be a winner right now, he has the physical tools to become an excellent NFL quarterback. Detroit could address their woeful offensive line with this pick, but the offensive line pool in this draft is deep and no lineman stands out from the rest as an elite player. Most likely, Detroit will take Stafford here and wait until pick 20 to take an o-lineman. –SK-

stl2. Jason Smith – OT (Baylor)

Orlando Pace is aging, the St. Louis Rams are floundering, and it is well known that the strongest foundation for an NFL franchise is a good offensive line. As previously mentioned, there is one single elite offensive lineman in this draft, instead there is a group of linemen who have worked their way into the top tier. There are rumors that the Rams are considering LB Aaron Curry here, as he is quickly proving to be the most talented player in this draft, but for now it’s a safe bet that St. Louis will address their offensive line with this pick. –SK-

kc3. Aaron Curry – MLB (Wake Forest)

Aaron Curry is the best prospect in the entire draft.  If it weren’t for the needs of the teams ahead of Kansas City, Curry probably would be the number one overall pick (and deservedly so).  Projected as a first round pick before the combine, Curry was the focal point of the combine for anyone who didn’t already know how outstanding he was.  The only other viable option here was Mark Sanchez, but after filling their QB vacancy via free agency with backup all-star Matt Cassel, this is an obvious selection. –AM-

sea4. Eugene Monroe – OT (Virginia)
–Updated March 3 – Previous Pick: DT B.J. Raji–

As mentioned before, there are a number of ways that Seattle can go with this pick. Fortunately for experts and bloggers alike, the Seahawks recent free agent acquisitions have cleared up their draft strategy. Signing WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh eliminates any chance of spending first-round money on WR Michael Crabtree. Additionally, adding defensive tackles Colin Cole (for a whopping 5 years/$21 Million) and Cory Redding shows that the Seahawks aren’t going to commit their first-round pick to Boston College standout DT B.J. Raji. These acquisitions allow the Seahawks to address their struggling offensive line. There has been recent speculation that Seattle is interested in USC QB Mark Sanchez, but Seattle’s pursuit of 31 year-old WR T.J. Hooshamama indicated that the Seahawks are trying to win now. While Sanchez makes sense as the quarterback of the future, it seems more likely that the Seahawks will use this pick to find a player who can make an impact in 2009. For now the Seahawks need to take a waiver on Eugene Monroe, one of the elite o-linemen in this draft. The only way this changes is if Aaron Curry somehow falls past Kansas City (which should not happen). If Curry is available, Seattle will bite. Aside from him, however, Eugene Monroe the clear choice. -SK-

cle5. Bryan Orapko – DE/LB (Texas)

Cleveland has had an interesting offseason. New coach Eric Mangini has already stated his disinterest in naming Brady Quinn the quarterback of the future, the front office dealt away one of few elite tight ends in the game in Kellen Winslow, and for some reason Phil Savage is still allowed on premises. Despite a now-official quarterback controversy, Cleveland has only one way to go with this pick: DEFENSE. Cleveland’s pass rush was atrocious last year (17 total sacks all year), and while their secondary is a concern, the Browns need to focus on getting to the quarterback. Rumor has it that star WR Braylon Edwards is on his way out of town (most likely to New York), but until he is gone the Browns can’t seriously entertain thoughts of Michael Crabtree. Orapko is a freak athlete (dubbed by ESPN’s Michael Smith as the most talented player in this draft), and the Bengals will take Orapko as a fit for their team and an incredibly high-value selection. –SK-

cin6. Andre Smith – OT (Alabama)
Updated April 22 – Previous Pick: DT B.J. Raji–

Just when it seemed like Andre Smith would never stop falling, he jumped up a few picks on our draft board. Smith’s appearance at No.6 isn’t so much attributed to his own talent as it is the Bengals team needs combined with the pool of available players. I have seen two near-consensus selections by the Bengals with this pick: OT Eugene Monroe or DT B.J. Raji. Unfortunately, neither one of those picks fits in our mock. Eugene Monroe would be an excellent fit in Cincinnati, but unfortunately he will be off the board at pick No.4 (don’t even get me started on the Sanchez-to-Seattle rubbish). As for Raji, the Bungles signed DT Tank Johnson this offseason, signaling that they will head elsewhere in this draft. Everyone knows the Bengals need help on the offensive line. Most other mocks conveniently provide this with Eugene Monroe, but our mock will force the Bengals to make the hard decision: passing up on more talented players for what the team really needs. The Bengals need a star-caliber OT, and while Smith may have off-field issues, his on-field talent remains, making him the Bengals choice here. -SK-

oak7. Michael Crabtree – WR (Texas Tech)

When Al Davis is in the vicinity, here is the draft strategy: determine the most logical pick, throw it out the window, then take the player on the board with most talent. Ironically, this strategy might work in 2009. If Crabtree slips to pick 7, Oakland will land a franchise-caliber wide receiver (not named Johnnie Lee Higgins or Chaz Schilens) to join former college stars QB Jamarcus Russell and RB Darren McFadden. If Crabtree is off the board, look for Oakland to address their terrible offensive line (this is only possible if someone drugs Al Davis and makes the pick without his input). Oakland is  just now figuring out that Robert Gallery is not the answer on their offensive line, and if a premiere tackle is available it would be the smart pick… Then again, who knows, if Crabtree is gone they might just take a player like Jeremy Maclin, who has raw talent and a tremendous upside. Not to mention that Jeremy Maclin has Al Davis’ proverbial drug-addiction: speed. With Al Davis, you just never know, but one thing seems to be clear: if Crabtree is available, he’s probably heading to Oakland. –SK-

jax8. B.J. Raji – DT (Boston College)
Updated April 22 – Previous Pick: LB Rey Maualuga–

Several teams have a difficult time finding a deficiency worthy of a top 10 pick… Not in Jacksonville! In Jacksonville, they suck at nearly everything. Try to find a position that you couldn’t justify drafting, I dare you. QB: Garrard looked good as a replacement, but does he have what it takes to be a star? RB: Maurice Jones-Drew is a stud, but in the NFL’s two running back era, a young back to share the workload is ideal. WR: Matt Jones + Cocaine = a thinning wide receiver corps. OT: One of the worst in the NFL. Despite these offensive inefficiencies, I think Jacksonville addresses defense with this pick. If B.J. Raji falls to Jacksonville at pick No.8 then the Jags might make the steal of the draft. Our initial projection for Raji was pick No.4 to the Seahawks, but the ‘Hawks made a few moves which indicated they had no interest in taking a DT at No.4. Since no other teams between here and there have significant interest in a DT, Raji could fall to the Jags. Believe me, if he is here the Jags will be waiting with open arms. They have in the proverbial wilderness ever since Marcus Stroud left town, and B.J. Raji could give them a dominant DT that they so desperately desire. -SK-

gb9. Tyson Jackson – DE (LSU)
Updated April 22 – Previous Pick: DE/LB Everette Brown–

Green Bay is in the midst of a defensive facelift, changing from defensive schemes from a 4-3 to a 3-4. This change moved Pro Bowl defensive end Aaron Kampman to one outside linebacker spot, but this formation demands even more versatile players. The Packers would love for DT B.J. Raji to land here, since a successful 3-4 scheme requires a mammoth NT (not named Cody Pickett), but Raji will be gone and the Packers will be left to load up the outside of its new formation. Tyson Jackson is a 3-4 style defensive end, with enough speed to rush around the edges and enough size to dig into the trenches. Green Bay would love to have former Texas standout Bryan Orapko, whose size/speed combination is unparalleled in this draft, but they will happily settle for Jackson, who matches their scheme better than any defensive end available. -SK-

sf10. Mark Sanchez – QB (USC)

San Francisco needs help at quarterback, and while Shaun Hill was serviceable last season, he is not the long-term answer. With KC acquiring Matt Cassel, Sanchez will most likely be on the board here. There is much recent speculation that the Seahawks are interested at pick No.4, and though I see the logic in finding a long-term backup, Sanchez would be a wasted pick for a Seahawks team that is trying to win right now. The only other threat to snipe Sanchez before pick No.10 is a possible trade (the Jets have been rumored to be interested in trading up) or the outside chance that Jacksonville takes Sanchez at No.8. Every day it seems more probable that San Francisco will look to trade this pick. Their other interests are wide receiver and defensive line, both of which have been picked clean of top-tier talent, so trading down would be a value play, especially since many teams are interested in trading up for Sanchez. Placing Sanchez here in our mock draft does not necessarily indicate that we believe San Francisco will select him, but that he will be selected here even if the pick is traded. It seems likely that San Francisco will either trade the pick or draft Mark Sanchez themselves. There is a new head coach in San Francisco, which indicates a new era of play. Every new era needs a leader, and the Niners might try and find that leader in Mark Sanchez. –SK-

buf11. Michael Oher – OT (Ole Miss)
Updated April 22 – Previous Pick: TE Brandon Pettigrew–

This pick has changed for two primary reasons. First, we initially had Pettigrew slotted here because it was possible that if the Bills didn’t take a top-tier tight end at No.11, one might not fall to their second-round selection. This worry was alleviated however, as Bufalo recently acquired overall pick No.28 from the Philadelphia Eagles. Because of this addition, the Bills can plan on using their next pick to address their needs at tight end instead of reaching for Oklahoma State star Brandon Pettigrew at No.11. The second reason the pick changed is that in order to acquire the previously mentioned No.28 pick the Bills traded away disgruntled (but Pro Bowl) offensive tackle Jason Peters. It is possible to wait and address this deficiency with pick No.28, but with the obvious importance of offensive tackles, Buffalo won’t hesitate to grab the last of the top-tier tackles in this draft. A pass rusher is an option here, as Aaron Maybin is still available, but Buffalo should address their most obvious hole by taking top-tier tackle Michael Oher. –SK-

den12. Aaron Maybin – DE (Penn State)
Updated March 30 – Previous Pick: LB Rey Maualuga–

Gone are the days of Mike Shanahan waving a magic wand and producing 1000 yard rushers. Instead, Josh McDaniels has waved a magic wand and nearly forced a 25 year old Pro Bowl quarterback out of town. While McDaniels seems content to juggle his offensive talent, the Denver Broncos scouting crew should be focusing on defense. Some mocks have the Broncos taking a running back in the first round, but Denver acquired J.J. Arrington, Correll Buckhalter, and Lamont Jordan this offseason, which has them well on pace to produce the stereotypical Denver Broncos running back by committee (also known as survival of the fittest; see Peyton Hillis in 2008). This pick has to go to defense. I’ve seen projections of D-linemen, linebackers, and secondary help through a variety of positions, but some of these deficiencies have been addressed already. Denver signed S Brian Dawkins for secondary help and MLB Andra Davis to strengthen its linebacking corps, but have yet to acquire any significant talent on the defensive line (No, Ronald Fields does not count). Enter Aaron Maybin. Maybin had a good combine, but an incredible Pro Day at Penn State. He has put on over 20lbs of muscle and lowered his 40 time to 4.59. His upside is endless, and his age doesn’t hurt either (he is still only 20 years old). Maybin is the best available help on the defensive line, and if his stock keeps rising he could be a steal at pick No.12.  –SK-

was13. Robert Ayers – DE (Tennessee)
Updated April 22 – Previous Pick: OT Michael Oher–

Money can’t buy Daniel Snyder love, but he is checking to see whether or not it can buy him championships. The NFL’s Steinbrenner has opened up his checkbook this offseason to acquire CB Deangelo Hall (AKA Eddie Royal’s B****) and DT Albert Haynesworth, the most sought after free agent this offseason. Despite Haynesworth’s addition to the defensive line, the Redskins are still in desperate need of a pass rush. Washington’s defensive end stock is both depleted and aging, leaving a number of either unproven or injury-prone players to fill in its ranks. Robert Ayers has been flying up draft boards for the past few months, and rumor has it that the Washington coaching staff has become quite enamored with the former Volunteer. Ayers would add an instant spark to the Redskins pass rush, and complement DE Andre Carter and DT Albert Haynesworth as key components to the Redskins pass rush. Offensive line was a possibility here, but anyone worth taking is off the board. The entire upper echelon of offensive tackles is gone, and to reach for one of the lesser tackles would be a waste of this pick. Look for Washington to address their pass-rush blues by picking Robert Ayers here. -SK-

no14. Malcolm Jenkins – CB/S (Ohio State)
Updated April 22 – Previous Pick: CB Vontae Davis–

Two very sexy picks have recently come about for New Orleans. The first is a running back (Moreno/Wells seem to be a push on most draft boards) because of the loss of Deuce McAllister and the need for a bruising running back. Proponents of this pick are severely underappreciating Saints RB Pierre Thomas, who can bruise with the best of them. The second is Malcolm Jenkins. The Saints re-signed all-world LB Jonathan Vilma, so their front seven should be fine. That leaves a god-awful pass defense to worry about. Sure there were a few games where Jason David intercepted the ball, but that’s because the other team kept throwing his way (because usually it worked). Jenkins can fix this problem, as several scouts believe he has the tools to be a shutdown corner in the NFL. Some people are wondering how Jenkins fell out of the top 10. I’ll tell you how: by running a 40 yard dash that made Andre Smith say “that dude is slow.” Despite this lack of speed, Jenkins has a build and athleticism to be a productive cornerback. Even if the worse-case scenario plays itself out and Jenkins is forced to switch to free safety, this fits in New Orleans because they have a need for a long-term fix at free safety. The Saints have to address their pass defense with this pick, and Jenkins allows them to select a high-caliber prospect with (unintentional) versatility. –SK-

hou15. Vontae Davis – CB (Illinois)
Updated April 22 – Previous Pick:  DE Tyson Jackson–

It is universally accepted that the Texans need to address their defense in this year’s draft. Head coach Gary Kubiak collected an arsenal of draft picks this year, but the most important is obviously their first round pick. While outside linebacker is a sexy choice here, Houston could use this pick to strengthen their secondary. Vontae Davis has star-potential, and he could plug directly into a talent-starved Houston secondary. Texans CB Dunta Robinson is a stud, but the guy playing across from him might not be identified if the head coach had to pick him out of a lineup. Davis would give the Texans two legitimate cornerbacks, a luxury which few NFL teams possess. While defensive end and outside linebacker are possibilities here, the Texans will round out their secondary by adding Vernon Davis’ kid brother. -SK-

sd16. Brian Cushing – OLB (USC)

San Diego runs one of the most vicious 3-4 defensive packages in the NFL. What allows this formation to dominate opposing offenses is a combination of pass rushing defensive ends and incredibly versatile linebackers. With Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips as outside linebackers, San Diego’s pass rush is lethal. However, San Diego is becoming more concerned with defensive depth (see what happened when Merriman went down for the count in 2008) and the possibility of Merriman leaving via free agency in 2010. San Diego needs a defensive playmaker, and more specifically they need a versatile linebacker to plug into a 3-4 system. Cushing offers a USC-pedigree, a serviceable backup to the Merriman/Phillips combo, and an insurance package in case Merriman heads elsewhere next offseason. Many experts have predicted a backup running back drafted here (in case LDT goes down the Shaun Alexander road to success), but the simple fact is that San Diego already has too much money tied up at the running back position. They have the inflated contract of LaDainian Tomlinson, as well as the franchise-tag contract of Darren Sproles. To spend first-round pick money on a running back would be financial suicide. This pick has to be a linebacker, and Cushing is the best fit for San Diego at this pick. –SK-

nyj17. Everette Brown – DE/LB (Florida State)
Updated April 22 – Previous Pick:  WR Jeremy Maclin–

Yes, I understand that the entire world has Jeremy Maclin here. I also understand that the Jets desperately need receiver depth, and that Maclin is an excellent value here. However, I changed this pick for two reasons. First, you have to look at who is going to be making the picks on draft day. Rex Ryan showed up in New York, dragged half of the Baltimore defense with him, and has imposed the belief that he will lead a hard-nose defense this year. What better way to do that than to draft a top-tier pass rusher with your first round pick? Still don’t believe me? Then consider the second reason: this year’s draft class is incredibly deep at wide receiver. Even if the Jets don’t pull the trigger on the ready-to-run Maclin, they will have several viable options with their second round pick. The later round will be full of receivers with size (USC’s Patrick Turner stands at 6’5″) and speed (Mike Wallace and Johnny Knox each ran the 40 in 4.30 or lower), and don’t forget that this year’s Cheech and Chong, Brandon Tate and Percy Harvin, are slipping down draft boards as well. Mangini-us is now Man-gone-ius, which leaves Rex Ryan to call the shots. Ryan will restrain from taking a wide receiver now and instead focus on pass rushing, which is crucial in Ryan’s aggressive defensive schemes. Brown will provide the Jets explosive speed off the edges and desperately needed youth at defensive end. -SK-

den18. Rey Maualuga – LB (USC)
Updated April 22 – Previous Pick: Chicago Selected WR Darrius Heyward-Bey–

Sure, Josh McDaniels practically burned down Jay Cutler’s home, but at least he brought back a few draft picks in return. Depending on how this year’s draft plays out and how Kyle Orton adapts to Denver’s offense, McDaniels could come out looking like a genius. The Broncos were forced to pass on Rey-Rey with pick No.12, as linebacking help was not as important to the Broncos as improving their pass rush. However, no one between here and there bit on this year’s best Samoan, so Denver will end up with Maualuga anyways. Denver’s linebacking corps already features star players in D.J. Williams and Andra Davis, but adding Maualuga to the mix will allow a lot more flexibility in formations. Williams is a young star, but Davis is nothing more than a stop-gap measure. Davis’ experience could be used to mentor Maualuga, eventually leading to Maualuga’s leadership of the Broncos defensive unit. Defensive tackle is a necessity in Denver, as they lack a true 3-4 nose tackle, but there is no d-tackle talent on the board worth taking here, which makes Maualuga the most logical choice. –SK-

tb19. Michael Johnson – DE (Georgia Tech)
Updated April 22 – Previous Pick: QB Josh Freeman–

Tampa Bay signing Derrick Ward officially killed any chance of Tampa drafting a running back with this pick. For now it seems like the Buccos have revamped their offense, as they signed RB Derrick Ward, re-signed WR Michael Clayton, attempted to trade for Pro Bowl QB Jay Cutler, and recently signed former star QB Byron Leftwich. It is unclear how many of these moves will heavily benefit the team, but it seems that Tampa now has to address the defensive side of the ball via the draft. In truth, the Bucs need to add depth across their entire defense. Tampa is loaded down with mediocrity at defensive tackle, piling 300-pounders Cullen Jenkins, Ryan Sims, and Chris Hovan all into a race for the starting nod. In the secondary, CB Aqib Talib is the one young bright spot in existence. While these are legitimate needs, they are nothing compared to the Bucs need at defensive end. DE Gaines Adams has had two stellar seasons, but there is no suitable player to start opposite him on the line, making DE Michael Johnson a very attractive choice at No.19. Johnson is a physical freak and was at one time considered a top five pick in this year’s draft. Now Tampa will see if they can take his raw physical skills and turn him into an All-Pro. -SK-

detroit420. Eben Britton – OT (Arizona)
Updated April 22 – Previous Pick: OT Andre Smith–

If the Detroit Lions don’t select an offensive tackle with the number 1 pick, they will address that need at pick 20. It’s not a sexy pick, but no matter how much fans hate it, offensive tackles are the building blocks for great teams. Why do you need a strong LT? Because most right-handed quarterbacks need their blind side protected. Put in a weak LT and you will get David Carr-esque sack numbers… no good for a young team. Eben Britton has all the physical tools to be an NFL star, and could prove good enough to bump current LT Jeff Backus to LG. Britton isn’t part of the elite level of offensive tackles, but he has the physical skills necessary to compete in the NFL in his first season. If the Lions can land the top QB in Matt Stafford and a second-tier tackle in Eben Britton their first round would be a tremendous success. That Roy Williams trade is looking better and better each day… -SK-

phi21. Knowshon Moreno – RB (Georgia)
Updated March 30 – Previous Pick: LB James Laurinaitis–

Philadelphia fans have disagreed with every single mock draft I’ve seen. Why? Because they are Philadelphia fans. What these fans don’t understand is that disagreements don’t matter, because the Philadelphia front office is probably going to ignore them anyways. In this instance, however, I think the Eagles might draft someone the fans want in Knowshon Moreno. Brian Westbrook is one of the most talented running backs in the NFL, but he is over the hill in running back years (30 years old) and his oft-injured knee is a frequent cause for concern. Factor in the departure last year’s backup Correll Buckhalter, and running back seems like a must-have for the Eagles. Moreno has a power-back build, game-breaking potential, and an obsession with jumping over defenders any time he touches the ball. Westbrook is far from done, but his health concerns and Correll Buckhalter’s exit make Knowshon Moreno the clear choice for Philadelphia. -SK-

min22. Jeremy Maclin – WR (Missouri)
Updated April 22 – Previous Pick: OT Eben Britton–

Yes, I am aware that the Vikings are not looking for a speed receiver. Why? Because they already have one in Bernard “the only words I understand are ‘go deep!'” Berrian. However, Maclin makes sense here for a number of reasons. First and foremost, he is a ridiculously high value pick at No.22. Some mocks have Maclin going as high as No.7 to the fighting Al Davis’, but if he slips past the Raiders, there may not be another suitor until Minnesota hits the clock at pick 22. Second, Maclin brings more to the team than just speed. Minnesota is in dire need of an impact kick returner and punt returner. On their official depth chart, RB Chester Taylor is listed at kick returner and CB Charles Gordon at punt returner. This is not to insult those gentlemen, but Jeremy Maclin’s skill set includes a lethal combination of kick and punt returning (so much so that he was “Devin Hestered” a number of times last season). If a stellar offensive tackle was available here, the Vikes would bite. But as is, there is no value-pick available from the offensive line, making wide receiver a virtual lock to be taken. A taller possession receiver makes sense here (e.g. Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt, etc.), but if Maclin is on the board the Vikes will have to take him. -SK-

ne23. Clay Matthews – OLB (USC)
Updated April 22 – Previous Pick: CB/S Malcolm Jenkins–

No, the Patriots will never stop adding young talent to their roster. No, the Patriots will also never stop adding nearly washed up old players to their roster either. Bill Belichick and Patriots will have another chance to flex their personnel skills with pick No.23. There are a number of ways the Pats could go here, but the most obvious hole in the Patriots lineup is at outside linebacker, where longtime Patriot Mike Vrabel was shipped to Kansas City. There are several options here, including Clint Sintim, Larry English, and Clay Matthews, but in the end the Pats will select the player who demonstrates the most fundamental skills. Clay Matthews holds a USC pedigree, an unmatched work ethic, and enough raw talent to be able to fit a number of defensive schemes. Belichick will use Matthews’ versatility to bounce around on the defensive side of the ball, and just like Belichick always does, he will squeeze every ounce of talent out of whomever he drafts. -SK-

atl24. Larry English – DE/LB (Northern Illinois)
Updated April 22 – Previous Pick: S William Moore–

Atlanta needs help at two key defensive positions this offseason: linebacker and strong safety. Linebackers Keith Brooking and Michael Boley left via free agency, and Atlanta has failed to replace these losses, adding only Mike Peterson to their diminished linebacking corps. The Falcons will take English here for a number of reasons. Initially, his raw talent draws attention, but his versatility will enable the Falcons to move him around on the defensive side of the ball. He shouldn’t move much, however, as there is a glaring hole at outside linebacker. English will join Mike Peterson in the linebacking corps, a situation which may help him develop faster than normal. Atlanta could use this pick to address the loss of SS Lawyer Milloy. The Falcons were not shy about interviewing secondary players at the combine, and seemingly fell in love with Western Michigan S Louis Delmas. There is a deep pool at safety, however, and the Falcons should use this pick to take the best available hybrid player. Safety can wait, a complete hole at outside linebacker cannot. -SK-

mia25. Hakeem Nicks – WR (North Carolina)

Miami needs help at offensive line, but not the kind of help that a first round pick brings. Translation: they don’t need a premiere tackle; their needs are at interior line positions. They will probably wait until the second or third rounds and snag an interior lineman such as California C Alex Mack or Oklahoma OG Duke Robinson. With offensive line out of the question, Miami will address another glaring inefficiency in their lineup by selecting a WR. Ted Ginn Jr. has the makings of an NFL star, while lesser known receivers Greg Camarillo and Devone Bess performed well last season. However, if Miami expects to improve their passing game they need to add a star receiver to line up opposite Ginn. Camarillo and Bess are excellent third and fourth options, but Nicks will give Chad Pennington another young target with great potential to throw to. The Dolphins will grab some o-linemen later in the draft, but at pick 25 look for Miami to grab a star receiver in Hakeem Nicks. –SK-

bal26. Darrius Heyward-Bey – WR (Maryland)
Updated April 22 – Previous Pick: CB Darius Butler–

The Baltimore Ravens addressed one of their many defensive holes by signing free agent cornerback Domonique Foxworth from the Atlanta Falcons. This addition will allow the Ravens to use the No.26 pick for the offensive side of the ball. Last year, the Ravens found what they expect to be a franchise quarterback in Joe Flacco. This year, it is time to get Flacco some more toys to play with. Tight end is a definite option here, because a tight end is always a young quarterback’s best friend. However, the Ravens currently have one of the best receiving tight ends in football in Todd Heap, and signed TE L.J. Smith away from Philadelphia this offseason. Instead of tight end, the Ravens can now use this pick on an impact receiver to stretch the field for the ever-maturing Joe Flacco. Darrius Heyward-Bey could solve a number of the Ravens’ offensive inefficiencies this year. Heyward-Bey is tall (6’2″) with a great vertical jump (38.5″) and lighting-fast speed (4.30 40-yard-dash). What’s unbelievable is that he has clocked even faster 40 times in his playing career. In 2006, Heyward-Bey was clocked at 4.23 in preseason drills at Maryland. Baltimore could use some depth at defense, but they need to use pick No.26 on a player who could contribute immediately like Heyward-Bey. -SK-

ind27. Peria Jerry – DT (Ole Miss)

Matt Howell is our token Colts fan, which makes him the best writer to explain this pick. He was unavailable, however, so the token Steelers fan will have to do. Peria Jerry is the second best DT available this year, and is definitely a steal at the pick 27. Indianapolis will gain a talented DT with the ability to make an instant impact on the defensive line.  With his incredible strength, Jerry has all the makings of a dominant DT and could turn into a “block eater” like DT Casey Hampton or DT Jamal Williams. Adding Perry here will provide relief to the much maligned Colts run defense. In 2008, it seemed like anyone not named Dwight Freeney couldn’t find the opposing quarterback if given a map, a compass, and an in-helmet microphone which transmitted the opposing team’s snap count.  I initially thought that Jeff Saturday would be gone via free agency, and with that in mind C Alex Mack would have been a great pick here. Mack might be the best o-lineman in this draft when it’s all said and done, and in my opinion could be a hall of fame caliber player in the NFL. However, all that talk is irrelevant now since Jeff Saturday re-signed with Indy, making Peria Jerry a no-brainer for this pick. –AM-

buf28. Brandon Pettigrew – TE (Oklahoma State)
Updated April 22 – Previous Pick: Philadelphia Selected TE Jared Cook–

Dreams really do come true… Sometimes. Buffalo passed on TE Brandon Pettigrew at pick No.11 to address their struggling O-line. This intelligent behavior now rewards them as no team found their tight end situation weak enough to select top-prospect Brandon Pettigrew. Pettigrew is a physical specimen, who scouts believe is more talented at blocking than receiving. What’s most unbelievable is that he was one of the best receiving tight ends in college football last year. This pick is a combination of a high-value pick in Pettigrew and a lack of pass rushers left on the board. Defensive ends were hot in this draft, leaving Buffalo to find Aaron Schobel another pass rusher through some other means. Regardless of other team needs, Brandon Pettigrew is a flat-out steal this late in the draft, and Buffalo will be glad to have him. -SK-

nyg29. Kenny Britt – WR (Rutgers)
Updated April 22 – Previous Pick: WR Percy Harvin–

The New York Giants are in the middle of absolute chaos concerning their next year’s roster. S James Butler is gone to St. Louis, RB Derrick Ward hit the road to Tampa Bay, and the controversy surrounding Cheddar-Plax has left the Giants’ wide receiving corps decimated.  The Giants linebacking corps seemed weak until they signed LB Michael Boley. Boley’s addition allows the Giants to use this pick on an impact wide receiver. Plaxico Burress’ is gone, and the Giants have been involved in a number of high profile wide receiver discussions (e.g. Braylon Edwards, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, etc.). These talks indicate that the Giants are open to pursuing more talent at wideout. Percy Harvin and Kenny Britt are both possibilities here, depending on what type of receiver the Giants wish to pursue. Britt seems more logical, as the Giants are now in need of a possession receiver who QB Eli Manning can rely on in clutch situations. It will take time for Manning and Britt to get used to eachother, but drafting Kenny Britt can definitely pay of if he lives up to his potential. If Cleveland gets it’s way, it will acquire this pick from the Giants in exchange for WR Braylon Edwards. Ironically, Cleveland would most likely also select WR Kenny Britt if they were drafting in this position. I guess the kid is just that popular. –SK-

ten30. Alphonso Smith – CB (Wake Forest)
Updated April 22 – Previous Pick: CB D.J. Moore–

Nate Washington signing with Titans officially killed any possibility of Tennessee taking a wide receiver in the first round. Washington is a potential star, and when you couple his signing with the Titans’ historic unwillingness to draft any receiving talent, it makes wide receiver a virtual impossibility at this pick. With wide receiver out of the question, the Titans should pull the trigger on drafting a young star at cornerback here. The Titans’ starters are set at cornerback, but once you get past the first two (Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper), the talent takes a sharp downturn. This draft is surprisingly deep at corner (Smith is the third corner off the board in the first round alone) and last year’s crop of defensive backs showed that drafting top-tier talent at cornerback is a solid investment. Alphonso Smith’s combine bumped him up a notch or two on the draft board, and it is possible that he is top shelf talent waiting to be stolen this late in the draft. -SK-

ari31. Chris “Beanie” Wells – RB (Ohio State)
Updated March 30 – Previous Pick: RB Knowshon Moreno–

The Cardinals could score big here if top tier running back talent drops to pick 31. Unlike recent years, there are no elite running backs available, and demand for running backs in the first round has also diminished. Arizona is one of the few teams who is a lock to select a running back in the first round. RB Edgerrin James provided some much-needed yardage in the postseason last year, but next year will be much different. J.J. Arrington eloped with Correll Buckhalter to Denver, while Edgerrin James will most likely be released before next season. This leaves Tim Hightower as the only running back in Arizona’s stable, a problem which has to be addressed sooner rather than later. Beanie Wells has star potential and top-tier talent to complement RB Tim Hightower. If Wells is off the board the Cardinals could also strike gold with RB LeSean McCoy. No matter who it is, Arizona has to take a running back here. –SK-

pit32. William Beatty – OT (Connecticut)

The Pittsburgh Steelers have had an incredibly successful run in terms of re-signing free agent offensive linemen. Tackles Willie Colon and Max Starks, as well as guard Chris Kemoeatu all re-signed with Pittsurgh this offseason, which severely lessened the damage to an already lacking offensive line. Ben Roethlisberger enjoyed life on the ground last year (see his sack totals through the first six weeks of the season), and the offseason had the potential to punish an already under-performing Pittsburgh line. William Beatty provides the Steelers with an NFL-ready offensive tackle that has the versatility to move around the line if needed. All the other tools (especially on the defensive side of the ball) are in place for Pittsburgh to defend their championship, but to improve on last year Pitt needs improve their offensive line. Pittsburgh could go wide receiver here if a star-caliber player is on the board. Kenny Britt is a possibility, but more than likely Pitt will take an o-lineman here and address their receivers later in the draft with someone like Mike Wallace or Derrick Williams. –SK-

———————————————————————————————–

That’s a wrap for Round 1. We will update this Mock Draft as trades, acquisitions, and transactions are made around the league. We know that every move made during the offseason helps shape a team’s draft strategy, and we plan to react to all significant transactions.

Thanks for reading.

RTS Contributors
–Scotty Kimberly–
–Anthony Moore–
–Matt Howell–

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Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has his own plan to turn around the economic fortunes of the National Football League.

Sources within the NFL claim that Jones met with Commissioner Roger Goodell last week to discuss the possibility of purchasing additional NFL draft picks. According to Jones, selling additional first-round draft picks would allow the NFL to redistribute profits while rewarding teams that generate the most revenue.

Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones

Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones

Jones cited Dallas’ recent postseason failures as the motive for seeking additional draft picks. “There are a number of ways to build a winner,” Jones said, “In the past I preferred signing high-profile players like T.O. or outcasts like Pacman, but team chemistry has become an issue.” Jones told the media that he will still acquire significant talent through free agency, but he wants to shift his offseason focus towards the NFL Draft in the years to come. “You can’t buy a championship,” Jones conceded, “I bought every big name I could, but found out that the only way to guarantee success in this league is through the NFL Draft.”

This change in priorities comes at an inopportune time for Jerry Jones, as the Cowboys traded their only 2009 first-round draft choice to Detroit in a mid-season deal for WR Roy Williams. Dallas now stands at a disadvantage to every team who holds a first-round pick; a disadvantage which Jones is fervently trying to eliminate.

Jerry Jones is one of many NFL owners who support the league selling additional first-round draft picks. In 2004, Jones traded the Cowboys first-round pick to the Buffalo Bills and immediately talked to then-Commissioner Paul Tagliabue about the possibility of purchasing another pick in the 2004 draft. Tagliabue quickly rejected Jones’ request, and for a short while the legality of purchasing NFL Draft picks was resolved. The debate remained dormant until the current economic recession struck the NFL.

In December 2008, the economic recession forced the NFL to lay off approximately 14% of its workforce. Jerry Jones saw this as an opportunity to prove the power of money. Through a series of meetings with NFL officials, Jones lobbied for NFL teams to be able to purchase a variety of individual allowances and exceptions. Under Jones’ plan, payments would go directly to the NFL (money which is much needed in the current economic climate) establishing a rewards system for any team who earns significant profits. While Jones proposed several incentives for successful teams, the key proposition in his plan allows NFL teams to purchase a limited number of additional draft picks each year.

Jones is adamant that incentive-based relations with NFL franchises will spike overall production. “Big-money teams should be allowed to make big-money moves,” Jones contests, “A salary cap is great for competition, but eventually teams with money should be allowed to buy success. It’s only fair.”

Jerry Jones believes that the NFL Draft has more potential for profit than any other NFL operation. Under Jones’ plan, the NFL would make 32 additional first round picks available for varying prices. Each pick would have the letter ‘A’ attached to it to distinguish it from the original selection. The lowest pick for sale (#32-A) would be priced at $5 million, with successive picks increasing by $300,000 per pick (e.g. pick #31-A would cost $5.3 million, pick #30-A would cost $5.6 million, etc.). Jones has not been shy about discussing numbers, as overall his plan could raise over $300 million through the sales of draft picks.

Jerry Jones (L) and Roger Goodell

Jerry Jones (L) and Roger Goodell

Commissioner Goodell rejected Jones offer to purchase a first-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, asserting that it would erode the integrity of the game. “Fans won’t like the idea of teams buying championships,” Goodell claimed, “This isn’t baseball, there are no Yankees, and I won’t let one team with a lot of money bully the remaining 31.” Goodell told reporters that the additional revenue would be great, but it could cost the NFL a large number of fans. “In the end, that’s all this game is about,” Goodell concluded, “The owners are stuck here. They are financially vested in the success of each team. The fans, however, are not dependent on this league’s financial success, and if we betray their trust then the game could lose more than just money.”

Despite this controversial issue making headlines, Goodell found solace in the fact that the other American major sports are facing economic and moral hardships as well. “Thank God we are playing football,” Goodell joked, “I don’t need the steroid controversies from baseball, I don’t need the anonymity from hockey, and I certainly don’t want to orchestrate individual team bailouts like David Stern is working on in basketball.”

Jerry Jones remains positive about the Cowboys’ future, as well as the future of NFL draft pick sales. “[The Cowboys] will be fine,” Jones said in a recent press release, “We do not have a first-round draft pick this April, but I spoke with my friend Hank Steinbrenner and he assured me that if I keep plugging money into my team, they have to win some time.”

As for the purchase of draft picks, Jones assured his fans that money will eventually trump all other issues. “Commissioner Goodell told me that the integrity of football is more important than a potential $300 million,” Jones said, “But if the economy continues to pressure the NFL, big-money teams like Dallas will eventually have the opportunity to buy additional draft picks. It might be morally gray, but I’ve got a checkbook big enough to talk the world into it.”

Jerry Jones has a series of meetings over the next three weeks with Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. It remains to be seen whether not Jones will press the issue of draft pick sales, but for now there is a calm in the proverbial storm.

sk.

Editor’s Note: This is a work of satire. It’s premise, events cited, and quotations are all fictional. It is meant to expose the impersonal and impractical nature of Jerry Jones’ tenure as the Cowboys owner/general manager, as well as provide commentary on the money-driven decision-making process in modern American sports.

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USC QB Mark Sanchez

USC QB Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez announced today that he will forgo his senior year at USC and enter the NFL Draft. It seems fitting that this announcement came the day after fellow quarterback Sam Bradford announced his intentions to remain at Oklahoma next season.

Sanchez held the starting job at USC for only one season, but that 2008 campaign was spectacular. He finished the season with 34 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions, leading USC to a Rose Bowl romp over Big 10 Champion Penn State. While his stats show a seasoned quarterback, the intangibles reveal a one-year starter with little experience.

This decision has two complete sides to it. On one hand, Mark Sanchez made a brilliant (while cowardly) decision to go pro. On the other hand, he made a risky decision that might cost him in the long run.

First I will address the strategic but manipulative motives behind this move. While Mark Sanchez may not be ready to play immediately in the NFL, there is little disagreement that he has the talent to play some day. Sanchez holds the classic quarterback stature, at 6′ 3″ 225lbs, and has shown highlights of his leadership capabilities. Despite these attributes, Mark Sanchez’s decision to go pro was only partially fueled by his physical capabilities.  Another factor in his decision was the composition of the 2009 NFL Draft Class. In 2008, there was a distinguished upper tier of college football quarterbacks. Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, and Tim Tebow were heralded as the best quarterbacks in the country and combined to earn a number of both conference and national honors. Some argued that Graham Harrell belonged in this group as well, h0wever he was left out as a Heisman finalist and rarely mentioned after Texas Tech’s mid-season descent from greatness. Towards the end of the NCAA football season Bradford, McCoy, and Tebow announced their intentions to return to school in the fall, drastically improving Mark Sanchez’s draft position. Also influencing Sanchez’s decision was the possibility of a future cap on NFL rookie contracts. 2008 draft pick Matt Ryan was signed to the largest rookie contract in history, forming much bitterness in the veteran corps of the NFL. The NFL Players Association is currently lobbying for a league measure to limit the salary of NFL players during their first two years in the league. Sanchez’s quarterback competition in the draft was falling apart, while his window of opportunity for a multi-million dollar contract was potentially closing. Based on his physical capabilities, as well as the NFL Draft climate and current contract negotiations, Mark Sanchez declared his eligibility for the 2009 NFL Draft.

"That Kid Is TOAST."

"That Kid Is TOAST."

While the decision makes sense right now, Sanchez might face consequences once he enters the NFL. His immediate gains are obvious. Mock drafts are projecting him as a late first round pick, and with much of his quarterback competition depleted, Sanchez has an excellent opportunity to excel in the combine. Additionally, if he is selected in the first round, he is nearly guaranteed a large contract (a guarantee which may not be present next year). That being said, Sanchez is taking a significant risk by passing on another season of development at the college level. Under Pete Carroll, USC has been a quarterback factory. Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, and John David Booty were all NFL draft picks. However, all of them stayed at USC through their senior year before going pro. Carroll openly criticized the decision in a news conference tonight.

“The facts are so strong against this decision. After analyzing all the information, the truth is there — he should’ve stayed for another year. Mark’s chance to increase his value and become the top player in college football next year would have been worth $10-$20 million or more — likely more. One more year of running a team is almost priceless, so he lost the chance to fully prepare himself and become the very best he could be before going to the NFL. That’s why there’s a 62 percent failure rate for underclassmen quarterbacks.”

Only time will tell, but years down the road Sanchez might look back and wish he had spent one more season at USC to develop his quarterback skills.

This much is certain: no one wants to be the next Brian Brohm. Brohm was a projected top5 draft pick following his junior season at Louisville, but decided to return to school. He had a tumultuous senior year, resulting in a second round draft selection by Green Bay, and a third string spot on the roster (even behind Green Bay’s seventh round selection— LSU’s Matt Flynn). Sanchez has a chance to be a first round draft pick this year, and he is taking it.

No one can fault Mark Sanchez for wanting to play in the NFL. However his motives, decisions, and consequences will all be placed under scrutiny.

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