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It’s draft week

Posted by Doug on April 24, 2006

Most football blogs have probably been in all-draft-all-the-time mode for several weeks now, and rightly so. But I believe in sticking to the things I know, or at least have an informed opinion about. And the draft is not one of those things. I will probably recognize the names of all the players drafted in the first round and most drafted in the second, and I'll be able to recite much of what the people who know are saying about them. But that's about as far as it goes.

Nonetheless, it just wouldn't be right for me to let this week pass with no draft talk at all. With that in mind, I asked my colleague Sigmund Bloom --- the most reasonable draft pundit I know --- if he'd be willing to put together a first round mock draft for me. Turns out he had just worked one out for posting at footballguys, but I'll post it here too.

  1. Houston - Reggie Bush, RB, USC - Maybe there's something to this Mario Williams talk. Maybe the Texans are smarting from passing on Williams when his name was Julius Peppers. I still think at the end of the day, Bush is the kind of player you can not pass on. I think they would be open to a trade, but no one has the incentive to pay the steep price to move because of the depth of the elite tier in this draft.

  2. New Orleans - D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, Virginia - Mario Williams may well be the #2 prospect in this draft, but to me, Ferguson makes sense to protect the Saints investment in Drew Brees. Williams would not completely shock me, but I don't buy it. A pick of a QB would be deja vu for Brees.

  3. Tennessee - Matt Leinart, QB, USC - I don't think the Titans have an incentive to move up if they really are that split between the three QBs. I wouldn't be shocked to see one of the others, but I really like the idea of the high first round QB having a coordinator that he has already flourished with. There's no ramp up, they can get to work from day one. If the Titans are serious about starting their rookie this year, it better be Leinart.

  4. NY Jets - Mario Williams, DE, NC State - It will be a real boon to Eric Mangini if this prototype falls to #4. In most drafts, he's an easy top 3 pick and possibly #1. They need a QB, but Williams arguably has even more value in Mangini's hybrid scheme because he is so well suited for multiple roles.

  5. Green Bay - A.J. Hawk, LB, Ohio State - Like New York, Green Bay should feel lucky to get a player of this caliber in a rare down year. Hawk is a can't miss prospect, the Reggie Bush of linebackers. He is a perfect tonic for the Packers defense.

  6. San Francisco - Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland - Usually you take a top WR prospect in the second year for your franchise QB. With no A+ WR to take here, the 49ers take a guy with the talent to have that kind of impact, but just at the TE position instead. I wouldn't argue with Michael Huff here, I am that high on him.

  7. Oakland - Vince Young, QB, Texas - Add Oakland to the list of big winners if Young falls to them. The freewheeling style of offense that Al Davis seems to prefer will be good for Young's playing style. No knock on Andrew Walter, but he hasn't done anything yet, and Aaron Brooks is just keeping the position warm for someone else. I don't think Young gets past them.

  8. Buffalo - Brodrick Bunkley, DT, Florida St - Justice and Huff make sense, too. Ngata has gone from the consensus pick early to a less likely pick. I think he could work in a cover 2, but Bunkley is more ideal. The need is immediate, although you could argue that it was immediate on the offensive line too. I'm really left to flip a coin between Bunkley and Justice when I ponder this pick.

  9. Detroit - Michael Huff, S, Texas - I don't see anyone on the roster than can effectively patrol the deep middle in the tampa 2. Having Huff play centerfield will allow a more aggressive mindset on D, much the same way Ed Reed and to a lesser extent, Sean Taylor operate in their defenses. Cutler could be the pick. Justice is also a possibility here.

  10. Arizona - Jay Cutler, QB, Vanderbilt - Cutler can be the kind of QB that maximizes Fitz and Boldin's value with his big arm, quick release, and ability to buy time. Justice could really firm up the line, and I wouldn't blame Arizona if they went that route.

  11. St. Louis - Jimmy Williams, DB, Virginia Tech - Huff would be ideal, but Williams is not a shabby consolation prize. He's big, fast, confident, and a huge hitter. Just the kind of presence the Rams secondary needs.

  12. Cleveland - Haloti Ngata, DT, Oregon - The Browns should be elated if they land this ideal 3-4 NT. There are some nice OLBs on the board here, but there should be some nice prospects left when the Browns pick later on the first day.

  13. Baltimore - Winston Justice, OT, USC - I think Tye Hill or Justice would both be excellent picks here. Justice can be a road grader at RT, but he has the athletic attributes of a LT (and Ogden isn't getting younger).

  14. Philadelphia - Chad Jackson, WR, Florida - Ernie Sims looks good here too. WR and OLB have been neglected early in drafts by Philadelphia. The WR corps is looking anemic, and Reggie Brown is better suited to work the shorter stuff while his partner stretches the defense. I think Jackson is just the guy to do that. White would be the shocker.

  15. Denver - Manny Lawson, DE/OLB, NC State - OK, this is my first "out there" pick. I'm projecting the Broncos to have acquired Javon Walker. Although, even if they haven't, I'm not sure Holmes would be the pick here. Lawson can work as a 4-3 end with just modest weight gain. Jason Taylor has been successful with a similar body type. He would be an instant boost to their pass rush.

  16. Miami - Tye Hill, CB, Clemson - The secondary badly needs some help. If Jason Allen has a clean bill of health, I wouldn't argue with him here. Since I'm not privy to that information, Ill project the safe pick here, the former RB who should become a shutdown corner in time. He is small, but he's a burner, a great athlete, and a tenacious player. He's one of my favorite players in this draft.

  17. Minnesota - Ernie Sims, LB, Florida St - He will be a coup for Minnesota if he lasts this long. He can be the disruptive force the Vikings need in their LB corps now that they are implementing the cover 2. I don't blame them if they trade this pick for Schaub, but Sims being there would make it harder.

  18. Dallas - Bobby Carpenter, LB, Ohio St - A pick that has made sense for a while. An OLB really seems like the perfect junction of value and need at 18 and at least one of Lawson and Carpenter should be here.

  19. San Diego - Johnathan Joseph, CB, South Carolina - Much like the Dolphins, the Chargers just need some guys who can cover in their secondary. Joseph is a burner with huge upside and like Hill, could contribute in some packages right away.

  20. Kansas City - Antonio Cromartie, CB, Florida St - KC is yet another team with problems at CB. Youboty and Marshall work just as much for me at this pick, its really a matter of taste. They're all worth a first to a team hurting for cover corners. I put Cromartie here because he's got the most upside.

  21. New England - Richard Marshall, CB, Fresno St - New England is the hardest team to get a read on. They hit with a Bulldog last year, why not go back to the well?

  22. San Francisco - DeAngelo Williams, RB, Memphis - I think the 49ers know they don't have a long term answer at RB on the roster. They saw enough of Williams at the Senior Bowl to know that he could be that guy.

  23. Tampa Bay -Santonio Holmes, WR, Ohio State - I know some people here believe Moss will be the pick. I think Holmes works for the same reasons - a speed merchant to stretch the field and be the heir to Galloway who can also improve the return game. Its hard to not put a tackle here, and I wonder if I put Holmes here because I didn't want him to fall out of the first. It could happen.

  24. Cincinnati - Jason Allen, DB, Tennessee - Allen's potential is not far off of Michael Huff's, if it is below it at all, more than enough to justify the medical risk. The Bengals need a safety to pair with Madieu Williams, Dexter Jackson is just a stopgap. Early mocks had a TE, but I'm not sure that any are worth it.

  25. NY Giants - Chad Greenway, LB, Iowa - Greenway takes a slight tumble. Ill admit to not being as high on him as most, that is probably influencing my mock subconsciously. Ryans would also be a nice pick here.

  26. Chicago - Ashton Youboty, CB, Ohio St - Vasher and Tillman are not as good as their highlights would lead you to believe. They need depth at CB as Azumah is no longer with the team. They're lucky to be looking CB in a draft deep with first round talents at the position. His hard-nosed style will fit in perfectly with the Bears.

  27. Carolina - LenDale White, RB, USC - The heir to Stephen Davis. Why not? He compliments Foster perfectly and gives them a sick two headed running attack. Foster has not made it through a full season yet and it would be foolish to assume he'll consistently do it at any point in his career. He's more valuable if he is preserved by sharing duty with a power RB. I like this marriage.

  28. Jacksonville - Demeco Ryans, LB, Alabama - Ryans is an instinctive fundamentally sound LB who Jack Del Rio should love on draft day. The Jags could also go DE here, I wouldn't argue with a pick of Kiwi or even Tamba Hali.

  29. NY Jets - Daryn Colledge, OL, Boise St - Colledge is a versatile solid offensive lineman who can play either tackle position and guard and will provide immediate depth. Maroney would work here too.

  30. Indianapolis - Laurence Maroney, RB, Minnesota - Consider Indy another big winner in the first if this junction of need, talent, and value come together. Maroney is not polished in blocking or receiving, but he's a talented runner who should feast on the defenses preoccupied by Peyton Manning.

  31. Seattle - Kelly Jennings, CB, Miami - Kelly Herndon is not a long term answer at CB. Yeah the cornerback class is talented enough to get to get seven in the first round. Its a need position for a lot of teams.

  32. Pittsburgh - D'Qwell Jackson, LB, Maryland - This is a wish pick from a fan. I know that O-line depth is the smart way to go here. Some like to put Moss here as a replacement for ARE as a returner and speedy WR. I think Jackson has the perfect makeup to play inside in the Steelers defense and has the well rounded set of skills to be an asset to a deceptive defense. He's like a QB of the defense, unbelievably football smart, and would be a huge upgrade over Larry Foote in time.

For what it's worth, Sigmund has also teamed up with Cecil Lammey and Bob Magaw to write in-depth profiles on all the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, defensive ends, defensive tackles, inside linebackers, outside linebackers, strong safeties, free safeties, and cornerbacks.