The 2007 NFL Draft is April 28-29, but the experts at Scout.com are ready to give you a sneak peek into what might happen at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Several intriguing questions remain in Round 1, including what the Raiders do at the top and how the Colts retool at the bottom. Will Calvin Johnson grab the top spot? Is Brady Quinn due for a fall? And who lands Adrian Peterson?
Round 1 (Picks 1-16)
1. OAKLAND RAIDERS
CALVIN JOHNSON (WR, Georgia Tech)
While it would be easy to
select quarterback JaMarcus Russell, the smart play is to add a
player that has Pro Bowl written all over him. Blessed with size,
speed, and a terrific attitude, Johnson will be the face of the
franchise – one that desperately needs to change its image. Johnson
has all the tools to dominate and will make the players around him
better. Few other prospects in this draft can claim the same.
2. DETROIT LIONS
JOE THOMAS (OT, Wisconsin)
Although not a sexy pick, this selection hands Detroit a
potential perennial All-Pro offensive lineman and a player upon whom the
franchise can rely. While more attractive players are available
(JaMarcus Russell, Adrian Peterson), the Lions' traditional need
for help up front would be settled almost instantly. Thomas would
likely start opposite left tackle Jeff Backus and make the transition
to replace him within a few years.
3. CLEVELAND BROWNS
JaMARCUS RUSSELL (QB, Louisiana State)
The Browns' not-so-secret wish comes true as Russell falls to the
third pick in the draft and Cleveland pounces on him in a tenth of
a nanosecond. GM Phil Savage has known Russell since he was a
teenager, and this selection gives the team an offensive identity
for the first time since the franchise made its return to the Forest City in 1999.
4. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
GAINES ADAMS (DE, Clemson)
Jon Gruden will be tempted by Brady Quinn here, but Adams is the smart selection. The
Bucs are in dire need of a young pass-rusher, as their top three ends are 30 or older. Adams is the best end in the draft and can be an immediate contributor on third down and
in nickel and dime packages. Once he
adds about 15-20 pounds, he should be ready to
replace Simeon Rice, whose contract expires after this season.
5. ARIZONA CARDINALS
LaRON LANDRY (S, Louisiana State)
Landry would team up with Pro-Bowl safety Adrian Wilson to give the Cardinals two versatile, ball-hawking players in the secondary. Given Clancy Pendergast's imaginative schemes, he should be able to find a way to maximize the potential of both players. Throw in young cornerback Antrel Rolle, and the Cardinals will be set in the back four for years to come.
6. WASHINGTON REDSKINS
AMOBI OKOYE (DT, Louisville)
Other than veteran Cornelius Griffin, this team really doesn't have a solid interior defender. Okoye gives them a young player with tremendous upside and athleticism. Despite his recent admission that he smoked marijuana as a freshman, Okoye is still known for having great character and there is no reason to shy away from him. Washington was hoping to snag Gaines Adams, who also would have filled a major need.
7. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
ADRIAN PETERSON (RB, Oklahoma)
Once a Heisman Trophy favorite, a series of injuries left some teams wondering about Peterson's durability. The Vikings need a change-of-pace back to take some pressure off Chester Taylor, who was a workhorse during the first half of the 2006 season before wearing down. Since none of Peterson's injuries were structural, his 4,306 yards and 41 touchdowns at Oklahoma can inject some life into an anemic offense.
8. ATLANTA FALCONS
JAMAAL ANDERSON (DE, Arkansas)
A bit of a risky pick here but one that fits a dire need. John Abraham is good
when healthy yet only plays half the time due to injuries, and the
team really has no other defensive end of starting caliber. Atlanta
would really like to trade down a few slots, acquire some extra
selections and then look at a safety like Reggie Nelson or an offensive
tackle such as Joe Staley.
9. MIAMI DOLPHINS
LEVI BROWN (OT, Penn State)
Brady Quinn would be tempting given the team's
quarterback situation, but there's also a major need at left tackle
where the Dolphins haven't had a stud since Richmond Webb.
Ironically, Webb was the choice in 1990 the last time Miami had the
ninth overall pick. The Dolphins have needs throughout the roster and would entertain offers to trade down for additional
picks, but if they stay put, Brown makes the most sense.
10. HOUSTON TEXANS
LEON HALL (CB, Michigan)
A finalist for the Jim Thorpe and Bronko Nagurski Awards, Hall is regarded as the premier cover cornerback in the draft. Started 37 of 50 games for the Wolverines and had 43 pass deflections and 12 interceptions. Has great speed and playmaking ability but needs to add some muscle to play a more physical style at the NFL level. Will instantly improve the Texans' secondary, which was hit hard by injuries a year ago.
11. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
ADAM CARRIKER (DE, Nebraska)
With three premier defensive prospects still on the board, the 49ers go with Carriker over Alan Branch and Patrick Willis to fortify their defensive front. He gives them the intense, physical strongman they need to finally complete the transition to coach Mike Nolan's 3-4 system after two seasons of trying to do so with deficient personnel, and Carriker also possesses the skills to play inside when the team flips to a 4-3 front.
12. BUFFALO BILLS
PATRICK WILLIS (LB, Mississippi)
This team is in need of an interior linebacker due to the departure of veteran MLB London Fletcher-Baker. The coaching staff would like to keep fifth-year player Angelo Crowell at WLB, so the selection of Willis here makes the most sense of any player left on the board. Willis has the athleticism and toughness that defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is looking for and will help upgrade his unit of young linebackers.
13. ST. LOUIS RAMS
DARRELLE REVIS (CB, Pittsburgh)
The player the Rams covet is Adam Carriker. Love what he brings on the field and his character off it. If the opportunity arises to move up and grab him, they'll definitely consider it. That being the case, the best defensive player on the board is Revis, and the Rams need a starting cornerback. Revis is not there yet but has the skills, and if he hits on all cylinders will be dynamite at the next level.
14. CAROLINA PANTHERS
REGGIE NELSON (S, Florida)
The biggest need for the Carolina Panthers at this moment is
safety, where the team is returning veteran Mike Minter and second-year player Nate Salley. Deke Cooper was signed a few weeks ago, but
he's nothing more than depth right now. Nelson would give the Panthers an
immediate starter at free safety and allow Minter to move back to his
natural position at strong safety.
15. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
JOE STALEY (OT, Central Michigan)
The Steelers won't draft a DB, and it's doubtful they'll take a 4-3 OLB. Brady Quinn would've been the bait for a trade down for Anthony Spencer, but they'll take the value here. Staley will motivate Marvel Smith this year and then replace him next year if Max Starks is allowed to leave. Pittsburgh could even cut Smith and his whopping contract after this season since his pinched nerve still remains problematic.
16. GREEN BAY PACKERS
MARSHAWN LYNCH (RB, California)
With Ahman Green now in Houston and Vernand Morency and Noah Herron the top two backups, the Packers are in desperate need of a No. 1 running back. Lynch should fit nicely into Green Bay's zone blocking scheme and be able to make an immediate impact with The Pack. Brett Favre also needs another weapon to take some pressure off the passing game and is at his best when he has a strong ground attack.
Be on the lookout for Part II as Scout.com finishes up Round 1 with picks 17-32.