Swerb's Draft Notebook - Volume II

Swerb updates his mock draft and offers his thoughts about how this year's draft may develop.

With just about six weeks left until draft day, and with the scouting combines and opening rounds of free agency behind us…the draft day picture is starting to come into focus a bit.  Still, all mock drafts rely on huge amounts of speculation and my latest effort below is no different.  Trying to predict trades is even more difficult than the arduous task of trying to project selections, yet I've stumbled in that direction in some instances below.  I am projecting at this early date that the Browns will strike a deal to move up and select Iowa's Robert Gallery, the franchise left tackle this franchise so desperately lacks.

What the Browns will do on draft day, I do not know.  They go out of their way to be secretive, bordering on intentional deception at times.

What I do know is that Butch Davis stated this off-season that upgrading the offensive line was the teams "#1 priority".  Yet, most of the big names in free agency are off the board, and the Browns have yet to even whisper sweet nothings into any of their ears.  I also know that five of the six Pro Bowl tackles last season were high 1st round picks.  I also know that not one tackle picked later that #37 overall in the last eight drafts has made a Pro Bowl.  I also know that twenty of the leagues thirty-two starting tackles were 1st round picks, and I also know that six of the eight starting tackles on the leagues four highest scoring offenses were also 1st round selections.

  1. ***Arizona:  WR Larry Fitzgerald, Pitt - Unsure of what the unpredictable Al Davis will do at #2, the Cardinals deal guard Leonard Davis and their #3 selection to San Diego for the #1 pick as well as a late round selection.  New head coach Dennis Green has known Fitzgerald since he was a young kid, and in enamored with his mental makeup and his abilities as a wide receiver.  In Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Bryant Johnson…the Cardinals will have the best young receiving corps in the NFL.
  2. Oakland:  WR Mike Williams, USC-Although tempted by Robert Gallery and Eli Manning, Al Davis decides to go with Williams, the incredibly talented wide out from USC who will team with Jerry Porter to serve as the heir apparent to Jerry Rice and Tim Brown in a long line of great Raider receivers.  Davis feels Gannon has a couple productive years left, and is high on the backup, Marques Tuiasasopo.
  3. ***Cleveland:  OT Robert Gallery, Iowa-The Chargers deal down again, this time picking up the #7 overall pick, the late second round pick the Browns acquired from Kansas City for Dennis Northcutt, and 3rd and 6th round picks in '05 in exchange for the #3 pick.  The Browns are happy to pay that price to jump ahead of the Giants and select their franchise left tackle of the future in Robert Gallery.
  4. NY Giants:  QB Eli Manning, Ole Miss-While Tom Coughlin preferred Gallery, Ernie Accorsi is ecstatic when Peyton's little brother Eli slips to the Giants at #4.  Sean Taylor is tempting here, but in the end, the risk of passing on a talent like Eli with just Kerry Collins at QB is too big of a risk for the G-Men.
  5. Washington:  S Sean Taylor, Miami Fla.-Despite shopping their pick for the entire two months leading up to the draft, Gibbs and Dan The Fan become enamored with the opportunity to add Sean Taylor to a secondary that is losing Champ Bailey, and also featured one of the poorest pair of safeties in the league last season.
  6. Detroit:  DE Kenechi Udeze, USC-The Lions had just 28 sacks all last season, and their best edge rusher, Robert Porcher, is going to be 35 years old by the time the season starts.  Big Daddy Wilkinson is no longer a spring chicken either, and in Udeze, James Hall, Shaun Rogers, and Kalimba Edwards…the Lions have done a decent job in accumulating some young talent up front on defense.
  7. ***San Diego:  QB Ben Roethlisberger, Miami OH-What a coup for the Chargers.  After trading down from #1 to #3 and then #3 to #7, they've added OG Leonard Davis and three draft selections and still end up getting their guy…who is also much cheaper at #7.  Is the third time the charm for this franchise, which was snake bit by Ryan Leaf and Drew Brees?
  8. Atlanta:  DT Vince Wilfork, Miami Fla.-Although many talented receivers are still on the board, the Falcons instead choose to upgrade their run defense and go with the mammoth Wilfork here at #8.  Wilfork worked out and interviewed well at the combines, and will be a force at the next level.
  9. Jacksonville:  TE Kellen Winslow Jr., Miami Fla.-"The Soldier" becomes the 3rd Hurrigangsta to fly off the board in the first nine picks as the Jaguars are happy to gobble him up here at #9 as a long term weapon for Byron Leftwich.  If Winslow can humble himself and show the willingness to improve as a blocker, he could end his career as one of the all-time great tight ends.
  10. Houston:  DE Will Smith, Ohio State - Defensive end is a big position of need for the Texans, and Will is most definitely worthy of a top ten selection.  The Texans were 31st in the league with a paltry 19 sacks last year, and their 3-4 scheme dictates that they have talented guys on the ends up front…something they lacked sorely last season.
  11. Pittsburgh:  QB Phillip Rivers, NC State - With Bettis back for one more year and Duce Staley in the fold, the Steelers decide to pass on a RB and elect to make Phillip Rivers their QB of the future.  Rivers has shot up draft boards since impressing scouts with his size, intelligence, and moxie at the Senior Bowl and projects to be an excellent NFL QB…although Pittsburgh has been a graveyard for QB's since Bradshaw hung ‘em up.
  12. New York Jets:  WR Roy Williams, Texas-Madison Square Garden goes absolutely crazy, as the Jets are elated to see the very talented Roy Williams slip to them at #12.  At 6'5, 210 lbs., Williams will make for a perfect compliment to the emerging Santana Moss as targets for the young and enigmatic Chad Pennington.  After the selection, Joe Namath tries to kiss Mel Kiper Jr. after being asked what he thought of the pick.
  13. ***San Francisco:  WR Reggie Williams, Washington-The Niners, seeing Reggie Williams still on the board, deal their 16th overall pick plus a 2005 3rd round selection to Buffalo for #13.  The deal sending Terrell Owens to Baltimore makes WR a huge need for San Fran, as Tai Streets also left via free agency.
  14. Chicago:  DT Tommie Harris, Oklahoma-The Bears had one of the top run defenses in the league in 2001 when they won thirteen games.  Ted Washington is gone, and Keith Traylor has slipped a bit.  They are set at the DE spots with youngsters Alex Brown and Michael Haynes.  Harris helps this team immediately inside and addresses a need.
  15. Tampa Bay:  OT Shawn Andrews, Arkansas-The Bucs are very shaky on the offensive line, especially now that Cosey Coleman is leaving via free agency.  Andrews oozes raw talent, and he is big and strong enough to where the Bucs can plug him into the lineup this season.  They would likely start him at guard before having him take over for Roman Oben or Kenyatta Walker at one of the tackles spots.
  16. ***Buffalo:  CB DeAngelo Hall, Virginia Tech-The loss of Antoine Winfield leaves the Bills incredibly thin in the secondary, and Hall can step in and start immediately and also provide a spark in the return game for a Bills team desperate for players with game-breaking ability.
  17. Cincinnati:  CB Chris Gamble, Ohio State - After taking Carson Palmer, Eric Steinbach, and Kelley Washington off the board early last year, you can be assured Marvin Lewis addresses the defense on the first day of this years draft.  Cornerback and defensive line are the two areas the Bengals are supposed to take a hard look at, and Gambles size, versatility, and athleticism should make him the first cornerback off the board to the Bengals at #17.
  18. New Orleans:  LB Jonathon Vilma, Miami Fla.-It seems every year that the Saints are expending high draft selections to improve their defense, and this year will be no different.  After failing in their attempts to move up to get Gamble or Hall, they settle on Vilma, a strong and athletic pro style LB that is versatile enough to play inside or outside.
  19. Minnesota:  LB DJ Williams, Miami Fla.-Williams looked great at the Hurricane Pro Day, and will provide much needed youth and athleticism to a graybeard Viking LB unit as Greg Biekert and Henri Crockett are on their last legs.
  20. Miami:  WR Michael Jenkins, Ohio State - With A.J. Feeley now in the fold, the chances are good that the Dolphins will use this selection to upgrade their weak receiving corps, and they will have plenty of talented WR's to choose from here at #20.  In the end, Jenkins from Ohio St. is the pick as his size, strength, and savvy seem to parlay the best to the pro game.
  21. New England:  RB Stephen Jackson, Oregon State - The Pats are elated to see Jackson still on the board here at #21, as he is a lethal dual threat out of the backfield.  Jackson has great explosiveness as a runner and also has excellent hands.  This is not good news for the rest of the AFC.
  22. Dallas:  DT Darnell Dockett, Florida State - Resisting the urge to upgrade their offense, the Cowboys add to their league leading defense with the selection of Dockett, one of the top interior linemen available in the draft.
  23. Seattle:  DT Randy Starks, Maryland-While the Seahawk defense improved enough this season to finally get the team in the playoffs, it again let them down late in the season, including their playoff loss at Green Bay.  Starks is a legitimate NFL talent that is great against the run, and he should immediately upgrade Seahawk defensive line that just added Grant Wistrom, but will likely lose John Randle to retirement.
  24. Denver Broncos:  RB Kevin Jones, Virginia Tech-The Broncos just seem destined to have a quality back, and it almost seems unfair that Jones slips to them here at #24.  Can Jones step in right where Portis left off and continue the long line of success achieved by whoever is running the ball in the Mile High City?
  25. Green Bay:  QB J.P. Losman, Tulane-We've been talking about the Packers acquiring the heir apparent for Brett Favre for a couple seasons now, and I think this is the year they finally get it done.  Losman is a raw talent with a laser for an arm.  He's big, athletic, and specializes in throwing the long ball and seems like a good fit in Green Bay.
  26. St. Louis:  TE Ben Troupe, Florida-There are many people, myself included, that feel Troupe is just as good of an overall talent as Winslow Jr.  Troupe is a big kid, a solid blocker, and has the hands and footwork of a wide receiver.  Despite the fact that Martz likes to throw to the TE, he has never had an elite one, which could change with the selection of Troupe.
  27. Tennessee:  WR Lee Evans, Wisconsin-If not for the couple knee surgeries he's had, Evans would have been a top selection.  Only 5'10 and without top speed, Evans is simply a playmaker that excels in all facets of the game.  Evans will team with Derrick Mason and Tyrone Calico to form a fearsome threesome at WR for the Titans.
  28. Philadelphia:  WR Michael Clayton, LSU-Anyone who saw the Panthers manhandle the Eagles in the NFC Championship game saw firsthand how weak the Eagle WR's are…and it's likely that is the direction they go in here at #28.  Clayton is the complete package with good strength, size, and speed and has all the talent necessary to become a bonafide #1 WR in this league.
  29. Indianapolis:  LB Karlos Dansby, Auburn-While it's possible that the Colts address the OL here, I think the chances are that Dungy will go defense.  The Colts could use some run stuffers for the interior of their defense, but Dansby may just be too tough to pass on here as he could step in and immediately start next to Rob Morris and David Thornton at LB for the Colts.
  30. Kansas City:  CB Dunta Robinson, South Carolina-The deficiencies in the Chief defense were brutally exposed by Peyton Manning and the Colts in the playoffs and I would be horrified if they again passed on defense here like they did last year when they selected Larry Johnson.  Robinson is a big, fast, corner that is a great tackler and projects well to the next level.
  31. Carolina:  OG Justin Smiley, Alabama:  With Kevin Donnalley retiring and Jeno James likely to leave in free agency, guard becomes a huge need all of the sudden for the defending NFC Champions.  Smiley is a bruising force that has started every game in his three years at Alabama and may be the top guard in the draft.
  32. New England:  DT Dwan Edwards, Oregon State - Edwards can play end or tackle, and could possibly even play a little OLB for Belichick in the 3-4.  The Pats have never been afraid to supplement team strengths in the draft, and Edwards will join fellow top picks Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, Dan Klecko, and Jarvis Green to form the best young defensive line in the game.

Second Round

  1. Houston:  Forfeits selection, picked RB Tony Hollings in last years supplemental draft
  2. Arizona:  DE Marquise Hill, LSU-The never-ending search for a pass rush continues for the Cards.
  3. NY Giants:  OG Vernon Carey, Miami Fla.-After having Gallery stolen from them in the 1st, Coughlin is happy to see Carey still here in the 2nd.
  4. San Diego:  OT Jacob Rogers, USC-With Roethlisberger and Tomlinson, investments must be made on the offensive line.
  5. Detroit:  RB Chris Perry, Michigan-James Stewart was let go, and Mariucci badly needs a reliable runner in the Motor City.  Perry is a local product, and has great size and above average speed.
  6. Cleveland:  TE Ben Watson, Georgia:  Watson is 6'4, 260 and can run and catch.  He also would represent a huge upgrade from a blocking standpoint to the Browns at the TE position.  Others they may consider here are Bob Sanders, Chris Snee, Rashaun Woods, Antwaan Odom, and Chad Lavalais.
  7. Atlanta:  WR Rashaun Woods, Oklahoma State - The Falcons are elated to see a receiver of Woods stature still on the board here.
  8. Jacksonville:  CB Derrick Strait, Oklahoma-The Jags need corners, and they will likely choose from Strait, Poole, Colclough, and Ratliff here.
  9. Houston:  OG Chris Snee, Boston College-Snee is a pure mauler, and should be able to start immediately at one of the guard spots for the Texans.
  10. Denver:  DT Chad Lavalais, LSU-The Broncos have a huge hole at DT, and Lavalais can provide immediate help there for them.  This was the pick they received from the Redskins in the Bailey-Portis deal.
  11. NY Jets:  LB Dontarrous Thomas, Auburn-Thomas is big and fast, plays well in space, and projects to be a starting strong side LB at the next level…which is a huge need of the Jets.
  12. Buffalo:  OT Nat Dorsey, Georgia Tech-Dorsey disappointed last season, but is not short on raw talent.  The Bills may go guard here to find a replacement for Reuben Brown as well.
  13. Pittsburgh:  DE Jason Babin, Western Michigan-Aaron Smith and Kimo Von Olhoffen are getting long in the tooth and Babin is a guy that is rocketing up draft boards as an edge rusher.  May be versatile enough to play OLB in the Steeler 3-4 as well.
  14. Oakland:  DE Antwaan Odom, Alabama-This is a guy I like a lot, that I feel the Browns will take a hard look at with #38.  6'5, 280, and runs a 4.8 forty.
  15. San Francisco:  DE Isaac Hilton, Hampton-Hilton was off the charts at the combine with his strength and speed and will parlay that into a 2nd round selection. 
  16. Chicago:  RB Maurice Clarett, Ohio State - Tim Spencer is the Bears new RB coach and the Bears owner is a Youngstown guy.  Oh yeah, they need a back too.
  17. New Orleans:  LB Michael Boulware, Florida State - Boulware was bigger and stronger than most expected at the combine, and quickly quieted those who felt he might be better suited at safety in the NFL.
  18. Cincinnati:  DT Marcus Tubbs, Texas-If the Bengals go CB in the 1st round, the chances are high that this pick will be the best available defensive lineman.
  19. Minnesota:  CB Will Poole, USC-While the Vikings have toyed with the idea of drafting a WR, they would be insane to not address the CB position before round two.
  20. San Francisco:  OG Sean Locklear, NC State - Ron Stone and Derrick Deese were cap casualties, meaning once again San Francisco will have to allocate a high draft pick to the OL after surprising people and drafting Kwame Harris last season.  This is the pick they acquired from Baltimore for Terrell Owens.
  21. Dallas:  RB Greg Jones, Florida State - Look for Dallas to sign Duce Staley in free agency, and if so, the bruising Jones would be a perfect compliment.
  22. Seattle:  CB Ahmaad Carroll, Arkansas-Carroll will step in and try to replace the departed Shawn Springs.  The Seahawks second round pick last year, Ken Hamlin, was also a defensive back from Arkansas and he failed to disappoint as a rookie.
  23. Denver:  S Bob Sanders, Iowa-If this kid was 6'0 instead of 5'8, he would be a top 20 pick.  He was off the charts with his speed and strength at the combines, and should end up being a helluva player.
  24. Green Bay:  LB Teddy Lehman, Green Bay-Green Bay could look WR or DT here, but like last year with Nick Barnett, Lehman may just be too tough to pass on here.
  25. New England:  CB Richard Colclough, Tusculum-With the Ty Law situation unsettled, Tyrone Poole not getting any younger, and last years rookie phenom Eugene Wilson moved to FS…CB is a need for the Pats.
  26. Tennessee:  OT Max Starks, Florida-This kid oozes talent, and the Titans need an heir apparent to Brad Hopkins.
  27. Philadelphia, RB Mewelde Moore, Tulane-The Eagles will likely address the skill positions on offense very aggressively early in this draft.  Moore is a kid that can do it all, and his great hands would be ideal for Philly's west coast offense…especially with Duce Staley gone.
  28. Indianapolis:  DT Donnell Washington, Clemson-The Colts need run stuffers, and Washington has great upside despite being young and raw.
  29. New Orleans:  DT Matthias Askew, Michigan State - The Saints were putrid against the run last season, and they will take a long look at the best available DT's on the board here at #62.
  30. San Diego:  WR Ernest Wiliford, Virginia Tech-With the selection acquired from the Browns (via KC in the Northcutt trade) SD takes a big target off the board for their new big QB Roethlisberger.
  31. Carolina:  WR Devery Henderson, LSU-Despite resigning Steve Smith, the Panthers could use another WR or two.
  32. New England:  OT Kelly Butler, Purdue-Butler shocked some when he left Purdue a year early, but there's no questioning the fact he's an NFL talent.

The OBR Top Stories