The Owl: Who's In My Mock

Beyond the initial selection of Reggie Bush, the 2006 draft refuses to be predictable. Nevertheless, The Owl dives from the sky to predict who will be taken with each first round selection....

No draft in recent memory has lacked a consensus at the top as much as this one. Reggie Bush is regarded universally as the best player in the draft and destined to go to the Texans with the first pick, but after that there are no locks. Nevertheless, The Owl will sally forth with his own mock draft here in Mock Draft Week on the Orange and Brown Report.
1. Houston Texans - Reggie Bush, RB, USC
The Texans need a spark in their offense and Bush can provide it. The only question is how well he can take the pounding in the NFL.

2. New Orleans Saints - Matt Leinart, QB, USC

The Saints hold the key to the top of the draft. They could trade the pick to the Jets for additional help. They could take tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson or defensive end Mario Williams. We're going with Leinart because Drew Brees' contract makes him essentially a one-year player for the Saints.

3. Tennessee Titans - D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, Virginia

Taking tackles high is a risk, but if Leinart is off the board the Titans should address their offensive line. They won't reach for Vince Young.

4. New York Jets - Mario Williams, DE, N.C. State

Williams would replace Jonathan Williams, whom the Jets traded to Atlanta. Rookie coach Eric Mangini could go with linebacker A.J. Hawk.

5. Green Bay Packers - A.J. Hawk, LB, Ohio State

The offensive line is the biggest weakness in Green Bay, but no lineman is worthy of this pick if Ferguson is gone. Hawk could flourish in the Packers' 4-3 defense. Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler is a long shot.

6. San Francisco 49ers - Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland

Davis is far and away the best receiver of any kind in the draft. The 49ers need a target for last year's top pick Alex Smith.

7. Oakland Raiders - Vince Young, QB, Texas
This is a risky pick. Young will need time to develop and learn NFL defenses. The Raiders have had three straight losing seasons, and Al Davis is not known for being patient.

8. Buffalo Bills - Brodrick Bunkley, DT, Florida State

Coach Dick Jauron says Ngata does not fit his defense. Bunkley does. The Browns like Bunkley, but the Bills might jump on him first.

9. Detroit Lions - Michael Huff, S, Texas

Kind of like kicking the smoking habit, Lions president Matt Millen will kick the habit of drafting wide receivers in the first round. Huff is not only the best safety in the draft. He's the best DB in the draft.

10. Arizona Cardinals - Jay Cutler, QB, Vanderbilt

The Cardinals need a young quarterback. Young would be their first choice, but if he is gone they'll go for Cutler.

11. St. Louis Rams - Jimmy Williams, CB, Virginia Tech

The Rams will be praying Arizona passes on a quarterback again because they would love Cutler. Williams is the best cover cornerback in the draft.

12. BROWNS - Kamerion Wimbley, DE/OLB Florida State

Wimbley is bigger than Manny Lawson or Ernie Sims - two other outside linebackers the Browns would consider at 12. I like the pass rush potential of Willie McGinest on the left side and Wimbley on the right. They could take inside linebacker Abdul Hodge in the second round and become a good defense in a hurry. Picking Wimbley would mean passing on Haloti Ngata. Phil Savage says this draft is deep in nose tackles.

13. Baltimore Ravens - Haloti Ngata, DT, Oregon
The Ravens need a replacement for Maake Kemoeatu. The 49ers, Bills and Browns will think strongly before passing on Ngata.

14. Philadelphia Eagles - Lendale White, RB, USC

Donavan McNabb needs help on offense. White can be the one to take the heat off him. Most mocks have White going lower than this, but he was a touchdown machine in college.

15. Denver Broncos - Chad Jackson, WR, Florida

Jackson can fly and he can catch the ball.

16. Miami Dolphins - Winston Justice, OT, USC

Daunte Culpepper needs protection as he returns from knee surgery. Justice can provide it.

17. Minnesota Vikings - Ernie Sims, OLB, Florida State

The Vikings might choose Chad Greenway instead. Sims weighs only 220 pounds and might be a year away from being an impact player.

18. Dallas Cowboys - Donte Whittier, FS, Ohio State

Whittier teamed with strong safety Roy Williams would make the Cowboys secondary a force.

19. San Diego Chargers - Marcus McNeill, OT, Auburn

As great as he is, LaDainian Tomlinson would be even better with a stronger offensive line. Holmes or Jackson would be the pick if either receiver falls to 19.

20. Kansas City Chiefs - Mathias Kiwanuka, DE, Boston College

The Chiefs will never be a Super Bowl contender until they play better defensively.

21. New England Patriots - Chad Greenway, OLB, Iowa

The Patriots won't find another Willie McGinest with the 21st pick, but Greenway could step in immediately.

22. Denver Broncos (from Redskins) - DeAngelo Williams, RB, Memphis

Pairing Williams with Tatum Bell behind the Denver offensive line would give AFC West opponents nightmares.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Nick Mangold, C, Ohio State

Tampa needs a center, and Mangold is clearly the best in the draft.

24. Cincinnati Bengals - Tamba Hali, DE, Penn State

The Bengals showed last season that they could score, but they allowed 350 points - 49 more than the Browns allowed.

25. New York Giants - DeMarco Ryans, OLB, Alabama

Outside linebacker in this draft is a matter of taste. The Browns could take Ryans as high as 12, or he could fall to the Giants. Ryans is very good against the run.

26. Chicago Bears - Tye Hill, CB, Clemson

The Bears hope Hill falls this far. Hill is not big, but he is quick. If he is gone the Bears will look at Jonathan Joseph, also a cornerback, or tight end Leonard Pope.

27. Carolina Panthers - Leonard Pope, TE, Georgia

Pope is not a premier blocker but he is a good receiver. He, Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson would make the Panthers a formidable passing team.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars - Bobby Carpenter, OLB, Ohio State

The Jaguars can have their pick between Bobby Carpenter and Manny Lawson. They won't go wrong either way.

29. New York Jets - Max Jean-Giles, OG, Georgia

The Jets will get shut out on D'Brickashaw Ferguson with the fourth pick, so they'll take a guard on this pick acquired from the Broncos through Atlanta in the John Abraham trade.

30. Indianapolis Colts - Laurence Maroney, RB, Minnesota
The Colts couldn't keep their offense together forever. Edgerrin James left for big bucks in Arizona so the Colts need another running back. The Jets might take Maroney at 29. If they don't, the Colts will.

31. Seattle Seahawks - Joseph Jonathan, CB, South Carolina

Despite the bad officiating, the Seahawks might have won the Super Bowl had they done a better job in pass coverage. Jonathan could be the player they need.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers - Sinorice Moss, WR, Miami

The Steelers need a receiver after losing Plaxico Burress in 2005 and Antwaan Randle El this offseason. This is not a strong receiver class, so the Steelers will take Moss in the first round.


The Owl is a big freaking bird who lives in a nest overlooking the Cleveland Browns Berea practice facilities. When not chasing around small rodents, the Owl likes to fly through open windows, find an available computer, and type out weekly OBR commentaries with his beak. The Owl's hobbies include trying new vole recipes and dodging anti-aircraft fire.

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