NFL Mock Draft: Round 1

The 2004 NFL draft is less than one month away. A lot can happen between now and then. Teams can still add available free agents that might alter their draft strategy. San Diego and Oakland are both talking about trading out of the first two spots in the 1st round. Teams will trade up and teams will trade down. In the meantime, here is a prediction on how the draft will unfold in the first round, along with comments on each prediction:<p>

1) San Diego Chargers - QB Eli Manning ... Mississippi

The Chargers have options here. They can trade down. They could go WR or OL. But Manning is the right choice. The team is not sold on Drew Brees, and Doug Flutie is a stop gap alternative. Manning gives the Chargers a franchise QB that will thrive in time with the help of franchise RB LaDainian Tomlinson.

2) Oakland Raiders - WR Roy Williams ... Texas

The Raiders also have options. They too can trade down. QB is an option, but Al Davis wants to win now. Williams and WR Jerry Porter are the future for the Raiders, while they learn from two of the best ever...Jerry Rice and Tim Brown. In fact, don't be surprised to see one of the veteran WRs released. Williams is a big and fast. The Raider mentality has always been to go vertical. Williams can go deep and also has great leaping ability as well.

3) Arizona Cardinals - WR Larry Fitzgerald ... Pittsburgh

The Cardinals could go either QB or WR here. New head coach Denny Green has a history with Fitzgerald. Larry used to be a ball boy with the Vikings when he was younger. A tandem of Fitzgerald and WR Anquan Boldin would make life easier for young QB Josh McCown.

4) New York Giants - OT Robert Gallery ... Iowa

The Giants have had struggles with their offensive line for a couple of years, especially at tackle. Gallery is the perfect choice for the G-men. New head coach Tom Coughlin knows about stud OTs. He drafted Tony Boselli when he was with the Jaguars.

5) Washington Redskins - TE Kellen Winslow ... Miami (Fla.)

The Redskins have a new head coach in Joe Gibbs. They have a new QB in Mark Brunell. They have a new RB in Clinton Portis. They are about to add a new TE. Winslow would bring a new dimension to the offense, especially his ability to stretch the defense.

6) Detroit Lions - RB Steven Jackson ... Oregon State

The Lions have their franchise QB in Joey Harrington and their franchise WR in Charles Rogers. They need to add a franchise RB. Jackson will fill that void. He is a do it all type of back. He is a big back that runs with power and who also has good blocking and receiving skills.

7) Cleveland Browns - S Sean Taylor ... Miami (Fla.)

The Browns need to upgrade at the S position. Taylor is clearly the best option out there. He can play both safety positions, and he is equally skilled in playing the pass or run. Ron Wolf is helping out the Browns in this draft and he surely sees the 2nd coming of Darren Sharper here, except Taylor is a better tackler.

8) Atlanta Falcons - DE Kenechi Udeze ... USC

The Falcons will look at upgrading their defensive line here. They could go DT, but they decide to go DE by taking Udeze. Udeze brings a complete game. He plays the run well and also can move inside on passing downs. Rich McKay knows from his days in Tampa that everything starts with getting pressure from the defensive line.

9) Jacksonville Jaguars - WR Mike Williams ... USC

The Jaguars have some competent WRs in Jimmy Smith, Kevin Johnson and Troy Edwards. The team should still add Williams. Smith isn't getting any younger, while Williams brings a short, but very impressive resume. Williams has great size and was very productive at USC. Some are questioning his speed, but Jack Del Rio, a former Trojan himself, will gladly pick Williams here.

10) Houston Texans - DT Tommie Harris ... Oklahoma

Harris fills a definite need for the Texans. Coach Dom Capers knows the importance of getting a push from the defensive front. Harris has a ton of ability, but he will need to play more consistently. Capers is the perfect teacher for this student.

11) Pittsburgh Steelers - QB Ben Roethlisberger ... Miami (Ohio)

The Steelers would be thrilled to still have a chance at Roethlisberger here. Roethlisberger would definitely be the QB of the future for Pittsburgh. Tommy Maddox isn't getting any younger and Charlie Batch is not the long term answer. Roethlisberger brings great size and good arm strength, and he would be a steal at this point of the draft.

12) New York Jets - LB D. J. Williams ... Miami (Fla.)

The Jets desperately need to upgrade the linebacker position. Williams would be a perfect addition to the Jets. He is comparable to LB Derrick Brooks of the Bucs, somebody that head coach Herm Edwards remembers from his days in Tampa.

13) Buffalo Bills - QB Philip Rivers ... North Carolina State

The Bills have little depth behind QB Drew Bledsoe, who is coming off a poor 2003 performance. Rivers has great size and good arm strength. More importantly, Rivers is a winner. He played very well in the Senior Bowl and definitely elevated his stock.

14) Chicago Bears - DT Vince Wilfork ... Miami (Fla.)

Wilfork meets a definite need for the Bears. The Bears will definitely get a push along the defensive front with the massive Wilfork. Wilfork has great athletic ability for a man his size. He will also help protect MLB Brian Urlacher from blockers.

15) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - TE Ben Troupe ... Florida

Head coach Jon Gruden is in the midst of revamping the Buccaneer offense. He has added a new RB in Charlie Garner. He has added several new offensive lineman. He has brought in QB Brian Griese to push starter Brad Johnson. He also traded WR Keyshawn Johnson for speedy WR Joey Galloway. Gruden knows the importance of a TE in a west coast offense. Troupe has the ability to get downfield and exploit certain matchups.

16) San Francisco 49ers - CB DeAngelo Hall ... Virginia Tech

Hall is the best CB in the draft. The 49ers definitely have some issues in the defensive backfield. Hall brings decent size, along with blazing speed and versatility. Hall is very dangerous punt returner as well.

17) Cincinnati Bengals - LB Jonathan Vilma ... Miami (Fla.)

Marvin Lewis has some experience with Miami (Fla.) linebackers. He coached a pretty good one while he was in Baltimore...Ray Lewis. Vilma would bring the same type of intensity that Lewis brings. Vilma is a little on the small side, but he hits like he is 50 pounds heavier. Vilma also has good speed which allows him to go sideline to sideline.

18) New Orleans Saints - CB Chris Gamble ... Ohio State

The Saints could use someone with the versatility of Gamble. Gamble is a big CB, that also can return punts and play WR in a pinch. The Saints biggest need is at CB. Gamble will need to focus on his defensive play. He has all the tools, he just needs the repetitions.

19) Minnesota Vikings - DE Will Smith ... Ohio State

Smith will give the Vikings just what they need...a complete DE. Smith is a bit undersized, but he never takes a down off. The Vikings need pressure from their front four to help out the secondary. Smith is also an excellent value at this point of the 1st round.

20) Miami Dolphins - OT Shane Andrews ... Arkansas

The Dolphins need to add depth at OT. Andrews is a perfect fit for the Dolphins. He can play either tackle position, but is better suited for right tackle. Andrews is a house of a man that can help out RB Ricky Williams in the running game, plus be effective in pass blocking.

21) New England Patriots - RB Chris Perry ... Michigan

The Patriots have a need at RB with the loss of Antowain Smith. Perry brings a physical style of running that is best suited inside the tackles. He will be a nice compliment to RB Kevin Faulk.

22) Dallas Cowboys - RB Kevin Jones ... Virginia Tech

The Cowboys would have preferred Perry at RB, but they will still be pleased with Jones. There are some that question his speed, but Jones is an explosive runner that is dangerous in the open field. Bill Parcells will give Jones every chance to be the man at RB.

23) Seattle Seahawks - DT Randy Starks ... Maryland

Starks is just what the doctor ordered for the Seahawks. The Hawks have some age issues at DT, and Starks would bring youth, size and speed.

24) Denver Broncos - WR Reggie Williams ... Washington

The Broncos need to add depth at WR. Ed McCaffrey retired. Rod Smith is no spring chicken. The team needs someone to compliment Ashley Lelie. Williams is big and fast and would quickly become a favorite of QB Jake Plummer.

25) Green Bay Packers - QB J.P. Losman ... Tulane

I may be in the minority, but I believe Brett Favre will play for three more years. That being said, this is still the right pick. The team has some definite defensive needs, but Losman's upside and ability are too much to pass up. No QB in this draft resembles Favre more than Losman. He has a cannon for an arm, and he throws well on the run. Losman has already struck up a relationship with Favre, and he would be well served to learn from one of the all time greats. The lesson should last about three years.

26) St. Louis Rams - CB Dunta Robinson ... South Carolina

The Rams have several issues with their defensive backfield. Lack of depth, lack of size and age, all add up to St. Louis taking Robinson. Robinson is versatile, having played both CB and S at South Carolina.

27) Tennessee Titans - DE Antwan Odom ... Alabama

The Titans need to offset the loss of DE Jevon Kearse. Odom is the best available DE on the board to do that. Like Kearse, there are questions about Odom's ability to stop the run, but Odom excels as a pass rusher.

28) Philadelphia Eagles - WR Lee Evans ... Wisconsin

The Eagles will make QB Donovan McNabb very happy. The team desperately needed to upgrade the wide receiver corp. First, they added Terrell Owens in a trade. Evans will be a great addition as well. Evans has the best hands of all the WRs in this year's draft, and also ran well at the combine. Evans plays bigger than his size because of his great leaping ability.

29) Indianapolis Colts - LB Karlos Dansby ... Auburn

Head coach Tony Dungy will add some more speed to his improving defense. Dansby has a nice combination of size and quickness. Dansby is a dangerous blitzer that also plays the run and pass well.

30) Carolina Panthers - WR Michael Clayton ... LSU

The Panthers need a WR. The team recently lost Kevin Dyson to the Chargers. Mushin Muhammad and Ricky Proehl are aging. Clayton would be a nice complement to Steve Smith. He has a nice combination of size and speed. He is also an excellent blocker which is important in the Panthers power running game.

31) New England Patriots - G Vernon Carey ... Miami (Fla.)

The Patriots could go G or LB here. Carey is definitely the best G on the board. He has great size, and he is a dominant run blocker. He is a good pass blocker as well, but needs to use his hands better.

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