2006 Draft Preview: Eklund's Mock Draft

The Seahawks.NET draft team (Kyle Rota, Ryan Rigmaiden and Scott Eklund) each have watched hours of tape, reviewed all 32 NFL teams' needs and put that knowledge to good use with the first of two mock drafts. Below is Scott Eklund's projection of this year's first round. See if you agree or disagree with his projection.

2006 First Round

1. Houston – Reggie Bush, RB USC

There isn't a more electrifying player in this year's draft than Bush. Heck, there hasn't been a player with Bush's playmaking abilities available in the draft in several years. He will add a dimension lacking in the Texans' offense and will help lighten the load on QB David Carr.

2. New Orleans – D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT Virginia

The signing of QB Drew Brees means that the Saints will look to other positions to strengthen their roster. This team has excellent specialists on offense and their defense, save the secondary, is very young. Ferguson would give them the bookend left tackle they have lacked since Willie Roaf left in free agency in 2002.

3. Tennessee – Matt Leinart, QB USC

QB Steve McNair will be entering his 12th season and he's been bruised and battered the past few years. His style of play makes many wonder how much gas he has left in the tank. Leinart played in Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow's system for four seasons and knows it inside and out. Vince Young's abilities are intriguing, but Leinart makes more sense here.

4. New York Jets – A.J. Hawk, LB Ohio State

The Jets need playmakers on offense and defense. LB Jonathan Vilma is outstanding and with Hawk the Jets would get a player that could compliment their budding superstar's abilities well. Hawk is the best defender in the draft and a no-brainer here.

5. Green Bay – Mario Williams, DE N.C. State

Green Bay needs help all over its defense and Williams is the most explosive pass-rusher in the draft and his abilities to get pressure on the quarterback are coveted by the Packers.

6. San Francisco – Haloti Ngata, DT Oregon

The 49ers need better players on defense and while their defensive line played well last season, Ngata is a player that comes along once in a decade. He is amazingly strong and quick for his size and, when healthy, he can take over a game.

7. Oakland – Vince Young, QB Texas

Young just fits in silver and black. He's got a big arm and even bigger athleticism. He could sit behind recently signed Aaron Brooks and learn the offense for a year or two and then be ready to challenge for the starting spot in his third-season.

8. Buffalo – Michael Huff, S Texas

The Bills have needs along the offensive line and defensive line, but Huff is too good to pass up here. There is a chance he could move to corner, but his playmaking ability from his free safety position is unparalleled in this year's draft. He would immediately upgrade Buffalo's deep patrol.

9. Detroit – Jimmy Williams, CB Virginia Tech

Where to start with the Lions? They need help everywhere, but getting a corner like Williams would really help them in the secondary and in the return game. He could also move to a safety position.

10. Arizona – Jay Cutler, QB Vanderbilt

The Cardinals re-signed veteran signal-caller Kurt Warner to an extension, but Cutler would be a player head coach Dennis Green could bring along slowly and have him challenge the veteran for playing time in 2007.

11. St. Louis – Vernon Davis, TE Maryland

Davis is probably the best pass-catcher, including wideouts, in this year's draft. He's amazingly talented and will significantly upgrade the Rams' tight end position. He can seal the edge on running plays and his sure hands would be another outlet for QB Marc Bulger.

12. Cleveland – DeAngelo Williams, RB Memphis

Even though the Browns re-signed RB Reuben Droughns to an expensive extension, Williams makes sense here. He would be the outside threat to Droughns' inside running game. Williams is a playmaker the Browns' offense need and they would nab him up quickly if he fell this far.

13. Baltimore – Broderick Bunkley, DT Florida State

Baltimore needs a playmaking tackle who can provide interior pressure in the pass-rush and Bunkley, while a tad undersized, would do just that. Reminds me a lot of Seattle's Rocky Bernard.

14. Philadelphia – Winston Justice, OT USC

The Eagles need help on their offensive line and Justice is more athletic than any other tackle besides Ferguson. Justice would allow QB Donovan McNabb plenty of time in the pocket and provide RB Brian Westbrook holes to run through. He has had some off-the-field issues, but has managed to stay out of trouble recently.

15. Denver – Tamba Hali, DE Penn State

In the AFC Championship Game the Broncos got no pressure on the quarterback, exposing a problem they had most of the season. Denver lacks a dominant pass-rusher, someone that offenses have to worry about on every play. Hali has moved up most teams' draft boards following post season workouts and his production for the Nittany Lions was excellent.

16. Miami – Ernie Sims, LB Florida State

Sims hits like a ton of bricks and is an angry player. He runs well and would be an ideal weakside linebacker in the Dolphins' scheme.

17. Minnesota – Chad Jackson, WR Florida

Losing Nate Burleson means the Vikings will be looking for another playmaker on the outside. Jackson has the deep speed Minnesota covets and his ability after the catch is excellent.

18. Dallas – Deuce Lutui, OG USC

Dallas released Pro Bowl guard Larry Allen so they will be looking for a prospect to help open holes for their running game while providing time for QB Drew Bledsoe to get the ball downfield.

19. San Diego – Santonio Holmes, WR Ohio State

New Chargers QB Phillip Rivers needs playmakers on the outside and Holmes may be the fastest player in the draft this year. He runs well after the catch and can return punts if necessary.

20. Kansas City – Tye Hill, CB Clemson

The Chiefs want to continue upgrading their defense and Hill's speed and athleticism would be a welcomed addition. He may not start right away, but he would be an excellent nickel corner while he adjusts to the pro game.

21. Patriots – Chad Greenway, LB Iowa

Greenway is a Bill Belichick-type player. He runs better than his forty time (4.75) and is almost a clone of current Patriot LB Mike Vrabel.

22. Denver – Leonard Pope, TE Georgia

Denver needs to upgrade their tight end position and Pope is only slightly behind Maryland's Davis as a receiver. He needs work blocking, but there is no denying his talents.

23. Tampa Bay – Macus McNeill, OT Auburn

The selection of McNeil would solidify the right tackle position the Bucs have been looking to upgrade for several years. McNeil is an excellent run-blocker and an underrated pass-blocker.

24. Cincinnati – DeMeco Ryans, LB Alabama

Ryans fits in perfectly as an outside linebacker for the Bengals. He is excellent in coverage and he's very athletic.

25. New York Giants – Ashton Youboty, CB Ohio State

The loss of veteran CB Will Allen in free agency means the Giants will be in the market for a cornerback to replace him. Even with R.W. McQuarters added and the presence of second-year CB Corey Webster, Youboty would be a welcomed addition to the Giants' deep-patrol.

26. Chicago – Johnathan Joseph, CB South Carolina

Joseph is a player who is skyrocketing up draft boards as we head into the last few weeks before the draft. His speed and ball-hawking skills are excellent, he just lacks experience. Chicago's outstanding front-seven will allow Joseph to gain the necessary experience while not getting burned all day.

27. Carolina – Lendale White, RB USC

The presence of DeShaun Foster means that White will probably be relegated to a backup role for a season or two, but Foster's brittleness also means the White will see plenty of carries. If not for the presence of Bush in the USC backfield, White probably would have put up Heisman-type numbers.

28. Jacksonville – Mathias Kiwanuka, DE Boston College

For as good as the Jaguars defense has been the past few seasons, their pass-rush leaves a lot to be desired. Kiwanuka is an excellent strongside pass-rusher who can hold strong at the point-of-attack and still post double-digit sack totals.

29. New York Jets – Max Jean-Gilles, OG Georgia

Adding the best pure guard in the draft would be an excellent way for the Jets to use their second choice in the first round. Jean-Gilles is adept at pass-blocking, but still needs work on his run-blocking. He would be an excellent choice here.

30. Indianapolis – Laurence Maroney, RB Minnesota

The Colts have a solid back already on their roster in Dominic Rhodes, but Maroney would be an excellent replacement for the departed Edgerrin James. Maroney is also adept at catching the ball out of the backfield.

31. Seattle – Jason Allen, S Tennessee

Allen is moving up due to his personal workouts since the Combine and he's positioned himself as a versatile playmaker in the secondary. With doubt still in the back of Seattle's collective minds about FS Ken Hamlin's full recovery, Allen is the logical choice here. He can back-up Hamlin and be a player that could even start on the corner in a pinch.

32. Pittsburgh – Kamerion Wimbley, DE Florida State

Getting a player of Wimbley's stature at 32 would be huge. He can rush the passer, but needs to work on his strength. He would be a situational pass-rusher for the defending Super Bowl champions as a rookie and then work his way into a starting role in his second season.

Scott Eklund writes and reports for Seahawks.NET and Dawgman.com. Feel free to contact him at sctthawk@yahoo.com.

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