It's that time of year for the Pittsburgh Steelers. With only a week to go until the real draft, everybody and their brother feels obligated to burden us with how they think things will play out. Well, add my name to the list, but make sure you include an asterisk. Yeah, this is a mock draft – my first ever, actually – but it's a little different than others you might've seen. Thanks to the Psychic Friends Network, I was provided with "real answers for my important questions," which means more accurate information for you. Okay, it cost me 400 bucks in phone charges, but hey, you guys are worth it. Let's get to it:
… With the 1st pick, the Houston Texans select LB/DE Jeff Lageman, Jacksonville Jaguars Radio Network. GM Charley Casserly explains: "I just wanted to see Kiper throw another on-air conniption ... Let's be honest, we could've had the first ten picks in this draft and we were still only going to win a handful of games this year. At least by taking Lageman, we'll have something to look back and laugh about when we're mired in a 12-game losing streak."
… With the 2nd pick, the New Orleans Saints select QB Matt Leinart, USC. The Saints then trade Leinart to the San Diego Chargers for QB Philip Rivers and GM A.J. Smith because, well, they're the Saints. Drew Brees could not be reached for comment. For their chronic ineptitude, commissioner Paul Tagliabue awards the Saints both Reggie Bush and Mario Williams.
... With the 3rd pick, the Tennessee Titans select, QB Jay Cutler, Vanderbilt. Said GM Floyd Reese, "Look, we're still up against the cap -- even after changing the locks on McNair so he couldn't get in the building -- and taking Cutler here makes sense. For starters, we don't have to pay moving costs ... he can rent a U-Haul and drive across town to his new job. And as an added benefit, the guy won five games during his college career -- he's very familiar with not only losing, but taking a beating while doing so. Those are two qualities he's going to need here, and let's be honest, it's something you can't teach."
... With the 5th pick, the Green Bay Packers select LB A.J. Hawk, OSU. For laughs, Green Bay sends Aaron Rodgers to New York and not only makes him sit at the team table, but also requires him to answer the little Packers helmet phone whenever the team is ready to submit a pick. Rodgers reports, "Well, this is still a lot better than last year when I was stuck in the Green Room for five hours. By the end, I didn't even care if I got drafted because all my focus was on how I was going to kill my agent."
... With the 6th pick, the San Francisco 49ers select TE Vernon Davis, Maryland. The 49ers could've gone any number of directions with this pick -- that's one of the benefits to winning four games -- but opted to give Alex Smith a much-needed offensive weapon. Even though San Francisco put Davis through extensive tests in the weeks leading up to the draft, head coach Mike Nolan admitted to forgetting to check if Davis had unusually small hands. "It can't happen two years in a row, right?" Davis asked in an interview after making the pick.
... With the 7th pick, the Oakland Raiders select QB Vince Young. "I haven't been in the league for a while, but that doesn't mean I've forgotten how to coach," said Art Shell, back with the Raiders after an 11-year sabbatical. "I've already hired my offensive coordinator, Tom Walsh. Yeah, he ran a bed & breakfast for the last seven years, but that experience actually helped shape our offensive philosophy for the upcoming season. We're going to use a quarterback-by-committee approach; Vince Young will take snaps on running plays, Marques Tuiasosopo will be on the field during short passing plays, and Andrew Walter will be the guy we turn to on all Hail Mary's and trick plays. You're not recording this, are you?"
... With the 8th pick, the Buffalo Bills select DT Broderick Bunkley, Florida State. GM Marv Levy almost pulled a "Minny" because he tried to telegraph the Bills' selection to the league office as he was unaware that the league had transitioned to the telephone during the FDR Administration.
... With the 9th pick, the Detroit Lions select (wait for it … wait for it) WR Chad Jackson, Florida (Bada Bing!). When asked why the Lions drafted their fourth wideout in as many years, GM Matt Millen responded, "We have an offensive mastermind in Mike Martz and he needs as many weapons at his disposal as we can give him. We're pretty sure Charles Rogers will give at least 85 percent effort on half the snaps this season and Mike Williams has promised to keep his weight around 250 lbs. Given our roster, and Martz's play-calling, we're going to use a lot of seven- and eight-receiver sets. It's going to be crazy, crazy stuff."
... With the 10th pick, the Arizona Cardinals select S Michael Huff. "We thought about bolstering the offensive line," remarked head coach Dennis Green, "but Kurt Warner's a tough guy and as long as we have Oliver Ross protecting him, we should be fine."
... With the 11th pick, the St. Louis Rams select LB Chad Greenway, Iowa. "Yeah, it really didn't matter who we drafted -- that's what kind of mess Mike Martz left behind," said new head coach Scott Linehan. "We literally put 10 names in a hat and drew one. Greenway's number was up."
... With the 13th pick, the Baltimore Ravens select Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens. GM Ozzie Newsome opted against addressing more immediate concerns like defensive line, safety or quarterback, and instead chose to draft a player already on the roster. "We felt we owed Ray this much given all that he's done for this organization. I know he hasn't really done a whole lot the past few seasons, but I think this move will light a fire under him and really turn things around for this franchise. Plus, with the new deal that goes along with being a first-rounder, we shouldn't hear any complaints about his contract until Thanksgiving or so," Newsome explained. "And we already have the safety position covered -- Kyle Boller has put on 20 pounds this winter and will probably start the season next to Ed Reed. If we're able to get McNair, it's a done deal."
... With the 15th pick, the Denver Broncos (from Atlanta) select RB LenDale White, USC. "LenDale is from the area, and we've always had him high on our draft board," remarked head coach Mike Shanahan. "His attitude was never an issue with us, I mean, don't forget, we took Maurice Clarett last year."
... With the 17th pick, the Miami Dolphins select DT Claude Wroten, LSU. With Ricky Williams out for the year, the Dolphins wanted to make sure they still "had a connection." Head coach Nick Saban quipped, "We didn't have a 'need at the position', per se, but with Ricky suspended, it was either Wroten or Leon Lett. Let's just say Lett's not in football shape."
... With the 18th pick, the Dallas Cowboys select S Jason Allen, Tennessee. There are questions about whether Allen's hip has fully healed from an injury he suffered during his senior season, but he'll still look like Deion Sanders in coverage next to his defensive backfield mate, Roy Williams.
... With the 19th pick, the San Diego Chargers select WR Santonio Holmes, OSU. Philip Rivers is now a Saint (draft day trade, remember?) and A.J. Feeley's running the show in San Diego. And given his performance in Miami, he'll need all the help he can get.
... With the 21st pick, the Kansas City Chiefs select CB Jimmy Williams, Va. Tech. Now that Eric Warfield is in New England, the Chiefs can groom their next cornerback-with-a-boatload-of-off-field-issues-and-probably-even-more-talent.
... With the 21st pick, the New England Patriots select CB DeWayne Washington, Kansas City Chiefs. Head coach Bill Belichick wants every mediocre defensive back who ever played for the Steelers on his roster by the start of minicamp. Priority free agent: Lee Flowers.
... With the 22nd pick, the San Francisco 49ers (from Washington through Denver) select WR Jerry Rice, Pros vs. Joes, Dancing with the Stars. Let's be honest, Rice is still good enough to help this team, and it's worth a 22nd round pick if it means we don't ever have to see him dance again.
... With the 23rd pick, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select CB Tye Hill, Clemson. "We liked Tye a lot," said head coach Jon Gruden, "But what really sold us on him was the fact that he played at Clemson. If he can wear that shade of orange and still concentrate enough to be a standout cornerback, he'll have no trouble with our unis -- even when we wear the throwback creamsicles."
... With the 24th pick, the Cincinnati Bengals select DE Kimo von Oelhoffen, New York Jets. "He's played in Cincinnati, he knows our system, and more importantly, we can keep an eye on him," explained head coach Marvin Lewis. "Plus, if Chad Johnson starts randomly putting people in head-locks, we'll just remind him that Kimo's on the roster and that should help mitigate any behavioral problems. It's a win-win. Well, except that we don't have a quarterback. But otherwise ... "
... With the 25th pick, the New York Giants select LB Bobby Carpenter, OSU. Carpenter will team with LaVar Arrington, making this unit one of the best in the NFC East, but more importantly, it will keep Alonzo Jackson off the field.
... With the 26th pick, the Chicago Bears select CB Antonio Cromartie, FSU. Since Ricky Manning Jr. is more concerned about beating down laptop wielding nerds who frequent Denny's, the Bears need a cornerback who can play the position and doesn't go Patrick Bateman every time somebody says, "Moons Over My Hammy."
... With the 27th pick, the Carolina Panthers select RB Joseph Addai. The Panthers almost didn't get this pick in on time because everybody in their war room spent the first 14 minutes on the clock laughing at the Bears for signing Ricky Manning Jr. to an offer sheet earlier in the week.
... With the 29th pick, the New York Jets (from Denver) select RB Laurence Maroney, Minnesota. With Curtis Martin approaching 20,000 carries, it might be time for the Jets to think about grooming his replacement. It's a safe bet that Maroney will be very familiar with the back of D'Brickshaw Ferguson's jersey by the end of the season.
... With the 31st pick, the Seattle Seahawks select CB Ashton Youboty, OSU. During the press conference following the selection, head coach Mike Holmgren takes one more opportunity to whine about the Super Bowl officiating before asking one of his assistants, "So, who'd we draft?"