2009 Mock Draft: Stafford or Sanchez?

For months, Scout.com's Chris Steuber has projected USC QB Mark Sanchez as the top pick in the draft, but after a holiday weekend sparked with conversation, Sanchez has dropped out of the top spot. Find out who replaced Sanchez as the No. 1 pick and what ramifications it has in Steuber's updated first round mock draft.

In my previous mock draft, I predicted a trade between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos, where the Broncos would acquire the 3rd pick overall and select Georgia’s Matthew Stafford. I’ve been hyping USC QB Mark Sanchez as the top pick in the draft since January. But, after talking to a few reliable sources over the holiday weekend, it appears that the Lions’ draft room is split over the two signal callers; the side that makes the decisions on draft day seems to favor Stafford.

Even though I’m reluctantly replacing Sanchez with Stafford as the top pick in the draft, I still feel very strongly about Sanchez being the better quarterback. I think a lot of talented evaluators get caught up in the facts rather than the film. Stafford has more career starts than Sanchez and has a slightly stronger arm, but when you watch Sanchez play, he’s much more poised, fluid and accurate.

But hey, we’re dealing with the Lions here, so they’re likely to make the wrong decision.

This could work out better for Sanchez, who appears to be a better fit in Seattle or Denver. With Seattle dealing with the fact that Matt Hasselbeck is getting older and Jay Cutler no longer being in Denver, there’s a need for a quarterback in both places. The Seahawks and Broncos both have new head coaches this season, and it’s apparent that they wouldn’t mind identifying a quarterback they could build their programs around. There isn’t a better player in the draft to build your franchise around than Sanchez.

We’re two weeks away from the biggest offseason spectacle on the NFL calendar, and soon the NFL Universe will be immersed with intrigue as to what will happen. With that said, the anticipation for draft day gets greater and greater each day, and pretty soon the lives of approximately 252 players will be decided. But for now, I’ll predict the outcome of the first 32 picks.

Note: My final mock draft will be released on Friday, April 24th.

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* denotes underclassmen

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A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber's features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: csteuber@scout.com.

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