VU Mock Draft 2004 - Version 9.0

The way we see it, a trade in front of the Vikings and a recent judicial ruling still doesn't affect the team's first-round selection, but it has caused another major shakeup in our prediction on how the first round will materialize. See our latest thoughts less than 24 hours before the selections begin.

NFL Mock Draft

VikingUpdate.com 2004 Mock Draft

OVERVIEW: With the clock literally ticking down the final hours to the draft, there are many more questions than answers. Will the Chargers still take Eli Manning despite warnings that he is willing to sit out a year if they do? Will the Chargers get a deal done with the Giants by noon Eastern Saturday? Will the Raiders get wooed by the Giants and/or Cleveland to get up the No. 2 spot? How will all this affect the Vikings? With teams jockeying for position to get specific players they are targeting, talent is sure to drop and the Vikings may find themselves with several choices to make – should they stay or should they go from the No. 19 spot? We've tried to figure out most of the scenarios and even we're confused. Let the trading and selecting begin, already.

Pos.

Team

Win

Loss

Percent

SOS

1.

San Diego Chargers

4

12

.250

.504

Eli Manning, QB, Mississippi — The twitchy Chargers are on the clock at No. 1 for the second time in three years and face a huge decision. In 1998, they went after a franchise QB – missing out on Peyton Manning at the first pick and getting Ryan Leaf with the second pick. It's probably the reason the Chargers have picked first twice in three years. Passing on Eli Manning will be difficult, because Doug Flutie is 102 and Drew Brees doesn't look to be the long-term answer. With the trading of David Boston to Miami for magic beans, a huge void at go-to receiver remains, which means the Chargers could try to squeeze Denny Green to move up to No. 1 with the threat of taking Larry Fitzgerald. Or they could keep the pick and take Fitzgerald for themselves. They missed on Peyton Manning. They traded away Michael Vick. Will their fans allow another Manning to get away too? Trade talks with the Giants, who have compared Manning to John Elway, have heated up, so even if the Chargers move out of this spot, Manning still looks to be the pick at No. 1 overall. With the Manning family suddenly taking a very hard stance toward the Chargers, it would seem that team could lose out on Eli completely if he maintains his hard-line stance. Look for a trade to the Giants and the Chargers then grabbing QB Phillip Rivers with the No. 4 pick.

2.

Oakland Raiders

4

12

.250

.516

Robert Gallery, OT, Iowa — Al Davis hasn't been on the clock this early in a while and will be tempted by his own history. Davis loves big-name players and, in the event a move was made to get to the No. 1 spot to take Larry Fitzgerald, Davis could be tempted to go for the marquee value of Manning, wide receiver Roy Williams or tight end Kellen Winslow. However, the best pick for the Raiders at this spot could well be Gallery. While not as physically imposing as past top OTs like Orlando Pace or Bryant McKinnie, Gallery would be the cornerstone of an offensive line that needs a changing of the guard. While the bigger names could do more to sell merchandise or put butts in the seats, having a left tackle for a decade would mean more in the long term for the franchise. With Cleveland and the Giants both talking about trying to move up to get Gallery at this pick, Davis could be working the phones for the full 15 minutes before making his final decision. The Raiders are going to get some tempting offers if the Giants don't move up to the No. 1 pick and get Manning. If San Diego ends up with Manning, both the Giants at No. 4 and the Browns at No. 7 could make tempting offers to move into the No. 2 spot – again taking the same player we have projected – and allowing Davis to get the speed player he truly covets (Texas WR Roy Williams).

3.

Arizona Cardinals

4

12

.250

.543

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Pittsburgh — Denny Green is really in a no-lose situation here. There has been talk that he wants Fitzgerald so bad that he will give up a pick on Day 1 to swap choices with the Chargers. However, if Green holds his ground, there really isn't much of a way he can lose in this scenario. If the Chargers take Fitzgerald, there's a good chance Manning will fall to him. If both are gone, Ben Roethlisberger could be the franchise QB the Cardinals haven't had since Neil Lomax. If the Raiders either take Gallery or trade the pick to someone like the Browns who desperately want a bookend OT, Green can wait until the No. 3 pick and more than likely get the player he was willing to trade up for in the first place. As much as Green saw his team get better with the drafting of Daunte Culpepper, he also realizes what a difference a big-play wide receiver can make. Randy Moss changed Green's philosophy, proving a huge wide receiver playmaker is as important as any position on the field. Besides, if he doesn't get Fitzgerald, Manning wouldn't be a bad consolation prize.

4.

New York Giants

4

12

.250

.555

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Miami (Ohio) — This will be a critical pick. If Gallery is still on the board, he's the choice here. But, if he's gone, the team has to look at the big picture. Kerry Collins has played pretty well in the system, but is entering the final year of his contract and attempts to get a long-term deal done were short-circuited by the team. New coach Tom Coughlin wants to put his own stamp on the franchise and that may not include Collins. The Giants' pick is key, because if Roethlisberger makes it past No. 4, he has the potential to slide all the way to Pittsburgh at No. 11, so there could be more value in trading this pick if the G-Men aren't sold on Roethlisberger. Once cooler heads prevail, keeping the pick and adding a franchise QB sounds pretty good from here. It is clear Roethlisberger is not the G-men's No. 1 choice – that would be Manning or Gallery – but, with the only offensive tackle worth taking already gone, this may be a force-the-hand move for the Giants. If the Giants are able to trade out of this pick, Roethlisberger could be waiting for another hour or more Saturday to be picked. If the Giants do make a trade with the Chargers to get Manning, don't expect to see Roethlisberger go at this spot. Either the Chargers will trade out of the spot again for more picks or they'll take QB Phillip Rivers instead.

5.

Washington Redskins

5

11

.313

.531

Sean Taylor, S, Miami — This will be a very interesting pick to watch. The Redskins have just one pick in the first four rounds after trading away their second- and third-round picks in the last two months to get Mark Brunell and Clinton Portis. There will be the temptation to move down and maybe swing a deal with New England, which still has a ton of picks – including two in the first round – in order to add more depth. This pick essentially comes down to two players – Taylor and TE Kellen Winslow. With the additions the Redskins have already made on offense, Winslow could be enormous and, in a recent predraft interview, Winslow specifically mentioned Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs and his ability to use a tight end the way the Chargers used his father and the Giants use former teammate Jeremy Shockey. It would seem the Redskins couldn't go wrong with either player, but getting a playmaker in the defensive secondary should take precedence.

6.

Detroit Lions

5

11

.313

.535

Kellen Winslow, TE, Miami — A simple case of need meeting talent and value. The Lions have used their last two premium picks in the very early stages of the first round the last two years to take offensive players – QB Joey Harrington and WR Charles Rogers. You would think that defense or running back would be the top priorities at this spot, but Winslow is a talent that is extremely rare at the tight end position and a perfect fit in the West Coast Offense favored by coach Steve Mariucci. Almost every effective WCO has included a productive, pass-catching tight end. That's not taking into account a game-breaker like Winslow, who could make a lot of things happen. The Lions will get some nice trade offers – maybe even one too good to turn down – but this looks like a good landing spot for Winslow. If the Lions do trade out of this spot, don't look for it to be too far (maybe six or seven spots at the most). If that happens, look for the team to jump on RB Steven Jackson and cure its most chronic ill.

7.

Cleveland Browns

5

11

.313

.539

DeAngelo Hall, CB, Virginia —The Browns might consider trading out of this spot if the two players they really covet — Gallery and Winslow — are already gone. Butch Davis has always wanted a blue-chip offensive tackle, from trying to get Bryant McKinnie when the Vikings were having trouble signing him to talks about moving up to No. 2 or No. 4 to try to get Gallery in this year's draft. But after all the offensive talk, Hall is a player that could improve a defense in hurry. Cleveland's cornerbacks are suspect at best, and Hall has proved to be the top cornerback in the draft this year. If the Browns did complete a trade with the Raiders, you can pen in Roy Williams' name as the selection in this spot.

8.

Atlanta Falcons

5

11

.313

.539

Roy Williams, WR, Texas — The Falcons could easily cross things up and grab Tommie Harris or Vince Wilfork to fill a need at defensive tackle, but Williams may be just too good to pass up. Blessed with lightning speed, the potential between he, Peerless Price and Michael Vick could make the Falcons one of the most frightening offenses in the NFC. The defense remains a problem and the team could very well address one of those needs with this pick or even trade down, but Williams is, by some accounts, potentially even a better pro prospect than Fitzgerald and would be awfully difficult to pass up.

9.

Jacksonville Jaguars

5

11

.313

.543

Kenechi Udeze, DE, USC — This one could easily come down to one decision – will Hugh Douglas stay? The Jags already released Tony Brackens for cap reasons and weren't thrilled by the production they got after spending big money on Douglas last year. The choice will boil down to Udeze or WR Roy Williams of Texas – if the Falcons opted for a defensive tackle with their first pick. Both bring huge upsides and many think the Jags couldn't go wrong with either one of them. The Jags offense would be considerably better with Williams alongside an aging Jimmy Smith – giving Byron Leftwich a receiver he can throw to for years to come. But, the short-term need for a pass rush may override the situation, and Udeze's non-stop motor and relentless pass rush could be what the Jags need more on the first round. The thinking may be with a WR class as deep as this year's, the Jags can wait on the second round to look at that problem.

10.

Houston Texans

5

11

.313

.570

Vince Wilfork, DT, Miami — We have Tommie Harris listed as our top defensive tackle, but in the 3-4 defense, a huge run plugger is what is needed instead of a smaller, quicker more disruptive pass defender in the interior. For what the Texans need, Wilfork is the better DT option. There is the possibility that if DeAngelo Hall slips or the Texans scouts are high on CB Dunta Robinson that either of them are possibilities here, but the team improved its pedestrian defensive line by signing free agent Robaire Smith to play DE. By plugging in a bulldozer like Wilfork in the middle, the Texans defense could begin the process of catching up with the offense and making the Texans a playoff contender sooner than later.

11.

Pittsburgh Steelers

6

10

.375

.500

Phillip Rivers, QB, North Carolina State — If Hall is still on the board, this pick gets a lot tougher, but the Steelers have seen their quarterback position decline rapidly the last few years. Kordell Stewart was always one bad start away from being replaced and, after looking good in his first role as fill-in starter, the league figured out Tommy Maddox last year and proved he isn't a long-term answer. Rivers' stock has been on the rise for weeks and, if the Steelers dream of seeing Ben Roethlisberger slide out of the top four and start the ride down to No. 11, it's a longshot dream. If he's on the board at No. 8 someone is sure to trade up – Rivers is the best available option. He has been likened to former Browns QB Bernie Kosar, a player Steelers fans were familiar with during his days in the old AFC Central. If Rivers could be anything close to that, the Steelers have a good pick on their hands. If the Chargers feel the same about the Kosar potential of Rivers and swing a deal with the Giants, they will take Rivers at No. 4 – Schottenheimer coached Kosar and has a man-love for him still. In that case, Roethlisberger falls and the Steelers come out smiling anyway.

12.

New York Jets

6

10

.375

.527

Dunta Robinson, CB, South Carolina — The Jets don't have a pick in the second round, so they need to go for the best talent they can get their hands on. That could easily include Miami linebackers D.J. Williams or Jonathan Vilma, because the Jets have gutted their outside LB corps by releasing Mo Lewis and Marvin Jones (which would lead many to believe they would take Williams) as well as their wish to move MLB Sam Cowart to the outside (which would have them leaning toward Vilma). However, with one pick in the early rounds, the objective is to get the player who can make the biggest impact, and some believe Robinson is the best corner in the draft. As a former DB himself, coach Herm Edwards might feel the pull to go that route and give the vocal Jets fans at the draft something to cheer about.

13.

Buffalo Bills

6

10

.375

.570

Will Smith, DE, Ohio State — This would have been the pick that Mike Williams would have been sure to be gone at if he was still on the board and in the draft. Instead, the Bills go about the process of trying to fix one of their multiple problems on defense from a year ago. When addressing defense, it all starts up front, and the Bills need to get an edge rusher who can make a difference. Aaron Schobel has done a nice job on the left side, but the team lacks a consistent pass rusher who can move in at right end. Smith has all of those attributes and would help cure a monstrous problem with his selection here. The Bills also need to add a wide receiver to take some pressure off of Eric Moulds, but, with Mike Williams off the table and Roy Williams off the board, the Bills opt to let that problem try to be solved on the second round and take care of defensive business on the first round. The wild card in the Bills equation could well be how the quarterbacks fall out. If Roethlisberger or Rivers still remains, Buffalo could opt to grab one of them as someone to groom over the next year or two under Drew Bledsoe.

14.

Chicago Bears

7

9

.438

.488

Tommie Harris, DT, Oklahoma — The Bears haven't been within sniffing distance of the playoffs since their improbable 13-3 season two years ago. One of the unsung reasons for the meteoric rise and fall from grace just as fast was the play of defensive tackles Ted Washington and Robert Traylor. Both were brought in before the 2001 season and produced. After that one year, neither of them played in the lineup together again due to injuries in 2002 and Washington's free agent defection in 2003. The Bears need a presence up front to get the job done and haven't had it for two years. Harris' non-stop aggression could have him off the board as early as No. 5 to Washington, so new coach Lovie Smith, who adores defenders with high-running motors, won't hesitate for a second to push this pick on G.M. Jerry Angelo and get the deal done.

15.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

7

9

.438

.508

D.J. Williams, LB, Miami — The Bucs could look at wide receiver here or could jump on RB Steven Jackson as a long-term solution at RB, but it has been defense that has made the Bucs a champion. With the losses of Warren Sapp and John Lynch, the Bucs need an impact player who can make a difference. Without a pick in the second round, thanks to the deal that brought Jon Gruden to Tampa, any need at wide receiver can likely be dealt with in the third round because of the depth of this year's WR crop. Williams has been compared favorably to current Bucs defensive stud Derrick Brooks and would be a nice addition to a team looking to return to the playoffs after a disappointing defense of the championship last year.

16.

San Francisco 49ers

7

9

.438

.512

Reggie Williams, WR, Washington — The 49ers have other needs, but, with the loss of Terrell Owens and Tai Streets, the 49ers have almost nothing in the way of receivers currently on the roster. Coach Dennis Erickson is no stranger to Williams – he coached against him in the Pac-10 – and his playmaking ability is something the new-look 49ers desperately need. While there are needs on the defensive front and in the secondary, with T.O., Jeff Garcia, Garrison Hearst and Streets all gone from last year's team, getting an offensive impact player is a must – and makes this pick almost a no-brainer.

17.

Denver (from Cincinnati)

8

8

.500

.457

Steven Jackson, RB, Oregon State — The Broncos show why they're brilliant with this pick. If Smith makes it past the 49ers, this pick could be different because the Broncos could use a pass rusher. But by moving ahead of New England and Dallas and only giving up a second-day pick and Deltha O'Neal – who was likely to be cut after June 1 – Denver ends up with the most complete running back in the draft to replace disgruntled Clinton Portis. And Champ Bailey to replace the hapless O'Neal. The Patriots apparently felt the same way we do – days after the Broncos made the trade to move ahead of the Pats and the Cowboys, New England sent a second-round pick to the Bengals for Corey Dillon. If Bill Belichick is convinced the Broncos are going to take Jackson, why should we disagree?

18.

New Orleans Saints

8

8

.500

.500

Chris Gamble, CB, Ohio State — The Saints have been targeting cornerback for months with this pick and, while they may have hoped that DeAngelo Hall or Dunta Robinson would fall to this spot, Gamble is a very nice consolation prize. The defensive backfield for the Saints is a mess. While Fred Thomas was re-signed, former Viking Dale Carter had the gas pipe put in his window and Ashley Ambrose is a drain on the salary cap for what he provides the Saints defense. Gamble has the chance to become an immediate starter – something he likely wouldn't have with most other teams – and would provide a big upgrade over what the team has now. This pick makes too much sense at this point to pass up.

19.

Minnesota Vikings

9

7

.563

.457

Jonathan Vilma, LB, Miami — The Vikings would like to see Udeze or Smith fall to them at this pick, but that doesn't seem likely. There are several options in which the Vikings could move. There has been talk of moving E.J. Henderson to the outside, which would open the door for Vilma to step in as the MLB, or vice versa. There has also been some hushed tones concerning Ted Cottrell tinkering with a 3-4 defense – which he ran both in Buffalo and New York – as part of the team's defensive scheme. In that case, both Henderson and Vilma – each a little undersized for the position – could roam free and make big hits. Vilma, like Henderson, was a tackling machine in college and it could translate to the pros quickly. The speculation that the Vikings might trade down a half-dozen or more spots could have some validity, since there are several options available to them. If they maintain an honest "we take the top player on our draft board," Ohio State CB Chris Gamble would be almost a shoo-in – giving the Vikings a chance from going to extremely pedestrian corners to have one of, if not the best, CB tandem in the league. Another very good option could be offensive lineman Vernon Carey, who could be a blue-chip replacement for David Dixon and, even if he isn't starting, his versatility to play more than one position would make him extremely valuable in the event of an injury. Another option could be an active outside linebacker like Karlos Dansby or D.J. Williams (if he made it past the Jets and the Buccaneers). So, while Vilma makes sense with this pick, the Vikings could check out the possibility of sliding down and still getting a player they really like.

20.

Miami Dolphins

10

6

.625

.512

Shawn Andrews, OT, Arkansas — Andrews could go anywhere from No. 8 to Atlanta or stay on the board until late in the first round. The Dolphins know their bread and butter is Ricky Williams and the running game, but with an awful O-line, that doesn't look like it will happen. The line was torn up last year and the problems were made worse by the free agent loss of OT Todd Wade. The team tried to address the problem in free agency, but Damion McIntosh failed the team physical and John St. Clair is a backup. Andrews has some attitude concerns, but his ability might well outweigh those issues. He is a top 10 talent. To get him at No. 20 is something of a gift for a Dolphins team in dire need of a shakeup on the offensive line.

21.

New England (from Baltimore)

10

6

.625

.457

Marcus Tubbs, DT, Texas — With the signing of Corey Dillon, running back is no longer a front-burner issue for the defending champions. There is the possibility the team could package both of its No. 1 picks and move up to grab a player they covet, but, if they stay in this spot, look for the team to address its most pressing needs. With the free agent loss of nose tackle Ted Washington, an opening has developed that needs to be plugged immediately. Tubbs is 6-4, 320 and fits the Washington dimensions almost perfectly. While the Patriots can go in several directions with the versatility of having so many picks, this is how we see this one shaking out.

22.

Dallas Cowboys

10

6

.625

.461

Kevin Jones, RB, Virginia Tech — Jones is blessed with the best speed of any running back in the draft and, while Chris Perry would seem to be a better fit to the type of offense Bill Parcells has run over the years, Jones' game-breaking ability is something that can't be discounted. Parcells made it clear that he doesn't believe Troy Hambrick is the long-term answer, but the Cowboys never got involved in the free agent market – in which several high-profile RBs switched teams. Jones has a world of ability as a runner and receiver and could be the most versatile running back in this year's draft.

23.

Seattle Seahawks

10

6

.625

.465

Darnell Dockett, DT, Florida State — Once again, this may be something of a stretch for a team looking at defensive tackle, but we've seen over the past couple of years that, when draft day arrives, some teams put a much higher stock on the defensive front than just about any other position – meaning players some have rated as second-rounders move into the first round once a run on the position begins. With the Seahawks releasing Chad Eaton and accepting the retirement announcement of John Randle, there is clearly a need at the defensive tackle position. He may not be a blue-chip prospect like Harris or Wilfork, but he is a big body that fills a glaring need for a playoff team with its eye on winning a division title this year. You don't win too many championships with a makeshift defensive line, and the Seahawks are aware that – allowing the talent pool to force their hand on a pick.

24.

Cincinnati (from Denver)

10

6

.625

.500

Will Poole, CB, USC — The Bengals were awful in their secondary last year and the trade that brought them Deltha O'Neal, a fourth-round pick and dropped them from 17 to 24 in the first round should work out well for them. Poole is a corner who can upgrade the position – O'Neal is far from a long-term answer. While there is no guarantee that the Bengals will go this direction with their first pick – they have two picks in the second round and solid corners will still be there – Poole looks to be the best value pick for what talent will be on the board in the second round. This allows the Bengals to still use their first-round pick on the cornerback position and have additonal second-round and fourth-round picks to address other needs.

25.

Green Bay Packers

10

6

.625

.488

Antwan Odom, DE, Alabama —When the Packers signed Joe Johnson two years ago, they not only invested millions of dollars, they effectively quit looking at the position as a high priority. Those hopes have died two years in a row with injuries to Johnson, and the DE position has been a sore spot each year. Without quality depth and no assurance that Johnson will ever be healthy, Odom gives them a valuable insurance policy who can start off slowly to work his way into the lineup or potentially give the Packers the incentive to release Johnson after June 1 to open up some salary cap space. There remains speculation that the Packers would go after QB J.P. Losman with this pick as an heir apparent to Brett Favre, but they may hope he remains in the second round as they try (once again) to cure their most annoying problem at defensive end.

26.

St. Louis Rams

12

4

.750

.434

Ben Troupe, TE, Florida — You never know what the Rams are going to do on draft day. They make trades to get former All-Pros like Aeneas Williams. They draft a running back the year after Marshall Faulk is the league MVP. They're unpredictable – plain and simple. That's why Troupe wouldn't seem to be an obvious pick. The team matched an offer sheet made to Brandon Malumaleuna, but Mike Martz has tried for years to get a tight end that could be a weapon in the Rams multi-faceted offense. Ernie Conwell wasn't a deep threat and Cam Cleeland couldn't stay healthy. Troupe could make Faulk, Torry Holt and Ike Bruce all more dangerous by bringing the threat of the deep passing game to the TE position. Without a pick in the second round, the Rams could go in different directions – grabbing a pass-rushing defensive end like Jason Babin, who reminds a lot of scouts of former Ram Grant Wistrom, or taking QB J.P. Losman. The only problem with that is that neither of those two would likely make an immediate impact, while Troupe could step in and become a playmaker almost immediately.

27.

Tennessee Titans

12

4

.750

.473

Vernon Carey, G/OT, Miami — This is more of a value pick than anything else, because, after losing Jevon Kearse and Robaire Smith in free agency, the need on the defensive line is painfully obvious. However, the value of someone like Carey as opposed to a defensive lineman at this point of the draft tips the scales in the Carey's favor. A versatile offensive lineman who can play either tackle or guard, his ability to make an immediate impact outweighs Tennessee's glaring need on the defensive front. This is strictly a value-based pick.

28.

Philadelphia Eagles

12

4

.750

.477

Derrick Strait, CB, Oklahoma — With the signing of Terrell Owens, the Eagles find themselves pretty well set at wide receiver, which was viewed as their likely No. 1 choice. Now they have to address a bigger problem – cornerback. After losing both Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent to free agency, the Eagles are forced to start over. Fortunately, the Class of 2004 is deep in cornerbacks and Strait has the big-game experience coaches like from rookies. He'll likely be asked to contribute immediately, which could pose some early problems, but, like Taylor a decade ago, he's being brought in to fill a need – shut down the big-time receivers for the Cowboys, Redskins and Giants.

29.

Indianapolis Colts

12

4

.750

.492

Karlos Dansby, LB, Auburn — Tony Dungy does it again. The Colts made some big strides last year by advancing all the way to the AFC title game. But the story remains the same in Dungy's third year as coach – defense is the problem. After being gashed by Kansas City and New England in the playoffs, it is clear more help is needed. Dansby has the strength to bottle up the running game and the speed to be an outside pass rusher opposite Dwight Freeney on the blitz – two things Dungy has always been able to find in linebackers from previous drafts.

30.

Kansas City Chiefs

13

3

.813

.418

Lee Evans, WR, Wisconsin — Evans has worked his way into the first round thanks to a blazing 4.3 40-yard dash time at the Combine. As always, the Chiefs' primary concern is on defense, but they did go 13-3 last year, so it's not all bad in K.C. One of their biggest problems, however, has been that they don't have a true burner at wide receiver to stretch the field. Johnnie Morton and Eddie Kennison are ideally complementary receivers and neither has proved to be a go-to guy. Speedster Marc Boerigter was a disappointment last year, so adding Evans' speed could make the Chiefs even more dangerous on offense and keep them atop the improving AFC West.

31.

Carolina Panthers

11

5

.688

.445

Michael Clayton, WR, LSU — The Panthers have some needs in the secondary, but the best talent at that area are gone, while the wide receiver crop still remains strong. While Clayton isn't in the class of Fitzgerald or Roy Williams, he will provide an additional option in the passing game almost immediately. Muhsin Muhammad isn't getting any younger and the Panthers desperately need to open up their offense to take some of the heat off of Stephen Davis and the running game. Clayton can stretch a defense and force safeties to play honest. That alone makes him worthy of being taken at this spot.

32.

New England Patriots

14

2

.875

.484

Justin Smiley, G, Alabama — The Patriots took a hit on the offensive line in free agency and, with a second pick in the first round, the team will likely address this need early and get the best pure guard of the draft. With a new emphasis expected to be given to the running game with the signing of Corey Dillon, having a solid offensive line is more of a premium. Smiley is a solid run blocker and will help open holes between the tackles for Dillon and allow the Patriots offense to diversify. The team may also look at inside linebacker, but, when you've won two of the last three Super Bowls, it's pretty obvious your team doesn't have that many holes to fill.


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