VikingUpdate.com 2005 Mock Draft — Version 7.0

With the seventh and 18th picks in the first round, the 2005 NFL Draft may be the most important one in recent Vikings memory. Their options are many, but, as always, the options are also dependant on those picking around them. With that, we offer Version 7.0 of our 2005 mock draft (hopefully the last).

VikingUpdate.com 2005 Mock Draft
OVERVIEW: With the clock ticking down to the first pick, the rabid speculation about who will get selected, in what order and, most importantly for Vikings fans, by what team continues to swirl unabated. There have been rumors of all three of the teams with the top picks being more than willing to trade out of the spots, which could radically change how the draft plays out. But one thing is certain — if the Vikings stay at Nos. 7 and 18 there are going to be multiple players available for them to choose from that can make an immediate impact.
No. Club
Win
Loss
Strength of Schedule
1. San Francisco
2
14
.488
Alex Smith, QB, Utah — The 49ers bottomed out last year when most of their offensive stars hit the road to greener pastures elsewhere. As a result, the Niners are starting over as a franchise and, as most do, getting a franchise QB is a priority. The road to respectability is going to be a long one for the 49ers so getting a quarterback that the team believes has greatness in him is a must. The jury is still out whether Smith is the better prospect than Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but Smith's gunslinging ability makes him a lock to go early – and perhaps at No. 1. San Francisco would be willing to move out of this spot, but without a consensus No. 1 pick, few teams will likely assume the liability of spending on a No. 1 overall pick. Braylon Edwards has emerged as a possibility, but QB seems the logical route to go. The 49ers have begun negotiating with Smith, Rodgers and Edwards and, if they believe each of them is essentially equal, their decision might simply come down to which one is easiest to sign before the draft.
2. Miami
4
12
.555
Ronnie Brown, RB, Auburn — For the last week, speculation has run rampant about teams moving into Miami's spot to take this pick — whether it be for the remaining QB, Braylon Edwards or some secret crush on a RB a team is unwilling for anyone else to have. The truth of the matter is that all of the talk has been generated from south Florida — where the media are apparently little more than lapdogs willing to do their master's bidding. The truth is that, for the Vikings anyway, surrendering both of their first-round picks would essentially be saying we traded Randy Moss and our first-round pick for Braylon Edwards and Napoleon Harris. Doesn't make sense. While Miami may find someone to move into this spot, their asking price had better drop. If nobody bites, they may have no other choice than to take Brown — who most scouts see as the least likely to be a RB bust.
3. Cleveland
4
12
.590
Aaron Rodgers, QB, California — Rodgers could easily go No. 1 to the 49ers, but, wherever he goes, he will be seen as the next savior of the franchise. The Browns tried that once with Tim Couch — and now wish they had seen something more in Donovan McNabb or Daunte Culpepper. They went the veteran route last year with limited (if any success), so grabbing a new cornerstone for the offense is a logical direction to go. With new coach Romeo Crennel looking to bring his defensive magic over from the Patriots, this could be a wild-card pick with linebacker Derrick Johnson going off the board, but the selection of Rodgers will buy Crennel a couple of years for the team to show progress. Braylon Edwards could be a wild-card pick, but all franchises need a solid QB to provide stability and there is no guarantee of that by trading out of this spot. If Rogers makes it past this spot, he could remain on the board for awhile. The Browns are sending some indications about their willingness to trade down. The team invited WR Troy Williamson to work out at their facility. On few, if any, draft boards is Williamson viewed as being taken in the top 10 — much less with the third overall choice. Reality should dictate they take a QB, but don't be surprised to see them move down.
4. Chicago
5
11
.465
Braylon Edwards, WR, Michigan — This pick is going to come down to one of two positions — wide receiver or running back. Thomas Jones has done a decent job of filling the featured back role, but he wore down and hasn't played a full season as a starter yet in his career. While many believe Cedric Benson would be an ideal fit, word out of Chicago is that the team is more intrigued by the multi-faceted Cadillac Williams, who also has good size. But, with a top-notch possession receiver in Muhsin Muhammad, taking Edwards could give the Bears a deep threat the team hasn't seen since Willie Gault was streaking down the sidelines. It would be putting a lot of money in the wide receiver position and the fears of another David Terrell might afflict the weak of heart, but Edwards is as close to a can't-miss product at wide receiver as there is in this year's draft and makes sense for the Bears. If the Bears are convinced they can still get a player they covet by dropping down, a team like Dallas could get in the mix here and make the biggest move of the draft to move up and grab Edwards.
5. Tampa Bay
5
11
.477
Carnell Williams, RB, Auburn — This could be the place that teams start lining up with trade offers. With talented players on the table and the monster salaries guaranteed the Fab Four, this is where salaries begin to come down to some state of normalcy. For a team just two years and change removed from the Super Bowl title, the Bucs have a lot of holes. If the Bucs don't trade out for more picks, their choice will likely come down to Cedric Benson or Mike Williams. But Jon Gruden and his coaches worked closely with Cadillac during the Senior Bowl and came back with rave reviews. With a running game that was nothing short of awful last season, the Bucs need a potential game-breaker.
6. Tennessee
5
11
.512
Antrel Rolle, CB, Miami — This is another pick that could easily get peddled as the Titans look to improve themselves by acquiring more picks. Even if they stay here, nothing is assured. Some scouts think Pac Man Jones is the way to go, but one Rolle replacing another is more likely. Rolle is three inches taller than Jones and has good cover skills — something required when playing in the AFC South. There has been a strong opinion that offensive coordinator Norman Chow is going to make a strong push to sell Mike Williams as an option. But, with the depth of the wide receiver crop this year, the chance to take your choice of the premier shutdown corners of the Class of '05 will likely be too tempting to pass up. Rolle can be a difference-maker on a defense that lost its centerpiece. For a team that believes it isn't in a full rebuilding mode, this pick would give them a fighting chance as they look to take the best corner to keep the defense strong and address a replacement for Derrick Mason in the second round.
7. Minnesota (from Oakland)
5
11
.570
Mike Williams, WR, USC — Once again, the Vikings will receive plenty of offers and have options at their disposal. If they are convinced that a speed receiver like Troy Williamson or Mark Clayton will be available with their second pick, they could go hard after linebacker Derrick Johnson of Texas or teammate Cedric Benson — an elite running back whose slide down the draft board has dropped him in front of Mike Tice and the coaching staff looking for a new-look Vikings offense. He could be another piece in the defensive puzzle that could transform the Vikings from one of the worst defenses in the league to one of the better overall units. Another possibility is defensive end Shawne Merriman, who has a strong Tice-like work ethic and happens to play at Tice's alma mater in Maryland. There will be a lot of pressure on Williams if he is taken at this pick because the inevitable comparisons will be made that this was the pick the Vikings got for Randy Moss. It won't be fair, especially seeing as Williams has been compared much more favorably to Cris Carter than Moss. He is a talented receiver with great size and excellent hands, but will likely never be the dynamic talent Moss was. If the Vikings take Williams here, they know they're going to put the onus on him to be the next coming of Moss. As we've learned with QBs that have tried to replace John Elway and Dan Marino in recent years, that just doesn't happen very often. The Vikings really can't go wrong with any of the four players available — Williams, Johnson, Benson or Merriman. It wouldn't be a shock if Benson proved to be the wild card of the three and the Vikings made plans to trade Michael Bennett to Denny Green — who would find himself on the outside looking in if a running back went with this pick.
8. Arizona
6
10
.461
Cedric Benson, RB, Texas — One thing Denny Green has never had as a head coach is a big running back he could hand the ball to 25 times a game and rely on him. He used two first-round picks as Vikings head coach on running backs and opted for speed in Robert Smith and Michael Bennett. As it stands now, there is a tentative trade on the table that would send OT L.J. Shelton to Buffalo for Travis Henry and some juggling of draft picks, but, if Green could get his hands on Benson, that trade would likely go off the board. If the Vikings do take Benson, you can bet Green wouldn't jump on Mike Williams. At that point, he would take Pac Man Jones and look to finish the deal with Buffalo or start talking to his old pals in Minnesota about Michael Bennett. But, if he has a chance to grab a franchise running back, he will. He hasn't had a running game since he got to Arizona, and Benson could be the missing piece to an offense that already has Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald looking for some help.
9. Washington
6
10
.477
Adam Jones, CB, West Virginia — In the last 12 months, the Redskins have lost Champ Bailey and Fred Smoot and players like that aren't replaced easily. If the Vikings let Mike Williams slip down the board, he could be the pick here, because the Redskins also need to bolster their anemic offense from a year ago. But Jones is a game-changer and the Redskins have lived and died with solid corners dating back to when Darrell Green was a premier shutdown guy. With multiple needs, the Redskins might consider trading down from this spot, but, if they stay and the top two wideouts on most people's boards are gone, Jones makes a lot of sense.
10. Detroit
6
10
.496
Derrick Johnson, LB, Texas — The Lions have worked very hard to improve their offense in recent drafts — using high picks on Joey Harrington, Roy Williams, Charles Rogers and Kevin Jones. While there is a school of thought that says the Lions will again go offense and get a bookend left tackle like Alex Barron to protect their investment, this is a point where Steve Mariucci and Matt Millen have to step in and actually take the best athlete available. The Lions defense has playmakers bought for the secondary, but need difference makers by the line of scrimmage. Johnson fits that need perfectly and has dropped this far only because of the needs of the teams picking in front of them. He could be the Rookie of the Year if he plays as well as many scouts believe he will.
11. Dallas *
6
10
.516
Shawne Merriman, DE/OLB, Maryland — The Cowboys have two first-round picks and used free agency to fill holes at defensive tackle, cornerback and safety. While this may be a little high for Merriman, he is a prototype fit for what the Cowboys need, whether they stick with the 4-3 defense or, as many have speculated this offseason, move to a 3-4 in 2005. The Cowboys need a player who can be a designated pass rusher in a 4-3 or a rushing linebacker in a 3-4, and few if any players fill that bill as well as Merriman. The Cowboys might take a chance and hope he's still there at No. 20, but that's unlikely. With the team's penchant for trading down to acquire more picks — which some view as draft-day arrogance — the Cowboys may well drop down. One thing they aren't likely to continue, however, is the trend of jumping on athletic players from small schools, which have been hit and miss at best in recent years.
12. San Diego (from N.Y. Giants)
6
10
.516
Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin — A "risk-reward" pick much like the Chargers made when dealing for Phillip Rivers to get this pick — as Denny Green would call it a "free pick." Hopefully James will be more productive than Green's free pick (Dimitrius Underwood), but there's a few red flags and asterisks next to his name. Long-term durability has been a question that has dogged him. When healthy, he's the best DE in the draft. But, if he had been healthy most of his career, he would be a top-five pick. He could be a guy who drops on draft day over injury concerns — much like Kenechi Udeze did last season. But he's going to get someone to bite and the Chargers desperately need an outside pass rusher. If the Chargers are scared off by James' injury history, they could make any number of players the first pure defensive end off the board — including Marcus Spears, David Pollack or Dan Cody. There is also a strong belief that the Chargers are going to use one of their two first-rounders on a wide receiver. If they're concerned about too many being gone by the time they're on the clock again, you could see San Diego take Troy Williamson in this spot.
13. Houston
7
9
.504
Alex Barron, OT, Florida State — The Texans are nearing the point of becoming a playoff contender and don't need that many glaring holes filled. But getting a bookend offensive lineman is a must for any team looking to contend. The Vikings used a No. 7 pick in 2002 to take Bryant McKinnie. Last year, the Raiders used the second pick to take Robert Gallery. Another beneficiary of the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers dominating the top end of the draft, the Texans have fallen into their choice of any offensive tackle in college football with the 13th pick. There's some talk they may look to stay on the early trend and grab a playmaking wide receiver to line up opposite Andre Johnson, but this is a great value pick and one that could pay immediate dividends.
14. Carolina
7
9
.508
Troy Williamson, WR, South Carolina — The Panthers were crushed with injuries last year, yet clawed their way back from the dead to make a late run at a playoff spot. While the most pressing need is probably at offensive tackle — if Alex Barron remains, he'd likely go here — the offense is also going to miss Muhsin Muhammad, who left via free agency. They did use a second-round pick on Keary Colbert, who is a possession-type receiver, but a speed-burner like Williamson could do a lot of damage and give the Panthers offense a needed boost. With the return of Stephen Davis, DeShaun Foster and Steve Smith, the Panthers could suddenly have a loaded offense to go along with a solid defense — putting them back into the playoff mix in a hurry.
15. Kansas City
7
9
.551
Carlos Rogers, CB, Auburn — Welcome to the new-look Moss infested AFC West. The Chiefs have been active in free agency, trying to draw in the best defensive players they can get. The signing of Kendrell Bell was huge for the Chiefs, but to stop Moss and the other deep burners of the AFC West, the Chiefs need to address their cornerbacks. Eric Warfield is their go-to guy and he would likely be a nickel corner on about half the teams in the NFL. For a team with a lot of needs, getting the player with the best chance of playing immediately is a must. Rogers is physical and plays man coverage, which is a start for a defense in need of a lot of help in a hurry. The Chiefs made it clear they wanted to upgrade at cornerback by their strong pursuit of free agent Samari Rolle, so this pick shouldn't come as a big surprise if the teams pulls the trigger. Last week the Chiefs agreed to a contract with CB Patrick Surtain, but the Chiefs and Dolphins remain far apart on what the compensation should be in return. Even if they sign Surtain, the secondary is so awful that it might be a smart move to go two-boots on the corner position and turn a liability into a potential strength in the wild AFC West, where any of the four teams could finish first or worst.
16. New Orleans
8
8
.465
Thomas Davis, S, Georgia — The Saints arguably have more pressing needs at linebacker or offensive tackle, but like many teams, you have to first look at the best athletes available. Davis is a safety who plays like a linebacker and has no fear of laying a player out in pass coverage or run support. The Saints aren't dripping with safety talent and Davis gives them an impact player who should become an immediate starter with the ability to take over games and make the big play that snuffs a drive. A player like Jamaal Brown could fit into the mix as the top OT on the board, but Davis is a playmaker that could make a difference for a defense that has disappointed fans for the last three years. Some people believe that Davis could play a rare ‘tweener spot, where he lines up as a safety when needed and as a linebacker on specific down and distances. He's a rare combination in that regard and his versatility could be the deciding factor.
17. Cincinnati
8
8
.543
Travis Johnson, DT, Florida State — The Bengals have somehow convinced coach Marvin Lewis to ignore defense and take offense on the first round in the two years he's been coach — and five of the last six years for the franchise. The Bengals need a lot of help up front defensively. The Bengals signed former Dolphin Bryan Robinson, but he isn't enough to cure the 26th-rated run defense from a year ago. Johnson is the best DT on the board, while the jury is out on some of the impact defensive ends available. Johnson could be gone a half-dozen picks before this, but, if he falls to the Bengals, look for Lewis to assert some influence by making his team better on the defensive side of the ball and let Carson Palmer, Rudi Johnson and Chad Johnson take care of the offense.
18. Minnesota
8
8
.480
Marcus Spears, DE, LSU — The Vikings have invested a lot in beefing up their defensive line the last two years. They took Kevin Williams and Kenechi Udeze on the first round in the last two drafts and signing nose tackle Pat Williams during the offseason. There's a good chance Spears won't make it this far — he could be hard on the radar of the Chargers and Bengals, among others — but he would fit the mold of the type of left defensive end the Vikings have used in the past. A solid run stuffer who weighs 307 pounds, Spears could give the Vikings an imposing front line with three of them under the age of 25. He could help transform the Vikings, changing offseason defensive buildup into one that has people talking about the Vikings defense — not their offense.
19. St. Louis
8
8
.488
Jamaal Brown, OT, Oklahoma — The Rams finally broke the bank to make sure Orlando Pace remained at left tackle, but it's almost a guarantee that right tackle Kyle Turley will be gone — since he made coach Mike Martz nearly fill his pants following a postseason confrontation that required security at the Rams practice facility to be called in. Brown is a dominating college right tackle who could likely step right into Turley's spot and not miss a beat — at least you don't expect a rookie to kill the coach. With Martz you can never be sure what direction the team will go in — let's not forget Trung Canidate as a first-round selection a few years back. But, if good sense dictates, it will come down to Brown or a pass-rushing DE missing from the Rams since Grant Wistrom headed west to find gold (or at least more green). Seeing as the window of Super Bowl opportunity is closing around its current cast, getting a solid offensive tackle could have the most immediate impact — which is what the Rams need.
20. Dallas (from Buffalo)
9
7
.512
Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma — The Cowboys are always looking for players who can make an immediate impact on a game and be big-play types. With aging wide receivers in Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn and Johnson grousing about his salary one year after signing a deal, Clayton would be an ideal and refreshing change of pace. While some discount his ability by saying he is too small, there is no wide receiver in this draft that is more polished and NFL-ready than Clayton. He has been compared favorably to Marvin Harrison, who is a similar size and runs similarly perfect pass routes. Clayton could give the slow-footed Cowboys offense a home-run threat and could make as big an impact in his first season as either Braylon Edwards or Mike Williams. The Cowboys may also look for a down lineman for their 3-4 scheme if Merriman is installed as an outside linebacker, but Clayton would be the deep threat new QB Drew Bledsoe desperately needs and, at this time, doesn't have.
21. Jacksonville
9
7
.527
Fabian Washington, CB, Nebraska — The Jags might look at defensive end, but their secondary was a shambles during much of last season. Washington could team with Rashean Mathis to give the Jaguars a young pair of aggressive corners that are needed to de-rail the Colts from atop the division. The team already has a solid pair of defensive tackles and, while a pass-rushing DE would make the team even more dangerous, the best pass rush in the world will get burned if the corners are blown off the line and wide receivers are running free in the secondary. Washington broke Deion Sanders' record for the fastest 40 time recorded at the Combine and, while this may be a bit of a stretch, the main drawback on him is that he isn't overly physical. But when was Deion? And he's viewed as a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
22. Baltimore
9
7
.551
Demarcus Ware, DE/OLB, Troy — The Ravens might be looking for a wide receiver here despite the addition of Derrick Mason in the offseason, but the Ravens are realists. They know what got them to the top and what has kept them a playoff contender ever since — a killer defense. The team consistently has used to draft to stockpile defensive talent like Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed in recent years. They didn't have a first-rounder last year because of the Kyle Boller trade, but when they return it would make sense to help restock the defense — which lost Ed Hartwell in the offseason. Ware is a lot like Suggs in that he has the size to play a down defensive end or a standup OLB on the line in 3-4 formations. He would be another athletic addition to a roster full of defensive standouts. Say hello to another year of 16-13 wins for the Ravens.
23. Seattle
9
7
.445
David Pollack, DE, Georgia — This guy is one of the players to watch on draft day. He's undersized for a pure NFL defensive end, but there is nobody that works harder — in games, in practice, in the weight room, in film study, etc. — than Pollack. He's been called a coach's dream and a coach on the field and plays with fire and intensity on every play like old-school undersized players in the NFL that were told they wouldn't make it. He has short arms and will have to improve his technique or he'll be smothered by a lot of the mammoth OTs in the NFL, but he is such a hard worker and has so many good intangibles, there's a chance he could go higher than this. Seattle needs help with Chike Okeafor gone via free agency and Grant Wistrom still a question after serious injuries the last two years. Pollack would give them an immediate infusion of enthusiasm that could have a good carryover effect for a Mike Holmgren team one more 8-8 season away from being broken up.
24. Green Bay
10
6
.457
Dan Cody, DE, Oklahoma —There are some teams that won't have Cody as a first-round selection because he has been taking prescription mood-balancing medication for two years after being diagnosed with clinical depression. He hasn't had any relapses and has played at an All-American level since — some have him rated as one of the top two or three DEs in this draft. But some teams will have their concerns about a first-round investment that has an asterisk in his file. It's unfair, but we saw what an injury did to Kenechi Udeze, what attitude did to Randy Moss and what a drug test did to Warren Sapp. It happens. But, the Packers need a pass-rush threat to line up opposite Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and Cody can bring that.
25. Washington (from Denver)
10
6
.484
Roddy White, WR, Alabama-Birmingham — The Redskins made this trade to address their two most immediate and pressing needs — cornerback and wide receiver. By giving up a first-rounder next year and their third-round pick this season, the Redskins first day of the draft will be done right here. White is big receiver and vertical threat that can make the Redskins' pathetic offense better and potentially open the door for them to get back into the draft in the second or third round by trading Rod Gardner -- another veteran disgruntled by the Joe Gibbs style.
26. Oakland (from NY Jets)
10
6
.523
Marlin Jackson, CB, Michigan — When the Raiders moved out of the first round to take Randy Moss in a trade, there was a prevailing feeling that they weren't done. How true that was. The team tried to at one point to package Phillip Buchanon into the Moss deal, but it never materialized. But it was Buchanon's trade to Houston that opened the door for Oakland to make the move into the first round. They had a position in mind at the time and it would appear to be cornerback. With Charles Woodson always a question mark, getting a fellow Michigan alum could be seen as sort of wishful bonding for the Raiders — who apparently have sacrificed the future for a very short-term run at the gold.
27. Atlanta
11
5
.434
Shaun Cody, DT/DE, USC — The Falcons made great strides last year with an overachieving defense, but age on the defensive line is their most screaming need. After going to a 4-3 last year, the younger players thrived, but some of the older guys were made to look even older. Cody is a versatile player who could find his way into the starting lineup immediately. He can play either tackle or end and has the winning pedigree and work ethic that would fit into Jim Mora's vision of his team. What Atlanta was able to accomplish with a defense that carried a low-scoring offense in many of its games, Cody would be a set of young legs to put on the defensive line and create havoc. While the Falcons will take a long look at the offensive line, a wide receiver or a linebacker to pair up with Keith Brooking, Cody is a player that could likely make the most immediate contribution and keep the Falcons on top of the competitive NFC South — at least in the short-term or if Michael Vick gets hurt again.
28. San Diego
12
4
.477
Khalif Barnes, OT, Washington — The Chargers, too, have a need at defensive end, but with the run on DEs that characterized the last 10 picks, it's time to move in a different direction. It's clear that LaDainian Tomlinson is the centerpiece of the Chargers offense and left tackle Roman Oben isn't getting any younger. Barnes could be a player that steps in immediately and pushes for a starting job and, in the worst case scenario, he learns for a year as the team prepares to move forward with Phillip Rivers and Tomlinson as the faces of the franchise.
29. Indianapolis
12
4
.500
Justin Miller, CB, Clemson — The Colts, as always, have plenty of needs on defensive — just about every position could be viewed as a hot-button need. But what they need the most is coverage in the secondary. It's amazing how much better an entire defense looks when it has cover corners that can take away a first option and give the defensive line an extra second or two to blow up the pocket. Surprisingly, in the last six drafts the Colts have taken three offensive players on the first round and three defensive players. It's time for the cornerback position to get an upgrade. The team didn't sign any big-name free agents in the offseason, so getting the best athlete that can contribute immediately is a must.
30. Pittsburgh
15
1
.484
Heath Miller, TE, Virginia — The prevailing opinion on the Steelers has them taking the roll of the dice on QB-turned-Uberwideout Matt Jones. And rightfully so. It was Kordell Stewart and his "Slash" persona that turned an athletic, but imperfect quarterback into a difference-maker — for awhile anyway. More recently, when Antwan Randle-El's stock was on the rise, it was Pittsburgh that stepped up and pulled the trigger on signing him. But, at this point in the draft, the object is to get a player that can make the biggest impact. Miller is head and shoulders above the other TEs in this year's class and the position has become much more coveted in recent years. There was a time when few if any TEs were taken in the first round. That has changed, with guys like Jeeremy Shockey, Kellen Winslow, Dallas Clark, Jerramy Stevens and Ben Watson all going as first-rounders in recent years. Considering all the years that Mark Bruener was a blocker but no threat to catch a pass, the run-oriented Steelers could see Miller as a bigger weapon than a replacement for Plaxico Burress — making this pick a need-based choice as well as a value pick.
31. Philadelphia
13
3
.453
Matt Jones, WR, Arkansas — As much we hate to put Jones this high — after all, he is just a failed quarterback with great speed — his stock is rising so fast, he might not even last to this pick. The Eagles made the deal of the year last season by working out a trade to get Terrell Owens, but more help is needed. Jones is a physical specimen at 6-6 and runs a legitimate 4.37 40. He could be a player that could stretch defenses and grow into being an excellent complement to T.O. Granted, we've been down this road before the Eagles, who took Todd Pinkston in the second round in 2000 and Freddie Mitchell in the first round in 2001 with less-than-expected results. But both of them are still in Philly — for now anyway — and Jones can grow into a deep threat and red zone option who could line up at tight end near the goal line and be a solid replacement until he learns the ropes enough to move up the depth chart. He's more of a risk than some of the more established receivers, but, like Antwan Randle-El, who shot up boards in 2002, Jones is doing the same and could end up being the next running mate for Owens.
32. New England
14
2
.492
Channing Crowder, LB, Florida — The Patriots have a history of finding players they can mold into working in their system. That also includes taking on very talented "bad boys." Bryan Cox is one example. Corey Dillon is a more recent example. Both had bad reputations coming to Boston, but turned into fan favorites. Crowder has a lot of issues — a laundry list of off-field problems that have some questioning whether he is worth the risk on even the first two rounds. But one thing is clear — his talent level is definitely first-round material. The Patriots have a sudden need at linebacker and, with the future of Tedy Bruschi iffy at best, this has become a much more pressing need. While cornerback is an equally pressing need — even with the offseason addition of Duane Starks — Crowder could be the right guy in the right system for both sides to benefit.

* Dallas Cowboys select before NY Giants due to division tiebreaker (Giants led in head-to-head).


Viking Update Top Stories