Yet another mock draft


May 13, 2002
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Scott Wright's 2005 MOCK DRAFT - March 16th, 2005

1. San Francisco 49'ers: Alex Smith, QB, Utah

In most years by this point in the process we have a pretty clear idea of what is going to happen with the #1 overall pick, but this time around there is still a lot of uncertainty. However, after Alex Smith's sensational performance at his private workout it may have made things a little clearer and right now he has to be considered the favorite. Tim Rattay and Ken Dorsey might be solid backups in the NFL one day but asking them to be starters is too much so it will be essential for them to bring in a top young stud. Alex Smith saw his stock rise more than anyone this past season and is now a legitimate candidate to be the #1 overall pick. There are many who feel Smith could be the best player to come out of this Draft five years down the road and there is no denying his potential. He still needs to add some weight and there are concerns about his arm strength but he is very athletic, an accurate passer and as smart of a guy as you will find (he graduated from college in just two years). I still think that because Aaron Rodgers grew up in California as a fan of the 49'ers and his idol was Joe Montana he knows what this franchise once was and what it could be again and will take a personal interest in helping to restore that luster but right now Smith certainly has the edge. There has also been talk that Braylon Edwards of Michigan was at the top of their list although the team may be just sending out those signals to instigate trade discussions. In the end look for San Francisco to remain at #1 overall and select the quarterback of their choice and right now I would be surprised if that wasn't Alex Smith following his outstanding workout..
2. Miami Dolphins: Ronnie Brown, RB, Auburn

With no second round pick the Dolphins will likely be looking to trade down and grab some extra selections, especially since they can still land a top running back later on in the top ten. With a number of teams likely to be chasing the top two wideouts, Braylon Edwards and Mike Williams, it wouldn't be shocking to see someone put together an enticing enough package to tempt Nick Saban. Running back is without question the top need for Miami because after losing Ricky Williams just prior to training camp last year they went from a team with Super Bowl aspirations to one vying for the #1 overall pick. Can adding just an elite running back return them to the playoff hunt? Possibly. Ronnie Brown was overshadowed by Cadillac Williams at Auburn but in reality he is the best all-around running back in this Draft, with an excellent combination of size and speed while also excelling as a receiver out of the backfield. If the team decides A.J. Feely isn't the long-term answer then a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers or Alex Smith could be a possibility but after trading a high second rounder for him they will likely be inclined to give him another opportunity. A player to watch out for here though is Marcus Spears of L.S.U., who Saban coached in college and who would be a tremendous fit for their new defensive scheme, although this might be a little high for him. At the end of the day Miami will likely trade down a little and target a running back or Spears later in round one, but if they stay at #2 look for the choice to be Brown.
3. Cleveland Browns: Aaron Rodgers, QB, California

After years of terrible drafts and player development there is a new regime taking over in Cleveland led by respected personnel man Phil Savage as General Manager and former Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel as Head Coach. Something tells me these guys will get things turned around and it will all start with this pick, where they have the chance to add a player to build the franchise around. The Browns traded for journeyman signal caller Trent Dilfer, who is a nice solution for now but isn't the long-term answer at quarterback. Rodgers is the latest protégé of quarterback guru Jeff Tedford and other than his lack of ideal height (he is only 6-2) you will have a hard time finding much not to like about him. Rodgers possesses amazing accuracy, a great arm, top intelligence and a drive to succeed and at the very least he should be a solid pro signal caller. He could still be the #1 overall pick to the Niners so to land him here would be a solid move for the Browns. This is an ideal situation for both the player and team since Rodgers will be able to sit behind Dilfer for a couple of years while he digests the playbook before eventually taking over the reigns. It will be temping to address a shaky defense and Crennell will probably be pushing to go that route but in the end Savage will see that for the long haul grabbing a quarterback of the future is the way to go here, this the pick is Rodgers.
4. Chicago Bears: Cedric Benson, RB, Texas

Playmakers on offense. That is what the Chicago Bears need in whatever form they come, whether it be a running back or wide receiver. There is still a solid chance they could go with Braylon Edwards or Mike Williams here but the free agent addition of Muhsin Muhammad makes that less of a concern and opens up more possibilities. Personally, I like Thomas Jones and felt he did a great job last season under adverse circumstances but in the end it isn't what I think but what the teams think and apparently they want to add a premier running back with Cedric Benson being their top choice. In my opinion Benson is the most sure thing in this Draft and a guy who will be a top pro running back from day one of his rookie year. A powerful runner with excellent size and good speed he is a better version of Ricky Williams, without the baggage, and would give the Chicago offense a guy they can hang their hat on while keeping pressure off of young quarterback Rex Grossman. Like I said though, wide receiver is still an option here and no one could fault them for adding another top player to that group because they still need help but all indications are that running back is just as much a priority for them and adding a guy of Benson's caliber here would be a great decision while finally giving them the top rushing threat they have lacked in the Windy City since the days of Walter Payton and Neal Anderson.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Williams, WR, USC

It is becoming more and more apparent that Mike Williams will be the guy for Tampa Bay here with Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen both attending his workout and last years star rookie receiver Michael Clayton openly campaigning for the team to select his buddy. Williams has done everything right in the past couple of months and has solidified himself as a top 5-10 overall pick with his showings at the Scouting Combine and in his private workout, displaying tremendous character to go along with decent speed, excellent hands and very good route running ability. He may not run a 4.40 but other attributes such as height and leaping ability more than make up for that, making him a major weapon down the field and in the red zone. As it turns out not being allowed in last years Draft may actually have been a blessing in disguise because Williams will likely go much higher this year than he would have in 2004. The Bucs also need a running back and if they opt to go that route Cadillac Williams, who Gruden coached in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, would likely be the pick but at this point but I would be shocked if Mike Williams didn't go here as long as he is still available. A receiver combo of Clayton and Williams would be quite a force to reckon with for many years to come and the thought of those two playing together has to bring a big smile to Gruden's face as he imagines all the possibilities which is why this pick makes too much sense not to happen.
6. Tennessee Titans: Pac-Man Jones, CB, West Virginia

This is a team in flux after having to release a good portion of their veteran core to get under the salary cap, losing stalwarts such as Derrick Mason, Kevin Carter, Samari Rolle, Fred Miller and Andre Dyson. With the Titans parting ways with both of their starting cornerbacks it would shock no one if that is the direction they opted to go with this pick and sitting at #6 they may just have the pick of the litter with Jones and Antrel Rolle widely regarded as the cream of the crop. Jones doesn't have tremendous size but he plays much bigger than he is while also possessing amazing speed, athleticism and playmaking ability both on defense as well as a return man. In a lot of ways he will remind you of a more explosive Dunta Robinson or Antoine Winfield. Tennessee might also be looking for a receiver since they have lost Justin McCareins and Mason the last two offseasons and if that is the case Mike Williams would be a logical choice if available because he has close ties to new Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow, who held the same position with the Trojans when Williams was at USC. Another option could be a linebacker like Derrick Johnson, who would give them one of the best duos of outside guys in the league when combined with Keith Bulluck. In the end though the need at corner is just too glaring and with everyone at that position still available they are able to bring in an elite player so that is the way they go.
7. Minnesota Vikings (f/OAK): Braylon Edwards, WR, Michigan

After essentially trading Randy Moss for this pick you can bet the Vikings will be looking to make a splash and add a player who will help fans get over the loss of one of the most explosive offensive threats in league history. Moss had to go though because he just became too much of a cancer and I think it speaks volumes that even though he is on his way to being one of the most prolific wideouts in NFL history only two teams were interested in trading for him. As they say, there are no "Randy Moss's" on the New England Patriots. Right now Minnesota has to be hoping that either Braylon Edwards or Mike Williams falls into their laps here at #7 and in reality they might be wise to package some picks to move up a little and ensure they get the big, physical playmaker they need to team with rising star Nate Burleson. Edwards is the total package with the size, speed and leaping ability of a true #1 wide receiver and for those who aren't yet believers just check out the tapes of him as a senior against Michigan St. and then Texas in the Rose Bowl when he absolutely took over and dominated the game. If both wideouts are gone by this point Plan B would most likely be Derrick Johnson of Texas, who would fill a need at weakside linebacker, but at this point the Vikings have to be selling out planning on being able to bring either Edwards or Williams into the fold in whatever manner they have to.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Antrel Rolle, CB, Miami (FL)

Almost every mock draft you see will likely have a running back here but in reality Dennis Green might be content to address another need early and then grab a running back like J.J. Arrington in round two. The Cardinals have a major need in the secondary at cornerback and when looking at their roster it is plain to see that is where they are most lacking so don't be surprised to see them go that route with this selection. The team is said to love Rolle, who solidified his lofty grade in recent workouts by running a mid-4.4 time that showed he does indeed have the speed to play corner at the next level. A big playmaker in the secondary, Rolle is just as likely to be a force as a blitzer as he is to lock his man down in coverage (as he did in college when he shutdown both Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald). The other guy who Arizona is said to really like is Utah QB Alex Smith and if he fell this far he would likely be the pick, although that is unlikely. A running back is still an option and odds are one of the big three will still be on the board here, but Green has consistently talked about the depth at that position which leads you to believe they feel they can get a quality player beyond the first round. Adding a top cornerback like Rolle will do wonders for a developing young defense and combined with Darnell Dockett and Karlos Dansby he will give the team a player to build around at each defensive unit.
9. Washington Redskins: Troy Williamson, WR, South Carolina

This has been a tumultuous offseason for the Redskins with some key free agent losses on defense, wide receiver Laveranues Coles forcing a trade back to the Jets and their other top wideout Rod Gardner also likely on his way out as well. Not that long ago it looked as if Mike Williams could fall into their laps but as of now that looks doubtful so instead they maybe reach a little for Williamson. A junior who has been one of the most productive receivers in the SEC despite playing in a run orientated offense, Williamson has good size and is one of the fastest players in this Draft, at any position. Adding a premier downfield threat to team with newly acquired Santana Moss would really help to open up the passing game and hopefully help get their offense, which was abysmal in 2004, on track. The defense played great last season under new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams but after losing Fred Smoot in free agency cornerback is now also a major concern so don't be surprised if Pac-Man Jones or Antrel Rolle are targeted here as well. One other possibility could be a defensive end because while Renaldo Wynn and Phillip Daniels are solid they aren't the type of dynamic pass rushing presence that every team looks for. The bottom line though is that what really held the Washington Redskins back in 2004 was their lack of production on the offensive side of the ball so you would be inclined to think that they will look to take steps to rectify that situation early on.
10. Detroit Lions: Marcus Spears, DE, L.S.U.

After spending their last four #1 picks on offense it is time for Matt Millen to address the defensive side of the ball and without a doubt their most glaring need there is at defensive end where Cory Redding is only average at best. Marcus Spears has great size and as a former defensive end is extremely athletic, which has helped him make numerous big plays throughout his career including some interceptions for touchdowns. While most feel he is a bit of a DE / DT 'tweener and would be best suited for a 3-4 scheme Spears is improving as a pass rusher and can be an all-around force in the 4-3 as well. There are a number of teams who are extremely high on Spears so there is even a chance he could be gone long before this point come Draft Day. With Stockar McDougle fleeing as a free agent offensive tackle is now a major concern as well so you have to consider names like Alex Barron and Jammal Brown here, although this may be a bit too early for them. One of the leagues most exciting up and coming teams, Detroit is going to be fun to watch and they are not that far away from contending and could even make a run at the NFC North title as early as 2005. Looking at their roster it is clear that a top defensive end needs to be added to complete a good young defensive line so look for them to snag a guy among the group of Spears, Shawne Merriman, Dan Cody and Erasmus James with David Pollack being a sleeper because he brings the type of relentless work ethic that Matt Millen is sure to take a liking to.
11. Dallas Cowboys: Shawne Merriman, DE, Maryland

After cutting ties with last years free agent bust Marcellus Wiley the Cowboys top concern has to be adding someone who can rush the passer. When he was with the Patriots in 1994 Parcells grabbed Willie McGinist with the #4 overall pick and then in 2000 he chose John Abraham with the Jets so he obviously likes those DE / OLB 'tweeners who can get after the passer and that is exactly what Shawne Merriman is. A tall, rangy player with amazing athleticism and great speed, Merriman is very raw and still gets by mostly on his physical tools at this point but his potential and upside are through the roof and he excels at getting after the quarterback which is always a skill that is in demand. Dan Cody is also a similar type of player who can rush the passer while a guy I have heard the team loves is Marcus Spears so keep a close eye out for him. Dallas is also looking for linebackers which would make Derrick Johnson a possibility if he is available, but a top sack artist has to be their first concern. A dark horse here could be a wide receiver who is a deep threat like Troy Williamson since the team really doesn't have any impact guys there right now, just solid veteran types like Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn. With Merriman though it seems to be a perfect fit for both player and team but with Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells running the show anything is possible, especially with two first round picks at their disposal.
12. San Diego Chargers (f/NYG): Derrick Johnson, OLB, Texas

With this pick courtesy of the Giants and the Eli Manning trade a year ago the Chargers are in a great position to add to a good young core of talent. San Diego could really go a number of ways here but in the end Johnson just represents too much value to pass on this low in round one. Widely considered one of the premier defensive playmakers in this Draft, Johnson has great size, speed and athleticism with the range to make plays from sideline-to-sideline. He has consistently been one of the top players in college football over the years and in a 3-4 defense you can never have enough top linebackers. Word has it the Chargers would really love to add either Braylon Edwards or Mike Williams and while they would have to trade up to snag one of those guys they certainly have the ammo to do so with two #1's. Defensive end is also a top need and a guy who would be a perfect fit is Marcus Spears, although with his stock rising he may not be available here either. One other option could be offensive tackle where Alex Barron would be a nice long-term solution on the left side because, while he played well last year, Roman Oben is not a guy you want to depend on at such a critical position for too long. San Diego really has a number of options and could be an active team on Draft Day because of the extra picks they have and the fact that the guys who would be the best fits for them are expected to come off the board a little earlier than this.
13. Houston Texans: Alex Barron, OT, Florida St.

This is a team with a good young nucleus in place and one that has drafted very well early but they still have not brought in the personnel up front to protect franchise quarterback and former #1 overall pick David Carr. Chester Pitts never panned out at left tackle and was moved inside to guard, which left the job to raw and inexperienced Seth Wand who just didn't get it done last season. While Alex Barron isn't in the same class as guys like Jonathan Ogden, Orlando Pace or even Robert Gallery he does have the size, feet and athleticism you look for in a true left tackle. Barron is still very raw and doesn't always play up to his ability but in a weak year at the top for offensive tackles he should be the first off the board and be a nice value at this point in round one. Another area they could look to address is strong safety so someone like Thomas Davis could be an option since he would basically complete a very good secondary. The linebacker corps are also a concern since Jay Foreman was released and Jamie Shaper may not be retained either and an intriguing choice would be Dan Cody, who has the type of skills that would translate well to the 3-4 defense. The final possibility would probably be the defensive line where Seth Payne is a little injury prone in the middle and there is little depth and outside Gary Walker isn't getting any younger. The Texans took another big step forward in 2004 and if they can get a little protection up front for Carr the offense will run a lot smooth in future years.
14. Carolina Panthers: Cadillac Williams, RB, Auburn

Some may look at this pick and wonder how it fits but upon a little further examination you will see that it actually makes a lot of sense. Stephen Davis is trying to come back from a major injury but his career is in jeopardy while DeShaun Foster hasn't been able to stay healthy since his college days and things got so bad last year they were down to their fourth stringer. By taking advantage of the depth at the top of the running back class the Panthers could secure the future of this position for years to come and add a much more dynamic option than what they currently have. If he fell this far it would be a steal but with three top runners available chances are someone may fall but their loss could be Carolina's gain. Cadillac is an elite running back prospect and while he doesn't have tremendous size he is a fast, explosive athlete who is a threat to take it the distance at any time. If Troy Williamson fell this far he would be a consideration as well since the team may be looking to replace Muhsin Muhammad, while a top offensive tackle such as Alex Barron or Jammal Brown would be solid additions as well opposite Jordan Gross. While running back may not be their most pressing need it is an area of concern so if Williams somehow fell into their lap here it would obviously be a great value pick while adding a dimension to their offense they really haven't ever had since the franchise's inception back in 1995.
15. Kansas City Chiefs: Carlos Rogers, CB, Auburn

Do you think they will go defense here? Last offseason the team re-signed all of their underachieving defenders, brought in a new defensive coordinator and thought things would get better but instead they actually got worse. Following the 2004 season the teams top priority was adding an impact cornerback but after missing out on all of their top targets in free agency (Samari Rolle, Fred Smoot, etc.) they may be stuck having to address the position early on in the Draft. Rogers has everything you look for in a top corner physically and he came through with a tremendous senior campaign as well as an eye-opening performance at the Combine that has solidified him as a legitimate mid-first round pick. One way or another the Chiefs will be looking to go defense here and they can really justify grabbing someone at any position after the way that unit played last season. Whether it be a defensive lineman, linebacker or defensive back the Chiefs probably just need to take the best player available, which makes names like Dan Cody, Travis Johnson and Thomas Davis possibilities as well, but if there is a cornerback close in value that is the position they would prefer to address. If the Chiefs go in any direction other than defense in the first few rounds fans just may riot because that side of the ball has been holding this team back for three years now and things have to change if they want to take that next step and seriously contend for the Super Bowl.
16. New Orleans Saints: Thomas Davis, OLB-S, Georgia

There is little doubt that the Saints will be looking to address the defense with this pick, the only question is whether they will opt for a defensive tackle, linebacker or safety. With this pick they can cover two of those bases because Davis is a OLB / S 'tweener who could project to either position at the pro level. Dwight Smith was brought in to man one spot in the deep secondary but Tebucky Jones was released so there is still a hole back there. At linebacker none of the teams youngsters have stepped up and after missing out on both Jonathan Vilma and D.J. Williams last year they might be looking to that position again. Davis is a playmaker with a lot of range who has played both outside linebacker and safety during his days in Athens so he would provide New Orleans with a couple of options due to his versatility. They could also look to the line where Johnathan Sullivan has been one of the biggest busts in recent memory after the team traded up in round one to take him #6 overall in 2003. A guy like Travis Johnson or Shaun Cody would give them an impact player inside to balance out all the great pass rushers like Charles Grant and Will Smith they have at defensive end. In my mind though Thomas Davis would be the absolute best fit for this team in round one and whether they use him as a linebacker or strong safety it will fill a need while giving them the type of playmaker and leader on defense that they have been lacking.
17. Cincinnati Bengals: Travis Johnson, DT, Florida St.

After two solid seasons in a row it is time for the Bengals to take that next step and Marvin Lewis knows that in order for that to happen improvements must be made on the defensive side of the ball, which is his bread and butter. Justin Smith has done a nice job at defensive end and John Thornton is a steady player inside but what this team lacks is a true difference maker along the line, a guy who keeps opposing offensive lineman up at night and who can disrupt and create opportunities for the rest of his teammates. A highly touted prep recruit, Johnson finally lived up to his advanced billing as a senior when he was one of the most feared interior presences in the country. In fact, based on 2004 alone Johnson should probably be a Top 10 overall pick but some questions about his character and consistency will likely push him down a little. Still, he is widely considered to be the top defensive tackle available this year so to land him in the middle of round one would be a coup. If they opt to look in another direction a safety like Brodney Pool could be a possibility, as could a top defensive end where there is still a lot of value left, a linebacker to replace Kevin Hardy or maybe even another top wide receiver. However, considering the state of the guys in the trenches and with so much value left at that position it may prove very hard to pass on a top talent such as Johnson or Erasmus James considering the dearth of a consistent pass rush the past few years.
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18. Minnesota Vikings: Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin

Has any team done more to improve themselves on defense this offseason than Minnesota? The Vikings have already added four new starters in CB Fred Smoot, S Darren Sharper, DT Pat Williams and OLB Napoleon Harris and while these are all major improvements the work is not done on that side of the ball. After using the first of their two #1's to address the hole left at wideout following the trade of Randy Moss the team is able to take a gamble on greatness here by nabbing James, who only falls this far due to concerns about his durability and he would be a definite upgrade over the solid but unspectacular Kenny Mixon. As a senior James was simply unblockable and maybe the most disruptive defensive lineman in college football before injuring his ankle against Purdue and if he can stay healthy this guy has the potential to be one of the premier pass rushers in the game. Yes, he has that kind of upside. The addition of James to team with rising star Kevin Williams and last years first rounder Kenechi Udeze would give Minnesota one of, if not the, top young defensive lines in the NFL and solidify them upfront for years to come. Others options here could include Thomas Davis of Georgia as a strong safety or if they are unable to nab a wide receiver at #7 they could look at Troy Williamson if he fell this far. All in all the Vikings have to like the situation they are in with two first round picks and most of their glaring needs taken care of in free agency so this will certainly be a team to keep an eye on in 2005.
19. St. Louis Rams: Jammal Brown, OT, Oklahoma

Not that long ago you would have been hard pressed to find a better tackle tandem in the league than Orlando Pace and Kyle Turley but now with one's career in doubt and the other's return to the team in question this has to be considered the Rams top priority. The bottom line is they simply can't go into next season with the same right tackle situation as last year so if by some chance a player of this caliber is available at tackle he would almost have to be the selection. One of the most highly decorated offensive lineman in college football and the winner of the Outland Trophy, Brown is a very good athlete for his size and may be one of the best all-around tackles in this Draft in terms of both his pass and run blocking prowess. Adding Brown would be a huge step towards getting this offensive line back to its former glory and also be a solid value pick at this point. The Rams like Anthony Hargrove's potential at defensive end but guys like Dan Cody and David Pollack would have to be tempting, especially since they never really replaced Grant Wistrom. The other place they could look is the secondary where at corner they have a number of solid players but no standouts and at safety where they at least need some depth and possibly some insurance in case Pisa Tinoisamoa can't make the successful transition from linebacker. In the end though I would be absolutely shocked if they didn't opt for an offensive tackle in round one since that is without question their most obvious and glaring weakness.
20. Dallas Cowboys (f/BUF): Channing Crowder, ILB, Florida

With a potential switch to a 3-4 defense the Cowboys will need to make some adjustments to their personnel, especially in the middle where Dat Nguyen just doesn't have the size Bill Parcells prefers. Crowder has that kind of size at 252 pounds and he has been extremely productive during his two seasons with the Gators, although there are some durability and character questions that could push him down a little. Adding another big, athletic playmaker like Crowder to an already improving defense will be another step in the right direction for the Cowboys. The other glaring hole would appear to be at safety now that Darren Woodson has retired so with Roy Williams being best suited to play strong safety bringing in someone like Brodney Pool to play free safety wouldn't be a bad idea at this point in round one. The offensive line is still a concern as well, especially at right tackle so guys like Jammal Brown and Khalif Barnes are potential targets as well. A dark horse here could be a wide receiver since Dallas really doesn't have much in terms of speed and big play ability with Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn getting up there in years and Quincy Morgan yet to establish himself. Odds are this choice will be used to further bolster the defensive side of the ball, and with good cause because the Tuna knows that unless they drastically improve that unit they will be doomed to suffer a similar fate in 2005 as they did in 2004, which is something that will be unacceptable in Big D.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dan Cody, DE, Oklahoma

After releasing both of their starting defensive ends just prior to the last season it was clear what position Jacksonville would be looking to this offseason and while they did make a splash by signing Reggie Hayward away from the Broncos they could still use some more help. In a lot of ways Dan Cody will remind you of a more athletic version of Grant Wistrom when he was coming out of Nebraska in that he doesn't have great size but he more than makes up for it with his intensity and non-stop motor. A bit of a DE / OLB 'tweener, Cody actually played both standing up and with his hand down while with the Sooners so he can play a number of different roles in any given defensive scheme, whether it be a 4-3 or 3-4. The other area where the Jags would seem to be lacking is in the secondary at cornerback, where beyond Rashean Mathis they have little more than journeymen so they could choose to take advantage of the cornerback depth at this point in round one. If they wanted to address the offense wide receiver would be the likely target since Jimmy Smith isn't getting any younger and Reggie Williams definitely didn't play up to his lofty draft position as a rookie in 2004 so guys like Mark Clayton and Roddy White could be interesting options at this point. One of the league's up and coming teams, Jacksonville already has the best set of defensive tackles in the NFL with Marcus Stroud and John Henderson so adding two top pass rushers like Hayward and Cody would just complete that group up front.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma

After years of not having a true #1 receiver the Ravens went out in free agency and made a splash by signing Derrick Mason, but hopefully they don't feel content because the work is far from done at that position. Although Mason is an excellent start they need more threats for Kyle Boller to utilize in the passing game and with this pick there should be a plethora of options to choose from. While he doesn't have the ideal size you look for that is about the only thing not to like about Clayton, who seemingly does everything else well and is a polished wideout. Clayton has good speed, runs great routes, catches everything in sight and is one of the best in this Draft at running after the catch and making plays in the open field. Simply put, he is the complete package and will be a great pick for someone in the middle to late portion of round one. If you are looking for a player to compare Clayton to a couple of guys that come to mind are Isaac Bruce and Lee Evans. Depending on whether or not Deion Sanders chooses to play another year cornerback could be an area of need and the team is also looking to add some youth and depth along the offensive line as well, namely at right tackle. With a tremendous defense and running game already in place all that is keeping this team from taking that next step is an upgrade of the passing game and teaming a guy like Clayton with Derrick Mason could be just the cure for what has been ailing this team for years.
23. Seattle Seahawks: David Pollack, DE, Georgia

Some depth was already needed at end before but after losing Chike Okeafor to Arizona in free agency this became even more of a pressing concern. Seattle battled injuries to several of their key pass rushers last year and it never hurts to add guys who can get after the quarterback, which is why this is the pick. You would have a tough time finding a more productive pass rusher in college football the past few years than Pollack, who has been nothing short of prolific. While he doesn't have great size or speed he more than makes up for it with hard work, dedication and a motor that never stops. His determination and intangibles are what sets him apart from the crowd and to land him this late in the first round could ultimately turn out to be a steal. Seattle is also in need of a top cornerback to replace Ken Lucas, who signed a monster contract with Carolina as a free agent. There is also talk of Shaun Alexander being on the trading block and if that is the case don't rule out a running back in round one for the Seahawks, whether it be here or in a trade up. One final option would be linebacker, where Anthony Simmons was released and they are unhappy with what they have in the middle. Names like Channing Crowder and Kevin Burnett would make a lot of sense at this point in the first round while also filling what is fast becoming a major area of need for this team. As you can see there are a number of ways the Seahawks could go here but when it all comes to a head defensive end and linebacker have to be the top priorities.
24. Green Bay Packers: Brodney Pool, S, Oklahoma

The Packers finally saw a little sunshine through all the dark clouds that had been their offseason when future Hall of Famer Brett Favre announced that he would indeed be back to play at least one more season in 2005. Unfortunately that is where the good news ends and the team is still left facing the reality of losing both of their Pro Bowl offensive guards as well as one of the best players on what was already a pretty poor defense. Even before losing Darren Sharper and Bhawoh Jue the safety position was a need since the team was very unhappy with Mark Roman, but now it looks like it may be necessary to add two new starters in the deep secondary. Brodney Pool has all the tools you look for in an all-around safety because he has the speed and athleticism to be a playmaker in coverage but is also tough and physical enough to come up and be a force in run support as well. In essence he would be an ideal replacement for Darren Sharper and be of great help to a secondary that was torched early and often last season. Linebacker is also a need on the defensive and a player like Thomas Jones or Channing Crowder would be an excellent choice here as well. As I mentioned earlier, offensive guard is also a major concern although this is likely too early to address that need. And finally, just like the past couple of Drafts, Green Bay once again has to at least consider a young signal caller to begin developing as Favre's eventual replacement, however unlike previous years the team has a lot of more pressing needs this time around and might not have that luxury.
25. Denver Broncos: Demarcus Ware, DE, Troy

Another offseason and another productive pass rusher lost in free agency, with Reggie Hayward the latest to check out of the Mile High City. With the team switching to a 3-4 defense they were eager to re-sign Hayward and have him play the critical rush outside linebacker position but with that no longer an option they may have to look to the Draft to fill that role. Ware is undersized and a bit of a DE / OLB 'tweener but he is a perfect fit in the 3-4 and would be an excellent choice for the Broncos here. A dynamic pass rusher, Ware has tremendous speed off the edge and showed in Mobile at the Senior Bowl that he can dominate against top competition. Denver may also be looking for more defensive line help, either at end or tackle but now that they won't be playing a 4-3 that is slightly less of a concern. After losing Kenoy Kennedy as a free agent safety is also now a position of need so a guy like Brodney Pool could make sense here as well. On the offensive side of the ball the team could use a guard up front and may be looking for more help at wide receiver since Rod Smith is getting up their in years and their youngsters have yet to distinguish themselves. In the end though what the team needs more than anything is guys who can get after the quarterback, whether it be as a lineman or linebacker, and there are few more prolific sack artists in this Draft than Ware so it isn't hard to see how this pick would make a whole lot of sense for the Broncos.
26. New York Jets: Fabian Washington, CB, Nebraska

The Jets have taken some hits this offseason, losing Jason Ferguson, Kareem McKenzie, Anthony Becht and LaMont Jordan to name a few but in the end their greatest need is the same as it was prior to free agency, cornerback. Donnie Abraham's best days are behind him while David Barrett is not much more than average so a top talent with speed and athleticism must be added to this group. To some Fabian Washington may have come out of nowhere after running one of the fastest times in the history of the Scouting Combine (4.25) but in reality he has been a good player for the Cornhuskers for years and is just beginning to receive the recognition he deserves. Super fast and athletic with a nose for the ball, Washington has all the tools you look for in a cornerback and should be a nice pick for someone late in round one. The Jets could also be looking for help in the trenches now, either as a replacement for McKenzie at offensive tackle or Ferguson at defensive tackle. On offense Khalif Barnes of Washington, another workout warrior, would be an interesting option at this point in round one while on defense Anttaj Hawthorne would be a bit of a reach but has the type of size and run stuffing ability to replace Ferguson. This is a team on the rise but some work needs to be done in the secondary so right now cornerback has to be considered their top priority and since there should be some good value left there at this point it would make a lot of sense to take advantage of it.
27. Atlanta Falcons: Shaun Cody, DT, USC

The past couple of years the Atlanta Falcons defense seemed a bit like a square peg in a round hole, playing a 3-4 defense under Wade Phillips when their personnel was clearly better suited for a 4-3. Well what a difference one year can make and under Jim Mora the Dirty Birds were rejuvenated and emerged as one of the most dangerous defensive fronts in the league with Patrick Kerney and Rod Coleman terrorizing opponents backfields. However, Ed Jasper is a free agent who may not return and with that being the case some depth will be needed at the very least and possibly a new starter if Chad Lavalais isn't up to the task. Cody is a tad undersized and somewhat of a DT / DE 'tweener but he is extremely athletic and has been a consistent pass rush force inside for the Trojans throughout his career. Teaming him inside with Coleman would give the Falcons two disruptors inside and further complicate matters for teams trying to stop their tenacious pass rush. The other area Atlanta may look to address is free safety where Cory Hall was released and journeyman Rich Coady was brought in but could be upgraded so if Brodney Pool were to fall this far he would be a nice option and would complete a nice young secondary. As a dark horse don't rule out a wide receiver or offensive lineman here either since Peerless Price has been a major disappointment and Kevin Shaffer is only average at left tackle. Atlanta is in a pretty good position though in that they don't have a lot of glaring weaknesses.
28. San Diego Chargers: Roddy White, WR, U.A.B.

Prior to the season not many would have envisioned the Chargers picking this low but they were one of 2004's surprise teams and now they have two first round picks to bolster an already good young core group of players. San Diego has a solid group of wideouts with Keenan McCardell, Reche Caldwell and Eric Parker but for the most part they lack a lot of size and don't have the type of speed needed to stretch the field. White is an underrated player who many don't know a lot about but he is a dynamic receiver with a great combination of size and speed who is a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball due to his ability to run after the catch. Adding a top downfield threat like White would certainly help Drew Brees and force defenses to respect someone else in the passing game other than tight end Antonio Gates while also opening things up for LaDainian Tomlinson and the running game. The other main area of need for the Chargers would appear to be in the trenches along both the offensive and defensive lines. On offense the team could use an upgrade at tackle where journeyman Roman Oben and rookie Shane Olivea played well last season but could definitely be upgraded, while on defense Jacques Cesaire and Andrian Dingle are only average at defensive end. Overall though this is a team that is in great shape due in large part to a very productive Draft a year ago and should be able to contend for many years to come due to their young core of talent on both sides of the ball.
29. Indianapolis Colts: Justin Miller, CB, Clemson

Well, what did you think this would be, a quarterback? This team obviously has no problem scoring points but they certainly have plenty of trouble keeping other teams out of the endzone so if they go anywhere other than defense early it will be a mistake. Cornerback is without a doubt the most glaring weakness with names like Joseph Jefferson, Donald Strickland, and Jason David topping the depth chart so it is essential that they bring in some quality talent there. Miller has been a standout performer since his true freshman year and is a threat both on defense as well as special teams as a return man. Needless to say adding a playmaker like this to the secondary would be a major improvement and just what Indy needs. The other main areas of concern for the Colts also lie on the defensive side of the ball, at defensive tackle and linebacker. On the defensive line they have one of the best in the business in Dwight Freeney and a top youngster in Robert Mathis but they have very little inside and definitely don't have the Warren Sapp-type of disrupter like Tony Dungy had in Tampa Bay. At linebacker Rob Morris is a free agent and was never a great fit in the middle in this scheme and outside Cato June did a nice job statistically but the team is not happy with his overall play and that spot could be upgraded. One way or another this pick has to be used for defensive help if the Colts ever want to take that next step to play in the Super Bowl because, as they say, offense wins games but defense win championships.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Heath Miller, TE, Virginia

There is little question that Heath Miller is the top tight end available and should likely be gone much earlier than this but he is dealing with a sports hernia and may not be able to workout prior to the Draft, which is really hurting him right now. However, much like last year with Ben Roethlisberger, I am sure the Steelers would be more than happy to grab a highly rated player that falls into their laps. It's been many years since Pittsburgh has had a top receiving threat at the tight end position so to be able to bring in a guy like Miller this late in round one would be an excellent situation and would give Ben Roethlisberger another weapon as well as a safety valve in the passing game. The Steelers could also use some help in the secondary at cornerback and there is still a lot of value left there so don't rule out someone such as Marlin Jackson here either. One other interesting thing to watch for is a big wide receiver to help replace Plaxico Burress, who departed via free agency. Hines Ward is one of the best in the business and Antwaan Randle El is solid as well but Big Ben got used to chucking the ball deep and letting the 6-5 Burress go up and get it so the team may want to add a player with a similar set of skills so that the young signal caller doesn't get out of his comfort zone. When all is said and done Miller would be just too great of a value down here to pass up and would upgrade a position that has been below average for many years.
31. Philadelphia Eagles: Darryl Blackstock, OLB, Virginia

After all those years losing in the NFC Championship game the Eagles were finally able to take that next step in 2004 before eventually losing to the Patriots in the Super Bowl, but with a young core they should be set to make a few more runs at the big prize. With both Nate Wayne and Ike Reese out of the picture the team certainly needs to rebuild the depth of their linebacking corps so this would be a nice pick for them. Blackstock, who some have compared to Lawrence Taylor, is a tall, rangy and athletic player who excels at blitzing and getting after the quarterback, which would make him a perfect fit in Jim Johnson's scheme. He is far from a polished all-around player but in this situation he would be allowed to develop and only play in situational roles where he will have some success as a 3rd down pass rusher. This guy still has a lot of potential and has the one thing every team covets which is the ability to sack the quarterback so teams will be willing to overlook some of his other shortcomings. Philly could also be looking for some help at wide receiver since Todd Pinkson has basically worn out his welcome and all Freddie Mitchell seems to do is motivate the opponent with his mouth. Don't rule out running back as an option here either because right now they lack a reliable backup option behind Brian Westbrook and if he were to go down with an injury the Eagles would be in a whole lot of trouble because he is really the engine that makes this team go.
32. New England Patriots: Barrett Ruud, ILB, Nebraska

What a difference a couple months can make and with the status and future playing career of Tedy Bruschi very much up in the air following a stroke bringing in some reinforcements in the middle certainly has to be considered a priority. In fact, even if Bruschi is able to come back and not miss a beat it still wouldn't hurt to add some youth and depth since Ted Johnson isn't getting any younger and right now the team has converted defensive tackle Dan Klecko listed as a top backup at inside linebacker. With great size and tremendous instincts Ruud would appear to be a perfect fit in the Pats 3-4 scheme, not to mention that with his character, intelligence and competitive fire he also fits right in with their team concept. New England could also use some help at cornerback, where injuries crippled them last year to the point where they were forced to use wideout Troy Brown on defense and while they still managed to make due with guys like Randall Gay it sure wouldn't hurt to add some talent. One final area they may be looking to address early is the offensive line, either inside at guard as a replacement for Joe Andruzzi or outside at right tackle where at the very least some depth is needed. Even though they have won three of the last four Super Bowl's even the Patriots aren't without needs but if anyone can justify going with the best player available approach they are it, although something tells me Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick are way too smart to fall into the trap of thinking that they have that luxury.

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