1. Oakland – QB JaMarcus Russell, LSU
Even with the "Al Davis Can Do Anything Factor", I just can't see the Raiders passing on Russell. They have absolutely no quarterback. They are having a hard time unloading Randy Moss, and if you can't get rid of him … you have to make him happy. If they can unload Moss on draft day, clearly Calvin Johnson enters the picture here. I also think it is very possible that the Raiders take Johnson, and then come back with Trent Edwards at the top of the second round.
*** - 2. Atlanta – WR Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech
Too proud to take Brady Quinn, and too snake bitten to take Calvin Johnson, the Lions trade out of this selection, acquiring #8, #44, and other picks from the Falcons. This trade up scenario simply makes a lot of sense. New Falcons coach Bobby Petrino has decided to go with Michael Vick, so now he must support him. Falcons owner Arthur Blank has allegedly said “get this kid at all costs”, and those rumors make sense. CJ makes scouts drool, is local, has his head on right, and is an ideal fit for the Falcons.
*** - 3. Miami – QB Brady Quinn, Notre Dame
The way I see it, there's only three likely scenarios for the Browns at #3. Take Russell, take Adrian Peterson, or trade down and take an offensive lineman and add picks. If the Raiders pass on Russell, I think the Browns will move up to #2 and make him the pick if they feel they will be unable to get him at #3. Everything I am hearing from reliable sources is that the Browns interest in Brady Quinn is all smoke. I’ve got Phil moving #3 to Miami for #9, #40, and #71. The Dolphins have multiple second round picks, and cannot count on Daunte Culpepper. New coach Cam Cameron will be angling hard to move up and grab the franchise quarterback from Notre Dame, and I think a deal gets done with under a minute left on the Browns clock.
4. Tampa Bay – DT Abomi Okoye, Louisville
Unable to move up and pick Calvin Johnson, Gruden settles for his second choice in Okoye, the talented young defensive tackle from Louisville. The once vaunted Buccaneers front line of defense is a mess, and Chucky fell in love with Okoye at the Senior Bowl … just as he did two years ago with Cadillac Williams.
5. Arizona – OT Joe Thomas, Wisconsin
This seems like a good spot to predict a trade up for Adrian Peterson, but the two most likely teams are Buffalo and Pittsburgh. Buffalo is unlikely to do so again after getting burned by McGahee. And Pittsburgh never moves up. In the end, the Cards will hang on to the pick, and do the safe thing and take Joe Thomas off the board.
6. Washington - DE Gaines Adams, Clemson
It's been rumored that the 'Skins may trade this pick to the Bears for LB Lance Briggs. There's also been some talk of them dealing down to add more picks. If they stay put, and things play out like this, it's hard to see them passing on Adams, who is thought of by most draftniks as the best defensive player in this draft. The 'Skins were dead last in the NFL last season with a paltry 19 sacks.
7. Minnesota - RB Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma
A lot of people now have Peterson slipping further down than this spot, but I can't see it. Yeah, Chester Taylor ran for 1,200 yards last year, but there is little behind him, and using two backs to share the load is the latest trend in the NFL. Brad Childress likes to run the ball, has a good offensive line, and Peterson will help take pressure off young signal caller Tavaris Jackson.
*** - 8. Detroit - LB Patrick Willis, Ole Miss
With holes all over, and extra picks acquired in the deal down with Atlanta, the Lions take the premier middle linebacker in the draft off the board here in Willis. The Lions have no one in the middle right now, and are planning on moving undersized Teddy Lehman over from the the outside.
*** - 9. Cleveland - OT Levi Brown, Penn State
A little birdie told me that the Browns like Levi Brown more than Joe Thomas, and that wouldn't surprise me. Brown is more of a mauler than Thomas, and better fits the smash mouth approach the team wants to employ here on the north coast. While it's never easy to deal down, I think the Browns are positioned very well to do it this year, and will gladly add two more first day picks to move down to #9 where their man Brown should still be available at.
10. Houston - S LaRon Landry, LSU
The Texans also have glaring needs at offensive line and defensive tackle, but will be hard pressed to pass on Landry here at #10. Landry is a superb athlete that can play the run and pass, and ran a 4.35 forty at the combines. The Texans are very weak at the safety spot, and Landry would nicely complement the Texans solid young defensive core of Mario Williams, Demeco Ryans, and Dunta Robinson.
11. San Francisco - DE Adam Carriker, Nebraska
Carriker has been rocketing up draft boards thanks to a great Senior Bowl and eye-popping workouts, and appears to be the ideal 3-4 defensive end for Mike Nolan's young and improving 49er defense. The Niners may choose to address the nose and go with Alan Branch, but defensive line appears to be the direction they will go in here at #11.
12. Buffalo - RB Marshawn Lynch, California
Also with big needs at linebacker and cornerback, the Bills will find themselves simply unable to pass on Lynch here at #12, who is eminently more talented than any backs that will be there in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. The Bills current starting RB is Anthony Thomas, and that is simply unacceptable.
13. St. Louis - WR Ted Ginn Jr., Ohio State
Most people have Teddy slipping to the latter half of the 1st round, but I don't think the Rams and Scott Linehan will be able to pass on him. Isaac Bruce is just about done, and Ginn would give the Rams a lethal trio at WR when added to Torry Holt and Drew Bennett, and he would also give them an elite return man.
14. Carolina - DT Alan Branch, Michigan
With Patrick Willis and LaRon Landry off the board, the Panthers choose to replenish their forever awesome defensive line with the selection of Branch here at #14. Mike Rucker tore his ACL late last season, the team is said to be shopping Kris Jenkins, and Branch is athletic enough to play just about anywhere on the defensive line.
15. Pittsburgh - CB Darrelle Revis, Pitt
Ike Taylor was garbage last year after signing a long term deal, and the Steelers have been weak at cornerback for the better part of the last decade. Revis is a top cover man, a phenomenal return guy, and is a local product.
16. Green Bay - TE Greg Olsen, Miami of Florida
The Pack has a big need at TE with Bubba Franks on the back nine of his career, and Olsen will be a popular pick with Brett Favre as the team takes one last stab at contention before his retirement. The Favre/TE dynamic has been sorely missing from the Green Bay attack during the last couple years of non-contention for Green Bay.
17. Jacksonville - DE Jamaal Anderson, Arkansas
The Jags have the best pair of defensive tackles in the league, but are very weak at defensive end. Anderson had a monster junior season for the Hogs where he racked up 13.5 sacks, and is a top tier defensive end prospect in this draft.
18. Cincinnati - CB Leon Hall, Michigan
This pick will almost assuredly be defense, and the Bengals will be elated to see the guy they see as the draft's top corner still be there for him at #18. Hall is a solid character guy (outside of his choice of college), which will be a factor here ... and also looked great and ran well at the combines.
19. Tennessee - WR Dwayne Jarrett, USC
The Titans desperately need some help at WR, and will have a couple solid options to choose from here at #19. In the end, offensive coordinator Norm Chow will sell Jeff Fisher on former Trojan Jarrett over the local product Robert Meachem from Tennessee.
20. NY Giants - OT Joe Staley, Central Michigan
With a big need at linebacker, the Giants instead opt for Staley here, feeling they will be able to snag a couple good linebackers in the next couple rounds. Staley showed impressive agility for a huge man at the combines, and will replace the departed Luke Petitgout at LT for the G-Men.
21. Denver - LB Paul Posluszny, Penn State
With Al Wilson on the way out, and D.J. Williams moving to his inside spot ... Kenard Lang is currently listed as a starting outside linebacker for the Broncos. Posluszny will step right in and flank Williams opposite Ian Gold at Sam backer for Denver.
22. Dallas - WR Robert Meachem, Tennessee
Meachem had a huge breakout season for the Vols, and cemented his spot as a 1st round pick by running a sub 4.40 forty at the combine. Terry Glenn is older that dirt, and TO is a psychopath. The position needs addressed in Big D.
23. Kansas City - OG Ben Grubbs, Auburn
The Chiefs badly need a WR, but the drop off from what is available here versus what will be there at #54 for them isn't great. The Chiefs OL has slipped from its level of sustained dominance as of late, and Will Shields just retired. Grubbs can step right in for him as the drafts top offensive guard.
24. New England - LB Jon Beason, Miami of Florida
The Pats are said to be enamored with Beason and I fully expect him to be the pick here at #24 if he is still on the board. Beason has been a late riser, and can play inside or outside ... which New England likes as they are constantly moving players around defensively and lining them up in different spots.
25. NY Jets - LB Lawrence Timmons, Florida State
The Jets need an outside pass rusher for their 3-4, and Timmons seems to fit the bill perfectly for them here at #25. Like Kam Wimbley, Timmons came on strong as a junior for the 'Noles, and has freakish ability despite still being a little raw.
26. Philadelphia - CB Aaron Ross, Texas
The Eagles secondary is as dilapidated as I've ever seen it, and I'd be surprised if they don't go in that direction on draft day here in this slot. They'll have their choice of a couple guys here, but will go with the polished and productive Ross.
27. New Orleans - WR Dwayne Bowe, LSU
Joe Horn is gone, and the Saints need a possession guy for Brees to line up opposite Marques Colston. Devery Henderson is more of a third WR, so they will take another local LSU receiver in Bowe, who is a big strong possession WR that projects very well to the next level.
28. New England - S Reggie Nelson, Florida
It's a coup for the Pats here at #27 as a top ten talent type safety slips to them at this pick ... and safety is a position of need for them with Rodney Harrison on his last leg. The great off-season just keeps getting better in New England.
29. Baltimore - LB David Harris, Michigan
The loss of Adalius Thomas in free agency has really stripped the depth of the Ravens LB unit, and Ray Lewis also isn't getting any younger. In Harris, they get a tough 'backer that can potentially play inside or outside, and help shore up the Raven front seven.
30. San Diego - WR Anthony Gonzales, Ohio State
This just seems like a perfect fit to me. The Chargers need a receiver, and Gonzo appears perfectly suited to thrive out west as Phillip Rivers new favorite target for the next half decade. He would complement burner Vincent Jackson, who came on late last year.
31. Chicago - OG Justin Blalock, Texas
A team with few weaknesses, the Bears seem like candidates to restock an aging offensive line in this year’s draft. Blalock is a mauler, and is the top interior guy on the board at this point, and will clearly be one of the guys the Bears look hard at here.
32. Indianapolis - CB Chris Houston, Arkansas
The Colts are pleasantly surprised to still see Houston on the board here with the final pick of the 1st round, and won't hesitate to add him to an average lot of corners.
33. Oakland - OT Tony Ugoh, Arkansas
34. Detroit - DE Jarvis Moss, Florida
35. Tampa Bay - WR Steve Smith, USC
36. Cleveland - CB Eric Wright, UNLV
Wright is 5'10, 192. He has a questionable past, getting busted with 136 pills of ecstasy as a sophomore at USC, where he was good enough to start as a freshman before transferring to Vegas. And he missed some time last year after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. But this kid can cover. Had he stayed in school, he's the type of talent that could have went top ten next season ... and his upside is sky high. He will step in immediately as the starting corner opposite Leigh Bodden, and line up deep with Josh Cribbs on kick returns.
37. Chicago - S Brandon Merriweather, Miami of Florida
38. Arizona - DE Anthony Spencer, Purdue
39. Atlanta - S Michael Griffin, Texas
*** - 40. Cleveland - OG Arron Sears, Tennessee
With one of the picks acquired from Miami, the Browns shock the world by allocating a second top 40 pick to the offensive line, a la the NY Jets from a year ago (D'Brickshaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold). Sears is one of my favorite guys in the draft, and I really hope he's still on the board here at the top of the second round for us. Sears started 37 games for the Vols, at every position but center. The Browns will likely slot him in at right guard, and by adding Levi Brown and Sears, off the heels of signing Eric Steinbach and Seth McKinney in free agency .... will have some serious options and flexibility up front for once.
41. Minnesota - WR Sidney Rice, South Carolina
42. San Francisco - DT Justin Harrell, Tennessee
43. Buffalo - CB Josh Wilson, Maryland
*** 44. Detroit - QB Trent Edwards, Stanford
45. Carolina - LB Brandon Siler, Florida
46. Pittsburgh - C Ryan Kalil, USC
47. Green Bay - RB Kenny Irons, Auburn
48. Jacksonville - S Eric Weddle, Utah
49. Cincinnati - DE Victor Abiamiri, Notre Dame
50. Tennessee - DE Ray McDonald, Florida
51. NY Giants - LB Justin Durant, Hampton
52. St. Louis - CB Marcus McCauley, Fresno State
53. Dallas - OG Allen Babre, Missouri Southern
54. Kansas City - QB Drew Stanton, Michigan State
55. Seattle - TE Zach Miller, Arizona State
56. Denver - OT Doug Free, Northern Illinois
57. Philadelphia - RB Brian Leonard, Rutgers
58. New Orleans - CB Jonathon Wade, Tennessee
59. NY Jets - WR Johnny Lee Higgins, UTEP
60. Miami - CB Fred Bennett, South Carolina
61. Baltimore - OG Andy Alleman, Akron
62. San Diego - CB Tanard Jackson, Syracuse
63. NY Jets - CB Daymeion Hughes, Cal
64. Tampa Bay - LB Lamaar Woodley, Michigan
67. Cleveland - RB Chris Henry, Arizona
Phil Savage has been enamored with Henry since the combines, where he blew people away with incredible athleticism and the best forty time amongst all running backs. Henry has been here to visit, blogged about how well it went, and it would not surprise me at all to see the Browns pluck him off the board at the top of the third round. Henry provides a nice change of pace to Jamal Lewis, and also gives the team insurance at the position ... as Lewis being here for more than one season appears unlikely.
*** - 71. Cleveland - QB Troy Smith, Ohio State
The Browns will emerge from this draft with another quarterback added to the Frye/Anderson mix/mess. It could be dealing a 4th or 5th round pick to the Chiefs for Trent Green. It could be JaMarcus Russell in a trade up to #2, or even potentially Brady Quinn if they stand pat at #3. Or ... it could be Troy Smith in the third round with #67, or with this pick I have them acquiring from Miami in a trade down from #3 overall. It's funny how one game erases years worth of opinions and assessments on a guy, and that's exactly what's happened with Troy. He went from a chic mid to late first round pick to a guy that most now have slipping to day two, or very late on day one. He won't slip to day two ... trust me. And here's hoping the Browns end that slide.
103. Cleveland - DE Dan Bazuin, Central Michigan
Bazuin had a so-so senior season after an amazing junior campaign, and as a result ... will likely slip out of day one. He's one of those guys, very productive at a lower level of college football, and has the versatility to play DE or OLB in a 3-4 set, which he seems best suited for.
140. Cleveland - CB Tarrell Brown, Texas
This pick will make Browns fans cringe, as it's another cornerback that has had character issues in the past. Brown could go as early as round three, but my guess is that character issue guys will free fall this season in the wake of the Pacman Jones mess. Bottom line, if Brown is on the board here at the top of round five ... which I feel he may, Savage has to pull the trigger.
178. Cleveland - DE Jay Richardson, Ohio State
If the draft plays out for the Browns like I have predicted, they will likely be looking for more depth on the defensive line here with their last pick. Savage likes taking local products, and Richardson is a guy who didn't excel as a collegiate player, but some scouts like the way he projects as a NFL guy.