Calico Jack's Mock Draft
This is my first official mock draft. I don't watch a lot of college football games besides following the USC program and big bowl games. Most of my picks are based upon what I know about professional football, team needs, and hunches. The 3 keys to my mock draft are the Titans releasing Steve McNair, the Jets & Saints swapping picks, and the Titans taking Vince Young. This is the only conceivable way that the Raiders will have the good fortune of AJ Hawk falling to their spot on the draft board.
Trends: The 2 college programs represented the most in the 1st round will be USC (5) and Ohio St. (5). The 2 positions with the most 1st round selections are running back (5) and cornerback (5).
#1 Houston Texans; This pick is a "no-brainer". Reggie Bush (RB, USC) is an electric, game changing back who has been compared to Gale Sayers, Barry Sanders, and LaDainian Tomlinson. It will be very interesting to see how new Head Coach Kubiak deploys Bush.
#2 N.Y. Jets (trade with New Orleans); The J-E-T-S make a splash with "Madison Ave." Matt Leinart (QB, USC). Leinart is a proven winner, excellent game manager, strong leader, and has a star quality presence.
#3 Tennessee Titans; The Titans in preparation for life-after McNair pull the trigger on Vince Young (QB, Texas). Look for the Titans to release McNair within the next 10 days to free up cap space and to start the season with Billy Volek under center. Vince Young will be groomed to be the QB in 2007.
#4 New Orleans (trade with NY Jets); The Saints select D'Brickashaw Ferguson (LT,Virginia) to protect newly minted QB Drew Brees. This is the safest, most sensible choice.
#5 Green Bay Packers; Mario Williams (DE, NC State) will make an immediate impact on improving the Packers' D. Pass rushing defensive ends are one of the highest rated commodities on draft day. Williams is one of the most gifted athlete in the 2006 draft. His combination of strength, power, explosion, agility, and body control had scouts drooling at the combine. He recorded a 40.5 vertical jump, 10.0 broad jump, and 35 reps on the bench press test.
#6 San Francisco 49ers; Niners management throws their QB Alex Smith a bone by picking Vernon Davis (TE, Maryland) with the sixth pick. Davis will provide a good open field target and security blanket for Smith.
#7 Oakland Raiders; The stars align for Mr. Davis. AJ Hawk (LB, Ohio St.) will improve the Raiders rush defense which ranked 25th in the league. All bets are off if the Jets don't exchange picks with the Saints.
#8 Buffalo Bills; Haoli Ngata (DT, Oregon) is a space eater who demands double-teams and is a run-stuffing beast.
#9 Detroit Lions; GM Matt Millen will begin to concentrate on the Lions D after drafting a WR in the 1st round the past 3 drafts and signing QB Jon Kittna & QB Josh McCown in free agency. Look for Michael Huff (S, Texas) to come off the board with this pick.
#10 Arizona Cardinals; Winston Justice's (OT, USC) stock has risen after his pro-day performance. Justice has the ability to play either tackle spot and fills a need for the Cards.
#11 St. Louis Rams; Brodrick Bunkley (DT, Florida St.) is a beast! He will be a rock-solid addition to improving the Rams weak defensive unit.
#12 Cleveland Browns; The Brownies will be torn between Manny Lawson (DE, NC St.) and Ernie Sims (LB, Florida St.) but will give the nod to Lawson who is a better overall fit for their 3-4 defense because of his pass rushing skills.
#13 Baltimore Ravens; If the Ravens don't sign Steve McNair, Jay Cutler will be added to the roster. However I think McNair will find himself in Baltimore which leads to the selection of Ernie Sims (LB, Florida St.)
#14 Philadelphia Eagles; Andy Reid has no history of drafting receivers in the 1st round but he breaks the pattern and takes Chad Jackson (WR, Florida) who will compete for the #2 receiver spot.
#15 Denver Broncos (trade with Atlanta); The Broncos wanted Chad Jackson but settle on the next best available wide receiver who is Santonio Holmes (WR, Ohio St).
#16 Miami Dolphins; Tye Hill (CB, Clemson) ran the fastest 40 yard of any prospect at the combine and is a good fit for the Dolphins D.
#17 Minnesota Vikings; Jay Cutler (QB, Vanderbilt) tumbles down in the draft to the Vikes who snatch him to eventually replace Brad Johnson.
#18 Dallas Cowboys; Jason Allen (CB/S, Tennesse) is a versatile defensive back who can make an impact as a nickel back or free safety.
#19 San Diego Chargers; The Bolts try to find an answer to their secondary woes with Ashton Youboty (CB, Ohio St.).
#20 Kansas City Chiefs; In a 1st round filled with quality cornerbacks, the Chiefs take Jonathan Joseph (CB, South Carolina).
#21 New England Patriots; The Pats address one of their most glaring holes (the secondary) by taking the hard hitting Donte Whitner (S, Ohio St.)
#22 Denver Broncos; Leonard Pope's (TE, Georgia) size will make him an attractive option in the Red Zone and to become a solid blocker in the running game.
#23 Tampa Bay Bucaneers; The stock of Chad Greenway (LB, Iowa) has been plummeting with his poor performance at the combine and pro-day. He is a solid value pick for the Bucs and should fit in nicely with their cover 2 scheme.
#24 Cincinnati Bengals; Another downfield weapon for Carson Palmer comes in the package of Mercedes Lewis (TE, UCLA). Lewis is the 2nd best pass catching TE in the draft but will need to improve his run blocking skills.
#25 NY Giants; Bobby Carpenter (LB, Ohio St) didn't get the pub that fellow buckeye AJ Hawk garnered but is a good all around playmaker who will be able to play inside or outside in the G-Men's 3-4 D.
#26 Chicago Bears; Antonio Cromartie (CB, Florida St.) sat out all of last year with an injury but impressed the scouts with his combine efforts. Don't be surprised if Cromartie is picked off with an earlier pick.
#27 Carolina Panthers; Lendale White (RB, USC) cost himself a big chunk of change by being over-weight and unable to perform at the combine. Projected as a 12-15 pick a few weeks ago, White is a proto-type power running back built for the NFL.
#28 Jacksonville Jaguars; DeAngelo Williams (RB, Memphis) will provide quality depth behind the often injured Fred Taylor.
#29 NY Jets (trade with Denver); Curtis Martin is getting long in the tooth so it will make sense for the Jets to take Laurence Maroney (RB, Minnesota).
#30 Indianapolis Colts; With the departure of Edgerin James, Joseph Addai (RB, LSU) will share some of the load with Dominic Rhodes.
#31 Seattle Seahawks; The Hawks fill a need with the mammoth Deuce Lutui (OG, USC).
#32 Pittsburgh Steelers; Sinorice Moss (WR, Miami) is a playmaker who will help soften the blow of losing Antwan Randle El. Moss should pay immediate dividends as a return man and third receiver.
Other 1st round candidates: Max Jean Gilles (OG, Georgia); Kelly Jennings (CB, Miami); Darvin Joseph (OG, Oklahoma); Mathias Kiwanuka (DE, Boston College); Demeco Ryans (LB, Alabama); Darnell Bing (S, USC); Tamba Hali (DE, Penn St); Darly Tapp (DE; Virginia Tech); Eric Winston (OT, Miami); Nick Managold (C, Ohio St.); Marcus McNeil (OT, Auburn); Kamberion Wimbley (DE/LB, Florida St)