Posted by Walter
OK so Sports Illustrated's Don Banks stole my idea, well maybe he just thought of it independently, but the fact remains I've been trying to come up with a list of NFL draft things that simply make too much sense not to happen. While Banks' column today uses this same idea, sadly I don't find his list all that interesting. Inasmuch, here's my list of ten things that just make too much sense not to happen on draft day.
1. The Cleveland Browns draft Brady Quinn.
It should be clear by now that I am not a huge Brady Quinn supporter. That said, what is far more clear is that Charlie Frye is not exactly the second coming of Bernie Kosar. The Browns desperately need a franchise caliber signal caller, and somebody to step in and be the face of the franchise. Quinn fits the bill nicely, but more importantly he is definitely the most prepared college passer in the draft. Quinn can probably come in and start for at least the second half of his rookie season, and could show enough progress to buy GM Phil Savage and head coach Romeo Crennel another season of employment. The Browns need a ton of help, and I am not certain there is another player in the draft who can provide the type of immediate relief and excitement that Savage and Crennel need to keep their jobs.
2. The Cardinals trade up to the Lions spot at #2 and select Joe Thomas.
It could not be more clear that the Lions absolutely NEED to trade down from the #2 spot. Matt Millen has dug his own grave, and it would take balls of absolute steel (something Millen does not have) to select Calvin Johnson with that pick. Word is that the Lions are looking to draft one of the top pass rushers, namely either Gaines Adams or Jamal Anderson. While Adams may be something special, he is certainly not worthy of the second overall selection when guys like Johnson and Joe Thomas are still available. The Cardinals desperately need to add Joe Thomas to their line. Thomas could step in and play the right tackle spot from day 1, automatically providing franchise QB Matt Leinart with protection on his blind side. The Cards have invested too much in their passing game between Leinart, Anquan Boldin, and Larry Fitzgerald not to give them all time to complete passes. The Cardinals will probably have to get all the way up to #2 or #3 to ensure that they get Thomas, or else they run the risk of the Buccaneers snagging him at four if the Raiders take Johnson or another team trades up for him. Remember, Tampa GM Bruce Allen loves taking offensive lineman in round 1.
3. The Falcons trade up to the Bucs at #4 and select Calvin Johnson.
The Falcons probably don't have the ammo to move up into the top 3 (despite picking up an extra 2nd round pick for Matt Schaub), but if Johnson slips to #4 they'd be crazy not to offer everything they have to Tampa. Calvin Johnson is a #1 overall talent, and even if he slips to #4 Atlanta should treat him as such. New coach Bobby Petrino loves the vertical passing game, and Johnson is the best vertical threat to come along in years. While I am squarely NOT on the Mike Vick bandwagon, I do believe he has taken way too much of the blame for his ineffectiveness given how poorly his recieving corpse has played during his career. All you need to know is that Vick's best and most consistent weapon over the past 4 years has been lifetime third WR Brian Finneran (who is a nice player in his own right, but hardly a #1 wideout). If the Bucs move down to #8 (and pick up extra picks in rd. 2 in the process) they will still be in line to get an impact defensive lineman like Amobi Okoye (who Gruden coached in the Senior Bowl) or Jamaal Anderson (who many feel is the next Richard Seymour).
4. If the Falcons can't move up to #4, they move up to #6 and select Laron Landry.
If the Falcons can't entice the Bucs not to draft Calvin Johnson, then they'd have to turn their sights to Laron Landry who is the only defensive player in the draft that really fits their immediate needs. The thing with the Falcons is that they need to win right now, because they have a lot of talent in place to do so. Unfortunately, unless they can get Johnson or Landry there aren't any other players worthy of such a high draft pick that can step in and play for them right away. I have long been saying that Landry is the most complete defensive player in the draft and now pundits are starting to catch on. While many mock drafts have him available for the Falcons at 8, they simply cannot take that risk with both the Skins and Vikings picking in front of them. Bottom line for the Falcons, they have to look at this draft as Calvin Johnson, Laron Landry or bust.
5. The Bills trade up into the 8-9 range and select Adrien Peterson.
Assuming Peterson gets by Minnesota at #7, which is no guarantee (Minnie is a major dark horse for AP), the Bills have to do everything to get in position to select him. When the Bills gave up on Willis McGahee they could never have envisioned a scenario where Peterson could be had to replace him. But with most of the top 10 set at the running back position, it could legitimately happen. If the Skins and Falcons pull off the trade I suggested in #4, the Redskins at #8 would be an ideal spot for the Bills to move up to. The Redskins could still afford to move down and get either Jamaal Anderson or Adam Carriker, and knowing that the Bills are targeting Peterson (a top 5 talent) they could ask for a boatload of picks. If the Skins were able to move down from #6 to #8, and then #8 to #12, they could potentially pick up 4 extra draft picks. With Peterson available to them, the Bills would be insane not to make a move to get him.
6. The Steelers select Paul Poszlusny.
Talk about an all time no brainer. Pittsburgh is in a transitional phase. They just let Joey Porter go, and many feel that they are going to transition to Mike Tomlin's preferred cover 2 defense sooner rather than later. In eschewing their traditional 3-4, the Steelers need to get the proper linebacking personnel on board, and Poszlusny would be an ideal fit. Puz is a classic Steelers type player: smart, tough, instinctive, but without great measurables. He is also somewhat of a local product, and a favorite of Steeler great Jack Hamm. Puz could come in and start right away as either an OLB in the 4-3, or an ILB in the 3-4, and, as I have posited many times on this blog, would be an excellent developmental MLB for a Tampa 2 scheme.
7. The Cowboys select Anthony Spencer.
Spencer is someone who not many people are talking about, and that is probably because he is not as versatile as most of the other defensive lineman in this draft. The bottom line is, however, in the right scheme he could turn out to be the cream of the crop. Spencer is a bit undersized to play the 4-3 end, but he is a perfect fit as a 3-4 OLB. Spencer led the nation in tackles for a loss in 2006, and really showed the type of explosion NFL teams lust for. New coach Wade Phillips built his defense in San Diego around his two OLB's: superfreak Shawne Merriman, and unheralded Shaun Phillips. The Cowboys already have Demarcus Ware doing a decent Merriman impression, and Spencer is basically a Shaun Phillips clone (he even attended Purdue, Phillips' alma mater).
8. The Eagles select Jarvis Moss.
Philadelphia is one of the best drafting teams in all of football, but they struggle somewhat trying to draft defensive ends (uninspiring picks like Jerome McDougle and Trent Cole come to mind). Moss is the exact opposite of those failures. He is a hybrid perimeter player, who is often compared to former Gator, and current Eagle, Jevon Kearse. Kearse was supposed to stabilize the Philly pass rush, but age and injuries have prevented him from doing so. Bringing in a guy like Moss who Kearse could mentor for a year would make a ton of sense for Andy Reid and Co. Plus, Moss is athletic enough to blitz and drop into coverage, something coordinator Jim Johnson's zone blitzing scheme requires.
9. The Patriots draft David Harris at #28.
Admittedly, a month ago this may have been a huge reach. But Harris is slowly climbing up draft boards, and I think the Patriots are too smart to think they can still get him in round 3 (they have no second round pick). Harris is a perfect fit for New England. He is a big, strong, thumping inside backer who reminds me a lot of former stalwart Ted Johnson. Plus Harris is a top character player and a locker room presence (to a man, the entire Wolverine defense credited Harris for their resurgence in 2006). While Harris may not ever be a star or anything more than a 2 down player, he is the type of linebacker that great teams have. He fits too perfectly in New England for this not to happen. I wouldn't be shocked to see the Pats try and trade out of this spot and into the early second round, with the hopes that Harris is still available. If I were them, I'd leave no doubt and just take him here.
10. The Chargers select Mike Griffin at #30.
Chargers GM A.J. Smith loves selecting defensive backs in round one (5 overall during his tenures with Buffalo and San Diego, by far the most of any position). With Terrence Kiel gone, the Bolts have a gaping hole in the defensive backfield. Griffin is a versatile player who would help solidify the Chargers secondary. Plus, Smith has a historical affinity for Longhorn defensive backs, having chosen Quentin Jammer with his top pick several years back. Because the Chargers are so talented and so deep already, I wouldn't be shocked to see them try and trade up earlier in round one to grab Reggie Nelson. Given that nobody really knows just how far Nelson may fall, it is hard to predict what they'd have to give up to get him, but the Bolts are one of the few teams who can afford to give up draft selections in order to nab an elite player. I think the Chargers are a definite dark horse in this draft, and could be a major mover towards the middle of round 1.
.........we will post the first part of our final mock draft tomorrow