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Post Combine/Phase One Free Agency Mock Draft Part One

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  • Post Combine/Phase One Free Agency Mock Draft Part One

    According to Pat Kirwan, even though Free Agency isn’t a week old, the first phase of free agency has already passed. With that in mind, my second mock draft of the season will reflect the new landscape of the league as it appears after the initial rush of free agency. Unlike my last mock series, I will not go through the teams in as much detail, nor will I cover teams’ overall strengths and weaknesses. For those, you can refer to my Pre-Combine Mock. I also won’t include projected trades, because a mock draft already has enough speculation. I may comment on where I see a trade occurring, but this board is already overflowing with cockamamie schemes for teams to move up or down on day one. That said, here is my Post-Combine/Early Free Agency Mock Draft.

    1. Houston-
    The Texans have been very quiet in the past few weeks, and the talks of trading out have subsided considerably. With the Saints looking like a cheaper option for relocation in the draft, and the arrival of Jay Cutler in the top ten, the top pick is looking less appealing to teams wanting to move up. None of this should hurt the Texans’ feelings, they are going to do what they had planned to do all along, and take the LeBron James of the NFL, in terms of ability and marketability.
    The Texans select Reggie Bush, RB, USC

    2. New Orleans-
    This is a very fluid situation right now, depending on which rumor you buy into. On one hand, the Brees deal appears heavy in guaranteed money in year one, meaning he could be a brief rental, or it could be protection in case the shoulder woes don’t improve. The other rumor is that the Saints are now dead set on acquiring Mario Williams. The final rumor is that the Saints move out of pick two and take a defensive player later. I buy into both rumors two and three. Despite having two quality ends now, they aren’t players THIS regime drafted, and Charles Grant under performed last season. The Saints may swap with the Jets and still bag, Mario Williams, but no swap here, and the pick is easy.
    The Saints select Mario Williams, DE, NC State

    3. Tennessee-
    Oh the ties this team has to the quarterbacks. These guys could prove to be difficult to crack this early in the process. Which one out ways the other? Chow’s development of Leinart in college, or Young’s tutelage under McNair as youth, and their similarities in playing style? If Young had his druthers, there isn’t a better mentor for him in his first year in the league, and with his skill set, the Titans could transition smoothly between the former “Franchise” and the current one. But this isn’t Young’s decision. Matt Leinart may be the closest thing to a finished product in this draft, and with his understanding of Chow’s system and terminology, he could be ready to step in immediately. Young may need two years; Tennessee may not have two years for him before throwing him into the fire.
    The Titans select Matt Leinart, QB, USC

    4. New York (A)-
    Another team that still has decisions to make leading up to the draft, the Jets have not impressed with their new management group thus far. While it would have been unlikely that the Jets could have been a major player in the Brees or Culpepper races, their interest in Ramsey seems odd for a team in certain rebuilding mode. New revelations today stating that the Jets refuse to budge from their stance regarding compensation for Ramsey is a positive sign, especially since Ramsey could flee New York after one season. They still must draft a quarterback fairly high, and I’ve heard that they actually may prefer Croyle to the other two, and should they acquire a late first rounder for Abraham, they may take Croyle there, with Ferguson taken here. At this point, that is just speculation, and this team must move towards the future at QB with this regime’s QB. Selection here is a matter of preference, not superiority.
    The Jets select Jay Cutler, QB, Vanderbilt

    5. Green Bay-
    The best player available comes at one of the few positions Green Bay is strong at, left tackle. While Ferguson could still be taken here, Clifton is only 30, and is one of the top tackles in the league. Ferguson is a poor fit for the right side, and the team may consider moving Clifton to the right side (6’5 330) to make room for D’Brick. That’s just too much conjecture without substance at this point. With the potential loss of Grady Jackson and the need for improvement in run defense, Haloti Ngata has the rare size and athleticism to improve the run defense single handedly while pushing the pocket for both KGB and Kampman. Trade down candidate…
    The Packers select Haloti Ngata, DT, Oregon

    6. San Francisco-
    This team appears to be the likely destination for Davis, Hawk and Huff in several mock drafts, but with Ferguson falling this far, coupled with the need to protect the “Franchise” and Jennings inability to do so (June 1st?), Ferguson makes a lot of sense here. There are no guarantees Huff can be a shutdown corner, and this draft is loaded with 3-4 edge rushers. They may consider one at the top of round two (Parys Haralson or Kamerion Wimbley?) Hard to overlook this Walter Jones clone.
    The 49ers select D’Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, Virginia

    7. Oakland-
    Two candidates appear to fit here, with the potential of a third in Hawk. The first is Vernon Davis, a blur of a tight end that could be the fastest tight end in the NFL after draft day. The second is the player with one of the highest ceilings in the draft, and possibly the most unpolished player rated this high. Upon adding a veteran QB to the mix, Young may not be needed for at least two years, especially with Walter already in house. He may appear to be the QB of the future (Walter), but we are talking about Al Davis…and the draft…Oakland goes for the higher ceiling, and the biggest gamble.
    The Raiders select Vince Young, QB, Texas

    8. Buffalo-
    Taking hints from Marv Levy after the Triplett signing, this team is looking for more speed and upfield playmaking from its defense, which tailed off considerably after injuries took their toll, especially on Spikes. Takeo spends a lot of time on the strong side, and after Hawk falls to pick eight, not much is expected to change, save for the increase in team speed and playmaking ability. Winston Justice is also a possibility here, since the Bills are thin up front and lacking in pass protection.
    The Bills select A.J. Hawk, LB, Ohio State
    Last edited by OhNoKoolAid; 03-16-2006, 09:28 PM.

  • #2
    8. Buffalo-
    Taking hints from Marv Levy after the Triplett signing, this team is looking for more speed and upfield playmaking from its defense, which tailed off considerably after injuries took their toll, especially on Spikes. Takeo spends a lot of time on the strong side, and after Hawk falls to pick eight, not much is expected to change, save for the increase in team speed and playmaking ability. Winston Justice is also a possibility here, since the Bills are thin up front and lacking in pass protection.
    The Bills select A.J. Hawk, LB, Ohio State

    9. Detroit-
    The chic pick in draft circles is Vernon Davis to Arizona. How soon they forget that Mike Martz now runs the show (or at least half of it) in Detroit. How much say he has in Detroit may be a deal breaker. Millen must be tempted to take Davis, the closest thing to a wide receiver without being the real thing. Huff makes sense here if he plays a wave role between corner and safety, but the team made moves to boost the corner position the last two years in Bly and Bryant. Huff is the sensible pick here, as Bly is better suited to defend the slot, but…Millen’s ineptitude to make wise decisions is setting in…must resist the pass catcher…no, must resist…ahhh!!!
    The Lions select Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland

    10. Arizona-
    If trades were allowed under my parameters, these guys would move up to insure their acquisition of Davis, or perhaps a falling quarterback. With the Milford Brown signing, it appears the team is convinced Leonard Davis can hold up again at left tackle, removing Winston Justice as an option. Perennial breakout candidates, the Cardinals best bet is to continue to add premium prospects to need positions, regardless of what you drafted last year. A healthy Rolle and Michael Huff may not be ideal next season, but this team is young enough to withstand their development time before they become serious contenders. A better performance from sophomore “slumpers” in the front seven next season may ease the pressure on a young secondary.
    The Cardinals select Michael Huff, CB, Texas

    11. St. Louis-
    With the temptations of a young quarterback and tight end gone, the Rams can target specific weak points on their defense. The addition of Witherspoon may remove the need for a linebacker, unless they revisit the idea of moving Tinoisamoa to safety. Should that happen, Chad Greenway would be the pick. The team also could look to improve upon Hargrove, but this may be too high for Kiwanuka or Hali. Despite the addition of Glover, the defensive tackle position is pretty thin, and La’Roi may not be able to withstand the constant pounding inside at his age without ample rest. Enter Brodrick Bunkley. Sure this may be high for him, but remember two things: Defensive tackles are always taken higher than they should be, and Bunkley has the senior year production and marvelous athleticism to be a three-technique penetrator in time (you know, the time it takes for Glover to retire, or cease to be effective, which is roughly one year).
    The Rams select Brodrick Bunkley, DT, Florida State

    12. Cleveland-
    In my early mock draft, I suggested that Lawson would fly up draft boards after the combine. While he did blow everyone away at the combine, as expected, he has yet to make the “Ware rise” to the top half of the first round in most draft circles. I’m still holding out that it happens, but for this pick, I’ll stay conservative. The draft is heavy in 3-4 rushers, and the Browns may still find room for a guy like Arrington when reality strikes him. With Frye appearing to be the present and the future, protecting him now becomes key. Winston Justice has the athleticism to make the transition to left tackle in the pros, which is what he pretty much was for the lefty Leinart.
    The Browns select Winston Justice, OT, USC

    13. Baltimore-
    Despite “adding” two running backs in two days, I wouldn’t rule out Baltimore selecting the top running back available in the first round. Lewis’ deal is essentially a one-year contract, and Anderson is beyond the age of being effective with a full load, so a runner still makes sense, but perhaps not in round one. Assuming the Ravens don’t make any surprise June 1st cuts at corner, the team appears set on defense. The Ravens must improve still the run and the pass on offense, and the best way to do this is to address the offensive line. No change here from my early mock, Baltimore takes a versatile tackle to eventually replace Ogden.
    The Ravens select Marcus McNeill, OT, Auburn

    14. Philadelphia-
    The “backs” stop here. Yes, Philadelphia has concerns at wide receiver, but their core is fairly young, and this team needs a veteran more than a rookie with a steeper learning curve. Should (when) Moulds is released, don’t expect him to wait long by the phone, he will have already made plans for dinner with Andy Reid. Ideally, this team would like more balance in the run game, and adding a bruiser like White only makes the offense more versatile. He’s big enough to lineup in the backfield with Westbrook, or serve as the lone back when Westbrook moves outside.
    The Eagles select LenDale White, RB, USC

    15. Atlanta-
    This pick could go a number of ways depending on what happens with the Abraham negotiations. For starters, they may not have the pick, and if they still do with Abraham, they may in fact take Mangold, as some reports claim. As of now, they are without a defensive end opposite Kerney, and are in need of some type of pass rush help. Kiwanuka has the production, size, and athleticism to take advantage of Kerney double-teams to improve the Falcons’ pass rush.
    The Falcons select Mathias Kiwanuka, DE, Boston College

    16. Miami-
    Has this team settled on the 4-3, or the 3-4? It may not matter at this pick, with a need at the cornerback position. As of now, Poole is slated to fill one starting position, but his hold on the job is tenuous. Saban proved critics wrong with his “in house” selection of Travis Daniels last season, and could give another corner a chance to prove critics wrong regarding his size. The best man cover corner in the draft, with striking similarities to the Broncos’ ’05 second rounder, Tye Hill offers the speed and toughness to play the slot corner early and eventually take over the role of top cover man in Saban’s defense.
    The Dolphins select Tye Hill, CB, Clemson


    • #3
      17. Minnesota-
      Might this team use their newly acquired second round pick in a package to move up and nab its future quarterback? Assuming they don’t, the Vikings will continue to work to install their Tampa Two system on defense. This team needs a speedy linebacker capable in coverage and making plays upfield. They’d be overjoyed if the Iowa phenom continued to fall to pick seventeen. Could eventually make an Urlacher type impact on this similar defensive scheme.
      The Vikings select Chad Greenway, LB, Iowa

      18. Dallas-
      I cannot begin to guess where Terrell Owens will in fact land this off-season. My assumption is that eventual highest bidder will come from outside the “usual suspects.” Since my goal was not to add any unnecessary speculation, I will assume wide receiver is still an issue. To me, Holmes and Jackson are prospects 1a and 1b at wide receiver, with the order in which they are taken coming down to preference. With Holmes being too similar to Terry Glenn, Jackson becomes the pick by default, which hardly sounds like a complement, but don’t take it in that context.
      The Cowboys select Chad Jackson, WR, Florida

      19. San Diego-
      How many early picks can you spend on the secondary without seeing a return on your investment? San Diego has three need areas, those being wide receiver, offensive line, and the secondary. Pick nineteen is probably too high for Jean Gilles or Winston, so wide receiver may be the best choice for the Chargers. Rivers is going to need a solid supporting cast as it is, and Holmes could be the big play threat the receiving core lacks. His size may be similar to both Parker and McCardell, but San Diego can’t be picky with the wide receivers this year.
      The Chargers select Santonio Holmes, WR, Ohio State

      20. Kansas City-
      With both wide receivers worthy of first round consideration believed to be off the board, perhaps the Chiefs are justified in pursuing Owens. Kansas City would be wise to continue to draft defensive prospects in hopes of having a defense capable of carrying the team through the offense’s potential decline due to aging stars in the coming years. The best player available is Jimmy Williams, who I’m no fan of, and doesn’t necessarily fit Edwards’ traditional Tampa Two defense, but neither is Surtain, and no one is certain the Chiefs will in fact part from Cunningham’s defensive schemes. Should Williams fail at corner, he still would make a good free safety.
      The Chiefs select Jimmy Williams, CB, Virginia Tech

      21. New England-
      The Patriots could be a sleeper team in selecting a first round running back, after their backfield fell apart last season, and Dillon starting to show his wear and tear. The most dire needs, however, are at linebacker and corner. I don’t consider Youboty or Cromartie as surefire first-rounders, and Kelly Jennings may not be what the Pats are looking for. After releasing their longtime sack specialist, they would be wise to consider the player Chuck Amato calls a “young Peter Boulware.”
      The Patriots select Manny Lawson, LB, NC State

      22. Denver-
      At this point in the draft, the Broncos are probably looking at taking the best offensive playmaker available, especially after missing on free agent targets early. The wide receivers may be off the board, but the backs are slipping, and it’s hard to ignore Shanahan’s desire to add a gamebreaker at the position. I know it isn’t the team’s MO to take a first round runner, but when was the last time Denver entertained thoughts of bringing in former studs like Lewis and Williams? I’d look at two players specifically here; Leonard Pope and DeAngelo Williams. Pope may be my choice, but something tells me this might be the year we break the mold. Williams just has so much upside, and Dayne’s return will alleviate concerns about Williams’ durability.
      The Broncos select DeAngelo Williams, RB, Memphis

      23. Tampa Bay-
      This team looks solid in several areas, and was lucky to survive the looming “CBA cuts.” With Simms as the present and future in Tampa, the Bucs should turn to building the offensive line to suit him and the Cadillac. Pick twenty-three may be too high for Winston, and Jean-Gilles may not be the best fit for Gruden’s scheme. Their best bet may be to take the best offensive lineman available, and despite having Wade already at center, he’s far from irreplaceable. Mangold looks like a future All Pro to boot.
      The Buccaneers select Nick Mangold, C, Ohio State

      24. Cincinnati-
      The Bengals have been rather boring this off-season, and rather discussing the moves they haven’t made, I’ll take this space to discuss a trend in this draft. It is becoming more apparent to me that the players from pick twelve to the players at the end of round one virtually all carry the same grade. While this draft has its stars, it will be known for its depth, and “surprising” risers and fallers come draft day. This pick is one of those “risers,” while the next pick is a “faller,” with either benefiting or suffering from the depth and vague separation between the prospects outside the top ten.
      The Bengals select Leonard Pope, TE, Georgia
      Last edited by OhNoKoolAid; 03-14-2006, 10:28 PM.


      • #4
        25. New York (N)-
        As I said in the Cincinnati comment, the depth of this draft between pick twelve and pick, oh, forty-five is almost as good as last year’s, if not equal. Because this player, DeMeco Ryans, isn’t at pick twelve in this mock doesn’t mean I don’t believe he is worthy of being picked there, because he is. As for the Giants, New York has entertained the idea of bringing in a top ‘backer like Arrington, but with the linebackers likely to fall to 25, (Sims, Jackson, Hodge…at least one will be here) it would be a cheaper gamble to wait for the draft. Rookie outside linebackers are the most common early contributors.
        The Giants select Demeco Ryans, LB, Alabama

        26. Chicago-
        The Bears need an offensive playmaker. Period. So much so that they were desperate for Randle El at the start of free agency, but not to the point to overpay for him. Ideally, Chicago would love for one of the top two wide receivers or Pope to be here, making this decision easy. Without a surefire first rounder at either of those positions left, the Bears may be forced to reach a bit. Sinorice Moss and Marcedes Lewis are potential candidates. In this draft, the Bears play it safe and address their only need on defense, which is speed and man cover skills at corner.
        The Bears select Ashton Youboty, CB, Ohio State

        27. Carolina-
        One thing to watch for in this draft is trades in the middle of the twenties by teams looking for running backs. Should Denver in fact take the third running back of round one, you might see a team like Indianapolis vault Carolina to take the remaining back, or even a team like the Jets trading back into round one to nab a back that would go in the top fifteen in another draft. This is caused by teams in the teens already addressing running back needs in free agency (Baltimore, Arizona, Minnesota). Indy can breath easier, Carolina has a more pressing need: outside linebacker. With Morgan and converted safety Davis, Carolina is two-thirds complete, but losing Witherspoon hurts. Although listed by most as a middle linebacker, Jackson is a versatile athlete that can play all three positions and fill in for when Morgan spends his eight routine weeks on the shelf.
        The Panthers select D’Qwell Jackson, LB, Maryland

        28. Jacksonville-
        The Jaguars have had the strangest off-season that nobody is talking about. Del Rio has given Tice his blessing to recruit every recent first round bust tackle weighing over 330 lbs. in hopes of rekindling Tice’s old magic as an offensive line coach. This is odd to me, because it appears the Jaguars are 4/5ths complete with a young line already, with the development of rookie Barnes, center Meester, and guard Manuwai, and the money spent to retain Maurice Williams last year. At this rate, Jacksonville likely covets Jean-Gilles here, but sarcasm aside, this team will look to replace linebacker Ayodele. Sims is a speedy weakside ‘backer with the playmaking skills Del Rio covets at the position.
        The Jaguars select Ernie Sims, LB, Florida State

        29. Denver-
        While most fans consider pass rusher to be the Broncos greatest need (me included), it is important to look at the character and trends of the draft. Outside of the Bengals, there isn’t one team between Denver’s picks that needs an outside pass rusher, and the Bengals would look inside at tackle for help first. What pass rusher is available at pick 22 would likely be there at pick 29, barring trade. Even if one is taken, there are about five guys in this range that carry very similar grades for it to make little difference. It comes down to Hali and Wimbley, with the edge to Wimbley. Why? Well, looking at the players entertained by Denver (Carter, Abraham), Wimbley has the physical prototype of that type of pass rusher (speed, rangy build, projectable size). The Broncos go for speed and potential over motor and well-roundedness.
        The Broncos select Kamerion Wimbley, DE, Florida State

        30. Indianapolis-
        While you could argue that this team has several defensive holes it should address immediately, keep in mind that no team drafts middle-round, undersized linebackers better than the Colts. This team is built off of its offense, and it will look for James’ successor first and foremost. In past mocks, I’ve compared Maroney to the very player he will attempt to replace. With the similarities in blocking styles between the Gophers and the Colts, Maroney should need little time to learn the terminology and technique. Great zone runner for a good zone blocking team.
        The Colts select Laurence Maroney, RB, Minnesota

        31. Seattle-
        Should the Seahawks match the offer for Hutchison, they will have successfully kept the core in place of what is a title contending team. What that would also mean is that they may be forced to bow out of the Abraham sweepstakes. I can only see two needs for this team, one being wide receiver depth, and the other being pass rusher, and only because they have made the effort to pursue the market’s finest, not because of the statistics accumulated by this line. Hali is the type of lineman this team craves, a relentless motor rusher who overcomes physical limitations to make an impact on the game. He may lack Abraham’s production potential, but he is a perfect match for the system.
        The Seahawks select Tamba Hali, DE, Penn State

        32. Pittsburgh-
        It may appear that the champs have lost several pieces, but this is still a team with very few holes. The team may eventually seek Randle El’s replacement in this draft, and Will Blackmon would fill his versatile role quite nicely. I can see the Steelers going one of two directions here. The first would be gambling on Cromartie, which would be rather uncharacteristic for a front office known for playing it safe. With the depth at corner in this draft being stronger than the top level talent of the position, the Steelers would face little drop off between a corner here, and say, Richard Marshall or Dee Webb at the end of round two. The second is filling the void left by Kimo Von Oelhoffen at end, despite it being very unglamorous. A tackle at Miami, Harris displayed a very powerful lower body and the ability to play multiple gaps. He has the size and strength to hold up at end in the 3-4.
        The Steelers select Orien Harris, DT, Miami
        Last edited by OhNoKoolAid; 03-16-2006, 08:57 PM.


        • #5
          Originally posted by OhNoKoolAid
          For part two (3/15)
          Does 12:01 AM, 3/15 qualify?

          Lol, just kiddin'...


          • #6
            The final installment will come Wednesday afternoon or evening.


            • #7
              Great so far- To good to fall back to page 4- Bump

              Above I will list all my predictions for the 2005 season.


              • #8
                Did you put this together yourself OhNo? Insightful, as usual.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Buff_bronc_fan
                  Did you put this together yourself OhNo? Insightful, as usual.
                  Yeah, I did. Sorry it isn't done, I might finish it tonight.


                  • #10
                    Good work, dude!!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by OhNoKoolAid
                      Yeah, I did. Sorry it isn't done, I might finish it tonight.
                      No worries, but I'll look fwd to seein the rest. I'll have to owe you a CP for all this, I need to spread the love a little bit.


                      • #12
                        wow I pretty much agree with every pick.

                        nice job man!


                        • #13
                          I've just added the final eight picks.

                          Also, thanks to all of you who have left kind words in my CPs and in direct comments to this thread.


                          • #14

                            I was wondering what you were thinking of Denver's move up to the #15 spot... Don't make me wait til the next mock man- who's Denver after? Are we gonna try to jump up again and get a QB or are we targeting a WR @ 15? Or am I completely off?


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Buff_bronc_fan
                              I was wondering what you were thinking of Denver's move up to the #15 spot... Don't make me wait til the next mock man- who's Denver after? Are we gonna try to jump up again and get a QB or are we targeting a WR @ 15? Or am I completely off?
                              My initial reaction is that this move targets the top wide receiver available, and should both be available, I think Jackson may be more enticing to the team because he demonstrated ability as both an underneath receiver and an over the top threat. I know scouts harp on him for inconsistency, but I wouldn't put all the blame on him. Last season, the entire offense was learning a new system, and Leak's struggles in the middle of the season didn't do him any favors. With his size, speed, and hands, he reminds me of Chris Chambers, because the both of them look like running backs at first impression. He hasn't been asked to block much, but his size lends to plus ability in that area down the road. I would imagine that Jackson is our guy at pick 15.

                              At this point, I'm not going to change the selection I made at pick 22. My prefrence would be to grab the best situational rusher available, but enough talk has come out of people close to the situation stating the team would like a big time back. I just haven't heard enough otherwise to change that at this time.