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News » A very early NFL mock draft

A very early NFL mock draft

A very early NFL mock draft
A mock draft before February's NFL Scouting Combine and free agency period is a bit like shopping for Christmas gifts in August or picking the next "American Idol" before Hollywood. It's a bit too early to know for sure, but you still have a pretty good idea how things will turn out. A lot can happen between now and the last Saturday in April. A bad combine performance, a few awful interviews, a poor Wonderlic test, a run-in with the law — we've seen it all before. But with the Super Bowl now done and dusted, it's time to talk draft. Here's my "probably a bit too early" mock draft 1.0.

1. Detroit: Matt Stafford, QB, Georgia, Junior

A sea of Stafford haters and doubters are already surfacing. That's fine. They're wrong. The guy's got the best arm in this draft, worked in a pro-style offense, and has all the makings of a big-time NFL quarterback. Don't blame him for Georgia's down year last season. Their defense was a joke. Stafford to the Lions. Put it in ink.

2. St. Louis: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama, Junior

The heir apparent to Orlando Pace at left tackle in St. Louis, this makes sense. Smith is 6-4, 330 pounds, and is great in both pass and run protection. GM Billy Devaney and new head coach Steve Spagnuolo may be thinking defense here, but they'll go with the mauling left tackle instead.

3. Kansas City: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas, Senior

I've got the versatile Orakpo (he could either play DE or outside linebacker) going MUCH earlier than some of the other pundits out there. I've seen him pegged as low as No. 20 on some sites. But Kansas City had the absolute worst pass rush in the league last season, and combined for the least sacks for a unit since the NFL started tracking the statistic in the early '80s. Add Orakpo alongside Glenn Dorsey and Tamba Hali, and the D-Line might actually resemble a formidable unit next season. Or throw him at outside linebacker and let him run wild. He can do either. Scott Pioli took the best defensive player on the board last year — Jerod Mayo — and did so several spots ahead of where the mock draft "experts" thought he'd go. It worked out fairly well. He was the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year. All those "problems" at quarterback? Tyler Thigpen and Brodie Croyle are not the reasons the Chiefs stunk last year.

4. Seattle: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech, Sophomore

The Seahawks started Logan Payne and Courtney Taylor at wideout for a game last season. Branch and Engram, though still more than capable, are beyond their best years. There's no depth at the position. Larry Fitzgerald showed just how valuable a game-breaking wideout is in today's NFL. Crabtree's a perfect fit for Seattle.

5. Cleveland: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest, Senior

Compared to everyone from Derrick Brooks to Keith Bulluck, Curry is this year's Pat Willis/Jon Beason sure-thing pick at linebacker. Does he fit well in Eric Mangini's 3-4 scheme? We'll have to see. But based on what Cleveland has at linebacker now, he's a tremendous upgrade.

6. Cincinnati: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College, Senior

The Bengals wanted to land USC's Sedrick Ellis last year, but the Saints moved up and snagged him. Raji's no consolation prize. A beast at DT, he's the real deal and had a fantastic Senior Bowl week in Mobile. Cincinnati's D started to gel a bit toward the end of last season; throwing a run-stuffing clog in the middle will only help them in '09 and beyond.

7. Oakland: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia, Senior

Virginia's becoming an offensive lineman factory. D'Brickashaw Ferguson in '06, Brandon Albert in '07, and now the versatile Monroe in '08. The kid's a player. Don't laugh, but the Oakland offense started coming around toward the end of last year. Adding another piece — Oakland's third offensive first-round pick in a row — would go a long way for the future. Current starting left tackle Mario Henderson's probably not the long-term answer.

8. Jacksonville: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor, Senior

The big boy can move. Smith has what scouts are calling "great feet." Does Jessica Alba have great feet? I'm not sure what "great feet" even means, but the Jaguars sure can use some anchoring on their offensive line. A unit depleted by injuries last year, Smith could start right away for Jack Del Rio.


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Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 3, 2009

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