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2009 Mock Draft 3.0, Part One

1. Detroit Lions: Eugene Monroe, tackle, Virginia. Several weeks after our most recent mock draft, our opinion hasn’t changed. The Lions need to go with the position that has the lowest failure rate, and that’s left tackle. It’s just their luck that there are several elite tackles from which to choose. So count on the Lions, when judged by hindsight, picking the wrong one. 2. St. Louis Rams: Jason Smith, tackle, Baylor. The offensive line has been terrible, and it got worse with Orlando Pace being released. Good left tackles in their 20s are found only in one place -- the top of the draft. Because once they land on a team, that team doesn’t let them go. 3. Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Curry, linebacker, Wake Forest. We think the Chiefs would love to move back and stockpile picks, and could pull it off if someone wants to beat the Seahawks to the first quarterback off the board. If the Chiefs can’t move out, Curry makes the most sense. 4. Seattle Seahawks: Mark Sanchez, quarterback, USC. As the draft gets closer, the notion of the Seahawks going for a quarterback is only getting stronger. 5. Cleveland Browns: Aaron Maybin, linebacker/defensive end, Penn State. With Brian Orakpo possibly becoming this year’s Vernon Gholston, coach Eric Mangini will address an area of need with a guy who has fewer questions marks. He could become a stud as a 3-4 outside linebacker. But if they trade Braylon Edwards, look for the Browns to go receiver. Either way, they might try to trade down and address either position. 6. Cincinnati Bengals: Andre Smith, tackle, Alabama. The team’s middle-finger-to-the-world decision to give safe harbor to Tank Johnson is further evidence of the contrarian mindset that drives personnel decision-making processes in the Queen City. If Smith is there, and he likely will be, then we think Smith will be the pick. 7. Oakland Raiders: Michael Crabtree, receiver, Texas Tech. The Raiders supposedly showed mild interest in T.O. because they think that Crabtree will be on the board at No. 7. Under this scenario, he is. Then again, they might be secretly coveting another pass-catcher. 8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jeremy Maclin, receiver, Missouri. With Tra Thomas signed for three years, there’s no longer a pressing need for a left tackle. So the Jags can instead focus on the position that has been a chronic weakness in Jacksonville for years. We also don’t rule out a trade up to No. 6 — the Jags could steal Crabtree from the Raiders and the Bengals could still get Smith, at a lower price and with an extra pick or two arising from the transaction. Or it could be that the Raiders are putting out smoke signals that the want Crabtree so that the Jags won’t jump to No. 6 in order to get Maclin before Oakland can squat on his rights. 9. Green Bay Packers: Brian Orakpo, linebacker/defensive end, Texas. The Packers need personnel for their switch to a 3-4 front. Despite concerns that Orakpo is a workout warrior only, the Packers will be more willing to take a chance than the Browns -- especially at a lower salary slot. 10. San Francisco 49ers: Matthew Stafford, Georgia. We’ll call this one a hunch. Maybe, just maybe, the Niners are pretending to shun Stafford based on the overblown story regarding the question he was asked by a psychologist at the Combine relating to his parents’ divorce. If so, then they’re brilliant. And it would be the first brilliant thing they’ve done in a while. 11. Buffalo Bills: Robert Ayers, defensive end, Tennessee. With the offense improving, the Bills need to beef up the defense. They can address needs at linebacker and defensive back in the later rounds. 12. Denver Broncos: Malcolm Jenkins, defensive back, Ohio State. Now that new coach Josh McDaniels has run off the leader of the offense, he can lay the foundation for ditching the cornerstone of the defense. 13. Washington Redskins: Michael Oher, tackle, Mississippi. It’ll be interesting to see whether the Redskins toy with taking Josh Freeman if, as in this simulation, he’s still on the board. In the end, look for them to address a bigger area of need. Maybe. 14. New Orleans Saints: B.J. Raji, defensive tackle, Boston College. A mini-slide by Raji, which could get worse if his name actually shows up on the positive drug test list from the Combine, gives the Saints a chance to build their own Williams Wall in the middle of the defensive line, pairing Raji with 2008 first rounder Sedrick Ellis. 15. Houston Texans: Brian Cushing, linebacker, USC. The recent influx of free-agent linebackers strikes us as a way to throw other teams off the scent about their interest in Cushing. 16. San Diego Chargers: Knowshon Moreno, running back, Georgia. LaDainian Tomlinson or Darren Sproles -- or both -- have only one more year with the team. Enter Moreno, who could make the fans quickly forget about L.T.