San Francisco – QB Alex Smith, Utah
Smith is the best QB available, as Cal QB Aaron Rogers isn’t quite the athlete that Smith is. The 49ers know they cannot win right now and they will build their offense around Smith for the next few years.
2. Miami – RB Ronnie Brown, Auburn
Dolphins coaches have been discussing more and more the possibility of taking the quarterback that isn’t selected by San Francisco with the first selection. I still think that Brown and his tough running and excellent hands will win out and they will look at a signal-caller in the next round or two.
3. Cleveland – LB Derrick Johnson, Texas
This is where the Draft could go a number of different ways. Cleveland could opt for a QB, RB, WR or a LB. Johnson is, unquestionably, the best defensive player on the board and new Browns head coach Romeo Crennel is a defensive-minded guy. He will get a good one in Johnson.
4. Chicago – RB Cedric Benson, Texas
The Bears could go a number of ways with this selection. If the Browns don’t select Johnson with the third pick, the Bears could look to load up on more talent on defense. Benson dropped after his private workouts because of his mediocre 40 time, but his productivity speaks for itself and he has begun to climb back up the board. Teams now see him as a workhorse back that can carry the ball 25-30 times per game.
5. Tampa Bay – RB Cadillac Williams, Auburn
Bucs head coach John Gruden may select a QB here if Rogers or Smith fall. Williams’ skills will win out though. Williams has a lot of the talents needed to succeed in Gruden’s offense and if he is available here, it should be a pretty easy pick for the Buccaneers.
6. Tennessee – WR Braylon Edwards, Michigan
The Titans need a CB to replace the departed Samari Rolle as well as playmakers on the outside for QB Steve McNair to throw to. Miami corner Antrel Rolle is a definite possibility here, but Edwards is considered one of the best players in the country and if he is still on the board, they would be hard-pressed to pass him up.
7. Minnesota – WR Mike Williams, USC
With the trade of WR Randy Moss, the Vikings are in the market for another playmaker on the outside. Williams has had solid workouts after taking the year off and has positioned himself as the equal of Edwards on most teams’ boards. What he lacks in deep speed, he makes up for in route-running and strength.
8. Arizona – CB Antrel Rolle, Miami
Dennis Green loves offensive players, but he would have to be ecstatic if Rolle fell this far. Rolle is solid in run support and adds a winning attitude to a defense that began to come into its own last season.
9. Washington – WR Troy Williamson, South Carolina
Williamson has had excellent workouts this offseason and other than Troy DE/OLB DeMarcus Ware, he has the most buzz heading into the week before the draft. With the loss of WR Laverneus Coles and the likely trade of Rod Gardner, the need for a big-play wideout takes precedence over the need for a corner.
10. Detroit – QB Aaron Rogers, California
If Rogders falls this far, Lions head coach Steve Mariucci would be hard-pressed to pass him up. Marriucci loves quarterbacks and current Lions starter Joey Harrington has fallen out of favor. The Lions could look to take the first offensive lineman off the board at this spot, but the value of adding Rogers may be too much to pass up.
11. Dallas – LB DeMarcus Ware, Troy
As stated earlier, Ware has been rocketing up the boards of most teams and the buzz surrounding his name has reached monumental proportions. He is the best pass-rush threat available and he would be perfect for the Cowboys’ aggressive defense. Get ready DeMarcus, you are going to be getting head coach Bill Parcells’ water during training camp this year.
12. San Diego – DE Shawne Merriman, Maryland
Merriman has added about 12 pounds to his frame and is up to 274 as of this writing. He has not lost any speed and his relentless motor would be a perfect fit in sunny San Diego. His speed off the edge is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Chargers.
13. Houston – T Alex Barron, Florida State
Barron is the perfect fit for the undermanned Texans offensive line. He is a superb athlete who will be protecting QB David Carr’s blind-side for the next decade.
14. Carolina – T Khalif Barnes, Washington
This might seem like a bit of a surprise, but Barnes’ stock has skyrocketed since the Combine and his Pro Day workout. Barnes is an excellent athlete who can be the bookend right tackle to Jordon Gross on the left side.
15. Kansas City – DE David Pollack, Georgia
Chief officials would be jumping for joy if Pollack is still available here. He has been the most productive defensive end in the country over the last three seasons and his stock has remained pretty much the same. Some fears have been raised about his overall size, but you cannot argue with his production against the top-level talent of the SEC.
16. New Orleans – S Thomas Davis, Georgia
The Saints may look at a corner here, but Davis has risen on most teams’ draft boards over the last week or so. He can play outside linebacker or strong safety and his ability to cover backs out of the backfield may determine where he best fits on the defense. The Saints need playmakers in their deep patrol and Davis would add an intimidation factor to the Bayou.
17. Cincinnati – DT Travis Johnson, FloridaState
Johnson is the best of a weak defensive tackle crop and Bengals head man Marvin Lewis needs a guy to anchor the middle of the defensive front. His strength is stuffing the run even though he may be a bit undersized.
18. Minnesota – DE Erasmus James, Wisconsin
With their wideout needs met with the seventh selection, they can focus their priorities on the defensive side of the ball. James’ stock has dropped a little, but he still provides a good pass-rush off the edge and his speed can wreak havoc in the backfield once he learns some different pass-rush moves.
19. St. Louis – T Jammal Brown, Oklahoma
One of the Rams’ biggest downfalls was their inability to protect quarterback Marc Bulger. Enter Brown who has quick feet and solid technique. Brown isn’t an elite athlete, but he works hard and has the necessary athleticism to be an excellent right tackle at the pro level.
20. Dallas – CB Adam Jones, West Virginia
Jones’ stock has dropped the most of any first round prospect. The problem? His size. Parcells has worked with several smaller corners and the Cowboys would be committing grand larceny if Jones was still available when they select here.
21. Jacksonville – CB Carlos Rogers, Auburn
The Jags need corners. They may even take another one even if Rogers is their selection. Rogers’ stock has climbed over the last few weeks and with his size/speed combination he is an ideal candidate to be taken here.
22. Baltimore – WR Roddy White, UAB
With the loss of Travis Taylor during free agency the Ravens are in the market for a wideout. White has impressed several coaches over the last week or so with his good speed and strength. The Ravens could look to the defense with this pick, but White seems to be the logical choice.
23. Seattle – LB Darryl Blackstock, Virginia
The Hawks have cut Anthony Simmons and Chad Brown may be next. Even with the signing of Jamie Sharper, the Hawks are still in the market for talented linebackers. Blackstock is an excellent athlete who can stuff the run or rush the passer. He is tough and his athleticism is sorely needed in a rebuilding Seahawks linebacker unit.
24. Green Bay – DE Marcus Spears, LSU
Had Spears left last season he would have been a likely top-15 selection. Now he falls to the Packers and they are excited about it. Spears has the same body and athleticism of the late Reggie White, but can Spears get the most out of his abilities like the future Hall-of-Famer?
25. Denver – CB Justin Miller, Clemson
After losing Kelly Herndon in free agency, the Broncos will be looking for a playmaker at cornerback. Miller is also a solid return man who would help with field position as well.
26. New York Jets – TE Heath Miller, Virginia
If not for a wrist injury, Miller would be a top-10 prospect. As it is, the Jets get a solid blocker and good receiver who has the speed to stretch the deep seem.
27. Atlanta Falcons – DE Shaun Cody, USC
Cody can play inside or outside. His versatility just adds to a deep and diverse Atlanta defensive line that sports several outstanding players.
28. San Diego – WR Mark Clayton, Oklahoma
Clayton would be an excellent get for the Chargers here. He will be another weapon for QB Drew Brees to throw to and add a big-play dimension to the offense. His lack of size is the only thing that dropped him this far down. If he were 3 inches taller and 10 pounds heavier, he would be a top-15 player.
29. Indianapolis – CB Fabian Washington, Nebraska
Washington’s stock rose big-time after he registered the fastest 40 time at the Combine. His 4.29 speed will be a different dimension to the Colts’ deep patrol and he can learn head coach Tony Dungy’s cover-two scheme as the third corner.
30. Pittsburgh – LB Channing Crowder, Florida
Some think Crowder’s stock has fallen enough that he may last into the second round. I think his upside is too high to let him fall that far and with a team like Pittsburgh, which doesn’t have a lot of holes on defense, he can ease into the flow of things his rookie season.
31. Philadelphia – RB J.J. Arrington, California
Some might see this as a bit of a reach, but Arrington will prove to be the steal of the draft at #31. The Eagles have a good player in Brian Westbrook, but Arrington gives them that workhorse back that can carry the load and then be spelled by Westbrook, who is a prototype third-down back.
32. New England – CB Corey Webster, LSU
When WR Troy Brown had to play corner during the last half of the season, the need for another corner presented itself. Webster has the experience (four-year starter) and with him playing against some of the best wideouts in the country in the SEC he should make a smooth transition to the NFL.
.NET Reporter Scott Eklund writes for Seahawks.NET every week. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.