I won’t bore you with a complete mock draft, because the more picks a person makes the more variables, and the more chance they are really, really wrong. I will tackle the top ten picks, though. I think there will be some trade action in the top ten, but none has happened as I write this, so I won’t try to guess what might happen. I’ll also resist the temptation to go with what I think teams should do, and instead will try to go with what I think teams will do. For example, I think the Jags will pick Mark Sanchez if he is available, but I really, really don’t think that they should.
1. Detroit – Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia – Anyone is okay for the Lions as long as it isn’t a wide receiver. That would just be bad karma. I’m not convinced that Stafford is a franchise QB, but the Lions seem to think he is. At the very least, he can’t be any worse than Joey Harrington.
2. St. Louis – Jason Smith, OT, Baylor – The Rams have all sorts of needs, but they need a tackle now that Orlando Pace has moved on.Smith and Eugene Monroe are neck and neck and either could go here, but Smith seems to have a bit more momentum at this point.
3. Kansas City – Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest – No team in history has ever registered fewer sacks in a season than the Chiefs did last year. Curry is a versatile defensive player who can make life uncomfortable for opposing quarterbacks. He’s by far the best defensive player on the board, so this is a no-brainer.
4. Seattle – Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia – They need to protect Hasselbeck and his eventual replacement, so this makes sense. I could have seen them picking a QB here if one was worthy, but I don’t think they are convinced enough about Sanchez to pay him this kind of money.
5. Cleveland – Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech – Eric Mangini is far from a genius, but he could look like one if he makes this pick and then does the right thing by keeping Braylon Edwards around. Those two could combine to be a truly terrifying duo, regardless of who is throwing to them.
6. Cincinnati – Andre Smith, OT, Alabama – So much for Smith’s freefall. He hasn’t been impressive at all since the season ended, but the game time tells a different story. Smith needs to protect the fragile Carson Palmer, and Smith is the best remaining. The Bengals aren’t afraid of bad attitudes, either.
7. Oakland – Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri – This probably isn’t Oakland’s biggest need. Bran Orakpo would make more sense in a lot of ways. I just can’t see Al Davis passing on a big, fast, impressive receiver like this. He’s a sucker for them, and he hasn’t had one in a while.
8. Jacksonville – Mark Sanchez, QB, Jacksonville – I hope I’m wrong here – I would much rather see Sanchez fall to San Francisco, Denver, or Washington and see the Jags fill one of their other big needs.
9. Green Bay – Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State – The Packers could really use offensive line help, but they can get that later just as well as they can here unless one of the top tackles drop.Otherwise, they could use someone to anchor their defensive line, and I like Maybin better than B.J. Raji in terms of the upside and the amble involved. Besides, a DE is more interesting than a DT.
10. San Francisco – Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee – The Niners would leap at either of the top two QBs if they fell down here, and I can see scenarios where Stafford might. If not then I look for them to address their pass rush, and Ayers has been climbing boards quickly since the end of the season.