Football Outsiders
Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis

2009 FO Mock Draft

2009 FO Mock Draft
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Bill Barnwell

Mock drafts are a special sort of useless.

Our biggest problem with mock drafts is that the majority of them don't factor in the possibility of trades, rendering them virtually moot. Mid-draft trades have resulted in changes in the first round's draft order as far as we care to look back; last year, there were eight different trades in the first round alone.

Mocks also spend too much time focusing on need while ignoring the reality of how and why organizations value players. Not to pick on a frequent target, but Pat Kirwan's mock at is a good example. Ignoring the likelihood of the Seahawks taking Matthew Stafford fourth overall when they've already invested so much in Matt Hasselbeck (or the Jaguars doing the same with Mark Sanchez when David Garrard's contract is a year old), there are some moves that make absolutely no sense considering the style of play the organizations run, or their history in selecting players. What are the odds on the Patriots -- a team that has refused to spend much more than the league minimum on cornerbacks since Bill Belichick arrived -- spending a first-round pick on a cornerback? Why would the Colts spend a first-round pick on a middle linebacker when Gary Brackett has another year left on his deal and, more importantly, he's the first linebacker Bill Polian has spent money on? Why would the Texans go after a halfback? The Lions -- of all things -- a linebacker?

So, after all those mock drafts, it's time for ours. We're going to forecast several trades that we think make sense for both teams involved. We'll make some controversial picks that fit both the philosophy and the needs of the organizations therein.

And we'll get a lot of it wrong. But at least we'll go down swinging. Consider this a mock draft of what could happen, if not necessarily what will.

We're forecasting five trades that affect first-round picks; while there's usually more action in the first round, this is probably the weakest draft since 2005, and the pools of talent are relatively distinct (lots of talent at tackle and linebacker; little at safety, guard, and halfback). There are not going to be a lot of teams desperately looking to move up or down in the draft.

The one trade we'll mention before getting to our mock involves the Philadelphia Eagles. Although there's certainly a distinct pool of talent in this draft at tackle, and (as discussed at length in last week's Four Downs on the NFC East) the Eagles could choose to move Todd Herremans to left tackle, we think Philadelphia will trade the 28th overall pick to Buffalo for the 139th overall pick and left tackle Jason Peters. Although Peters struggled last year, he was among the best left tackles in the league in 2006 and 2007; he's a supreme talent, and a better fit for a team attempting to win now than any of the tackles in the draft. At 27, he's still in his prime and fits the Eagles' organizational philosophy. Buffalo, meanwhile, is obviously uninterested in re-signing Peters to the contract he wants, so this move allows them to find his replacement in a deep class of tackles. It's a move that makes sense for both teams.

Without further adieu...

1. Detroit Lions: Jason Smith, T, Baylor. This will be a very interesting sign of how much power Jim Schwartz has in Detroit as opposed to general manager Martin Mayhew. You might suspect that we're not proffering support for Matthew Stafford as the first overall pick, thanks to the Lewin Career Forecast. We suspect that the analytics-appreciating Schwartz is well aware of Stafford's comparable quarterbacks, and would much prefer taking one of the draft's tackles.

We figure Smith over Eugene Monroe because of their nature; Monroe's more of a finished product, but he's a pass blocker first. The Lions are going to be building around an ability to run the football, for better or worse, and Smith's the better run blocker. Worth noting is that Detroit hasn't even brought Monroe in for a one-on-one interview yet. The Lions could choose to take Aaron Curry and just focus all their resources on building a Tennessee-esque set of linebackers, but with Ernie Sims and Julian Peterson already in place, Smith makes the most sense.

2. St. Louis Rams: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest. Let's be honest: The Rams are riddled with holes. After cutting Orlando Pace and Torry Holt, mock drafts have made a case for either (Jason) Smith, Monroe, or Curry.

But their head coach is Steve Spagnuolo. And while Spagnuolo doesn't have the final say on player personnel, he certainly has a lot of say in that room. And we suspect that Spagnuolo will want to take the best pass rusher he can find for his defense and move Alex Barron over to left tackle. Curry is an excellent nine-technique player and is superb enough in coverage that Spagnuolo can build his blitz packages around disguising what Curry is going to do on every play, just like he did with Justin Tuck in New York last year.

3. Kansas City Chiefs: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College. Raji before Monroe? Absolutely. Monroe's probably the better player, but look at the history of Scott Pioli when he ran the Patriots front office. When Pioli and Bill Belichick were building the Patriots, before anything else, they went for defensive linemen with their first-round picks. Three of Pioli's four first-round picks after taking over player personnel were defensive linemen, and they were all hits.

Whither Glenn Dorsey, you ask? Dorsey's not a 3-4 nose tackle. Maybe he has the skillset to do it, but at 295 or 300 pounds, he doesn't have the size. Consider that Richard Seymour, who plays end for the Patriots, weighs 310 pounds. Dorsey is moving to end as soon as the Chiefs find a nose tackle who fits, while Tamba Hali's going to be an outside linebacker. Raji is 337 pounds and comes from a school and a system that Pioli's familiar with, and he's an ideal fit as a 3-4 nose tackle. While some have complained that Raji's too small to play the nose at 6-foot-2, Vince Wilfork -- who Pioli drafted to play the nose in New England -- is, in fact, 6-2.

4. Seattle Seahawks: Eugene Monroe, T, Virginia. This is a tricky spot to project. Tim Ruskell loves selecting defensive players from big schools with big pedigrees in the first round, and a couple are on the board in Brian Orakpo and Aaron Maybin; the trade of Julian Peterson could have theoretically opened a spot for the Seahawks to draft one of those two outside linebackers.

In the long run, though, the Seahawks need a tackle more than they need a linebacker to play alongside Leroy Hill and Lofa Tatupu. Even if Walter Jones returns from microfracture surgery at 100 percent, Seattle's patience with Sean Locklear has worn thin at right tackle, and Monroe's abilities in pass protection are a great fit for Seattle's strengths offensively.

5. Cleveland Browns: Brian Orakpo, LB, Texas. Assuming that Eric Mangini wasn't totally soured on drafting edge rushers after the Vernon Gholston disaster last year, it seems logical that he and personnel wizard George Kokinis -- the duo known simply as "ManKok" -- will go after one of the draft's many linebackers to improve their defense. While D'Qwell Jackson has some promise on one side of the line, David Bowens is strictly a placeholder who's familiar with Mangini's scheme.

Orakpo played end at Texas, but his size and skillset profiles better as a Sam linebacker in the 3-4 at the pro level. He's also the exact opposite of Gholston: While the Ohio State star was well-known for taking plays off and delivering in bursts, Orakpo's an all-effort player who is renowned for his motor. Mangini won't pick him solely because of that fact, but for a coach who's already been burned once, it's hard to imagine that the past won't come into consideration.

6. Cincinnati Bengals: Michael Oher, T, Mississippi. This spot had Michael Crabtree in it until the Bengals signed Laveranues Coles; with Crabtree probably off the board, the Bengals could go a few different ways. They were last in the league in Adjusted Line Yards on offense a year ago, when they were beset by injury. Also, Levi Jones is [ed: Fixed, thanks] a right tackle playing left tackle. They could also choose to upgrade their group of linebackers, but all the other 4-3 linebackers have a grade in the middle of the first round at best, and the Bengals aren't likely to find a trade partner at this point of the draft unless someone really wants Crabtree.

Andre Smith has consistently graded out as superior to Oher on film; the problem, of course, is that he has been perceived as absolutely nuts since he got kicked off of his team before their bowl game. It's unconscionable to think that a team that has placed such focus on character since the antics of the early-aughts Bengals would take such a public pariah, regardless of his ability; Oher's the safer pick at the moment.

7. Oakland Raiders: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech. Yes, it's cliché to do this. But it actually does make sense. The Raiders, for all their failings and faults, do need a wide receiver pretty badly. The fact that they gave Javon Walker silly money to be one is unfortunate, but does not change this fact. Bringing in Crabtree makes much more sense than, say, a move for Darren McFadden, and that still happened. Although Tom Cable might fight for the team to take Andre Smith, Crabtree's going to be the pick if he falls here.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State. For all the talk that Jenkins isn't fast enough to play corner in the NFL, plenty of NFL players with a similar mix of Jenkins' size and timed speed have made it as successful NFL cornerbacks.

Player Height Weight 40 Time
Malcolm Jenkins 6-0 204 4.51
Antonio Cromartie 6-2 208 4.47
Marlin Jackson 6-1 198 4.52
Corey Webster 6-0 199 4.51
Charles Tillman 6-1 207 4.49
Quentin Jammer 6-0 204 4.49

While the Jaguars have shown a propensity for taking Combine heroes in the past, that's not necessarily going to be the case under new general manager Gene Smith. While mock drafts have linked the Jaguars to Mark Sanchez because David Garrard's contract is free of roster bonuses through 2009, there's no real evidence that the Jags are unhappy with Garrard's performance, and they have a gaping hole at cornerback after Drayton Florence failed.

9. Green Bay Packers: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU. It all depends on what the Packers think is a bigger hole in their new 3-4. If it's at outside linebacker, they'd likely choose Everette Brown. We suspect they'll think the bigger hole is at defensive end, where the Packers don't have an obvious starter across from Cullen Jenkins. Jackson's strictly a 3-4 end without the ability to be an elite pass rusher, but at 296 pounds, he's exactly what the Packers need to occupy space in front of Aaron Kampman. Expecting Dom Capers to go to bat for an LSU guy shouldn't surprise anyone, either.

10. San Francisco 49ers: Everette Brown, LB, Florida State. Would the 49ers think long and hard about taking Stafford here? Absolutely. Getting burnt on Alex Smith has undoubtedly scared them, though, and the organization has been desperately trying to foster a pass rush for four years now. Despite spending boatloads of money on Justin Smith and drafting Kentwan Balmer and Manny Lawson with first-round picks, they haven't been able to do anything yet. Enter Brown, who profiles perfectly as an outside linebacker in the 3-4 with the potential to be an elite nine-technique rusher. His presence would create space for everyone else on the defense to do their jobs more effectively while giving Mike Singletary another linebacker to play with. This front office, to be honest, doesn't have the life meter left to take a chance on another quarterback. Brown is the smarter guess.

It's a team that actually would take a chance on a rookie quarterback that we forecast to acquire the 11th overall pick from the Bills in a trade. That would be the New York Jets, who would deal the 17th overall pick, the 76th overall pick, and a 2010 third-round pick to the Bills for the 11th pick in the draft. That's a roughly fair swap depending on what draft value chart you use, and with a multitude of tackles and defensive end-types still left on the board, the Bills can afford to trade down and see what's left six picks from now while acquiring a midround pick to make up for the one they lost in the Peters trade. As you might suspect, the Jets select...

11. New York Jets (from Buffalo): Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia. We've spoken about Stafford at length already, and don't think much of him as a potential star quarterback at the next level. That's already well known. Although the Lewin Career Forecast is high on Kellen Clemens, for one reason or another, the Jets don't seem to be.

The Jets, on the other hand, have personal seat licenses to sell. Stafford is the second-biggest name in the draft after Crabtree, and after the success the Ravens had with Joe Flacco a year ago, it's unlikely that Rex Ryan would be opposed to green-lighting the selection of a rookie quarterback in the first round. We're not saying it's going to work. We're just saying it makes sense.

As for the idea of Stafford falling this far? It's certainly plausible. After the Lions, every team except for perhaps the 49ers are committed to a quarterback (or two) at a hefty salary, and we don't think it's likely that the 49ers would go after Stafford. The draft-day falls of Aaron Rodgers and Brady Quinn in recent years are evidence that a quarterback's presence at the top of many a mock draft means little on draft day.

12. Denver Broncos: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC. We're not projecting a Jay Cutler trade, but the distinct possibility exists that Cutler could move on at some point during the offseason. That would require the Broncos to have a new quarterback, and Sanchez makes perfect sense as that player. He's a USC product, just like Matt Cassel, who head coach Josh McDaniels just molded into (a mirage of a) very good quarterback. He's also enough of a team player and moldable enough that McDaniels could see him as the player he can develop into his team's centerpiece.

Even if the Broncos don't trade Cutler, Sanchez gives the Broncos leverage over the offseason with regards to tolerating Cutler's foibles, and allows them to examine whether he can repair his relationship with McDaniels over the upcoming season. McDaniels and new statistically-oriented general manager Brian Xanders may also think that Sanchez and his 64.3% completion percentage will end up being the better player.

It's a controversial pick, sure, but it might be what McDaniels feels he needs to do to regain control of his team.

13. Washington Redskins: Andre Smith, T, Alabama. Why yes, Washington desperately needs a pass rusher who can work alongside Albert Haynesworth. The problem is that the Redskins don't take defensive linemen in the draft. Vinny Cerrato has never selected a defensive lineman before the fifth round of the draft as a member of the Redskins organization; the last defensive linemen he was responsible for selecting with a Day One pick was Israel Ifeanyi with the 49ers in 1996, and Ifeanyi played three NFL games. He's not picking a defensive end here, and the team's next biggest hole is at right tackle.

Stephon Heyer has been wildly inconsistent there when he has been healthy, while Jon Jansen's talents have been ravaged away by age and injury. Heyer could serve as the utility lineman and back up all four tackle and guard spots, and Smith could move in at right tackle before eventually replacing Chris Samuels at left tackle.

Our third trade of the day comes here, with the Saints trading down to acquire extra picks. New Orleans is without a second- or third-round pick thanks to the acquisitions of Jeremy Shockey and Jonathan Vilma. The perhaps-unlikely buyer? The New England Patriots, who have three second-round picks to burn and a player who we feel is their obvious choice. He won't make it to the 23rd pick, though, so we're guessing (and that's the proper word here) that New England gives up the 23rd, 58th, and 186th overall picks in exchange for...

14. New England Patriots (from New Orleans): Brian Cushing, LB, USC. If there's one thing the Patriots value from their linebackers and members of the secondary, it's versatility. They spent big money in free agency on Adalius Thomas, who can play anywhere. They spent a first-round pick on Brandon Meriweather, who can play nowhere anywhere. They spent their 2008 first-round pick on Jerod Mayo, who played both inside and outside in college.

Cushing is the player in this year's draft who has that same sort of versatility. He played defensive end, Sam linebacker, and some middle linebacker for USC after originally showing up on campus as a strong safety. He has durability issues, but he has the football IQ and instincts that Bill Belichick looks for in his defensive players. We can say without hesitation that Cushing to the Patriots makes more sense than virtually any other pick in this mock draft. The Patriots will just need to be willing to pull the trigger on a trade direction they don't normally take to make that happen.

15. Houston Texans: Aaron Maybin, DE/OLB, Penn State. It just so happens that the best player available is exactly the piece that the Texans would want. We'll never understand how the success of Steve Slaton -- a midround pick -- would encourage the Texans to draft a halfback in the first round as opposed to just attempting to find another halfback in the third or fourth round to back up Slaton, but maybe that's too logical of a thought.

Maybin would play outside linebacker for the Texans after playing end for Penn State last year; he's very raw after playing only a single year in college, but as they showed with their selection of Amobi Okoye, Houston isn't afraid to take a player with elite talent and attempt to mold him into a successful part of their defense.

The next trade we project would involve the champions of the NFC; the Cardinals would trade up to the 16th overall pick, giving the Chargers a chance to move down and acquire some additional picks. In return, the Cardinals would give up the 31st overall pick, the 63rd overall pick, and the 159th overall pick. They'd select a fast-rising player to replace the departed Antonio Smith...

16. Arizona Cardinals (from San Diego): Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech. Johnson is an elite athlete who has become a bit of a cause celebre during the scouting process. At 6-7 and 266 pounds, Johnson is the sort of freakish force of nature who would be the first overall pick if he was consistent; instead, he struggles with his technique and is too easily blocked on run plays.

The Cardinals need a player to replace the departed Smith, who was somewhat similar in stature at 6-4, 285. Johnson would likely be a pass-rush specialist at first, but with a confident coaching staff in Arizona, there's reason to think that they could coach him up to be a dynamic 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 outside linebacker if they went in that direction more frequently. Johnson could still be there at 31, but there's every reason to think that a team like Buffalo, Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta, or Baltimore might take a chance on him before they pick at the end of the round.

17. Buffalo Bills (from New York Jets): Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State. In lieu of adding another defensive end or reaching for Eben Britton, the Bills fill their most obvious hole and add a blocking tight end to create holes on the ground for Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson, or whoever's getting the ball out of the backfield in Buffalo. Doug Farrar already wrote at length about Pettigrew's ability in the Washington Post. Pettigrew would give Trent Edwards another option to go along with the deeper threats of Lee Evans and Terrell Owens.

Another trade? You bet. The Giants have two second-round picks, but depth isn't their problem -- after some excellent drafts, they need to add talented, impact players to supplement that depth. That leads to a trade with the Bears, with the Giants giving up the 29th overall pick and the 60th overall pick to Chicago (who needs to add depth at several different positions) to select...

18. New York Giants: Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland. The Giants love freakish athletes. See: Jacobs, Brandon; Kiwanuka, Mathias; Tuck, Justin. They've spent a good amount of currency on wide receivers over the past few drafts, picking up Sinorice Moss, Steve Smith, and Mario Manningham in the process. The problem is that only Smith has made any sort of impact so far. While Manningham is only in his second season, Moss is likely to be cut during training camp.

Heyward-Bey showed off his impressive athletic ability at the Combine, running a 40 that was timed as fast as 4.25 (by the excellent despite weighing 210 pounds. At 6-2, he lacks Plaxico Burress' size, but he's got nearly 30 pounds on Domenik Hixon and profiles as a better downfield threat than does Hixon. He's also got great body control to adapt to off-target throws, something he'd see a fair amount of as a Giants wide receiver.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State. Obviously, the Buccaneers' front office has a bit of a blank slate at the moment; Both Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik are new to their jobs, and their modus operandi appeared to be clearing out as many veterans as possible. There are holes at wide receiver and linebacker, but there's no real obvious drop linebacker for the Buccaneers to take and put into the Tampa-2, and they don't have a great situation at quarterback.

The buzz of people putting two and two together is Freeman's presence at Kansas State while Morris was defensive coordinator there in 2006. That could be a positive or a negative, but to be honest, we don't really think anyone knows. It could be a smokescreen to try and keep teams from grabbing the player the Bucs really want; in lieu of any definitive information one way or another, we'll hesitantly agree with the draft logic and go with Freeman.

20. Detroit Lions: Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi. The trade of Cory Redding opened up an opportunity for the Lions to find a lineman or two in this year's draft. Schwartz's plan for developing linemen is to find five or six and figure out who fits; that would seem to lend itself to taking linemen later in the draft, but Jerry is an excellent athlete on the interior with a great burst off the line. He'd play the three-technique in Schwartz's defense and -- dare we say -- could end up being a poor man's Albert Haynesworth.

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Knowshon Moreno, HB, Georgia. Moreno has a low Speed Score, sure, but so does Brian Westbrook, who has a similar sort of profile and makeup to the former Georgia star. The Eagles do need a backup halfback, and although they could go for a linebacker or a safety here, it's more likely they try and go for depth in the later rounds to fill those spots. Moreno provides leverage against injuries to Westbrook and his eventual departure from the team, which will likely come before Moreno's rookie contract expires.

22. Minnesota Vikings: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri. A receiver who struggles with his routes but can get open deep? Going to the Vikings? Come again, you say! The difference between Maclin and Troy Williamson -- or even, perhaps, Bernard Berrian -- is that Maclin has great hands. He might be best as a rookie coming out of the slot with Sidney Rice serving as the split end, but either way, Maclin would give the Vikings' quarterbacks one less excuse while creating another reason for safeties to stay out of the box. Britton is another option here.

23. New Orleans Saints (from New England): Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois. Sean Payton raved about Davis at the Combine, and although he could have been talking Davis up, the Saints just cut Mike McKenzie and only really have one corner of potential relevance in Tracy Porter. Davis will not fall past the Saints.

24. Atlanta Falcons: Louis Delmas, S, Western Michigan. The talk here is linebacker, but the Falcons should be able to get by with Mike Peterson and Coy Wire for a year with that excellent defensive line in front of them. Delmas is undersized, but is capable of playing either spot in the secondary and has more than a bit of Bob Sanders in him. For a team that was starting Erik Coleman and Lawyer Milloy last year, safety is going to be a concern sooner rather than later. Third-round pick Thomas DeCoud will take one spot, but Delmas should take the other eventually.

25. Miami Dolphins: Ron Brace, DT, Boston College. Brace isn't one of the "Planet Theory" Parcells picks, but instead, he's simply the best 3-4 nose tackle left in the draft for a team that's going to need one; Jason Ferguson, contrary to popular belief, cannot play forever. Although the team might opt for a middle linebacker or reach for a cornerback, adding Brace secures the defensive line for the next few years after Ferguson leaves, adds a potential impact nose tackle to the lineup when Ferguson comes off the field, and fits the organizational philosophy of Parcells and Tony Sparano.

26. Baltimore Ravens: Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest. What does the team that doesn't bust on first-round picks who aren't Kyle Boller get? A corner with an attitude that would make even Ray Lewis blush. Smith is essentially Cortland Finnegan, although even Finnegan has an inch on Smith's 5-9 frame. Smith has great ball skills, gets intelligent position on taller receivers, can jump, and is an excellent tackler in the running game. The Ravens are down to Fabian Washington and Dominique Foxworth in the secondary, but Smith would step in immediately as a nickel corner and end up being part of the next great Ravens defense sometime in 2010.

27. Indianapolis Colts: Evander Hood, DT, Missouri. This would be a dream for the Colts, who need a two-gap tackle more than anything else. Hood isn't an elite athlete at defensive tackle, but he's very quick and does great work in the phone booth. Although the Colts haven't drafted a defensive tackle this high in the past, unlike outside linebacker, they have committed significant cash or assets to players like Corey Simon and Anthony McFarland. That leads me to believe that Bill Polian values defensive tackles more than he does outside linebackers in their system.

28. Buffalo Bills (from Philadelphia Eagles): Eben Britton, T, Arizona. The fifth tackle of the first round would be the Bills' replacement for Peters; he's not the astounding athlete that Peters is, but at 6-6, he has the length to one day be a left tackle in the NFL. 2009 would not be that day, so the Bills would likely have to move Langston Walker over to left tackle while teaching Britton the finer points of pass blocking. Britton played right tackle until his final year at Arizona, so it wouldn't be a brand new experience.

29. Chicago Bears (from New York Giants): Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State. Percy Harvin has the higher grade at the moment, but taking an SEC wide receiver who didn't play in a pro-style offense (or at least wasn't used in a particularly pro-style way) is a move any experienced GM should be able to sniff out by now. Besides, with Devin Hester across the field, Robiskie makes much more sense for the Bears offense. He gives them a possession receiver with the size and hands to pick up first downs while Hester operates deep and Greg Olsen occupies the safeties. He might be available ten picks from now, but the Bears probably won't have the luxury of trading down again to find out.

30. Tennessee Titans: Rey Maualaga, LB, USC. You want to believe that the Titans are going to take a wide receiver? Keep holding your breath. Tennessee has attempted to get by on defense without an excellent middle linebacker for a while now, but Maualaga would take over as the starting middle linebacker immediately for Stephen Tulloch while helping to cushion the blow from the loss of Albert Haynesworth. Although he has had behavioral issues in college, well, the Titans are an organization that doesn't mind taking players of that nature if they can perform. In the Titans' defense, Maualaga would be a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate.

31. San Diego Chargers: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee. Ayers is a little undersized at 272 pounds to be a 3-4 defensive end, but he was versatile enough to play tackle or end at Tennessee, and has the height at 6-3 to add another 15 or 20 pounds to his frame. Another possible overdraft, but there's not really another player who fits the Chargers' needs here; they'd have to consider Maualaga if he falls here, although they have been loathe to commit serious effort to finding middle linebackers.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alex Mack, C, California. The final pick of the first round is an attempt to solve the riddle that formed after Jeff Hartings retired. Neither Sean Mahan nor Justin Hartwig have been anything close to the solution, and Mack has the sort of reputation and consistent college performance that the Steelers look for. He could also play guard if the Steelers elected to keep Hartwig at center for the time being.

Football Outsiders 2009 Mock Draft
Pick Team Player Pos College
1 DET Jason Smith T Baylor
2 STL Aaron Curry OLB Wake Forest
3 KC B.J. Raji DL Boston College
4 SEA Eugene Monroe T Virginia
5 CLE Brian Orakpo OLB Texas
6 CIN Michael Oher T Ole Miss
7 OAK Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech
8 JAC Malcolm Jenkins CB Ohio State
9 GB Tyson Jackson DE LSU
10 SF Everette Brown DE/OLB Florida State
11 NYJ (from BUF) Matthew Stafford QB Georgia
12 DEN Mark Sanchez QB USC
13 WAS Andre Smith T Alabama
14 NE (from NO) Brian Cushing LB USC
15 HOU Aaron Maybin DE/OLB Penn State
16 ARI (from SD) Michael Johnson DE Georgia Tech
Pick Team Player Pos College
17 BUF (from NYJ) Brandon Pettigrew TE Oklahoma State
18 NYG (from CHI) Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Maryland
19 TB Josh Freeman QB Kansas State
20 DET Peria Jerry DT Ole Miss
21 PHI Knowshon Moreno HB Georgia
22 MIN Jeremy Maclin WR Missouri
23 NO (from NE) Vontae Davis CB Illinois
24 ATL Louis Delmas S Western Michigan
25 MIA Ron Brace DT Boston College
26 BAL Alphonso Smith CB Wake Forest
27 IND Evander Hood DT Missouri
28 BUF (from PHI) Eben Britton T Arizona
29 CHI (from NYG) Brian Robiskie WR Ohio State
30 TEN Ray Maualaga MLB USC
31 SD (from ARI) Robert Ayers DE Tennessee
32 PIT Alex Mack C California


142 comments, Last at 24 Apr 2009, 12:44pm

1 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I'm all in favor of the Bengals drafting Michael Oher if it'll encourage Michael Lewis to hang around the Bengals and write a book, if not about them, then at least involving them...

2 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

What's the detail of the projected SDC/ARI trade? ARI's 2nd doesn't cut it IMO. Boldin? :)

3 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by Megamanic (not verified)

OK, found it - looks like a part of the blurb for pick #15. Don't buy the trade. This is AJ Smith we're dealing with & I don't see him giving up Pick #16 (1000 pts) for three picks adding up to 904.8 - probably less given the comp picks pushing the value of everything down in rounds after the third.

ARI would have to give up their 1st, 2nd & 3rd rounders to get San Diego's 1st - that's a fairer trade IMO

4 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by Megamanic (not verified)

A second rounder is about par for the course to move from the bottom to the middle of round one. A.J. Smith did in fact make a very similar trade with the Eagles in the 2003 draft, trading the 15th pick for the 30th and 46th. A year later, the Eagles traded the 28th and 58th picks for the 15th. In 2007, the Jets traded the 25, 59, and 191 for 14 and 164.

There are probably other examples I'm too lazy to look up, but that sort of trade is relatively standard. That's one of the many problems I have with those draft charts: they ignore the actual reality of the trades that teams make, usually overvaluing earlier picks

59 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I can't see The Cards giving up picks to move up. That is not Whiz's and Grave's M.O. They like those 2-5 round picks. Also there are other OLB-types still available at 31 that are appealing-i.e English.

83 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I agree that the value isn't crazy, but who is available in the second round that makes this worth it? The safety from Missouri looks like he could be a decent option in the second round, and wouldn't be wroth it in the first or there in the third, so this could allow the Bolts to pick him up in addition to a first rounder. Other than that, I don't know whats left in the second round thats worth while.

Speaking of Jason Ferguson, Jamal Williams can't play forever, so Ron Brace could be a fantastic pick up. If they think he'll be there in round 2, the trade makes a lot of sense.

Tyson Jackson would be great here with such a bad run defense and Igor Olshansky gone. If he were available here, I don't see them trading.

The Chargers could use a RB, although it could wait until next year, but with the rule changes they can't expect to have this high a pick again for a long time. So if they like Moreno, that could be a reason not to trade. If they believe that, barring legends picked up 3rd, running backs are interchangeable, they may wait until rd 2 or three, and the trade starts to look good.

A tackle on the right would also be valuable to improve runs to the right, which I seem to remember being much worse than runs to the left. It looks like a solid option should be available there at 16. If Smith or Oher is around, they probably don't trade. They could get Britton or Beatty after the trade in round 1, so if they like them, the trade is gravy.

Overall it seems like it could be a good move. Its just a remarkably terrible year for NTs and 3-4 Ends, which I think are the Chargers' biggest needs. They might do well to reach for the a-listers in those positions, but if Bill is right, and they'll be gone by 16, trade down and try the shot gun approach :)

91 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I like your assessment. The key (IMHO) to understanding the Chargers draft strategy (that a lot of the bigger draftniks seem to ignore) is what moves AJ made last year as well as free-agency.

I don't see the Chargers spending a 1st on a RB because last year they added two versatile rookie FBs. The same way everybody+dog was saying we'd go WR the year after we drafted Jackson. We're not going to get a 1st round RB the year after we got two lower round guys.

The Chargers are not going to pick up an ILB in the 1st round because they signed a FA to do that. So no Mauluga as touted by many.

The big needs are DE where we just lost Igor, Safety, and NT to ultimately replace Jamal. We always seem to pick up OL depth on day 2 so I don't see us picking up a RT early (for better or worse)

If I was drafting for the Chargers I would go DL in the 1st round. At #16 Raji's gone & everybody else suitable for a 3-4 DL would be a reach so a trade down might happen. If it does, we go S in the 2nd (again) or maybe another DL. 3rd & comps gets us a RB maybe & OL depth.

The Defense should be miles better this year simply because Merriman's back & playing in his contract year. I have no idea what Merriman could be like if he's even more focussed on being the best but that might have some bearing on Jay Cutler's trade request ;)

5 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

"24. Atlanta Falcons: Louis Delmas, S, Western Michigan. The talk here is linebacker, but the Falcons should be able to get by with Mike Peterson and Coy Wire for a year with that excellent defensive line in front of them."

Excellent defensive line? the Falcons? Is this a joke?

90 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by TruFalcon (not verified)

I'm a Trey Lewis fan and am OK with Davis, but even I believe the Falcons DL needs help. I think the problem is that in this mock draft, the first-round DLs either go quickly or are reaches by the time the Falcons pick. If Jerry and Johnson are both gone, I can see the Falcons trying to trade down. If they can trade down and stay in front of Pittsburgh, it wouldn't surprise me to see Mack go to Atlanta to replace, Todd McClure.

6 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Heyward-Bey over Maclin just seems stupid to me. He's 2 inches taller, and has better straight line speed, but he's worse in just about every other facet of the game. Plus Maclin would provide a boost as a return man while developing his skills as a receiver. He's sort of like a bigger version of DeSean Jackson with better hands, and I doubt he'll last past the first half of the round. I also think that the picks of Moss, Steve Smith, and Manningham suggest that "freakish athlete" isn't all Jerry Reese is looking for.

13 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by AlanSP (not verified)

Agreed. Maclin > Heyward-Bey, but if a team overvalues speed, it could happen. Just because something seems stupid to you (and may very well be) doesn't mean a team won't do it. Sometimes teams are stupider than us intermets dwellers, or sometimes they know something we don't.

7 Much adieu about nothing

Without further adieu, it's time to au revoir your français, my amigos!

39 Re: Much adieu about nothing

Indeed. Why dieu people insist on using words they don't understand in allegedly professional articles? Is it really that hard tieu look them up in a dictionary first?

51 Re: Much adieu about nothing

Besides which...there seems somethign inherently wrong about inserting French vocabulary into an article about 'Amurican' football.

Perhaps German, or Scottish, or Scandinavian. But not French.

82 Re: Much adieu about nothing

Looking at your list, I'd say football is better off without any of those things.

I might make an exception for Tanier (though he should consider modifying his name - say, 'Tanner').

70 Re: Much adieu about nothing

I don't know that saying "adieu" when he meant "ado" is a failing of Bill's French, necessarily. Plus, he goes on to use "in lieu of" properly, and while calling Micheal Johnson a "bit of a cause celebre" is slightly over the top, it's not strictly wrong either.

(Football Outsiders: now with nitpicking in multiple languages!)

8 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Let's say, hypothetically, the Giants are a few players away. The argument against trading up then becomes: this is a draft that has a lot of depth, but not much star power at the top. The Giants may look good now, but they have a few key starters on the wrong side of 30.

If they stay put, and take a couple players that may not necessarily contribute right away, then it could mean more success and contention down the road.

17 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Giants starters on the "wrong side of 30":

-- Shaun O'Hara (soon to be 32): Need depth.
-- Antonio Pierce (turns 31 in Oct.): Need depth, although the staff might like Jonathan Goff, last year's 5th-round pick, as their next MLB.
-- Fred Robbins (32nd birthday is tomorrow): The Canty acquisition was essentially a move replacing Robbins a year before his contract expires.
-- Danny Clark (almost 32): Starts, but isn't a "key" guy. Depth is already on the roster in Kehl, Wilkinson, Blackburn, & DeOssie (with luck, one of these guys will win the job outright).
-- Plaxico Burress (turns 32 this summer): Probably a stretch to call him a "starter" at this point.
-- Kareem McKenzie & Rich Seubert: Both will be 30 on the nose when the season starts, which isn't particularly old for offensive linemen. Absent major injury, they should hold up for at least another couple seasons before age starts to break them down.

By my count, that's really only 2 "key starters" over 30 where the team doesn't already have a plan in place for the future. For a team with 5 picks in the first 3 rounds (they got a 3rd-round compensatory selection for Gibril Wilson), I don't think that a trade up is a terrible idea. That still leaves them with plenty of picks to address those spots and an upgrade at the backup OT position.

The other wacky Giants idea floating around is a trade for Braylon Edwards. Kokinis actually confirmed that he had talked to Reese about it (which is tantamount to shouting to the rest of the League "Braylon is available-- make your offers now!"). I guess the Roy Williams trade set the floor on the value the Browns are likely looking for, which is rather steep. But his skills are a pretty close match to Burress' (with a little less height, a little more speed, and a lot more youth), right down to the attitude issues and propensity for dropping balls.

9 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Is the FO Users' mock draft on this year?

34 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Hopefully. I'm still mad about the real Bears not matching the FO Owner who traded up to 11 to take Clady.

53 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

My ears are burning.

I had hoped to get Forte with the same pick the Bears used to take him, but Shush had his eye on him for the Texans and swooped up above me. I didn't know much about the less heralded RBs so plumped for a guard (I took Oniel Cousins, who should at least start this year). I went and had a look at the draft a couple of weeks ago and the pick immediately afterwards was Chris Johnson. So while Clady was a boon, I missed out on nabbing two of the best players in the whole draft. I did get Tashard Choice near the end of the third though.

I would like to do the draft again it probably depends on whether Shush or Sid (or anyone else) has the time to sort it out.

117 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

The trade with the Bills made so much sense - Clady seemed to be a step above the rest of the non-Long OTs, and it's not like the Broncos or Panthers were going to take a CB. I don't know why it didn't happen.

It's harder to judge later picks when the real draft unfolds so differently. Would you have gone with Brohm or Henne in the 2nd if one of them was there? I would have.

129 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Would you have gone with Brohm or Henne in the 2nd if one of them was there?

No. The only QBs I thought were worth anything in last year's draft were Ryan and Flacco. Makes me look like a guru in hindsight, but it is probably just luck. I had too many question marks about the other guys. Henne had been too up and down, and I wasn't too keen on his throwing motion. My thinking on Brohm was that if he couldn't stay healthy in college he was going to be even worse in the pros. I also wouldn't want anybody who had been coached by Petrino for three years.

132 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I've left a longer post about the Reader Mock down at the bottom of the thread, but the gist is that one way or another it's definitely happening. Just a question of whether it's me or Sid running it. (I vote Sid, but I'm guessing there's a strong chance he's too busy, as he was last year. Probably has a real job, or something.)

10 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

C'mon, Bill. You rail on other mock drafts for not taking note of a team's philosophy, then you predict the Eagles to draft a RB at #21 when Reid has never taken a RB before the third round, or a linebacker when all they've done is rave about their linebackers and Reid has never drafted a linebacker in the first round OR a safety when they signed two free agents this year, drafted Demps last year and Mikell is a second-team All-Pro. Physician, heal thyself.

Hail Hydra!

14 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

You beat me to the punch, Harris. Its borderline absurd to think they'll draft a linebacker at all, and equally illogical to think they'll use the #21 pick on a RB. "Contradictory to the philosophy of management," is the thought that comes to mind. Philly drafting a RB at #21 is about as likely as Mad River Glenn suddenly allowing knuckledraggers.

15 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I had a similar argument about this last year; FO likes giving the Eagles first-round LBs. If they draft were to actually shake out this way, I think they trade down from #21. With the top three RBs still on the board, they still have a good chance of picking up Moreno or Brown, they aren't drafting Wells, later in the first or early in the second. They'd have no need for a tackle, Pettigrew is already gone and as much as I like Robiskie I doubt they'd spend #21 on him. The drawback here is that they're now left with one of the various non-blocking TEs, so unless they draft a RB with blazing speed or the OTs are incredibly active, we'll spend another year watching the Eagles fail in their attempts to run outside. Damn you for valuing your education, Jermaine Gresham.

Hail Hydra!

19 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

We're pretty much on the same page. It won't be Wells - he doesn't block or catch. I could see us moving down for Moreno or Brown, but I think it's more likely we'll target a guy like a Devin Moore or a James Davis in rounds 3/4. Actually, I'd love to do both, so that we can replace both Buck and that waste of space known as Booker.

If there's a chance to get Pettigrew, I'd love to have him, but like you, I liked Gresham even more. Every other TE on the board is either a blown up WR or a GURT, so it's Pettigrew, or hope Celek can hold the fort.

I'm not nearly as high on Robiskie as you are. I could see spending a late 2nd on the guy, but that's about it. Then again, I said the same thing about Reggie Wayne a few years back, and Robiskie does remind me of Wayne. I think Hakeem Nicks would be a much better fit for us, or even Kenny Britt - although I'm reluctant to take anybody from Rutgers. I'm even more gun-shy about Florida WRs, but Louis Murphy is 6'3" and might be had in the 3rd round. Although, truthfully, I'd rather just develop the guys we have for another year.

Despite the free agent signings, I still wouldn't be opposed to adding yet another safety with a high draft pick, either.

46 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

"They'd have no need for a tackle, Pettigrew is already gone and as much as I like Robiskie I doubt they'd spend #21 on him"

Maclin would be a much better pick than Robiskie at that point if they were going to go for a receiver in that scenario. Yes, Maclin's very similar to DeSean Jackson in terms of what he does, but I just don't think Robiskie is anywhere near the same caliber as Maclin as a prospect. As much as people criticize Heyward-Bey's lack of production in college (and rightly so in my opinion), Robiskie produced at roughly the same level, and with much more talent around him.

College production isn't everything with WRs (e.g. Eddie Royal had even less production as a receiver than Heyward-Bey and Robiskie), but I don't see anything from Robiskie that would make me think he'd be better than what the Eagles already have. Actually, what the Eagles have is pretty good, and could become extremely good if Jackson continues to progress. If they take a receiver it will be either because a real talent drops to them, or it will be later in the draft (Ramses Barden is intriguing as a possible 2nd day pick).

57 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

You've seen OSU's offense, right? You realize that during Robiskie's senior year, they went from the lousy but experienced Tood Boeckman to talented but erratic freshman Terelle Pryor? That has to be weighed into any appraisal of Robiskie's production. Of course, Maclin had better numbers -- he plays in the spread. I see Robiskie as a #2 with the size to work over DBs and surprising (but not deceptive) speed.

Hail Hydra!

58 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

f course, Maclin had better numbers -- he plays in the spread. You've seen OSU's offense, right? You realize that during Robiskie's senior year, they went from the lousy but experienced Tood Boeckman to talented but erratic freshman Terelle Pryor? That has to be weighed into any appraisal of Robiskie's production. O I see Robiskie as a #2 with the size to work over DBs and surprising (but not deceptive) speed.

Hail Hydra!

60 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Do either of you really think Jeremy Maclin would actually be on the board at 21?

I don't.

If he starts sliding past about 15 or so, someone (the Giants?) will trade up to get him. He's a quality talent, but he'd be a luxury pick. So we're better off hoping that he does get picked before we're on the clock, thus improving the chances of a player we do want (i.e. Pettigrew or an OT) still being there at 21 for us.

The other thing to remember is, WRs tend to fall in the draft. NOBODY had DeSean Jackson anywhere but the first round last year. Same with Devin Thomas. This year will be no different. Crabtree and Maclin will go in the first, but I would not be at all surprised if none of the other WR prospects do.

If Robiskie is around at pick 53, and we already have an OT and a RB, then suddenly he's an attractive option. Even then, though, I'd much rather hope a guy like Hakeem Nicks falls instead. And I'll hardly cry if we don't draft a WR at all. At this point, people are crying for one out of habit, not out of need.

67 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

No I don't think Maclin will be around at 21, but if he were, I'd probably take him over Pettigrew or the 2nd tier OTs. WR isn't really a pressing concern for the Eagles, but Maclin's too talented to pass on. Plus, remember that in this scenario, they trade for Jason Peters, which would make them set at the position for a while. I'm a little skeptical of that happening as well; it does make sense for both teams, but it somehow doesn't seem like the Eagles' style.

65 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

First, I wasn't comparing Robiskie's numbers to Maclin's; I was comparing them to Heyward-Bey's, who plays on a worse offense with a worse quarterback (worse than either OSU QB). I just think it's odd that it tends to get mentioned in one case, but not the other. Maybe it's because Heyward-Bey fits the prototype of a raw player with freakish athletic ability who never quite put it together to be a dominant receiver, while Robiskie is much more polished in terms of his skills.

Yes I've seen OSU's offense, and to be fair, Robiskie had a better year when he was a junior. But we're not just talking about having worse production than Maclin and Crabtree, who played in spread offenses. Robiskie's production this past year was worse than any of the top 20 or so WR prospects other than Derrick Williams. Even if you grade on a curve, that has to give you some pause. Robiskie could be a decent #2 or 3, but the last thing the Eagles need is another #2-3 receiver. I don't think he'd be a significant upgrade over Avant/Brown/Baskett

77 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

If Robiskie even managed to make himself a good #2, he would be a significant upgrade. Brown has fallen off the depth chart, Avant is a #3 at best and they still haven't figured out what to do with Baskett. Somebody who could move Curtis into the slot makes this offense much more dangerous.

Hail Hydra!

130 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I've heard of this other guy the Eagles have. DeSean something. You may have heard of him last year.

62 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Your thoughts are logical, but the trend for the birds has been to do just what was LEAST expected. Consider: drafting Lito and Sheldon when they already had two Pro Bowl level CBs; Bunkley at DT when they had picked Patterson the year before (and desperately needed WR help); Trading down to grab Kolb when the obvious need was TE and Olsen was available in the 1st; and last year trading down when Otah was available and the obvious need was a young tackle. Of course, last years draft now looks pretty good in hindsight, but you can't ignore the tendency of the Eagles to go against expectations. Maybe they go RB, LB or maybe they go completely off the chart and go WR. All that's certain is all us Eagles fans will be either scratching our heads or crying in our beers.

68 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

They might do the unexpected, sure. But what they won't do is deviate from The Organizational Philosophy. Reid genuinely does not believe in drafting RBs and LBs in the first round. He feels that its almost impossible for them to outperform their contracts, so its near impossible for the franchise to maximize value by drafting at that position. While they've never actually drafted a safety, they have gone on record saying Brandon Merriweather would have been the pick had the Pats not traded up.

Also, in hindsight, it usually seems clear that the Eagles said exactly what they were planning on doing (via subtle hints and innuendo), and nobody actually believed them. This year, they're making noise about trading up, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if they actually did it. I think I'd rather they didn't, but I suppose that really depends on who they get and how much they give up. We can be sure, though, that it won't be a LB or a RB in round 1.

78 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by Dean (not verified)

You speak as though you know Reid personally. Maybe the reason they haven't drafted a RB or LB in the first round is because for the lest 7-9 years they have been drafting at the end of the first round. You don't see a lot of team taking RBs or LBs that late because the ones thought to be the best have already been drafted. Instead a team has to decide between taking the 4th RB on their board, the 3rd LB or the #1 Guard, TE or Safety. I don't think it is necessarily an organizational mandate not to draft a certain position, but rather an organization in a position to take the best player available without having need weigh too heavily in the process.

108 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by Chow Yun-Dan (not verified)

No. I don't know Andy personally - or anyone else in the organization. But there have been enough interviews over the last 10 years where Reid/Banner have discussed how they do things that its public information for anyone who cares to pay attention.

They've never drafted a TE in the first round, but I don't have any reason to believe they wouldn't. They've never drafted a safety in the first round, but they've given us reason to believe they would.

On the other hand, they have specifically stated that they do not believe RB and LB represent appropriate value in round 1. Jimmy Johnson was always a big believer that you pay for lineman and secondary, and you skimp on the LBs as well.

The funny thing is, as salaries escalate, suddenly the price for a RB might be becoming more affordable. The #28 pick last year got 5 years, 11.25 million, with a 6.1mm signing bonus. It's still hard for a RB to outperform that contract, but not nearly as much as it was in years past. On the other hand, it's fairly easy for an OT/DL/CB to outperform that contract.

Like everything else with this organization, it's all about the nubmers. It's logical, statistics based, rational, and infuriatingly maddening to the most emotional fanbase in sports.

122 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

That actually seems pretty easy for any player other than a kicker/punter/fullback (i.e. any position that might be taken in that spot)to outperform. They pretty much just have to become a starter, or a backup that gets a lot of playing time (e.g. a nickelback or running back that shares carries with the starter).

Since 2001, Deuce McAllister, Larry Johnson, Willis McGahee, Steven Jackson, DeAngelo Williams, Joseph Addai, and Chris Johnson (assuming he doesn't fall off a cliff) have all gone in the 20-30 range and all outplayed their rookie contracts. Jury's still out on Mendenhall and Felix Jones after they went down with injuries as rookies.

Michael Bennett and Kevin Jones each had one good year in otherwise disappointing careers. Laurence Maroney's been a disappointment so far, although it's probably too early to close the book on him, and Chris Perry was an outright bust. That's actually a pretty good success rate.

For offensive lineman at the same draft position in that time frame, you've got Kendall Simmons, Marc Colombo, Kwame Harris, Jeff Faine, George Foster, Logan Mankins, Chris Spencer, Nick Mangold, Davin Joseph, Ben Grubbs, Joe Staley, Duane Brown, and Sam Baker. I don't really think that group represents a better value than the RBs, particularly not the tackles (if you go back farther than that, you can see that late-first round tackles have a pretty awful track record)

114 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

They'll try to move up, but I doubt they can really get up high enough to get one of the top O-tackles. Seems like the Redskins are the most likely to trade down in the first round, based on how much they need and how few picks they now hold. Pick 13 might be good enough to grab "man-boobs" from Alabama, but Reid probably doesn't want another potential head case on the O-line.

120 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Really? You don't think Reid would take another Shawn Andrews if he could get him? "Man-boobs" was dominant as a left tackle in the SEC, and while he doesn't seem like the brightest guy around, he also doesn't seem like a prima donna, a thug, or someone who doesn't like football.

People keep talking about him as having high bust potential, but I actually think he has a pretty high floor. He's not always as quick out of his stance as he needs to be when pass blocking, which could be a problem at LT, but even if he doesn't make it at LT, he'd likely become a very good guard like Shawn Andrews or Leonard Davis.

136 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I didn't watch too much Alabama football the past few years, so the guy may be the next Orlando Pace for all I know. You have to admit, though, that all the pre-draft news on this guy is a little scary.

Besides, Reid may have already gotten another Sean Andrews in the kids' brother Stacey.

110 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft


With all the talk yesterday, how did we never once discuss Jason Peters. We could use a tackle. But do we really want someone who gave up 11 1/2 sacks in 13 games last year? As misleading as conventional statistics can be, leading the league in sacks allowed despite missing 3 games can't be good.

And even if we do want him - is it really worth giving up a first rounder for the guy?

11 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

As a Vikings fan, I've been pushing for Britton and adding the caveat "If Maclin somehow falls to Minnesota, they can't pass on him". Seeing Vontae Davis, Alphonso Smith, Evander Hood, Alex Mack and Percy Harvin all get passed on by the Vikes made me smile. Take that, dozens of other mock drafts! I really, really agree with your assesment here.

I know that a mock draft projecting beyond round 1 gets wildly unpredictable, but humor me: Do you think the Vikings target Loadholt in round 2 if they get Maclin in 1? Perhaps even leapfrog a few spots for him?

52 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by peterplaysbass (not verified)

Nate Davis would be a very welcome addition in Round 2. You listening, Spielman?

134 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by peterplaysbass (not verified)

I haven't given much thought to Vontae Davis falling to 22 since I haven't seen a draft where that happened.

They've done well with their use of the 1st round the past two years; not too many jokes about their draft recently. Peterson dropped in their lap but they took him (to their credit). Last year they went after Allen even with the huge paycheck at the cost of a first and two thirds (and more).

I don't see any first round picks that just jump off the page to me. I think they wait to see if somebody falls through the cracks. I won't be surprised to see them trade down so they can get a late first or early second to pick up a guy like Loadholt or perhaps Robiskie or perhaps Mack.

As far as QBs, the closest they should go for one is Pat White in round 2 as a WR.

Last year was certainly an exception to their history of not trading in the first round. Maybe they'll do it again. Maybe they'll have second thoughts about Cutler ...

After, the first round a couple patterns seem to be apparent. One pattern that seems evident is: if there is somebody they want, they move up. The second is: if there is nobody they want, they move down. They don't seem to be content to wait for people to come to them. They are definitely unlike the Packers whose goal it seems is to have the most draft picks at the end of the weekend.

16 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

"What are the odds on the Patriots -- a team that has refused to spend much more than the league minimum on cornerbacks since Bill Belichick arrived -- spending a first-round pick on a cornerback"

The patriots don't draft offensive lineman in the first... the patriots don't draft secondary in the first... the patriots don't draft linebackers in the first...

Yeah, I've heard that a lot. I'm not saying that they'll draft a CB high, but the above reason is absolutely not valid. The reason they wont draft one is that Hobbs is average to good, and Springs and Bodden could both be great. Wilhite and Wheatley showed pretty well in training camp last year.

"The Patriots will just need to be willing to pull the trigger on a trade direction they don't normally take to make that happen."

Except when they drafted Wilfork... in 04, or Chad Jackson.. in 2006...or...

Bill, you're better than this.

23 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by Rich Conley (not verified)

I think you mean Graham. Or Warren. Or Light. Wilfork fell to the Pats...they didn't move to get him.

Of course they traded up to get Eugene Wilson in Round 2, whom they considered taking in the first, so saying the Patriots won't draft a CB in round 1 because they haven't yet is laughable. As you say, they never drafted a linebacker in the first round until they got Mayo, never an offensive lineman until Mankins, and never a running back until Maroney.

I think that if Bodden or Springs signed elsewhere, they probably would be targeting a CB.

24 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by dryheat (not verified)

Warren was who I bad.

You only get one 1st rounder a year. There's what, 13 distinct positions? QB,RB,OT,OG,C,WR,FB,DE,DT,OLB,ILB,CB,S. Of course teams "don't pick XX in the first round"... its virtually impossible to pick every position unless you are looking at 20+ years of picks.

The idea that you can say "Team XX hasn't drafted a Y in the first round, so they wont now" is ludicrous.

30 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by Rich Conley (not verified)

What about NT? Is there enough of a difference? I get confused about DT vs NT. I thought one was for 4-3 and the other 3-4, and that a decent DT could be a terrible NT, especially if undersized. Am I wrong about this? What mega-football travia person can carve out a few specific definitions for me?

40 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by peterplaysbass (not verified)

NTs are DTs, they are a specific kind/role.

In the 3-4 you have only one DT who is also a NT

In a 4-3 you have two DTs, and (at least in the Tampa-2 scheme I'm familiar with) one is a NT (1 technique, over-tackle are the other names for it), the other is a Under-tackle (or 3 technique).

84 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Specifically, the NT is usually a 2-gap tackle. That means he lines up facing a OL and tries to push him back into the pocket to keep the QB from stepping up and also is responsible for the gap on either side of that lineman and has to make sure the RB doesn't come through there. This means that OL often double team the NT to keep him from collapsing the pocket. As such, he is generally larger, on the order of 330. Thats why a lot of the good DT draft prospects are bad candidates at NT, they aren't big enough.

A non-NT DT or under tackle (or 3-technique) lines up over a gap between OLs and, as opposed to collapsing the pocket, he tries to get through the gap into the pocket to sack the QB. He is also responsible for keeping the RB from coming through his gap. These guys are usually around 300 or a little bit less, and much faster. Since most colleges don't play 3-4, and because there aren't a lot of guys at 330 who can play, most DT prospects fall into this category.

Moving to a 4-3, most college prospects can keep their position, but moving to a 3-4, guys who were tackles at around 300 are better suited to ends and guys who were ends around 260 are better suited as OLBs.

Long story short, if your team plays 3-4, and you know you need ends, look at tackles in the draft. If you need a nose, look at BJ Raji or Ron Brace. I'm not sure there are any other well known prospects for the position.

92 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

One thing that I'd like is to see the various draft sites actually show this distinction by putting together lists of 4-3 DE, 3-4 DE, 4-3 DT, NT, 3-4 OLB, 4-3 OLB etc rather than just DE, DT, OLB & ILB. Of course some players could be on several lists 4-3 DE & 3-4 OLB for example but might be rated differently on eacb

109 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

"These guys (under-tackles) are usually around 300 or a little bit less, and much faster."

Or 25 to 50lbs less if they play for Indy.

138 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

If you are going to differentiate between NT and DT, then you would also have to account for 3-4 OLBs.

99 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by CaffeineMan really (not verified)

I don't like the Cushing pick at all either. If the rumors are true that he has been using a boat load of performance enhancing drugs and his upside has already been reached then those red flags will keep him off the Patriot's board all-together.

They are really thin on the defensive line. Seymour is likely gone next year and besides Jarvis Green (who did not perform well last year) they don't have an impact player with potential at that position on the bench. If they are going to roll the dice and move up it needs to be for a defensive lineman.

18 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I think you got Levi Brown mixed up with Levi Jones when talking about the Bengals. I've always heard that Jones is a better pass-blocker than run-blocker, so your logic doesn't really apply.

20 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Have I missed something? All this talk of replacing Peters, and the Peters deal? Has Jason Peters been traded somewhere? I can't find any information on this anywhere...


21 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Bill was predicting it would happen. It hasn't. But on the surface, it does make some sense.

22 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by Podge (not verified)

Peters hasn't been traded yet, but the chances are good he will be. He's asking for Krayzee-Big Money, and the Bills aren't too hot to give it to him. They're still in negotiations. Last season he demanded a renegotiation and held out for a very long time. Problem was, his contract had been renegotiated just the year before. He ended up coming back on his existing (renegotiated) contract, with the idea that they'd renegotiate again in the offseason.

Buffalo news sites report that Peters' asking price is way above what the Bills are willing to pay. A trade with the Eagles has been rumored for a while.

128 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by Soulless Merch… (not verified)

To be fair, Peters is looking for Jake Long money ($12 million/year) when Jordan Gross just signed for $10 million/year (6/60) just before free agency. Peters has 2 years left on his deal.

So I can't imagine too many teams in this position looking to pay Peters what he wants. I think a rational position would take Gross' contract and discount it for the risk given up for the next two years.... so maybe 6 years, $50 million with an appropriate guarantee amount.

That's likely how they're $3 million/year off. I don't think that's something you would pin on the Bills being cheap.

I also think the trade proposed is something the Bills wouldn't do. My guess is the absolute worst that they'd accept is a 1, and I suspect they'd want at least 2 picks in any deal (they got two 3s and a 7 for McGahee who isn't the player Peters is and only had one year left on his contract). To give up a 3rd in the process doesn't make sense to me.

25 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft - the old reader version

Some years ago there used to be a Football Outsiders reader participation mock draft, in which readers were drafted to play the role of GMs for each team. It was plugged on here one year and I signed up, and ended up running the Miami Dolphins. Someone played the role of commissioner, and it was a fun experience. we had set times to run it, "on the clock" countdowns, etc etc. It reminded me of a fantasy football draft of sorts. The guy who ran the Raiders had a lot of fun doing "Al Davis" type picks...

It also was probably a bit too outlandish, I think. So much of what we did was far removed from actuality or reality, especially since we were free to cut our own trades amongst ourselves. I remember as GM of the Dolphins striking a deal with the GM of the Seahawks to trade the Dolphins pick (I think it was the #1 or #2 overall) for Walter Jones. Immediately many posters pointed out that this was a ridiculous cap thing for the Seahawks to do, the cap acceleration from trading Jones was huge. (and I argued that as Dolphins GM, that was not my problem).

And so on. We probably ended up pretty far fetched, not sure how much fun it was for other people to read them but we had fun with it. The following year it wasn't plugged or official (not sure if it ever was anyway) but through the then PHP message boards for FO we organized another one, we had less turnout so some people had to run two teams, which of course creates problems, and then we did it again last year, with deminishing returns... we used armchairgm as the host site for conducting the draft, but still referred to it as the "FO reader mock draft, but by this point it was just a mock draft held by people who happened to frequent the FO site. I always enjoy reading mock drafts, and glad to see one back in some form.

26 Re: Titans

The Titans haven't made a serious investment in a Mike since they picked up Randall Godfrey prior to the 2000 season. They now spend more time in nickel than they did (at least if memory serves), and they already have multiple LBs they trust in a nickel set with Thornton and Bulluck. Plus, they have Stephen Tulloch at MLB and I could see him playing in the nickel once they trust him more with coverage responsibilities. I could see them drafting an LB in the first round, because Bulluck's contract runs out after this year, but it'd have to be an OLB who's a 3 down player, and Maualaga doesn't fit the bill.

I also note, even if the Titans do draft Rey, there's virtually no chance he's DRoY because Fisher is extremely reluctant to play rookies immediately. Among first round picks, Michael Griffin sat behind Calvin Lowry (not good enough to play for Denver last year), VY sat behind somebody who'd been on the team for a week and didn't know the plays until the owner insisted he start, Pacman sat behind Andre Woolfolk (out of the league once the Titans cut him the next year), Haynesworth sat behind Henry Ford and John Thornton (decent, but nothing special), and Keith Bulluck sat for 2 years behind Greg Favors (Greg friggin' Favors!). In the interest of completeness, Andre Woolfolk was also a first round pick of the 2000's, and he wasn't going to start immediately over Dyson or Rolle. That leaves CJ28 as the ONLY Titans first round pick in the last 9 years who's played from Week 1 in a key role.

As for what the Titans will actually do with their first round pick, the lack of immediate needs gives them a lot of flexibility-if there's a player who's really fallen (a la Bulluck in 2000), they can pounce on him almost regardless of position (they're set at OT). Reinfeldt doesn't have nearly the track record Floyd Reese did, so he's harder to predict, but I'd look for the top CB, DE, or OLB in roughly that order of probability, with WR being unlikely but possible. Then again, they shocked me last year with the CJ28 pick. Concrete prediction: if Brandon Pettigrew is still there, they'll take him.

74 Re: Titans

In reply to by Tom Gower

"I also note, even if the Titans do draft Rey, there's virtually no chance he's DRoY because Fisher is extremely reluctant to play rookies immediately."

Very similar things were said about Belichick and Meyo.

126 Re: Titans

In reply to by Tom Gower

Thus enabling Fish to run his 4TE, 1RB offense.

27 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

As a Bengals fan,I would not want Oher with the 6th pick.They should trade down and take him or Andre Smith later in the first round.I have to think someone would want to trade up for Crabtree to get ahead of the Raiders.If no one does then if I'm Marvin Lewis,I go ahead and take Crabtree.

28 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Ray MA will not last until pick 30. I'm a little surprised to see Stafford fall to #11 ( even thought I don't like him either). I was surprised to see the Broncos take Dirty Sanchez ( that would be crazy) and the Redskins are having Sanchez work out this week because Jason Campbell isn't very good and is in a contract year.

Jon - A few key starters on the wrong side of 30 for the Giants? Do you even look at their team? When they won the Super Bowl two seasons ago they had the 2nd youngest team in the NFL ( and a key/elderly Strahan retired, Shockey was replaced by a 2nd year TE and the team had a much better regular season). It was highly publicized about the impacts of their very strong 07' rookie class.

I wouldn't be shocked to see the Giants package some of their 5 draft picks up to grab Brian Cushing to play OLB, or Ray MA to play OLB and then eventually replace Pierce in the middle. OR they could use the picks to grab B-Easy Edwards.

As a Giants follower I don't think Goff is the groomed MLB, I am confident that Chase Blackburn can be an at least average MLB, but probably better when he takes over as the starter. He is a special teams star and unsung hero for the Giants. He could remind you of a Kevin Faulk in that people don't even understand the value he has to help his team win.

The team has a lot of picks and Jerry Reese has been worth his weight in gold thus far. Some areas I see the team could address in the draft, LB with one of the first picks, CB ( can never have enough especially with a pressure defense), TE if an upgrade is available early on and it makes sense, A good all round RB in the mid rounds to compliment Power/Shift RBs, O-Line depth. I'd expect all the defensive players to be back 7, the offensive players to be O-Line depth, 1 mid round RB, 1 tall/fast/deep threat WR and TE only if he's better than Boss.

The Giants have been very aggressive in going after DE's ( remember when people thought they were nuts for bringing in a 3rd starting caliber DE ( and with Tuck a DT/DE Hybrid)? and also cornerbacks ( T.Thomas, Aaron Ross, Webster).

In all reality, the Giants have two main areas to address, WR/Big play LB, and the rest is just Depth/BPA. The ball is in Jerry Reese's court and he has plenty of fire power. We could see the Giants pull a AJ Smith when he traded excess draft picks to grab the safety he liked in Eric Weddle but in this instance trade up to grab a Ray MA or Brian Cushing.

36 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I don't think OLB is a need at all. Boley is locked in at the WLB spot. The SLB spot is a bit up in the air, but Danny Clark is at least adequate, and there is no shortage of young guys with a chance to take the job from him. And, most importantly, SLB is a 2-down position in the Giants defense-- it just doesn't make sense to make such a major investment of draft resources in a guy who is going to be on the sidelines for half of the defense's snaps.

A long-term replacement for Pierce would probably be a smart move at some point, so I could maybe see a pick on a versatile top LB to play the SAM spot now and move over to the middle in a year or two. But with Blackburn there in case of injury, they can afford to put that one off until 2010 if they want to. IMO, there will likely be better ways to spend the team's top selections (OL depth, WR, and/or out-of-the-blue, too-good-an-athlete-to-pass-up guys at other positions).

Later on, a 5th CB (to replace Dockery after this season), a 4th S, possibly a RB, and maybe even a kicker.

111 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

If the Redskins use a 1st round pick on Stafford or Sanchez I will quit being a fan of theirs. I say this both because I find it extremely unlikely and because I will be really pissed off if it happens.

(Formerly "The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly")

29 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

There are two large problems I see with this mock.

First, Al Davis likes speed. He will simply not draft a WR without a 40 time on him...much less a guy perceived as slow. Crabtree is simply not an option for them.

Second, the Vikings internally know that WR is actually their 4th highest need after RT, CB, and QB. There is zero chance they take a WR in the first round.

32 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by David Blank (not verified)

I agree that RT is a bigger need than WR, but would you have them take Britton before Maclin? The OTs that will be there in round 2 aren't a huge dropoff from Britton talent-wise, but there won't be any more Maclins in the draft. That seems to be the value pick.

Also, you point out CB and QB as greater needs than WR, but are they really going to take a QB in round 1? No. No rookie is going to help this year, and next year's draft's QB depth will be huge. Unless they see a bright future in a semi-obscure player, I don't see them taking a QB at all. Isn't Booty the guy to coddle at the moment?

As far as CB is concerned, I'd be surprised to see them pick one in the first round. With Winfield, a re-signed Griffin, a healed up Gordon, a resigned-Sapp, new-to-the-team Paymah, and whatever other slew of CBs they have, depth and talent are not an issue. I still maintain that S is a greater need for Minnesota than CB, and if they take a CB in round one, it will be because he's a hybrid secondary player and Oher/Maclin/Britton/Nicks are all gone by pick 22.

55 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I am not convinced the Vikings know that QB is a need.

That they might not IMO would a bigger problem than the actual need for a QB.

135 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by David Blank (not verified)

When the Vikings drafted Peterson, they already had an established starting running back on their team. They drafted to get a playmaker. I wouldn't put it past them to do it again if Maclin somehow fell to 22. I don't think they would move up for him though. They will draft for a need but that need may not necessarily represent a given position.

31 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I swore when I saw Freeman taken when Maclin was still on the board. I've read multiple places where Freeman could be a pre-injury Daunte Culpepper. Uh . . . I want this? Culpepper was great when he was throwing to a pair of HOF receivers in Carter and Moss. Not so much without, you know? I'd much rather have Maclin for some speed on the outside or an OLB.

33 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

If Maualaga falls to the Dolphins in the first round, we're almost obligated to take him. While Brace presents an enticing alternative, with the McDaniel acquisition (who does so happen to fit into the Planet theory) I'm guessing the fins are going to address their LB issues immediately. I guess the alternative would be to hope we can get a guy like Clay Matthews in the second round, in addition to Conor Barwin.

Karl, Miami

35 Bears pick

Nice projection of the Bears pick. Jerry Angelo admitted that the Bears have "more needs than usual" and given the lack of Free Agency activity, the Bears will slide down from 18 and accumulate draft picks. Trading down makes too much sense for it not to happen. Angelo is smart enough not to role the dice on a WR at 18. He's seemingly even more risk adverse post-Cedric Benson. And he likely won't be able to justify Britton at 18 either.

Assuming he has 3 picks in the first two rounds, he'll likely target WR (Brian Robiskie makes a lot of sense), OT (either William Beatty (Uconn) or Jamon Merideth (South Carolina)), and DE (Paul Kruger (Utah) comes to mind). Both Ogunleye and Mark Anderson are UFA at the end of season and Alex Brown will 30 in June, so DE is a must this year. Ogunleye won't be resigned because of his age, while Anderson likely will be if he improves under Marienelli.

37 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I'm fairly certain the Jets won't be trading up to draft Stafford. In fact, that's the scenario that I think is least likely. They haven't even looked at him, as far as I know, although they have met with Sanchez and Freeman. I don't think they're going to draft a QB at all, unless maybe if Freeman is there at the 52nd overall. I think it's more likely they try to trade down in the first and trade up in the second to get the best possible combo of WR and DE. Say, Heyward-Bey at 22 (might Minn trade up if Sanchez is available at 17?) and Jarron Gilbert around 42? Or maybe they pick Davis or Andre Smith if he falls. I just don't think trading up for Stafford is in the cards. Plus they need later round picks to fix some depth issues like a blocking TE, reserve OL.

41 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I like the Colts pick. Though Nicks and Britton are tempting there.

Nicks so Indy isn't one injury away from starting Piere Garcon or Roy Hall and can run their 3WR+Clark 2 minute/3rd and mid-long offense.

Britton because LT Tony Ugoh is inconsistent and RT Ryan Diem was the most washed up player on the Colts offense last year and their tackle in waiting Charlie Johnson was a disaster in 07, and still not great when he played outside in 08.

42 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Let me first say that FO's nickname of "ManKok" is absolutely hysterical. I mean I know the pronunciation of Kokinis' name, but did anyone proof this in written form?

But a truly ridiculous mock draft.
* Oher at #6? If ever there was a trade to be made, can you tell me that the Bungles couldn't find anyone who wants either Stafford or Crabtree and move down? Oher is easily a mid-to-late round pick and doesn't belong anywhere near the Top 10.
* Stafford goes at 11 in a trade the Bills make within the division? NEVER happens
* Belicheck will actually trade up in a draft? Not likely, especially with the depth at LB in this draft.
* Robiskie at the end of the first?

I can go on, but I have work to do.

56 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I don't think that ManKok is original to FO. As I understand it, the nickname has been in use in Browns circles (blogs; message boards) for a while now.

And, yes, it is hilarious.

43 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft


Cushing & Ray Ma are both able to upgrade over Danny Clark at the SAM LB spot for the Giants and with 5 picks in the first 3 rounds it wouldn't shock me to see Reese unload some of that ammo for potentially the next Junior Seau or Brian Urlacher. I see a lot of the Giants LB depth as more WILL replacements and all of the Patriots/Cushing Versatility arguments work for the Giants as well. He'd be a lovely addition to that Giants front 7.

Ray Ma could play SAM for 1-2 years and then be a Pro Bowl MLB, otherwise Blackburn could be at least an average quality MLB, but probably more.

I highly doubt any WR drafted this year would come in and be that stud X WR they need so maybe a trade for Edwards and a new scenery for him makes sense at the right price.

54 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I don't think the Giants see a big difference between the WLB and the SLB in their system, other than that the SLB is the guy who goes to the sideline when the offense goes 3-wide. (Boley was a SLB in ATL, but the Giants are playing him at WLB to keep him on the field.) The whole strongside/weakside contrast goes out the window as soon as a WR or TE goes in motion, anyway. Sure, a blue-chip prospect could be an improvement, but I don't think using a 1st-rounder on one has as big an upside as it does with other positions, particularly when the team already has some young, developing players at OLB who should be ready for a larger role in '09. (Bryan Kehl is the horse I'm betting on here.)

I'd rather see them go with a WR, an OT, or a C/G. You're correct that a WR probably won't be the difference-making split-end that Burress is/was, but they need another prospect at the position anyway, with Moss and Hixon entering the last years of their respective contracts. I like OT because history has shown that it's very tough to find starting-caliber OTs in later draft rounds, and the backups they currently have in Boothe, Whimper, and Koets haven't impressed me. C/G serves an immediate depth need where the team currently has nobody (replacing UFA Grey Reugamer) and can be the heir to O'Hara's spot in a season or three.

98 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I think our biggest area of risk is MLB. I personally feel that Pierce has started to decline, and if the end of the season was an indication the falloff might be precipitous.

106 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

You may be right. But I think that a lot of Giants fans are reading too much into the couple of plays against the Eagles where Pierce looked silly trying to stay with Brian Westbrook in man coverage. They're forgetting that Antonio covered him adequately for the first 3-4 seconds of the play, and that every damn LB in the league is going to look bad if asked to blanket Brian Freakin' Westbrook for 5+ seconds.

The Giants defense slipped late in the season not because of Pierce, but because the pass rush tailed off-- Tuck, Robbins, and Cofield were playing hurt, and Kiwanuka was just worn out (he was playing DE when his offseason conditioning was done assuming he'd be an OLB, and they didn't have the depth to give him any meaningful plays off). They've addressed that issue in free agency, and with Umenyiora's recovery.

141 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Jason- can't prove it (or, maybe if I looked hard enough, I could, but I am not going to try! :-)) but I felt, even before the playoffs, that his coverage skills had atrophied to where he was an overall liability.

The playoff game just solidified that view. But I honestly did hold it before that game.

As such, I concede your point that Westbrook, being the great player he is, would make most LBs put into Pierce's position look silly in the same circumstances, while not backing off my original opinion.

44 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Most likely pick, Malcom Jenkins #8 to Jags, least likely pick, take your pick between Matt Stafford #11 to the Jets or Mark Sanchez #12 to the Broncos ( I'd give either of those about a 1% chance of happening).

45 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

"Levi Jones is a right tackle playing left tackle".

How on earth do you come to this conclusion? Jones has been a left tackle since being drafted in 2002, a Pro Bowl alternate at that position in 2005, and has never lined up at RT ever.

47 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

>"While some have complained that Raji's too small to play the nose at 6-foot-2, Vince Wilfork -- who Pioli drafted to play the nose in New England -- is, in fact, 6-2"

For all you Kansas City Fans, I may further argue Bill Barnwell's point by saying that I have stood face to face with Vince Wilfork. Now, before AND After I wet myself, I noticed there's not a chance Wilfork is an inch over 5'10" tall. However, Barnwell may have me on a technicality because it's quite possible Wilfork is 6'2" wide.

The only thing I am not sure of would be whether Pioli would use that #3 pick or trade down for more picks to get more team depth, a common practice in his tenure with the Patriots.

50 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by Herm? (not verified)

I've never understood how there can be disputes about a player's height, particularly after they've been measured at the combine and/or senior bowl (Wilfork was 6'1 1/4" at the combine). Once you get an actual measurement, shouldn't that be the end of all the "he's listed at 6-2, but scouts think he's 5-11" stuff? Players don't shrink at that age, and they usually don't get taller either (and if they do, it's generally by a small amount).

48 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

The height of a DT isn't much of an issue. Casey Hampton is another short guy that can dominate at the position. They call these guys "fire heidrants". Short yet immovable.

In fact, short heavy guys are very good because their lack of height lets them have have the lower leverage and get below the other guys pads.

You don't want shorter offensive tackles because 6'5 tackles have a 6'5 persons arms or longer and long arms help combat the sheer speed of some of sheer speed/quickness in the NFL. If your DT or interior lineman aren't so tall it doesn't matter.

A 5'10, 350 pound Vince Wilfork who has a burst of power is ideal to play Nose Tackle.

49 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I can't figure out what gets anybody excited about Robert Ayers. He wasn't a really productive college player, has average size for a 4-3 DE, doesn't rush the passer well, doesn't have noteworthy athletic ability, and has some character concerns after an aggravated assault charge in 2005 (I'm willing to believe he's matured since then, but it's still hardly a point in his favor).

What am I not seeing that makes people think of this guy as a possible 1st round pick?

61 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I don't think the Steelers will go center with their first round pick. Quality interior offensive linemen seem to be available later in the draft (Jeff Saturday for one). I'm thinking they might try to trade up in the 3rd round or so to get Antoine Caldwell or Eric Wood. With their first round pick I'm thinking Jarron Gilbert because they desperately need d-line depth and specialty 3-4 DEs can be hard to come by. We saw how they suffered when Aaron Smith went down to injury two years ago and everything I've read about Gilbert has been positive. Not to mention, he can jump out of a pool.

The other possibility would be William Beatty from UConn who I've heard decent things about but I really don't know a whole lot about him. Any info on him?

69 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I was really looking forward to reading this, unfortunately it took 2 picks for me to not even bother reading the rest.

NO WAY the Rams are passing on an offensive tackle. Not happening, no way, no how, it is just not happening. I know you want to be different than the pundits but that pick is absurd.

71 Panthers

So I take it the lack of a Panthers pick means the Peppers isn't going to be moved? (at least not for a first-round pick)

72 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

You seem to have left a certain PFP coverboy off of that list of cornerbacks with similar size/speed to Jenkins. Asomugha's a little bigger at 6-2 213, but if Cromartie's close enough, Nnamdi is too.

73 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I really feel stupid asking this, but what is a nine-technique? I have a feeling of what it is generally used to describe, and I think it's the same thing that my teams always called by a different name, but I'm not sure. Does anybody have a good description, or a website that describes it in good detail?

75 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

"24. Atlanta Falcons: Louis Delmas, S, Western Michigan. The talk here is linebacker, but the Falcons should be able to get by with Mike Peterson and Coy Wire for a year with that excellent defensive line in front of them."

Ah... what? This is your superb dry wit at work, yes Barnwell? Cuz, y'know... the Falcons line is dogshit.

79 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Drunkmoney- If a RB is going to run a sweep, he will either be running a "1" or a "9" depending on left or right.

Some offenses assign their different skilled position players a number as well, so say your HB is the number "2" in the offense, a FB might be "3".

"21" would mean the "2" back is running to the "1" spot and all lineman can block down accordingly.

The different terminology in the huddle is for different positions and players will have to listen for what applies to them. There might be 6-7 words to call a play, but usually only 2-3 will mean anything to you.

On passing plays, the lineman are usually listening for what step drop, 3,5,7, they might make their calls at the line, the TE's/WR's will be listening for the formation, where to line up, their motions, and they will be trying to think what route to run as they go to the line etc. Running plays are easier for WR's in that you figure out where to line up and then you are on auto pilot. Tight ends still have to have to figure out are they blockinging the DE in front of them, or chasing that linebacker on the second level.

Football on offense is a thinking game. RB is pretty easy, but the QB's, WR's and TE's have a tremendous amount of knowledge to absorb which is why it usually takes three years for these guys to make an impact.

80 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

since when did Atlanta's linebackers have an "excellent defensive line in front of them"?

81 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Can see your point with the Jets wanting to move up to get Stafford - but no way they are making a trade with the Bills - Inter-Divisional trades in the AFC East? C'mon now! Also the Bills need a QB more than we do!

I know I'm going to get grilled for this, but I'd take Kellen Clemens over Trent Edwards any day. Go back an youtube Clemens second half vs. The Ravens in 2007. You tell me if Edwards has or ever could make those throws... No way.

101 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by DKnyj (not verified)

I'm a fan of Clemens. I was really pulling for the Vikings to draft him the year they got Tarvaris Jackson.

85 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft


Can anyone tell me what 3-technique means? 1-technique?, 2-technique?, 5-technique?, 9-technique?? when talking about defensive linemen or linebackers.

89 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by Still Alive (not verified)

Shiva, the last great 9-technique linebacker.

And Ganesh plays a great 8-technique tackle.

115 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by Tundrapaddy (not verified)

Shiva gets too many holding calls, but Baba Genesh is great. Especially on pita bread.

87 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Generally, the "techniques" refer to where a DL or LB lines up on the LOS. 0 is right over the Center's helmet, and it counts out from there in both directions, with 1 step on each gap and each man. So, odd-numbered techniques are over gaps between players (e.g., 3 is between the G and T) while even numbers are right over offensive players.

I've never seen "9" in that context, though. By my count, that's somewhere between the CB and the press box.

88 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

See also Mike Tanier's excellent Strategy Minicamp:

125 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I've never seen the numbers used quite as you've described, JasonK, although there is always variation among coaches. Rather than odd numbers for gaps and even numbers for heads up, I've only seen the numbers referring to an on-the-shoulder positioning, i.e. not quite in the gap and not quite face-to-face. Picture a tiny little 1 over each of the center's shoulders, a 2 over each of the OG's inside shoulders, a 3 over their outside shoulders, etc. A DL thus assigned is still playing one-gap but not the strict line-up-and-shoot-the-gap of yesteryear which just doesn't work anymore (at higher levels). The actual gaps usually get the ABC labeling. Only football goes to such extraordinary lengths to make the simple seem complex and sophisticated. Its an elaborate scam to keep AD's confused and impressed.

93 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In this case, the author could've (should've?) used the term "90 Technique", since we're talking about a linebacker. Bum Philips didn't use this originally, but many coordinators now add a 0 for alignments behind the LOS. Basically, if he were to line up ON THE LINE with his nose over the TE's outside shoulder (or on the sideline, depending on who you ask), he'd be a "9 Technique". If he's at linebacker depth, he's "90 Technique".

Basically, Bill's using a little bit of football-centric fluffery to emphasize his point that: "He can cover AND rush well."

Given the length of the article, I suspect he was channeling Gregg Easterbrook.

94 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by masocc (not verified)

Basically, this is why I should either proofread or register.


Basically, a meaningless double post. Sorry.

95 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Sorry, but that trade by the Patriots is just stupid.

What do the Patriots need the most? GETTING TO THE QB. Cushing is mediocre at best at doing so. Heck, he's probably the 2nd or 3rd best at rushing the passer out of the USC LB trio! I like that he is versatile, but that's not what NE needs. They need a 10-13 sack guy, and Cushing will never be that. Trading a 2nd and 6th to move up and get him makes even less sense- NE has moved up just once in the 1st since they made the mistake of moving up to get Dan Graham - and that was moving one spot up to get Ty Warren. Every other time they have traded down in the 1st.

If the Pats don't want to use all 11 of their picks this year, they'll do what they always do - trade picks this year for higher picks next year. Rather than trade up for a guy like Cushing who doesn't solve any issues for us, stay put or trade down for a guy like Connor Barwin (talk about versatile- he's Vrabel pt. 2). Or if you must trade up, go for a guy who actually solves problems for us- Everette Brown or Aaron Maybin.

103 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by James R (not verified)

"They need a 10-13 sack guy, and Cushing will never be that"

They didn't seem to need that in 2003 or 2004. The patriots defense is not the chargers or the cowboys defense. All 4 linebackers are expected to be able to drop back in coverage, rush the passer, etc. They need a new Mike Vrabel.

97 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

"The one trade we'll mention before getting to our mock involves the Philadelphia Eagles. Although there's certainly a distinct pool of talent in this draft at tackle, and (as discussed at length in last week's Four Downs on the NFC East) the Eagles could choose to move Todd Herremans to left tackle, we think Philadelphia will trade the 28th overall pick to Buffalo for the 139th overall pick and left tackle Jason Peters"

I cannot fathom the Bills making this deal-- they can almost certainly do better than that.

100 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

It always amazes me how little some of the self proclaimed gurus on this site know about the X's and O's of football ( not stats, or depth charts, or game results). People here always make fun of the "conventional" football guys but I'd guarantee that 95% of the posters here would learn a lot from shaddowing say an offensive line coach for one day at a college practice. Not even a great line coach, or a genius coach, just follow any old line coach and you'd learn a lot.

104 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by Chris (not verified)

I'm sure we all would Chris, the problem is, thats not an option, and the media's consistent dramatizing of sport keeps us from actually learning anything.

You can be a football fan without having played in highschool.

105 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

When the NFL's house network doesn't make much of an attempt to use coach's tape to teach details of the game to hard core fans, there is no hope that broadcast and general cable channels will beyond the occasional hour-long show or brief clip in a pre-game show. It's a shame NFLN doesn't replay the games with retired coaches commenting on the coach's tape.

142 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I realize this post is a month old, but...

I don't think it's quite fair to say that people "make fun of the 'conventional' football guys." I think one of the major criticisms (from this site and other similar ones like Baseball Prospectus) is that more information can be a good thing. Read some of the posts about Ron Jaworski, or about the day some of the FO guys spent at NFL Films breaking down film. There are a lot of people on this site who are really interested in that aspect of the game.

No one on this site, at least none of the authors and editors, is against the "conventional" football guy. There's just a recognition that there is a lot of valuable information out there that can supplement the traditional X's and O's of football if used in a logical manner.

I agree that it's interesting and worthwhile to talk to coaches about the X's and O's of the game to get an understanding of what happens on game day. Like everything else though, it's a tool and a part of the bigger picture.

107 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

An excellent mock draft. Yes, it is, dammit. It takes into account factors that most mocks don't, which always annoyed the crap out of me, and it throws in enough random weirdness to make it feel, if not accurate, at least realistic. Every damn draft has a couple of WTF moves in it, and so few mocks even try to anticipate them.

I appreciate the swing for the fences. Now, to cover your bases and look smartified, like the rest of the sportswriting world, you'll have to re-do this draft nine times. That way, at least one will be close, and you can proclaim yourselves psychics. Works for all the others, right?

112 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I think it's a bit odd that you make a big point of discussing the importance of how teams draft and the schemes they use in determining where players go and then botch it when it comes to the Bucs.

It's not the Freeman part - that's a very good possibility. It's the fallback option of a "drop linebacker for the Tampa-2." Except the Bucs are running a different scheme now. Even if they were playing the Tampa-2, it's worth noting that they haven't drafted a linebacker in the first round since Derrick Brooks (and he predates the arrival of the Tampa-2 - he was drafted by Wyche to play in Rusty Tillman's D).

113 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Rich - My point is that everybody is an expert on everything (I'm guilty too) and only Football Outsiders readers know anything about what's really going on, and ESPN readers are the dumb public.

I mean, we aren't talking about anything advanced here, people don't even know what the positions are or how people line up yet they'd be so quick to call Mike Tice a moron, Ted Cottrell a moron, Norv Turner a moron, ESPN/CBSsportsline media consumers morons...

Just a peeve of mine.

118 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

In reply to by Chris (not verified)

Understandable, though to me it's part of the appeal of sports. In real-world matters, we have to be careful and think things through. In sports, who gives a crap? "Woo-hah! I are a smart-o-fied eks-purt, 'cause I watch the tee-vee!" Sports provide a consequence-free opportunity for us to believe ourselves unappreciated geniuses. It's great. We can indulge our judgmental sides without hurting anything or anyone.

I was convinced that Mike Mularkey was all hat and no cattle after his disastrous runs in Buffalo and Miami. Absolutely convinced. Now he's the OC in Atlanta and just helmed an offense with a rookie QB to an 11-5 record. As usual, I had no idea what I was talking about. Fortunately, my ignorance had no effect on anything anywhere. Sweet.

119 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Atlanta Falcons "excellent defensive line?" Which Atlanta Falcons were you guys watching in 2009??

121 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Point taken but it does get a little annoying ...

Ted Cottrell is a moron, Ted Cottrell can't coach, Ted Cottrell is dumber than dirt, Ted Cottrell couldn't even get EJ Henderson to line up correctly... Oh, but pardon me for asking, but what's a 5 technique player?

123 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Chris, sometimes it's the same person saying those things (personally I would never dream of saying that a coordinator couldn't line players up correctly unless his unit got hit with a bunch of "illegal formation" penalties), but you have to realize that quite often it's different people saying those things. Usually the people making bold declarations about the cognitive abilities of pro coaches are too arrogant to ask questions about technique and terminology (which might expose them as know-nothings). FO readers represent a wide variety of (intelligent and well-educated) football fans.

(Formerly "The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly")

124 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Ah, let the mocking begin. A thankless task, Bill, and you are getting little thanks. Actually, some of the criticism is pretty valid, but, of course, some of it is even sillier than a mock draft. Which brings me to my own unsolicited opinion. Even accounting for my own biases, the Denver/Sanchez (I said "Denver", not "dirty" you disgusting pervs) pick stands out as preposterous (given that its your pick with or without Cutler on the roster). This is not to say that McX wouldn't do it, given their short-but-spectacularly-incoherent track record. To pay Cutler, Simms ($3.5M) and Sanchez (project $14M guaranteed) at the same time would be really silly. Plus, if Cutler is still on the roster, it is because the Broncos want him to think he's their guy. Drafting another quarterback would not give the Broncos leverage. It would send Cutler into apoplexy, forcing them to trade a promising young quarterback for whatever they can get and leaving them with a high-priced back-up and a rookie cipher to man the most important position on the field. (oh yeah, and Darrell Hackney). If Cutler is still with the team, drafting Mark Sanchez could only be surpassed in stupidity by forfeiting the pick altogether (or, I suppose, drafting Josh Freeman).

127 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Percy Harvin doesn't get drafted in the 1st round?


131 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

To all those enquiring about the (emphatically unofficial) FO Reader Mock Draft, it will definitely be taking place again this year. I've emailed Sid to see if he wants to return as commissioner, it being his baby in the first place; if not then I'll run it again - hopefully with a few lessons learnt from last year.

If you were involved last year, or were in contact about it then even if you didn't end up participating, I still have your email addresses and either Sid or I will be in touch soon.

If you've not taken part in the past but would like to give it a try, or if you want to know a bit more before committing, drop me an email at tomrichards8464 at

As to the "9 technique" question, I'm guessing Bill really did mean "9" and not "90". I don't know about Singletary's defense specifically, but most 3-4 systems routinely have the weak side OLB, who is likely to be the primary pass-rusher, line up on the line of scrimmage, often with his hand on the ground. Doesn't mean the 49ers call this player or position a "9-technique" of course - I've also heard this type of player referred to as an "elephant", among other things. Whatever you call it, it's probably the only position at which Brown has a chance of succeeding in the NFL, which means only 3-4 teams are likely to draft him. I guess Mathis and Schobel are starting 4-3 ends at about his weight, but they are very much the exception and not the rule.

133 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I think the biggest problems with the mock we ran the last two years were the cap busting trades and the idiot who trades away their best player trades.

I would be prepared to take a look at the cap implication of any big name trades (should I have the time), it might be an idea to ask people to give me (or anyone else who wants to take a look and see if the cap numbers involved are sane) a heads up pre-draft on any players they want to trade who might have large cap hits involved. Nothing too detailed, just drop an email in and I would have a quick look. There weren't that many folks who wanted to trade guys with huge cap hits (an advantage of running the mock with FO readers, most of whom know their arse from their elbow when it comes to the salary cap).

The best player for a bunch of thirds is a bit more problematic, although the trade which was probably most criticised last year turned out to be a fairly shrewd move. I guess good drafting wins most of the time. The other approach might be to just let trades happen and people would have to stand by their reuslts - or not in the reality of a fan based draft, although I reckon I would have secured myself a fat new contract by now ;).

And yes I am still sore about you trading up above me to grab Forte. Damn you!!!!!

137 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

Cheers, Jimmy - I think that would be very helpful. There's generally too much going on for the commish to be able to look at mid-draft trades in that sort of detail.

From what I remember, last year wasn't actually that bad on the "stupid player-for-pick trades" front. As you say, Lee Evans for #29 received a lot of flack from GMs around the league, but a year later it really doesn't look that unreasonable from the Bills' point of view.

The year before inlcuded some fairly implausible trading, most of it triggered by the Packers GM's intense Adrian Peterson man-crush. The last two seasons give us reason to laud his ability to evaluate college RBs, but it still probably wasn't a good move when you consider that the move up to #5 cost him #16, Jason Spitz, Daryn Colledge, Cullen Jenkins and Greg Jennings. That is quite an array of cheap young talent. Cap-wise, though, it probably wasn't an issue for anyone involved.

As for Forte, you'd been raving about his undoubted virtues for a while on these forums, so I was pretty sure that if I wanted him I'd have to move up. Careless talk costs lives . . .

Or running backs, at any rate.

I'd also like, in the spirit of gloating, to point out that owing to the GM shortage I was also drafting for the Chargers, which means I picked Johnson as well. Just so long as no-one calls attention to my other brilliant selections such as Darrell Robertson (a real life UDFA who is already on his 4th team, one of which was in the CFL), Ali Highsmith, John Beck, Jason Hill, Charlie Whitehurst . . .

Oh, damn. Damn, damn, damn, damn damn.

139 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I only have 2 problems with this mock. Yes, everyone can knock the trades all you want, but making up a mock without some trades is worse.

1st, the Buccaneers already have Josh Freeman on their roster. They actually drafted him last year, and his name is Josh Johnson.

2nd, I can't see anyone taking Robiskie while Nicks and Britt are still on the board. Especially Nicks.

140 Re: 2009 FO Mock Draft

I hope Denver doess take Sanchez. McDaniels is an idiot, and it'd be shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.