Well it's been almost 2 months since my last mock draft, so I thought I'd put together an update to close out the week and to get some discussion going. Below is the first round as well as the Dolphins #32 pick. Let me know what you think.
1. Miami Dolphins: Chris Long, DE, Virginia
It’s beginning to become clear that the race to be the top pick (if the Dolphins can’t trade it) is now a 3 horse race between Chris Long, Jake Long, and Matt Ryan. And in all honesty, I’d be shocked if Ryan is the pick. If the Dolphins were able to sign Calvin Pace, I think Jake Long would have had a better shot to go in this top spot. But Pace went to the Jets, I’m now having a hard time believing Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland will pass up on Chris Long, a guy who can anchor their defense for years. And if you take into account all the trade talk surrounding Jason Taylor, I think it is beginning to look more and more like Howie’s son is the favorite right now.
2. St. Louis Rams: Jake Long, OT, Michigan
I originally thought that the Rams would jump on Glenn Dorsey if the Dolphins passed on him. But I think that with Jake Long’s performance at the Combine and Dorsey’s injury concerns, the Rams will take the player who is less risky. Long will be Orlando Pace’s heir apparent. Pace is reportedly going to be ready for next season, but he’s suffered season ending injuries in each of the past 2 seasons, meaning Long could get experience protecting Marc Bulger’s blind side sooner rather than later in St. Louis.
3. Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
With the signing of Michael Turner, the Falcons won’t be taking Darren McFadden. Glenn Dorsey could get some consideration if the Falcons feel like they can get a comparable quarterback to Ryan in the 2nd round. But in the end, I think the Falcons will take the young signal caller who has all the leadership skills and intangibles that an NFL quarterback needs.
4. Oakland Raiders: Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
After the re-signing of Justin Fargas, I don’t think McFadden will be the pick here anymore, though you can never be too certain because Al Davis is…well…nuts. But defensive tackle was a need for the Raiders last year and that need increases following the retirement of Warren Sapp. Al Davis has never been one to shy away from risks. So despite Dorsey’s injury risks, I think he has more upside than Sedrick Ellis.
5. Kansas City Chiefs: Ryan Clady, OT, Boise St.
I really think the Chiefs will address their offensive line issue and give Larry Johnson some support. He needs some holes to run through after all. I don’t think Jake Long makes it down this far, so look for KC to take the next best left tackle. It’s a bit of a reach, perhaps, but Clady is a big, strong tackle who has the ability to be a franchise left tackle.
6. New York Jets: Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
With the Jets shelling out big bucks to sign Calvin Pace, my original thought that Eric Mangini and company would take Vernon Gholston has gone out the window. But the Jets also spent big bucks on a couple offensive lineman. Now they just need a young, stud running back to run through the holes in the line. McFadden has elite talent, but does have some off-the-field issues. But those issues won’t scare away the Jets from taking the draft’s most talented player all the way down at pick #6. This could prove to be the steal of the draft.
7. New England Patriots: Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy
Yes, this team needs some young linebackers and Vernon Gholston would prove to be a good fit in their defensive scheme. But the Pats also need cornerback help if Randall Gay and Asante Samuel have left in free agency. McKelvin was always considered a first round cornerback, but after his impressive Combine, he’s probably the top corner on the board. McKelvin is very athletic and is a solid tackler. The only thing he lacks is elite size (he’s only 5’10).
8. Baltimore Ravens: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee St.
With no quarterback worth this pick, the Ravens will turn their attention to defense. With the franchising of Terrell Suggs, Vernon Gholston will be passed up yet again. Their secondary, though, is getting old and Rodgers-Cromartie has the chance to be a special player. He’s got great size and elite speed. The only knock on him is that he played against sub-par competition.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Vernon Gholson, DE, Ohio St.
The Bengals need a pass rush, especially after losing Justin Smith in free agency. Gholston is an ideal fit for them because of how versatile he is. It’s been rumored the Bengals wanted to make the switch to the 3-4 defense. But with the inability to land a big NT this year, they will likely remain in a 4-3. However, drafting Gholston allows Cincy to consider switching to a 3-4 a year or two down the road because he could play the OLB spot. He’s a physical freak and the Bengals should be thrilled to land him if they can.
10. New Orleans Saints: Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida
The Saints seem to always need help at corner. Yes, they signed Randall Gay. But Gay, at best, is a solid #2 corner. Jenkins has the ability to become a #1 and will help sure up that secondary. The Saints also need linebackers, though, so don’t be shocked if Keith Rivers is the pick here.
Now I'll quickly run down the rest of round 1 (and Miami’s #32 pick):
11. Buffalo Bills: Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma
12. Denver Broncos: Keith Rivers, LB, USC
13. Carolina Panthers: Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
14. Chicago Bears: Jeff Otah, OT, Pitt
15. Detroit Lions: Aquib Talib, CB, Kansas
16. Arizona Cardinals: Phillip Merling, DE, Clemson
17. Minnesota Vikings: Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida
18. Houston Texans: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois
19. Philadelphia Eagles: DeSean Jackson, WR, Cal
20. Tampa Bay Bucs: Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt
21. Washington Redskins: Calais Campbell, DE, Miami
22. Dallas Cowboys: Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas
23. Pittsburgh Steelers: Brandon Albert, OG, Virginia
24. Tennessee Titans: Limas Sweed, WR, Texas
25. Seattle Seahawks: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon
26. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina
27. San Diego Chargers: Kenny Phillips, S, Miami
28. Dallas Cowboys: James Hardy, WR, Indiana
29. San Francisco 49ers: Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan St.
30. Green Bay Packers: Brandon Flowers, CB, Virginia Tech
31. New York Giants: Dan Connor, LB, Penn St.
32. Miami Dolphins: Gosder Cherilus, OT, Boston College
So there you have it. Thoughts below…