NFL Mock Draft 11-23

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By Paul M. Banks and Peter Christian

With the Oakland Raiders finally benching JaMarcus Russell this week (and winning no less right after doing so) it brought me back to the NFL Draft of 2007, when all the experts were so high on the LSU signal caller. Right before the draft, I even extolled Russell’s virtues during my guest appearance on sports talk radio in Milwaukee: Steve “the Homer” True’s show on ESPN radio. You can listen to that clip by clicking this link. It’s right up near the top of the page. And I encourage you to comment below on what panned out and what didn’t from my predictions over two years ago. Because that’s why we love sports talk radio, and internet comment threads- the debate. So if you have feedback on who I have your team taking, you can comment below.

Team Player Position School

1. Cleveland Browns Jimmy Clausen QB Notre Dame

By losing in the final seconds to Detroit, Cleveland “won” the #1 Overall Pick Bowl yesterday. (And that bowl game actually sounds more natural and legitimate than the names of many college bowls). The Lions have their QB of the future, Cleveland has Brady Quinn. So that means they desperately need a new quarterback. Although now that news of Clausen’s involvement in a bar fight have emerged, I’m having serious buyer’s remorse in making this pick, and will likely change it next week.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ndamukong Suh DT Nebraska

With another game remaining against the Saints, the Bucs run defense (or should I say lack thereof) will become ever more apparent and they’ll go for a run-stopper. Suh is an every down defensive tackle due to his dual ability to stuff the run or crash the pocket. He’s an expert at winning his individual battles at the line of scrimmage and often causes disruption in the backfield constantly. He should be taken #1 overall, but unfortunately he’s not a QB.

3. St. Louis Rams Eric Berry S Tennessee

If you don’t know who Eric Berry is, look him up. He could be the heir apparent to Ed Reed as the elite defensive playmaker in the NFL. And if there’s one thing St. Louis needs, it’s defensive plays. And offensive plays, and special teams plays and….

4. Kansas City Chiefs Russell Okung OT Oklahoma State

Heading into the regular-season finale against Oklahoma on Saturday, the durable Okung is slated for his 46th consecutive start for the Cowboys. He’s a big reason why the 9-2 Cowboys’ offense produces 203.5 yards a game on the ground. Twice during his career he has not allowed a sack against the nation’s leader at the time – the latest was an effort against Texas A&M end Von Miller this season His time spent at T. Boone Pickens University will serve him well, as Okung combines all his physical gifts with a high football IQ

5. Oakland Raiders Jake Locker QB Washington

JaMarcus gets benched, and the Raiders respond by upsetting a very good team in the Cincinnati Bengals. Still Bruce Gradkowski is not the solution, so Oakland will again take a signal caller. This cements Russell’s legacy: bigger bust than Jenny McCarthy.

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6. Detroit Lions Trent Williams OT Oklahoma

The Lions need a lot, they can start on the O Line. The Okung or Williams debate over who is the better choice at offensive tackle is one where there really isn’t a loser. Trent Williams, like Okung, has good feet, strong hands and the talent to become elite in the NFL.

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7. Washington Redskins Gerald McCoy DT Oklahoma

This would be a nice complement to Albert Haynesworth, and the Skins could use more talent on the defensive line because the last time they had an overwhelmingly dominant d lineman was something like 40 years ago. McCoy is a pillar of strength that can dominate from the center of the field. He is very agile for a guy just shy of 300 pounds and will be a combine favorite.

8. Tennessee Titans Greg Hardy DE Ole Miss

Greg Hardy may be the purest sack artist in the draft. He has a lethal combination of speed and power that he mixes up to get to the quarterback. Hardy also has a sort of “Overdrive” that he shifts into once he smells a possible sack.

9. Buffalo Bills Sam Bradford QB Oklahoma

Trent Edwards is obviously not the answer, not with that 30th ranked passing attack. After season ending surgery, Bradford’s draft stock was, to paraphrase Snoop Dogg “dropping it like its hot,” but it hasn’t fallen as fast as you might think. His body of work still speaks volumes about what he could do on the next level.

10. Seattle Seahawks Carlos Dunlap DE Florida

Dunlap is one of the biggest reasons Gator opponents have backfield mishaps. He is fast AND strong which will allow him to cause nightmares for opposing tackles for years to come. But because the press is busy kissing Tebow’s a$$ every time the Gators play, he’s a well kept secret.

11. Denver Broncos (From the Chicago Bears, a horribly mismanaged organization that treats both the media and their fans like subhuman garbage)

Brandon LaFell WR LSU

LaFell is a rubber band man when it comes to contorting his body in the air to make the catch. His hands are his biggest asset as he catches the ball softly and away from his body. He needs to improve his route running as he isn’t a super fast runner but as long as he makes catches to bail out his quarterback he’ll be a good NFL player. And don’t let his record as a starter fool you, Kyle Orton is a guy who makes throws that need to be bailed out sometimes.


12. Green Bay Packers Bryan Bulaga OT Iowa

As you might have heard, the Pack’s OL is terrible. Myabe they could get the Bucks’ Brandon Jennings to play OG, people in Wisconsin seem to think he can do anything right now. And if LeBron jokes about playing for the Browns…ok enough fooling around. GB will get a huge boost in their ability to run and pass protect on the left side when they take Bulaga, one of the best OL in college football.

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13. San Francisco 49ers (From Carolina) Sergio Kindle OLB Texas

Kindle is a versatile linebacker that is an excellent attacker. He takes very good angles to the ball and makes tackles all over the field. Sergio’s mix of energy and instincts allows him to overcome the fact that he is a little slower than coaches would want.

14. San Francisco 49ers Bruce Campbell OT Maryland

Campbell could go higher, because he easily has as much talent and ability as Okung and Williams, but he doesn’t have their track record of durability. Therefore, he slips down the board a little.

15. Houston Texans Jahvid Best RB Cal

Best is exactly what is name proclaims at his position. He has very good vision and an even better instinct on when to turn on the jets. He is very good at making defenders miss at every level. He isn’t a bruiser back but if coupled with a versatile offense he has the makings of the next young play-making running back.

16. Miami Dolphins Terence Cody DT Alabama

Cody is a big time anchor guy who could go higher if he stays in good shape throughout the combine and workout process. He is a perfect 3-4 true nose tackle and can really control the flow and direction of a play.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars  Jonathan Dwyer RB Georgia Tech

The Jags offense works much better when they have two main backs in their stable. And Dwyer, an old school workhorse running back, would be an upgrade over MoJo’s current backups.  He can run inside and outside and can handle as many carries as the coach gives him. Dwyer’s a big back, but he has good speed as well and can be the muscle of a two back system or handle the lone number one duties as well.

18. New York Jets Arrelious Benn WR Illinois

In any other year, Rejus Benn fells out of the first round due to his disappointing 2009 season. But this year’s receiving class is weak and it’s not his fault the quarterbacking in Champaign this fall was a hot mess. Of course, you could probably say the same for the Jets Mark Sanchez. Maybe he’ll look better next year with some complements to Jericho Cotchery.

19. Atlanta Falcons Rolando McClain LB Alabama

McClain is an amazing tackler in space and can cover a lot of ground from the middle linebacker spot. He’s got great fundamentals and has a knack of shedding blockers to make big tackles.

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20. Dallas Cowboys Arthur Jones DT Syracuse

Jones’ is a gap filler and is stronger than Atlas. He is in a Pat Williams type run stopper that will be look like a man amongst boys at times. He plays hard on every play and is of the rare breed of football players that will never quit on any play.

21. Seattle Seahawks (From Denver) Brandon Spikes LB Florida

The “incident” if you will that Spikes was involved in has sent his draft stock-a-tumbling as all the “character issues” will come into play.

22. San Diego Chargers Sean Weatherspoon OLB Missouri

Weatherspoon can play both sides of the field (he’ll end up near the ball anyway) and is always around a big play. Whether he’s rushing the passer, busting up a play in the backfield, breaking up a pass or chasing down a receiver from behind, Weatherspoon can do it all.

23. Arizona Cardinals Joe Haden CB Florida

Haden has jumped to the top of the board amongst other corners with solid coverage and ball skills. He makes good reads and adjusts well to the ball when its in the air. And if weren’t for all of the college football media devoting 90% of their coverage to telling us what a model American Tim Tebow is, we’d all be more well aware of these facts.

24. Baltimore Ravens Brandon Graham DE Michigan

Graham is a big body that plays very well upfield. Scouts will love that he is versatile enough to play the end position in either scheme. Graham himself will love the opportunity to play in a place where defense traditionally comes first and athletes with skill sets usually thrive. Plus, it will be nice to get out of Ann Arbor before all the investigations begin, and players begin to find themselves in sticky situations.

25. New York Giants Jermaine Gresham TE Oklahoma

Gresham is an elite pass catching tight end. He can run a perfect seam route or he can cover a lot of space over the middle. He needs to work on his blocking but he should be a touchdown machine with his hands, size and route running skills.

26. Philadelphia Eagles CJ Spiller RB Clemson

Spiller’s a fast runner built on a solid frame. His outside running game and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield is where he’ll make his mark, but he’s not afraid to go right at a defender. A little extra muscle and being able to show his durability will help Spiller’s stock go up.

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27. Pittsburgh Steelers Jermaine Cunningham DE Florida

Cunningham isn’t as explosive as his teammate Carlos Dunlap but he is more reliable on a play by play basis. He gets to the quarterback with regularity and makes a lot of tackles in the run game as well.

28. Cincinnati Bengals Colt McCoy QB Texas

Believe it or not, it will be time start grooming Carson Palmer’s successor soon. Time flies doesn’t it? Best to do it now while you have the luxury of not being desperate

29. Minnesota Vikings Patrick Robinson CB Florida State

Robinson is a super fast coverage man that is above average in nearly every aspect of the game. He anticipates routes but isn’t a huge risk taker and tackles well in the open field. He is also a very good return man.

30. New England Patriots Navorro Bowman LB Penn State

Belichick’s teams are always at their best after Thanksgiving, and now they have the added motivation of having a win over their bitterest of rivals stolen away from them by horrible officiating, so they might not lose again this year.And they need depth at LB. Bowman has spent much of the year ranked the #1 OLB prospect from ESPN.com He’s been an absolute force down the stretch for PSU, (another Big Ten defensive player of the week award today) and it’s becoming impossible not to compare him to Lavar Arrington- same school, position, and jersey number. Arrington went on to six Pro Bowls, so that’s quite a complement

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31. New Orleans Saints Trevard Lindley CB Kentucky

Give how potent their O is, NOLA will obviously draft for D this spring. And Lindley is about to put the finishing touches on what could be the best-ever career by a University of Kentucky defensive back.

32. Indianapolis Colts Taylor Mays S USC

If you asked a scout to write down their ideal size and speed numbers for an NFL free safety they’d list: 6-3, 235, 4.4. Oddly enough that is Taylor’s height, weight and 40 time on record. Enough said.

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Comments

  1. Clausen at #1? really? I could be wrong, but I just don’t see the kid doing well in the NFL. He’s not much of a pocket passer, and is kind of soft. I would look at his record and blame him just as much as Weis. Bradford is a much better QB, and I don’t see him going at #1 either.

  2. Remember all the scouts gushing over Clausen when he was coming into college? he was the most talked about recruit EVER. The scouts are gushing over the same physical gifts he possesses today that they did then.

    And you have to give him the nod over Bradford, because of Sam’s injuries.

    it is a weak class overall for QBs, but quarterbacks always go #1

  3. I’m Jimmy Clausen, and I get punched in the face on Sunday mornings after having a Grand Slam breakfast because Fighting Irish fans are morons. God is on their side though…

  4. Why do you have the seahawks taking a LB… I mean you know we picked one at #4 last year right Aaron Curry ring a bell? You know we also signed another linebacker to a 36 million dollar deal after franchising him….Leroy Hill…. Oh did i forget about Lofa Tatupu, pro- bowler no biggie….
    And most of all Lofa’s replacement right now is a beast. David “The Heater” Hawthorne has only started 6 games so far, and has 71 total tackles. If you wanna extrapolate that a little to 10 games where he’d be if he started every game. #1 in the league by 17 tackles. Tack on the fact he has 3 sacks, tied for second among 4-3 linebackers, he has 3 picks leading all line backers in the league, two forced fumbles, and a safety…. all in only six games.

    NOW tell me why we need Brandon Spikes, do your homework, or at least turn on a game once in a while… or if that was an innocent mistake on your part and i apologize, but I’m glad your now enlightened on David Hawthorne.

  5. Ben,

    I certainly appreciate your enthusiasm and zeal…but I ask you why did the Steelers take Rashard Mendenhall at #22 in 2008? They had a damn fine RB in Willie Parker already, yet took the guy who was a great value pick because his stock fell so bad on draft day. You can throw out the “well RB is such an injury prone position, you can always use more” idea. but LB is the exact same way, another position where starters and key reserves go down all the time.

    I had Spikes as a top ten pick before the eye gouging incident, so I’m expecting his stock to take a dive like Brady Quinn in ’07 and Mendenhall in ’08.

  6. “at least turn on a game once in a while… or if that was an innocent mistake on your part and i apologize,”

    apology accepted. and you know I’ve watched at least one Seahawks game this year. I live in Chicago, so I saw every minute of the game Seattle played vs. the Bears in their notorious Ecto Cooler/Digger Phelps’ highlighter/high end wasabi colored jerseys

  7. Jake,

    and death is not an option here

    a night out with Cubs fans or Notre Dame fans?

  8. With a guy like Taylor Mays on the board at a position of need, theres no way the Hawks draft a LB when they have absolutely no need for one.

  9. I think you need to adjust your Charger pick. They might take an outside linebacker, but not one like Weatherspoon. He is a total 4-3 OLB, while the Chargers would take a 3-4 rushing outside linebacker, like a Jerry Hughes or an Eric Norwood.

  10. However I think you have to look at at differently, a RB can split carries, so he is making his money. A fourth linebacker is most likely only to play on special teams, the occasional play, and maybe a goal line. Brandon Spikes would be our fifth. So we’d be paying a very large chunk of cash for a 5th string line backer, while yes its great to have depth you just can’t justify that over picking at other spots of need.

    On the other extreme of the Medenhall situation would be with QB position. It kinda gives light to what im trying to get at.

    Say you have Peyton Manning as your starting QB, you really don’t need a great QB as his backup, but maybe, just maybe, if there was a great talent that falls you might grab him. But your second string QB happens to be Matt Shaub, so you already have very good talent behind Peyton. So while its great to have all these great QB’s, only one gets to start. Instead of picking this QB to hold a clip board as the third string QB, you could draft the a player at a postion you really need.

    The LB situation in Seattle isn’t as extreme as with the QB idea, but its much closer to that than the medenhall situation

    Now what a team might do if great talent falls to to them that they don’t have a place for, is to try and get a team to trade up with them to get Brandon, and the team gets some value for it.

    What makes more sense for us in you mock, would be CJ Spiller, Charles Brown OT USC, or even Joe Haden. CJ Spiller fills a need, we need a RB and a playmaker, he fits both. The Hawks are guarenteed to draft a LT with one of their first two picks, we were on our fourth string LT for some time, and Walter Jones is almost guarenteed to be done. Charles Brown while undersized fits perfectly into the ZBS we run. Joe Haden would be an example of a guy that drops aways, and isnt the biggest need on the team, but with his talent he’d be starting(unlike B Spikes) Also if Tim Ruskell is still GM he wouldn’t pick Spikes due to the gouging incident you have him falling for, he places a huge emphasis on character.

    Also even though it doesnt matter at all, just cause you trashed our jersey’s(I may agree with you, but we got have some pride, ya know)… Medenhall didn’t really fall a huge amount, I mean did you expect him to get picked in the top ten? He was expected right around pick 15, so it isnt too much of a fall. I call homer since your from chicago….

  11. Ben,

    you win on this one. I concede the Sea pt to you, a very detailed response.

    But am I homer on Mendenhall? Well, I did cover the Illini football team for the school paper when I was there 96-00. And Shard is the only person to win the Big Ten MVP award for the Illinois program while I’ve been alive. so….(here’s where you can take your rips at Illinois football, but maybe you’d actually prefer a challenge and rip on the bears, oh wait…that’s easy too)

    But despite all that, I’m still right about Mendenhall cuz EVERY draft expert had him as the second or sometimes first tailback taken. and how many RBs went ahead of him? 5 or 6!

  12. Jesse, interesting points. I think you might know your team better than Norv Turner does, I give him no respect at all when it comes to schematics and the personnel he chooses for the schemes, but perhaps GM AJ Smith will emphasize taking a LB who’s biggest strengths within blitz packages

  13. Spiller to the Seahwks? maybe let’s see how he does at combine

  14. Haha Alright from that stand point medenhall did fall i guess, although only three went in front.

    As far as Spiller, I think he fits into the West Coast Offense from a receiving standpoint, Knapp has been trying run some wildcat type gimmick plays and Spiller did throw a TD, so maybe something from that standpoint, although with how its been working Knapp should be fired. I think most importantly is that the Hawks lack a true playmaker on offense, we have nobody that makes opposing coordinators gameplan against us. Spiller’s speed and versitility brings us that. Also seeing that Julius Jones is absolute Trash we need a running Back.

    I will say though, with the emergence of Justin Forsett(much to the joy of many seahawks fans) we already have a smaller back. It may be more beneficial to get a bigger guy like Ryan Matthews, Fresno State in the Second round, or Toby Gerhart, Stanford where ever his stock ends up. Also if he’s there at the second first round pick Jonathon Dywer would be an option as well.

  15. Yeah, a lot of teams are going to want Spiller this April, and I agree that Julius Jones absolutely blows. since your Hawks are still pretty solid at WR (obviously not what they were with their ’06 receiving corps, but still ok) I think they’ll go RB for their off playmaker pick

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