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.

2010 NFL Mock Draft 11-9

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By Paul M. Banks and Peter Christian

Our draft order is based on how we predict the final NFL standings might will look. Team needs have been taken into account for this draft. And of course, this is all highly subject to change between now and late April. Especially the draft order. By now you’ve probably heard that former Super Bowl Head Coach Tony Dungy said he thinks Tim Tebow will be a “franchise quarterback in the NFL”, and that anyone who has the chance to draft him #1 overall should do just that. We are now all dumber for having heard Dungy say that. It’s a good thing for NFL GMs that none have to deal with Dungy screwing up their organization.

Team                             Player               Position     School

1. St. Louis Rams  Ndamukong Suh   DT      Nebraska

Suh is an expert at winning his battle at the line of scrimmage and causes disruption in the backfield constantly. He is an every down defensive tackle due to his dual ability to stuff the run or crash the pocket.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Russell Okung  OT  Oklahoma State

Russell Okung is as good a left tackle you will find in all of college football. He has the fundamental base of a franchise tackle to go with his physical skills. Okung also gets praised by pretty much everyone for his intelligence as well. His time spent at T. Boone Pickens University will serve him well.

3. Cleveland Browns    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 Cleveland needs, it’s defensive plays. And offensive plays, and special teams plays and….

4. Kansas City Chiefs Trent Williams        OT        Oklahoma

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.

5. Oakland Raiders Gerald McCoy      DT             Oklahoma

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. It’s always interesting to see teammates go back-to-back in the high picks of the 1st round. Makes you wonder why the Sooners couldn’t beat Florida in the title game.

6. Jacksonville Jaguars Jake Locker     QB      Washington

Rumors were previously circulating that said the Jags might take Tim Tebow, partially as a quasi-publicity stunt to help sell more tickets. Why not take a QB with actual pro potential instead? Locker’s draft stock has shot up with his solid play this season for the Huskies. Even if his team’s overall record is anything but solid. I expect things will come down by draft time but he’s raised enough eyebrows to maintain his status as a potential number one pick.

7. San Francisco 49ers (From Carolina) Jimmy Clausen QB Notre Dame

Remember when Clausen was being recruited out of high school, and his game was rumored to “bigger than Jesus”? (I’m sorry, bigger than Tim Tebow)  All the tools college scouts raved about then (arm strength, accuracy, pocket poise, ability to read defenses) are being raved about again, this time by pro scouts

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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. Detroit Lions 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. Washington Redskins Charles Brown OT USC

The group of offensive linemen in D.C. right now, aren’t exactly the next incarnation of The Hogs. They’re not even The Hoggettes. And Brown is a people mover that has the benefit of playing in a pro-style offensive scheme that will make the college-to-NFL transition much easier than some.

12. Miami Dolphins 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.

13. Green Bay Packers Jonathan Dwyer RB Georgia Tech

Dwyer is an old school workhorse running back. 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.

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14. Seattle Seahawks 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 playmaking running back.

15. Houston Texans 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.

16. Denver Broncos (From Chicago) Dez Bryant Oklahoma State

Did you hear that? It’s the sound of Bryant’s NFL Draft stock falling after his reinstatement attempt failed. I expect him to fall a bit more between now and the spring, but when combine rolls around, he should win some of that interest from scouts back

17. San Francisco 49ers 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.

18. San Diego Chargers 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.

19. New York Jets 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.

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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. 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.

22. 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.

23. Philadelphia Eagles 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.

24. New England Patriots Brandon Spikes LB Florida

The Patriots front-seven can use another injection of youth, especially if Adalius Thomas is indeed on his way out, at season’s end. The “incident” if you will that Spikes was involved in will surely send his draft stock-a-tumbling as all the “character issues” will come into play. But if the Bill Belichick regime can make model citizens of miscreants like Randy Moss and HGHers like Rodney Harrison, they can easily get Spikes into line.

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. Baltimore Ravens Arrelious Benn WR Illinoiscj_spiller

To cite the film Wedding Crashers: “Crab cakes and football, that’s what Maryland DOES!” And the Ravens will help bring the D.C. area native home once he formally decides to skip his senior season. And why would he not? with the clusterf@%k going on in Champaign, the Illini coaching staff has ruined his draft stock enough already for him to stick around another year.

27. Cincinnati Bengals 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.

28. 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.

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. Seattle Seahawks (From Denver) Jon Asamoah G Illinois

Obviously, the University of Illinois has had a very challenging season, even with the copious amount of talent on offense, but what might actually surprise some is that the top rated player by position, according to ESPN’s NFL draft guru Mel Kiper isn’t Arrelious Benn – it is offensive guard Jon Asamoah. And the Seahawks have got to be realizing that some of their big uglys up front are over the hill or getting there quickly.Asamoah playing

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 Navorro Bowman LB Penn State

More of a value pick than need. Bowman has spent much of the year ranked the #1 OLB prospect from ESPN.com Finally healthy, he’s been an absolute force down the stretch for PSU, 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.

Navorro Bowman- the next Lavar Arrington?

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By Paul M. Banks

“Really, it’s just what we live by and what we’re known for,” those are the words of Penn State Outside Linebacker Navorro Bowman, in description of “Linebacker U,” the apt nickname bestowed upon his school. Penn State boasts two Butkus award (given to the nation’s top collegiate linebacker) winners in Paul Poslusny (2005) and Lavar Arrington (1999). The latter unconventionally wore #11, an odd number for a linebacker, during his days in Happy Valley. He went on to be picked second overall by the Washington Redskins in the 2000 NFL Draft, and make three trips to the Pro Bowl during his seven year career. Today, Bowman wears Arrington’s number, and I asked him about the significance of that.

“If you play linebacker at Penn State, you look up to the best, I believe he’s one of the best to ever come through the program, and I’m thankful to get to wear his number,” he replied.

Thirteen men who played the position at PSU have been named All-American; a superlative no other University can touch. There are currently five former Nittany Lions playing LB in the NFL. The next man to likely join them is Bowman, rated the top outside linebacker prospect by ESPN.com earlier this month. The scouts are very high on Bowman, and if he forgoes his senior season, he should easily be a first round pick. The two guys playing beside him could end up in the league as well. Seniors Sean Lee and Josh Hull are also on the radar of most NFL scouts.

Unfortunately, the trio has not been able to play together very much this season. Up until week 8, they had only been on the field together for two series all year. However, right now they’re reunited…and it feels so good.  “It’s great to have all three of us on the field at the same time, we’re students of the game, and we know the game in and out and that makes us a better defense,” Bowman said.lavar

Of course, one wonders how playing against the spread-option will help prepare Bowman (or any other collegiate Linebacker for that matter) for the NFL. The scheme is everywhere in NCAA football right now, and especially so in the Big Ten. After defeating Northwestern, another spread-option team, 34-13, Bowman talked about what he’s learned from defending the spread these past three years. “You have to worry about five guys going into passing routes and still worry about the quarterback breaking contain and things like that.”

In the Social Darwinist world of NCAA and NFL football, those that can adjust, read and react will move on to the highest reaches, and Bowman’s legendary coach, Joe Paterno certainly thinks he can.

“Bowman’s a fine football player, he’s smart, he’s played a lot of football. He was our leading tackler a year ago. He doesn’t say much, he’s not an emotional guy, but he plays the pass well, he tackles well,” said JoePa, the all-time leader in coaching wins.

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