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Mel's Final Mock

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Old 04-22-2005, 10:59 PM   #1
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Mel's Final Mock

| Fantasy | Message Board Updated: April 22, 2005

Edwards, Williamson rising; Williams fallsBy Mel Kiper Jr.
Special to ESPN Insider

The draft is upon us and it's time for my final first-round projection, which has Utah quarterback Alex Smith going No. 1 overall to the San Francisco 49ers.

Michigan wide receiver Braylon Edwards has moved into the top three and Auburn cornerback Carlos Rogers into the top 10, while USC receiver Mike Williams slides out of the top 10. Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell makes his first-round debut while Iowa defensive end Matt Roth falls out. Roth is part of a group on the fringe of the first round that includes Howard cornerback Ronald Bartell Jr., Michigan guard/center David Baas, Tennessee linebacker Kevin Burnett and USC defensive end/tackle Shaun Cody.

In all, there are 10 underclassmen on the list, including three of the top 10 picks.

1. San Francisco 49ers: Alex Smith (jr.), QB, Utah
The Niners will still listen to trade offers but Smith looks like their man right now. Signability does not appear to be an issue and the local connections of California quarterback Aaron Rodgers don't seem to weigh heavily now. Smith has been my top quarterback all along and now looks like the quarterback of the future in San Francisco.

2. Miami Dolphins: Ronnie Brown, RB, Auburn
This is a likely spot for a trade as teams may be looking to trade up to assure themselves of getting Michigan wide receiver Braylon Edwards. But as things stand now Brown looks to be the pick who will make the most impact as a rookie thanks to his multi-dimensional skills.

AP Photo
Braylon Edwards has the size, speed and attitude to become a star.3. Cleveland Browns: Braylon Edwards, WR, Michigan
If Edwards is off the board this is another spot where a trade may happen. But a receiver has been in Cleveland's thought process all along and Edwards would be the best fit there.

4. Chicago Bears: Cedric Benson, RB, Texas
The Bears would like to get a big-time receiver, but the signing of Muhsin Muhammad in free agency makes that less of a priority and Benson has the potential to be a special player. He would boost a running attack and be a big help to young quarterback Rex Grossman.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Aaron Rodgers (jr.), QB, California
Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden is said to be enamored with both top quarterback prospects, and Rodgers will likely be the one available here. Gruden also coached Auburn running back Carnell Williams at the Senior Bowl, so that is another possibility.

6. Tennessee Titans: Antrel Rolle, CB, Miami
Rolle ran a 4.49 in the 40 during his individual workout and his size gives him an advantage over Pac-Man Jones of West Virginia. Cornerback is a major need position for the Titans and Rolle brings plenty of experience against big-time competition to the table.

7. Minnesota Vikings (from Oakland): Troy Williamson (jr.), WR, South Carolina
The feeling is the Vikings are looking for a speedy receiver and Williamson is faster than USC's Mike Williams. I would personally prefer Williams' size and hands since Williamson didn't play in a passing offense in college, but the consensus is Williamson is Minnesota's preference.

8. Arizona Cardinals: Carnell Williams, RB, Auburn
The Cardinals are still in the mix to make a trade for Buffalo Bills running back Travis Henry, but until that happens Williams would fill a big need in Arizona. Should Henry come on board look for the Cardinals to take a corner here.

9. Washington Redskins: Carlos Rogers, CB, Auburn
Taking the fast-rising Rogers here would allow the Redskins to select a corner later in the first round, and they are also a possibility to trade up and pick Braylon Edwards. They have some room to maneuver here.

10. Detroit Lions: Derrick Johnson, OLB, Texas
The first pick that falls under the "best available player" category. The Lions don't have a pressing need at outside linebacker but Johnson would be an upgrade at that position and allow Detroit some flexibility at linebacker with players such as Teddy Lehman and Boss Bailey already there.

11. Dallas Cowboys: Demarcus Ware, DE/OLB, Troy
The choice will be between Ware and Maryland's Shawne Merriman, but coach Bill Parcells would definitely like to have Ware's burst off the edge, and Ware's flexibility in the mold of Peter Boulware is also a plus.

12. San Diego Chargers: Mike Williams (jr.), WR, USC
This would be the steal of the first round. Williams will be a tremendous red-zone threat thanks to his hands and size, and he would help round out a potentially explosive offense that also features quarterback Drew Brees and running back LaDanian Tomlinson.

13. Houston Texans: Shawne Merriman, DE/OLB, Maryland
Merriman has unusual athletic ability for a 272-pounder and is unusually strong in the lower body. He can play on his feet in a 3-4 and would make a nice complement to current Texans end Jason Babin.

14. Carolina Panthers: Jammal Brown, OT, Oklahoma
Brown's long arms and balance make him an equal threat as a run or pass blocker. The Panthers need help up front and teaming Brown with Jordan Gross would make a nice pair of bookends.

15. Kansas City Chiefs: Thomas Davis (jr.), OLB, Georgia
Davis played safety in college, but his size and speed project him to outside linebacker at the pro level. He is a tenacious tackler who finishes plays and would be a big help for a front seven in need of an upgrade.

16. New Orleans Saints: Adam Jones (jr.), CB, Georgia
I have been screaming for the Saints to take a corner for years and this finally looks like the year. Thanks to his aggressiveness and return abilities, I rate Jones as the best corner in the draft, despite his lack of height.

17. Cincinnati Bengals: Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin
James is dogged by durability questions, but when healthy he can play the run and pass equally well from the end spot and we all know Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis would love to give his defense a boost.

18. Minnesota Vikings: Marcus Spears, DE, LSU
The Vikings drafted end Kenechi Udeze in the first round last year, but the defensive line is a major need area for Minnesota and Spears' ability to play both the run and the pass are a big plus. If he can sustain his intensity level Spears will be a good value here.

19. St. Louis Rams: David Pollack, DE, Georgia
Pollack's nonstop motor and nose for the ball make up for his lack of ideal size, and with the Rams unsure about their pass rush he makes a lot of sense.

20. Dallas Cowboys (from Buffalo): Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma
Dallas needs help in the passing game and Clayton can make big plays with his ability to run in the open field after the catch. He lacks height but was tremendously productive at the highest level in college.

21. Jacksonville Jaguars: Fabian Washington (jr.), CB, Nebraska
The Jags are thin in the secondary and have always been in cornerback mode, meaning Washington and his blazing speed are an attractive option. It may be a bit of a reach, but you can't find this kind of speed just anywhere.

22. Baltimore Ravens: Matt Jones, WR, Arkansas
Another reach, but with Todd Heap and Derrick Mason already there the Ravens can take a chance on a guy who played quarterback in college. But a player with Jones' size and speed combination could be a dangerous wideout once he learns the intricacies of the position.

23. Seattle Seahawks: Dan Cody, DE, Oklahoma
Doing only 16 bench press reps at the combine is hurting Cody, but his Kevin Greene-type motor and intensity are a major plus as well as his ability to play both end and outside linebacker.

24. Green Bay Packers: Jason Campbell
The fast-rising Campbell might be a reach here, but his size, arm strength and extreme accuracy are hard to pass up for a team looking for an heir apparent to Brett Favre.

25. Washington Redskins: Roddy White, WR, UAB
White has been one of my favorites all season with his great size/speed ratio and tremendous productivity (better than 20 yards per catch the last two years). With the Redskins likely to go for defense early White would be a nice value pick at a need position.

26. Oakland Raiders: Justin Miller (jr.), CB, Clemson
The Raiders traded cornerback Phillip Buchanon to get this pick, and Miller would be a nice replacement. He not only made big plays against the pass but is a terrific return man who could be a multiple threat and team with Charles Woodson to form a nice corner tandem.

27. Atlanta Falcons: Alex Barron, OT, Florida State
Barron's stock is dropping because of inconsistent play and the fact that he didn't play up to the level of his physical ability, but he has great balance and footwork and would be a nice addition to one of the league's best rushing teams.

28. San Diego Chargers: Khalif Barnes, OT, Washington
Barnes overcame a late-season wrist injury and had a terrific week at the Senior Bowl. If he can sustain his concentration and intensity for 60 minutes a week, he will fill a big need for the Chargers and their young offensive stars.

29. Indianapolis Colts: Travis Johnson, DT, Florida State
The Colts need a run-stuffing presence in the middle of the defense and the stout Johnson would provide that. He can collapse the pocket and clog the middle and creates plenty of havoc in opposing backfields. Team needs are the only reason he drops this far.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Heath Miller (jr.), TE, Virginia
A mid-first round talent who dropped down the board thanks to a hernia problem that required surgery after the college season. Miller still remains the best tight end prospect and would give Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, who completed only 16 passes to tight ends last year, a nice option who knows how to get open in the middle of the field.

31. Philadelphia Eagles: Odell Thurman (jr.), LB, Georgia
One of the most instinctive linebackers out of college in years, Thurman knows how to get to the ball and has excellent physical traits. The Eagles need a wideout as well, but the shoring up the front seven is also a priority and Thurman would do just that.

32. New England Patriots: Marlin Jackson, CB, Michigan
The Patriots were thin at corner last fall and Jackson would fill that void nicely with his combination of size and athleticism. Add to that the fact that he also played safety in college and could move there in the NFL and the Patriots would get a nice value pick here.

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NFL network was reporting last night that the Titans are starting to lean towards Pacman, other than that I think Mel did a good job with this one. I also think that A.Rogers fits the Tampa scheme to a tee, although I wouldn't take him there.

If we do go for Rogers I hope we trade down some, but theres a decent chance at this point that Rolle may be available when we pick, if that's the case and we are not interested in Rolle then I defiently think we should move down, with Rolle available that will give us a much better opportunity to move down and still get either Rolle or Rogers, and we can really do some stock piling of picks if that happens, then we can take some flyer's on guy's like WR's Jones and Jackson, we have an opportunity to have a great draft I just hope Gibbs and co. are not falling in love with just 1 player, the more I watch as thing's unfold, the more I want to trade down and start accumulating picks later in the first and the second round's.
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Old 04-22-2005, 11:11 PM   #2
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Re: Mel's Final Mock

I would be completely happy with that!!!
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Old 04-22-2005, 11:14 PM   #3
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Re: Mel's Final Mock

I'm with Mel on our two picks. Although I would mind seeing Williamson at 9. Hopefully we end up with a top CB and a top WR.
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Old 04-23-2005, 12:11 AM   #4
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Re: Mel's Final Mock

Good gravy, how freakin loaded would the Chargers offense be with LT, Antonio Gates, Keenan Mccardell, and Mike Williams? and to think they were the joke of the nfl for the last 10 or so years until this past season. Not to mention the possibility of them getting Simeon Rice onto their defense for only the #28 pick in the draft.
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Old 04-23-2005, 12:45 AM   #5
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Re: Mel's Final Mock

ANd we've got to play them this year. Ugh.

I like Mel's picks. Hope it's correct.
Hail from Houston!
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