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Old 03-26-2009, 09:22 AM   #1
doublee
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Default Handicapping Picks 6-10

Part two in my look at how the first round of the upcoming draft may pan out. The following is a preview of picks 6 through 10.


6. Cincinnati Bengals - Just when it looked like Marvin Lewis and the Bengals were building something special in Cincinnati it all came crashing down culminating in a 4-11-1 season and a return to picking early in the draft. T. J. Houshmandzedah signed a lucrative deal with the Seahawks and Chad Johnson is begging to be traded or released. Defesnive playmakers and help on the offensive line are the two biggest needs for the Bengals. Cincy running backs averaged a paltry 3.2 yards per carry last season and put the ball in the end zone just 4 times. On top of that the offensive line allowed 51 sacks in 2008. Across the way the defense managed just 17 sacks and 12 interceptions and allowed 120 yards per game on the ground.


If Michael Crabtree is still there he is the obvious selection. Given his recent issues with his foot this not entirely outside the realm of possibility and is the right pick considering just about everyone agrees he is the best football player available in the draft. If Crabtree is off the board I expect the Bengals to swtich their attention to either Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe if they are still there or B. J. Raji or Brian Orakpo if either of them are still out there. The Bengals need to do something about protecting Carson Palmer and Smith or Monroe fit the bill on the offensive line. Raji and Orakpo are the next best defensive prospects after Aaron Curry whom I do not expect will fall this far. Raji fits the bill for upgrading the run defense while Orakpo provides an elite pass rusher the team has been in need of ever since Justin Smith and Robert Geathers stopped producing for them.


However, given the Bengals penchant for taking big name talent with off-the-field baggage I would not be at all shocked if they take Andre Smith to plug in the hole on the left side of the offensive line.


7. Oakland Raiders - Oakland's biggest need is finding a competent wide reciever. Johnnie Lee Higgins' 22 receptions gave him the most amongst Oakland wideouts last season. They would love for Crabtree to fall to them at the 7th pick but that is pretty unlikely. The consensus seems to be that they are thinking long and hard about Missouri's Jeremy Maclin who would fit the bill quite nicely for a Raiders team devoid of any kind of playmakers in the passing game.


If Maclin is not the guy then expect them to go after an offensive lineman. They desparately need to find an anchor at left tackle as Robert Gallery is clearly only an adequate left tackle at the NFL level. Considering the run defense was atrocious last season Raji could also be a possibility if he is still on the board as well as Andre Smith at the tackle position.


8. Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jaguars took a step back last year as they struggled to find any consistency on both sides of the ball. Depending on how the chips fall the Jags could end up going in one of several different directions here. The Jags are still searching for a quality reciever who can stretch the field and provide some consistency in the passing game. The need is even more pressing now that Matt Jones has been released after an arrest for violating his probation. If Maclin is available he would make the most sense. If Raji slides this far he is an option as well as the Jags struggled to fill the hole vacated when they traded Marcus Stroud to the Bills. Offensive tackle could be an option as well depending on who is available. The Jags might stay away from Andre Smith given the locker room turmoil last year but would jump at Jason Smith or Monroe given the chance to do so. Orakpo would be a welcome addition as well given the Jags' inability to establish a consistent pass rush last season. Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins could also go hear as well but that could be a bit high given the questions about whether he will be able to play corner in the NFL.


If it comes down to taking Jenkins or trading out of the spot I would not be surprised to see them move down a couple of spots and grab someone like Everette Brown, Aaron Maybin, Michael Oher, or a defensive back rated in the top 10 to 15 range.


9. Green Bay Packers - The Packers are making the switch to the 3-4 defense next season and would love to get their hands on Curry but that is not going to happen unless they somehow manage to swing a deal to get into the top 3 of the draft. With that said the Pack will most assuredly take one of the following three pass rushers: Orakpo, Maybin, or Everette Brown. With Orakpo likely coming off the board by the time the Packers pick look for them to zero in on Maybin who really upped his stock by posting sub 4.6 40-times at his pro day workout. Maybins' physique and athleticism make him more geared towards playing the rush linebacker in the 3-4 as opposed to being an end in a 4-3 alignment and the Packers need another pass rusher to pair with Aaron Kampmen.


10. San Francisco 49ers - The Niners have several holes to fill as well. The offensive line still is not what it needs to be, the depth at reciever is lacking, and the defense is still a work in progress. The Niners could also use a quarterback to build around. Shaun Hill is a solid QB but nobody is falling over themselves to have him as their starter either. Mark Sanchez could be too good for San Francisco to pass up at the 10th spot were he to fall this far. They don't have a pressing need at QB just yet meaning Sanchez could sit for a year or so until he is ready to assume the reins of the offense.


If they do not go with Sanchez then expect the 49ers to zero in on someone like Oher or Andre Smith as coach Mike Singletary has expressed a want to able to run the ball effectively next season. If they do not go offensive line then Jenkins could be a possibility as starting cornerback Walt Harris will be 35 when next season rolls around and they could use some young, fresh legs in the secondary. If Jenkins does not work out as a corner he could always move to safety where the Niners have a need as well.


However, if Maclin slides this far then all bets are off and expect them to pick up Maclin to bolster the passing attack as the Niners know they cannot expect much out of the passing game if Isaac Bruce is the top WR going into the season.
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:35 PM   #2
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Good stuff. Do you mind if I run these on the homepage?
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Old 03-30-2009, 11:01 PM   #3
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No, not at all. I should have 26 to 32 done some time this week.
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:27 AM   #4
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Well everybody out here in San Francisco is jonesin' for Brian Orakpo, or some other pass-rushing defensive end.
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2009 nfl draft, aaron curry, aaron maybin, andre smith, b. j. raji, brian orakpo, cincinnati bengals, eugene monroe, everette brown, green bay packers, jacksonville jaguars, jason smith, jeremy maclin, mark sanchez, michael crabtree, michael oher, oakland raiders, san francisco 49ers


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