2009 NFL Mock Draft

As I pondered my annual mock draft posting for this site, I reviewed the excellent work of my colleague Josh Galligan and became a bit nostalgic. You see, I have been posting a reasonable facsimile of this mock for what will be my third year, and I remember the smattering of criticism I received amongst the plaudits for my efforts. Of all these criticism, each equally valid (supposing the idiom "one's reality is made up of 10% fact and 90% perception of those facts"), no one person made as much an effort to disprove my prognostication acumen than one Seth Doria.

While Seth is an accomplished Internet sports writer and a very entertaining read, some of that criticism just didn't seem warranted and frankly, to be flat dropped from his annual comparison of NFL draft soothsayers made me realize for the first time the pain of being completely snubbed. Now many would have backed down to the negative critique and seemingly highly scientific methodology behind it, I'm far too stubborn for such a submission. Or too stupid, I guess only time will tell which is the case. But I digress. The bottom line is I may have had my ups and downs in my previous mocks, but by no stretch should those results define my ability to deign the draft future. Consider those years a prolonged slump that I have exercised all winter to, well, exorcise. In short, I want another chance.

In light of my newfound enthusiasm for proving myself more capable than some have previous suggested, I am openly challenging Mr. Doria to a heads-up competition, man versus man, his picks against mine. Since this is my challenge, I'm setting the rules; there will be no self-serving scoring methodology which best fits my shortcomings and confuses those of us who don't have journalism degrees from Arizona.

My scoring is simple. Team, slot, player all correct = 3 points, team, and player selected = 1 point, player in right "slot," but wrong team = 0.5 points. First round only. Highest score wins. Mr. Doria, this is that proverbial gauntlet that I feel obligated to cast at your feet in light of your comments against my picks these past two seasons. It is your opportunity to put your reputation where your mouth is.

For those of you not interested in any sports writers' grudge match, feel free to peruse this article and I do hope you enjoy it! As you will note, my mock drafts always include any potential trade scenarios that I see as being possible.

In the spirit of this interactive 21st century we find ourselves, I issue an additional challenge to any person who feels compelled to accept. Should you feel that you have what it takes to put your name behind your opinions (and be equally willing to have that name and those picks dragged through the literary mud should the situation dictate), I invite you to post your top 10 or 15 picks out here, as well. I'll give the winner his or her "just desserts" should you be the most accurate and, while there will be no tangible reward or cash prizes, there will be those all-important bragging rights we hear so much about.

As for you, Seth, I do hope that this challenge finds you before draft day as I look forward to having a chance to redeem myself to your loyal readers. Should I win, all I ask is that you say as much in one of your articles and that you agree to include my mocks in your annual wrap-up. If I lose, I vow to jump out of the draft prognostication business completely and I give you free reign to disparage me however you'd like in your writings.

Sparing you any further details or self glorification, I give you my picks.

1. Detroit Lions

Hmmm, where do we start? As has been noted repeatedly since December, this is an 0-16 team and they have a roster to match that record. On the surface, it appears their only "solid" position is wide receiver (which stands to reason, since they've spent 14 straight first round picks on that position ... okay, maybe not that many, but still). However, dig a bit deeper and you will see that they actually have some other strengths, or at least "non-weaknesses," particular along the offensive and defensive lines. Where they are woefully inept is at defensive back (league-low 4 interceptions in 2008), quarterback, and linebacker. The easy pick here at No. 1 is quarterback, where there is value for the position and a real need to get a "face-of-the-franchise" sort of player.

PICK — QB Matthew Stafford, Georgia

2. St. Louis Rams

This is a team that feels it is where it needs to be offensively providing good health, which they sorely lacked in 2009. Add to that their new, decidedly defensive-minded head coach (ex-Giant defensive guru Steve Spagnuolo) and you have what I would classify as the ultimate target for those looking to move up to grab a franchise offensive tackle. Unfortunately, there are three or four of those types of o-linemen available with top-10 ratings, so trading out will not be easy. This will leave Spagnuolo and the Rams at two where they will be forced to grab the best available defensive option.

PICK — LB Aaron Curry, Wake Forest

3. Kansas City Chiefs (Jacksonville Jaguars)

New coach? Check. New quarterback? Check. Acquire veteran leadership? Check. All and all, this has been an exceptionally successful offseason to date for Kansas City. Considering they now are missing a second-rounder, though, the ideal move here would be to trade out of the top 10 and pickup an extra first day pick or two. With Seattle lurking at No. 4 and poised to draft a receiver of their own, look for the Jaguars to work to move into this slot where they can get the top-rated guy out there to help shore up a receiving corps that has been decimated by poor judgment and underwhelming performances.

PICK (JAGUARS) – WR Michael Crabtree

4. Seattle Seahawks

They need defensive help badly and with the draft playing out as I have it here, they guy who I suspect they've been eyeing since the Senior Bowl will be on the board. They won't hesitate with this pick.

PICK — DT B.J. Raji, Boston College

5. Cleveland Browns

In analyzing the Browns' needs, there truly is only one player in the top 10 that fits the mold of a player that would be valuable and needed in their current schemes. Fortunately for them, that player is still available.

PICK — DE Brian Orakpo, Texas

6. Cincinnati Bengals

Welcome to the offensive tackle portion of the draft. With this pick, the Bengals will have their choice of the four highly-touted prospects. Andre Smith is clearly the most talented, but equally clearly is the largest headache and most baggage-ridden option; you'd have to think Cincy will be leery of adding such a questionable character guy to their current group of questionable character guys. Look for the Bengals to go for the safest pick in this position.

PICK — OT Jason Smith, Baylor

7. Oakland Raiders

Oddly enough, there are three offensive tackles that are just about identical in both stature and workout results and a fourth slightly larger one. The slightly larger one is what we call in some circles a "world-class head case." One of those other three has already been drafted. This will leave two realistic choices for the Raider brain trust, who are desperate to protect their assets at RB and QB. Which of those two will Oakland pick? Flip a coin.

PICK — OT Eugene Monroe, Virginia

8. Jacksonville Jaguars (Buffalo Bills via KC Chiefs)

The Jags need offensive line help, to be sure, but it is laughable to me to think they will be entertaining a position other than wide receiver in round one of this draft. The stars just seem too well-positioned for them not to pick a receiver, especially with their "clean" option at WR, Reggie Williams, recently being charged with DUI and possession of marijuana. Keeping this in mind, and with the questions surrounding the durability of Percy Harvin and Jeremy Maclin, the Jags simply have to move up for Crabtree. That leaves KC picking here, and I don't see why they wouldn't try to move down still further in round one. Look for a team with eyes for one of the two top-level offensive tackle prospects to slide in front of Green Bay to pick "their guy," and I see Buffalo as being that team, especially considering their recent signing of WR Terrell Owens has eliminated the need to pick a receiver in round one.

PICK — OT Michael Oher, Mississippi

9. Green Bay Packers

Green Bay is in the frustrating position of being one or two players from serious contender consideration. It isn't likely they will fill any of those spots through this year's draft, but with a top-10 pick and a whole lot of depth at the tackle position, look for the Pack to score themselves a premier offensive lineman here that could slide into the right tackle slot come August, assuming he isn't in jail by then. Many will throw up their hands and disgust and insist that he will fall out of the top 10 and beyond, the reality of the situation is it wouldn't matter if the guy carries around a duffle bag full of severed heads; he's a No. 1 talent at No. 9 prices.

PICK — OT Andre Smith, Alabama

10. San Francisco 49ers

Where the Niners really need help is along the defensive line, particularly in the area of getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. With Orakpo long gone and only a couple of "fringe" first-round types left on the board at that position after the UT star, look for the Niners to go after an athletic type that has some versatility.

PICK — DE/LB Aaron Maybin, Penn State

11. Buffalo Bills (Kansas City Chiefs)

Getting a starting offensive tackle to keep QB Trent Edwards off his back long enough to chuck it to either Lee Evans or T.O. has to be a priority for the Bills in this draft. This would almost require them to move up, which is why I have them doing just that to grab Oher ahead of the Packers, who have made no secret of their affection for the giant Mississippi road grater. This leaves KC in the most opportune position: twice removed from a top-10 pick (which will net them several additional day one selections in either this draft or the next) with their choice of one of two players whom they wanted all along.

PICK (CHIEFS) — WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri

12. Denver

I am a firm believer in omens, good or bad, and if I were Jay Cutler, I'd have seen on enormously bad omen in the recent talks involving myself and a trade out of town. However, it seems clear that new head coach Josh McDaniels is prepared to move past this obvious slight aimed at his starting QB and is willing to do what has to be done to rekindle the trust between the two. A good start would be to get Cutler some more offensive weapons, particularly some who are willing to be led, unlike his current top receiving option. While I wouldn't at all be surprised to see the Broncos go with USC QB Sanchez here, I honestly don't believe Cutler's already damaged psyche could handle such a move, so I will give him a reprieve, at least for now.

PICK — WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland

13. Washington (Miami)

With the recent release of Jason Taylor, the Redskins are looking to fill a need at defensive end without overpaying for a free agent (especially considering they've already overpaid for three free agents this offseason). Unfortunately for Washington, this is not the deepest of draft at that position, so they will be forced to either reach a bit or trade down a few spots. Bet on the latter, and Miami makes an intriguing trade partner with their two second round picks and need for a playmaker on defense. Look for the 'Fins to jump ahead of the cornerback-starved Saints to pluck the top guy on most people's defensive back boards, whose stock is beginning to slide a bit.

PICK (DOLPHINS) — CB Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State

14. New Orleans

If you are a gambling man, and you can find some crazy Vegas bookie willing to give you odds on the Saints using their first round pick on a cornerback, you make that bet without batting an eyelash. Regardless of how this draft plays out, the Saints will be drafting at their biggest position of need. In my version, the New Orleans gang will be mildly annoyed that they lost out on Jenkins, but they will certainly settle for the next best option.

PICK — CB Vontae Davis, Illinois

15. Houston

The Texans had several needs going into this offseason; rush end to play opposite Williams, defensive backfield help, receiver to play opposite Johnson, backup quarterback. The filled the first with Antonio Smith, the second by franchising Dunta Robinson and signing Eugene Wilson, and the last by grabbing ex-Lion Dan Orlovsky. Logic tells us that this leaves one pressing need.

PICK — WR Percy Harvin, Florida

16. San Diego

The Chargers are in an enviable spot. They are a good team with tons of talent that underachieved in the regular season, which landed them this prime draft position. They have a need to build some depth, particularly at linebacker, and have some options here to do just that.

PICK — DE Everete Brown, Florida State

17. New York Jets

Having snagged their defensive leader in Bart Scott to man the middle of new coach Rex Ryan's defense through free agency, the Jets should be able to relax a bit heading into the draft and focus on getting a speed receiver to stretch defenses out a bit. While secretly I believe that the Jets brass hope to have QB Mark Sanchez sitting here for the taking, I am equally certain that they will happily select one of the speedy wideouts remaining on the board. For now, I'm going to go with the more safe selection, but reserve the right to change my mind as the draft approaches.

PICK — WR Kenny Britt, Rutgers

18. Chicago

The Bears have publicly committed to starting Kyle Orton in 2009. With their lack of attentiveness to some of the free agent QBs that have moved around the league this offseason, I have to believe that commitment. You have to think that this would leave an opening for the obvious selection of a wide receiver, though several more are off the board than perhaps the Bears (and most others) would have suspected coming into the draft. At least one first round talent at the position remains on the board, but he'll be gone after this selection. And, as an aside, I want to go on record in saying that Nicks will be the most productive rookie receiver of this class, mark it down.

PICK — WR Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina

19. Tampa Bay

Tampa couldn't be happier having Sanchez fall to them here. Should things play out as they have here, this is a no-brainer.

PICK — QB Mark Sanchez, USC

20. Dallas (Detroit)

Detroit couldn't be happier with how their Roy Williams trade turned out. Dallas underachieved in '08, leaving them with a couple of picks that fall far earlier in their respective rounds than they could have imagined when they made the deal. Having addressed their need for an offensive leader with the first overall selection, Detroit will set its sights on getting the same sort of leader for their defensive unit. Lots of those types to choose from in this area of the first round.

PICK — ILB James Laurinaitis, Ohio State

21. Philadelphia

Philly will be miffed that all those receivers went where they did leaving them empty handed, but they will, as a very nice consolation prize, have access to the power runner that they desperately need as a result.

PICK — RB Chris "Beanie" Wells, Ohio State

22. Minnesota

Many have the QB Freeman going here, but now that Sage Rosenfels is in town, that need has dwindled. With a defense that is set and depth across the roster, the Vikings should go for the best player at position of need, which is interior offensive line.

PICK — C/OG Max Unger, Oregon

23. New England

I won't waste any of our time pretending to know what the Patriots are planning to do. Nobody knows. Nobody ever knows. No team more effectively protects its intentions, be it the draft, trading scenarios, free agent signings, injury lists, ticket sales; you name it, they've hidden the truth on it. This is simply my best guess.

PICK — LB Brian Cushing, USC

24. Atlanta

Step two in building a better team is surround your weapons with weapons. While step one was far more successful than most had figured it would be, Matt Ryan could really use a top-tier tight end.

PICK — TE Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State

25. Miami (Washington)

Having successfully traded down, the Redskins will be in a much more advantageous position to draft the player they need in Taylor's replacement. While LSU's Tyson Jackson is more highly acclaimed, he is more of a 3-4 end or 4-3 tackle, which doesn't play well into Washington's defensive scheme. A more fitting pick would be closer in stature to Taylor, with good height and strength, but less bulk.

PICK (REDSKINS) — DE Michael Johnson, Georgia Tech

26. Baltimore

Losing Bart Scott left one big hole in that defensive front seven. Even with Ray Lewis re-signing, it still makes good business sense to pick up some depth at the linebacker position.

PICK — LB Rey Maualuga, USC

27. Indianapolis (Detroit)

In the first post-Tony Dungy era draft, Indy is in a prime spot to move out, especially considering the run on wide receivers leaves slim pickings for those in and around this slot. Look for the aggressive Lions to move in here packaging their second round pick with one or more of their latter round selections, as there sits on the board a very inviting option at RB.

PICK (LIONS) — Knowshon Moreno, Georgia

28. Philadelphia (Cleveland)

Recent history tells me that the Eagles will make a move, either up or down, on draft day. Seeing the situation play out has it has, smart money has the Browns aggressively trading in the back end of round one to grab a running back that they have scouted heavily in recent weeks.

PICK (BROWNS) — RB LeSean McCoy, Pittsburgh

29. New York Giants

The Giants are relatively content picking here, though trading down is a possibility. Look for the team to build some depth on defense.

PICK — DE Tyson Jackson, LSU

30. Tennessee

What do you get a team on the rise that seemingly has some of everything? Depth along the offensive line.

PICK — OT Eben Britton, Arizona

31. Arizona

What do you get a team on the rise that seemingly has done everything it could to screw up its offseason? Depth at one of those positions that it let slip away through free agency.

PICK — DE Larry English, Northern Illinois

32. Pittsburgh (Chicago)

If you are Pittsburgh, why would you not trade out of this slot? There isn't a good reason. Even though I've already stated that Chicago would look to grab a QB later, I also sense that they are big on Josh Freeman. Few expect the 6'6" signal caller to still be on the board here, so if he is, look for the Bears to make a move.

PICK (BEARS) — QB Josh Freeman, Kansas State

There you have it: version one of my mock NFL draft for 2009. As always, I don't claim to be perfect, so if you're betting on these picks, you're doing so at your own risk. For those of you that will take me up on my little friendly competition I say, "may the best man (or woman) win".

And as always, I welcome any criticism that may come my way (I'm looking at you, Seth).

Comments and Conversation

March 13, 2009


In the words of the estimable Doc Holliday, I’m your huckleberry.

Love the throw down, Matt. Glad to see you haven’t lost your spirit. I’ll be happy to face off, though I won’t expect you to bow out of the mock draft business forever if (when) you lose. That’s just too big of a price to pay. We can settle up with some good ol’ fashioned public humiliation.

And you’re nuts if you don’t think the Rams are drafting a tackle with the second overall pick.

March 13, 2009


Great! It is a challenge then…may the most insightful of us win!!!

And though my mock as posted for publishing prior to Orlando Pace being cut from the Rams, I still am leaning towards Curry here.

March 13, 2009

Josh Galligan:

High-quality, well-written analysis. Good stuff!

Also, I’ll put $20 on Matt to win!

March 14, 2009

Ryan L:

You are EXTREMELY high if you think that Detroit will not get a lineman at 1 or 20, AND trade back into the 1st for a RB???? Kevin Smith, Maurice Morris….. a lot more holes than RB. esp to give picks to get him. not gonna happen.
1-J. Smith OT Baylor
20- J. Freeman QB K-State
33- J. Laurinatis ILB Ohio State

March 14, 2009


I don’t see the Rams taking Curry either. With this week’s release of Orlando Pace it seems that a tackle going at #2 seems rather inevitable.

Also, it is Andre Smith not Alex. :P

Anyway, I’ll be shocked if Andre Smith goes top 10 from all of the buzz arround is pro day workout for the scouts it was awful. None of his measurables would have placed him in the top 10 at the combine and coupled with the stunt he pulled at the combine he will be lucky to go in the first round.

I have a hard time seeing Denver go with anyone not on the defensive side of the ball in the first round. The offense was fine the defense was horrid last year. It is funny to me to see everyone pile on Cutler for his record. How many QBs are going to post a winning record when the defense is giving up 28 ponts a game?

I think Heyward-Bey is going to bust anyway. The guy has awesome speed but hands of stone.

Kenny Britt going 17 is kind of high to me. I’d rather have Nicks. Britt is like Heyward-Bey in that he never lived up to the hype at Rutgers.

Anyone who takes Josh Freeman in the first round is absolutely desperate for a QB. He has bust written all over him.

March 14, 2009


For Ryan…Detroit’s offensive line is not their weakness. Yes, they gave up 52 sacks (2nd most in the league), but many of those were directly correlated to their QBs inability to make quick decisions…Culpepper has long been considered a sack waiting to happen and Kitna and Orlovsky would never be accused of having the elusiveness of Dan Marino in the pocket. Still, your point has some validity…they may well go OT at 20, but I just don’t see it. Now, I’ll give you the likelihood of moving back into round one for a third selection to grab Moreno may be a reach…and likely my final version will reflect that…but this is MY draft after all, so if you have that big a problem with it, give me your top fifteen and I’ll give you the cred you deserve should you be more sharp than me on these picks.

For Eric…great comments! Thanks for the Alex/Andre catch…too many Alex Smiths in the league already!!! St. Louis dumping Pace is interesting, but was simply a cost-cutting move more than a harbinger of their draft preferences (at least in my estimation). They just cut Holt, too, does this mean they are eyeing Crabtree? Curry is the safest pick in the draft for a team that really needs a safe pick and someone to anchor a defense that struggled to stop anyone last year.

His pro workout was far from awful…he ran slower than many would like (but he IS an OT) and his bench reps were under 20, but he looked real good in his position drills (foot movement, balance, etc.) and was marketdly trimmed down and in far better shape than he was at the combine. More importantly, he apparently interviewed very well. His talent is undeniable and if he does in fact fall out of the top ten, it won’t be too far. Keep it in perspective…this dude was considered HANDS DOWN the best player coming into the draft in late December so even if his stock has slipped, he is still widely considered a solid top ten prospect.

I couldn’t agree more on Cutler…he gets a bad rap, basically because of his arrogance, which won’t play well for Josh McDaniels (and hasn’t to date). That saga changes daily, and if it takes another turn for the worse, look for Denver to go after Mark Sanchez in the draft. Still, assuming Cutler stays in place, Denver has already spent big on S’s Dawkins and Hill, CB Andre Goodman and a couple of defensive lineman that are good rotation guys (Darrell Reid and Ron Fields). They’ve lost nobody of note on defense. If they go defense, it will be for a defensive end, and I don’t think anyone fits their mold. Heyward-Bey might be a bust - so might anyone in the draft - but he does not have “hands of stone” as you say. In fact, he has very soft hands to go with his great size and blazing speed. He lacked the big time numbers because he didn’t have QB that could get him the ball consistently, but he still managed 40-600-5 per season to go along with a couple of hundred rushing yards each year.

Nicks is better than Britt, for sure, but again I don’t know which Kenny Britt you are referring to that “didn’t live up to hype”. 149 catches and 2,603 yards combined the past TWO seasons (that’s 75 catches/1300 yards per year) to go along with 15 scores. There aren’t many that had stats more impressive than that. He has great speed too and the Jets will be looking to fill that gap. Not to mention he is a hometown guy, which may not matter, but is a nice touch.

I am 95% certain my next version will not include the Bears taking Freeman at the end of round one. However, I whole-heartedly disagree with your assessment of Freeman, however. He is big (6-6), strong-armed and has shown that he is mechanically solid. I would give him a second round grade, and likely he will fall out of my first round by the time I post my final version, but I still like him and would not consider him a “bust-in-waiting” by any stretch.

Great comments! Keep them coming…

March 22, 2009


There is no way the Browns are going to trade back into the first round giving updrafts picks , Not for a running back , of average size , speed ,and strength.
If they really want a RB they can just draft ( WELLS )
or ( MORENO ) RB’s that are at the top of the list , then MAYBE trade back in for a LB that is still there
( SINTIM, MAYBIN, LAURINATIS, MATTHEWS, or MAULUGA ) depends on who slides , someone always

March 22, 2009


Your guess about the Giants clearly must have been made before they added Canty and Bernard in FA. At least I hope so. It is more likely that they’ll look for a WR, LB, or OT at 29.

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