Last update: April 28, 2006. Next Update: April 29, 2006 (depending on a signing or trade).
Houston Texans: Mario Williams, DE, N.C. State
Looks like every mock draft on the internet -- whether it was on this site, ESPN or CBS -- was incorrect. Reggie Bush learned Friday night that he will not
be the No. 1 pick in the draft. Mario Williams will be that player, as the N.C. State defensive end signed a 6-year, $54 million deal with Houston.
In my opinion, this is a good move. The Texans did not need Bush; they already had Domanick Davis in the backfield. If Williams pans out, Houston will
finally have a player that can disrupt Peyton Manning and Indianapolis' offense. If I were Charley Casserly, however, I would have tried to trade down
in an effort to secure D'Brickashaw Ferguson. I'm sure David Carr would have liked that as well.
New Orleans Saints: Reggie Bush, RB, USC
With Mario Williams off the board, the Saints have indicated that they will take Reggie Bush. With the electrifying USC running back available at No. 2,
a swap with the Tennessee Titans is highly unlikely. There is a chance, however, that the Jets, Raiders or Packers will attempt to move up to this slot.
The Saints have Deuce McAllister, but the Pro Bowl-caliber tailback spends too much time on the injured list. Bush would be a welcome addition to
New Orleans' offense.
Tennessee Titans: Matt Leinart, QB, USC
Let's establish one thing first: The Titans really want Matt Leinart because offensive coordinator Norm Chow coached him during the latter stages of
his tenure at USC. General manager Floyd Reese has expressed interest in Vince Young, but there is growing speculation that he has been bluffing in an
attempt to secure the Trojan signal caller.
The Titans cannot afford
to pass up on Leinart; Steve McNair will probably be joining the Ravens because of his inflated salary, while Billy Volek has been inconsistent when he
has relieved the team's fragile signal caller.
New York Jets: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, Virginia
After months of claiming that the Jets would take one of the top three quarterbacks with the No. 4 overall selection, I'm now convinced that they will
choose perhaps the safest player in the draft, D'Brickashaw Ferguson. The Jets' brass recently suggested that picking a signal caller in the first round
is simply too much of a risk. Ferguson, on the other hand, is almost a lock to be a success in the NFL; he has both the talent and the drive to become
one of the premiere tackles in the league.
That said, New York still needs a quarterback. Chad Pennington's shoulder has been injured too many times and his arm is dead. While he looked like a
bright, young signal caller in the latter stages of the 2002 season, he is no longer a reliable starting quarterback in this league. As for Patrick Ramsey,
can you honestly tell me that New York has confidence in the former Redskins project? Ramsey lost his job to Mark Brunell. The Jets will probably take
Kellen Clemens in the second or third round.
Green Bay Packers: A.J. Hawk, OLB, Ohio State
Now that the Packers have re-signed defensive end Aaron Kampman, it becomes clear that they are targeting A.J. Hawk, the elite linebacker in the 2006
draft class. It's an understatement to say that Green Bay's stop unit needs a playmaker like Hawk; the defense surrendered 21.9 points per contest, no
thanks to its terrible linebacking corps. Hawk would offer an instant upgrade over Na'il Diggs or Robert Thomas.
San Francisco 49ers:
Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland
Where do you start? The 49ers need help at running back, wide receiver, offensive line and almost everywhere on defense. If San Francisco doesn't trade
down, it will probably take the best player available. Right now, that's Vernon Davis, a 6-foot-3, 253-pound tight end who ran a 4.32 at the combine.
Mike Nolan needs to provide Alex Smith with a dependable target at tight end.
Oakland Raiders: Vince Young, QB, Texas
If Vince Young is available, is there any doubt that Al Davis will take him? Davis loves speed and quarterbacks who can throw the deep ball. Vince
Young has both attributes. Even though Davis signed Aaron Brooks to a 2-year deal, do you really think the fans of the Black Hole will put up with Brooks'
inconsistency? Besides, the deal Brooks signed was essentially a 1-year contract. He will start for the Raiders until their rookie signal caller is ready
Vince Young has fallen in this and other mock drafts because of his unorthodox release point. Some people, including ESPN analyst/goofball Merrill
Hodge opine that Young does not deserve to be a first-round selection. Anyone who says that obviously missed the Rose Bowl. I think Young will be a
successful NFL signal caller, despite his throwing motion and low Wonderlic score. Remember, Rich Gannon, a side-armed passer, won the MVP in 2002.
Buffalo Bills: Haloti Ngata, DT, Oregon
After dumping Sam Adams into the free-agent pool, the Bills look primed to take Haloti Ngata, a run-stuffing defensive tackle who can also apply pressure
on signal callers. The Bills really need someone like Ngata; they were among the league's best against the run two years ago, but in 2005, they were
ranked dead last at wrapping up opposing rushers. Buffalo misses run-stuffer Pat Williams, who defected for Minnesota after the 2004 campaign. The Bills
can acquire his replacement in this draft.
Don't count out Winston Justice; the USC offensive tackle impressed all observers at the university's Pro Day. Don't be shocked if the Bills choose
Justice over Ngata. If that happens, Ngata will probably be snatched by the Browns at No. 12.
Detroit Lions: Michael Huff, S, Texas
There might be 100 anti-Matt Millen rallies if the Detroit general manager selects another wide receiver with the team's No. 1 pick. Don't worry Lions
fans -- there isn't a wide out in this draft that deserves to be taken within the first 12 slots. Detroit has a huge hole at the free safety position,
while Michael Huff is the best player available at this juncture. It's a perfect match.
Arizona Cardinals: Jay Cutler, QB, Vanderbilt
Looking at Arizona's offense, it has two outstanding receivers, a stalwart running back, a fossilized quarterback, absolutely no tight end and a woeful
offensive line. The Cardinals obviously have tons of needs, but I think they will select Jay Cutler if he is available. Remember, Dennis Green chose
Daunte Culpepper with the 11th pick in 1999 when he already had Randall Cunningham and Jeff George on the roster. I believe he will take Cutler, whom
he will groom into one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL.
St. Louis Rams: Tye Hill, CB, Clemson
Mike Martz is finally out of the picture in St. Louis, which is the best thing that has happened to the organization since it won the Super Bowl in 2000.
Maybe new head coach Scott Linehan will actually pay attention to the defensive side of the ball. If he does, he will notice that there are huge voids
everywhere. The Rams have a bunch of mediocre cornerbacks, but they really could use a true No. 1. Tye Hill wouldn't be a bad option; he was one of the
winners at the combine because he ran a blazing 4.3 in the 40.
Cleveland Browns: Kamerion Wimbley, DE/OLB, FSU
You can almost count the number of sacks Cleveland tallied on your fingers. The Browns registered 23 sacks in 2005, which is a disgrace. Romeo Crennel
needs to add a few players that can apply consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Cleveland has already acquired outside linebacker Willie
McGinest. But at 34, McGinest is only a temporary solution. Kamerion Wimbley recently ran a 4.61, which may have solidified his standings as the No. 2
defensive end-linebacker hybrid in April's draft. The Browns utilize the 3-4, so Wimbley would be perfect in their system.
Baltimore Ravens: Winston Justice, OT, USC
Baltimore's offensive line, once known for being one of the elite units in the NFL, disappointed last year as it surrendered 42 sacks. Kyle Boller's
lack of talent aside, how can he possibly have a fair chance to prove himself with a terrible offensive front? Brian Billick already jettisoned
right tackle Orlando Brown. It's safe to say that he will be looking for someone to replace the troublesome lineman.
Philadelphia Eagles: Brodrick Bunkley, DT, Florida State
It's no secret that the Eagles will be looking to improve their putrid front seven this offseason. Philadelphia will not draft an outside linebacker in the
first round; Andy Reid simply does not value them enough to pay them the money No. 1 picks usually secure. The Eagles will consequently have to choose
between an offensive tackle like Marcus McNeill and Brodrick Bunkley. Defensive coordinator Jimmy Johnson prefers smaller, quicker players. Bunkley is
6-foot-3, 284 pounds and runs a 4.94, making him the second-quickest defensive tackle available (Kedric Golston).
Denver Broncos: Chad Jackson, WR, Florida
Denver acquired this pick in a three-way deal with Atlanta and the Jets. I wouldn't be surprised if the Broncos package their two first-round selections
in an attempt to acquire tight end Vernon Davis. However, if they are unable to do so, they will probably draft Chad Jackson instead. Jackson, the talk of
the combine, ran a blazing 4.32 in the 40. He'll make a great replacement for Rod Smith when the veteran receiver retires.
Miami Dolphins: Ernie Sims, OLB, Florida State
Miami has tons of needs, including quarterback, offensive line, linebacker and secondary. It looked like Nick Saban would be addressing the latter after
cutting cornerbacks Sam Madison and Reggie Howard prior to the start of free agency. However, the Dolphins manage to obtain Will Allen, Andre Goodman
and Renaldo Hill via the free-agent market. They will still need a corner, but that can come later in this draft.
Instead, Saban will turn to the
linebacker position, currently occupied by Channing Crowder and Donnie Spragan. The latter is a decent backup, but nothing more. Ernie Sims would be
a fine upgrade for potential upstart Miami.
Minnesota Vikings: Laurence Maroney, RB, Minnesota
The Vikings added Chester Taylor to the roster, which was a solid move. However, Taylor does not have the talent to be a starting running back in this
league; he is merely a very reliable No. 2 runner. Plus, Minnesota has learned that the NFL will not reinstate Onterrio Smith. The team will consequently
take local product Laurence Maroney with this draft choice.
I have received tons of e-mails, exclaiming that the Vikings will not choose a running back because they have Taylor, Mewelde Moore
and Ciatrick Fason in the backfield. Are any of those players true No. 1 backs? Are any of them remotely as talented as Maroney? The answer to both
questions is an astounding no. Minnesota still desperately needs a true ball carrier.
Dallas Cowboys: Jason Allen, S, Tennessee
The Cowboys need a safety right next to Roy Williams. Keith Davis just isn't getting the job done. Bill Parcells has done a great job rebuilding Dallas'
defense, but he still needs someone who can play free safety. That man is Jason Allen, who was one of the winners of Tennessee's Pro Day.
San Diego Chargers: Santonio Holmes, WR, Ohio State
Prior to this edition of the mock draft, I had the Chargers taking safety Ko Simpson. But in the wake of the Marlon McCree signing, I believe that San
Diego will select Santonio Holmes. Philip Rivers, who has only thrown one touchdown during his 2-year NFL career, needs all the
weapons he can get. His current targets at wide out are 36-year-old Keenan McCardell and Eric Parker, who accumulated just 725 yards last season.
Kansas City Chiefs: Jonathan Joseph, CB, South Carolina
Does it get any more pathetic than Kansas City's defense? The team needed to either beat the Giants or the Cowboys in late December in order to get into
the playoffs. The Chiefs lost to both squads because they surrendered 29 points per game during that two-game stretch. They just couldn't tackle anyone.
Kansas City needs defensive help almost everywhere. Jonathan Joseph could offer an instant upgrade over current starter Julian Battle.
New England Patriots: Manny Lawson, DE/OLB, N.C. State
A defensive end-outside linebacker hybrid was not needed during the 2005 campaign, but that's not the case anymore, as Willie McGinest signed with
Cleveland. Wimbley, who ran a 4.6 despite being 6-foot-3 and 248 pounds, is a perfect replacement for McGinest. Running back DeAngelo Williams is also
an option at this juncture, but I believe Bill Belichick will want to improve his linebacking corps after watching last year's debacle.
San Francisco 49ers: Jimmy Williams, CB, Virginia Tech
The 49ers acquired this pick for their second- and third-round selections. It appears as though they are targeting one of the top three cornerbacks
in the draft: Tye Hill, Jonathan Joseph and Jimmy Williams. Can you blame them for doing so? With Ahmed Plummer hitting the free-agent market,
San Francisco has Mike Rumph and Shawntae Spencer starting in its secondary.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Marcus McNeill, OT, Auburn
One of the reasons why Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown and Kenny Irons all succeeded at Auburn was because of Marcus McNeill. Reuniting Cadillac with
McNeill would be a great move on Jon Gruden's part.
Cincinnati Bengals: Tamba Hali, DE, Penn State
It's pretty evident that a team cannot put pressure on the quarterback if it fails to acquire at least 30 sacks in a single season. The Bengals were
short of that mark. They can improve their non-existent pass rush by taking Tamba Hali, who should become a fixture in Marvin Lewis' defense
for many years to come.
New York Giants: Antonio Cromartie, CB, Florida State
In the wake of the LaVar Arrington and Brandon Short signings, the Giants will probably take a cornerback instead of an outside linebacker. New York's
current cornerbacking corps is comprised of 32-year-old Sam Madison, second-year player Corey Webster and the underachieving William Peterson.
Chicago Bears: Leonard Pope, TE, Georgia
The Bears have finally found a respectable quarterback, but they still have one glaring hole on offense -- the tight end position. Leonard Pope would
be a tremendous improvement over Desmond Clark.
Carolina Panthers: Chad Greenway, OLB, Iowa
After losing Will Witherspoon to the Rams, it has become clear that the Panthers will target the outside linebacker position with one of their first
few picks in the draft. Let me put it this way: One of Carolina's current starters is Chris Draft. Chad Greenway might be inserted into the lineup
Jacksonville Jaguars: Bobby Carpenter, OLB, Ohio State
One of the few holes in Jacksonville's dynamic front seven is at the outside linebacker position, where Akin Ayodele resided last
year. If the Jaguars grab Bobby Carpenter and legitimate No. 2 cornerback, they will have one of the top defenses in the league next season.
New York Jets:
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Memphis
Because of their extraordinary amount of needs, the Jets could go a variety of directions with this selection. By the start of the 2006 season, Curtis
Martin will be 33 years old. Martin won the rushing title in 2004, but last year was a struggle, as the veteran running back gained just 3.3 yards per
carry. Cedric Houston will be a reserve in the NFL for a long time, but he is not a capable starter.
LenDale White, RB, USC
Colts fans should not blame Edgerrin James for leaving the team. They should put the onus on Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, whose
gargantuan contracts prevented Indianapolis from re-signing the powerful running back. With James gone and serious cap restrictions in place, the Colts will
not hesitate to grab the best ball carrier available.
LenDale White will probably land in this spot; after an overweight showing at Pro Day, one scout
didn't hesitate to suggest that the USC alumnus needs a bra. Even though most sports analysts joked about the scout's comment, I find it quite serious.
How can any NFL team depend on White to be in shape, especially after he signs a contract? He can't even stay fit with tons of money on the line.
Seattle Seahawks: Donte Whitner, S, Ohio State
Seattle has shored up its defense for the most part, but the team suffered a huge blow when safety Ken Hamlin sustained head injuries outside of a bar.
Hamlin may never be 100 percent again, which could prompt the Seahawks to draft a safety.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Sinorice Moss, WR, Miami
Now that Ben Roethlisberger has evolved to perhaps the second-best quarterback in the NFL, it's time for Bill Cowher to surround him with better
receivers, especially in the wake of Antwaan Randle El's move to Washington. Cedrick Wilson and Quincy Morgan just don't do it for me.