1. Detroit Lions – Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
I’m not sold on Stafford as a franchise quarterback. This situation reminds me of the 2005 Draft when the San Francisco 49ers picked Alex Smith out of Utah. Quarterback is one of many needs for the Lions, but not its largest. Taking the best overall player would be the bright choice meaning Stafford shouldn’t be the pick. But can you remember the last time the Lions did the right thing?
2. St. Louis Rams – Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
The Rams find themselves with the second overall pick in consecutive seasons. The offense has the weapons to compete (Steven Jackson, Donnie Avery), but whether or not quarterback Marc Bulger has time is another question. As the offensive line goes, so do the Rams. Smith brings athleticism and versatility to an anemic o-line that saw Orlando Pace depart to Chicago.
3. Kansas City Chiefs – Aaron Curry, LB, Vanderbilt
The Chiefs could select USC quarterback Mark Sanchez here, but Tyler Thigpen filled in well last season. The Chiefs are in the same boat as the Lions; there are multiple holes to fill. Curry might be the best prospect in the draft so the Chiefs win with this selection.
4. Seattle Seahawks – Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
The obvious choice here is Texas Tech wideout Michael Crabtree. Maybe Seahawks management realized how important the offensive line is when guard Steve Hutchinson left in free agency a few years ago. Seattle’s offense hasn’t been the same since and franchise tackle Walter Jones is 35 years old. Although Smith’s character has come into question over the last month, selecting a tackle must be a priority for the Seahawks.
5. Cleveland Browns – Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas
Cleveland head coach Eric Mangini goes with this dynamic pass rusher who accumulated 22.5 sacks in four years with the Longhorns. Orakpo would be better suited as a stand-up rush linebacker in order to best utilize his physical capabilities. The secondary could use a lot of work, but no defensive back is worthy of a top-five selection.
6. Cincinnati Bengals – Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
Every tackle selected could easily be interchangeable. The Bengals lucked into this offensive tackle draft class. It’s one of the deepest in years. Every quarterback needs protection and Carson Palmer is no different. Michael Crabtree could tempt Cincinnati here, but even Mike Brown isn’t stupid enough to pass on a top-tier tackle.
7. Oakland Raiders – B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
Raji’s stock has soared since the end of the college football season. Crabtree is an option, again. But Al Davis is in love with speed at the receiver position and Crabtree is not a burner. The Raiders lack overall toughness and Raji brings just that.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars – Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
Jacksonville wins big by scoring the best offensive player in the class. Crabtree fills the void the Jaguars have been attempting to fill since Jimmy Smith left 2006. Crabtree brings a scary presence to Jacksonville’s boring offense. Another option could be quarterback after seeing David Garrard finish with less than stellar season.
9. Green Bay Packers – Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
The Packers are extremely thin on the corners and Jenkins is the best prospect. The draft gurus say Jenkins had a disappointing pro day. I’m not buying it. Watching Jenkins continually impact games at Ohio State made me a believer long ago. He has the size, speed and athleticism to be an anchor for the Packers defensive backfield, whether the role is cornerback or safety.
10. San Francisco 49ers – Mark Sanchez, QB, Southern California
Sanchez took an enormous risk to declare early for the draft and if can land in San Fran, it should pay off. The Niners need stability under center and Shaun Hill is not the answer. After fumbling the first selection overall in 2005 (Alex Smith), San Francisco gets this pick right by taking the Trojan product from down the road.