As I stated yesterday, I don't put much stock in mock drafts because they're usually compiled by a lonely man in his mother's basement who is using the mock drafts of other lonely men as his research material. Today, however, I took part in one I consider worthwhile because it involved beatwriters from the various NFL cities. After all, who knows more than the writer who spends every waking hour covering the team?
Well, it's actually a legitimate question. You'll notice that USC LB Keith Rivers wasn't picked even though he's considered a Top 10 talent. Rivers fell out of the Top 10 in this draft and continued to fall so far that the mock organizers thought that was unrealistic and decided to remove him from the draft altogether. So, um, sorry, Keith. Better luck next year.
The other interesting bit involves quarterbacks. You'll notice that the Dolphins, Falcons and Jets - teams in need of a future passer - all passed on Matt Ryan. Then the Packers at pick No. 30 selected Joe Flacco because there is precious little depth in Green Bay behind Aaron Rodgers. If that's indeed what the Packers are thinking, then you might expect the Dolphins, Falcons et al. to try to get ahead of Green Bay in order to grab whomever they consider the second-best QB. The team in front of Green Bay? Your San Francisco 49ers ....
1. Dolphins. Jake Long, OT, Michigan. Will allow Vernon Carey to move to right tackle.
2. Rams. Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU. They'd also love Jake Long if the Dolphins don't tap him.
3. Falcons. Chris Long, DE, UVA. The Falcons don't like BC quarterback Matt Ryan.
4. Raiders. Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State. They would use Darren McFadden as bait for trading down.
5 Chiefs. Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC. Their biggest needs are along the o-line and they also love Branden Albert.
6. Jets. Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas. New York needs a home-run hitter on offense.
7. Patriots. Branden Albert, G, UVA. This is where the draft got screwy. Most expect them to take Leodis McKelvin or Keith Rivers.
8. Ravens. Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College. They like McKelvin here, but can't pass on a franchise quarterback.
9. Bengals. Jeff Otah, OT, Pitt. They are really hoping Sedrick Ellis falls to them, but they go with an OT instead.
10. Saints. Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy. It's close, but Mike Triplett takes the CB over Rivers. Thanks for ruining the draft, Mike.
11. Bills. Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan State. It might seem like a stretch, but the Bills have a history of bucking conventional thinking in the first round.
12. Broncos. Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State. They also would be interested in an every-down running back.
13. Panthers. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon. The Panthers want a more physical rushing attack in 08.
14. Bears. Chris Williams, LT, Vanderbilt. For the first time in the Lovie Smith era the Bears have to replace starters.
15. Lions. Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida. The Lions need a pass rusher. Bad.
16. Cardinals. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennesee State. Some concern about how DRC's one remaining kidney will hold up in the desert heat.
17. Vikings. Phillip Merling, DE, Clemson. The Vikings have been looking for a pass rusher all offseason and might even trade/lose the pick to get KC's Jared Allen. **If KC wins up with this pick, they would go with OT Gosder Cherilus**.
18. Texans. Mike Jenkins, CB, South Fla. The Texans also need an OT and another DE opposite Mario Williams.
19. Eagles. Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas. Might also look to a running back considering that Brian Westbrook touched the ball almost 700 times in last two years.
20. Buccaneers. DeSean Jackson, WR, Cal. The Bucs badly need someone who can stretch the field.
21. Redskins. Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma. A wide receiver would be a gift to Jim Zorn.
22. Cowboys. Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois. Watch for the team to make a draft-day trade for one of three receivers: Anquan Boldin, Roy Williams or Chad Johnson.
23. Steelers. Kentwan Balmer, DL, North Carolina. The Steelers are thin at linebacker and also could tap Quentin Groves.
24. Titans. Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas. Tennessee is another team that badly needs offensive excitement.
25. Seahawks. Lawrence Jackson, DE, USC. The Seahawks love to rotate their D-ends. Seattle then would tap a TE in Round 2.
26. Jacksonville. DeJaun Morgan, S, N.C. State. Disagreement among Jaguar scouts as to whether Kenny Phillips is the better safety.
27. Chargers. Gosder Cherilus, OT, Boston College. The 49ers weep when they see Cherilus come this close.
28. Cowboys. Brandon Flowers, CB, Va. Tech. Arizona's Antoine Cason also is a possibility here.
29. 49ers. Quentin Groves, LB, Auburn. How can a 3-4 team function without pass-rushing linebackers?
30. Packers. Joe Flacco, QB, Delaware. Aaron Rodgers already has been hurt twice - and he wasn't even the starter.
31. Giants. Jerod Mayo, LB, Tennessee. A good defense gets a little better.
-- Matt Barrows