Don't quote me on this, but here's one way Saturday's first round of the NFL draft could shake out.
Don't quote me on this, but here's one way Saturday's first round of the NFL draft could shake out:
No. 1 – Dolphins
OT Jake Long (Michigan): Pretty sure about this one. Miami could take another Michigan man, QB Chad Henne, at the top of Round 2.
No. 2 – Rams
DT Glenn Dorsey (LSU): Gets the nod over DE Chris Long ... maybe. Saints and Falcons covet Dorsey, too, and could be enticed into trading up here to get him.
No. 3 – Falcons
DE Chris Long (Virginia): Boston College QB Matt Ryan is tempting, but if new GM Thomas Dimitroff learned anything in six years with the Patriots it's the value of building with defensive linemen.
No. 4 – Raiders
OLB/DE Vernon Gholston (Ohio State): Everyone seems to think this will be RB Darren McFadden because Al Davis is smitten with him, but Oakland's running game ranked sixth last year.
No. 5 – Chiefs
OT Ryan Clady (Boise State): Remember when Kansas City's offensive line was really good? It isn't anymore.
No. 6 – Jets
RB Darren McFadden (Arkansas): Thomas Jones isn't the answer. Plan B would be Gholston, if the Raiders don't take him.
No. 7 – Patriots
DL Sedrick Ellis (USC): Pats might like to trade down and avoid paying an unproven college kid a boatload of money. If they stay put, they can't go wrong with this tremendous blend of talent and great attitude. He doesn't fill a pressing need, but the Pats love D-linemen. He can provide backup/insurance for NT Vince Wilfork, whose contract expires after the 2009 season. Another Trojan, LB Keith Rivers, also is a possibility here.
No. 8 – Ravens
QB Matt Ryan (Boston College): Raise your hand if you think Kyle Boller will succeed Steve McNair. Didn't think so.
No. 9 – Bengals
LB Keith Rivers (USC): If only they had 20 more guys with his character they'd be in good shape.
No. 10 – Saints
CB Leodis McKelvin (Troy): New Orleans allowed 32 TD passes last season, tied with Detroit for the most in the NFL.
No. 11 – Bills
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Tennessee State): Small-school prospect is 6-2, and every AFC East foe needs someone to match up with Randy Moss.
No. 12 – Broncos
RB Jonathan Stewart (Oregon): Do you trust Travis Henry? Of course not, so Denver finally stops shopping in the bargain bid for a running back.
No. 13 – Panthers
DE Derrick Harvey (Florida): No Panther had more than 3.5 sacks last season, and DE Mike Rucker just retired.
No. 14 – Bears
OT Jeff Otah (Pittsburgh): Old-school mauler should be a big hit in Chicago, although personally, I'd go with Henne right here.
No. 15 – Lions
LB Jerod Mayo (Tennessee): Matt Millen's main job on draft weekend should be going out to get coffee.
No. 16 – Cardinals
CB Mike Jenkins (South Florida): Good player who fills big need. They could also use a complement to aging RB Edgerrin James.
No. 17 – Chiefs
DE Phillip Merling (Clemson): Having traded the league's top sack man - Jared Allen (15.5) – to Vikings, KC targets pass-rusher.
No. 18 – Texans
OT Chris Williams (Vanderbilt): The neverending quest to upgrade the O-line continues.
No. 19 – Eagles
CB Aqib Talib (Kansas): Offensive linemen and receivers are also on Philly's wish list, but with Lito Sheppard on the trading block, Talib could step right in opposite Asante Samuel.
No. 20 – Bucs
WR Devin Thomas (Michigan State): The best of a so-so crop of wideouts, he can give Joey Galloway some help.
No. 21 – Redskins
WR Malcolm Kelly (Oklahoma): A big target for new coach Jim Zorn's West Coast offense.
No. 22 – Cowboys
RB Rashard Mendenhall (Illinois): Replaces Julius Jones as Marion Barber's backfield mate. This pick also might be moved in a trade for a veteran receiver.
No. 23 – Steelers
OG Branden Albert (Virginia): They could use another running back, too, but the first order of business is filling the Alan Faneca hole.
No. 24 – Titans
WR Limas Sweed (Texas): QB Vince Young finally gets a playmaker – and a fellow Longhorn to boot.
No. 25 – Seahawks
TE Dustin Keller (Purdue): Might be a reach pick, but he would address a big need. Defensive tackle also is a priority.
No. 26 – Jaguars
DT Kentwan Balmer (North Carolina): Marcus Stroud is a Bill, so the middle of the D-line could use some bolstering.
No. 27 – Chargers
OT Gosder Cherilus (Boston College): Massive (6-6, 314) four-year starter has played both left and right tackle but projects on the right side as a pro.
No. 28 – Cowboys
CB Antoine Cason (Arizona): Good-character corner balances out bad-character Pacman Jones.
No. 29 – 49ers
OLB/DE Quentin Groves (Auburn): For what it's worth, Jerry Rice wants Cal WR DeSean Jackson.
No. 30 – Packers
RB Felix Jones (Arkansas): Big-play Razorback would complement RB Ryan Grant nicely.
XX - Patriots
Pick was forfeited as part of “Spygate” punishment.
No. 31 – Giants
LB Dan Connor (Penn State): Super Bowl champs (ouch) could do worse than Nittany Lions tackling machine. They also might move TE Jeremy Shockey.
The Patriot Ledger