JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU
Lane Kiffin wants a strong-armed quarterback to create a strike-first vertical passing game. That shouldn't be a hard sell to Mr. Davis, even though he hasn't ever selected a QB higher than the 15th pick.
Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
I expect the Lions to trade down once, maybe even twice. Adams will team with free agent signee Dewayne White to give the Lions the pass rush their defense was unable to provide last season.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
There's the two-back trend, of course, but there's also the declining abilities of Jamal Lewis. Of the 53 backs who had at least 75 carries, Lewis was ranked 40th in DPAR and 39th in DVOA. And that was behind a decent Ravens offensive line. There are only a few elite backs in the NFL, and Peterson is the only one in the draft who flashes that kind of potential.
4. Tampa Bay
Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
The Bucs will probably have to move up one or two picks to secure Johnson. With Joey Galloway getting up there in age, and Michael Clayton looking like a one-year wonder, the Bucs will do what it takes to get their franchise receiver.
Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
The Arizona offense is ready to roll, but they need improvement along the line to keep Matt Leinart upright and blast some holes for Edgerrin James.
Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas
Anderson should provide the strong-side pass rush the Skins just did not get enough of last season. His pro day was not as impressive as people hoped for, but look at him on film and he compares well enough to last year's number one overall pick by the Texans, Mario Williams.
Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
Ideally a second-round draft pick deserves at least two seasons to show what he can do. But Tarvaris Jackson was a reach last year, and Brady Quinn is too well suited for Brad Childress's offense to pass up.
8. Atlanta (from Houston)
LaRon Landry, S, LSU
Landry is a smart player with good character, just the way GM Rich McKay likes them. Lawyer Milloy's skills made like Elvis and left the building last year. Ok, maybe he wasn't that bad, but he was far from being the impact player he once was. The starting free safety is Chris Crocker. Landry can play either safety position; unfortunately, he can't play both at the same time.
Levi Brown, OT, Penn St.
Arguably it's the Dolphins that could use Brady Quinn more than any other team. Almost as big a problem, though, is left tackle. L.J. Shelton was awful at that position, but late last season he showed he has a future at guard. There's always concerns about starting a rookie at LT, but new coach Cam Cameron watched up-close last year as Chargers second-round pick Marcus McNeil played like an All-Pro.
10. Houston (from Atlanta)
Ted Ginn, Jr., WR, Ohio St.
The Texans still need a lot of help on defense, and some more help on the offensive line, but they can fill those needs later in the draft. Andre Johnson is one of the best receivers in the game, and Owen Daniels looks to be a good, young tight end. Add Ginn and free agent running back Ahman Green to the mix, and new QB Matt Schaub could find himself manning the helm of an explosive offense.
11. San Francisco
Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska
A lot of possibilities here to help the 49ers finally turn the corner with the 3-4 defense Mike Nolan has (tried to) install. But, in the end, Carriker's experience as a strong side DE in a two-gap scheme makes him their choice.
Patrick Willis, LB, Ole Miss
This has become a popular mock pick in recent weeks, so I'm going to shamelessly point out that I've had him rated this high and getting drafted in this spot all along, based on game review, and a good guess that the Bills were in fact going to part ways with their verteran LBs. Take that, Mel! (Note: unlike many online draftniks, I'm a Mel Kiper fan; I respect what he has been able to do both for himself and the NFL draft in general.)
13. St. Louis
Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville
The Rams really only have three defensive tackles right now: Jimmy Kennedy, last year's third-rounder Claude Wroten, and La'Roi Glover, who turns 33 this summer. Okoye, meanwhile, will be turning 20. Obviously this guy has tremendous upside, and given a few years, I expect he will be a perennial All-Pro.
Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee
The Panthers have bigger needs at strong safety and tight end, but Keyshawn Johnson is going to be 35, and neither WR drafted in 2004, Kerry Colbert or Drew Carter, has been able to produce consistently. Give Meachem a year to adapt to the pro game and he could be part of the best receiving duo in the league.
Jarvis Moss, DE/OLB, Florida
The Steelers will stick with the 3-4 defense, but they saw their adjusted sack rate drop from third in the league in 2005 to fifteenth last season. Moss should be able to contribute right away as an outside linebacker. And if the team changes to a 4-3 in a few years, he has the frame to add some bulk and be an effective three-down defensive end.
16. Green Bay
Greg Olsen, TE, Miami
The Packers need to replace Ahman Green, but this year's running back prospect pool is shallow, and Marshawn Lynch seems to be at least a little overrated because of that. Bubba Franks doesn't get the job done anymore and it's time to give Farve a new weaopon on offense.
Reggie Nelson, S, Florida
The Jags could really use a premium pass rusher, but with Adams, Anderson, and Moss off the board, the team will have to fill a different need. With Deon Grant gone via free angency and the recently-arrested Gerald Sensabaugh better suited to play strong safety, Nelson will be given every opportunity to start right away.
Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
The Bengals need all kinds of help on their delinquent defense, so they go with the top-rated player available. Deltha O'Neal ain't what he used to be and could be traded on or before draft day. Last year's first round pick Johnathan Joseph played very well, but he has some character concerns going forward.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, California
Reuniting Dwayne Jarrett with offensive coordinator Norm Chow is going to be awfully tempting, but running back is an even bigger need than receiver. LenDale White can't stay in shape, and even if the team signs Corey Dillon, that is only a temporary solution.
20. New York Giants
Lawrence Timmons, LB, Florida St.
Free agent Kawika Mitchell was signed to a one-year deal, suggesting he might not be more than an insurance policy. Timmons has the talent to be a top-13 pick, but unimpressive workouts and questions about his conditioning drop him down the board.
Alan Branch, DT, Michigan
The Broncos are another team sorely looking to add a premium pass rusher. With none available they do perhaps the next best thing for themselves and beef up their interior line. Once considered a top-10 pick, I'm not sure Branch has done anything to deserve falling this far, but it's looking more and more likely.
Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC
The Cowboys have all of their starting positions more-or-less locked up. If they can't trade down, their choice here will probably be between cornerback Darrelle Revis, guard Ben Grubbs, and Jarrett. Owner Jerry Jones has struck gold before with a top skill-position performer whose draft stock dropped after he posted subpar 40 times.
23. Kansas City
Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU
Chiefs can't keep passing over their WR need every year, can they? Eddie Kennison is 34 and 2004 fourth-rounder Samie Parker looks a whole lot better if he's your third WR and not your second. The backups are Dante Hall and Rod "Teams Keep Cutting Me" Gardner.
24. New England (from Seattle)
Darrelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh
With Asante Samuel not likely to play in New England beyond next season, the Patriots draft his future replacement.
25. New York Jets
Aaron Ross, CB, Texas
Ross's skill set is well suited for Eric Mangini's defense, since he is at his best when facing the quaterback. Ross will also be an asset supporting against the run. That might not seem so important in a cornerback, but the Jets were last in the league in rush defense DVOA, so they need the help wherever they can get it.
Jon Beason, LB, Miami
The Eagles are clearly not happy with what they have at linebacker. Trading for Takeo Spikes was a good move, but he's an injury risk, and not a long-term solution.
27. New Orleans
Chris Houston, CB, Arkansas
Sizzle, sizzle. Two months into the offseason and Fred Thomas is still getting burned.
28. New England
David Harris, ILB, Michigan
Sorry, I don't point out my mistakes - just what I get right. Most draftniks finally caught up to where I had David Harris ranked back at college season's end. Harris is a player, and goddammit if the Patriot's don't collect players like a dark velvet jacket collects cat hair in springtime.
Anthony Spencer, DE/OLB, Purdue
Spencer may be the closest thing in the draft to Adalius Thomas, although Thomas was a sixth-round pick, and Spencer will be expected to make an impact much sooner than Thomas did.
30. San Diego
Sidney Rice, WR, South Carolina
Receiver Eric Parker may be a tad underrated, but there's no doubt that the Chargers' starting duo of he and Vincent Jackson is a little less than dynamic. Rice has seen his stock drift downward since he declared, with many now placing him in the second round. He seems to be a true "boom or bust" prospect, and such receivers tend to rise on draft day.
Joe Staley, OT, Central Michigan
The Bears offensive line is not at all young, and the biggest question for them come draft day is likely to be: "Guard or tackle?"
Steve Smith, WR, USC
Yes, the Colts need to add a linebacker (or two), a defensive tackle, and some depth in the secondary. But has anyone noticed they have virtually nobody behind Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne? Harrison turns 35 in August, and he certainly looked worn down by year's end (I think: it's hard to tell since he played pretty much the way he typically plays in the post-season.) Tony Dungy's Tampa-2 defense can be run effectively with small linebackers, "slow" cornerbacks, and undersized linemen: you know, the kind of guys that don't get drafted in the first round.