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 Dewayne White to give the Lions the pass rush they sorely lacked 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 back in this draft who has consistently shown 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)
Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville
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
Darrelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh
Ted Ginn, Jr., WR, Ohio St.
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
Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
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.
Lawrence Timmons, LB, Florida St.
Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee
20. New York Giants
Joe Staley, OT, Central Michigan
Justin Harrell, DT, Tennessee
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
Ben Grubbs, OG, Auburn
24. New England (from Seattle)
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.
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
Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU
28. New England
Michael Griffin, S, Texas
Griffin is a versatile safety who could replace Rodney Harrison down the road.
Arron Sears, OG, Tennessee
30. San Diego
Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Ohio St.
Alan Branch, DT, Michigan
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? (UPDATE: People have started noticing since I first posted this.) 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.