Dana Point, Calif. — Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris was quite the engaging fellow at the NFL Owners meeting.
Tried to get around to all of the NFC head coaches during their availability session. Checked in with Morris and New Orleans coach Sean Payton before the clock ran out on the session. Didn’t get to Carolina’s John Fox.
Wanted to a better line on their offseason pickups and their draft needs for the Mock draft.
“We probably need to get another corner for depth,” Morris said. “Got to get somebody in to compete with (cornerback) Elbert Mack.”
Morris likes their free agency pickup of RB Derrick Ward and the trade for TE Kellen Winslow.
“At receiver, we’ve got angry workers . . . (wide receiver) Dexter Jackson (of Dunwoody) has an opportunity to explode on the scene this year,” Morris said.
Also, former UGA standout Jermaine Phillips of Roswell is moving from safety to weakside linebacker, Morris said.
Payton said the Saints, like the Falcons, felt their biggest moves were re-signing their own players.
“Jon Vilma, Devery Henderson, Jon Stinchcomb, keeping those three
guys was really important, prior to any other move,” Payton said.
Fox told the reporters at his table that he hasn’t talked to Julius Peppers since the team slapped the franchise tag on him. He blamed all of the fuss over Peppers saying he wants out of Carolina on the business on the league.
We’ll, we haven’t forgotten about our second installment of the Mock Draft. We’ll update each Friday leading up to the April 25 draft.
New Orleans picks 14th. Tampa Bay picks 19th. Atlanta picks 24th. Carolina doesn’t have a first round. They traded it to Philadelphia last year in order to get tackle Jeff Otah.
We have the Falcons going for USC linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. this week after further research and DE Larry English dropping to Pittsburgh.
LEDBETTER’S MOCK DRAFT
1. Detroit Lions: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor. Lions will try to negotiate a deal before the draft. They pass on Stafford as they try to anchor their O-line.
2. St. Louis Rams: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest. The defensive mind Steve Spagnuolo gets some one to anchor the unit.
3. Kansas City Chiefs: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia.
4. Seattle Seahawks: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia. Can learn the rope behind Matt Hasselbeck for a year or two.
5. Cleveland Browns: Everette Brown, DE/OLB, Florida State.
6. Cincinnati Bengals: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech. Bengals ignore his injury woes.
7. Oakland Raiders: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mark Sanchez, QB,
9. Green Bay Packers: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas.
10. San Francisco 49ers: Andre Smith, T, Alabama. With Sanchez off the board, Singletary decides his motivational skills can help Smith.
11. Buffalo Bills: Rey Maualuga, LB, Southern Carolina.
12. Denver Broncos: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU.
13. Washington Redskins: Brian Cushing, LB, USC.
14. New Orleans Saints: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri. Sean Payton adds another weapon for quarterback Drew Brews.
15. Houston Texans: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State.
16. San Diego Chargers: Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss. The second run on tackles starts here.
17. New York Jets: Percy Harvin, WR, Florida. Jets elect to add offensive weapon.
18. Chicago Bears: Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois. A physical corner who’d fit nicely in their Cover-2.
20. Detroit Lions (from Dallas): Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State. After passing on Stafford, the Lions add their quarterback.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Eben Britton, OT, Arizona. They have to find a replacement for Tra Thomas.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi.
23. New England Patriots: James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State.
24. Atlanta Falcons: Clay Matthews Jr., OLB, Southern California. Could help rebuild the linebacker unit.
25. Miami Dolphins: Clint Sintim, LB, Virginia.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Darius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland.
27. Indianapolis Colts: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia.
28. Philadelphia Eagles (from Carolina): Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State. The Eagles get someone to share the load with Brian Westbrook.
29. New York Giants: Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina.
30. Tennessee Titans: Duke Robinson, OG, Oklahoma.
31. Arizona Cardinals: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Larry English, DE/OLB, Northern Illinois.
FIRST ROUND FRINGE
Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut
Evander Hood, DT, Missouri
Louis Delmas, FS, Western Michigan
Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest
So can you see Matthews lining up in the Falcons defense? Trading down and amassing picks is a possibility. Do you pass on Matthews and pick up more picks? Pettigrew is sitting there, but Falcons aren’t tempted. Is that a mistake or there are too many defensive needs?