No Pam Grier, Beyonce or Batman for this week’s mock draft.
With a shade over a week to go, the dust is starting to settle around the National Football League. We must get down to some football business.
The last few visits are being taken and teams are finalizing their draft boards. They are reviewing several scenarios that could unfold on Saturday, April 25.
One of very popular scenarios has USC linebacker Brian Cushing, once considered a top 10 pick, dropping to the Falcons at No. 24. It’s likely because the glut of defensive end/outside linebacker types and because of his red flags. If he’s there at 24, he’ll be holding up a red and black jersey around 8 p.m. next Saturday night. Check out some Cushing highlights.
Another key position to keep an eye on is wide receiver. A lot of teams are in the market for wide receivers and there could be a first round run at the position. After Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree and Missouri’s Jeremy Macklin teams may start to panic.
If you see Jackson, Maybin and Brown go ahead of the Falcons, then Cushing is falling. He may free fall right into their laps.
Cushing is a fit for the Falcons 4-3 defense at either of the outside linebacker spots. He played strongside linebacker as a freshmen, junior and senior for the Trojans. He played defensive end as a sophomore.
Cushing would not come without any baggage. Rumors of steroid use started back when he was in Bergen (N.J.) Catholic High and followed him over his four years at USC. He was also involved in an incident in April of 2006 where he was handcuffed and put in the back sit of a cop car. He was never arrested, but the images where shown nationwide.
“Some scouts worry about Cushing being more of a body builder than a football player with his strict eating regimen and shredded physique, and durability long has been an issue,” wrote Nolan Wawrocki of Pro Football Weekly in their 2009 draft preview.
A couple other things to note, USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, Cushing’s old roommate, has jumped into the top five. Also, Tennessee defensive end Robert Ayers (12) and Ohio State wide receiver Brian Robiskie (29) make their debut in the mock draft this week. Oklahoma’s Duke Robinson (28) was in earlier, but had dropped out. He’s back this week.
Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis, Southern California’s Clay Matthews Jr. and North Carolina wide receiver Hakeem Nicks have dropped out of the first round.
LEDBETTER’S 2009 MOCK DRAFT 5.0
1. Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia. Stafford has impressed the Lions. Now they can show him the money!
2. St. Louis Rams: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech. First stunner of the day. The Rams need receivers after letting Torry Holt go. (The link is to a nice article from our good buddy Allen Wilson of the Buffalo News.)
3. Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest. The Chiefs get around to addressing their suspect defense.
4. Seattle Seahawks: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC. Didn’t play much in college, but can backup Matt Hasselbeck until he’s ready.
5. Cleveland Browns: Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas. Should fit nicely in Eric Mangini’s version of the 3-4.
6. Cincinnati Bengals: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor. Bengals look for some more protection for QB Carson Palmer.
7. Oakland Raiders: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia. He slides a little bit, but the Raiders will snap him up.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College. The Jags get an anchor for their defense
9. Green Bay Packers: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU. Packers have to improve their defensive line.
10. San Francisco 49ers: Andre Smith, T, Alabama. With Sanchez off the board, Singletary decides his motivational skills can help Smith.
11. Buffalo Bills: Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State. After picking up Terrell Owens, the Bills turn their attention to defense.
12: Denver Broncos (from Chicago): Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee. Welcome to the DOL’s big board.
13. Washington Redskins: Michael Oher, T, Ole Miss. The Redskins take a major step towards rebuilding the the offensive line.
14. New Orleans Saints: Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB. Sean Payton is looking for someone to run the ball between the tackles.
15. Houston Texans: Jeremy Macklin, WR, Missouri. QB Matt Schaub get someone else to throw to other than super stud Andre Johnson.
16. San Diego Chargers: Eben Britton, OT, Arizona. Chargers elect to address their offensive line.
17. New York Jets: Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State. Jets get their Brett Favre replacement.
18. Denver Broncos: Everette Brown, DE, Florida State. The Broncos stick with defense as they try to resurrect the Orange Crush
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State. Is a good fit for Tampa’s Cover-2. He’s a solid corner, but doesn’t have elite speed to play a lot of man-to-man coverage.
20. Detroit Lions (from Dallas): Rey Maualuga, LB, Southern California. He slips, but doesn’t get past the Lions.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia: It would be a reach to take a tackle here, so they make a value pick and get Brian Westbrook’s heir apparent. They’ll try to replace Tra Thomas later.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Percy Harvin, WR, Florida: Vikes add a play maker to go with Adrian Peterson.
23. New England Patriots: Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois. Pats decide that their locker room is strong enough to keep Davis focused.
24. Atlanta Falcons: Brian Cushing, LB, USC. Everything breaks right and the Falcons get their man. He’s could have shot at winning one of the outside linebacker spots.
25. Miami Dolphins: Darius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland. Has a big upside.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi. A good fit up front for the Ravens.
27. Indianapolis Colts: Larry English, DE, Northern Illinois: Bill Polian finds another potential Pro Bowler late in the first round.
28. Philadelphia (from Carolina): Duke Robinson, OT, Oklahoma. Eagles elect to get their tackle here, even though he may be better suited to play guard.
29. New York Giants: Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State. The precise route runner will be expected to eventually replace Plaxico Burress. Check out the son of the Falcons receivers coach show out against Texas last season.
30. Tennessee Titans: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State. His 40 times are scaring a lot of folks.
31. Arizona Cardinals: Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut. Edgerrin James will get his wish to be released after this pick.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Clint Sintim, LB, Virginia. A perfect fit after playing for Al Groh at Virginia.
FIRST ROUND FRINGE
James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State
Clay Matthews Jr., LB, USC
Evander Hood, DT, Missouri
Louis Delmas, FS, Western Michigan
Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest
Alex Mack, C, California
Max Unger, C, Oregon
Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina
Would you like to see the Falcons select Cushing with the 24th pick? Should they pass on Cushing and take Sintim? Should the Falcons trade the pick and move back into the early part of the second round and select Western Michigan defensive back Louis Delmas?