NoLogoNeeded NFL Mock Draft Picks 23-30

Sorry I haven’t gotten a chance to update this recently.  Stuffs been pretty hectic.  Gotta get all you caught up.

With the 23rd Pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select…..
 
Before I get to that, let me just say that I am going to get killed for this. And it’s not my fault, honest. I mean, you see how this pretend draft has gone for me, the pretend GM of the pretend Pats. Let’s just say Rey Maualugua wasn’t going to be sliding in this particular selection process. Neither was Clay Matthews or Brian Cushing, the other USC linebackers we also liked, or even Eben Britton, the versatile Arizona tackle who would have been a nice building block for the future of the Pats offensive line.
 
So what do I do now? I’m too slow witted to try a trade with the very same people who suckered me into this draft in the first place, so that’s out. Do I go BPA (best player available) regardless of position, or CYA with a ‘need’ pick?
 
Here’s how I figured it. If I’m going to be pretend paying someone pretend first round money for a pretend four years, I’m going to give it to the best football player I can find, and not some linebacker I don’t really like, some DE-OLB tweener that I’m not sure about, or some defensive back I can probably get eleven pretend pay slots later.
 
So, with the 23rd Pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select…..
 
***RB Knowshon Moreno, Georgia***
 
Yeah, I know. The Patriots don’t need a running back at the moment, not with a full rotation in place for 2009. Not with Sammy Morris, Fred Taylor and Laurence Maroney tied up through 2010. Not with other needs – in the secondary or the front seven, for example – that will more immediately impact their ability to compete this fall.
 
I don’t care. Moreno is, by most measurements, a top 15 player in this draft. I’m supposed to ignore that? Did I mention that this draft couldn’t have gone any worse for me?
 
The strange thing is that this could end up working. Kevin Faulk, the Pats utility knife who is about to turn 33, is entering the final year of his contract. Maroney is teetering on the edge of full-on bust status after a disappointing 2008 season that was marred by injury and ineffectiveness. As great as he’s been in New England, Morris is 32, and if the Pats advance deep into next year’s playoffs, they’ll probably have cake in the break room one afternoon to celebrate Taylor’s 34th birthday. 
 
Best of all, by all accounts, Moreno is a well rounded, consistently productive player. He’s not a burner, but a quick, elusive and tough runner who is well suited to be a focal point, yet does the little things (like blitz pickup) right. He’s a smooth receiver who can get down the field from the backfield, or split wide. He’s got the right classroom and weight room make-up. He’s probably the most Patriot-like running back in the draft. 
 
So despite the fact that I’ll get killed for this, he’s my pick. The Atlanta Falcons are now on the clock. Hopefully, I’ll find out later that they wanted Moreno. Because after all, misery loves company.

With the 24th pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select….

**LB Clint Sintim, Virginia**

Some may consider this pick a slight reach, but Sintim fills the absolute number one need for the Falcons. I would trade my first born son and the draft rights to my third born for a living, breathing pass rush in Atlanta, and Sintim goes a long way toward helping that.

Despite their magical, pixie-dust sprinkled season in 2008, Falcons not named John Abraham proved remarkably terrible at getting to the quarterback. Sintim could immediately contribute because he knows how to make his way into the backfield and has the speed and tackling potency to be one of the better pass-rushing linebackers in the league. He’s also no slouch against the run, making him–in my addled brain, at least–a legitimate first round talent.

The Falcons do have a host of needs here, including holes at safety, potentially at cornerback and a real need for a dual threat type of tight end. The first need is the pass rush, though, and Sintim represents a big piece of the puzzle.

With the 25th pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select…

LB Larry English, Northern Illinois

There were two ways to go about this pick.  I could have taken the player I like the most that is still on the board – which would have been either CB Darius Butler or CB Sean Smith.  That would have also addressed Miami’s most glaring hole.  But this is a mock draft – and I’m going to select the player that I think the Dolphins would most likely draft if the actual draft played out this way.

Bill Parcells loves linebackers.  That’s no secret.  And among Miami’s top three needs is the outside linebacker position (right up there with CB and WR).  Larry English has the size and strength that this regime loves.  And while I worry a litle bit about English’s ability to drop back into coverage due to his lack of fluidity in his hips, I do think that Larry’s upside here is tremendous as a pass rusher and potential heir to Joey Porter.  He’s also tough, smart, and a “high-motor” player – all things that Bill Parcells demands from his linebackers.

With the 26th pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens selct…

**Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers**

The Ravens have had their most active offseason in team history, re-signing Ray Lewis, signing CB Dominique Foxworth, CB Chris Carr, C Matt Birk and TE L.J. Smith, along with bringing in multiple new coaches and cutting veterans Samari Rolle and Chris McAllister.  In re-signing Lewis, the linebackers corps remains strong, and the secondary should be helped by the new additions and the emergence of Fabian Washington.  Therefore, the main need that the Purple and Black need have is at receiver.  Derrick Mason is getting old, Mark Clayton is inconsistent and Demetrius Williams has never been healthy enough or productive enough to become a regular for the team.  With Joe Flacco as the team’s most successful quarterback since Trent Dilfer, Unibrow Boy needs a “toolsy” receiver to help him become a star.  Britt has very good speed, and great hands, and his 6’3″, 218 lb. frame makes him a big target.  When you combine all of those, you get one of Rutgers’ best receivers in school history.  Seeing him in person 8 times in Piscataway, I can tell you from firsthand accounts how daunting of a task is to cover Mr. Britt.  Picking Britt would bring the Ravens that much closer to the lofty status of Super Bowl champion.

The Indianapolis Colts are on the clock.

With the 27th pick, the Indianapolis Colts select:
 
***Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss**** 

Bill Polian has an unblemished record of hitting on first round picks in Indianapolis.  Every player he has taken has become a starter, if not an outright star.  At the same time, many of his picks were roundly criticized at the time.  Edge James wasn’t Ricky WilliamsDwight Freeney was too small and a reach.  Reggie Wayne should have been passed over for a defender.  The Colts do not draft for need, but always take the highest player available on the board.  2009 the rare exception where the Colts greatest need IS the highest player on the board.  Polian has said publicly that he doubts the team will take a defensive tackle, primarily because history tells us that good DTs are off the board in the top 15 picks, and that the next ‘value slot’ is down around the 5th round.  If Peria Jerry were to miraculously fall to 27, however, Polian would probably do a dance and happily select him.  Jerry would be the perfect DT for the Colts system, as he is a disruptive tackle who makes plays in the backfield.  His only negative is that he is slightly undersized (something the Colts simply do not worry about).  Indy desperately needs a DT, but will not reach for a player just to fill a need.  The results have been spectacular for the Colts this decade, and the selection of Jerry would cause widespread rejoicing among the Colt faithful.

A word of caution to Mr. Jerry:  If selected he should immediately take out a large life insurance policy.  The Colts are currently experiencing the “Curse of Corey Simon” when it comes to DTs.  Indy has had a need for a top flight DT for 4 seasons now, but every time Polian addresses the need, something horrible happens to the player:

2005 Corey Simon is signed…one year later he is out of the league (chronic fatness)
2006 Montae Reagor is in a severe car accident and never plays for the Colts again
2007 Booger McFarland blows out a knee in training camp
2008 Ed Johnson is cut for refeer
2008 Quinn Pitcock decides to retire at the ripe old age of 23
2008 John McCargo fails a physical and is returned to Buffalo after a trade. He never plays with the Colts.

The Philadelphia Eagles are on the clock.

With the 28th pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select:

Alex Mack, OL, California

Man, I love this pick.  The scouting reports on this kid are glowing.  He’s considered the best center prospect since (at least) Nick Mangold.  I’ve heard him do a couple interviews since the Combine and have been impressed with him both times. 

There’s really nothing not to love about this guy.  And the bottom line is that I’d much rather see the Eagles take a truly elite guy at the center position, rather than reach for the fifth-best dude at tackle.
As for how he fits in with the Eagles, there’s a short answer and a long answer.  The short version is right now the Eagles have four guys penciled in as starters for next year’s offensive line.  Mack will play center in this league some day, but just on raw talent and ability he can come in next year and start right away at guard, allowing one of the current guards to move out and play left tackle. 

The long version is more complicated and — let’s face it — a lot less interesting to people who aren’t Eagles fans.  But for the benefit of the folks on the blog, I’ll dig in a bit. 

Selecting Mack fixes the 2009 issue addressed above, but it’s most interesting for what it does in 2010.  Right now, there are a couple guys on this line who are never going to reach their full potential if they don’t demonstrate a more significant commitment to controlling their weight.  Fourth-year guard Max Jean-Gilles could be a dominating interior lineman, but he’s not going to get there by following his workout program from the 2008 offseason.  If he can get himself down to the 335 range, the sky is going to be the limit for what he can do.

At the center position, Jamaal Jackson has the same issue.  Once MJG got hurt last year, the Eagles offensive line was four trim dudes and one big ol’ chubs in the middle.  You could argue that the added weight helps him anchor against the league’s biggest nose tackles, but it’s also true that for every other task he has on the field, losing ten pounds wouldn’t hurt him.

Alex Mack is by all accounts a very bright guy, but I don’t foresee the Eagles turning over the line calls to a rookie with the team in the place it’s at right now.  Add that to the fact that MJG is still coming back from his rather gruesome season-ending broken ankle injury from last year, and it’s not easy to see how MJG is going to beat Jackson onto the field in 2009.

It’s a wide open competition in 2010, however, and once that all shakes out, you’re looking at one heck of a line for the next five years.  (And one that should be able to block well for whichever back-up running back the Eagles select somewhere later in this draft after not taking one with this pick.)

With the 29th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the New York Giants select -

Hakeem Nicks – WR, North Carolina

This is an ideal situation for the New York Giants, as the team is ready to win now, and needs a dangerous receiving threat.  I feel that the 6’1 214lb Nicks is more ready to contribute right away than any receiver in this draft.  He may not have as high of a ceiling as Darius Heyward-Bey, but his floor is also not as low and I think there is a relatively small chance Nicks is a bust. 

Nicks ran a 4.50 40 yard dash at the combine and probably has the best hands and runs some of the best routes in this draft.  He reminds me a lot of Anquan Boldin, because while he may not beat you deep, he will go up and get any ball and is great after the catch.  He is also a very willing downfield blocker and supposedly has great character.  As a senior Nicks caught 68 passes for 1222 yards and scored 12 touchdowns.  Anybody who saw Nicks catch eight passes for 217 yards and score three touchdowns in North Carolina’s bowl game against West Virginia knows he can dominate a game. 

I am not going to delve into the Plaxico Burress situation, because we all have heard it a million times this off season, but if you watched the team play at all this season you know how badly Eli Manning needs another target.  Pairing Nicks with a impressive young reciving core including Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon, Mario Manningham, Kevin Boss and Sinorice Moss will really help the Giants until Plaxico Burress is able to retun to the field and should make the run first Giants much more dangerous through the air in 2009. 

With the 30th pick in the 2009 NFL draft the Tennessee Titans select….

D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt

The Titans are in desperate need for depth at the corner back position after losing 3 of their backups in free agency this offseason.  Combine that with the fact that one of their starters, Nick Harper, is aging and missed a lot of games last season, and that one of the backup corners they lost in free agency, Chris Carr, was their kickoff and punt returner, Moore is the perfect pick for the Titans.

Moore did it all for the Commodores.  He played corner at a very high level, returned punts and kicks, and even played some receiver.  The Titans are still in desperate need for playmakers, and Moore is exactly that.  He is slipping on a lot of draft boards because of his poor 40 times at the combine and at his Pro Day, but if you saw him play at all in his career at Vandy, you will have no doubts that he will be an excellent corner/returner on Sundays.

The Arizona Cardinals are now on the clock.

There we have it folks.  The last two picks of round one and the start of round two should be coming up soon.

Tags: Alex Mack Atlanta Falcons Baltimore Ravens Clint Sintim D.J. Moore Hakeem Nicks Indianapolis Colts Kenny Britt Knowshon Moreno Larry English Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Giants Peria Jerry Philadelphia Eagles Tennessee Titans

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