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Mock draft 3.0: Texas' Orakpo moving up the board

  • By Pat Kirwan NFL.com
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Mock drafts
While Pat Kirwan thinks highly of Jason Smith, where do NFL.com and NFL Network experts see the Baylor offensive tackle going in April's draft? How about other top prospects?

» Dukes: Stafford has Cutler-like skills
» Wyche: Is QB Lions' biggest need?
» Davis: Plenty of OT talent

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» Draft central

Mid-March is still too early for a real mock draft, but it is a good exercise to go through the drill of thinking about the first 32 draft picks. One curveball at the top of the draft will throw the whole selection process into chaos.

Two weeks ago, I had combine results to add to game-tape analysis, which provided a good basis to start a mock draft. Today, I add the background from having interviewed 22 of the 32 top candidates -- which gives me a sense of which guys love football. The pro days are in full bloom, private workouts are underway, and visits to the team facilities are starting to take place. On top of all that, free-agent signings are providing some clues as to which direction teams are headed. Time for mock draft version 3.0.

» Previous mock drafts: Version 1.0 l Version 2.0


Mock draft: Round 1
Pick
Team
Player
Pos.
School
Previous pick
1.
OT
Baylor
The popular choice with the first pick is QB Matt Stafford, and he might very well end up at the top of the draft. But until he works out, I will keep Smith at the top spot. Smith has been to Detroit for a private visit, and he looks like a 10-year starter from day one. Do the Lions have their eye on another QB later in round one or even the top of round two?

  Combine highlights: Jason Smith

2.
OT
Virginia
The Rams released Orlando Pace this week and have cleared the way to draft the best left tackle available.

  Combine highlights: Eugene Monroe

3.
LB
Texas
Orakpo has better pass-rush production than Aaron Curry, and that is the reason he has moved up to this spot. Curry will be a fine NFL player, but so will Orakpo, who can play standing up or with his hand on the ground.

  Combine highlights: Brian Orakpo | First Draft: Brian Orakpo

4.
QB
Georgia
Time for the Seahawks to start thinking about their long-range future at quarterback. They would like an offensive tackle here, but if Stafford falls to this spot, that will change their plans.

  Combine highlights: Matthew Stafford

5.
LB
Wake Forest
The Browns need to rush the quarterback and build up the outside linebacker position. They could be tempted to take a wide receiver such as Michael Crabtree here, but the defense has to get better now.

  Combine highlights: Aaron Curry | First Draft: Aaron Curry

6.
WR
Texas Tech
The Bengals lost T.J. Houshmandzadah, and Crabtree is more than an adequate replacement. He will excel right away at the receiving end of Carson Palmer's passes.

7.
WR
Missouri
Maclin can run, which is a prerequisite for being a Raider, and he can figure on contributing as a return specialist as well. Oakland could really use B.J. Raji at this spot.

  Combine highlights: Jeremy Maclin

8.
QB
USC
A young QB who needs a year or more on the bench is a wise pick, and the signing of former Eagles OT Tra Thomas clears the way if Sanchez is here.

  Combine highlights: Mark Sanchez | First Draft: Mark Sanchez
Pick
Team
Player
Pos.
School
Previous pick
9.
OT
Alabama
Mark Tauscher has not yet been re-signed, and Smith is a mauling right tackle candidate who will creep back up the draft boards in the next month as he repairs his mistake of leaving the combine early.

  Pro day highlights: Andre Smith | First Draft: Andre Smith

10.
OT
Mississippi
The 49ers need tackle help, and Oher is the best on the board as the run on tackles reaches four in the top 10 picks.

  Combine highlights: Michael Oher

11.
DE/LB
Florida State
The Bills need a pass rusher and a linebacker, and Brown provides both. His 20 sacks over the last two years are impressive.

  Combine highlights: Everette Brown

12.
DT
Boston College
The Broncos might not have enough front seven players to make the switch to a 3-4 defense, but it all starts with the nose tackle, and Raji is the right guy, even if Denver stays in a hybrid defense.

  Combine highlights: B.J. Raji

13.
DE/LB
Penn State
The Redskins will be tempted to take an offensive tackle here, but it looks like a reach at this point if the top four OTs are off the board. They need a linebacker with pass-rush skills, and Maybin had a big year in 2008 getting upfield and making plays.

  Combine highlights: Aaron Maybin | First Draft: Aaron Maybin

14.
CB
Ohio State
It's a dream come true for the Saints if Jenkins falls to them. If not, they take the next best corner.

  Combine highlights: Malcolm Jenkins

15.
RB
Ohio State
The Texans might take a defensive tackle at this spot -- perhaps Peria Jerry -- but it is looking more and more like a running back to split the duties with Steve Slaton is a possibility.

  Combine highlights: Chris Wells

16.
LB
USC
The Chargers need a fiery inside linebacker to pair with outside backer Shawne Merriman. They could seriously look at the best 5-technique defensive end to replace Igor Olshansky.

  Combine highlights: Rey Maualuga
Pick
Team
Player
Pos.
School
Previous pick
17.
WR
North Carolina
Laveranues Coles is gone, and a playmaking wide receiver is needed. A QB like Sanchez might have been the pick, but he's off the board by now.

  Combine highlights: Hakeem Nicks

18.
OT
Arizona
The Bears need a tackle, as John Tait is retired and John St. Clair is unsigned and over 30 years old.

  Combine highlights: Eben Britton

19.
DT
Missouri
Not everyone sees Hood as a first-round pick, but his height-weight-speed ratio is impressive and he is a powerful man who runs all day long.

  Combine highlights: Evander Hood | First Draft: Evander Hood

20.
DT
Mississippi
The Lions take care of the run-stopping problems up front and hold off on a QB until the next round, where they take a good look at Kansas State's Josh Freeman.

21.
RB
Georgia
The perfect guy to be the ultimate replacement for an aging Brian Westbrook. Moreno has receiving skills and runs with enough power to take over the short-yardage role right away.

  Combine highlights: Knowshon Moreno | First Draft: Knowshon Moreno

22.
WR
Florida
The Vikings wanted Houshmandzadeh and missed out on him. Now they turn to the draft for a playmaker.

  Combine highlights: Percy Harvin

23.
DE/LB
Northern Illinois
English is a guy who has fallen out of the first round on some boards, but his 31 college sacks and his intensity is just what the Patriots need. They could easily take Brian Cushing here if available.

  Combine highlights: Larry English

24.
LB
USC
Atlanta let two linebackers go in free agency and replaced one with Mike Peterson. Cushing fits right in as Coy Wire goes back to being a situational player.

  Combine highlights: Brian Cushing
Pick
Team
Player
Pos.
School
Previous pick
25.
LB
USC
The Fish constantly have to retool the 3-4 outside linebacker position, and Matthews has turned himself into a solid player.

  Combine highlights: Clay Matthews

26.
WR
Maryland
With a big, strong-armed quarterback like Joe Flacco, it is time to get him a vertical threat, and Heyward-Bey is the fastest player in the draft.

  Combine highlights: Darrius Heyward-Bey | First Draft: Darrius Heyward-Bey

27.
LB
Ohio State
The Colts could go running back here, but there is enough depth to wait, and it is time to get a linebacker to run this defense. Laurinaitis had 375 tackles, nine interceptions and 13 sacks at Ohio State.

  Combine highlights: James Laurinaitis

28.
OT
Connecticut
The loss of Tra Thomas and the age of unsigned Jon Runyan means it is time for a tackle. Beatty has good feet for the left side but needs work on his functional strength.

  Combine highlights: William Beatty

29.
WR
Rutgers
The Giants need a big receiver to replace Plaxico Burress. It might be a bit high for Britt, but the Giants know the local kid from Rutgers.

  Combine highlights: Kenny Britt

30.
DE
Tennessee
The Titans love tough defensive players, and Ayers' showing at the Senior Bowl and combine put him in the first round. The Freak can't play forever at left defensive end.

  Combine highlights: Robert Ayers

31.
DE
Georgia Tech
Some say Johnson is soft, but at 6-foot-7, 266 pounds with 4.6 speed, 19 sacks and 10 forced fumbles, he is a rare athlete. He could be an outside linebacker or a pass rusher.

  Combine highlights: Michael Johnson

32.
DE
San Jose State
By the time we get to the draft, Gilbert might be projected higher than this spot. He's a steal for the Steelers here and an excellent candidate as a 5-technique. The Steelers also could look at a corner such as Vontae Davis.

  Combine highlights: Jarron Gilbert


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