After the Lions landed their franchise quarterback, a number of surprise picks followed. Here's an inside look at how the first round unfolded.
1. Detroit Lions - Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
The Lions land their franchise quarterback with the selection of Stafford. Though there was some debate about whether the former Bulldog would be their guy, the team wrapped up negotiations on a six-year, $78 million contract, with $41.7 million in guarantees. As a classic pocket passer with excellent arm strength, he gives the team a legitimate quarterback to build an offense around.
» Wilcots: Pressure on Stafford will be intense
2. St. Louis Rams - Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
The Rams tab the ultra-athletic Smith to replace Orlando Pace at left tackle. Smith has outstanding feet and movement skills. He will not only protect Marc Bulger's blind side, but he'll provide the push on the edge to spring Steven Jackson for long runs. With Smith in place, the Rams have completed the process of rebuilding an offensive line that struggled mightily last season.
3. Kansas City Chiefs - Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
The Chiefs pick up the best 3-4 defensive end on the board with their selection of Jackson. Though the pick was a bit of a surprise, Jackson gives the team a stout player on the edge capable of occupying multiple blockers at the point of attack.
4. Seattle Seahawks - Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
The Seahawks add Curry to a defense that features a pair of standout young linebackers (Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill). Though the financial commitment to the trio is significant, the team has the flexibility to attack offenses in a variety of ways due to the dynamic skills of each player. The 'Hawks are expected to transition into a blue-collar unit under Jim Mora, and this is a key step.
» Blog: Curry, the people's champion
5. New York Jets - Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
In an aggressive move, the Jets pick up their quarterback of the future in Sanchez. Although the former Trojan only recorded 16 starts in college, he is regarded as the quarterback prospect with the biggest upside due to his superior arm strength, accuracy and leadership skills. With extensive experience in the West Coast offense, Sanchez is in line to be the Jets' starting quarterback on opening day.
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6. Cincinnati Bengals - Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
Marvin Lewis has stated that he wants to get back to running the football, and Smith gives the Bengals a dominating offensive tackle to run behind. Though he had a series of mishaps in the run up to the draft, there is no denying that Smith is one of the best tackle prospects in the draft.
7. Oakland Raiders -- Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
In a bit of a head-scratcher, the Raiders bypass Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin to select Heyward-Bey. Although the former Maryland speedster recorded the best 40 time (4.30) at the combine, he is raw and unrefined as a receiver. He may eventually develop into a big-time weapon in the Raiders' offense, but he is a bit of a reach as a potential No. 1 receiver.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars - Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
The Jaguars go for the most polished tackle prospect on the board. Though Monroe is highly regarded as a pass blocker, he is equally adept at creating a push in the running game. With the Jaguars hoping to return to their power running attack, Monroe gives them another pile-pusher.
9. Green Bay Packers - B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
The Packers pick up a dominating nose tackle to anchor their new 3-4 defense. Raji excels at whipping double teams, and his presence in the middle will keep blockers off A.J. Hawk and Nick Barnett. Though many thought the Packers would opt for a pass rusher, the decision to fortify their run defense will go a long way toward helping them increase their sack total.
10. San Francisco 49ers - Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
The 49ers surprisingly land the draft's biggest playmaker in Crabtree. The two-time Biletnikoff Award winner is a natural pass catcher with outstanding ball skills and awareness. Crabtree gives the team its best receiving threat since Terrell Owens, and he's poised to become an instant star in the NFC West.
» Baldinger: 49ers shocked to see Crabtree waiting
11. Buffalo Bills - Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
The Bills take the dynamic pass-rushing specialist from Penn State. Though Maybin left State College, Pa., as a one-year starter, he racked up 12 sacks in his final season and dazzled scouts with his exceptional first-step quickness. For a team in desperate need of a pass rush, Maybin appears to be the ideal fit.
12. Denver Broncos - Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
The Broncos eschew their defensive woes to pick the electrifying runner from Georgia. Moreno is a versatile back with outstanding quickness and elusiveness, and he gives the Broncos another weapon in the passing game with his exceptional hands and underrated route-running. With Josh McDaniels' preference for spread formations, Moreno could emerge as a playmaker in his first season.
» Blog: Broncos pull stunner with RB pick
13. Washington Redskins - Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
Orakpo unexpectedly falls to the Redskins at No. 13. Though he was projected by many as a hybrid rusher, Orakpo will play as a conventional edge rusher alongside Pro Bowler Albert Haynesworth. With the big man occupying double teams inside, Orakpo has an opportunity to record double-digit sacks in his first season due to a high number of man-on-man blocks off the edge.
14. New Orleans Saints - Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
The Saints continue to address their woeful secondary with the selection of Jenkins. As a versatile defender with outstanding cover skills, Jenkins fills a huge need at corner or safety. Though the team signed Darren Sharper in the offseason, Jenkins could eventually supplant the former Pro Bowler as the team's starting free safety.
15. Houston Texans - Brian Cushing, LB, USC
The Texans select the versatile Cushing to fill their hole at linebacker. As a linebacker capable of manning either outside linebacker position, Cushing gives the team numerous options for filling out its lineup. With Cushing in place, the Texans have the potential to craft an aggressive blitz package that attacks offenses from multiple angles.
16. San Diego Chargers - Larry English, DE, Northern Illinois
After watching their sack output drop significantly with Shawne Merriman injured, the Chargers add another pass rusher with English. The hard worker gives Ron Rivera a possible replacement for Merriman in the event of a rehab setback, and he gives the team three capable rushers in its 3-4 (Shaun Phillips, Merriman and English). With pass rushers at a premium, the Chargers made a wise choice.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State
The Buccaneers gamble on the gifted quarterback out of Kansas State. Blessed with prototypical size and arm strength, Freeman gives the Bucs a deep-ball thrower to complement their power running game. Though he may not be ready for action in 2009, he gives the team a potential franchise quarterback to groom.
» Freeman: I’ll prove I’m the best of the three QBs
18. Denver Broncos - Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
The former Vol is an athletic edge player with outstanding versatility. As a potential defensive end/outside linebacker, he's capable of stacking the run while also providing some pass-rushing skill off the edge. Though he has been pegged as a "one-year wonder," Ayers was playing the best football of his career at the end of his senior season, and he may continue his ascent as a rookie.
19. Philadelphia Eagles - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
The Eagles make a move to grab a prolific playmaker in Maclin. The former Tiger has the requisite skills to shine in the team's West Coast offense, and he's a threat to score from anywhere on the field. With DeSean Jackson and Maclin on the field at the same time, the Eagles have the ability to unveil an explosive passing attack that mixes a short passing game with a vertical attack.
20. Detroit Lions - Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
The Lions bypass bigger defensive needs to pick up the best tight end prospect in the draft. Pettigrew is an outstanding pass catcher with even better skills as a blocker. Though he lacks the speed to stretch the middle of the field, he's a big-time weapon capable of serving as a solid complement to Calvin Johnson in the passing game.
» Wilcots: Lions ignore defensive needs
21. Cleveland Browns - Alex Mack, C, California
After moving down multiple times in the first round, the Browns tab Mack as their pivot of the future. The former Golden Bear has outstanding overall skills and should man the middle of the Browns' line for years. Although the move doesn't have the sizzle of other potential choices, it fortifies the interior of the team's offense and should improve its dismal running game.
22. Minnesota Vikings - Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
The Vikings ignore the potential character risks and select the immensely talented Harvin with their first-round pick. The do-it-all playmaker makes life easier for quarterbacks Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson with his ability to score from anywhere on the field. With Adrian Peterson and Bernard Berrian receiving the bulk of opponents' attention, Harvin could emerge a surprise star in his rookie season.
» Hanson: Vikings team Harvin with Peterson
23. Baltimore Ravens - Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
The Ravens opt to build the depth on their offensive line with the selection of Oher. The former Rebel is a talented blocker with the potential to develop into an elite player in the Ravens' system. Although he may not jump into the team's starting lineup on Day 1, he should become a key contributor by season's end.
24. Atlanta Falcons - Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi
The Falcons address their thin defensive line by picking up Jerry. As a hard-working one-gap penetrator, Jerry gives Mike Smith the "3-technique" that he covets in the middle of the defense. Though Jerry's production in college was a byproduct of an aggressive movement system, he's a solid player who fits in well with the Falcons.
25. Miami Dolphins - Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
The ultra-talented cover corner from Illinois has the all of the tools to be an impact player as a rookie. As a big corner with outstanding feet and instincts, Davis is capable of matching up with the division's superior cast of receivers. Although he suffers from mental lapses at times, Davis' talent significantly boosts the quality of play in the Dolphins' secondary.
26. Green Bay Packers - Clay Matthews, LB, USC
The Packers add a versatile outside linebacker to their 3-4. Matthews' multi-dimensional game serves as the perfect complement to Aaron Kampman. As a credible rushing threat with underrated cover skills, Matthews gives Dom Capers the ability to mix and match his rush schemes. Though he only spent one season as a starter in college, he has the potential to be a solid pro in the Packers' defense.
27. Indianapolis Colts - Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut
The elusive runner from Connecticut has outstanding speed, quickness and vision. He excels at running between the tackles and is an ideal fit in the Colts' zone-based running game. With Joseph Addai suffering from durability issues, Brown could blossom as a rotational player.
28. Buffalo Bills - Eric Wood, C, Louisville
The Bills add a versatile offensive lineman to their reshuffled lineup. Though Wood is viewed as a pivot by some scouts, he has the size, skills and football IQ to man several positions along the line. With the team attempting to cope with the loss of Jason Peters, Wood could be a key player in the Bills' rebuilding efforts.
29. New York Giants - Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina
The former Tar Heel is an outstanding receiver with all of the tools to be a No. 1 receiver as a pro. As a big, strong playmaker with outstanding hands, Nicks should fill in nicely for the departed Plaxico Burress in the Giants' receiving corps.
30. Tennessee Titans - Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
The Herculean pass catcher from Rutgers gives Kerry Collins a big target over the middle of the field. Although he suffers from inconsistent hands, Britt has the skills to be a productive playmaker in the Titans' vertical passing game.
31. Arizona Cardinals - Chris "Beanie" Wells, RB, Ohio State
The Cardinals get their power runner with Wells. The former Buckeye excels at grinding between the tackles, and his physical running style gives Ken Whisenhunt the option of playing smash-mouth football in the desert. Though there has been some question about his toughness and durability, Wells has been ultra-productive when featured as a runner. He could put up big numbers in an offense that has normally moved the ball through the air.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers - Evander "Ziggy" Hood, DT, Missouri
The Steelers snag the energetic Hood at the bottom of their first round to upgrade their depth along the line. Though many pegged Hood as a "one-gap" interior tackle, his combination of strength and movements skills fit in nicely as a 3-4 DE. With the luxury of learning behind a veteran crew, Hood should develop into a starter in a year or two.