Mock drafts
While Pat Kirwan thinks highly of Eugene Monroe, where do NFL.com and NFL Network experts see the Virginia offensive tackle going in April's draft? How about other top prospects?
» Davis: Monroe to Seahawks
» Dukes: Monroe goes No. 2 to Rams

With each passing week, there are more new bits of information about the draft class to help predict where players might wind up.

There are veteran signings, trades, and releases that also help guide the educated guess about a team selection. I have had a number of conversations with coaches attending the pro days. I finally got the time to watch many of the top prospects on tape and I have interviewed most of them at least once. In a number of cases I have talked with them three or four times.

Since my third mock draft was published last week, I had a chance to interview Connor Barwin, Kenny Britt, Eben Britton, Everette Brown, Aaron Curry, Vontae Davis, Josh Freeman, Evander Hood, Clay Matthews, Eugene Monroe, Knowshon Moreno, B.J. Raji and Jason Smith. By the end of the week, I will add Mark Sanchez to the list.

Starting this week, I will add key offseason moves made by the clubs that may point to their thinking about the draft, as well as a second and third player under consideration.

» Previous mock drafts: Version 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0


Mock draft: Round 1
Pick
Team
Player
Pos.
School
Previous pick
1.
OT
Virginia
Players under consideration include Jason Smith and Matthew Stafford. Monroe and Smith have been impressive in their workouts and interviews. The Lions can't go wrong with either tackle and they can come back later in the round for defensive help. If Stafford lights it up later this week in his workout, then maybe he moves up, but right now I'll stick with a tackle. Monroe was sensational in his 25-minute interview with me and my radio partner, Tim Ryan, this week. I would like to see Detroit trade for Derek Anderson with the top pick in the second round. The trade for Julian Peterson probably takes Aaron Curry out of the top spot.

  Eugene Monroe: Combine highlights

2.
OT
Baylor
Players under consideration include Michael Crabtree and Andre Smith. The Rams let Orlando Pace and Torry Holt go, which means they could go for Crabtree or Jason Smith at this spot. Rams GM Bill Devaney likes to build a team from the inside out, so I'll stick with the tackle.

  Jason Smith: Combine highlights

3.
DE/LB
Florida State
Players under consideration include Brian Orakpo and B.J. Raji. The Chiefs need a pass rush and they need outside linebackers for the 3-4 conversion. They have their choice at this spot, and after talking with Brown this week, I can see why he's moving up draft boards. Brown is a classy young man with pass-rush talent. Raji would solve the issue at nose tackle, but his height (under 6-foot-2) makes him better suited for a 4-3 defense. Of course, trading for Matt Cassel takes them out of the Stafford business.

  Everette Brown: Combine highlights

4.
QB
Georgia
Players under consideration include Brian Orakpo and Aaron Curry. Seattle has needs beyond a future quarterback and it is always hard to pass up those needs to look down the road, but the Seahawks may have Stafford fall in their lap. If they pass, there's no guarantee they see a quarterback like him again in the next few years when they select. Trading for Cory Redding resolves the defensive line issue, but opened up an issue at linebacker.

  Matthew Stafford: Combine highlights

5.
DE/LB
Texas
Players under consideration include Aaron Curry and Malcolm Jenkins. The Browns can't apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and they have a chance to improve on that at the No. 5 spot. Nothing they have done in the offseason has shored up the pass rush.

  Brian Orakpo: Combine highlights | First draft

6.
DT
Boston College
Players under consideration include Michael Crabtree and Andre Smith. The Bengals need offensive tackle help, but they always need defensive line help. If the Bengals can't stop the running attacks of the Browns, Ravens and Steelers, they'll never win. It is time to help the defense. On offense, Laveranues Coles replaced T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and Andrew Whitworth can move to offensive tackle.

  B.J. Raji: Combine highlights

7.
WR
Texas Tech
Players under consideration include Andre Smith and Peria Jerry. The Raiders get a big-time playmaker who should have gone earlier if not for the foot surgery. Signing Khalif Barnes helps the offensive line issues.

  Michael Crabtree: Combine chat | Surgery decision

8.
QB
USC
Players under consideration include Andre Smith and Jeremy Maclin. The Jaguars are in the same boat as the Seahawks. Lots of personnel issues, but a chance to take the quarterback of the future. David Garrard had a down year in 2008, but is still a good player. He is not scheduled for any roster bonuses after 2009 and in 2010. If Sanchez was ready, then the Jaguars could walk away from Garrard and save close to $8 million. The unfortunate release of Matt Jones has put a lot of stress on the receivers.

  Mark Sanchez: Combine highlights | First draft

Pick
Team
Player
Pos.
School
Previous pick
9.
LB
Wake Forest
Players under consideration include Andre Smith and Aaron Maybin. The Packers will be very tempted to take the best run-blocking tackle in the draft, Andre Smith, but his questionable decisions over the past few months could convince the Packers to go in a different direction. Curry is atop many boards and is a high character person who will fit into the Packers' new 3-4 defense.

  Aaron Curry: Combine highlights | First draft

10.
OT
Alabama
Players under consideration include Malcolm Jenkins and Aaron Maybin. 49ers coach Mike Singletary will have no problems with Andre Smith, and he will establish the off-tackle play for Frank Gore.

  Andre Smith: Pro day highlights | First draft

11.
DE
Penn State
Players under consideration include Brian Cushing and Brandon Pettigrew. The Bills need a pass rusher opposite Aaron Schobel and they need a linebacker. Maybin should be able to meet both needs. He's young and probably should have stayed in school, but he is really talented and Dick Jauron will get the best out of him.

  Aaron Maybin: Combine highlights | First draft

12.
LB
USC
Players under consideration include Peria Jerry and Tyson Jackson. The Broncos need to take defensive players throughout the draft. Cushing is versatile and can fill any one of multiple needs. He will also bring a presence and identity to the defense that has been missing since the days of Bill Romanowski. I'm not sure the Broncos will become a 3-4 team in one year, but any hybrid package is perfect for Cushing.

  Brian Cushing: Combine highlights

13.
DT
Mississippi
Players under consideration include Michael Oher and Eben Britton. The Redskins want a solid offensive tackle at this spot but they also have to fortify the defensive line. A tough choice here but they can't go wrong. Jerry will line up next to Albert Haynesworth and overnight the Redskins have inside push and four-man pressure on the quarterback without blitzing.

14.
CB
Ohio State
Players under consideration include Chris Wells and Evander Hood. The Saints can look at Jenkins as a corner/safety, and that really helps a secondary that has struggled. The signing of Jabari Greer takes care of one corner spot and Tracy Porter was doing well before his injury last season. The Saints may want to move on from Mike McKenzie, or they may want Jenkins at safety. In any case, the Saints score often and fast, and opposing teams are playing catch up which means lots of nickel and dime defense.

  Malcolm Jenkins: Combine highlights

15.
RB
Ohio State
Players under consideration include Knowshon Moreno and Vontae Davis. The Texans may want a big back to complement Steve Slaton. Wells has to be considered here, especially after the big, downhill runner broke 4.4 seconds in his pro day 40. Assistant head coach Alex Gibbs usually finds his running backs in later rounds, which could shift the Texans' interest to a corner.

  Chris "Beanie" Wells: Combine highlights

16.
DE
LSU
Players under consideration include Rey Maualuga and Robert Ayers. The Chargers lost Igor Olshansky to the Cowboys in free agency. They like Jacques Cesaire, but they need another five-technique player. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Jackson fits the bill.

  Tyson Jackson: Combine highlights

Pick
Team
Player
Pos.
School
Previous pick
17.
WR
Missouri
Players under consideration include Josh Freeman and Hakeem Nicks. The Jets may fall in love with Freeman by April, or believe Mark Sanchez will fall to them, but after Laveranues Coles left via free agency the receiver group may need help. Maclin is a very exciting player who led the nation with more than 200 yards of offense a game at Missouri. Free agency has been all about fortifying the defense, so the draft is going to be dedicated to the offense.

  Jeremy Maclin: Combine highlights

18.
OT
Arizona
Players under consideration include Michael Oher and Josh Freeman. John Tait retired and John St. Clair left for the Cleveland Browns. Unless they sign a tackle such as Kevin Schaffer, they will take a tackle in the draft. With their quarterback situation, they have to think long and hard about signing a veteran tackle and drafting a quarterback.

  Eben Britton: Combine highlights

19.
QB
Kansas State
Players under consideration include Evander Hood and Rey Maualuga. The Buccaneers have been active in free agency, signing players such as Derrick Ward, trading for Kellen Winslow and letting older defensive players go. They need help on defense, but if Freeman grades out as a first-round quarterback and they only have McCown under contract, they may have to pull Freeman's name down off the board and turn it in.

  Josh Freeman: Combine highlights

20.
LB
USC
Players under consideration include Evander Hood and James Laurinaitis. The Lions need to fortify the defense, and there are a number of very solid players left at this spot. Maualuga brings an identity they haven't had since Chris Spielman. Trading away Cory Redding might mean drafting a defensive tackle at this spot.

  Rey Maualuga: Combine highlights

21.
OT
Mississippi
Players under consideration include Knowshon Moreno and William Beatty. Tra Thomas is gone and Jon Runyan is the oldest starting tackle in the NFL. It is time for the Eagles to bring in a young tackle, even though they signed Stacy Andrews from the Bengals. They could take a running back here and double back for a tackle seven picks from now.

  Michael Oher: Combine highlights

22.
WR
North Carolina
Players under consideration include Percy Harvin and Kenny Britt. The Vikings could use help in a number of areas, but the quality wide receivers left on the board point to a decision to pick at that position. If you watch Nicks' performance in North Carolina's appearance in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, it's hard not to want to take him.

  Hakeem Nicks: Combine highlights

23.
CB
Utah
Players under consideration include Clay Matthews and Larry English. The Patriots are going to wind up with a veteran outside linebacker (Julius Peppers or Jason Taylor) and that shifts the interest to the secondary. Smith has been viewed as a second-round player all year, but his unique size (6-4, 214 pounds) and athletic ability make him a hybrid safety/corner that Bill Belichick will be able to utilize. Rodney Harrison can't play forever, and the secondary isn't the team's strong point. When I was with Belichick, he always liked the three-cone drill, and Smith's 6.92 time was faster than D.J. Moore or Alphonso Smith.

  Sean Smith: Combine highlights

24.
LB
USC
Players under consideration include Michael Johnson and Larry English. The Falcons gave up on linebackers Michael Boley and Keith Brooking, but added Mike Peterson for the inside and now need to fill the outside spot. Coy Wire, the half-safety/half-linebacker, got a modest extension, but Matthews is a good fit.

  Clay Matthews: Combine highlights

Pick
Team
Player
Pos.
School
Previous pick
25.
WR
Rutgers
Players under consideration include Larry English and D.J. Moore. The Dolphins passed on Coles in free agency, but they also were mighty thin at wide receiver in the playoffs. Britt is a big kid with toughness, and I could see Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano really liking this Jersey kid.

  Kenny Britt: Combine highlights

26.
WR
Florida
Players under consideration include Vontae Davis and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Signing Domonique Foxworth helps the depleted cornerback corps, and the Ravens will have a few solid corners to look at here. However, Percy Harvin is a playmaker and Joe Flacco needs a few more targets.

  Percy Harvin: Combine highlights

27.
LB
Ohio State
Players under consideration include Evander Hood and Knowshon Moreno. The Colts defense could use a smart linebacker such as Laurinaitis to play any of the three spots. The Colts believe in a four-man rush with the linebackers in coverage. Just watch Laurinaitis read and drop, and you will realize why he fits the Colts' scheme.

  James Laurinaitis: Combine highlights | Interview

28.
RB
Georgia
Players under consideration include Darrius Heyward-Bey and LeSean McCoy. The Eagles played their cards right and got the running back who will eventually replace the aging Brian Westbrook. For the next two years, he can be his understudy and play the role Correll Buckhalter previously filled.

  Knowshon Moreno: Combine highlights | First draft

29.
WR
Maryland
Players under consideration include Brandon Pettigrew and Alphonso Smith. Here's a big vertical threat who helps the Giants walk away from Plaxico Burress. He was the fastest receiver at the combine, and he will open up the underneath passing lanes for Steve Smith and Domenik Hixon.

  Darrius Heyward-Bey: Combine highlights

30.
CB
Wakre Forest
Players under consideration include Evander Hood and D.J. Moore. It is starting to look like a number of the quality corners may fall into the second half of the first round of the draft, and the Titans will have their choice. Smith had 21 interceptions in college and looked good at the Senior Bowl. He had a few hand-held 40 times under 4.5 at the combine.

  Alphonso Smith: Combine highlights | First draft

31.
DE
Georgia Tech
Players under consideration include Larry English and LeSean McCoy. Johnson has some level of intensity issues surrounding him, but he also has size and production. Here's a 6-foot-7 guy who can play outside linebacker, and has 19 sacks and 10 forced fumbles in college. Eugene Monroe said he was the hardest guy he had to block in his four years.

  Michael Johnson: Combine highlights

32.
DE
San Jose State
Players under consideration include William Beatty and Alex Mack. The Steelers have been very quiet in free agency and lost Bryant McFadden, which may drive them to one of the remaining corners in the draft. Their offensive line situation is also a question mark, but Gilbert has the athletic ability and size for what they like to do on defense. In typical Steelers fashion, whomever they take will be trained for a year before getting a chance to start.


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