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Mock draft 3.0: Stewart's injury leads to some changes

  • By Vic Carucci NFL.com
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Arkansas running back Felix Jones might be the biggest winner from the injury that has Oregon's Jonathan Stewart out of action for four to six months. Jones moves up 12 spots in the most recent edition of my mock draft.

Other changes this week include the Carolina Panthers taking offensive tackle Jeff Otah from Pittsburgh rather than USC linebacker Keith Rivers, while the Chicago Bears, who previously had Otah, take a running back (Rashard Mendenhall of Illinois). Rivers falls to Green Bay, in the 30th spot, while fellow linebacker Jerod Mayo of Tennessee slips from the Packers to the New York Giants at the bottom of the round.

Leaping back into the first round after a terrific pro day workout and a series of personal interviews is Kansas cornerback Aqib Talib, who is now slated to go to the Houston Texans at pick No. 18.

» Mock draft 1.0 | Mock draft 2.0

Team Pick Analysis

1. Miami Dolphins

Chris Long
DE, Virginia
It wouldn't be a shock to see the Dolphins go with a quarterback because their new decision-makers, led by Bill Parcells, could easily decide they need someone better than John Beck. But is that someone Boston College's Matt Ryan, the presumptive top quarterback in the draft? For now, that's not entirely clear because Ryan didn't throw at the NFL Scouting Combine or play in the Senior Bowl. In the meantime, Long looks to be as safe as any player who could be chosen in this spot. He's one of the most complete and NFL-ready defensive ends to emerge from the college ranks. He had a tremendous performance at the combine. He also has extremely high character.

Previous mock pick: Chris Long


Team Pick Analysis

2. St. Louis Rams

Jake Long
OT, Michigan
After last year's 3-13 finish, the Rams have plenty of holes to fill. If the Dolphins pass on Chris Long, the Rams might very well grab him here. Otherwise, they figure to address their biggest problem area, the offensive line, which lost three starters (including tackle Orlando Pace) to season-ending injuries in 2007. Jake Long could very well be this year's Joe Thomas, who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Long had a dominant collegiate career. He has an excellent combination of size, strength, and athleticism, all of which resulted in a highly impressive showing at the combine.

Previous mock pick: Jake Long


Team Pick Analysis

3. Atlanta Falcons

Glenn Dorsey
DT, LSU
The Falcons need a quarterback, but this seems far too high to select anyone at the position in this draft. Dorsey's dominance should go a long way in allowing Mike Smith's defense-first mentality take hold. First, though, the Falcons will need to be satisfied that there are no lingering problems with Dorsey's tibia stress fracture that he said dates back to the summer of his junior season.

Previous mock pick: Glenn Dorsey


Team Pick Analysis

4. Oakland Raiders

Darren McFadden
RB, Arkansas
McFadden is probably the best player in the draft. Although the Raiders would have to take a long look at Dorsey if he were still available, they would have a hard time resisting an infusion of McFadden's world-class speed and game-breaking skills.

Previous mock pick: Darren McFadden


Team Pick Analysis

5. Kansas City Chiefs

Ryan Clady
OT, Boise State
The Chiefs could easily go with Matt Ryan, if he's available, but they insist they are happy with incumbent starter Brodie Croyle and expect him to make major strides with new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. They are desperate for help on the offensive line and at cornerback.

Previous mock pick: Ryan Clady


Team Pick Analysis

6. New York Jets

Vernon Gholston
DE, Ohio State
Eric Mangini is desperate to put some teeth into his pass rush. Gholston, an exceptionally talented and versatile defensive end who had 22 ½ sacks for the Buckeyes the past two seasons, should fill nicely into the Jets' front.

Previous mock pick: Vernon Gholston


Team Pick Analysis

7. New England Patriots
(From San Francisco)

Leodis McKelvin
CB, Troy
After losing Asante Samuel and Randall Gay, the Patriots have little choice but to rebuild themselves at cornerback.

Previous mock pick: Leodis McKelvin


Team Pick Analysis

8. Baltimore Ravens

Matt Ryan
QB, Boston College
This could be a reach, although the Ravens do need to a quarterback to lead them in the post-Brian Billick era. Cornerback also is a distinct possibility here.

Previous mock pick: Matt Ryan


Team Pick Analysis

9. Cincinnati Bengals

Sedrick Ellis
DT, USC
Ellis adds a big, strong, athletic force that the middle of the Bengals' defense needs.

Previous mock pick: Sedrick Ellis


Team Pick Analysis

10. New Orleans Saints

Dominique
Rodgers-Cromartie

CB, Tennessee St.
Rodgers-Cromartie's monster performance at the combine has caused his draft stock to soar, and the Saints just might be willing to take a little bit of a gamble on this small-college prospect. It also doesn't hurt that he is a cousin to one of the best corners in the NFL, Antonio Cromartie.

Previous mock pick: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie


Team Pick Analysis

11. Buffalo Bills

Malcolm Kelly
WR, Oklahoma
The Bills need a big, athletic complement to Lee Evans. Although a quadriceps injury prevented the 6-foot-4 Kelly from participating in combine drills, he looks to be the right choice to help bring much-needed improvement for their passing game.

Previous mock pick: Malcolm Kelly


Team Pick Analysis

12. Denver Broncos

Chris Williams
OT, Vanderbilt
The Broncos' offseason shopping addressed a variety of defensive needs and wide receiver. That would seem to make offensive tackle an obvious spot for this pick. And who better to protect Jay Cutler's blind side than the man who once did so for him in college?

Previous mock pick: Chris Williams


Team Pick Analysis

13. Carolina Panthers

Jeff Otah
OT, Pittsburgh
The Panthers have crying needs on both lines. Otah allows them to help plug a hole in their porous pass protection.

Previous mock pick: Keith Rivers


Team Pick Analysis

14. Chicago Bears

Rashard Mendenhall
RB, Illinois
The Bears can't continue to leave their running game in the unreliable hands of Cedric Benson.

Previous mock pick: Jeff Otah


Team Pick Analysis

15. Detroit Lions

Mike Jenkins
CB, South Florida
Picking up Leigh Bodden from Cleveland was a first step in fixing the Lions' cornerback problems. Adding Jenkins is another one.

Previous mock pick: Mike Jenkins


Team Pick Analysis

16. Arizona Cardinals

Felix Jones
RB, Arkansas
The Cardinals need a big-play running back to consistently provide the balance Ken Wisenhunt wants to incorporate in his offense. Edgerrin James is getting too old to be that player anymore.

Previous mock pick: Rashard Mendenhall


Team Pick Analysis

17. Minnesota Vikings

Derrick Harvey
DE, Florida
With Erasmus James still bothered by knee trouble and Kenechi Udeze undergoing treatment for leukemia, the Vikings need an edge rusher who can make an immediate impact.

Previous mock pick: Derrick Harvey


Team Pick Analysis

18. Houston Texans

Aqib Talib
CB, Kansas
The Texans can't go wrong with a running back or a cornerback, two of the deeper positions in the draft. If Mendenhall and Stewart are off the board at this point, they should be able to land a good cornerback. Talib helped himself with an impressive workout during Kansas' pro day workouts.

Previous mock pick: Jonathan Stewart


Team Pick Analysis

19. Philadelphia Eagles

Kenny Phillips
S, Miami
Phillips' athleticism and ability to be as effective against the run as he is in coverage make him a nice complement to Brian Dawkins.

Previous mock pick: Kenny Phillips


Team Pick Analysis

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

DeSean Jackson
WR, California
The Buccaneers need playmakers, and Jackson gives them a good one. They also could use some help for their offensive line, but Jon Gruden is likely to go with a receiver first.

Previous mock pick: DeSean Jackson


Team Pick Analysis

21. Washington Redskins

Limas Sweed
WR, Texas
The Redskins need help in a variety of spots, but new coach Jim Zorn is pushing for someone to add spark to his offense.

Previous mock pick: Calais Campbell


Team Pick Analysis

22. Dallas Cowboys
(From Cleveland)

Justin King
CB, Penn State
King's speed and athleticism provide a very workable foundation for the Cowboys to utilize at a position of need.

Previous mock pick: Justin King


Team Pick Analysis

23. Pittsburgh Steelers

Branden Albert
G, Virginia
Not a whole lot to analyze here. Alan Faneca is gone, so the Steelers replace him with another player who fits their big, physical prototype for an offensive lineman.

Previous mock pick: Branden Albert


Team Pick Analysis

24. Tennessee Titans

Kentwan Balmer
DT, North Carolina
The Titans could very well go against the grain of their drafting philosophy and get a wide receiver, a position they haven't addressed with a first-round pick in 10 years. Balmer would enhance the tremendous production of the best tackle in the game, Albert Haynesworth.

Previous mock pick: Limas Sweed


Team Pick Analysis

25. Seattle Seahawks

Dustin Keller
TE, Purdue
The acquisition of Julius Jones takes care of the Seahawks' running back need. Now, they can focus on getting another high-impact target for Matt Hasselbeck.

Previous mock pick: Devin Thomas


Team Pick Analysis

26. Jacksonville Jaguars

Calais Campbell
DE, Miami
Campbell should give the Jaguars' pass rush a much-needed boost.

Previous mock pick: Phillip Merling


Team Pick Analysis

27. San Diego Chargers

Brandon Flowers
CB, Virginia Tech
It will be difficult to fill needs this low in the draft because the risk of reaching figures to be so much greater. But the Chargers would seem to be making a solid choice with Flowers.

Previous mock pick: Brandon Flowers


Team Pick Analysis

28. Dallas Cowboys

Devin Thomas
WR, Michigan State
The Cowboys would love to make a deal to move up near the top of the draft to select McFadden but that probably won't happen. Instead, they will address another pressing offensive need by taking Thomas.

Previous mock pick: Felix Jones


Team Pick Analysis

29. San Francisco 49ers
(From Indianapolis)

Gosder Cherilus
OT, Boston College
Cherilus' draft stock has been climbing steadily since his impressive performance in the Senior Bowl, where the 49ers' coaches saw him first-hand.

Previous mock pick: Gosder Cherilus
>


Team Pick Analysis

30. Green Bay Packers

Keith Rivers
LB, USC
The Packers are likely to use this pick to address the team's future rather than trying to fill an immediate need. They could easily go with an offensive tackle a good one happens to fall this far, but they would have a very hard time passing up on the best linebacker in the draft.

Previous mock pick: Jerod Mayo


Team Pick Analysis

31. New York Giants

Jerod Mayo
LB, Tennessee
The Giants would like to move outside linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka back to defensive end, his natural position. Mayo would allow them to do so.

Previous mock pick: Dan Connor


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