It is true that football season is not over yet. But many NFL fans — mainly those of the 30 teams not playing in the Super Bowl — already are looking forward to next year.
Unfortunately, free agency does not begin until March 3 and fans have to wait until the end of April for the NFL Draft. The dry season will soon begin for the football crazed.
To satiate the thirst for all things football, we posted our early NFL mock draft last week with the top-10 picks. Today we are back to tackle selections 11 – 20 of the NFL draft. This all is subject to change, and most certainly will change when we post our second-annual mock draft in April.
But for now, this should whet your appetite for next season whilst you await the on-coming drought. I know, it is depressing.
Marc Budyach joins me again to kick things off with the Buffalo Bills at No. 11. Hit the jump to see the picks.
11. Buffalo Bills: Andre Woodson, QB, Kentucky
MB: The Bills had a decent 2007 season despite not making the playoffs. They were competitive in most of their games without any resemblence(SP) of a quarterback. Bills’ fans have to be getting impatient with J.P. Losman and the front office, but knowing that they have a bonafide star waiting on the sidelines in Woodson might buy the front office some time. Woodson is the real deal and should be a star in the NFL.
Rebuttal by MM: While I agree that Woodson has the potential to be a star quarterback in the NFL, I disagree with the Bills taking him here. J.P. Losman may be on the way out in Buffalo, but the Bills selected Trent Edwards in the 2007 draft and seem content with developing him as the starting quarterback of the future. Maybe Woodson is too good to pass up here, but Buffalo has a good, young core of offensive players and could use this pick on a talented defensive player capable of starting as a rookie.
12. Denver Broncos: Keith Rivers, LB, USC
MM: The Broncos were terrible against the run in 2007 and could use a defensive tackle with this pick. But with Glenn Dorsey and Sedrick Ellis off the board, taking a defensive tackle here would be a reach. Rivers is a fast, mobile linebacker who plays well against the run. He may be the best linebacker entering the draft and getting him here would be a great value pick for the Broncos.
13. Carolina Panthers: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois
MB: I know that Darren McFadden gets all the pub in this draft, but I believe that Mendenhall is the best runningback in the class. I was not sure about him until I saw him running away from the USC defense in the Rose Bowl. The Panthers offense was bad due to of a lack of playmakers. Jake Delhomme is going to be back next year and he will make them better, but DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams just are not the answer in Carolina. They both have been given plenty of time to shine and have not done so adequately. Mendenhall is the steal of the draft to this point.
14. Chicago Bears: DeSean Jackson, WR, California
MM: The Bears were set to snag Andre Woodson here, but Jerry Angelo may want to trade up for him after reading this mock. However, since this mock does not involve trades, the Bears may need to fill a void left by the potential departure of free agent wide receiver Bernard Berrian. Jackson has good hands, great speed and big-play ability. He can return kicks, too, though that may not be relevant given that the Bears already have the best kick returner ever.
15. Detroit Lions: Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina
MB: I was just going to go ahead and pencil in the best available wide receiver in DeSean Jackson, but luckily for Lions’ fans he was drafted one pick earlier. Balmer is said to be unblockable at times but with a short motor. If he can improve his work ethic he can be just what the Lions need to replace the departing Shaun Rogers.
16. Arizona Cardinals: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon
MM: The Cardinals have a few needs on defense and the offensive line, but with a deep and talented runningback draft class the time is now to draft a replacement for Edgerrin James. James’ numbers have decreased significantly during his time in Arizona and Stewart is regarded as the second- or third-best runningback in this class. He should see significant playing time in his first year in a platoon with James.
17. Minnesota Vikings: Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida
MB: I know the Vikings biggest needs are on offense, but their really is not any player worth taking this early. Minnesota have one of the best run-stopping defenses in the NFL, but struggle when it comes to pass rush and passing offenses. Harvey came on strong this year for Florida and could contribute on this already stout defense his rookie season.
18. Houston Texans: Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State
MM: The pieces of the puzzle are falling into place for the Texans. The defense, offense and special teams greatly improved last year and will remain mostly intact. The offensive line could use some work, and the easiest way to upgrade the O-line usually is through the draft as most lineman are ready for the NFL from day one. Clady is regarded by some as the second-best tackle available in this draft and would bolster Houston’s offensive line.
19. Philadelphia Eagles: Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma
MB: Donovan McNabb and the Eagles might have been hoping DeSean Jackson would fall to them here but that did not happen, so they took the next best receiver in Kelly. Kelly has good hands but has been inconsistent at Oklahoma. If McNabb is still there he needs more options than Brian Westbrook. Kelly has the talent to contribute as a rookie.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dan Connor, LB, Penn State
MM: Connor is too good a prospect to slip any further than to the Bucs at No. 20. Tampa Bay’s defense got a little younger and a lot better in 2007, but one linebacker in particular — Derrick Brooks — is on the upper end of the chronology. Infusing another young, talented, smart player on defense would make this unit more dangerous in 2008.