Early mock draft: Picks 11 – 20

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.

[Picks 1 – 10]

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.

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4 Responses

  1. Regarding Buffalo’s pick, MM’s rebuttal at least has a clue. Buffalo does seem to like Trent Edwards, and are not looking for a QB early. Most likely Losman will be traded and a veteran free agent signed to back up Edwards, Buffalo has a serious need for a big receiver who can be an effective weapon in the red zone where they were awful last season. They also need a linebacker to start with Angelo Crowell and Paul Posluszny the rookie last season who had a promising start to the season cut short by injury. Poslusznny started in the middle and Crowell handled the strong side well, but Keith Ellison was disappointing after showing some promise in 2006. Expect Buffalo to pick either Malcolm Kelly, a big WR, or Keith Rivers and athletic OLB. They also might draft Sedrick Ellis if he were to drop that far. There is zero chance they draft Woodson.

  2. Each year everyone has the Eagles taking a Wideout with the first pick. THere’s no way this will happen this year, as Donovan’s probably playing his final year as an Eagle. They will pick up another receiver, but it’ll be via trade or free agency.

  3. So who do you think the Eagles should target in the first round?

  4. They could use another defensive end, safety, or corner back. Also, at some point, I’d like to see them pick up another running back. After all is said and done, it’ll probably be another offensive lineman, as fat Andy likes fatsos.

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