All good things must come to an end. So, too, is the case for our early NFL mock draft.
Haze contributor Marc Budyach and I broke down the top-10 picks a few weeks ago. Then we covered picks 11 – 20 last week. And now, we are back to finish out the first round with picks 21 – 31 starting with the Washington Redskins.
Marc was on the clock first. Hit the jump for the third and final segment of our early mock draft.
21. Washington Redskins: Early Doucet, WR, LSU
MB: Before the season started Doucet was considered to be the best wide receiver coming into the draft. He had a couple of injuries, but when he was healthy he was uncoverable and made some spectacular catches. Washington needs a playmaking reciever for quarterback Jason Campbell. Early Doucet at pick No. 21 would be a steal for the Redskins.
22. Dallas Cowboys: Limas Sweed, WR, Texas
MM: And the wide receivers begin to fly off the board. Sweed would give the Cowboys offense another play-maker, which became an obvious need for Dallas down the stretch in 2007. The sputtering offense needs a complement and future heir to Terrell Owens, and that player is not yet on the ‘Boys roster. Sweed is a big target with injury concerns of his own, but could ease into his role on this talented offense.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh
MB: In the Steelers first round playoff game against the Jaguars, Ben Roethlisberger was beaten up by the Jaguars
pass rush. In-state prospect Jeff Otah would be the perfect fit to shore up the offensive line. With the likely loss
of impending free agent Alan Faneca, the Steelers could move Otah to guard until he is ready to play tackle
24. Tennessee Titans: Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas
MM: With the best prospects at wide receiver off the board, taking one here would be a reach. The Titans may be able to wait until the second round to grab a wideout from the second tier of prospects, so the next best position for Tennessee to address is cornerback. Pacman Jones is unlikely to rejoin the team with his on-going off-the-field legal troubles, which gives Talib a chance to start as a rookie.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas
MB: Jones is considered by some to be a better pro runningback prospect than Razorbacks’ teammate Darren McFadden. Jones has great hands out the backfield, which makes him a perfect fit for Seattle’s passing offense. Jones can come in and
contribute right away in the Seahawks’ questionable backfield.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State
MM: Another team in desperate need of a wide receiver. But again, taking one of the remaining guys here might be a stretch. So, defense it is and Rodgers-Cromartie made a name for himself at the Senior Bowl. He, along with Tulane runningback Matt Forte and Southern Cal’s Sedrick Ellis, seems to have benefited greatly by participating in Senior Bowl activities. He is a borderline first-round talent and not too much of a reach for the Jags here at pick No. 26.
27. San Diego Chargers: Reggie Smith, CB, Oklahoma
MB: It is hard to find a weak spot on the Chargers team, so drafting depth might be the best option. Smith switched from safety to CB this past season, but I believe he would go back to safety for the Chargers. Marlon McCree has not impressed yet in San Diego and Smith could be a fix to safety problems.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona
MM: In this mock draft without trades, the Cowboys were holding onto hope that Felix Jones would be available with this pick. But, alas, he is gone and the ‘Boys must look elsewhere. Let the run on cornerbacks continue I say! While starters Terrance Newman and Anthony Henry were good in 2007, the rest of the corners were susceptible in pass coverage. Cason is a talented young corner who is capable of going one-on-one with most receivers thanks to his athleticism and tenacity. He should be a good fit in the nickel for the Cowboys.
29. San Francisco 49ers: Mario Manningham, WR, Michigan
MB: It is unfortunate when you should be drafting in the top 10 of the draft but a trade pushed you all the way back to the end of the first round. The 49ers’ needs on offense are greater than the needs on defense. The wide receiving corp did nothing to help the 49ers quarterbacks in 2007. They could not get open and often dropped the ball. Manningham should offer some playmaking element to this struggling offense.
30. Green Bay Packers: Calais Campbell, DE, Miami
MM: Maybe Campbell dropped too far in this mock draft, but the Packers would love to get him here. With Aaron Kampman on one side and Campbell on the other, the Packers’ young, talented defense would get even more young and talented. The good thing about Green Bay is there are few holes on this team, so adding the best available player with this pick should work out well for the Pack.
31. New York Giants: Phillip Merling, DE, Clemson
MB: The Giants have some needs at linebacker, but a young defensive end to replace Strahan if he retires is not such a bad plan either. Merling is projected to go in the top 20 or so picks, so for the Giants to get him at No. 31 is kind of a steal. He is a big defensive end at 280 pounds so a move inside to defensive tackle is not out of the question.