Friday April 24th, 2009

Will the Lions dare pass up a potential franchise quarterback? Who'll make the move for Mark Sanchez? Here's how Peter King projected the first round in time for the Monday deadline of this week's Sports Illustrated, with his updates as of Friday morning noted:

1. Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford | Quarterback | Georgia

Wake Forest LB Aaron Curry is overpriced for this slot, and tackle isn't a huge need position for Detroit. The pick falls to a smart, precocious 21-year-old with an arm to die for.

2. St. Louis Rams Jason Smith | Tackle | Baylor

The choice between Smith and fellow tackle Eugene Monroe goes down to the wire, and Smith wins the chance to succeed Orlando Pace because of his competitive zeal.

3. Kansas City Chiefs Tyson Jackson | Defensive end | LSU

K.C. hopes it gets an offer to trade down with a team who wants QB Mark Sanchez. Failing that, the Chiefs will take Jackson, the best 3-4 DE in the draft but a reach this high.

*UPDATE* 4. Seattle Seahawks Michael Crabtree | Wide receiver | Texas Tech

Originally, I had Sanchez here, but people I trust tell me it's down to Crabtree or Aaron Curry. The Seahawks' desire to get a field-stretching wideout to complement free-agent signee T.J. Houshmandzadeh wins out.

5. Cleveland Browns Aaron Curry | Linebacker | Wake Forest

DT B.J. Raji would allow Cleveland to move Shaun Rogers to DE full time. But Curry, who can play inside or outside LB, is a better sideline-to-sideline fit for Eric Mangini's 3-4.

6. Cincinnati Bengals B.J. Raji | Defensive tackle | Boston College

Cincinnati can line up Raji (6-2, 337) alongside free-agent pickup Tank Johnson on the inside of its 4-3, giving coach Marvin Lewis the run stoppers he's always wanted.

7. Oakland Raiders Jeremy Maclin | Wide receiver | Missouri

Oakland will be tempted by the quality tackles still available here, but when in doubt, longball-loving Al Davis usually looks for speed at the wideout position.

*UPDATE* Jaguars trade pick to Redskins 8. Washington Redskins Mark Sanchez | Quarterback | USC

Washington doesn't trust Jason Campbell and was disappointed not to get Jay Cutler, so it trades up to get its new franchise QB.

9. Green Bay Packers Andre Smith | Tackle | Alabama

Green Bay will jump on Crabtree if he falls, and Aaron Maybin's also a possibility, but with longtime starting tackle Chad Clifton turning 33 this year, Smith is a good fit here.

*UPDATE* 10. San Francisco 49ers Eugene Monroe | Tackle | Virginia

Originally, I had them taking Crabtree, but since he's off the board, tackle is a huge position of need for the 49ers, and they never would have dreamed Monroe would fall to them at 10.

11. Buffalo Bills Aaron Maybin | Defensive end | Penn State

A junior, he has the most upside of any pass rusher in the draft, but with this proviso: He's strictly a speed rusher and will need to put on weight to be a complete NFL player.

12. Denver Broncos Brian Orakpo | Defensive end | Texas

On his visit to Denver he impressed Broncos brass with his NFL-ready body (a rock-solid 6-3, 263) and experience. Must play with more intensity on every snap.

*UPDATE* Redskins trade pick to Jaguars 13. Jacksonville Jaguars Michael Oher | Tackle | Mississippi

The Jags get to fill a need they would have filled at 8 and get an extra pick to boot.

14. New Orleans Saints Malcolm Jenkins | Cornerback | Ohio State

Despite a major need at RB, New Orleans won't be taking popular mock-draft pick Chris "Beanie" Wells here. Getting a physical corner for the sagging D is much more important.

15. Houston Texans Brian Cushing | Linebacker | USC

The first to go among the three Trojans 'backers considered first-round material. Cushing's versatility -- he can play all three linebacking spots -- is the difference.

16. San Diego Chargers Knowshon Moreno | Running back | Georgia

Tough call. San Diego has other needs and rates explosive UConn RB Donald Brown nearly as high. But Moreno satisfies the long-term need for an every-down back.

17. New York Jets Connor Barwin | LB-DE-TE | Cincinnati

When new coach Rex Ryan looks at Barwin, he sees the second coming of Adalius Thomas, the all-over-the-field OLB he had in his 3-4 defense in Baltimore.

18. Denver Broncos (from Bears) Peria Jerry | Defensive tackle | Mississippi

Denver continues to address its massive defensive needs with this middle-of-the-line slasher-and has three more picks between 48 and 84 to further restock.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Josh Freeman | Quarterback | Kansas State

Bucs don't love a soul in this draft, not even at the top. Since they don't have a QB of the future, Freeman is a sensible pick. Some scouts see Ben Roethlisberger in him.

*UPDATE* 20. Detroit Lions (from Cowboys) Robert Ayers | DE-LB | Tennessee

With my original SI pick Oher no longer available, the Lions pounce on Ayers, who is a perfectly suited end for new coach Jim Schwartz's scheme.

21. Philadelphia Eagles LeSean McCoy | Running back | Pitt

There are more accomplished backs in the draft, but coach Andy Reid loves how McCoy catches the ball out of the backfield. He'll provide relief for Brian Westbrook.

22. Minnesota Vikings Alex Mack | Center | Cal

Gritty blue-collar player is the perfect replacement for departed Pro Bowl center Matt Birk. Dark-horse possibility: monster (6-8) Oklahoma tackle Phil Loadholt.

23. New England Patriots Percy Harvin | Wide receiver | Florida

One smart guy swears they're taking UConn CB Darius Butler. Maybe. But with four picks among the top 58, the Pats can afford a luxury like the dangerous Harvin.

*UPDATE* Falcons trade pick to Bills 24. Buffalo Bills Brandon Pettigrew | Tight end | Oklahoma State

In the magazine mock, I had the Falcons keeping the pick and selecting Pettigrew. But Atlanta acquired future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez on Thursday, thus the trade. The Bills hardly ever trade on draft day, but they love Pettigrew so much they considered him at 11.

25. Miami Dolphins Clay Matthews | Linebacker | USC

The Bill Parcells-Jeff Ireland combination confounds those who had Miami taking a wideout. The club still has selections at Nos. 44 and 56 to fill that need.

26. Baltimore Ravens Rey Maualuga | Linebacker | USC

Baltimore could take CB Vontae Davis or a WR here -- but not local favorite Darrius Heyward-Bey. The temptation of having Rey someday succeed Ray (Lewis) is too great.

*UPDATE* 27. Indianapolis Colts Darrius Heyward-Bay | Wide receiver | Maryland

I hear the Colts like him more than my original pick, North Carolina wide receiver Hakeem Nicks.

*UPDATE* Bills trade pick to Falcons 28. Atlanta Falcons Evander "Ziggy" Hood | DT | Missouri

Atlanta wanted a tight end and a front-seven factor coming out of draft weekend. They get both.

29. Cleveland Browns (from Giants) Alphonso Smith | Cornerback | Wake Forest

Cleveland acquires this pick and a fourth-rounder from the WR-needy Giants in exchange for Braylon Edwards. Smith might be the best cover guy in the draft.

30. Tennessee Titans Max Unger | Center | Oregon

Tennessee needs receivers but can fill that need later as good wideouts drop to the second round. Unger can be phased in to replace aging Kevin Mawae.

31. Arizona Cardinals Donald Brown | Running back | UConn

Picking this workhorse ballcarrier and pass protector will allow Arizona to let the aging Edgerrin James ride off into the sunset somewhere else.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers Vontae Davis | Cornerback | Illinois

Good, safe long-range pick that fills the hole created by Bryant McFadden's departure. Davis is the kind of physical corner Pittsburgh has craved over the years.

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