Thursday April 17th, 2008

Mock Draft 6.0 cont.
 
21DEPhillip MerlingClemsonJr.6-4275
The pendulum seems to be swinging back toward Merling, whose recent surgery for a sport hernia made some teams think twice about him. The Redskins need a defensive end who can create some havoc, and his track record is solid on that front. If the Redskins go receiver, Hardy is likely the best remaining choice.

22RBFelix JonesArkansasJr.6-0200
We're not budging off of Jones, the "other" Razorback rusher in the first round. Cornerback and receiver are the Cowboys' other needs, but Dallas will address one of those with its No. 28 pick.
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23OTGosder CherilusBoston CollegeSr.6-6315
The Steelers offensive line requires attention, and Cherilus is the only first-round lineman remaining. Pittsburgh would have loved to see Virginia's Albert linger long enough to reach them, but if that ever had a chance of happening, it's long gone now.
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24LBJerod MayoTennesseeJr.6-2230
With Thomas and Sweed both gone, I don't think the Titans are going to like their receiving choices (Jackson or Hardy) at No. 24. So we're giving them Mayo, the ex-Vol who can fill a need for Tennessee at outside linebacker.
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25DTKentwan BalmerNorth CarolinaSr.6-4308
This seems to be around the slot Balmer is expected to go, and with the Seahawks having lost veteran tackles Chuck Darby and Ellis Wyms this offseason, Seattle has an obvious need. Balmer had an inconsistent collegiate career, but he's the consensus third-ranked DT behind Dorsey and Ellis. Purdue tight end Dustin Keller is another strong first-round option for Seattle.
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26DELawrence JacksonSouthern CalSr.6-4261
Some have the Jaguars rolling the dice on Miami junior Calais Campbell, who wasn't all that impressive for the Hurricanes in 2007. But Jackson was a proven pass-rusher for the Trojans and while his upside may not be as high as Campbell's, his downside isn't as steep either.

27RBJonathan StewartOregonJr.5-10235
Stewart would provide San Diego a replacement for the departed Michael Turner, and given the health issues that starter LaDainian Tomlinson had in the playoffs, the Chargers are wise to be cognizant of their need in the backfield. But it speaks to how stacked San Diego is that it can devote a first-round pick to the backup running back position.
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28WRDeSean JacksonCaliforniaJr.6-0169
Having gotten their running back in Felix Jones at No. 22, the Cowboys land their impact receiver in Jackson at No. 28. Though he's slight of build, the 169-pound ex-Cal star has game-changing speed as both a slot receiver and in the return game. His punt return skills will have even more value if the Cowboys can't land Pacman Jones via trade.
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29LBDan ConnorPenn StateJr.6-2233
The 49ers will look at receiving options with this pick, but they're not likely to have anyone rated higher overall than Connor, who could play at inside linebacker in their 3-4, right next to 2007 defensive rookie of the year Patrick Willis. Indiana's Hardy and Oklahoma's Malcolm Kelly are the best available receivers.
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30CBBrandon FlowersVirginia TechSr.5-11192
Flowers gives them a youthful option at a position where veterans Al Harris and Charles Woodson remain productive, but are starting to age. The Packers could address their need for youth at offensive tackle by taking USC's Sam Baker, but most have him graded as a second-round choice.
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31Pick forfeited----------
The Patriots lost this pick as their penalty for the Week 1 Spygate episode
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32SKenny PhillipsMiamiJr.6-2211
With Mayo and Connor gone, the Giants can shift their focus to safety, where finding options to replace the departed Gibril Wilson is a day-one draft priority. Phillips is this year's highest-rated safety, and he's got good cover skills and athleticism.
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