Thursday March 12th, 2009

11DEAaron MaybinPenn StateSo.6-3½250
The Bills need more pass rush, and Maybin is one of the few potential sources of that in the first round. His track record has one-year wonder written all over it, but teams will take gambles on play-making defensive ends who have upsides like Maybin's.
12LBRey MaualugaUSCSr.6-2260
With 12 players added, nobody's been busier in free agency than the Broncos. But there are still needs almost everywhere on defense, and Maualuga seems well suited to be the kind of anchoring inside presence in Denver that defensive coordinator Mike Nolan had in Patrick Willis in San Francisco.
13OTAndre SmithAlabamaJr.6-4330
When you get into the second 10 picks of the first round, teams draft almost exclusively for need. That's why Smith won't get past the tackle-starved Redskins, even if he did his reputation damage with that disappearing act at the combine, and followed it up by failing to really impress at his pro day this week.
14CBVontae DavisIllinoisJr.6-0204
The Jabari Greer signing in free agency gave the Saints another cornerback, but Davis adds options in the secondary because he can also play free safety, which was a glaring weakness in 2008. New Orleans won't get appreciably better on defense until it stems the flow of long balls allowed on pass defense.
15LBClay MatthewsUSCSr.6-3240
The Texans signed ex-Cardinals defensive end Antonio Smith in free agency, and he'll start opposite Mario Williams. That move signals that Houston will either look for a play-maker at outside linebacker, or a run-stuff presence like Mississippi defensive tackle Peria Jerry. I'm giving them Matthews because the idea of him playing in Houston, where his uncle Bruce spent most of his Hall of Fame career, just seems to fit.
16WRJeremy MaclinMissouriSo.6-1200
With LaDainian Tomlinson back in the team's plans -- at least for 2009 -- I can't see the Chargers going running back any more. But why not another receiving option for a portion of the depth chart that doesn't have much behind Vincent Jackson going for it? This is right around the point in the first round where a run on receivers should start unfolding.
17WRDarrius Heyward-BeyMarylandJr.6-3206
I seem to be in the distinct minority in that I don't have Southern Cal quarterback Mark Sanchez sitting there waiting for the Jets to snatch him up. But I'm OK with that. Believe it or not, I think New York has more confidence in the untested Brett Ratliff than most folks know. Having lost Laveranues Coles, New York should be in the market for a receiver whose 4.3 speed is capable of stretching the field opposite the steady Jerricho Cotchery.
18OTEben BrittonArizonaJr.6-6309
I got a bit roasted by some in the blogosphere for not having Mississippi offensive tackle Michael Oher in the first round of my last mock, while others had him still in their top 10. Guilty as charged, but for a reason. A personnel man I trust tells me Oher's stock has taken on water starting with the combine, and he believes he'll continue to sink all the way into the second round. This goes against the dictum that quality offensive tackles go fast, I know. But Oher has some red flags, and Bears general manager Jerry Angelo isn't known as a big risk-taker on draft day.
19DTEvander HoodMissouriSr.6-3300
The Derrick Ward signing keeps Tampa Bay away from a running back like Knowshon Moreno or Donald Brown here, and that puts the Bucs into the market for the defensive tackle they missed out on when Albert Haynesworth chose Washington.
20DTPeria JerryOle MissSr.6-2300
Having taken their offensive tackle at the No. 1 spot, the Lions would do well to lock up Jerry with their second first-rounder. Having fielded a defense in Tennessee that revolved around tackle Albert Haynesworth's ability to control the point of attack, rookie Lions head coach Jim Schwartz is on the lookout for that kind of run-stuffing defensive cog. Detroit's need at quarterback can wait until its pick at No. 33 in the second round.

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