April 24, 2008
NFL Beat Writers' Mock Draft (cont.)
21 WR Malcom Kelly Oklahoma Jr. 6-4 217
David Elfin is the Redskins beat writer for the Washington Times. For more coverage of Washington's draft, click here.

Washington, after being weirdly quiet during free agency, is in unusual territory with nine picks, its most since 2002. And the Redskins haven't had their first pick in the first round below the top 10 since 2002. They probably would have liked to pick Merling or Albert because seven of their starting offensive and defensive linemen are at least 30. Instead, they'll grab Kelly, the big receiver that new coach Jim Zorn, needs to properly run his offense,ignoring his recent slow 40 times and petulant comments.

FANNATION COMMENT: Honestly this is a can't win situation for The 'Skins. Half the fanbase is demanding a DE and the other half is demanding a WR. No matter what happens half of 'Skins Nation will be unhappy. -- jasonpike00
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22 CB Aqib Talib Kansas Jr. 6-2 193
Clarence Hill is a Cowboys beat writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. For more coverage of Dallas' draft, click here.

The Cowboys must get a corner in the first round to go alongside (and possibly provide insurance for) recently-acquired Pacman Jones. The Cowboys lost two cornerbacks in free agency and have no experienced depth behind starters Anthony Henry and Terence Newman. And considering both of those players were hurt much of last year they need a cornerback who they can count on to make an immediate contribution. The Cowboys will look running back as well. Felix Jones and Jonathan Stewart are huge considerations.

FANNATION COMMENT: Most people have Felix Jones pegged in this spot, I think it is a smoke screen. Jerry will pick up Jonathan Stewart who can take a back seat to marion barber for a year, doing spot duty then make it a two man competition in 2009. -- eessydo
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23 RB Jonathan Stewart Oregon Jr. 5-10 235
Ed Bouchette is the Steelers beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. For more coverage of Pittsburgh's draft, click here.

Pittsburgh has not drafted a running back in the first OR second rounds since Tim Worley in 1989. That draft drought ends here. Although they do not expect him to slip to No. 23, the Steelers will snap up the big, powerful runner they need to get the tough inside yards to go with Fast Willie Parker's home runs. Pittsburgh lost several late leads last season because it could not grind it out; Stewart will change that, and also make a so-so line better. They also believe his toe will be plenty healed before the season begins.

FANNATION COMMENT: Running back? The Steelers might be better off taking a lineman to replace Alan Faneca. One man's opinion. -- Lou War
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24 RB Felix Jones Arkansas Jr. 6-0 200
Paul Kuharsky covers the NFL for the Tennessean. For more coverage of Tennessee's draft, click here.

While the attention has been on receivers, the Titans need for dynamic playmakers on offense extends beyond the position. While Limas Sweed, and maybe DeSean Jackson, will get a look here, the Titans decide the better value is at running back. In his first turn as offensive coordinator, Mike Heimerdinger liked to get some catches for his backs. Jones will complement a power running attack headed by LenDale White (second round 2006) and Chris Henry (second round 2007), giving the Titans a new look as well as an option in the return game.

FANNATION COMMENT: I can see the Tennessee headlines now, "How Sweed It Is." VY and Limas are together again, and things are "Rosey" in Tennessee. -- Punt Pass & Kick A**
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25 DE Lawrence Jackson USC Sr. 6-4 261
Scott M. Johnson is the Seahawks beat writer for the Everett (Wash.) Daily Herald. For more coverage of Seattle's draft, click here.

With plenty of areas to address, especially on special teams, the Seahawks would prefer to trade down a few spots and add some mid-round picks. With no takers, Seattle uses the best-player-available philosophy at No. 25. An aging offense takes backseat to a defensive line that could use depth. Jackson can play immediately and could push Darryl Tapp for a starting spot at right end by midseason. Team president Tim Ruskell knows defense, so he gambles that a top-flight tight end, running back and/or receiver might be available in Round 2 and beyond.

FANNATION COMMENT: It may not be conventional thinking but to me, the Seahawks need to get Hasselbeck another weapon at wide receiver. Mabye Hardy from Indiana? -- ReignKing
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26 DT Pat Sims Auburn Sr. 6-2 310
Jeff Elliott covers the Jaguars for the Florida Times-Union. For more coverage of Jacksonville's draft, click here.

The Jaguars use nine minutes and 55 second before selecting Sims as they were on the phone with the Dolphins attempting to put together a deal where they would package their pick at No. 26, oft-criticized wide receiver Matt Jones and one of their three fifth-round picks this year in exchange for Jason Taylor. The Dolphins wouldn't budge. The Jaguars wanted a quality DE in the worst way and after failing to get one in free agency, passing on Jared Allen because of the price and failing to get Merling or Jackson whom they had targeted all along, they settled for Sims to help replace the traded Marcus Stroud. Some felt Calais Campbell would be the better choice here, but the Jaguars were concerned about numerous other tall DEs who had failed and at the last minute, got cold feet on Campbell and went with the safer pick in Sims.

FANNATION COMMENT: Jacksonville will be giddy if Gosder Cherilus falls to them. Great value, great pick, sighs of relief from the JAX faithful. -- eessydo
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27 OT Gosder Cherilus Boston College Sr. 6-6 315
Jay Paris is the Chargers beat writer for the North County Times. For more coverage of San Diego's draft, click here.

With the Chargers returning the bulk of their starters from a team which advanced to last season's AFC Championship Game, there wasn't a frontline position needing to be filled. But the Chargers are thin at offensive tackle with former starter Shane Olivea being released in the offseason after losing his spot to Jeromey Clary. But with just six NFL starts at right tackle on Clary's resume and no viable backups on the roster, the Chargers draft Cherilus to supply depth and possibly push Clary for a starting role. The team also has depth concerns at defensive line, cornerback and running back, but the lack of players at such a critical spot for a high-octane offense was just too important to overlook.
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28 RB Jamaal Charles Texas Jr. 6-1 205
Clarence Hill is a Cowboys beat writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. For more coverage of Dallas' draft, click here.

This is a spot where the Cowboys will most likely look to trade down, especially if the board goes like it has today. Owner Jerry Jones said he will not reach for a prospect and believes he will get calls from other teams looking to get up into the first round, especailly those looking to take a quarterback. The Cowboys would have taken Felix Jones here if he were available and although they also have needs at receiver they need someone to contribute immediately. History says receivers don't have the big first-year impact. Charles or Chris Johnson could fill need the need at running back and provide a complement to starter Marion Barber.

FANNATION COMMENT: I see Dallas trying to trade the 28th pick for Arizona's Aquan Boldin. If that doesn't work, I hardly can see them taking Jamaal Charles. Charles is a 2nd round player. -- tcat75
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29 WR DeSean Jackson California Jr. 6-0 169
Kevin Lynch is the 49ers beat writer for SFGate.com. For more coverage of San Francisco's draft, click here.

Jackson visited the team facility and the 49ers have long been interested in him. His return abilities and deep speed fulfill two needs. The 49ers hope defenses will have to devote safety help to his side because if he gets behind a cornerback it's a touchdown. Drawing the safety could open the running game for Frank Gore and allow room for tight end Vernon Davis to function underneath.
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30 CB Antoine Cason Arizona Sr. 6-0 185
Greg Bedard is a Packers beat writer for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. For more coverage of Green Bay's draft, click here.

Well, since trying to predict who Packers GM Ted Thompson will draft is akin to figuring out your wife's thought process, this is a tall task. Thompson took DT Justin Harrell last year when he already had 34 linemen. This year, conventional wisdom says the Packers need a cornerback to start replacing 30-somethings Al Harris and Charles Woodson. Or a quarterback since some guy named Brett Favre retired leaving Aaron Rodgers, the anti-Ironman, all by his lonesome. Thompson, after trying desperately to trade down, will buck his outside-the-box thinking and go with Cason, who has the physical cover skills needed in the Packers' scheme.
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31 Pick forfeited -- -- -- -- --
The Patriots lost this pick as their penalty for the Week 1 Spygate episode
32 S Kenny Phillips Miami Jr. 6-2 211
Ralph Vacchiano is the Giants beat writer for the New York Daily News. For more coverage of the NY Giants' draft, click here.

There aren't many holes on the Super Bowl champs, but safety is the biggest and most obvious one since they lost Gibril Wilson to the Raiders. They did sign veteran Sammy Knight, but they?d be just a stop-gap player. There only other safeties are up-and-down James Butler and Michael Johnson, a raw talent heading into his second year. They?re looking for a young safety prospect to groom for the future. And defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo absolutely loves the potential of Phillips, a speedy, smart playmaker who could fill the role that he watched Brian Dawkins fill in Philadelphia for years.
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