2009 NFL Mock Draft 4.0

Thursday April 2nd, 2009
April means it's time to get serious about mocking out the first round of the NFL draft, and with that in mind, I seriously keep trying to put the Lions and Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford together at No. 1. But I can't do it, even if Stafford was "flawless" Tuesday in a private workout for Detroit, prompting some draft observers to breathlessly predict it was a "done deal" with the Lions.

Not so fast there, draft-niks. When the Lions sign Stafford to a pre-draft contract is when it'll be a done deal. Not until. There's still plenty of support in Detroit's building for taking Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith, and that's why we're opting for continuity at the top, leaving Smith in the No. 1 slot that he has occupied since our March mock.

Editor's Note: This mock draft, originally published prior to the Jay Cutler trade, has been updated to reflect Thursday afternoon's deal between the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears. (Send comments to siwriters@simail.com.)

1 OT Jason Smith Baylor Sr. 6-5 305
Stafford's strong showing in both his pro day and his private workout is making it a tougher call for the Lions, but Smith remains a cleaner, more highly-rated choice for the pressurized No. 1 spot than the junior quarterback from Georgia. Another factor in his favor over Stafford is Smith is expected to be easier to sign to a pre-draft deal, which the Lions are seeking.
2 WR Michael Crabtree Texas Tech So. 6-3 214
We've had the Rams locked in on one of the top two offensive tackles throughout this pre-draft season, but their need at receiver is just as glaring and Crabtree's game-changing skills makes him difficult to pass up. In addition, Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe is slipping on some teams' lists due to concerns about an old knee injury.
3 OLB Aaron Curry Wake Forest Sr. 6-3 247
Other players under consideration by Kansas City include Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo and Monroe, but the Chiefs' need for defensive playmakers points to Curry being the obvious choice. He'll walk into Kansas City's starting lineup from day one.
4 QB Matthew Stafford Georgia Jr. 6-3 228
The Seahawks will have their choice between Stafford and USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, and there's some buzz they like Sanchez better (and some teams clearly do). But we're giving them Stafford, based on him having the edge in collegiate starting experience. It's a good fit for either junior QB, because they'll be able to mature for a year or two behind Matt Hasselbeck.
5 DE/LB Everette Brown Florida State Sr. 6-4 252
The draft-nik consensus out there has the Browns taking Texas defensive end-linebacker Brian Orakpo, but I'm told that new Cleveland general manager George Kokinis is not as high on the ex-Longhorn as everyone assumes. The Browns could opt for Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji as a possible replacement for the disgruntled Shaun Rogers, but Brown gives them an edge-pass rusher at outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme.
6 OT Eugene Monroe Virginia Jr. 6-6 315
In this scenario, the Bengals would have their choice between Monroe or Orakpo, both of whom would fill vital needs. We're giving them Monroe because of the urgency to protect quarterback Carson Palmer and get the Bengals once-potent passing game back on track.
7 DE/LB Brian Orakpo Texas Sr. 6-4 260
The Raiders could use a defensive tackle like Raji, but their need for more pass rush trumps all. Oakland's sack co-leaders were tied with five last season, and one of those players, Kalimba Edwards, was released. Orakpo would give the Raiders pressure off the edge at defensive end.
8 QB Mark Sanchez USC Jr. 6-3 225
Though David Garrard has apparently been told not to worry about the Jags taking a first-round quarterback, I've had them locked in on Sanchez since my mock 2.0. And now it seems other mockers are coming around to the same point of view. Which means group think has set in, and we can't possibly be right.
9 DT B.J. Raji Boston College Sr. 6-1 323
The Packers could use the help at defensive tackle, but if anything scares them about Raji, who has had weight and off-field issues) they could easily go with either Penn State defensive end Aaron Maybin, Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins or Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith.
10 OT Andre Smith Alabama Jr. 6-4 330
The 49ers signed ex-Steelers offensive tackle Marvel Smith last week, effectively replacing the released Jonas Jennings. But Marvel Smith is 31 and has missed 14 games over the past two years due to back problems. That means San Francisco may not rule out taking a first-round tackle, and Andre Smith might benefit from not having to start right away. The 49ers also could be tempted by Missouri receiver Jeremy Maclin, even though Isaac Bruce has decided to avoid retirement and play a 16th NFL season.
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