By Don Banks
April 09, 2009
21 RB Knowshon Moreno Georgia Jr. 5-11 217
Why this will be the pick: Teams in this area of the first round almost always make the strictly need pick, and the Eagles need a running back to help Brian Westbrook shoulder some of the load. With Wells already gone, and Connecticut's Donald Brown probably not rated quite this high, Moreno is the likely target.
Why this doesn't make sense: We all know how much value Andy Reid places on his linemen, so the Eagles will probably think offensive tackle with the first of their two first-rounders, leaving running back for No. 28. Arizona's Eben Britton or UConn's William Beatty are possibilities.
22 WR Kenny Britt Rutgers Jr. 6-4 215
Why this will be the pick: The Vikings require another receiving weapon, and mid-round talents like Heyward-Bey and Harvin are off the board. That leaves Britt and North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks to choose from.
Why this doesn't make sense: Right offensive tackle is another need, and given the value of the positions, it wouldn't be surprising to see Minnesota opt for either Britton or Beatty.
23 LB Clay Matthews USC Sr. 6-3 240
Why this will be the pick: The Patriots have great options in this slot, and finding Matthews waiting as Mike Vrabel's replacement at outside linebacker is just one of them.
Why this doesn't make sense: So many reasons, really. Maualuga could tempt them as Tedy Bruschi's eventual replacement at inside linebacker. Defensive end Tyson Jackson may be too highly rated to pass on. And we hear they love Connecticut cornerback Darius Butler.
24 OLB Brian Cushing USC Sr. 6-3 255
Why this will be the pick: Outside linebacker is one of Atlanta's top needs, and Cushing falls nicely into its lap, making him the second ex-Trojan first-rounder in two years for the Falcons (OT Sam Baker in 2008).
Why this doesn't make sense: Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew is still available in this scenario, and the Falcons may jump all over the only tight end this year to carry a first-round grade.
25 LB Rey Maualuga USC Sr. 6-2 260
Why this will be the pick: The Dolphins have more pressing needs than inside linebacker, but Miami won't overlook a playmaker like Maualuga when he drops to them. There's no receiver available here that will have more value than the third USC 'backer in a row to come off the board.
Why this doesn't make sense: Because the Dolphins could come to the exact same conclusion about LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson, if they see him sitting there at No. 25. Standout defensive ends are even more prized than inside linebackers in the NFL's food chain.
26 DE Tyson Jackson LSU Sr. 6-4 296
Why this will be the pick: The Ravens never restrict themselves to need alone, and besides, veteran defensive end Trevor Pryce isn't going to play forever. Quality 3-4 ends don't grow on trees, and finding a talent like Jackson still available will make it an easy card to hand in.
Why this doesn't make sense: Maybe the Ravens think they absolutely have to have another receiver (Hakeem Nicks?), or are in love with Illinois cornerback Vontae Davis. But I'm just grasping for a rationale to pass on Jackson.
27 LB James Laurinaitis Ohio State Sr. 6-3 240
Why this will be the pick: Indy must get more playmakers on the defense, and Laurinaitis is the kind of solid, dependable, and proven linebacker the Colts prefer.
Why this doesn't make sense: The Colts' need at defensive tackle might trump Laurinaitis' upside, and with Peria Jerry already gone, Indianapolis could make a slight reach for Missouri's Evander Hood.
28 OT Eben Britton Arizona Jr. 6-6 309
Why this will be the pick: The Eagles got their running back at No. 21 in Moreno, so now they turn their attention to the tackle slot, where they've lost Tra Thomas and might lose Jon Runyan.
Why this doesn't make sense: The Eagles might like Connecticut offensive tackle William Beatty better than Britton. Or they might find Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew too highly rated to ignore at No. 28.
29 WR Hakeem Nicks North Carolina Jr. 6-2 210
Why this will be the pick: The Giants had themselves a tall lead receiver, but he shot himself in the leg, and they wound up cutting him. That's why.
Why this doesn't make sense: Nicks' reputation has acquired a few, uh, nicks in it during the predraft season, so maybe the Giants have had time to talk themselves out of the North Carolina standout. And we can never discount the chances of New York taking another defensive lineman in the first round (Georgia Tech's Michael Johnson or Northern Illinois' Larry English?).
30 CB Vontae Davis Illinois Jr. 6-0 204
Why this will be the pick: If Davis falls this far, it'd be a great marriage of need and value for the Titans, who are a disciplined team when it comes to their draft board.
Why this doesn't make sense: When you see Davis' name surface in regards to rumors of a failed combine drug test for marijuana, you have to wonder if the Titans have the stomach to take another first-round cornerback with pot in his background (see: Jones, Pacman)?
31 TE Brandon Pettigrew Oklahoma State Sr. 6-6 263
Why this will be the pick: The Cardinals could use a blocking/receiving tight end option who is big and physical enough to seal off defensive ends in the running game. Pettigrew carries a mid-first-round grade and offers great bottom-of -the-round value.
Why this doesn't make sense: Arizona's need for another running back may dictate its pick, even in the face of Pettigrew's higher value. I've had the Cardinals selecting UConn running back Donald Brown, in order to finally give Edgerrin James his release.
32 C Max Unger Oregon Sr. 6-5 309
Why this will be the pick: Unger is very versatile, having started at both center and left tackle in college, and filled in at guard. His presence would address Pittsburgh's need for help in the interior offensive line.
Why this doesn't make sense: Having lost Bryant McFadden in free agency, the Steelers could use a cornerback like Connecticut's Darius Butler. All things being equal, quality corners are harder to find than centers and guards.

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