Mock Moves

Posted Apr 25, 2008

PREVIOUS MOCKS: Picks 1-10 | Picks 11-20

Posted: 5:30 a.m.

After more than 40 members of the sporting press rummaged through the Media Mock Draft, the only items left on the buffet line were two healthy servings of What If?

What if USC defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis confounds every Mock Draft this side of Yahoo and isn't there at No. 9? And at No. 46, what happens if there is a prolific college receiver and running back, as well as a productive linebacker available in the second round?

Various grades suggest that the Bengals would stick at defense if Ellis isn't there, but would they ignore highly-regarded offensive players such as Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart and tackle Jeff Otah? And, could a glut of wide receivers led by Limas Sweed of Texas lead the offense in the second round ahead of their needs at back and linebacker?

"No way Sweed makes it that far. At the very least he's a bottom-of-the-first guy," says Rob Rang of "But at that point (No. 46), the receivers are the best players there."

According to Pro Football Weekly, Sweed, Kansas State's Jordy Nelson, LSU's Early Doucet, and Florida's Andre Caldwell barely get better grades over running backs Matt Forte of Tulane and Kevin Smith of Central Florida. Outside linebackers Erin Henderson of Maryland, Cliff Avril of Purdue and Xavier Adibi, as well as inside backers Beau Bell and Arizona's Spencer Larsen could also help a team that is struggling to get an identity at linebacker.

But backs and backers don't seem to match the need the Bengals have at wideout.

Ourlads Scouting Services projected Adibi going to the Bengals at No. 46 on the last day of March. But that was long before the release of No. 3 receiver Chris Henry, before Pro Bowl receiver Chad Johnson embarked on yet another media tour trying to get himself traded, and before running back Rudi Johnson began having an impressive offseason as he comes back from a hamstring problem.

The final Media Mock Draft has Texas receiver Limas Sweed falling to Cincinnati in the second round.
Ourlads also has Smith and Forte not going until the third round back-to-back with Forte going to Carolina at 74 and Smith going next to Chicago at 75.

But, of course, what the Bengals do in the first round is going to dictate that. While every Mock seemingly has the Bengals taking Ellis at No. 9, everyone also freely admits that he could just as easily go to the Chiefs at No. 5 and the Jets at No. 6 after they traded starting defensive linemen, as well as to the Patriots at No. 7.

"I think at that point you would think they have to go with Keith Rivers," says Jerry Jones of "The Drugstore List" of Ellis' teammate at linebacker, Rivers of USC.

But also on the board would be the draft's best pass rusher at that point, Florida defensive end Derrick Harvey, who has the same 6.3 grade that PFW put on Rivers and Troy cornerback Leodis McKelvin. In the Media Mock, McKelvin goes to the Ravens at No. 8, Rivers 10 to the Saints, Stewart No. 12 to Denver and Harvey No. 13 to Carolina.

Yet, Ellis is the most needed pick when it comes to numbers for a team extremely thin up front, that has two young pass-rushing ends locked up for the future, and that already has two first-round corners and a backer corps that is already extremely young.

"But Rivers is a playmaker who can also rush the passer," Jones says.

Is Notre Dame defensive tackle Trevor Laws the answer at 46 if the Bengals can't get Ellis at No. 9? At 6-0, 305 pounds, his height has also been questioned, as well as his ability to make a play behind the line of scrimmage and it didn't help he played out of position at end in a 3-4 this past year. But he's got a great motor and showed he can play inside in a 4-3 at the Senior Bowl.

But is 46 too high for him even though the need borders on desperate?

Meanwhile, the Bengals have a great tradition picking receivers in the second round. That's where three of their top four of all-time were selected in Chad Johnson, Carl Pickens and Cris Collinsworth.

And even if Sweed is gone, there are some big receivers left in the 6-2, 217-pound Nelson, the 6-0, 211-pound Doucet, and the 6-2, 204-pound Caldwell. Cal's Jackson is only 5-9, 169 pounds, but may be the best returner in the draft.

"I just don' think they find him attractive because of his size," Jones says.

We've already given you the Media's 1-20. Here are 21-46:

21. REDSKINS: WR Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma; David Elfin, Washington Times: They need to spice up the passing game with size after the 5-10 pair of Santana Moss and Antwan Randle El. Kelly's speed has come under intense scrutiny the past two weeks, but he's 6-4 and has had big-time production.

22. COWBOYS: CB Mike Jenkins, South Florida; Todd Archer, Dallas Morning News: The only team Dallas owner Jerry Jones has never traded with is the one run by the man carrying the small-market banner in the face of Jones' big-market Darwinism.

But could Jones put the rivalry down long enough to come calling at No. 9 for Chad Johnson? If not, Dallas will move to replace the depth it lost when its top backup corners left in free agency and get insurance with the status of the newly-acquired Pacman Jones in doubt. Plus, Terence Newman is heading into the last year of his deal.

23. STEELERS: DE Kentwan Balmer, North Carolina; Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: With Stewart gone, the Steelers don't go running back but take a run at defensive line depth for 32-year-old Aaron Smith and soon to be 30-year-old Brett Keisel. Smith has quietly been one of the top ends in the game while Pittsburgh is looking for more from Keisel. The Steelers can get Balmer ready while adding him to the rotation.

24. TITANS: RB Felix Jones, Arkansas; Paul Kuharsky, The Tennessean: Although the Titans traded Pacman, they pass on cornerback Dominique Cromartie-Rogers and go for the dynamic offensive player even though they were fifth in NFL rushing last season. Incumbent Chris Henry is more of a power guy and Jones is faster and a better receiver for offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger's penchant to throw to the backs.

25 SEAHAWKS: DE Lawrence Jackson, South Carolina; Mike Sando, The Seahawks have invested millions in middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, linebacker Julian Peterson and cornerback Marcus Trufant, and the idea is to protect them by improving the front. One of Seattle's top pass rushers, Rocky Bernard, has off-field problems, and tackle Marcus Tubbs has knee problems. Jackson fits a 3-4 linebacker mold Seattle has used at end.

26. JAGUARS: CB Dominique Cromartie-Rogers, Tennessee State; Vito Stellino, Florida Times-Union: Not only does Brian Williams have off-field problems, but Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne caught 14 straight balls against the Jags with him in coverage. It's a year after Jacksonville took safety Reggie Nelson in the first, but it can take this guy and move Williams to safety. If the Jags see Cromartie-Rogers dropping into the 20s, they may go up and get him.

27. CHARGERS: RT Gosder Cherilus, Boston College; Kevin Acee, San Diego Union-Tribune: If this is former Bengal Mike Goff's last year at guard, the Chargers can move right tackle Jeromey Clary to guard and groom Cherilus, a grizzled four-year starter in Chestnut Hill.

28. COWBOYS: WR James Hardy, Indiana; Todd Archer, Dallas Morning News: If the Cowboys can't trade down out of this spot with Hardy possibly still available, they'll take him here. TO is starting to go OT at age 34 and Terry Glenn, turning 34 the week training camp starts, isn't a spring chicken, either. At 6-6 and a beast in the red zone, Hardy could be the next Randy Moss.

29. 49ers: OLB Quentin Groves, Auburn; Matt Maiocco, Santa Rosa Press Democrat: The Niners only got six combined sacks from their outside backers last season that are supposed to supply the pass rush in a 3-4. Remember how Manny Lawson was going to change the Bengals to a 3-4 if they picked him two years ago? He has become more of a cover guy, but San Fran missed him last year with an injury.

30. PACKERS: CB Antoine Cason, Arizona; Jason Wilde, Wisconsin State Journal: If the Packers didn't know Al Harris turns 34 late this season, the Giants' Plaxico Burress reminded them with his monster NFC championship game, and Charles Woodson himself is entering his 11th season.

31. GIANTS: ILB Dan Connor, Penn State; Ralph Vacchiano, New York Daily News: With the Pats forfeiting their pick for Spygate punishment, the defending champion Giants may be ready to commit an illegal act if safety Kenny Phillips, linebacker Jerod Meyo, and tackle Gosder Cherilus all aren't there. The free agents the Giants picked up to fill free-agent holes at safety, Sammy Knight, and linebacker, Danny Clark, are 30ish and not long-terms answers.


32. DOLPHINS: QB Chad Henne, Michigan; Omar Kelly, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: The right linebacker or cornerback isn't here and Miami will gamble it can get him at No. 57 while going for the big arm to get quarterback depth. The only prospect the Dolphins have commented on is Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco, and since they praised him that must mean they like Henne.

33. RAMS: LT Sam Baker, USC; Mike Sando, The Bengals saw last year how much it hurt St. Louis to play without Orlando Pace on the left side, and the double whammy it caused on the right side moving Alex Barron to that spot. Baker isn't a physical jewel, but he has protected the quarterback's blind side well in a passing league as a starter for four seasons. Cal wide receiver Desean Jackson could also be a possibility here.

34. FALCONS: CB Aqib Talib, Kansas; Steve Wyche, Atlanta Journal Constitution: With the departure of DeAngelo Hall, the Falcons need cornerbacks but the doubt is that Talib is going to fall this far. They'd love to have Baker if he's here.

35. CHIEFS: CB Brandon Flowers, Virginia Tech; Adam Teicher, : The Chiefs need a starter at that spot. Ty Law has been cut, Patrick Surtain is going to be 32, and even though Flowers is a junior he plays smart.

36. JETS: RB Chris Johnson, East Carolina; Clark Judge, The Jets don't get McFadden, but they still have to upgrade with a yards per carry of somewhere in the 3s last season.

37. FALCONS: DT Pat Sims, Auburn; Steve Wyche, Atlanta Journal Constitution: Stuffed in the bid to get LSU's Glenn Dorsey up top, Atlanta gets a guy that can do the same thing here.

38. RAVENS: QB Brian Brohm, Louisville; Jim Corbett, USA Today Sports Weekly: Joe Flacco of Delaware has the arm, but Brohm has more experience in a more versatile offense. Plus, Flacco isn't seen as another mid-major Ben Roethlisberger and may need more time than Brohm to adjust to the competition.

39. 49ERS: ILB Curtis Lofton, Oklahoma; Matt Maiocco, Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Can you imagine how long the Niners are going to be set in the middle with Lofton and defending NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Patrick Willis in the 3-4?

40. SAINTS: TE Dustin Keller, Purdue; Mike Triplett, New Orleans Times-Picayune: Of course, by the boards if the Saints trade for the Giants' Jeremy Shockey. At that point, keep an eye on Notre Dame defensive tackle Trevor Laws if the Saints can't get up to get Ellis.

41. BILLS: TE Fred Davis, USC; Mark Gaughan, Buffalo News After picking the top receiver in the first round, the Bills continue to improve their passing game with whom many feel is the draft's top tight end.

42. BRONCOS: WR Mario Manningham, Michigan; Bill Williamson,; Denver has some defensive needs, too, but it could also use a wideout.

43. PANTHERS: RB Jamaal Charles, Texas; Pat Yasinskas, The Panthers need someone to shoulder the burden with Deangelo Williams, a guy that is going to get the first crack at starting but can't continually pound it at 25-30 times a game. At 5-11, 200 pounds, Charles is seen by some as the last top bell cow available if Kevin Smith's small-school exploits don't impress.

44. BEARS: QB Joe Flacco, Delaware; Rob Rang, End of the Rex Grossman era?

45. LIONS: RB Ray Rice, Rutgers; Mike O'Hara Detroit News: Although Rice is just 5-8, the Lions love his toughness and gaudy numbers with the Scarlett Knights as they seek to fill the hole left by the departure of Kevin Jones.

46. BENGALS: WR Limas Sweed, Texas; Jerry Jones, The Drugstore List: Bengals fans can only hope that the 6-3, 215-pound Sweed is here. If he drops it's because he has been slow coming back from a sprained left wrist that limited him to six games this past season and severely limited him at the Senior Bowl after surgery. But in '06, 12 of his 46 balls went for TDs and he averaged 17.5 yards per catch. He's got the speed of a guy that finished fourth in the Texas prep 110-yard hurdles.

Other possibilities here are Jackson with his return abilities, Nelson with his athleticism, toughness and route running, and Caldwell with his production despite an injury history.

But don't forget the running back Smith, at 6-1, 217, the last guy with any size that could conceivably provide bell-cow insurance for Rudi Johnson.

And if the Bengals can't get Ellis up top, they may have to go here for Laws, the Notre Dame tackle.

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