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NFL Mock Draft, Version 2
by Brett Berliner (NFL)
Posted on April 19, 2006, 5:09 PM

With all the smoke flying around, this has gotten IMMENSELY more tough to gauge, so I've added in my thoughts on other likely picks to each team. I have been flip flopping WAY too much on this lately, so I'm waiting until my final mock to think about trades. Here it goes...

ROUND ONE:

1: Houston Texans - Reggie Bush, RB, USC

I don't think the Texans are going to keep this pick. I think they have too many holes, and even to drop two to three spots and pick up a first day pick (probably a second this year, or a first next, if they are trading with the Jets), that will help the overall team talent level. However, it's a bit early to be thinking about trades, even with two weeks to the draft, since most of them happen the week before, or even on draft day, so I'm assuming the Texans stay there. They'd be nuts not to take Bush, so the pick remains the same as it did last mock.

Other possibilities: Trade. That's it.

2: New Orleans Saints - D'Brickashaw Ferguson, LT, Virginia

I've seen a lot of chatter regarding the Saints and Mario Williams. I think it's ridiculous, considering they've already got two of the best bookends in football, Will Smith and Charles Grant. If it does go down, and they waste the #2 pick on a player at probably their strongest position, the Saints will remain inept and drafting this high for quite some time. I think D'Brick has to be the pick. They spent a lot of money on Drew Brees, and he needs his blindside protected. With the trade of Wayne Gandy, the only solid tackle left on the roster is Jamaal Brown, who I much prefer at right tackle. If they're sold on Brees, then I think D'Brick is the pick. Otherwise, there's apparently a pretty heavy out clause in his contract, basically making it a one year deal with an optional extension. In that case, I wouldn't be shocked to see them take Leinart. He's definitely a franchise signal caller and is the anti-Aaron Brooks, which I think the fans would welcome.

Other possibilities: Matt Leinart, Mario Williams

3: Tennessee Titans - Matt Leinart, QB, USC

This was really a tough call. I'm nearly 100% positive the Titans go quarterback at this spot. They could use both Mario Williams and AJ Hawk, but Steve McNair is nearing the end of his career and they're obviously looking for a replacement. Leinart is familiar with offensive coordinator Norm Chow and is one of the surest things at QB in a long time. I've heard rumblings that GM Floyd Reese really wants Young, but with Chow and Fisher in Leinart's corner, I think we see him here.

Other possibilities: Vince Young


4: New York Jets - AJ Hawk, LB, Ohio State

The Jets are reportedly going to be moving to a 3-4 defense, at least some of the time, next year. They've got a pretty decent defensive line already with Shaun Ellis, Bryan Thomas and Dewayne Robertson. At LB, though, they basically have Eric Barton and Jonathan Vilma, which, while a nice start, means they need to find two more guys. Hawk is perfect in that although he's probably more suited for ILB in the 3-4, he's got the size, coverage ability and pass rush moves to stay inside. Although linebackers usually aren't drafted this high, Hawk is a special case and should become a beloved player, along with Vilma, as they build up a strong LB corps.

Initially, I had them taking Jay Cutler, but with the addition of Patrick Ramsey and the restructuring of Chad Pennington's deal, I think they are set at QB, at least for this year, but a trade up for Leinart remains a possibility. Mario Williams is probably a better fit at 3-4 end than Bryan Thomas, so he also remains an outside possibility.

Other possibilities: Matt Leinart, Mario Williams

5: Green Bay Packers - Mario Williams, DE, NC State

I think the Pack were probably pretty excited about the possibility of Hawk, so him going only a pick early has got to be disappointing. If he's there, they take him, but since he isn't, I think they absolutely have to get defensive help. Even though the Pack have invested a lot of money into the DE position, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila has never been a full-time player, so I don't know if he's going to stick around under the new regime. Even if he does, Williams will play on every down - able to stop the run on first and second, and big enough to slide inside if necessary on third. He's going to eventually lead to KGB's departure, I'd guess. They also are apparently not totally sold on Aaron Rodgers, so they could shock everyone by taking Vince Young, but we'll see.

Other possibilities: AJ Hawk, Vince Young

6: San Francisco 49ers - Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland

The two best players ready for the 3-4 just went right before, with picks 4 and 5, so even with HEAVY defensive needs, the 49ers look to their other big need, besides good players on defense.. good players on offense. With the trading of Brandon Lloyd and Rashaun Woods, San Fran is basically empty in the passing game, and while their running game isn't much better, Alex Smith needs some weapons. I expect to see them add Davis here, simply because there isn't anyone at WR that's worth this pick, and they need to be able to throw the ball, or at least trick teams into thinking they will. The surprise pick could be Haloti Ngata - SF runs a 3-4 and they need a nose tackle BAD. It's a bit high, but if they can fill their number one need, who knows?

Other possibilities: Haloti Ngata, Mario Williams, AJ Hawk

7: Oakland Raiders - Vince Young, QB, Texas

Same pick as before. I think he falls here, and I know Al Davis is in love with him. I've heard the coaches, including Art Shell, would much rather add Winston Justice or Michael Huff, but what Al wants, Al gets. I don't think it's a bad pick, either. One thing Young is great at is tossing the ball up in the air and letting his tall receivers catch it - seriously. He throws a great deep bomb with lots of loft, and Randy Moss will love that. After a year of Aaron Brooks, I think Young would look great starting in the silver & black.

Other possibilities: Winston Justice, Michael Huff

8: Buffalo Bills - Broderick Bunkley, DT, Florida State

I still believe that Ngata won't be the pick here, because he doesn't provide enough of a pass rush for Dick Jauron and Marv Levy, but I do acknowledge it could be a very elaborate smokescreen while they go after their guy. Bunkley seems to make more sense, though. He is one of the best pass rushing defensive tackles to come into the draft in some time, and he's strong enough to stop the run. His only question is his injury history, but if he stays healthy, he'll be a great one.

Other possibilities: Haloti Ngata, Jay Cutler, Winston Justice

9: Detroit Lions - Winston Justice, OT, USC

Even with the skill of LT Jeff Backus and quite a few high picks on the line (Dominic Raiola, Stockar McDougle and Aaron Gibson come to mind), the Lions still have a very weak offensive line. They have plenty of talent at WR and a few decent QBs, now with Josh McCown and Jon Kitna. They have a very good starting running back in Kevin Jones and a fine TE, Marcus Pollard. But they need lineman to give them room, and they don't have that right now. Justice can play on the right side for a year or two until they're comfortable letting Backus go, because he'll develop into an even stronger blindside protector, more than likely. It's hard for them to turn down a franchise left tackle this late in the first round. They really do need secondary help, though, so it's hard to rule out Michael Huff, but I think Justice is the pick right now.

Other possibilities: Michael Huff, Jay Cutler, any WR

10 Arizona Cardinals - Jay Cutler, QB, Vanderbilt

I'm still not sold on Cutler. I saw Vandy play twice and although he was easily the best player on his team, he didn't show me enough to think he was an NFL first round pick. I think this is a better spot for him than #4 to the Jets, and he'll be surrounded with more offensive talent when he does step in. Cutler is a pretty big risk, even at this point, but at least the Cardinals will have their QB of the future, I guess.

Other possibilities: Winston Justice, Haloti Ngata, Ernie Sims

11: St. Louis Rams - Michael Huff, DB, Texas

With all of the movement since my last mock, the Rams are one of the big winners. Jimmy Williams, their pick last time, has been slipping, and while I still believe he's a great fit, Huff is a top-10 type talent that should step in immediately. I think he'll start at safety and maybe end up there permanently, but to be fair, he's classified as a DB because he could really play any of the 4 positions. He'll start somewhere in St. Louis next year.

Other possibilities: Haloti Ngata, Jay Cutler, Chad Jackson

12: Cleveland Browns - Haloti Ngata, DT, Oregon

I have to admit that I'm not enamored with Ngata, but I certainly think he's a good prospect, especially in the 3-4. He's nearly an immoveable force at DT, so it stands to reason that he would be a great nose tackle, tying up blockers and keeping them off the linebackers. He'd be a great understudy to Ted Washington, and frankly, on short yardage situation, who could run on both Big Ted AND Ngata? If the Browns are looking at LB, which is a possibility, both Kamerion Wimbley and Ernie Sims, from Florida State, are possibilities, but I think if Ngata's here, he's the pick.

Other possibilities: Ernie Sims, Kamerion Wimbley

13: Baltimore Ravens - Jimmy Williams, DB, Virginia Tech

The Ravens are in a tough position. The position they most need help at (behind head coach, of course), is quarterback, but to make a move to get one of the big three requires expendable talent that they don't really have. So I expect them to stay here. If they can't grab one of the QBs, I think that they'll look to the secondary, where Deion is expected to retire and they need to replace Will Demps. Although I prefer Tye Hill as a pure corner prospect, Williams can play both corner and safety, and his attitude problems means he probably fits great in Baltimore already.

Other possibilities: D'Angelo Williams, Tye Hill, Winston Justice, Jay Cutler

14: Philadelphia Eagles - Chad Jackson, WR, Florida

I don't know about this one, I guess. I think the Eagles are in a great position, in that besides Reggie Bush, all of the top running backs are still there, and not a single WR has been taken. I know it's a down year for wide receivers, but the guys that are there are talented and good values at this point. If no other WRs were there, I think Chad Jackson would be a fine pick. I don't trust Florida receivers, and Jackson had a very weak YPC this year, but he's talented and explosive. Certainly could turn into a #1 receiver type player, but I think Holmes, at least right now, is the better player and better pick. He runs better routes, has very solid hands and can get open against any DB. We'll have to see with Jackson, he hasn't proved to me yet he deserves to be the first receiver off the board, especially when Holmes would be lethal across from Reggie Brown, even immediately. It's not the pick I'd make, but it's the direction I think they're going in.

Other possibilities: Santonio Holmes, Lendale White

15: Denver Broncos - Deangelo Williams, RB, Memphis

I know that Tatum Bell and Ron Dayne are still Broncos, but Dayne is a question mark and Bell is injury prone. Denver also never seems to need to draft RBs in the first round, but let's think for a second - if they got the production they did out of Clinton Portis, a second round back, what would happen if they got a guy who's probably the top back in any year but this one (or last one, total fluke)? Deangelo is a perfect fit in their system, in that he has just as good vision as Bush, and he can accelerate through the holes that the Broncos OL provides, and make the cuts necessary to become absolutely lethal in the Broncos system. There are definitely plenty of possibilities here, though, as they could need help at a couple of different positions.

Other possibilities: Lendale White, Kamerion Wimbley, Santonio Holmes

16: Miami Dolphins - Santonio Holmes, WR, Ohio State

Miami needs help everywhere, so I think they take the best available player, which turns out to be Holmes. They could really use youth on their defense, but I'm not sure that many of the players available fit their scheme, and Holmes would be a nice threat across from Chris Chambers, giving them a lethal combination at WR. I think he's a better player than Chad Jackson, and although he doesn't have the height or bulk Jackson does, he's a more explosive and polished player that Dolphins fans will begin to love immediately.

Other possibilities: Donte Whitner, Ernie Sims, Chad Jackson

17: Minnesota Vikings - Ernie Sims, LB, Florida State

I had Sims here in my last mock, and the more I think about it, the more I like it. He's the type of player who has an infectious style of play, and I think he could start immediately on the weak side in Minnesota. However, even though they acquired Chester Taylor, I went back and forth with this pick, as I think it could possibly be Laurence Maroney. I still think it'll be Sims, but the Vikes wouldn't shock me if they went with the hometown guy and solved their running back position for the next 6 years.

Other possibilities: Donte Whitner, Laurence Maroney

18: Dallas Cowboys - Donte Whitner, S, Ohio State

As I said in my last mock draft, Whitner is rising, simply because at safety, teams are beginning to fall in love with guys like this. Even though they need to be protected against tight ends at times in coverage, the smaller guys like Bob Sanders and Troy Polamalu run like corners and hit like freight trains. Whitner is the same type of player. He absolutely kills screens and swing passes, sniffing them out immediately and breaking off of his blocks with no problem. He's a heat seeking missle, and he and Roy Williams will soon be one of the top safety tandems in the entire league. The only way I think they don't go Whitner is if he isn't there, or if his college teammate, Santonio Holmes is, as a replacement for the aging Terry Glenn.

Other possibilities: Chad Greenway, Santonio Holmes

19: San Diego Chargers - Chad Greenway, LB, Iowa

It's funny - the Chargers are actually the team many scouts had linked with Donte Whitner for quite some time, causing other teams to re-evaluate his skill set, but it may have pushed him out of their draft slot. That's why a lot of teams will use smokescreens - to trick other teams into thinking they're going one way, so they can get the guy they want. They do need help in the secondary, but I don't have a huge problem with their starters, I just think they need depth. At linebacker, however, even though they did pick one in the first round last year (Shawne Merriman), they're either aging (Donnie Edwards, Randall Godfrey and Steve Foley) or unproven (Shaun Phillips and Matt Wilhelm). Therefore, I think it's in their best interest to pick a guy like Greenway, who could produce either inside or outside in the 3-4, wherever they determine they need the most help. Of course, even after acquiring Rashaun Woods, they could still look to add a young wide receiver, but I don't think they'll be in position to do so here.

Other possibilities: Santonio Holmes, Tye Hill, Donte Whitner

20: Kansas City Chiefs - Tye Hill, CB, Clemson

If Tye Hill is available at 20, Kansas City really has lucked out. Although Jimmy Williams and Michael Huff, two defensive backs, are already drafted, Hill is the best pure corner in the draft. What he lacks in height, he makes up for in speed and instincts. The new NFL rules limiting DB contact have made pure cover corners more in demand, so Hill will be a very valuable part of a rebuilt Kansas City defense. If he isn't available, I still would expect them to go corner, with Ashton Youboty on the board, but I definitely think they could shock everyone and start a run on the undersized pass rushers. Still, all things considered, I think Hill is their best bet.

Other possibilities: Ashton Youboty, Kamerion Wimbley

21: New England Patriots - Laurence Maroney, RB, Minnesota

I go back and forth every day on Maroney. Personally, I am a HUGE fan of Laurence. I think he's got the necessary speed, cutting ability and vision to succeed in nearly any NFL scheme. He can run outside, as well as between the tackles, and to me, he's one of the more impressive backs I've watched all year. In fact, a back he reminds me of is a young Corey Dillon. I know some Patriots diehards think they need a change of pace, like Lendale White, but Dillon is wearing down and they're going to need a top back very soon - even possibly this year. They also could use linebacker help, but I think with the depth at running back and the huge hole they have there, this is probably their best bet.

Other possibilities: Lendale White, Bobby Carpenter, Deangelo Williams

22: San Francisco - Kamerion Wimbley, DE, Florida State

Wimbley is a riser who, in all likelihood, may end up much higher than this slot eventually. Even though he's undersized, and perhaps a better fit at LB in the 3-4 than end in the 4-3, because of the nature of the game, pass rushers are always going to be in demand. I originally had him going here to Denver, but I think he's an even better fit in San Fran, due to the fact he's a prototype LB/DE hybrid. Wimbley has been compared to Dwight Freeney, but I don't think he's quite at fast. Either way, he can get to the quarterback and the 49ers really could use someone who can do such a thing.

Other possibilities: Antonio Cromartie, Mathias Kiwanuka, Manny Lawson

23: Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Antonio Cromartie, CB, Florida State

The Bucs are an odd situation. They're not particularly set at any position, simply because a lot of their better players are getting up there in the years. Joey Galloway, Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber.. three of their best players who might not be around too much longer. I could literally see them drafting any position besides running back with this pick, but looking at their roster, they are particularly thin and aging at linebacker, cornerback and offensive line. I think Antonio Cromartie is a hard pick to say no to here. He's a guy that could be in the top 10 if not for missing all of 2005 with knee surgery. He's fast, a great cover man and physical, and in Tampa, he'd be in a nice situation in that he may only need to be counted on to play nickel back for a year or two. This would allow him to bulk up and heal his knee even a bit more before stepping in for Ben Kelly or Ronde Barber. If they don't draft a corner, I think a linebacker would probably be a great pick at this point.

Other possibilities: Demeco Ryans, Davin Joseph, Mathias Kiwanuka, Manny Lawson

24: Cincinnati Bengals - Mathias Kiwanuka, DE, Boston College

It's funny, Gabe Watson is a huge question mark. A team who's fallen in love with his size and athleticism could easily take him this high, but he could also fall if all teams are concerned about his work ethic. I don't think he'll be a first rounder anymore, and thus, there isn't anyone specifically at defensive tackle that would help the Bengals out. John McCargo is the only name that I could even see going here besides Watson, and I'm thinking both are reaches at this point. Instead, they may opt for a guy like Kiwanuka, who has the frame to put on more weight and a heavy desire to play the run. He isn't a perfect fit for their extreme needs, but he may be the best player available, and he'll upgrade their line enough that this pick makes sense.

Other possibilities: Gabe Watson, Tamba Hali, John McCargo

25: New York Giants - Manny Lawson, LB, NC State

The Giants, despite what people may say, need help at linebacker very badly. They're set at MLB, where their two best players at LB, Antonio Pierce and Nick Greisen play. But on the outside, their current starters are Reggie Torbor and Carlos Emmons. While Torbor is a promising prospect, he isn't a sure thing yet and Emmons is 32. They need an influx of youth and talent to truly maximize the changes they've made on their defense. I could see them picking a corner to eventually take over for Sam Madison, but I think the more immediate need is at outside linebacker. Lawson would fit nicely on the Giants defense. Their pass rush, spearheaded by Strahan, Osi and Justin Tuck, is already top notch, but the addition of a player like Lawson could make it one of the top in the league. I can imagine all 4 of these guys at least close to double digit sacks before too long in New York.

Other possibilities: Ashton Youboty, Sinorice Moss

26: Chicago Bears - Ashton Youboty, CB, Ohio State

Youboty is a good player, but due to a hip injury (a very important part of the body for a corner) last season, he suffered in coverage. I think with another year of seasoning at Ohio State, he could easily have become a higher draft choice, but this ain't too bad. He's actually a very good coverage man, shutting down Braylon Edwards in his first OSU/Michigan game, but he excels equally in run support, as Laurence Maroney may tell you. He's got the skills to be a #1 corner, and will enable the Bears to either move Charles Tillman to safety, as has been rumored, or Nathan Vasher to nickel back, where he would be even more effective. I think he'd be a fine fit in Chicago. Originally, I had them slated to take a tight end here, because realizing the depth at the position in this draft and the unimportance of the position in the Chicago offense, I think they pick someone to help them cover Steve Smith.

Other possibilities: Leonard Pope, Davin Joseph

27: Carolina Panthers - Lendale White, RB, USC

This isn't much of a limb at all. White is a good player, certainly, but he's a question mark. He has an injured hamstring, an attitude problem and a conditioning problem. I know that Carolina has been in contact with him, and I think he'd be a great fit for their offense, but man, I remember reading projections around January with him heading to teams in the top 10. I still think he'll be a productive NFL back, but I can't escape the lingering questions about his work ethic. What happens once he becomes a millionaire? If he can't show up for the Rose Bowl in shape, will he show up once he gets his money? I don't know. This is a risky pick, but the Panthers have a team with a lot of positive attitudes that should have a good effect on White, if he's drafted here.

Other possibilities: Sinorice Moss, Leonard Pope

28: Jacksonville Jaguars - Nick Mangold, C, Ohio State

Dennis Norman is scheduled to be Jacksonville's starting center. I don't think that's a great idea. Mangold, to put it simply, could step in and anchor the center of what could be a very good line next year. I don't think they'll reach to take a corner in this spot, their other big need, but I guess it is possible. Teaming Tamba Hali up with John Henderson and Marcus Stroud doesn't sound awful, either.

Other possibilities: Tamba Hali, Ashton Youboty

29: New York Jets - Tamba Hali, DE, Penn State

Hali has been slipping some because of a weak 40 time. That's ridiculous, because as far as I'm concerned, it's nearly irrelevent to a lineman on either side of the ball. He's a hoss, he can get to the quarterback and that's what matters. I think just based on his work ethic, agility and relentlessness alone, he's nearly as good of a prospect as Mario Williams. He has the desire Mario doesn't, and that's why I personally think he's WAY underrated. He'll upgrade the pass rush of any team he plays on immediately. The Jets certainly could be looking for help at running back here, though, so I wouldn't rule that out.

Other possibilities: Joseph Addai, Bobby Carpenter, Nick Mangold

30: Indianapolis Colts - Joseph Addai, RB, LSU

Man, Addai, in nearly any other year, is an early to mid first round pick. Now, he may fall out of the first round, but I think with all of the other running backs gone, Indianapolis really needs to make a move to get one. They could try and wait, but as weak as they are there, and Addai's so talented, they should probably take just take him. I know they lost a lot on defense, but a running back is so important to their team. Addai isn't as shifty as James, but he gets yards, can turn stretch plays into home runs, and can pick up the blitz nicely for a tailback. He'd be an immediate starter and potential rookie of the year in Indy, so I think this is the direction they go.

Other possibilities: Tamba Hali, Bobby Carpenter, D'Qwell Jackson

31: Seattle Seahawks - Jason Allen, FS, Tennessee

The Seahawks spent an outrageous amount of money this season in free agency, but didn't really address their secondary. Allen is projected as a free safety in the league, but he could also play corner, and is a big, rangy physical type that would fit nicely in Seattle. They could elect to improve their pass rush with Kiwanuka, replace Steve Hutchinson with Davin Joseph, or if a back is available, take one to spell Shaun Alexander, but Allen is probably the best player available and fills a need, so he makes a lot of sense here.

Other possibilities: Joseph Addai, Mathias Kiwanuka, Davin Joseph

32: Pittsburgh Steelers - Bobby Carpenter, LB, Ohio State

Carpenter is going to be one of the biggest steals of the whole draft. He was talked about last year as being a legitimate top 15 pick, and even though he went down late in the season with a broken fibula, appears to be 100%. He's a versatile player that can play both inside and out, but probably works best as an OLB in the 3-4, due to his size and ability to play with his hand down. The Steelers always seem to take talented linebackers like this, and I see no reason why they won't continue to do so.

Other possibilities: Nick Mangold, Sinorice Moss, Demeco Ryans


ROUND TWO:

33. Houston Texans - Eric Winston, OT, Miami
34. New Orleans Saints - Demeco Ryans, LB, Alabama
35. New York Jets - Jonathan Joseph, CB, South Carolina
36. Green Bay Packers - Davin Joseph, G, Oklahoma
37. Denver Broncos - Sinorice Moss, WR, Miami
38. Oakland Raiders - Gabe Watson, DT, Michigan
39. Tennessee Titans - D'Qwell Jackson, LB, Maryland
40. Detroit Lions - Leonard Pope, TE, Georgia
41. Arizona Cardinals - John McCargo, DT, NC State
42. Buffalo Bills - Marcus McNeill, OT, Auburn
43. Cleveland Browns - Abdul Hodge, LB, Iowa
44. Baltimore Ravens - Max Jean-Gilles, G, Georgia
45. Philadelphia Eagles - Chris Chester, C, Oklahoma
46. St Louis Rams - Marcedes Lewis, TE, UCLA
47. Atlanta Falcons - Ko Simpson, DB, South Carolina
48. Minnesota Vikings - Daniel Bullocks, SS, Nebraska
49. Dallas Cowboys - Daryn Colledge, OT, Boise State
50. San Diego Chargers - Kelly Jennings, CB, Miami
51. Minnesota Vikings - Richard Marshall, CB, Fresno State
52. New England Patriots - Thomas Howard, LB, UTEP
53. Washington Redskins - Deuce Latui, OG, USC
54. Kansas City Chiefs - Jonathan Lewis, DT, Virginia Tech
55. Cincinnati Bengals - Claude Wroten, DT, LSU
56. New York Giants - Ryan O'Callaghan, OT, Cal
57. Chicago Bears - Joel Klopfenstien, TE, Colorado
58. Carolina Panthers - Anthony Fasano, TE, Notre Dame
59. Tampa Bay Bucs - Charles Spencer, OG, Pittsburgh
60. Jacksonville Jaguars - Darryl Tapp, DE, Virginia Tech
61. Denver Broncos - Maurice Stovall, WR, Notre Dame
62. Indianapolis Colts - Rocky McIntosh, LB, Miami
63. Seattle Seahawks - Maurice Drew, RB, UCLA
64. Pittsburgh Steelers - Darnell Bing, S, USC


5 Biggest Risers:

5. Chris Chester, C, Oklahoma - Originally projected as a late first day pick, Chester's outstanding workouts and character could carry him into the late first round.

4. Kamerion Wimbley, LB/DE, Florida State - Wimbley's great workouts have moved him solidly into the first round. He could go as early as #11 to St. Louis, whereas he was probably an early second when the season ended.

3. Antonio Cromartie, CB, Florida State - Cromartie always had first round talent, but a torn ACL was holding him back in the draft. He's proved he's already over it, so his stock as one of the top cover men in the draft has really risen as of late.

2. Donte Whitner, S, Ohio State - Whitner was originally looked at as a late first day pick, simply because of his size and lack of starting experience. However, he ran excellently and has impressed teams greatly in his interviews, so he'll end up going much higher than originally projected.

1. John McCargo, DT, NC State - When McCargo declared, everyone laughed. He played on the same defensive line as Manny Lawson and Mario Williams, and didn't even have super statistics, so most figured his workouts and film would expose him. After all, with Lawson and Williams facing constant double teams, it should open space for McCargo to work. However, after seeing him work out and watching his film, a few teams have suddenly become enamored with him, reportedly. He could easily go near the top of the second half of round one on draft day. A guy to watch, at the very least.

5 biggest Fallers:

5. Ko Simpson, S, South Carolina - Originally, Simpson was looked at as being a mid first rounder, and maybe based on his athletic skills, he should be. He can play both safety and corner, and is fast and physical. However, the more teams evaluated him, the more they realized how raw he is and how much coaching he'll need before he can contribute. I think Simpson will eventually turn into a really good player, but by the time he does, it might be time for his next deal, so that's certainly a red flag.

4. Sinorice Moss, WR, Miami - I think that as teams examine Moss, they realize that unlike his brother, Santana, he does not have top end speed. He's also smaller than Santana is, meaning that he'll get killed if he tries to catch the ball in traffic. In addition, he doesn't have the height to be a great deep threat, and his lack of top end quickness means he can't get separation. I've heard rumblings that teams drafting Moss have found a hitch in his running, and a few thing that he may even be carrying too much muscle on his small frame, so improving his speed is possible. I just know he has been slipping lately.

3. Darnell Bing, S, USC - I like Bing as a player, certainly, but I don't think he's a first round type safety. That's not a huge knock - very few safeties have the ability to be drafted in the first round, and Bing is just below. His speed is just average for his position, and he at times has trouble with mental mistakes. But he's athletic, agile and runs well, even with his mediocre 40. I think he'll definitely project as a strong starter in the NFL, but he may be just below the Pro Bowl level that he was projected at all his career.

2. Lendale White, RB, USC - You probably know why White is falling. He tore his hamstring, he hasn't run a 40, he showed up out of shape for USC's Pro Day, as well as the Rose Bowl, he only put up 1 more bench press repetition than USC's punter.. all of these things have dropped him. I still believe he'll be a productive NFL back, if he doesn't implode, but he's more of a risk now. From a possible top 5 pick to late first round.. pretty scary.

1. Rodrique Wright, DT, Texas - Wright is one of those players that college football fans have heard about since before he became an NFL prospect, but he's never quite lived up to the hype. He's both strong and quick, but he isn't in great shape and he doesn't seem to want it as much as most of the other players. Wright was looked at as a potential first rounder if he left after his junior year, but now he may not even be drafted first day.. and that's why he's the biggest faller in the draft.

I'll be back, with final round three, sometime next week. We'll be getting more of a sure idea how the draft is shaping up at that point, so there should be more to talk about. After that, I plan to start work on a series of scouting columns, where I discuss how I judge and look at players and what I look for in each position and how you can look for the same things.

-Brett



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