Posted: Friday February 11, 2005 11:05AM; Updated: Friday February 11, 2005 7:17PM
We hold the following truth to be self-evident: Some mock drafts wind up doing a little more mocking than others. This is one of those.
To forecast the first round of the NFL Draft even before teams head to Indianapolis and the scouting combine is the height of foolhardy. The opening of free agency is three weeks away, some organizations are just now starting their draft preparation in earnest, and Paul Tagliabue won't clear his throat and step up to the mike for another 71 days.
But no matter. As long as you don't hold me to this first rough "draft" -- trust us, we'll change our mind another 37 times between now and April 23 -- let's give it a whirl, shall we?
The San Francisco 49ers, as they say, are on the clock ...
Mock NFL Draft #1
With no quarterback in this draft judged to be worth No. 1 overall value, the 49ers would be better off to trade down and acquire a package of picks. But with who? If the 49ers stay put, give them the local kid with great accuracy.
We're assuming that Nick Saban is going to stick with A.J. Feeley as his starting quarterback. We're assuming that Miami won't make a deal with Buffalo for running back Travis Henry. We're assuming a lot at this point.
With Jeff Garcia slated to be released shortly, the Browns have to consider Smith. But they'd love to trade out of this lofty spot. If they pass on Smith, Florida State offensive tackle Alex Barron would be a reach who fills a need.
The Bears lack a playmaker at receiver, and Edwards fits the bill nicely, providing good value for this slot. He has better size and speed than former No. 1 David Terrell, and he's the consensus pick as this draft's top receiver.
The Bucs have so many other needs (OT, DT, DB), but with Charlie Garner aging and injury prone, and Michael Pittman probably not the long-term answer, Jon Gruden might take the back he coached at the Senior Bowl.
The Titans again face cap restraints this offseason. With RT Fred Miller due a $5 million March 1 signing bonus and LT Brad Hopkins 35 in early September, Barron would allow them to replenish at a key position.
Cody would fit the hybrid 3-4 the Raiders prefer, and he's their kind of high-motor guy. He did not distinguish himself in the Orange Bowl, but what Sooner did? Auburn RB Ronnie Brown also makes sense here.
The Cardinals would do handstands all the way up to the podium if Brown is still available. With Emmitt Smith retired and Dennis Green not in love with Marcel Shipp, the versatile Brown is a no-brainer.
With Champ Bailey leaving last year and Fred Smoot possibly following him out the door via free agency, the Redskins gladly would pick up the draft's high-rated cornerback. Jones is small, but he's fast and plays big.
The Lions have invested their past four No. 1 picks on offense, so it's time to think defense. Rolle is a big, athletic, physical cover man who plays run defense, too. Thus, some have him as more of a safety in the NFL.
The Cowboys' defense slumped badly in 2004, and nobody was a bigger disappointment than newly acquired defensive end Marcellus Wiley. James has some injury concerns, but teams willingly take chances on pass rushers.
Despite his unexpected one-year hiatus, Williams still is only 21. He's a big, sure-handed receiver in the Michael Irvin mold, and the Chargers need help at receiver, with Keenan McCardell being their dependale wideout.
The Texans won't be able to pass on this home-state star. He's an impact player who can chase the ball all over the field, and he's versatile enough to play in different spots in Houston's 3-4 scheme. Could be a steal if he lasts.
This pick is predicated on the Panthers not being able to resign receiver Muhsin Muhammad, who had a monster season after No. 1 receiver Steve Smith was lost for the season. Williamson is the draft's fastest pass-catcher.
Spears helped himself quite a bit with a strong week at the Senior Bowl, and what team needs more help on defense than the bedraggled Chiefs? Vonnie Holliday hasn't done much since K.C. spent in free agency for him in 2003.
The Saints might be tempted to look at one of the best remaining defensive linemen, but they've spent heavily there in recent drafts. Davis is a hard-hitting safety who plays like a linebacker, and might be one in the NFL.