Posted: Friday January 27, 2006 12:25PM; Updated: Friday January 27, 2006 12:37PM
Mock NFL Draft No. 1
I wanted to give the Rams help at cornerback, with Virginia Tech cornerback Jimmy Williams or Texas S-CB Michael Huff getting the nod. But then I remembered it's the Rams we're talking about, and new head coach Scott Linehan has an offensive background. In this age of Antonio Gates, Davis is the kind of exceptional athlete everybody wants at tight end.
The Browns could reach a bit for a pass-rushing defensive end such as Mathias Kiwanuka of Boston College or Tamba Hali of Penn State if their rankings come close to No. 12 value. But with linebackers being so key to Romeo Crennel's 3-4 defense, Greenway fits the bill with Ryans and Hawk already gone in the top seven.
The Ravens could be tempted to replace running back Jamal Lewis -- who's eligible for free agency -- with a younger, more explosive version, USC's LenDale White. But the bigger need appears to be on defense, where the Ravens are starting to show their age. Huff can play safety or cornerback, and would look good lined up opposite Ed Reed, or opposite Samari Rolle if Chris McAlister has finally worn out his welcome.
I'm forgetting his name at the moment, but the Eagles had a No. 1 receiver for part of last season and then lost his services somehow, some way. Holmes is the only sure-fire first-round receiver, and his value in this slot is too great to ignore. As a bonus, his initials can't be used as a catchy nickname (S.H.?)
There is some thought that Hali is too small at 6-3, 267 pounds to make much impact in the pass rush right away, but that's what they said about Dwight Freeney coming out of Syracuse. The Falcons also would have interest in a defensive back such as Huff, if he lasts, or USC's Darnell Bing, if he rises into the top half of the round.
The Dolphins would love to build an offensive line in front of Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams capable of dominating the line of scrimmage when those cold-weather AFC East games against New England, Buffalo and the Jets come up late in the season. But with the Dolphins needing quarterback help, keep an eye on them in regard to trying to move up for Jay Cutler.
By draft day, White could be headed for a slot far loftier than middle-of-the-pack status in the first round. But if he gets by No. 10 Arizona, No. 13 Baltimore and No. 14 Philadelphia, the Vikings might just have him tumble into their laps. You can bet Minnesota won't delay in turning its card in this time.
Among the Cowboys' needs is a free safety with a nose for the football. Otherwise Washington's Santana Moss is just going to keep beating them deep. If Winston Justice is still on the board, he'd be another name to know. As would receiver Santonio Holmes, because Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn aren't kids any more.
The Chargers and Cowboys could wind up shopping for the same two players in some order: Simpson and Williams. With pass defense being critical in the AFC West, San Diego would love to fortify its secondary with Williams, a former safety who has the athleticism it takes to play cornerback in the NFL. At No. 19, Williams would be a steal.
The run on secondary talent continues, with the defensively needy Chiefs taking the next best available prospect. Depending on what the Cowboys and Chargers do right above them, the Chiefs could be in position to take Youboty, Williams or Simpson. Any of them would make K.C.'s last line of defense instantly better. You can bet your booty (get it?) on that.