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Mock Draft 4 (cont.)

Posted: Thursday March 13, 2008 12:35PM; Updated: Thursday March 13, 2008 2:43PM
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Mock NFL Draft No. 4
Pick Team Pos. Player College Class Ht. Wt.
11 WR Malcolm Kelly Oklahoma Jr. 6-4 215
The Bills have done plenty to help their defense thus far, adding tackles Marcus Stroud and Spencer Johnson, as well as a starting linebacker in Kawika Mitchell. But they're still in the market to draft a tall, athletic receiver who can go up and get the ball and hopefully draw some coverage away from Lee Evans. Kelly didn't run at the combine due to a lingering quad injury, and he also sat out this week's OU pro-day workout. If you haven't noticed by now, I pretty much alternate between giving the Bills Kelly or Texas receiver Limas Sweed.
12 OT Ryan Clady Boise St. Jr. 6-6 317
The Broncos have made relatively low-profile moves at both linebacker (Boss Bailey and Niko Koutourvides) and safety (Marlon McCree and Marquand Manuel), but their need at offensive tackle remains. Here's one potential scenario to watch for: No. 13 Carolina also covets Clady and may be willing to trade up ahead of Denver to secure him if he lasts past No. 5 Kansas City. One potential trade partner for the Panthers would be No. 8 Baltimore, which could drop back to Carolina's slot and still be certain of landing one of their top cornerbacks, as well as picking up a second-round pick.
13 DE Derrick Harvey Florida Jr. 6-4 250
As noted above, the Panthers want Clady, the Boise State offensive tackle, and could be willing to move up to get him. What that says to me is that Carolina doesn't believe its going to be able to sign franchised left tackle Jordan Gross to a long-term deal, and may be facing the prospect of replacing him after 2008. If Clady's gone and the Panthers sit tight, Harvey is a good value pick in this slot. Clemson defensive end Phillip Merling was our pick for Carolina in the last mock, but he had surgery to fix a sports hernia this week, didn't run the 40 at the combine either and probably won't work out for scouts before the draft. He could be headed for a tumble into the 20s of the first round.
14 RB Rashard Mendenhall Illinois Jr. 5-11 225
With the Bears not making much of an effort to sign free-agent running back (and Illinois native Michael Turner), running back remains a first-round possibility. Some scouts like Mendenhall's blend of size, speed and running style more than McFadden's, and he could wind up cracking the second half of the top 10. If he's still around at No. 14, the Bears can take the Illini junior and officially bring some competition to town for the disappointing Cedric Benson, their 2005 first-round pick.
15 OT Chris Williams Vanderbilt Sr. 6-5 318
The Lions picked up Leigh Bodden in the Shaun Rogers trade with Cleveland, which lessens the need at cornerback. But Detroit was a sack-allowing machine last season, and has to get stouter at offensive line. The Lions are in luck here, getting their pick among the third and fourth best tackles in the draft, Williams or Pitt's Jeff Otah.
16 LB Keith Rivers USC Sr. 6-3 236
The Cardinals lost outside linebacker Calvin Pace to the Jets in free agency, and the athletic and playmaking Rivers would seem a logical replacement. In our last mock, we had the Cardinals taking Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart. But he had pretty significant toe surgery this week, and some scouts believe he could be sidelined for the next three months, which would mean he'd miss his team's mini-camps and offseason workouts. That news could scare some teams away from Stewart, who had a boffo workout at the combine.
17 WR Limas Sweed Texas Sr. 6-4 215
The Vikings got their receiver (Bernard Berrian) and their safety (Madieu Williams) in free agency, so a pass-rushing defensive end in the first round makes the most sense. But with Harvey off the board, some of the remaining prospects have issues. Merling has the sports hernia surgery to contend with, and University of Miami junior Calais Campbell might drop into the second round due to questions about his consistency. That could mean the Vikings are looking to move down in the first round. If they stick, give them the tall, athletic Sweed with the pick.
18 RB Jonathan Stewart Oregon Jr. 5-11 233
With the Texans signing ex-Cowboy cornerback Jacques Reeves in free agency, they've given themselves the option of taking a first-round running back. To repeat, Stewart's stock is up in the air a bit right now with the news that he underwent toe surgery this week and could need three months to rehabilitate. If the Texans have him rated highly enough, they might be willing to roll the dice and wait, figuring he'll be ready for training camp.
19 OT Jeff Otah Pittsburgh Sr. 6-6 339
The Eagles have plenty of options here, from taking safety Kenny Phillips as Brian Dawkins' eventual replacement, to nabbing the highest-rated remaining receiver (DeSean Jackson, Devin Thomas or James Hardy). But with their offensive tackles both having some age issues, Otah gives them a much-needed injection of youth at one of the game's most vital positions. Trading up for a higher-ranked tackle or receiver might also be a possibility if Philly can get some team coveting displaced starting cornerback Lito Sheppard.
20 QB Joe Flacco Delaware Sr. 6-6 232
Flacco did nothing but build on this strong predraft momentum with an excellent pro-day workout last Friday. The most likely scenario continues to be that some QB-needy team such as the Bears, Dolphins, Ravens or Jets will trade back into the bottom third of the first round to land the former Blue Hen. But for now I'm sticking with the notion that quarterback-collector Jon Gruden could see the big, strong-armed Flacco taking over for Jeff Garcia in 2010.

Mock Draft Continued