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Mock Draft 4 (cont.)

Posted: Thursday March 13, 2008 12:37PM; Updated: Thursday March 13, 2008 4:04PM
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Mock NFL Draft No. 4
Pick Team Pos. Player College Class Ht. Wt.
21 WR Devin Thomas Mich. St Jr. 6-2 217
Thomas came out of the combine with the momentum that could land him in the bottom third of the first round. He's big enough to satisfy the Redskins' desire for more size at receiver, and he is considered a good fit for the version of the West Coast offense Jim Zorn wants to run, because he's dangerous after the catch. If the Redskins' need at defensive end takes precedence, their options include Merling, Campbell or USC's Lawrence Jackson, who is on the rise in the eyes of some teams.
22 CB Mike Jenkins South Florida Sr. 6-0 200
The Cowboys haven't been much of a player this offseason, so the draft appears to be their personnel acquisition method of choice in 2008. Having lost a cornerback in Jacques Reeves to Houston, Dallas could use another pair of hands in the secondary. If receiver is the pick here, rather than at No. 28, which Dallas also owns, Cal speedster DeSean Jackson would get the nod.
23 G Branden Albert Virginia Jr. 6-7 317
One scout told me this week that if Albert didn't play the relatively low-valued guard position, he's talented enough to be ranked among this draft's top 15. He seems like a natural fit for the Steelers, who didn't even blink over losing Alan Faneca in free agency. Albert is 6-7 and has some collegiate experience at tackle, which is where some teams believe he might end up in the NFL.
24 WR DeSean Jackson California Jr. 6-0 169
The Titans just signed receiver Justin McCareins to a one-year deal in free agency, but that's not likely to preclude them from using their No. 1 to get Vince Young another receiving weapon. Jackson weighed in at just 169 pounds at the combine, which begged the question of whether he'll last physically over a 16-game regular season. But his 4.35 speed and the added bonus of his punt return skills still make him a first-round pick. Indiana receiver James Hardy is also available, but he's got some off-field baggage, and in the post-Pacman era, that won't fly in Tennessee.
25 OT Gosder Cherilus Boston College Sr. 6-6 315
The signing of Julius Jones in free agency takes Felix Jones off the Seahawks' first-round board, and likely ends Shaun Alexander's tenure in Seattle. With the expected departure of receiver D.J. Hackett, the Seahawks could be in the market for either Hardy or LSU's Early Doucet as a replacement. The best value here figures to be Cherilus, who has been steadily climbing after an impressive Senior Bowl and combine showing.
26 DE Lawrence Jackson USC Sr. 6-4 261
Jackson makes his debut in our mock, taking advantage of Merling's and Campbell's rankings falling. Jackson is a proven pass rusher who scouts believe would arrive to the NFL as more of a polished product. The Jaguars are said to covet Pitt offensive tackle Otah, so keep your ears open for a possible move up into the teens to land him. Jerry Porter's signing could mean receiver is not a first-round need, but Indiana's Hardy might be tempting.
27 CB Brandon Flowers Virginia Tech Sr. 5-11 192
With no glaring need to fill, the Chargers can sit back and confidently take the highest-rated player that remains on their board. Everybody's list of the top five cornerbacks are in a somewhat different order, but Flowers figures to represent great value here and he offers a replacement for departed nickelback Drayton Florence. Other options include Merling or Felix Jones.
28 RB Felix Jones Arkansas Jr. 6-0 205
In this mock, we don't have Dallas trading up with No. 7 New England for the right to land Razorback running back Darren McFadden, so we're back to giving Jones to the Cowboys with their second first-round selection. The backfield tandem of Marion Barber and Jones would make for a tantalizing combination of power and speed.
29 WR James Hardy Indiana Jr. 6-5 218
The 49ers woeful offense needs more additions at receiver than just 35-year-old Isaac Bruce. Hardy has some off-field baggage issues, but he emerged at the combine as a prospect with late first-round value. He's got prototypical NFL size and runs very fluid routes.
30 S Kenny Phillips Miami Sr. 6-1 203
If there's a cornerback (Penn State's Justin King?) or an offensive tackle (USC's Sam Baker?) that the Packers have a conviction about, those are the positions that would get the need-pick designation. Otherwise, Green Bay can take a higher-rated player who has fallen to the bottom of the round due to circumstances. Phillips would seem to fit that description, and he could provide Green Bay with some competition for free safety Nick Collins.
31 Pick forfeited -- -- -- -- --
The Patriots lost this pick as their penalty for the Week 1 Spygate episode.
32 LB Dan Connor Penn State Sr. 6-2 233
The Giants top need is at outside linebacker, where Kawika Mitchell left in free agency, and where Mathias Kiwanuka could be switched back to defensive end. New York likes Connor's blend of toughness and playmaking, and he'd be given every opportunity to win the starting job on the weak side.

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