Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo

Peter King Mock Draft


Recommended Posts

Top of the class

QB Smith looks like top pick in murky first round


I am dying to weigh in on latest episode of As T. O. Turns -- I'm sure you can guess which side I'm on -- but in honor of draft week, I'm not going to use the top of my column to rip this incredibly selfish man. You'll have to scroll down to get that. Instead, I'll use this space to try to decipher the top of the draft.

It's hard. Really hard.

But let's give it a go with what I know -- or think I know -- about the first 12 picks of Saturday's draft. Call it the Dirty Dozen. Because there's no clean and clear intelligence as I sit here late on Sunday night.

All I know is I feel strongly that Utah quarterback Alex Smith will be the first pick in the draft. By someone. Not positive if it'll be the 49ers, though it probably will be. But mark my word: Alex Smith will be the first pick in this draft. If someone wants to pay the 49ers a ransom, they can probably have him, but I don't see that happening for the athletic kid from San Diego. Whatever happens at No. 1, though, I think there's going to be feverish action to trade down to gain extra picks, particularly in the first two rounds.

"The mantra this year is, 'Move back,'" Carolina coach John Fox told me the other day. The Panthers pick 14th, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out they'd like to be 24th or 34th, as long as they could pick up an extra first-day pick or two. "To us, the top of the round isn't a lot different than the rest of the round. We don't have the sure things we've had in past drafts."

I asked Fox what the signing-bonus difference is between the second and 14th pick. Ten million? If so, Fox had to be happy not to be picking that high.

"You have no idea," Fox said. "Don't think that hasn't been discussed around here a time or two since the end of the season."

You know what's interesting about this year's draft? The information stinks, even from the guys who are usually quote fountains. Like Steve Mariucci, the loquacious Detroit coach. "On or off the record?" he asked me on Friday when I phoned him trolling for draft tidbits. "We're keeping everything in-house." Well then. How 'bout those Tigers? The reason is simple. No one wants to give away what they're doing because there's so much uncertainty above them. Spilling the true beans could hurt any trade possibilities. As one coach not named Mariucci told me on Friday: "Give me a good reason for telling the truth about what we'd like to do. One reason. I can't think of one."

So understand that the shutdown from draft mouthpieces in Miami (Nick Saban's tighter than a drum), Chicago (GM Jerry Angelo never spills) and Cleveland (Romeo Crennel following in Bill Belichick's closed-door footsteps) means you're just going to have to tune in Saturday at noon to see what's going to happen. All we can do right now is guess. I only ask this: Do not hold me up to ridicule next Saturday after the first round.

Giving the top of the draft my best shot:

1. San Francisco: The pick: Utah quarterback Alex Smith. Though he fluttered some balls in his private Niners workout early this month on a windy day in Utah, Smith appears to be the heir to the 49ers quarterback throne. The Niners love his personality, his moxie and his athleticism, and they think he'll morph into a good dropback quarterback -- even though he played from the shotgun in two starting seasons at Utah. By late in the week, I kept hearing San Francisco was all over Smith and leaning toward him. Why? Interesting thing. I have to first say that I believe the man who will make the pick, rookie 49ers coach Mike Nolan, loves Smith's intangibles. He might think Aaron Rodgers is a better football player (and I don't know that, but it wouldn't surprise me), but he thinks Smith is going to be a better man for his team long-term. None of us can know why. If you're not in the meetings with Nolan and personnel czar Scot McCloughan, you can't know what they're thinking. But I just believe Smith and Nolan mesh better than Nolan and the ultra-confident Rodgers. Now for the interesting part of the first-pick derby. I've been convinced all along that no team would spend lavishly to move to the top of this draft for anyone. But in the last four or five days, there's Alex Smith-mania out there. The Bucs, maybe the Dolphins, maybe the Browns ... there's a list of teams interested in him. Interested enough to pull the trigger to pay the 49ers what they'd want for Smith? We shall see. My rather ample gut tells me Smith's a Niner.

2. Tampa Bay (from Miami): We all know Saban wants to move down more than Jimmy Johnson wants a Heineken. And whether you think it's valid, Jon Gruden has no desire to go with Brian Griese or Chris Simms as his long-term quarterback, and Gruden is making the call. The most logical thing is for Saban to go down three slots to No. 5 and pick up the second-round pick he lost in the ill-fated A.J. Feeley deal last year. The pick: Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers. I've got to be up-front here. Floridians who know tell me the quarterback Gruden wants is Smith, and Miami may not be able to wrangle some picks from Tampa Bay because the Bucs might feel they don't have to trade up for a quarterback. Maybe the Bucs stay where they are, do the safe thing and take a really good back or WR Mike Williams. Right now only Gruden knows how desperate he is to get better at quarterback, and whether Rodgers is that guy. But the smoke signals tell me he's going to come out of this draft with a quarterback, and Rodgers is the second-best one on his board. If they do move up for a quarterback, it won't be the end of the action for Gruden and GM Bruce Allen. They'll look to pick up the disgruntled Travis Henry from Buffalo (or maybe a surprisingly available Vikings back, which you'll hear about in a second), and they could try to trade Simms somewhere (to any team that will give Gruden a third-round draft pick). For Simms, it will be blessed relief. It's hard to imagine now how he could ever have the feeling that he's wanted in Tampa. If Simms goes anywhere this week, I'd guess it'd be to a team that likes to throw downfield and has a good teaching staff. That team will not be the Browns.

3. Cleveland: I've just got a feeling that Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell is in the Browns' future. It makes too much sense. They need a long-term quarterback, they like what they've seen out of the kid, whose talents in the dropback and running game were hidden by the great crop of rushers at Auburn. Campbell should go right around the 34th overall pick, which is where the Browns pick in the second round. And it would be a steal, by the way. That doesn't help me much here. I'm sure Romeo Crennel would like to start rebuilding his defense, but any defensive player would be a reach here, unless he's in love with either Antrel Rolle or Adam "Pac Man" Jones at cornerback, which I don't think he is. Cleveland is threat-less at receiver, so that's where I'm going, giving them the best player on several teams' overall draft boards. The pick: Michigan wide receiver Braylon Edwards.

4. Chicago: The agent community believes this is Cedric Benson's spot. Not a bad pick. Big back, powerful back, lots of pelts on the wall from a long career at Texas. Safe pick. I'm going with it. The pick: Texas running back Cedric Benson.

5. Minnesota (from Miami): Saban is begging. PLEASE, PLEASE, COME AND GET THIS PICK! I WANT TO TRADE DOWN AGAIN! And so it comes down to this for Saban: Does he want a mid-second-round pick to go down two spots in this round -- and does he want to pass on a great player such as Ronnie Brown, a 233-pound inside-outside guy who can run a 4.37 40? Tough call, but not that tough to me. In the end, Saban would bite on a Vikings' offer. What is Minnesota doing? That's your question, and it's a good one. Minnesota is not happy with its running-back situation. Mike Tice loves Mewelde Moore, but he's more of a role player and not a prime-time speedster. Michael Bennett isn't the power guy to break tackles, and Onterrio Smith is one positive test from a long suspension. I've been surprised how many people around the league in the last week have talked about Minnesota drafting a running back, like it's some fait accompli. And I'm buying it. The pick: Auburn running back Ronnie Brown.

6. Tennessee: Meat and potatoes draft for Tennessee. Nothing exciting, nothing outlandish. Tennessee needs nuts and bolts players to rebuild, and Jeff Fisher addresses a position of crying need. The pick: Miami cornerback Antrel Rolle, who, by the way, is no relation to the departed Samari even though they both went to Florida schools, both played the same position and both have the same not-very-common last name. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz just has to have a corner to stop the power arms of the AFC South (Peyton Manning, David Carr, Byron Leftwich) from strafing his D into total haplessness.

7. Miami: I'm thinking back a month, to a March chat overlooking the Pacific with Saban. For five minutes he pined over his team's draft status. He wanted more picks -- badly. "We've just got to value our draft choices a little better," he said. What he meant was, we can't be trading second- and third-round picks for A.J. Feeley and Lamar Gordon anymore. If the Dolphins are lucky enough to fall into two second-round picks for moving five sports down to a lesser cap number but not necessarily a lesser player, I officially will love how Miami stands here. In a draft exceedingly solid from picks 20 through 50, the Dolphins would keep their ability to get one of the premier players; the difference between two and seven, if you ask anyone in this league, is the difference between mint chocolate chip and Rocky Road. Beauty's in the eye of the ice-cream eater and the beholder. So if the Dolphins go down five spots and get the 35th and 49th spots in return, and they still get a pretty good man here, they'd be aces. I'm giving them a runner who is terrific bursting through holes and beating defenses to the corner. The pick: Auburn running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams.

8. Arizona: Dennis Green is in an interesting spot if my scenario holds. He knows he's got Henry, the Buffalo running back, in his hip pocket; the Bills and Cards have been talking about a deal of Henry for ostracized Arizona tackle L.J. Shelton. The holdup is that Buffalo wants to swap second-round picks with Arizona, going from 55 to 44 overall. He also will know if the Vikings take a back that Bennett -- who he drafted in Minnesota -- could be had. So Green knows he should be able to deal for a runner here, if he can't get one of the three great ones available. A good buddy of Green's told me on Friday: "I think Denny wants his own guys in-house. Henry's not his guy. Henry's just a guy someone wants him to take. I really think he's wants to pick a back and mold him himself." Well, my board says he won't be able to do that in the first round. My board says he's going to have go with the heir to Duane Starks. The pick: West Virginia cornerback Adam "Pac Man" Jones.

9. Washington: I smell a trade. The Redskins have lost Champ Bailey and Fred Smoot in the last 13 months. They're in a division getting better in the air, with Drew Bledsoe and Plaxico Burress improving the passing games in Dallas and New York, respectively. Washington is intrigued by the cornerback/return capabilities of disappointing Raiders cornerback Philip Buchanon. So a deal could be struck here, if the Raiders would ship a second-rounder plus Buchanon to move into position to get a corner a lot of NFL types think is rising into play with Rolle and Jones. If not, the Redskins sit and take the next corner on everyone's board, which is the way I'm going to go. The pick: Auburn cornerback Carlos Rogers.

10. Detroit: The one thing the Lions need desperately is a linebacker to impact the front seven. I see one of them here. The pick: Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson. He's perfect -- a sideline-to-sideline playmaker in the mold of Ray Lewis who needs to have the big mooses of the offensive line kept off him. And with the Lions formidable defensive front, those big guys will be kept away from away. He'd be free to roam the field and make plays, which he did consistently for the Longhorns.

11. Dallas: Chatting with Bill Parcells recently, I heard two recurring themes: defensive size and defensive depth. When he took the Dallas job, he walked into a situation in which Mike Zimmer, the defensive coordinator, had done a great job building a fast, quick unit, and so who was he to tear up a good thing? But last year, the cat-quick guys became the run-over guys. And even with the bigger guys, the Greg Ellises, there was no depth to give them a breather when they needed it. Ellis is a defensive end who ought to be playing 65 percent of the snaps, not 95 percent. That's a long-winded way of saying I think the Cowboys will take a couple of front-seven players here with their two first-round picks, if all things are equal. The pick: Troy linebacker Demarcus Ware. I know, I know. You're saying, "What about Shawne Merriman, the top-rated front-seven player in the draft, here? He's more versatile than Ware." You're right. He might be the guy. I just think if Ware -- a 4.56-second 40 guy -- doesn't go here, Dallas won't have a chance to get him a couple of hours later.

12. San Diego: Even if Mel Kiper says, "Mike Williams is the top-rated guy on my board" on ESPN on Saturday, I keep hearing the knocks. Speed, mostly. "He's a 4.65 guy," one GM told me. "In a draft of great wideouts, do you take a 4.65 guy so high?" Aaah, but this a player. And the Chargers are into players. With Williams on the board, I'd be surprised to see the Chargers pass on him.

And that's all I think I know. Good luck in your mock drafts. I have a feeling most of you will do better than this. But if you know what's good for you, you'll put Smith at the top of your board.

Quote of the Week

"Let me tell you something. In the NFL, they ought name April 'National Liars Month.' Because you're not getting the truth out of too many teams when they're talking about the draft."

-- Gil Brandt, former Dallas player personnel director and current NFL.com and Sirius NFL radio analyst, on changeups being thrown to the media and other teams before the draft.

Let me tell all of you something: Truer words have never been spoken.

Factoid That May Interest Only Me

Today Show host Matt Lauer was in the middle of the show's customary crowd outside the NBC studios on Friday when he came across a pretty lass who asked him, "Are you a football fan?" He said he was, and she replied, "My father's Brett Favre." To prove it, Brittany Favre called home to Mississippi and got her famous father on the phone with Lauer.

Stat of the Week

The Yankees and Red Sox have played 58 times in the last 24 months.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think it has been a long time since I've heard as much a disparity of opinion on a player in the draft than I've heard in the past couple of weeks about Arkansas' Matt Jones. Is he a wide receiver? Is he a tight end? Does he have the desire to switch positions and be great in the NFL? Should he be a late-first-round pick or a third-rounder? "He's very intriguing to us," Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt told me the other day. The Steelers pick 30th. The Eagles select 31st and 35th. I have a hunch Jones will be gone by that 35th pick. The Eagles are very interested, and they can afford to make a mistake if the kid fails.

2. I think this is what's wrong with Terrell Owens' case for a new contract. One: He's one year into a seven-year deal, and any team with a conscience would tell a player, no matter how good, to fry ice if he wanted re-do a deal 12 months into an 84-month contract. Two: He can moan about the contract all he wants, but he wanted to be in Philadelphia so badly -- and he signed the deal. Three: Owens' contract is not an onerous one. Look at what the three best receivers over the past couple of years -- Randy Moss, Marvin Harrison and Owens -- earned in 2004, '05 and '06 (the first three years of Owens' Philly contract): $21.82 million (Moss), $21.31 million (Harrison), $17.18 million (Owens). An outrageous injustice? I think not. Four: This is the most important factor: I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT OWENS LOOKED INTO ANDY REID'S EYES BEFORE THE RECEIVER SIGNED WITH PHILLY LAST YEAR AND SAID HE'D BEEN MISUNDERSTOOD AND WASN'T THE BIG, SELFISH IDIOT THAT EVERYONE SAID HE WAS. NEVER ONCE DID HE SAY HE WAS JOBBED ON HIS CONTRACT, AND NEVER ONCE DID HE SAY HE WAS COERCED INTO SIGNING THE CONTRACT. Five: Oh, I heard it from every Eagles fan and most of the people in the Philly organization last year when I said they'd let the wolf into the henhouse by signing Owens, and maybe it wouldn't hurt them now but at some point his true colors would show. And these are his true colors: He cares about himself far more than he cares about his team. Final thought: The Eagles might do something cosmetic to his contract. But they won't do anything that adds real value to it.

3. I think the Pats had a tremendous advantage last year, opening on Thursday, having nine days to prepare for a very winnable game at Arizona, then having a bye week. They were incredibly fresh for a three-month grind and made it pay off with another championship. This year, the schedule does the Patriots no favors. The Thursday opener happens again, with the Raiders coming to town, and they again have nine days to prepare. But instead of going at Arizona/bye/at Buffalo/Miami, New England goes at Carolina/at Pittsburgh/San Diego/at Atlanta.

4. I think the fastest-rising player in this draft is Auburn cornerback Carlos Rogers.

5. I think I had a terrific time speaking at Frank Reich's Call to Courage Breakfast Saturday in downtown Buffalo, and I really appreciated the invitation from Reich and his Athletes in Action crew. Reich gave an award to Cincinnati quarterback Jon Kitna for his class, citizenship and spirituality, and I have to second this award. Kitna's a very big man in my book for having the class to accept a demotion to second string in Cincinnati last year after having the best year of his career in 2003. He never sulked. He helped Carson Palmer be the best player he could be. When we talked about it before the breakfast, Kitna told me, basically, that every aspect of his life in Cincinnati was great, except for not being the starting quarterback. He and his wife have five kids, and his point was, why uproot them and take them to a different city and strain their lives when life is so good where he is? It'd be one thing, as he said, if some team traded for him to be a starter. But lacking that, he'll stay in Cincinnati (unless the Bengals trade him, which is unlikely unless someone gives Marvin Lewis a second-round pick) and be a happy man. Some people would look at Kitna and see a man who is giving up on his career. I look at Kitna and see a man who has his priorities in order.

6. I think the Redskins are antsy. Joe Gibbs always is, but I see them making a major move on Saturday.

7. I think the reason I love this draft so much is the mystery of it.

8. I think if you really want to be prepared for Saturday, read Paul Zimmerman's mock draft in this week's SI and check out Rick Gosselin's online in the Dallas Morning News. Both men are brilliant dissectors of the draft.

9. I think I still can't believe Jared Lorenzen reported to the Giants' offseason program 68 pounds overweight.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

a. Someone explain Bruce Chen to me.

b. And Aaron Heilman.

c. Coffeenerdness: The reason why I will remain a Starbucks man, except in cases of emergency, is best illustrated by the $3.71 grande latte procured from the Coffee Beanery in the Buffalo airport on Saturday afternoon. Weak, watery espresso. Not worth drinking. Ever since Starbucks went to the mostly automated espresso shots, this is a 1-in-20 occurrence there. But it seems 50 percent of the sets of shots at a place like the Beanery -- which I'm sure is trying but simply not succeeding because this is the third or fourth poor latte experience there -- are mediocre to poor. Remember, people, you're in the espresso business. When you whiff there, you've failed.

d. I was really wrong about Vince Carter. The guy's a gamer, and he can play.

e. Your rants, Mr. Steinbrenner, don't help. They never have.

f. Surprise us, College of Cardinals. Pick a pope who will matter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by RedskinzOwnU

i'm assuming we'd also get the raiders #1 pick in this deal? But maybe i shouldnt be making that assumption. Either way this is a ballsy prediction, certainly more interesting to read than the same drafts over and over.

psst. the Riadurs dont have a 1st round pick in 2005.

If its the 2006 1st round pick then its more interesting... But still stupid as hell.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by T.E.G.

I guess I am the only one who would take this deal in a heartbeat...

Buchanon is a polished CB who would have more immediate impact than Rolle or Pac-Man...

Guess its just me...

Polished at what? Getting burned repeatedly? so much so that they are talking about him moving to Safety! I would much rather have any of the top 3 CBs in this draft and their upside than him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by T.E.G.

I guess I am the only one who would take this deal in a heartbeat...

Buchanon is a polished CB who would have more immediate impact than Rolle or Pac-Man...

Guess its just me...

Your not the only one, I am not in love with anyone in this draft, I would take that deal with the Raiders for Buchanon and the 38th pick and take Matt Jones.

or, I like this much better

Trade with Buffalo who also doesn't have a 1st round pick, so take Nate Clements who knows GW's scheme and is proven, and their 2nd round pick which is 55th overall and take Matt Jones with that pick, that way you get a seasoned vet at DB and you also get a nice project at WR, a 6’6 242 4.4 40 type project.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would take Buchanon, a 2nd, and a 3rd for #9 plus our 4th....but thats it....

It just doesn't add up....according to the value chart, in addition to the Raiders 2nd rounder, what pick would we need to make up the difference in points....I'm guessing a first, which Buchanon isn't worth....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think this trade could work out well for us. Gregg Williams just needs talent to work with, and Buchanon has some talent. Everyone on that Raiders D looks horrible, even Charles Woodson. They were last in sacks last year, and everyone knows that plays a big role in how good a CB is. I would take this deal, and maybe get a 5th as well.

Then in the 2nd round we take Vincent Jackson, and hopefully we will have 2 3rds, via the Gardner trade, and get a DE and OL in those spots.

I think if this trade happens, we make out bigtime.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...