1. Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
No need for much explanation here. Detroit wasn’t able to win a game last year, and they need help everywhere. Starting over commences with drafting their quarterback of the future.
2. St. Louis Rams: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
The Rams need help on both sides of the ball, but every guy they put under center last year was running for his life. What’s more, Orlando Pace (who was the cornerstone of the franchise for so long) was released this summer. They need a serious upgrade on the offensive line and Smith is clearly the best guy in the draft.
3. Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest
It’s pretty clear Curry will start for the Chiefs from minute one. The nickname that’s plagued their defense for so long “the Swiss Chiefs” may not be long forgotten with the addition of one player, but he’s definitely a step in the right direction.
4. Seattle Seahawks: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
The Seahawks would love to draft the franchise’s next Shaun Alexander, but no running back has the value of a top 5 pick in this draft. I think they think long and hard about Marc Sanchez, but in the end decide that his development would be shot without any weapons anyway. Hasselbeck can take a deep breath as he’s still their guy, and he’s got a new big time target to look for.
5. Cleveland Browns: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
The Browns need a better pass rush off the edge, and they are taking the best guy on the board at this point.
6. Cincinnati Bengals: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
The Bengals desperately need to improve their offensive line, and while they would normally be tempted to take a chance on Andre Smith (who has more talent than Monroe), they decide to reach for Monroe. Too much has been made of the Bengals off the field problems in past years, and they are trying to clean up the team image.
7. Oakland Raiders: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
Al Davis is never one to take sound advice, and he’s a complete sucker for talent. Part of me thinks Raji’s recent failed drug test makes him more attractive to the worst run franchise in the NFL (don’t worry Dan Snyder, your Redskins are close behind).
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Marc Sanchez, QB, USC
After being so good for so long, the Jaguars have reverted back to being a losing team. Time for the franchise to reload with a new face. Marc Sanchez can start his grooming process nice and slow.
9. Green Bay Packers: Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
The Packers are adopting a new 3-4 scheme, and Maybin is the perfect fit for that outside blitzing presence. Another player the Packers strongly consider is Malcolm Jenkins, but they decide Maybin will have more of an immediate impact.
10. San Francisco 49ers: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
The 49ers really think long and hard about Andre Smith. They need offensive line help, and at this point his ability is clearly getting closer to being worth the risk. In the end, they decide he is too much of a specimen, and too promising to pass on.
11. Buffalo Bills: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
The Bills reach a little for Jackson, but they want a guy that can rush off the edge and he’s a great fit for their defense.
12. Denver Broncos: Clay Matthews, OLB, USC
With Cutler gone and Orton in the fold, the Broncos are praying that Marc Sanchez falls this far. In the end he won’t, and they settle for the next best player available that can help their defense instead.
13. Washington Redskins: Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
The Redskins need to find an offensive lineman and they fall in love with potential. Oher is huge in size and was a terrific college player, but it’s a reach because his foot speed and technique leave a lot to be desired.
14. New Orleans Saints: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio St.
The Saints have big plans for Jenkins to replace Darren Sharper as their free safety of the future. The Saints need help throughout their secondary and Jenkins has the versatility to fill many different roles for the Gregg Williams defense in his rookie season. Beanie Wells was a possibility here, but the Saints decide Jenkins will help their defense which is more in need. There are lots of power backs later in the draft, as well as backs still available in free agency, that can help the Saints.
15. Houston Texans: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
Ayers will give the Texans the youngest, highest paid, and most promising defensive line in the league.