NFL Players Draft Part 1

From SportingNews Columnist Mike Florio:

Everyone and his step-grandmother are churning out multiple mock drafts these days, and now we’re starting to see alternative formats. So-called “backdrafts” are becoming popular, with the first round of past drafts being redone based on what we know now.

Here’s a take on what would happen in Round 1 of the 2008 draft if the teams were allowed to pick players already in the league. This is a lot more interesting than pursuing another standard mock draft, version 16.4.

Picks 16-32:  Tomorrow – Part 2 (1-15)

16. Arizona Cardinals: Marion Barber, running back, Cowboys. Barber is precisely the type of hard-charging running back who could make coach Ken Whisenhunt’s offense go.  My Choice:  Brian Westbrook, RB, Eagles. Now with the OL emerging, pairing Westbrook up with Edgerrin James would make this offense a legitimate powerhouse.  While as Arizona loves to go to the air, Villanova’s finest makes this move an absolute match, allowing you to finally label this team as a true contender for the NFC West crown.

17. Minnesota Vikings: Jason Taylor, defensive end, Dolphins. Taylor’s presence would make this team an immediate contender. (If it could get back Kevin Williams and Adrian Peterson.)  My Choice:  Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys. No question this team’s biggest need is a QB.  Minnesota secures an upper echelon passer with this selection, while putting themselves in a position as the favorite to take home the NFC North title.

18. Houston Texans: Asante Samuel, cornerback, Eagles. One of the biggest question marks on the team’s defense would be filled with an exclamation point.  My Choice:  Joseph Addai, RB, Colts. If Houston can find a complete RB they will be a 9-10 win team challenging for the Wild Card.  Addai, a touchdown scoring machine, is one the league’s Top 5 backs and the Texans will find a way to get the rock in his hands 25-30 times a game, unlike the Colts.  Addai is a premiere runner who can do it all and this move would shake up the AFC South, allowing Gary Kubiak’s club to possibly reach the Playoffs.

19. Philadelphia Eagles: Tony Romo, quarterback, Cowboys. Getting a quarterback for five years at a favorable contract slot while simultaneously swiping the Dallas starter would likely prompt the powers-that-be to overlook the whole “intense local outcry” thing that would result from adding Romo to a roster that features Donovan McNabb and Kevin KolbMy Choice:  Anquan Boldin, WR, Cardinals. Philly is a #1 WR away from making some noise not only in the wide open NFC East but as a sure contender, potentially becoming one of the best teams in the NFL.  Boldin is tough as nails, can block like Hines Ward, and make plays like Torry Holt.  Anquan would be perfect for Donovan McNabb and the offense would dramatically improve, while the Eagles challenge for supremacy atop the NFL’s toughest division.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Donovan McNabb, quarterback, Eagles. Problem solved for Philly, as Bucs coach Jon Gruden adds yet another quarterback to the roster. The good news is that this one, unlike the others Gruden has collected, can actually play.  My Choice:  Jay Cutler, QB, Broncos. Gruden would love Cutler’s style and mobility to throw on the run and he would help Tampa become a legitimate contender in the NFC.  Cutler still has room to grow but he will only get better, as I see him developing into the next elite QB.

21. Washington Redskins: Chad Johnson, receiver, Bengals. Somehow, some way, Drew Rosenhaus would convince Dan Snyder to opt for Ocho Cinco.  Agree.

22. Dallas Cowboys: Steve Smith, receiver, Panthers. Improperly used and lacking a strong quarterback and supporting cast for two years in Carolina, Smith would be an instant star in Dallas. Even T.O. would have his popcorn ready.  Agree.

23. Pittsburgh Steelers: Vince Wilfork, defensive tackle, Patriots. Wilfork would be a huge asset for the Steelers’ defense, regardless of whether they stay in a 3-4 or shift to a 4-3.  My Choice:  Tommie Harris, DT, Bears. A healthy Tommie Harris is the NFL’s best interior DL.  His nickname “Real Deal” is no joke.  Harris is balanced as a defensive tackle, as he’s strong against the run while possessing the ability to get to the QB with ease.

24. Tennessee Titans: Dwight Freeney, defensive end, Colts. Though a tad on the overrated side, Freeney would make a very good defense downright dominant.  My Choice:  Mario Williams, DE, Texans. Super Mario is coming into his own after being selected 1st overall in the ’06 Draft (no controversy anymore) and he will become the most dominant defensive lineman in ’08.

25. Seattle Seahawks: Antonio Gates, tight end, Chargers. The long, fruitless search for a tight end who can catch the ball (and/or not get in all sorts of trouble) is over.  Agree.

26. Jacksonville Jaguars: Reggie Wayne, receiver, Colts. With Wayne as the No. 1 wideout and Jerry Porter as the No. 2, the Jags’ offense could hold its own with the likes of the Colts and Pats.  My Choice:  Andre Johnson, WR, Texans or Brandon Marshall, WR, Broncos. Either one of these young and skilled wideouts would fit, helping cure the Jags passing woes and lack of a playmaking receiver.  Marshall/Johnson both possess explosiveness and they would help Jacksonville threathen the Colts/Patriots for the best offense in the AFC, as the addition would make the running attack that much dangerous and more effective.

27. San Diego Chargers: Atari Bigby, safety, Packers. A young, big-hitting defensive back quickly coming into his own is just what the Bolts need.  My Choice:  Bob Sanders, S, Colts. Either Sanders, Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu would work.  Bigby is not as polished as these three and still is a bit inconsistent in pass coverage.   S.D. would steal Indy’s best defensive player and they would love to have Sanders patrolling the middle like the intimidating enforcer he is.  A Sanders/Merriman duo would prevent WR’s from doing damage in short yardage situations (Regulars On ESPN’s Jacked Up Edition) as they would jam the area – pass catchers will be hearing footsteps all day long.  S.D. biggest weakest is their defensive backfield and Sanders would shore that problem up in a heartbeat.

28. Dallas Cowboys: Champ Bailey, cornerback, Broncos. Though Bailey might not have many years left, the Cowboys would like to win a playoff game or two at some point before the end of the decade. Bailey would help them get there in the short term.  My Choice:  DeAngelo Hall, CB, Raiders. Dallas’ secondary is pathetic and why not add another loud motormouth to the team?  Hall fits the bill as he’s cocky, arrogant, and confident – he would be the lockdown corner the ‘Boys need.  Hall vs. Owens in practice would be fun to watch.  DeAngelo would also stop the search for a return man.

29. San Francisco 49ers: Lance Briggs, linebacker, Bears. Surely the ‘Niners wouldn’t be able to resist a legitimate, non-tampering opportunity to add Briggs to the team.  Agree.

30. Green Bay Packers: Matt Hasselbeck, quarterback, Seahawks. With Brett Favre retired (we think) and the team otherwise ready to make a run at a Super Bowl, a former Packer who knows the West Coast offense inside and out would be the perfect candidate.  My Choice:  Drew Brees, QB, Saints. Brees is a better QB without a doubt and the offense would not miss a beat implementing this former Purdue Boilermaker.  While having the impressive ability to lead a team under center (Chargers, Saints), he’s fortunate to be armed with a trio of talented WR’s (Driver, Jennings, and Jones) at his disposal in the aerial attack.  His accurate arm makes up for his lack of cannon and he is an aggressive firer back in the pocket.  Reliability is not a concern, as he’s very tough and durable.

31. New England Patriots: Forfeited. It’s very important to be realistic in this draft.

32. New York Giants: Ray Lewis, linebacker, Ravens. He might only have two or three years left, but Lewis could run free behind those monsters on the defensive line.  My Choice:  Adalius Thomas, LB, Patriots. Giants already have an elite MLB named Antonio Pierce, so let’s go with a younger option to make their pass rush and overall defense that much scarier with a defender that has the best combination of size, strength, speed, and versatility in the NFL.  Thomas would fit perfectly and would complement Pierce and Kiwuanka at the linebacker position.  Imagine being a QB on 3rd and long having to stare at a fearsome, foursome defensive line in front of you that consists of:   Michael Strahan and Justin Tuck, as they provide penetration up the middle, and on top of that, you have to deal with a 1-2 bookend punch of Osi Umenyiora and Adalius Thomas, while they bring the heat, getting to you off the edge – WOW!


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