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Predicting the unpredictable

Published: Thursday, April 23, 2009

Updated: Thursday, April 23, 2009 06:04

Every April, so-called experts such as Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay try to predict what player each team will select in the NFL draft. The attempts are pointless. With all of the smokescreens put out by NFL teams, and the unpredictibility of trades, it is impossible to predict the Top 10 picks correctly, let alone the entire first round. So it would be foolish to even try, right? Wrong! IC sports editor Jason Mack, soon-to-be sports editor Zach Davis, and soon-to-be assistant sports editor Mike Bauman attempted our own prediction of how the draft will shape out. Through random selection, Mack made the first selection, Davis picked second and Bauman had the third choice. The picks repeated in that order. What makes us think we can succeed where all others have failed? We’re awesome, plain and simple. This is less of a mock draft and more of an early insight to what will happen on Saturday.

Mack: The Lions need help on the offensive line, and they could sign Aaron Curry for much cheaper, but passing on a potential franchise quarterback could come back to haunt them. Stafford is accurate with an extremely strong arm and is a solid leader. The Lions just need to work on his decision making on the field.

2. St. Louis Rams -

OL Jason Smith,

Baylor

Davis: The Rams desperately need a lineman and should be able to choose between the two best in the draft in Smith and Eugene Monroe. Smith’s upside gives him the slight edge as he looks to replace the departed 13-year veteran, Orlando Pace along the Rams’ offensive line.

3. Kansas City Chiefs -

LB Aaron Curry

Wake Forest

Bauman: Curry is the best player available-some might argue the best talent in the draft. He has a great work ethic. There is no way he falls out of the Top 5.

4. Seattle Seahawks -

QB Mark Sanchez

USC

Mack: The Seahawks will be tempted to take Michael Crabtree, but Matt Hasselbeck will be 34 this season, and he has struggled with injuries. Sanchez left USC as a junior with only 13 starts under his belt, so sitting under Hasselbeck for a season or two would be beneficial.

5. Cleveland Browns -

DT B.J. Raji

Boston College

Davis: While Michael Crabtree is the most talented player on the board, making him one of the highest paid receivers in football is a risky move. As long as Braylon Edwards remains on the team, Raji is the slight favorite for Cleveland. Raji’s addition would allow the Browns to move Shaun Rogers to defensive end, which would improve Cleveland’s overall pass rush.

6. Cincinnati Bengals -

OL Eugene Monroe

Virginia

Bauman: It’s a definite need for the Bengals. He is an immense talent without the character issues of Andre Smith. Monroe will likely be the next in a recent line of exceptional University of Virginia offensive lineman.

7. Oakland Raiders -

WR Jeremy Maclin

Missouri

Mack: Despite Crabtree being the top-ranked receiver, owner Al Davis covets speed. What Al Davis wants, Al Davis gets, for better or worse. Maclin has speed that Crabtree can only dream of, and he could end up being a smarter pick.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars -

WR Michael Crabtree

Texas Tech

Davis: The Jaguars seem the most likely team in the top 10 to trade down, and with Crabtree and Andre Smith available they should be able to do so. For this draft’s purposes, we will give David Garrard a much needed weapon in Crabtree. The addition of wide receiver Tory Holt would also be a great veteran influence on the young Texas Tech standout.

9. Green Bay Packers -

DE Tyson Jackson

LSU

Bauman: The Packers most likely would have taken B.J. Raji had he fallen, but with Dom Capers’ new 3-4 scheme, Jackson will probably prove to be a steal at No. 10 in the coming years.

10. San Francisco 49ers -

OL Andre Smith

Alabama

Mack: Smith has several character issues, but he is too talented to pass up with the No. 10 pick. Without a quality starter at QB, the 49ers at least need an offensive line to help out the running game, and it’s too high for QB Josh Freeman.

11. Buffalo Bills

DE Brian Orakpo

Texas

Davis: With all three top offensive tackles gone, the Bills biggest need lies at defensive end. Orakpo has loads of upside and is a good value pick at 11. Orakpo is a physical specimen who should wreak havoc on AFC foes.

12. Denver Broncos -

LB Everette Brown

Florida State

Bauman: Brown is a good big body to fit into Denver’s 3-4 scheme. Time will tell if his upside and potential comes to fruition. The Broncos were interested in Sanchez, but since Seattle took him at No. 4, Denver decided to fill a void on defense rather than reach for Josh Freeman.

13. Washington Redskins -

OL Michael Oher

Mississippi

Mack: This might be a little high for Oher, but he is the last elite prospect at tackle. The Redskins have a huge need on the offensive line, especially considering the pass rushers they face against division rivals Dallas, New York and Philadelphia.

14. New Orleans Saints -

LB Clay Matthews

USC

Davis: While having numerous needs on defense, linebacker remains a huge void that has yet to be filled for the Saints. Matthews will be a good complement to Jonathan Vilma, and should be the first of three outstanding USC linebackers to be chosen in the 2009 draft.

15. Houston Texans -

HB Chris Wells

Ohio State

Bauman: It is an unwritten rule in the NFL today that you need two good running backs to be successful, with tandems like Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson providing formidable one-two punches on offense. Wells is a classic rusher between the tackles whose game compliments Steve Slaton’s open-field speed.

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