by Jordan Adams - 03/24/2006
The following is the first of several 2006 NFL mock drafts from Jordan Adams, who will be handicapping on Doc's Sports site this coming NFL season.
1. Houston Texans - Reggie Bush, Running Back, USC. The most explosive offensive player available, Bush is a no-brainer at the No. 1 overall pick. Despite Dominick Davis' early success in the NFL, the Texans need more scoring artillery in its backfield if they hope to bounce back from a poor season in '05 and chase down a playoff spot in the future.
2. New Orleans Saints - D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Offensive Tackle, Virginia. With the recent signing of quarterback Drew Brees, you can rule out the Saints selecting the likes of Jake Cutler or Vince Young. While you cannot rule out New Orleans addressing its much-maligned defensive unit, the better chance is them focusing on protecting their extremely rich, new quarterback. Having inked Brees for six years and $10 million per season, the Saints would be wise to grab the proven and experienced OT. His combination of strength and size will do wonders to protect his new leader and his surgically repaired shoulder.
3. Tennessee Titans - Vince Young, Quarterback, Texas. Tennessee could flirt with the idea of taking hometown boy Jake Cutler, but in the end Vince Young did too much in the Rose Bowl for Titans management to pass on a player with his kind of potential. Vince polished his tools over his junior season and his freakish Vick-like running abilities have him doing things Cutler simply cannot. With McNair calling it quits soon, a quarterback is a necessity and the multi-dimensional Young will be taken at this spot.
4. New York Jets - Matt Leinart, Quarterback, USC. With Young off the board, the Jets also go the same route. This time they take the savvy Californian who just wins. Everyone forgets that had he entered the 2005 Draft, Leinart would have been taken No. 1 after his Heisman Trophy-winning season. All he did was come back for his senior year and put up better numbers and dominate the college football game with his backfield counterpart Bush. While Leinart may not be happy about the East Coast weather, the Jets will love him at a steal at No. 4.
5. Green Bay Packers - A.J. Hawk, Linebacker, Ohio State. Having already drafted Aaron Rogers last season, Green Bay will have no need for Cutler. Look for the Packers to focus on defense. Their defensive unit was miserable last year and could not get off the field enough to challenge opponents consistently. A.J. Hawk was exceptional during his time at Ohio State. Arguably the best defensive player on the board not named Mario Williams, Green Bay needs a player who can cover the entire field and be a leader right away. Hawk is proven with a National Championship under his belt and his addition along side fellow linebacker Nick Barnett would benefit the rest of the defensive unit immensely.
6. San Francisco 49ers - Mario Williams, Defensive End, North Carolina State. Mario Williams is the best defensive player on the board, and perhaps the player who can make the most happen the soonest. Williams is physically imposing at 6'7'', 295 and will be a star for years to come. His dominance at the college level has set the bar as one of the best NFL prospects since Julius Peppers out of North Carolina. Williams' abilities are rare. He can overpower offensive lineman much larger than him and impressively chase speedy receivers down field. Williams' selection is theft any spot past the top four and will start from day one wherever he lands on the map.
7. Oakland Raiders - Jay Cutler, Quarterback, Vanderbilt. The Raiders do not have just one hole to fill, but look no further than the man taking the snaps. The release of Kerry Collins makes way for Al Davis to bring in a young arm that can be built around. Oakland has one of the best receiving corps in the NFL and it would foolish not to bring someone in who can get them the ball. Randy Moss, Jerry Porter, Doug Gabriel and Ronald Curry all can get it done, but they need a consistent ball thrown their way over the course of the season. The drafting of Cutler will not be the only new arm brought in during the off-season. Watch for the Raiders to sign a veteran looking for a new home such as Aaron Brooks. Cutler will be the future but it won't hurt him to sit a year while someone takes the snaps and shows him how to get it done.
8. Buffalo Bills - Winston Justice, Offensive Tackle, USC. The Bills could focus on either side of the ball, but it is obvious that the offensive has the most weaknesses. Particularly, the line has been questionable and the release of Mike Williams should pave the way for a new man. Winston Justice fits this mold and could help a team that needs to commit more to the run with Willis McGahee and less to its lame quarterbacks that fail year-after-year since Jim Kelly retired.
9. Detroit Lions - Michael Huff, Defensive Back, Texas. Hopefully the trend of taking wideouts in the first round will not continue and it shouldn't. Instead the Lions will improve its secondary and draft the Longhorns' Michael Huff. This safety is a ball hawk and has the experience at both safety and cornerback. He is a major upgrade at whichever position he falls into at the pro level.
10. Arizona Cardinals - Vernon Davis, Tight End, Maryland. The signing of Edgerrin James in the off-season ruled out a potential great fit for LenDale White. The Cardinals have tremendous offensive firepower on paper and they will throw the ball a great deal. Vernon Davis will only boost their passing capabilities. He is a physical specimen, a freak of nature with his body. He owned the weight room at Maryland and his records there prove that. While he plays tight end, he is not just that. There has not been a player at this position who is as fast, strong, and athletic and his frame is made for the physicality of the NFL.
11. St. Louis Rams - Jimmy Williams, Cornerback, Virginia Tech. Don't rule out the Rams trading up for Vernon Davis because he would fit perfectly into the "Fastest Show of Turf." However, the secondary is where the Rams should go. They can probably grab Jimmy Williams later in the round if they traded down, but having him in its defensive backfield is worth the pick right here. St. Louis has the athletes at cornerback but simply lack the physical size in any one of them.
12. Cleveland Browns - LenDale White, Running Back, USC. White is a big-time athlete and has the frame to be an instant success in the pros. You could argue that White has the potential to be a better NFL running back than Reggie Bush. With the new additions to the offensive line, White would be a good fit, as no Cleveland running back has been capable of keeping the job for more than a couple of years.
13. Baltimore Ravens - Ernie Sims, Linebacker, Florida State. The Ravens could go in multiple directions, but linebacker is one key spot that they need to improve upon. The loss of Edgerton Hartwell to the Falcons last season and the falloff of Peter Boulware leaves an opening to be filled. Ray Lewis has been amazing in recent years, but he has also been injury prone as of late and he is simply not enough to get that corps back to the dominant level it has played at three years ago. Sims is a beast athletically and can help them in numerous areas.
14. Philadelphia Eagles - Chad Jackson, Wide Receiver, Florida. Past drafts have indicated that Philly usually loads up on defense, but the Eagles ignorant ways have caused them to pass up on the likes of players such as Steven Jackson and Matt Jones the past couple of years. This is one year where management needs to get some help for Donovan McNabb. Chad Jackson impressed at the combine and has a similar build to one Terrell Owens, respective to his age.
15. Denver Broncos - Laurence Moroney, Running Back, Minnesota. Denver has been known to take most backs in its system and turn them into 1,000+ yard rushers. Moroney comes fresh out of college with the tools to succeed immediately. He would be a great fit in Denver, seeing that they do not have a top-notch back as they have had in the past.
16. Miami Dolphins - Santonio Holmes, Wide Receiver, Ohio State. The departure of Sam Madison seemed to make it an easy choice for a new cornerback to replace him. However, the acquisition of Daunte Culpepper puts that thought on hold until the later rounds. Holmes' speed is a perfect fit for Miami. Culpepper has one of the strongest arms in the game and a speed merchant such as Holmes is vital for the long ball. He will be complementary to the Dolphins star position receiver Chris Chambers.
17. Minnesota Vikings - DeAngelo Williams, Running Back, Memphis. The Vikings surely do not have a slim depth chart at running back, but they have no one who stands out, capable of handling a full load of carries over a course of a season. Williams showed that size is no issue, dominating over his college career. With Culpepper no longer there to throw the ball 40 times a game, Minnesota may have to rely more on running and Williams is just the man to help them.
18. Dallas Cowboys - Haloti Ngata, Defensive Tackle, Oregon. He is a necessity for Dallas and will be a top target for its defensive-minded coach Bill Parcells. Not sure if he will drop to the Cowboy's spot, but Ngata has the physical size to play right away and will boost the line that added some key players in last year's draft.
19. San Diego Chargers - Donte Whitner, Safety, Ohio State. Safety is a sure-fire position pick for the Chargers at the No. 19 slot. Whitner is the best choice and very capable. Good in both man-to-man coverage and known as a physical hitter, he can offer his talents on special teams as well.
20. Kansas City Chiefs - Tamba Hall, Defensive End, Penn State. Keeping with the theme of defensive improvement, Hall would be a great fit for his Chiefs team. He had a breakout season as a senior and is explosive off the snap. He should be able to play right away, whether that is as a starter or rotating in off the bench.
21. New England Patriots - Mathias Kiwanuka, Defensive End, Boston College. Difficult to say whether he will be available this late, but the Pats should not let this local star pass. A freakish athlete, he has the physical tools to dominate at the professional level and will with time.
22. Denver Broncos - Broderick Bunkley, Defensive Tackle, Florida State. Bunkley has the strength for the position but does not carry a large, overweight figure that most DTs do. He will add depth to the line that is vastly improved from a couple of seasons ago.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Marcus McNeil, Offensive Tackle, Auburn. The Bucs have not had its tackles show any consistent success with the likes of Anthony Davis and Kenyatta Walker. McNeil falls here at a great spot for Tampa Bay. They need a wall to protect Chris Simms, who is now their starting quarterback.
24. Cincinnati Bengals - Ko Simpson, Safety, South Carolina. Seeing how badly the Bengals' secondary got abused this past season, particularly in the playoffs, they need help. Simpson was exceptional during his time spent at South Carolina. He is a tough character and physically gifted. He would add some toughness to a unit that got pushed around by Pittsburgh and Indy, amongst others.
25. New York Giants - Tye Hill, Cornerback, Clemson. With Jimmy Williams well and drafted, Tye Hill remains as the best available defensive back. Not only a defensive threat, but capable in special teams, Hill will help the Jets immediately one way or another.
26. Chicago Bears - Leonard Pope, Tight End, Georgia. The Bears did not get much production from their tight ends this past season and with inexperienced quarterbacks, they need all the weapons they can get. Pope is scary big. He towers over everyone on the field and has exceptional speed for his size that is unheard of. A great pick here for Chicago.
27. Carolina Panthers - Gabe Watson, Defensive Tackle, Michigan. All of a sudden Carolina has a hole at this position with the release of Brentson Buckner and the injury-prone Kris Jenkins. Gabe Watson was highly regarded coming into this senior season at Michigan. He has a massive frame and showed no lack in using it to throw others around.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars - Chad Greenway, Linebacker, Iowa. Not far from another great year, the Jags could use some help in the middle of its defensive unit. Greenway was a true talent at Iowa and should continue success in the future. He isn't great but is good at a bunch of things and would be capable of starting with some time to learn the pro game.
29. New York Jets - Ashton Youboty, Cornerback, Ohio State. You can never have enough cover corners and Youboty is a speedy back that can do exactly that, especially after not bringing back Ty Law. He flies to the ball and shows good zone capabilities. Not a bad pick for late in the first round.
30. Indianapolis Colts - Wali Lundy, Running Back, Virginia. Tailback, Tailback, Tailback! It would be shocking if the Colts did not address the large vacancy left by Edgerrin James. Not sure if Lundy is the pick to click, but he among others could be selected in hopes of partially filling James' production level. Other viable options include Oregon's Terrance Whitehead and Texas' Selvin Young.
31. Seattle Seahawks - Manny Lawson, Defensive End, North Carolina State. Tough to say where the Super Bowl XL runners-up will go, but Manny Lawson is a sleeper pick that will flourish wherever he goes in the NFL. He, like he college teammate Mario Williams, excelled on the line. Lawson now will be given the chance exit from Williams' shadow and explode onto the NFL scene.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers - Sinorice Moss, Wide Receiver, Miami. The answer for the loss of Randle-El. Pittsburgh needs speed and that is the forte of Moss. Santana Moss' brother has the spark to get drafted sooner, but if he somehow slips to here, the Steelers would be thrilled to have him. He is deadly in the open field and his small size, similar to a Dante Hall, can take him very elusive both with and without the ball.