1. Detroit Lions — Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia*
6-3 | 237 lbs. | Junior
Tampa Bay, FL
Both Jason Smith and Aaron Curry have the chance to dethrone Stafford from the top overall position. However, the Lions desperately need a quarterback. Detroit should not expect to turn things around as quick as the Miami Dolphins did this season. However, a Matthew Stafford-Calvin Johnson combination should give fans some optimism. A new identity is needed for the team that struggled so much in 2008. Stafford has the best arm in the draft, hands down. He could make any throw on the next level and could be the quarterback Detroit has lacked for so long. There is an option out there that would allow the Lions to select an offensive tackle here and then a quarterback at No. 20 (the Miami Dolphins method). However, that’s a bit too risky for a team that desperately needs a franchise quarterback, so they will opt for the alternative method of drafting a quarterback then offensive tackle (the Atlanta Falcons method).
2. St. Louis Rams — Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
6-5 | 305 lbs. | Senior
Jake Long was probably going to become a member of the St. Louis Rams at the 2008 draft, had the Dolphins not snatch him up with the first overall pick. Furthermore, with that being said, the team has done little to improve at either tackle position. A few weeks ago, this was Andre Smith’s spot to lose. After a bad combine performance, coupled with concerns about his true position at the next level, that’s exactly what happened to Andre Smith. Contrarily, Jason Smith has done nothing but impress NFL teams since the point Andre Smith started to fall. Jason Smith has proved to be the prospect with the most potential in the draft, and a player the Rams cannot resist.
3. Kansas City Chiefs — Aaron Curry, OLB/ILB, Wake Forest
6-3 | 247 lbs. | Senior
Kansas City silenced all fans that clamored for a quarterback at the third spot by going out and trading for Matt Cassel. This deal instantly means the Chiefs will not be an easy opponent for AFC foes. However, the team could still needs to address concerns on the defensive side of the football. All signs indicate that the Chiefs are moving to a 3-4, and Curry would be the ideal linebacker to have in a 3-4 defensive scheme. He reminds me a lot of Adailus Thomas, alluding to the fact that he could play any linebacker position within the scheme. Furthermore, Curry gives the team a franchise player to build around the rest of the defense. He has all the tools to be a productive linebacker at the next level. Good size, and unbelievable athleticism allowed Curry to establish himself as the best defensive player in this draft class. Michael Crabtree is still an option here, but the team can’t resist Curry after an impressive combine performance.
4. Seattle Seahawks — Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech*
6-3 | 214 lbs. | Sophomore (m-88.me)
In this scenario, Seattle would select Crabtree with little debate in the war room. Mark Sanchez here is an option, but this still might be a bit high for him at this point. Crabtree, with his combination of size, speed, and productivity, is clearly the best wide receiver in this draft class. Michael Crabtree’s foot injury should not alarm the Seahawks in any fashion. In fact, one could argue that the injury helps Crabtree fall to the Seahawks.
5. Cleveland Browns — Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas
6-4 | 260 lbs. | Senior
It would be an understatement to say that Cleveland is drafting in a bad position, especially after Malcolm Jenkins stock slipped a bit. Brian Orakpo is a bit of a reach, but the team will most likely take the best available linebacker. I’m still not sold on Eric Mangini selecting another 3-4 outside linebacker after the Vernon Gholston experience. However, there’s no question the Browns have to find a way to put more pressure on the quarterback. Orakpo and Kamerion Wimbley could become a dynamic pass rushing that the Browns need.