First-Round Knockout


Kiper: Easy. JaMarcus Russell is their guy. He has one of the strongest arms the NFL has ever seen.

McShay: They will take Russell because the smart move is to draft the QB of the future. But Calvin Johnson is the top player on my board.


McShay: I know this will drive their fans crazy, but the Lions will select Johnson. They should take Brady Quinn, but you get the sense they don't like him.

Kiper: If the Lions pass on Quinn, it would be yet another in a long line of questionable decisions. I think they will, although not for Johnson. They'll take Clemson DE Gaines Adams, a Simeon Rice-type edgerusher.


Kiper: For the same reasons the Lions should take Quinn, Cleveland actually will. They need a franchise face.

McShay: When you can draft a franchise QB, you do it. People say Quinn can't win the big game. They said that about Peyton, too.


McShay: I put Adams here. The Bucs let their defense deteriorate recently. I think Adamswho had 12.5 sacks in 2006can become the next great pass-rusher.

Kiper: Johnson is the best player in this draft, and he's who the Bucs want. If you can get the consensus best player in the draft at No. 4, that's pretty rare.


Kiper: Wisconsin OT Joe Thomas was the most dominating player in college football last year. It got to the point that no one wanted to line up against him.

McShay: Besides Russell, this pick makes the most sense. Thomas will protect their investment in Matt Leinart.


McShay: Arkansas DE Jamaal Anderson is the best fit. They need to get younger, faster and more athletic along the D-line.

Kiper: I think the Redskins are looking to trade down because they don't have a second-, third- or fourth-round pick. If they don't, LSU S LaRon Landry is the guy.


Kiper: They have Chester Taylor, but Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson is a special player.

McShay: I agree. Running back is not a top-five need. But when you have a chance to draft an elite player, you draft him. They will take Peterson.


McShay: Landry is arguably the best defensive player in the draft. This is the perfect marriage of value and need.

Kiper: Michigan CB Leon Hall is my pick, if they stay here. I actually think they'll try to trade up for Johnson and give Michael Vick some help.


Kiper: I like Louisville DT Amobi Okoye here. Okoye and Jason Taylor together will wreak havoc.

McShay: I think they need to upgrade the offensive line and will take Penn State OT Levi Brown.


McShay: Hall is the perfect fit. For my money, he is the best CB in this class.

Kiper: The criticism I always had of Houston during the David Carr era is that they never helped him out. Maybe with Matt Schaub, they will draft a tackle like Brown.

11. 49ERS

Kiper: Michigan DT Alan Branch is overrated, but I still think they'll take him. At 6'6'', 331 pounds, he's a big body who fits their 4-3.

McShay: I think they'll take Branch too. But for a guy his size, he doesn't make a lot of plays.


McShay: Ole Miss LB Patrick Willis is the best value. With little talent around him, he excelled in the SEC. Plus, his numbers (6'1'', 240 pounds, 4.5 40 time) are great.

Kiper: We are in 100% agreement. With all that productivity (11.4 tackles per game), Willis is a talent.

13. RAMS

Kiper: This team is built for speed, and with his return ability, Ted Ginn Jr. is the guy. Plus, Isaac Bruce is old, and Kevin Curtis is gone.

McShay: Interesting choice, Mel. But I have Okoye going to the Rams. He has speed and can penetrate, a perfect fit for their defense.


McShay: I went with Miami TE Greg Olsen here. He is the only TE in this class who can stretch the field.

Kiper: Nobody made more money at the combine than Olsen, when he ran a 4.5 40. He will give the Panthers offense a lot more diversity.


Kiper: Pittsburgh CB Darrelle Revis' 40 time (4.39) made him a top pick.

McShay: True, but Mike Tomlin uses a Tampa 2 scheme, and CBs are not relied on as much. Penn State LB Paul Posluszny is a better fit as they transition from a 3-4 to a 4-3.


McShay: Cal RB Marshawn Lynch has good size (5'11'', 217 pounds), speed (4.46) and hands. Favre will love him.

Kiper: The Packers can pencil Lynch in to start now.


Kiper: Florida DE Jarvis Moss is an explosive passrusher who fills a real need.

McShay: I like Nebraska DE Adam Carriker more than the 6'6'', 250-pound Moss. At 6'6'', 292 pounds, Carriker can play DE or give John Henderson and Marcus Stroud a breather at DT.


McShay: They cannot afford to make another bad character decision. I like Revis here. He can play corner and has return ability.

Kiper: You're right, character issues have hurt them. But I think they'll take Jamaal Anderson. He can rush the passer and play the run.


Kiper: The Titans need a receiver for Vince Young. Tennessee WR Robert Meachem can run after the catch (18.3 ypc) and help start the offense.

McShay: I agree that they need a receiver, but this is where Ginn Jr. will go.


McShay: This is simple. Florida State LB Lawrence Timmons fills a real need.

Kiper: I thought about Timmons, but the Giants need to protect Eli. Central Michigan OT Joe Staley is a former TE who is only getting better.


Kiper: The Broncos can't get any heat on the quarterback. If Carriker is available, they'll take him.

McShay: We are flipflopping over Moss and Carriker. With a great pass-rusher like Moss, their defense could take a huge leap forward.


McShay: I am going with Texas CB Aaron Ross. Dallas desperately needs an upgrade at corner.

Kiper: Jerry Jones will make a splash with USC WR Dwayne Jarrett. He's been so productive (41 career TDs) and he has great size (6'5'', 213 pounds) to team with TO.


Kiper: This is where Ross goes. He intimidates and creates turnovers.

McShay: Every year, I pencil in the Chiefs to take a receiver. This year, I'm saying it's LSU's Dwayne Bowe, who will draw attention away from Larry Johnson and Tony Gonzalez.


McShay: The more I look at Miami LB Jon Beason on film, the more I like him. He can play ILB in their scheme.

Kiper: Beason ran a 4.77; he has to run better. I am going with Posluszny. He ran a 4.6 and showed a lot of athleticism.

25 .JETS

Kiper: They need more 3-4-type players. A guy like Timmons can play linebacker in their scheme.

McShay: I agree they need a pass-rusher, but I think Purdue DE/LB Anthony Spencer is a better fit. He had 26.5 tackles for losses last year.


McShay: The Eagles don't have a pressing need, but Texas S Michael Griffin is the best value.

Kiper: Bowe would be an immediate upgrade over some of their receivers.


Kiper: I always harp on the Saints to take a corner. Arkansas CB Chris Houston helps immediately.

McShay: True, they are aging and slow at corner, and Houston can start now.


McShay: Again, the Patriots look for versatility, and Florida's Reggie Nelson, who can play safety or corner, is their guy.

Kiper: Yes. He ran a 4.3 40 at his pro day. And Bill Belichick and Urban Meyer are buds.


Kiper: I think they'll draft USC C Ryan Kalil to protect Steve McNair.

McShay: I agree with upgrading the line, but Central Michigan's Staley will still be available.


McShay: The Chargers need help at receiver. Meachem, the kid from Tennessee, would be a perfect fit.

Kiper: The Chargers need to upgrade their secondary, so I have them taking Griffin.


Kiper: Auburn G Ben Grubbs is a value pick. He can lead Cedric Benson around the corner and help protect Rex Grossman.

McShay: Jarrett will help fill a need at receiver right away. Grossman has a tendency to sail his throws, and Jarrett catches everything.


McShay: Tennessee DT Justin Harrell tore his biceps during the season, but if he had been healthy, he'd be a top-10 pick.

Kiper: In terms of value, if the Colts get Harrell, it would be the best pick in the draft.