ESPN.com's 2005 mock draft


ESPN.com's ninth annual mock draft is over. Thanks for all the questions; we had way too many to answer. For a more in-depth look at the entire draft, check out the latest mock from Scouts Inc., which starts at pick No. 1 and goes all the way to No. 255.

Moderator: The first pick will be coming up. We'll start with a question from Bill in Boston ... Hey Len, how hard is it this time of year to know what is true and what is just a smokescreen?

Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Great question. Pretty darn hard. I've been doing it 27 years now and even the people you trust lie to you. It's like you have to filter every shred of information and try to figure out how much truth there is to it.

Moderator: Let's take a Niners question before we get to their pick (which will be made by John Clayton) ... Rick from San Francisco asks, wouldn't it just make the 49ers look like a joke if money ends up being a big factor in what they do with the No. 1 pick?

Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: "Joke" might be a little strong. But, yeah, for a team that needs so much, the so-called "signability" factor should not exist. In their draft meeting last Saturday, coach Mike Nolan strongly suggested the team just needs to take the player they deem best and worry about the finances later. Hey, Eli Manning, who was represented by Tom Condon, the same agent Alex Smith has retained, was in camp on time. Condon does not have a track record of holding guys out of camp. There's a reason the 49ers won two games in 2004. They need to start solving that reason by taking the best players, not the guys who might be willing to give them a Bay Area discount.

Moderator: Now the Dolphins are on the clock. We have a question from James in Miami ... How badly does Saban really want to trade out of this spot?

Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Very, very, very badly.

Moderator: The Browns are now on the clock and we'll take a question from Larry in Santa Fe ... How tempted will the Browns be to take a defensive player in this spot?

Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: With Romeo Crennel as coach, and switching to a 3-4, pretty tempting. But who? There really is no defensive player worthy of the No. 3 slot, which helps explain why the Browns would prefer to move down a few spots. About the only defensive player you could reconcile here is Derrick Johnson and this is even too high for him.

Moderator: The Bears are now on the clock.

Moderator: The Bucs are now on the clock.

Moderator: Actually, we just got in a Bears question, so let's answer that. John from Chicago asks ... Len, If either Aaron Rodgers or Alex Smith is available at the 4 spot, if you were the one in charge of the Bears would you take either guy or do you feel comfortable enough with a so far injury-plagued Rex Grossman? You saw what happened last year to the Bears going into the season without a serviceable backup.

Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: I've written before on the site that I'm a Grossman fan and feel he's a quarterback with whom the Bears can win, provided they surround him with a good supporting cast. choosing another first-round QB only invites questions and your commitment to Grossman, and no one needs that. So I would pass on both quarterbacks if they slipped to the No. 4 slot.

Moderator: The Titans are now on the clock.

Moderator: The Vikings are now on the clock and we have a question from Mike in Tampa ... Are the Vikings really considering a trade up? It doesn't make sense to me that they would give up two first-rounders in THIS draft to move up for one player.

Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: I think, like most teams with two No. 1s, they explored the trade-up options, saw the price of doing business and backed off. The latest buzz is that they might actually consider trading down a few spots.

Moderator: The Cardinals are now on the clock.

Moderator: The Redskins are now on the clock and we have a question from Ricky in Virginia ... I've heard rumors that the Redskins might try and trade up to grab Edwards out of Michigan? Any truth to that?

Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Well, they've cleverly leaked that possibility to some of their media friends. Is it possible? Sure. Dan Snyder likes big splashes, and getting Braylon Edwards would qualify as such. But there's just as much possibility, from what I'm hearing, that the Skins wouldn't mind sliding back a few spots from No. 9 and collecting an extra pick. About the only certainty inside the Redskins complex is that there is uncertainty. This is, in a lot of ways, the gang that couldn't shoot straight. Maybe their aim will be better this time around.

Moderator: The Lions are now on the clock.

Moderator: The Cowboys are now on the clock and we have a question from Brad in Normal, Ill. ... The Cowboys could use a WR ... but I keep hearing defensive needs first. What's more important? Fixing a mediocre defense, or an anemic offense?

Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Always defense first. Plus, defensive needs are simply more difficult to fill. History has shown, time and again, that you can find a wide receiver, a guy who will contribute, in the second or third round.

Moderator: The Chargers are up next and we have a question from Mike in San Diego ... One thing that I have not heard discussed is the possibility of the Chargers trading away Philip Rivers or Drew Brees for a pile of picks this weekend. With the Chargers' needs on the lines and at the WR positions, I'd think paying two "starter salaries" might be painful enough to move one of them for more depth. Any rumors?

Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: None. General manager A.J. Smith has steadfastly maintained his intention to keep both quarterbacks for 2005 and then make a determination at the end of the season. No reason to believe Smith, who is very candid, is bluffing. San Diego positioned itself cap-wise to be able to carry two big QB salaries this season and that's apparently what it will do.

Moderator: The Texans are on the clock.

Moderator: The Panthers are up next (with Len Pasquarelli on the clock), but first why don't we take a Ronnie Brown question from Rob in Cleveland ... How can the Dolphins pass on Ronnie Brown? Not only is he a stud, but he's also a character guy who can contribute right away. I can see then trading down, but taking a QB, no way.

Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Well, it's a little awkward for me having to answer a question about a pick that my partner, John Clayton, made. But he's got some other responsibilities right now, so I guess I'll try. Uh, on second thought, no, I won't. I don't know why The Professor put Rodgers in the second slot. Maybe, as is usually the case, he knows something I don't. Look, everyone knows the Dolphins desperately want out of this pick but, if they're forced to make a choice, well, they'll have to make it. I would have taken Ronnie Brown or Braylon Edwards. But, hey, that's why it's called a "mock(ery)" draft. Anyone who takes it too seriously is crazy.

Moderator: The Chiefs are up next and if they don't go with defense it might be the biggest surprise of the entire day.

Moderator: The Saints are on the clock, but first, we've got a question/comment from DNL in New York that we hadn't really thought about ... This is the worst draft ever. The Giants do not have a first-round pick. The Jets do not have a first-round pick. Who are we supposed to boo?

ESPN.com NFL editor Peter Lawrence-Riddell: Hadn't really thought of that, but yeah, it will be different at the draft without a New York team having a first-rounder. That said, the fans will find someone to boo (did you really think they wouldn't?). The Raiders always get a pretty good response from the crowd at the draft.

Moderator: The Bengals are on the clock and we have a question from Ryan in Columbus, Ohio ... Is this the year the Bengals get the blue chip corner that they've needed for a decade now ... Like a Carlos Rogers or a Pac-Man Jones?

Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Don't know how much the Bengals like Rogers but, if Jones were to somehow slide to them, they'd be all over him. Unfortunately, I don't see either of the corners being available at their pick.

Moderator: The Vikings are back on the clock for their second pick in the first round, and no, we won't take more than the allotted 15 minutes to make the pick.

Moderator: The Rams are up next.

Moderator: The Cowboys are back on the clock. Will they stick with defense or take a wide receiver to help boost the offense?

Moderator: The Jaguars are on the clock.

Moderator: The Ravens are on the clock.

Moderator: The Seahawks are on the clock.

Moderator: The Packers are on the clock, but first we have a Seahawks question from Casey in San Francisco ... Conventional wisdom says the Hawks will be looking at a DE or DL in the first round. However, what about going LB (Channing Crowder -- who will be a beast in the NFL, I think) or a sure-handed WR like Clayton (and finally show Koren the door)?

Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Sure, both make sense, I think. I love Crowder, too. But I've got to tell you, scouts are really afraid of his knees. Clayton is going to be a real steal in the second half of the round. Obviously, he doesn't have the speed of some of the top guys, but has real short-area quickness. A very complete guy.

Moderator: The Redskins are back on the clock with a pick they got from the Broncos.

Moderator: The Raiders are on the clock with the pick they got from the Jets and we have a question from Dave in New York ... What do you think of the Jets decision to trade their first-round pick to Oakland for Doug Jolley and Oakland's second-round pick?

Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: I thought it was a little bit of a steep price. But clearly, like a lot of teams, the Jets felt they could get guys in the second round who were just as good as anything they were going to get at their spot in the first round. Jolley is a solid receiver but not a very good blocker. That said, it was clear the Jets needed to get a tight end.

Moderator: The Falcons are on the clock.

Moderator: The Chargers are back for their second first-round pick.

Moderator: The Colts are up next.

Moderator: The Steelers are on the clock, but we have a Packers question to answer from Bob in New York ... If Alex Barron is off the board, is there any indication the Packers may try to move ahead of the Saints to land Thomas Davis? Or do the Packers just have too many needs to trade up?

Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Haven't heard any talk at all of the Packers moving up. One guy to watch big-time with the Packers is Georgia linebacker Odell Thurman. Like every team, the Packers have character concerns about Thurman, and are doing a ton of research on him. It would be unlike Green Bay to take a guy with as many flies buzzing around him as Thurman has, but he sure fits a need.

Moderator: The Eagles are up next and we have a question from Tim in Columbia, Md. ... The Eagles have 13 picks and very few spots on their roster where they need help. It seems obvious that they'll be making a trade or two, but where? Who in the first round are they likely to target in a trade?

Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: You know, a general manager I trust a lot said something interesting to me the other day: "The Eagles have so many picks that they can't use them all. They're so good, they'll just be drafting players that have no chance to make their team." I hadn't thought of it that way, but he's right. Don't discount the possibility of the Eagles trying to get DE Darren Howard from New Orleans with some of their draft picks. As for guys they might move up to secure, my guess would be an offensive lineman, maybe a guy like Khalif Barnes, if he started slipping. But, obviously, all those picks provides them a lot of flexibility.

Moderator: The Patriots are on the clock with the final pick of the first round and we have a question from Greg in Westfield, Mass. ... Even though they pick at the bottom of the first round, who, what, and why will the Patriots use their first selection toward?

ESPN.com NFL editor Peter Lawrence-Riddell: With the situation surrounding Tedy Bruschi and losing Ty Law, conventional wisdom says the Patriots will have their eyes on defenders. Some possibilities include: CB Justin Miller, LBs Odell Thurman and Barrett Ruud. Also, if one of the top OL (Khalif Barnes?) slipped to them, they might think about that.

Moderator: OK, that's it. Thanks for all the questions. Tune in Saturday starting at noon ET on ESPN to catch all the action.