ESPN.com's 2005 mock draft
The experts at ESPN.com project the first 32 picks of the 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.
Alex Smith, QB, Utah
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Mike Nolan says signability won't be an issue in the decision, and that means that Smith should be the pick. He's the guy on the top of the 49ers' board. Even though it's unlikely that he will be signed by Saturday, Smith gets the top nod. The Niners will talk with teams about a trade, but that doesn't seem likely to happen.
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.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Cal
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: After failing to make deals with Minnesota and Tampa Bay, the Dolphins offensive coaches will win out in the debate over taking Rodgers over halfback Ronnie Brown. The Dolphins want out of the pick, but the Vikings have pulled back on trade talks and the Bucs won't give up their second-rounder to move up three spots. Nick Saban could start the rebuilding with a quarterback, halfback or receiver, and in a close vote, the quarterback wins.
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.
Braylon Edwards, WR, Michigan
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: The Browns would have been in a tough spot if Edwards went to Miami because they're not having any luck trading down to a spot where they could take a defender. Edwards is one of highest rated players in the draft and he's the choice here. In the second round, the Browns may look to take quarterback Charlie Frye of Akron.
Moderator: The Bears are now on the clock.
Cedric Benson, RB, Texas
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: The conventional thought is the Bears will take wide receiver Mike Williams to pair alongside offseason acquisition Muhsin Muhammad. But general manager Jerry Angelo believes in making a safe pick. What can be safer than a back who gained over 1,000 yards in four straight seasons at Texas?
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.
Carnell Williams, RB, Auburn
Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Bucs coach Jon Gruden would have preferred one of the top two quarterbacks and, if the Dolphins take Braylon Edwards at No. 2, and Rodgers slips, the Cal star is a possibility. But the Bucs desperately need a tailback and the Tampa Bay staff coached Williams in the Senior Bowl and liked him. Wide receiver is also a possibility.
Moderator: The Titans are now on the clock.
Antrel Rolle, CB, Miami
Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: If the Titans can resign unrestricted free agent cornerback Andre Dyson, they might go in a different direction. But they've got to get a corner at some point. Don't be shocked, though, if it's a tailback, wide receiver or offensive lineman here.
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.
|7. Vikings (from Raiders)|
Mike Williams, WR, USC
Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: The Vikings are looking to trade down, but Williams provides a replacement for the departed Randy Moss. Another team that could go for a tailback, since coach Mike Tice isn't exactly in love with any of his incumbents.
Moderator: The Cardinals are now on the clock.
Adam "Pac-Man" Jones, CB, West Virginia
Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Coach Dennis Green will be tempted here by tailback Ronnie Brown. But he actually needs a cornerback worse than he does a running back. Auburn cornerback Carlos Rogers is also a solid possibility.
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.
Carlos Rogers, CB, Auburn
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: The Redskins have really gotten hot on the Auburn cornerback lately. If the Cardinals snatched Rogers one pick ahead of them, Pac-Man Jones could be a factor here.
Moderator: The Lions are now on the clock.
Derrick Johnson, LB, Texas
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: This isn't a lock. The Lions would be tempted if Antrel Rolle fell to the 10th pick. It's also not out of the question that the Lions draft defensive end Erasmus James. In the end, though, the Lions can get a play-making linebacker who has the ability to dominate a game because of his speed.
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.
Demarcus Ware, LB/DE, Troy St.
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Early word out of Dallas is they favor Ware over Shawne Merriman as a potential linebacker in their switch to a 3-4 defense. Bill Parcells has been waiting to get a playmaker for the defense. Ware can be a 4-3 defensive end, but he can be an impact rush linebacker, too.
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.
|12. Chargers (from Giants)|
Shawne Merriman, LB/DE, Maryland
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: The Chargers will need all 15 minutes to sort out this debate. They need a pass-rusher. Merriman can do that from a linebacker set in their 3-4. That is great value and it fills a need. The problem is wide receiver Troy Williamson is also available. Merriman should win but it will be a close call.
Moderator: The Texans are on the clock.
Ronnie Brown, RB, Auburn
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: This is the third team looking to add pass rush to their 3-4, but offense will be there. While wide receiver Troy Williamson would be the natural choice, the Texans can't pass on halfback Ronnie Brown, who is a steal at this point. They have been thinking about signing veteran Anthony Thomas. By being patient, they may have landed the best back in the draft.
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.
Alex Barron, OT, Florida State
Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Just too good to pass on at this point. The Panthers have moved Jordan Gross back to right tackle and planned to play former guard Travelle Wharton at left tackle. But being able to put a potential left tackle stud like Barron next to newly acquired standout guard Mike Wahle is a real coup for a line that was troubled in 2004.
Moderator: The Chiefs are up next and if they don't go with defense it might be the biggest surprise of the entire day.
Marcus Spears, DE, LSU
Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Lots of ways the Chiefs can go to upgrade a porous defense. Spears is the most complete of the end candidates. Other possibilities include end Erasmus James and safety Thomas Davis. In fact, passing on Davis would be a tough swallow for them.
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.
Thomas Davis, S, Georgia
Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Sure, the Saints just added free safety Dwight Jones and re-signed incumbent strong safety Jay Bellamy. No big deal, since coach Jim Haslett is one of the guys who feels Davis is a more natural linebacker and will play him there. It would certainly address one of the Saints' longtime need areas.
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.
Troy Williamson, WR, South Carolina
Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Defensive-oriented head coach Marvin Lewis taking another offensive player? Hey, he's done it in each of the previous two first-round picks he made. Lewis doesn't like any of the defensive tackle prospects enough to grab here and, in this scenario, Thomas Davis, the guy he really wanted, is gone.
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.
Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: The Vikings fell into a good one here. They can put James on the right side and rush Kenechi Udeze from the left. James could end up being the sixth new starter on the Vikings defense, the most improved in football. With Udeze, James, Pat Williams and Kevin Williams, the Vikings would have the makings of one of the NFL's best defensive lines.
Moderator: The Rams are up next.
Jammal Brown, OT, Oklahoma
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: The Rams were hoping for Davis to fall. Sure, Mike Martz hates taking offensive linemen in the first round, but Brown can take over at right tackle. Kyle Turley will be released in June. This is a need pick.
Moderator: The Cowboys are back on the clock. Will they stick with defense or take a wide receiver to help boost the offense?
Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: The Cowboys could be trading out of this pick, but they can get a dependable wide receiver who was the MVP in the Senior Bowl and an extremely productive player in college.
Moderator: The Jaguars are on the clock.
Marlin Jackson, CB, Michigan
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: This is a need selection, so the Jaguars could go a number of different ways at cornerback. Jackson heads the list of corners after the top three guys (who went in our top 10) and he is the pick here.
Moderator: The Ravens are on the clock.
Roddy White, WR, UAB
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Clayton would have been the preferred selection here. They also would have taken Jammal Brown. White is the sleeper from UAB who has opened eyes with his speed and athleticism.
Moderator: The Seahawks are on the clock.
David Pollack, DE, Georgia
Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Replacing departed pass-rusher Chike Okeafor with former Rams end Bryce Fisher was only a partial answer to where the Seahawks are going to generate an upfield threat. Pollack has some physical shortcomings, but he's got a huge motor and is a relentless, every-down defender. Plus, he might be able to play linebacker in some situations.
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.
Travis Johnson, DT, Florida St.
Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: The Packers could fill a need with a linebacker here, but the defensive line is both threadbare and disappointing. There is some talk of moving underacheving tackle Cleditus Hunt to end and, while one could argue the wisdom of that, Johnson would provide such potential. Plus he'd give the Packers some much-needed inside toughness.
Moderator: The Redskins are back on the clock with a pick they got from the Broncos.
|25. Redskins (from Broncos)|
Jason Campbell, QB, Auburn
Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: The Redskins get their quarterback of the future. Two concerns: Will someone leapfrog ahead of them to get the skyrocketing Auburn star? Will Joe Gibbs be in a retirement home by the time Campbell is sufficiently groomed to be the starter?
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.
|26. Raiders (from Jets)|
Fabian Washington, CB, Nebraska
Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: The Raiders need to replace Philip Buchanon, traded to Houston on Tuesday, and Washington is a good fit. Al Davis loves speed and Washington ran a 4.29 at the combine.
Moderator: The Falcons are on the clock.
Bryant McFadden, CB, Florida St.
Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Might be a bit of a reach here, but he's a physical defender, who can play cornerback and safety. The Falcons continue to bolster their secondary with another young corner after taking DeAngelo Hall last year.
Moderator: The Chargers are back for their second first-round pick.
Khalif Barnes, OT, Washington
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: This is a value pick at a position of need. They would consider safety Brodney Pool or some of the wide receivers, but Barnes is a potential left tackle. That's hard to pass up.
Moderator: The Colts are up next.
Matt Roth, DE, Iowa
John Clayton, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Obviously, the Colts have to look to defense. It's a little high to take any of the linebackers left on the board. Roth wins out over a decent pool of defensive linemen that includes Dan and Shaun Cody.
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.
Marcus Johnson, OT, Mississippi
Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: The Steelers can go a lot of ways, including the very real possibility of taking Matt Jones. But virtually any pick Pittsburgh makes is for depth, and Johnson is a guy who can play guard or tackle, where the Steelers need bodies. They like some of the center-guard linemen, too, like David Baas and Chris Spencer.
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.
Matt Jones, WR, Arkansas
Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: They didn't conduct that private workout with him last Friday, an audition for which they brought backup quarterback Mike McMahon, just for the heck of it. They could go for a defensive tackle, offensive lineman or maybe even a safety here. But with 13 picks, and five on the first day, the Eagles have the wherewithal to add plenty of depth.
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.
Barrett Ruud, LB, Nebraska
Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior NFL writer: Another team that could go a lot of ways to fill in with depth. Ruud is a high-motor guy with some of the same skills Tedy Bruschi possesses. Other names to watch include Marlin Jackson, Reggie Brown, and a number of offensive linemen.
Moderator: OK, that's it. Thanks for all the questions. Tune in Saturday starting at noon ET on ESPN to catch all the action.
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