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2009 First-Round NFL Mock Draft

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Howard Balzer, Special to Comcast.net
Tue Apr 14, 2:59 PM UTC

The days dwindle down to a precious few. With less than two weeks remaining before the first pick in this year's draft is made April 25, mock drafts start being perused a bit more carefully.

Smokescreens are rampant as teams attempt to position themselves for the players they want. Visits are made to team facilities, many times with the intent of confusing other teams. What is real and what isn't?

No one really knows until the selections begin.

1. Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia: The Lions won't be able to stop themselves. They'd like to get a quarterback later, but there's no compelling reason to pick anyone else.

2. St. Louis Rams: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor: This might be the "lock" pick of the draft, although the Rams also like Eugene Monroe. Either way, it has to be a tackle.

3. Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest: The versatile Curry can learn from veterans Mike Vrabel and Zach Thomas.

4. Seattle Seahawks: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia: Ignore talk of a quarterback. This will be the replacement for Walter Jones.

5. Cleveland Browns: Brian Orakpo, LB, Texas: The Browns' defense needs some playmakers, and this is a start.

6. Cincinnati Bengals: Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi: The Bengals' line has deteriorated, and Oher would provide an upgrade.

7. Oakland Raiders: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech: The Raiders roll a lucky 7 with Crabtree still available at this spot.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri: The Jaguars have struck out on some receiver choices, but Maclin should be a sure thing.

9. Green Bay Packers: Everette Brown, LB, Florida State: Just what the Packers need as they switch to a 3-4 defense.

10. San Francisco 49ers: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College: He will add size and strength to the middle of the 49ers' defense.

11. Buffalo Bills: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State: Help on the corner is what the Bills need badly on defense with no top pass rusher available.

12. Denver Broncos: Tyson Jackson, DE, Louisiana State: Defense is where Broncos need reinforcements in their switch to the 3-4, and Jackson would be a solid addition.

13. Washington Redskins: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia: Clinton Portis won't last forever, and Moreno will make the running game better.

14. New Orleans Saints: Brian Cushing, LB, Southern Cal: The Saints can score points, but they can't stop anyone. Cushing will help along those lines.

15. Houston Texans: Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State: He will be an excellent complement to Steve Slaton.

16. San Diego Chargers: LB Rey Maualuga, LB, Southern Cal: He has all the tools to be a force inside in the Chargers' 3-4 defense.

17. N.Y. Jets: Mark Sanchez, QB, Southern Cal: Jets won't be able to pass on him as he slips to this part of the first round.

18. Denver Broncos: Clay Matthews, LB Southern Cal: Still more defense for the Broncos with this pick acquired from Chicago in the Jay Cutler trade.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Percy Harvin, WR, Florida: It's just like the Bucs to take a talented player with question marks.

20. Detroit Lions: Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi: He should fit well in Jim Schwartz's style of defense.

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Eben Britton, OT, Arizona: Might the Eagles take a chance on Andre' Smith? You never know, but Britton is certainly the safer selection.

22. Minnesota Vikings: Alex Mack, C, California: With Matt Birk gone, this pick seems to be a no-brainer.

23. New England Patriots: Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut: Cornerback help is needed, and he is right in their backyard.

24. Atlanta Falcons: Ziggy Hood, DT, Missouri: Hood has the ability with inside presence to make those around him better.

25. Miami Dolphins: Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest: The secondary is in need of upgrading, and Smith is a solid choice at this point of the first round.

26. Baltimore Ravens: James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State: The departure of Bart Scott and advancing age of Ray Lewis makes this a choice for the present and future.

27. Indianapolis Colts: Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland: With Marvin Harrison gone, Heyward-Bey can join Reggie Wayne and be the receiver for the Colts' next generation.

28. Philadelphia Eagles: Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut: Tough, strong and will be the perfect complement for Brian Westbrook.

29. N.Y. Giants: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State: They will be tempted by a wide receiver, but Pettigrew's skills fit best what the Giants strive for on offense.

30. Tennessee Titans: Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State: His size (6-3, 209) and smarts make him an excellent fit for the Titans' offensive style.

31. Arizona Cardinals: LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh: Edgerrin James is still around, but for how long? McCoy can team with Tim Hightower to make a strong combination.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers: William Beatty, OT, Connecticut: Questions remain at tackle for the Steelers, and Beatty could develop into a top blocker.

Courtesy of The Sports Xchange

Howard Balzer is a Senior NFL Writer for NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange. He is also a member of the NFL Hall of Fame selection committee.

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