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The NFL (mock) draft as beat writers see it

Jimmy Johnson used to spend hours reading mock drafts as part of his draft-day preparations. He used to say that some of the most accurate tidbits of information he got on what other teams were likely to do came from the beat writers that covered those teams.

And that's the reason he used to go so far as to call certain beat writers or journalists in various cities to pick their brains about their teams.

What follows is an wealth of information and opinion Johnson would love to have were he still making picks in this draft. Below you will find a mock draft compiled with the cooperation of two dozen beat writers and columnists that cover the NFL in the 32 NFL cities.

Every team's information is compiled by that team's beat writer or columnist, most of whom got on a conference call Tuesday and conducted a draft as if it were happening in real time.

This is the result. Some interesting things come out of this. Notice Percy Harvin is not picked in the first round. Notice the Dolphins have their choice of several outstanding players with the selection, made by me, perhaps surprising based on how this mock played out.

Anyway, won't keep you any longer. Have at it. And in the comments section, you tell me if the Dolphins would actually pick the player I picked based on his, shall we say, interesting sense of humor as seen in this youtube video below.

1. DETROIT: (8 picks, 2 in first, 2 in third, 2 in sixth.) Needs: QB, DT, OT/G, entire defense. Comment: Leos were last in the league in defense, 30th in rushing. As of today, they have narrowed choice to three players - Matthew Stafford, Jason Smith and Aaron Curry. Scott McEwen, protege of Ron Hughes in Pittsburgh, runs the college operation as he has in the past. Pick: Everything points to Stafford. Lions have one Pro Bowl appearance in the last 51 years by a QB, that being Greg Landry in 1971.

2. ST. LOUIS: (7 picks) Needs: OT, WR. Comment: Cut two seven-time Pro Bowlers in Orlando Pace and Torry Holt for cap reasons. Have lost 27 of last 32 games. No. 2 overall for second year in a row. It's down to 4 players: Matt Sanchez, Eugene Monroe, Jason Smith and Curry. They have just one bona fide OT on roster in Alex Barron. Donnie Avery is their most experienced WR on the roster (53 career catches). It won’t be Sanchez. If they have a higher grade on Curry, they’ll take him. PICK: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia.

3. KANSAS CITY: (7 picks; no second, 2 in seventh) Needs: Pass rusher, LB, Speed WR, OT. Comment: The Chiefs had just 10 sacks last year, will be going to some 3-4 so there’s a LB need. They added Zach Thomas, Mike Vrabel and Monty Beisel to get them through this year at LB. PICK: OT Jason Smith, Baylor. If St. Louis goes Smith, they go Monroe.

4. SEATTLE: (10 picks, 4 in seventh) Needs: OLB, OT, QB, WR depth, S. Comment: LT Walter Jones is coming off microfracture surgery. QB Matt Hasselbeck missed nine games last year with a back injury. PICK: Aaron Curry, LB, Georgia Tech. Crabtree is an outside shot. 'Hawks like Jason Smith a bit better than Monroe.

5. CLEVELAND: (5 picks, 2 in 2nd, no 3rd, no 5th, no 7th) Needs: Pass rusher, 3-4 OLB, S, WR, RB. Comment: Mangini wants to overhaul the roster. He wants to trade and collect picks. We believe the Braylon Edwards trade will happen when they go on the clock on draft day. They will trade QB Brady Quinn if they can. The Browns are interested in Matt Sanchez, but the suspicion is they would trade down instead. The PICK: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC. The suspicion is they’ll take the WR with the pick they get from the Edwards deal. But guessing Crabtree would not be crazy.

6. CINCINNATI: (11 picks, 2 3rds, 2 in 6th, 3 in 7th) Needs: OT, C, WR, RB depth, pass rusher. Comment: At OT, Levi Jones has been injury prone, Stacy Andrews lost in free agency. They are happy with Anthony Collins at OT. If both top tackles are gone, the PICK: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama. They had him in for a meeting a week ago. Brian Orakpo is a possibility. Michael Crabtree is possible.

7. OAKLAND: (5 picks; no fifth, no sixth) Needs: WR, OT, S. It’s always about speed with the Raiders. They have nobody for Russell to throw to. They’re happy with run game. PICK: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri. Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech. They may like Maclin and Hayward-Bey. Michael Huff is on the trade block, we think.

8. JACKSONVILLE: (9 picks; 3 in seventh). Needs: WR, DT, S, OT, 3rd CB. Comment: They got Torry Holt, but they’re still hurting at WR. Dennis Northcutt and Mike Walker are their other two WRs. DT is a need since they dealt Marcus Stroud. Haven’t been able to play the type of D they like – clog the middle. The plan is to take the best player available. PICK: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College.

9. GREEN BAY: (9 picks; 2 in third, 2 in sixth). Needs: Going 3-4. Could use DE, LB, OT, RB, S, DB. Comment: GM Ted Thompson has traded down 13 times in his first four drafts. In this scenario, they would trade down. PICK: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech. Their current D-line is: Jolley-Pickett-Jenkins. So Raji or Tyson Jackson are perfect fits. Not sure how they feel about Oher. The other 3 tackles would fit. Malcolm Jenkins would be an outside shot.

10. SAN FRANCISCO: (9 picks, 2 in fifth, 2 in seventh). Needs: OT, edge rusher, WR. Comment: They’re content to go with the QBs they have instead of taking one in the first round. They could use a RT. Singletary wants to go strictly to a 3-4 defense. PICK: Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi.

11. BUFFALO: (9 picks, 2 in first, 2 in fourth). Needs: DE, T, TE, LB. Comment:They can get a TE in the second round, and I can’t see them taking Pettigrew this early. A wild card would be Cushing. PICK: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas. If he’s gone, take Robert Ayers or Aaron Maybin.

12. DENVER: (10 picks; 2 in first, 2 in third, 1 in fifth, 2 in seventh). Needs: Going 3-4 so NT, OLB, ILB, DE, WR. Comment: We’re suspecting defense in the first round for sure. QB is the riddle. If they pick a QB, they’ve basically admitted they screwed up in trading Cutler. Can’t see that. There might be some interest in Quinn. PICK: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU.  Shanahan ran 14 drafts, they have 3 No. 1s from those drafts and only 2 are starters – DJ Williams and Ryan Clady.

13. WASHINGTON: (5 picks; no second, no fourth). Needs: pass rusher, OLB, RT. Comment: After this, they don’t pick again until No. 80. They traded second for Jason Taylor. Jason Campbell’s contract is up after this year. They would want Sanchez. The would have taken Orakpo or Tyson Jackson. They like the So. Cal linebackers. They have a tendency to take big-school players from SEC. Larry English is possible, but he’s from a small school. PICK: Larry English, DE, Northern Illinois. They’re not big on Maybin. They would consider a trade-down here.

14. NEW ORLEANS: (4 picks; 1st, 2 fourths, 7th). Needs: S, DE, CB, RB. Comment: They run a standard 4-3, Maybin or E. Brown are outside candidates. PICK: Malcolm Jenkins, FS, Ohio State. If he fits at safety, that’s fine with them.

15. HOUSTON: (8 picks; 2 in fourth) Needs: OLB, RB, FS are top three needs. Comment: They will try like crazy to trade back and take Matthews a bit later. PICK: Brian Cushing, LB, Southern Cal. It’s Cushing or Matthews unless Jenkins were to fall.

16. SAN DIEGO: (8 picks, no 2nd, three in fourth). Needs: DE, ILB, ROLB, S. Comment: They would like to take Tyson Jackson, DE. If Jackson gone, PICK: Beanie Wells, RB, Ohio State. If Wells gone, take Rey Maualuga. If all three gone, pass. Just kidding. Knowshon Moreno. (Running back is more of a future need that could be addressed now if the right guy is there.)

17. N.Y. JETS: (6 picks; no fifth) Needs: WR, QB, DE, RB. Comment:  Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff, are the current QBs. The value here is QB Josh Freeman of Kansas State. Pick: Freeman. Illinois CB Vontae Davis is possible.

18. DENVER: (from Chicago) (see picks above). Comment: They need defense. PICK: Clay MATTHEWS, OLB. Other option is Peria Jerry.

19. TAMPA BAY: (8 picks, no second, 3 sevenths) Needs: D-line, CB, WR. Comment: In total overhaul mode, new head coach, new GM, new coordinators, new QB, no Derrick Brooks. Jim Bates is veering from Tampa 2. PICK: Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi.

20. DETROIT: (from Dallas) (See picks above). Needs: Defense. Comment:  The Lions would take Jerry. Lions worst in NFL in rushing defense. Saints converted 11 straight third downs vs. them late last season. Horrible. PICK: Ziggy Hood, DT, Missouri.

21. PHILADELPHIA: (10 picks; no 4th. four in fifth, two in sixth). Needs: RB, Interior OL, TE, WR, DE. Comment: Already traded away a pick for Jason Peters of Buffalo. PICK: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia. Brian Westrbook about to turn 30 has balky knee.

22. MINNESOTA: (6 picks; no 4th, no 6th, 2 in seventh). Needs: RT, WR, CB, DT, C. Comment: RT is Ryan Cook, second round in 2006. WR need a second guy. Winfield is over 30 at corner. Need more bodies there. QB – they seem to be content with Rosenfels and Travaris Jackson. They like all the OTs. PICK: Eben Britton, OT, Arizona, Also: Harvin or Haywood-Bey are possible.

23. NEW ENGLAND: (11 picks; 3 in second, 2 in third; 2 in sixth). Needs: More pass rush, S, CB, LB. Comments: Six picks in the first 97 as rich get richer. Belichick said it’s the most flexibility he’s ever had. Expect them to move up and down. Defense was 26th on third down. PICK: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee. Belichick loves the height weight guys. He also likes the UConn cornerback Darius Butler.

24. ATLANTA: (7 picks, 2 in fifth, no 7th). Needs: OLB, SS, TE, CB. The PICK: Brandon Pettigrew, TE Oklahoma State. They like Larry English. However, in this scenario, Aaron Maybin would be a strong consideration.

25. MIAMI: (9 picks; 2 in second, 2 in seventh). Needs: Starting CB, No. 1 WR, pass rushers. Comment: The Dolphins won’t be afraid to take the best player available. CB Will Allen is one starter. They signed mediocre CB Eric Green; They do not have a No. 1 WR in their popgun offense. They want more pass-rush help for 32-year-old Joey Porter, who had 43 percent of their sacks. Everybody’s talking about Virginia’s LB Clint Sintim because he played with Al Groh, but he’s a second-round pick. (If somebody real good falls - Clay Matthews, Rey Maualuga or even Moreno, they'll pick him based on value. Pick: Rey Maualuga, LB, USC. Second choice: Darius Butler, CB, UConn. Third choice: WR Hakeem Nicks. Fourth choice: WR Kenny Britt.

26. BALTIMORE: (6 picks, no 7th). Needs: TE, OT, WR, Comment: Must help young QB Joe Flacco and Cam Cameron will be crying for more help on offense. The PICK: Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State. Visited them. They could use Pettigrew. Feel free to flip-flop Maybin to Atlanta and Pettigrew to Baltimore in this mock draft.

27. INDIANAPOLIS: (8 picks; 2 in fourth). Needs: WR, DT, OLB, RB, OT. Comment: Marvin Harrison is gone but may still be re-signed if Colts don't find a replacement in the draft. Oh, too bad, they do find a replacement. PICK: Darrius Hayward-Bey, WR, Maryland. A fallback pick would be: Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State.

28. BUFFALO: (from Carolina & Philly) (picks see above). PICK: Phil Loadholt, OT, Oklahoma. Fills need for a starting right tackle.

29. N.Y. GIANTS: (10 picks; 2 in second, 2 in third, 2 in fifth). Needs: WR, OT, MLB. Comment: Toomer cut, Plaxico Burress is gone. In this scenario, the PICK: Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina. They checked out Kenny Britt, but he didn’t have a great workout.

30. TENNESSEE: (10 picks, 2 in fourth, 2 in sixth, 2 in seventh). Needs: WR, CB, OLB, OT. Comment: Best player available is in play here. Pick: Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers. A very good option for them would be CB Alphonso Smith. They would pass on Harvin due to off the field issues.

31. ARIZONA: (8 picks, 2 in 7th). Needs: RB, OLB, TE. Comment: Expected to release Edgerrin James, three of their OLBs are over 30 and have had injuries. They’ve been searching for a TE for 2 decades. PICK: Donald Brown, RB UConn. They’re high on Larry English, think he’s a great kid and a hard worker.

32. PITTSBURGH: (9 picks, 2 in fifth, 2 in seventh). Needs: OL depth, DL depth, CB depth. Comments: Steelers love picking here and would love to do it every year. PICK: DL Fili Moala, USC. Options are C Alex Mack or C Eric Wood.

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Going to print this out and see how much the beat writers really know. Maybe we'll learn something.

Second!

Pick a TE to block for a 75% run offense

Mando,

If Rey falls into our lap with 25th pick overall, I'll say you and Tuna are the luckiest SOBs involved with the NFL.

Wow - if Fins can get Maualuga at 25, that would be the bomb! I'd also be happy with Butler. Please DON'T take Davis, we don't need a prima donna, even if he is talented.

I printed this out I'll be super impressed if even half the picks come true. I'd love to have Rey but I really want Phins to pick Nicks. Nicks is everything that Ginn is not.

I love the pick armando! Maulauga is a stud! At the beginning of the offseason noone thought hed come close to our pick, but he keeps getting closer and closer every mock draft. If we dont draft a WR in the first and Percy Harvin doesnt fall to us there is Brandon Tate in the later rounds who i think could be a real steal! This would be the dream draft for us, because i noticed both Vontae Davis and Alphonso Smith fell from the first round. There is a good chance that one of them would fall to us for our first pick of the second round!

now, we are in full alert dream watch,dreaming that dolphins can get Ray at 25 .to dream you need 3 things;

1-first you need to be a fin fan
2-mock draft writers giving you more than 3 good players who none of themm will be there at 25.
3-using the word IF hunderd times to make a dream come true in fans heads.

Great pick......I doubt he will get past San Diego or New England though....Would love it if he did. Darius Butler is the choice....Mark it down. I'm not thrilled with it, but it's a need. Get Harvin in the 2nd.

100-percent disrespectful on Maulauga's part. It's stupid crap like that causes female journalists to be perceived as second-class to male journalists and the athletes they cover.

Get Sintim & Harvin with the 2nd's

Gopats,

That was funny dude. Were you born in the US? I am from NY.

Mando. No way Darius Butler is the 2nd choice At 25. In fact you don't even have him in the 1st round in this mock draft. He's to small at 5-10 183 and not strong enough for this regime. He gets pushed around by bigger and stronger wr's to easily ( see kenny britt ). That's 1 reason he's probably been knocked down to a 2nd round grade by this regime. Maualauga is a probably a 2 down lb right now who comes with ? marks including needing baby sitters on the road. He has a lot of maturity problems. but at 25 he's worth a look. We'll see.

DFAN,HOW MANY NAMES CAN A CREEP LIKE DFAN SIGN WITH ? WHERE WERE YOU BORN ? in costa rica or cuba ?

Also if you're going to overlook maulaluga attitude problems then you also have to take a look at CB-Vontae Davis .

Gopats,

Why are you angry dude? I was born in NY. How about you?

NJ PHIN FAN,you are a football guy,how come you dreaming that Ray and V.Davis will be there to pick? don't forget your pick is is 25 not 14 or 18

dfan, i am not , i know you very well that i think it's funny for you to get talking to you under 7 names but any way ,are you an azzzzzzzzz as mr bunglito would say.

Armando strikes again! He refers to the Dolphins' offense of 2008 as a "popgun" offense, giving the impression that the Dolphins were ineffective last year and lists one of the needs as a wide receiver.

And yet, the Dolphins ranked 12th overall on offense, and 10th in total yards per game passing. In yards per passing attempt, they tied for 6th in the league at 7.7 ypa with the NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals.

In point of fact, the Dolphins ranked higher in passing than they did in running and yet, no one is calling for them to draft a running back. What the Dolphins do need on offense, both for rushing and passing, is better blocking.

Where in NY NY were you born DFAN azzzzz ?

Idiots! You think Ted Ginn was a project at WR? What is Harvin? Not to mention he failed a drug test which has now been confirmed. There is not a chance Miami drafts Harvin, so get it through your thick skulls.

Gopats you are too sensitive dude. Why did you ask if I was from Costa Rica or Cuba? Do you speak Spanish?

i love you Dfan

For all you Percy harvin fans. It's just been Confirmed by all sports media that harvin tested positive for weed. Good , I never wanted this guy. As my friend bunglito would say . what a azzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Fartlito,

Born in the Bronx.

Dfan, now i love you more cause i was born there too

Where was gopats born?


I want to know what is your most depressing draft day memory?

1) Eddie Moore

2) Ted Ginn's Family

3) Waiting through about four hours No-Dolphins-Picks Draft coverage just to hear Seth Mckinney's name called in 2003

4) Other


Dfan, i love you like fartlitoi .i was born in the bronx

Dfan, every one loves you,are you a big zzzzzzzzzzzz

Matthew Gonzalez what's stupid about that is your inability to find the humor in it. The only reason people think female journalists are second-class to male journalists is because: 1) The person already feels women are second-class all around due to their upbringing. 2) People like you bring it up and cause a fuss about something that is supposed to be funny.

Good picks. I think we can address the CB spot later in the draft. This staff can mold some second day picks. I would like ILB, OLB, and WR for the first picks. CB, O and D line on the second day. We need a NT but we will have to wait for the second day. Don't listen to Armando about trading Ronnie Brown. Everyone can be traded but no one will give up enough to make it happen.

Armando, did you get the idea of trading Ronnie from my E-mail about Browns contract and if there were any talks for extending it?

It's obvious that the Oakland beat writer outsmarted everyone. They managed to get Maclin AND Crabtree. Why didn't you draft two player for us Mando?

Rey Maualuga at #25? Keep dreaming! He'll be long gone by then. What, Armando, makes you think Brian Cushing and Clay matthews will both be picked before Rey? Cushing, maybe. But matthews before Maualuga? You must know something most of us don't. Please share.

There's one guy that wasnt talked about by any of these so called experts... his name is " GORT" 7 FT 9 IN, 795 LBs of wop azzzz ,what do you guys think ?

Mando,

I was wondering what your thoughts are on Brian Cushing? He's got the talent and is a very versatile, big, player. Plus he's a Jersey-grown kid which I'm sure Parcells loves.

Gary: Eddie Moore pick by far. I was studying for an exam that day with one eye on the computer the whole time. When that pick was made, I was so pissed off that I couldn't even concentrate when I was writing the exam.

Again getting him a work visa may be a little tricky though.

I don't see the Dolphins being more interested in Matthews than a real pass rusher, Maybin or E. Brown. If Maualuga falls into their lap, they MIGHT consider him over those two players. I've triple checked, and just to make sure I'm not crazy, E. Brown would still be available according to this mock, correct? They'd take Nicks or Britt over the little guy from Connecticut. There is only one scenario I see them taking DB: they think Davis is a better character guy than the press is making him out to be. Otherwise, the DB group is all 2nd-round talent, and they'll be able to get one of their guys with either of their picks there. I don't see Maybin, Brown, or Maualuga falling to the 'Fins, so I think they'll draft Nicks or Britt, but if any of those three picks do fall into our lap, I'd favor the selection.

Also, please shut up about Harvin. As a WR, he's a poor-man's Ted Ginn. Really, he's somewhere between Ginn and Lorenzo Booker. If you remember, we traded Booker because he didn't fit into the new system. What makes you think Harvin will?

So, unless we can get one of the 3 or 4 dominate pass rushers [again, Maybin and Brown are available according to this mock] or one of the two dominate ILB's [Maualuga], it looks like WR is ALMOST our only option - if we're drafting for value as well as need.

Gary, worst day as a fan was when dave( no testicals) wannstadt was named head coach...a truely dark day.

Gary, worst day as a fan was when dave( no testicals) wannstadt was named head coach...a truely dark day.

Also of course taking ted(where's the side line ) ginn and his clip board holding daddy along with the human blocking dummy Eddie( six pack) ginn, and the rest of the family Ginn was a dark day, but remember guys if it wasnt for wannstadt sitting into motion of loserness to the once proud mighty fins the ginn family might still be in Ohio working at "ginns bicycle and tricycle emporium"

Excellent pick Mando. Rey is definitely the best value at 25... Also, if he is there at 25, alot of teams in the top of round 2 will be wanting to get up to select him so it will be easier to find a trade down partner.

Menace, no doubt the Wannstedt hire was a truly dark day. I was trying to focus primarily on actual draft days...other dark days abount.

1. The A.J. Feely trade -- still makes my blood boil -- how could I, a total layman, with no football experience see that was a total rip-off while Wannsted and Spielamn were patting themselves on the back.


2. Panicking after Ricky nutted out on us (the first time) and trading something ridiculous (can't remember) for Lamar Gordon.

3. And yes -- Eddie Moore. Does anyone have that draft-day clip of Wannstedt on ESPN saying how Moore had the potential to become "great special tems player" --this was a SECOND ROUND PICK he was talking about here.

I laugh now. But I cried then.

Here is Belichick the master:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOaGkPXn9LQ

Gary. MIAMI traded a 3rh round pick ( i think it was the 3rd pick in that round ). Insane !

For L. Gordan

Well thought out post Gary. kudo's to you sir, i salute you.

cauban, i don't want to play for dolphins,i like to play for the pats better next to Moss so i can learn from the master.

I wish it was true. You did us proud

Gort, Will the pats make you clean your vents ?

Wow i forgot how dumb this blog can be. I was excited to read some blogs on who people think the dolphins to should draft and i find out its people arguing and criticizing others about things not even related to the subject. There may have been 2 or 3 posts actually relevant so far...

I still have my vents to keep it origianl and that's why my gorts tripe doesn't want me to play next to ted ginn and his crazy routes he takes during games

You Mean those crazy routes towards the side lines?

Chase, Try the sun sentinal, you'll enjoy it, have a great time over on that blog.

I cry like a girl every time my team announces their selection. I don't know why - I just do it. Then I pout and walk around in circles inconsolably, acting petulant, and generally miserable over how my team blew it again. Just for a change, this year I am going to try and mix it up by having some other Jet fans over and we will all wear dresses and watch the draft.

Cuban, the only way i would play for fins ,if they build an iron wall on the side lines so no escape for ted ginn to escape the hits.

P.S, i just saw the RAY video and i wonder why his agent didn't tell him to stay way clear of the site of any female human or else

breaking news....
Ronnie to be traded to the eagles for CB Brown and 2nd round draft pick.

This is great news. We get a corner and can take a RB in the second round early.!!!

Man Chase has only been gone for just a few seconds and i already miss him...

Gopats
Where were you born? I do not think you were born in the US.

Maualuga changes the role of best need. If he falls we gotta take him.
I still think using a high pick on WR is foolish when guys are still gonna fall to us in first of second round picks.
Of theese guys one of the following will fall to us.....Robiskie , Britt , Murphy maybe even Heyward Bey ( risky ) or Harvin.
Gotta go D in first.....Mathews ,English , Jenkns , E Brown.

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