With the 24th pick in the BBV Mock Draft, the Falcons select ...

We are inching closer to the Giants at 29 in our Big Blue View Community Mock Draft. Here we have the 24th pick, with 'kingofatlanta' selecting for the Atlanta Falcons.

24. James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State

Let's face it, if any body has defensive needs in this draft it’s the Falcons. The loss of Grady Jackson, Keith Brooking, Domonique Foxworth and Michael Boley this off-season, as if they had room to lose anyone. James Laurinaitis has the ability and the intellect to step in and impact this sub-par defense.

Laurinaitis is the son of world-renowned wrestler; Joe Laurinaitis who competed as the "Animal" in the 1980s and 1990s as part of the tag team called the Road Warriors (Legion of Doom). How can you go wrong with that? Laurinaitis won All-Big Ten Conference first-team honors, and for the second consecutive year was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year. He ranked second in the Big Ten and 14th in the nation with an average of 10.0 tackles per game.

My thoughts: I have to like this pick. The Falcons have an obvious need on defense, and I still believe that if the Giants are picking at 29 (which I don't think they will be) and Laurinaitis is sitting there Jerry Reese will have a hard time passing him up. I know some folks have misgivings about him, but I think he is a good choice here.

(James Laurinaitis Scouting Report)

-- This puts the Miami Dolphins and 'gob56' on the clock. Hopefully, we can get at least this pick and one more done this weekend, bringing us very close to the Giants' selection.

1. Detroit Lions (selected by 'cjmulrain')
Jason Smith, OT, Baylor: Conventional wisdom says that the Lions are going to select quarterback Matt Stafford of Georgia, but since I'm running the show I'm going in a different direction. I'm not convinced that Stafford is going to be a star QB in the league, and when you're taking a guy with the first pick I don't think you can have any doubts about it, especially when you're coming off the first ever 0-16 season in NFL History. Even if Stafford does have the tools to be a great quarterback, the Lions have no semblance of an O-line to protect him, putting him at risk to develop David Carr syndrome if he were brought in to play right away. To address this, I went with Smith, who profiles as a potential franchise left tackle. I strongly believe in the philosophy of building a football team from the lines out and think a team as devoid of talent as the Lions would be better served with a rock at left tackle. I was tempted by Aaron Curry but think there will be better value on the defensive side of the ball at the 20th pick than there will be on the O-line. As for QB, let's just say that I'm not too optimistic about the prospects for the 2009 Lions and like the thought of Colt McCoy in silver and blue.
2. St. Louis Rams ('Woogie526')
Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest: Well this decision was originally going to be a selfish one by the new coach. However, with Jason Smith off the board, it became a no-brainer. I choose Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest. He would be the brain of Spag's defense. In the crazy schemes Spags uses, he needs a general on the field to organize blitzes and coverages.
3. Kansas City Chiefs ('jrs1940')
Brian Orapko, OLB, Texas: Orakpo is an NFL ready defensive end. He is 6-4 and 258 pounds and a great athlete who can power or finesse his way into the backfield. He tallied four tackles-for-loss and a half a sack as a freshman and earned Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year honors. The following year he managed 4.5 sacks and six tackles-for-loss. As an upperclassman last season Orakpo improved those numbers and ended up with 5.5 sacks and nine tackles-for-loss, although his playing time was limited due to a knee injury. He is much better than that guy the Rams stole from us, I’m glad we didn’t get him.
4. Seattle Seahawks ('bkurcz')
Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia: I know its not the sexy pick, with Stafford and Crabtree still out there, but it's the pick that makes the most sense. The three main areas that Seattle needs to improve are O-line, WR and secondary. The WR depth in the draft is pretty good, I'm sure there is going to be an attractive prospect early in the second round at that position. Number 4 is a little early to take any of this year's DBs and a future replacement for Matt Hasselback can wait 'til late in the draft or next year. So, my pick for a guy that has proven himself at guard and tackle is a smart way to go. Especially because Walter Jones isn't getting any younger.
5. Cleveland Browns ('jp2y')
Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech: With stud pass-rushing talent Brian Orakpo fresh off of the board, Mangini and Kokinis select the gifted receiver from Texas Tech, Michael Crabtree. His off-the-charts production at Tech proved that he was not merely a system product of Mike Leach's high-octane offense. There have been rumblings of a Giants-Browns trade for Braylon Edwards for weeks now, and the Browns have done nothing to dispel those rumors. Crabtree will replace the talented yet drop-prone Edwards, and replace him as Cleveland's deep threat for the next decade, and most likely develop into an All-Pro talent. The extra picks obtained from the Edwards trade will allow Mangini to focus on the defensive side of the ball.
6. Cincinnati Bengals ('ETVal')
Andre Smith, OT, Alabama: The Bengals are like the baggage claim service at the airport. They love to collect players with suitcases full of it, and that makes the enigmatic Smith the perfect pick in this spot. The fact that Cincinnati desperately needs someone who can help keep Carson Palmer in one piece, and that the 6-foot-4, 332-pound Smith should do that quite well, is just a bonus.
7. Oakland Raiders ('hoyadestroya85')
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland: Throwing it deep is what the Raiders are all about. We already have our Howitzer Armed Quarterback, so now what we need is a guy to go over the top of defenses. There is no better person for this role than Darrius Heyward-Bey from Maryland. I know he doesn't have the "production" and he may be a "workout warrior" but this guy is what the Raiders are all about. We don't want little dump off passes like the Rich Gannon/Jon Gruden days. Chicks dig the long ball and that's what we're gonna give them.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars ('mymanren')
B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College: Jacksonville has glaring needs at WR and in their interior defense. Maclin is a very tempting pick here, but his skills are still pretty raw and will need time to develop. Jacksonville is one season removed from an 11-5 record, and will probably make a safer pick that can have more of an immediate impact. Raji will wreak havoc in the middle with John Henderson and will take attention away from the two DEs they drafted last year. Jacksonville definitely missed Stroud last season, and are now also without Mike Peterson. Jacksonville still needs a WR with Jones, Williams, and Porter all gone, but this is a receiver rich draft and the Jags have been burned by high WR picks. I think they'll go for offense with their other picks. Also, David Garrard is their guy they won't throw this pick away on a QB. In the real draft I think Jacksonville is a prime candidate to trade down.
9. Green Bay Packers ('Dick Murdock')
Malcom Jenkins, CB, Ohio State: After nearly wetting themselves when B.J. Raji almost slipped to this spot, the Pack must recollect themselves and get as much value as possible. There are a bunch of pressing needs at DE, DT, and OT. They also have two elder CB in Harris and Woodson. I was tempted to take Everette Brown, however, he doesn't fit the mold of a 3-4 DE. I also gave other consideration on the defensive line, but decided on Malcolm Jenkins because both of their CBs are on the wrong side of 30.

This is a reach and I don't think entirely too much of this player, but my plan got spoiled when Raji was selected. I would also consider selecting one of the QBs and later trade in a package, but that's a whole new can of worms.
10. San Francisco 49ers ('Free Bradshaw')
Aaron Maybin, OLB, Penn State: 49ers get probably the second best DE prospect in the draft. Like Orakpo and Everette Brown, I think they all would be better suited to play their natural position, 4-3 DE. But as a 3-4 OLB, Maybin can use his speed, strenght and pass-rushing ability to help the Niners do what they had trouble doing, get to the QB. Since the Niners go in this direction, they have confirmeed that Manny Lawson is a true bust. They won't cut him, but at least him and Maybin will push each other for playing time It could work out well cuz Giants fans know that too many pass rushers is a good thing.

This was a tough pick cuz I don't really think the Niners want Maybin. I could have grabbed either QB, but I think Shaun Hill is their starter and they like him. Also Alex Smith is still on the roster. I also thought about Jeremy Maclin, but the Niners have a bunch of young WR they want to develop. OT- Oher was also an option, but they signed Marvel Smtih.
11. Buffalo Bills ('Greek')
Everette Brown, DE, Florida State: The Bills are in a tough spot with this pick as they can go in several directions. A lot depends on how negotiations with starting LT Jason Peters progress. Assuming that Jason Peters is still a Buffalo Bill when the draft starts, the biggest area of need for this team is an improved pass rush. With 13.5 sacks last year, Brown will make an immediate impact for a team that totaled only 24 sacks in 2008. Brown will be able to play outside in a 4-3 scheme and not be forced to convert to a rush linebacker, allowing him to contribute right away. Many experts have the Bills looking at Oklahoma State TE Brandon Pettigrew with this pick. However, with Dick Jauron having to win now to keep his job next year, and the addition of TO on the offensive side of the ball, an impact defensive pass rush specialist is the smart pick here.
12. Denver Broncos ('lizard')
Matt Stafford, QB, Georgia: This is one of the Broncos two first round picks after the Cutler deal. Many of the football talking heads believe the Broncos might package this pick and the #18 pick to move up and take a QB, probably Sanchez. I don't see that happening. I think Orton will be the starter and if the Broncos trade two first round picks for a QB, what are they really gaining from the Cutler deal? The Broncos are switching from a poor 4-3 to a 3-4 and need the right personnel. If B.J Raji was available, he would have been the pick here without hesitation. Raji would have become the all-important 3-4 nose tackle. If Stafford actually did fall to the Broncos, they would probably trade out of this pick to acquire more picks in later rounds. Some team would definitely trade up to get Stafford here. McDaniels is a Belichick disciple and knows the value of trading down in the draft. Although Denver has more pressing defensive needs, Stafford is too good a value to pass on him right here. And since I can't trade out, Stafford is the pick.
13. Washington Redskins ('Rick Snider')
Mark Sanchez, QB, USC: Seriously, I can't believe Sanchez will be around for the 13th pick. But given in this mock draft that he is, the Redskins would gladly grab him. In fact, don't be surprised to see them trade up to do it. The Redskins missed trading for Denver quarterback Jay Cutler and incumbent Jason Campbell is in his last year. The Redskins don't want to re-sign Campbell so grabbing a quarterback to groom for one year under coach Jim Zorn is a given. (Uh, whatever happened to second-year passer Colt Brennan that everyone wants to anoint as the next Sonny Jurgensen? Last year's model, baby. Dan Snyder likes shiny new toys.) So, Sanchez is the pick for this draft.
14. New Orleans Saints ('CodyK')
14. Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee: The choice here is easy. I wanted to further upgrade thedefensive line at first. So at first glance, I wanted Maybin here, but missed him by four slots. Then I thought about LB - but with Fujita and Vilma (JV resigned in February for 5 years and the Saints gave up a decent amount to get Vilma in the first place) I thought the Saints were actually ok at the LB spot. So to look for a true need, its gotta be playmaker in the secondary. Jenkins would be perfect here, but the Packers picked him up already. So I'm going with Robert Ayers, DE from Tennessee.
15. Houston Texans ('one-bar')
Brian Cushing, OLB, USC: I thought long and hard about this pick with so much talent still left on the board. My first instinct would was to take Vontae Davis here but the Texans already have a productive Jacques Reeves on the other of Dunta Robinson and drafted Antwaun Molden with their 2nd pick last year. Plus, their bigger pressing need in the secondary is at Safety and not Cornerback. I also considered taking Beanie Wells who would compliment Slaton as a great change-of-pace running back, but I also figured with no RB taken yet there will still be plenty of talent at this position in the later rounds - it worked well with Slaton.

So this leaves me with Cushing - an intense player who never quits and should be productive at the NFL level who also fits a serious need at OLB. Cushing can stop the run inside or out and holds his own in the passing game as he played Safety throughout high school. I am bothered about the steriod allegations and it almost stopped me from picking him. But then again nothing has been confirmed and passing on this kind of talent at a position the Texans are hurting at wouldn't justify any other choice I would have made. He is considered a top value player at a top position need, I believe that if Cushing is available here come 4/25/09 the Texans won't be able to get their selection up to Roger soon enough.
16. San Diego Chargers ('Bajaserge')
Rey Maualuga LB, USC: So now that 'one-bar' took my pick I will not go far (just like Mel Kiper) on my pick. Although I was thinking about getting a running back because we all know Tomlinson (I refuse to call him LT) only plays about 12 games a season. But as we all know you can get a good RB on the 5th round.
So with my 16th pick I choose Rey Maualuga LB, USC Merriman is coming from an off season and I think the chargers need to improve in that area. Who knows how good Merriman will be this season recovering from surgery and with free agency next year (although they may not share same spot). I think Maualuga will bring intensity and has the tools to be a "good" LB in the San Diego defense just like Cushing the USC LB's are a good trio that has not been on the spotlight because of the USC offense, but when required Maualuga has been right on the money.
17. New York Jets ('mwilli')
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri: Laveranues Coles has committed himself to purgatory by signing with the Bengals, and the Jets are now left with Jerrico Cotchery, a former QB, one guy named Clowney and another named Stuckey -- not the point guard for the Pistons -- playing at WR. The Jets need a receiver. They have made it known they need a receiver. If wheelin' n' dealin' were a part of this mock, I would be throwing all sorts of picks at jp2y and ETVal (for the Browns and/or Bungles slots) so the Giants' tenant could draft Michael Crabtree or Mark Sanchez. Alas, Ed (properly) rules his roost with a no trade policy. I am left with the choice between Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin, and if the comedy gods allow... Josh Freeman.

Seeing as this is the Jets I am speaking for, I am tempted to draft the wild card Harvin, reach for a stiff like Freeman, or attempt to redraft Roger Vick because it would be a terrible pick in typical Jets fashion. (See here for enjoyable explanation.) I can't in good conscience do this... and I think GM Mike Tannenbaum is a fairly smart guy -- Vernon Gholston excepted. Maclin is the choice. This is a bit of a drop for the Mizzou speedster, and the Jets would (should) be falling all over themselves to grab this guy. He immediately becomes a solid compliment to an already talented Cotchery, and could eventually become a player in the Panthers' Steve Smith mold and the #1 option for Brett Ratliff/Kellen Clemens/Eric Ainge/Colt McCoy/Browning Nagle.
18. Denver Broncos ('lizard')
Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU: Jackson is considered the best 3-4 defensive end in this years draft. The Broncos need personnel that can play in a 3-4 and Jackson's size would allow him to occupy blockers so linebackers can run free. Although the Broncos also need a nose tackle, like Ron Brace from Boston College, he would be a reach at this position. A linebacker could also be the pick here, but I think Jackson fills a greater need.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers ('DaBigBlue')
Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss: All of the talk down here in Central Florida has been about the Bucs taking a QB here – and that with Stafford and Sanchez off the board, Josh Freeman would be the next best available. But with the April 13 signing of Byron Leftwich, it appears Tampa fans no longer need to worry about seeing Luke McCown under center on opening day. The Bucs already have a project in second-year QB Josh Johnson, so it makes no sense to me as to why they would throw first-round money at Josh Freeman. The rest of the offense is solid with a good OL, and the addition of Winslow and our former “wind” at RB means the QB, whoever it is, will have some good skill players around him. So turning to defense, the primary needs are the DB’s and DL. Only because the Bucs took a DB in the first round last year will I arbitrarily look to shore up the DL instead, by selecting DT Peria Jerry of Ole Miss.
20. Detroit Lions (from Dallas Cowboys, 'cjmulrain')
Clay Matthews, OLB, USC: I initially wanted to go defensive line here, but I think Matthews is the best defensive player available and when you're a team that literally has "needs" at every position, you might as well take the best guy you can. Matthews is solid in every aspect of the game if not spectacular in any, he's an intelligent self-made player (former walk on at USC), and he has a good pedigree (father and uncle both played in the NFL). I don't know that he'll ever be a superstar, but he should be a very solid LB for years to come.
21. Philadelphia Eagles ('queler')
Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss: I'm all for taking best value available, but seeing as I don't have my own team of scouts, I'm going to draft based on need. After receiving a detailed analysis from my buddy psudrozz, it seems the Eagles are in need of new OT and a complimentary RB to keep Westbrook healthy. I think tackle is the way to go to here as Runyan can't have a lot left in the tank (besides elbow dropping people after the whistle), and unlike Giants fans, Eagles fans do not ever want to see Winston Justice at tackle ever again. I almost flipped a coin here between Oher and Britton, but ultimately based on random google search results and a last minute text message to my buddy, went for Oher.
22. Minnesota Vikings ('NYG 28')
Percy Harvin, WR, Florida: We all know about Percy Harvin. He played running back his last year at Florida, but is known for his wide receiver skill set. He helped Tim Tebow lead the Gators to a national championship. He is a straight up, bonafide playmaker. And that is why the Vikings take him over an OT.

With Bernard Berrian as the deep threat, and Adrian Peterson being the most lethal running back in the NFL, the Vikings just need the drop off guy for Rosenfels/Jackson to throw to. Berrian, Rice, Wade, and Shiancoe were good last year with there short catches... but picture this... Percy Harvin in the slot, Berrian on the outside, A.D. in the backfield, and the opposing defense playing to stop the run while still trying to keep Berrian from breaking deep. Harvin will be there to catch and weave through traffic like nobody's business. Or what if they took up the ever popular wildcat with Tarvaris Jackson, Percy Harvin, and Adrian Peterson? That would be a three-headed monster no defense would want to mess with (if it worked, that is). All in all the Vikings do need another receiver (which is why they went after T.J. Houshmandzadeh), and who better than Harvin at pick 22?

In the real draft I am looking for the Vikings to trade back out of this pick in order to get a few more, especially since they don't have a 4th round pick.. Maybe the G-men could trade their 29th pick and a 5th or 6th rounder for #22 to secure an elite LB or WR.
23. New England Patriots ('potroast')
NFL TEAM
Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois: The biggest need coming into the draft for the Pats is an OLB/DE that can get to the ball, but the best of this crop is already off the board and the Pats have three 2nd round picks with an early round selection (#34) and will be able to get good value there at that position (Barwin or English would be ideal). James Laurinaitis is also an option here as the heir apparent to Teddy Bruschi, but I’m not sold on him so I’m passing. Therefore I’m picking the best defensive player left on the board and someone that also fills a real need in their secondary … Vontae Davis. Davis is big, fast and athletic … a guy who takes risks and gets to the ball and can fill that role that’s been missing since Asante Samuel left. The knock on him seems to be a lack of discipline (much like his brother) and over-aggressiveness, therefore there is no better team that can set him straight and make him a star.
24. Atlanta Falcons ('kingofatlanta')
James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State: Let's face it, if any body has defensive needs in this draft it’s the Falcons. The loss of Grady Jackson, Keith Brooking, Domonique Foxworth and Michael Boley this off-season, as if they had room to lose anyone. James Laurinaitis has the ability and the intellect to step in and impact this sub-par defense.

Laurinaitis is the son of world-renowned wrestler; Joe Laurinaitis who competed as the "Animal" in the 1980s and 1990s as part of the tag team called the Road Warriors (Legion of Doom). How can you go wrong with that? Laurinaitis won All-Big Ten Conference first-team honors, and for the second consecutive year was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year. He ranked second in the Big Ten and 14th in the nation with an average of 10.0 tackles per game.
25. Miami Dolphins ('gobs56')
NFL TEAM

26. Baltimore Ravens ('mahmoodzaky')

27. Indianapolis Colts ('SBaker')

28. Philadelphia Eagles (from Carolina Panthers, 'queler')

29. New York Giants ('ETVal')

30. Tennessee Titans ('GullySully77')

31. Arizona Cardinals ('cgerycz')
NFL TEAM

32. Pittsburgh Steelers ('squid92')

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