It seems as though everybody and their mother now has their own version of what will happen in the 1st round of the NFL draft. I decided I would take a crack at one. This mock draft has a twist though: the teams drafting can only pick Rays players, coaches, and front office. In this dream world, here is how I see it playing out.
1) Detroit Lions - BJ Upton
He can run and he sure can catch. He would be the ultimate NFL wide receiver, and we all know the Lions love for receivers. BJ gets the first overall pick (and the 94 bajillion dollars that comes with it)
2) St. Louis Rams - Jason Bartlett
The Rams need an offensive tackle, but they also need defense. They were 28th in team defense last season. Bartlett can cover a good portion of the field, and should shore up some of their woes.
3) Kansas City Chiefs - Dionner Navarro
The Chiefs just traded their stud tight end, and Navavrro is the player on the Rays built closest to a tight end.
4) Seattle Seahawks - James Shields
It's about time for the Seahawks to find the replacement for Matt Hasselbeck. Shields is the best "quarterback" on my big board, so he is the first selected.
5) Cleveland Browns - Andrew Friedman
The Browns are a mess. They are starting over with the Men-genius as head coach, but have traded away Kellen Winslow and are talking about trading Braylon Edwards and Brady Quinn. This is a team that seemed to be going in the right direction 2 years ago. They need a makeover from the top down, and Andrew can get that process started.
6) Cincinnati Bengals - Jim Hickey
Jim Hickey is the only member of the Rays that has been arrested. It's the Bengals pick. Do I really need to explain this one? (Author's note: This is the first time I have ever said to myself "Man I wish Elijah Dukes was still on the Rays")
7) Oakland Raiders - Pat Burrell
Al Davis loves to go after homerun hitters, even if they can't play defense. Seems like the perfect fit to me.
8) Jacksonville Jaguars - Andy Sonnanstine
This is the second team that really could use a new arm. The Jags also really need some stability. Although Matt Garza would add more fire and flash, Andy Sonnanstine just gets the job done repeatedly and seems like a good fit.
9) Green Bay Packers - Gabe Kapler
He played in Wisconsin last year for the Brewers. The cheese-heads are very fond of all of their players, current and past. Please take him back?
10) San Fransisco 49ers - J.P. Howell
The 49ers started the season 2-1 and then won 5 of their last 7, but it's those middle stages that killed them. J.P. Howell has proven he can really help out in middle stages when the team gets in trouble.
11) Buffalo Bills - Matt Garza
The Bills added Terrell Owens in this off-season. All the Bills need now is someone who can throw perfect passes for him to drop.
12) Denver Broncos - Carl Crawford
Jay Cutler cried and cried when his name started to be thrown around in trade rumors, eventually forcing himself out of town. CC didn't say a word when he was playing the perennial last place Devil Rays. Denver could use someone with that much loyalty.
13) Washington Redskins - Carlos Pena
The Redskins like to pick up high priced talent. Sometimes they hit a homerun, other times they strikeout, just like Carlos Pena.
14) New Orleans Saints - Gabe Gross
The Saints are another team in need of defense to close out games. Gabe Gross can come in late as the perfect defensive replacement.
15) Houston Texans - Troy Percival
The Texans have lost multiple late leads over the last 2 seasons. They need someone who can help them close out a game. Although he is good for a heart attack every other game he pitches, Troy Percival is the closer so he gets the call.
16) San Diego Chargers - Lance Cormier
The Chargers also struggled through the middle of the season, at one point losing 5 out of 6. In terms of a football season, that is a long time to be struggling. They can really use a long releiver to stop the bleeding.
17) New York Jets - Scott Kazmir
Kellen Clemens is not going to cut it as quarterback in New York. The Jets need a young fireballer whose velocity can rival the speed of the ball of Brett Favre. And well, I just love the irony of a team from New York drafting Scott Kazmir. Maybe in a year, before he reaches his full potential, the Jets can trade him for a stud like Rex Grossman or Vince Young. Cue: Jets fans booing.
18) Denver Broncos - Grant Balfour
The Broncos collapsed over the last 4 games of the season, and Balfour is the guy who comes in late in games to get the team out of a jam. If the Broncos had Grant Balfour last year, maybe they would have won any of their final 3 games and won the AFC West.
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Evan Longoria
The Glazers are in financial trouble, and the team didn't help their cause by cutting the fan favorite in Derrick Brooks. The Bucs need to add another fan favorite, but keep him for a long time under market value so they can afford him. Evan Longoria is the perfect fit. Besides, don't you all want to see Evan stay here in Tampa Bay?
20) Detroit Lions - Matt Silverman
This franchise is a wreck. They fired Matt Millen, who kept this team in such disarray that the Lions became the first 0-16 team in NFL history. Who replaced Matt Millen? His assistant, Martin Mayhew. You would think the Lions would clean house to fix all of their problems from the top down, but they hired from within, which just makes me think they have even more problems. It's time for a new team president. Matt Silverman, good luck.
21) Philadelphia Eagles - Jeff Niemman
I feel like every year, the Eagles have been talking about finding the replacement for Donavan McNabb, even if McNabb is still in his prime. Niemman has gotten his seasoning with a few years in the minors, and is ready to take over as a starter as he proved in spring training. Philly, here is your future QB.
22) Minnesota Vikings - Joe Nelson
The Vikings did a good job to win the NFC North last season, but then couldn't hack it in the playoffs, losing to the Eagles 26-14. They need that late help to get over the top. Joe Nelson is the guy for the job.
23) New England Patriots - Joe Maddon
Bill Belichick is one of the best coaches in the NFL, so I would see Joe Maddon going to the Patriots to be his assistant. Maddon would help the Patriots get even more of a tactical advantage in the way he manages games. Maddon would also be able to teach Belichick some class and how to dress. Seriously, is there anyone else in this country that wears cut-off hoodies?
24) Atlanta Falcons - Akinori Iwamura
The Falcons surprised a lot of people last year with a run to the playoffs. Their offense really clicked down the stretch, and they just added another major weapon in Tony Gonzalez. However, the Falcons finished 24th in team defense last season. As the saying goes, defense wins championships. Aki has proven he can fill in at multiple positions and will play great defense, which is exactly what Atlanta needs.
25) Miami Dolphins - Willy Aybar
Bill Parcells always finds a way to put versatile players on the field without over-paying. He can squeeze the most out of all of his utility players, and that his why his teams are always around in January. Willy Aybar is the super utility player that Parcells loves.
26) Baltimore Ravens - Ben Zobrist
The Ravens always seem to find that offensive player who comes out of nowhere. He won't be a pro-bowler, but he will do enough to help the team win multiple games throughout a season. Ben Zobrist fits the bill.
27) Indianapolis Colts - Don Zimmer
Tony Dungy retired this off-season after an incredible coaching career. His replacement, Jim Caldwell, has zero head coaching experience at the NFL level. He needs a right-hand-man who can help him garner respect and teach younger players anything and everything about the game. That job description screams Don Zimmer.
28) Buffalo Bills - Brian Shouse
The Bills started last season 5-1, and then the downfall started by getting completely owned by the Dolphins and Ted Ginn Jr. The Bills needed that stopper to come in and just get that 1 guy out. Shouse's role is to get 1 or 2 people out, so the Bills could use someone like this.
29) New York Giants - Shawn Riggans
The Giants lost a guy who catches a lot when Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg. It is tough to find someone who can fill in and start at that level at this point in the draft. Instead, the Giants will take Riggans, a young guy who can catch, and who can learn for a year or 2 before stepping up and becoming the starter.
30) Tennessee Titans - David Price
The Titans had an excellent season in 2008, finishing 13-3. The Titans couldn't get it done in the playoffs, losing their first game to Baltimore. David Price came up to the show last season just in time for the playoffs, and just in time to lead the Rays to play for the championship. The Titans need a young player like Price who can show up in the playoffs and help get them to the Super Bowl.
31) Arizona Cardinals - Dan Wheeler
The Cardinals shocked the world by playing in the Super Bowl last season. They shocked everyone even more by holding a late lead against the Steelers. The Cardinals however were unable to hold onto this lead. Dan Wheeler was 2nd in the AL in holds in 2008. If Dan Wheeler had been on the Cardinals last season, maybe they would have been champions?
32) Pittsburgh Steelers - Stuart Sternberg
The Steelers ownership is a mess and has caused so many family issues with the Rooney's Why not fix it by giving them a new owner? They are the current champions, so its not like they need any help on the field.
That is my mock 2009 mock draft, with the condition that Rays players and staff can be drafted. Since everyone else has done a mock draft and they will all be wrong, I have realized it doesn't take a rocket scientist to complete a mock draft.
-the rocket scientist