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2005 NFL Mock Draft
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1. San Francisco 49ers - Aaron Rodgers*, QB California
If the 49ers lock up the top slot, they should take a potential franchise quarterback to build around, but I would be surprised if they didn?t try to trade out of the pick to avoid paying the salary a quarterback would command from the top slot.
If they do move down, they could be targeting an offensive tackle, or even a running back.
2. Miami Dolphins ? Cedric Benson, RB Texas
The Dolphins have a second-round pick invested in A.J. Feeley, but with a new regime coming in, they could be looking for their own guy to groom. However, a running back like Cedric Benson would fill a much bigger need at this time.
3. Cleveland Browns ? Derrick Johnson, OLB Texas
The Browns really need an upgrade at left tackle, but Alex Barron would probably be a little bit of a reach here. Cleveland is also lacking playmakers on defense, and with new GM Phil Savage coming over from Baltimore, I wouldn?t be surprised to see him go after a franchise-type player he can build a defense around.
4. Chicago Bears ? Mike Williams*, WR USC
Like the Browns, the Bears might also be tempted by Florida State?s Alex Barron, especially with GM Jerry Angelo?s tendency to pick linemen in the first round. In fact, I would not be surprised to see him trade down to fill weaknesses at both the offensive tackle and wide receiver positions.
However, if he doesn?t trade down, the Bears must come out of the No. 4 spot with an offensive playmaker. One of the top running backs might also tempt the Bears.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from New York) ? Carnell Williams, RB Auburn
The Bucs were near the bottom of the league when it came to running the ball in 2004, so a running back makes sense here, especially if they can have their pick of Williams, teammate Ronnie Brown, and Cedric Benson out of Texas. These three prospects rank very closely in overall talent, but in my view, Brown?s skills translate best to the NFL. Head coach Jon Gruden seemed very impressed with Williams at the Senior Bowl, and I wouldn?t be surprised at all if he ends up being picked first at his position.
6. Tennessee Titans - Antrel Rolle, CB Miami (Fla)
The Titans are another team that might be looking to move down in the draft. With their cap problems, they are going to have to let some of their own free agents leave. Cornerback Andre Dyson will most likely be one of them and Samari Rolle could be a salary cap casualty, which makes this an even stronger possibility.
7. Oakland Raiders ? Ronnie Brown, RB Auburn
The Raiders have a lot of question marks, so there are a lot of directions they could go here. But Brown is a good fit for Norv Turner?s offense and the Raiders could mask some of their deficiencies with his abilities. Brown may possess the best all-around skills of any back in the draft.
8. Arizona Cardinals ? Alex Smith, QB Utah
With Matt Leinart electing to stay in school, Smith?s value increased. The Cardinals are probably eyeing one of the top-three running backs in this draft, but if all of them are gone at this point, I could certainly see them taking a potential franchise QB.
Positional Rankings: QBRBFBWRTEOTOGC - DEDTILBOLBSCB - KP
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