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Old 04-26-2006, 11:48 PM   #1
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Default Carucci: 2006 Mock Draft


1. Houston: Reggie Bush, RB, USC
I do not buy any of the talk that the Texans are seriously considering passing on Bush in favor of North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams. There is a lot to like about Williams, but there isn't another player in this draft on a par with Bush. I also don't think the Texans are going to trade the choice. Bush is an incredibly rare talent who is capable of changing a game whenever he touches the ball as a runner or a receiver. The Texans might never get a chance to acquire a player of that caliber again, even if they own next year's top overall pick.

2. New Orleans: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, Virginia
The Saints would love to deal this pick to a team, most likely the Oakland Raiders, that wants to land a quarterback, most likely Vince Young of Texas, and use a hefty bounty of extra picks to address multiple needs and perhaps make other deals. But if they stay put, the Saints' draft board figures to make Ferguson the logical choice. They don't need help on their defensive line, which eliminates Williams, but they could shore up an offensive line that lost center LeCharles Bentley and guard Kendyl Jacox. Ferguson would make any line instantly better, and is headed for a long and distinguished NFL career.

3. Tennessee: Matt Leinart, QB, USC
Speculation abounds that the Titans' decision-makers don't have a consensus on any of the quarterbacks of this draft, and that their offensive coordinator, Norm Chow, who formerly held the same post at USC, is the lone voice in the organization touting Leinart. If they don't go with Leinart or Young, Williams could end up being the perfect compromise pick and be a nice pass-rushing complement to Kyle Vanden Bosch. But the Titans need a franchise quarterback, and coming from the highly advanced Trojans passing game, Leinart is the best prepared to step in sooner and have long-term success. One could legitimately describe him as a left-handed Tom Brady -- a little limited when it comes to arm strength and mobility, but a smart and savvy player who knows how to win.

4. N.Y. Jets: Mario Williams, DE, N.C. State
With questions surrounding the health of Chad Pennington and the talent of Patrick Ramsey, the Jets need a quarterback. The one they would take in a heartbeat is Leinart, especially if new coach Eric Mangini, the former Patriots defensive coordinator, sees those Brady-like characteristics that many others do. If Leinart isn't available, Williams makes perfect sense as a perfect fit in Mangini's new 3-4 scheme. He is a pass-rushing terror who also is stout enough to stop the run.

5. Green Bay: Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland
With Brett Favre planning to return for another season, the Packers need to give him the best pass-catching playmaker in the draft. Davis has an extraordinary combination of size, speed and power. True, the Packers already have a decent tight end in Bubba Franks, but he misses a lot of time with injuries.

6. San Francisco: Haloti Ngata, DT, Oregon
Niners coach Mike Nolan needs that massive anchor in the middle of his defense, and 5-foot-11, 297-pound Anthony Adams is not the answer. The 6-4, 338-pound Ngata, with his remarkable strength, is.

7. Oakland: Vince Young, QB, Texas
The Raiders could very well trade up to get Young, but that might not be necessary. Young is a dynamic force and he would have time to watch and learn the finer points of quarterbacking mechanics before being inserted in the starting job. He is an enormously talented player, and if he consistently performs in the NFL the way he did in the Rose Bowl, this choice, if made this far down, will long be remembered as one of the great steals in league history.

8. Buffalo: A.J. Hawk, LB, Ohio State
Knowing that one player won't fix the many holes they have on both sides of the ball, the Bills would love to trade down for additional picks. Barring that, they would be thrilled if, in staying put, they had a chance to select an enormously talented athlete who has a phenomenal work ethic and who would be a perfect weakside starter in **** Jauron's new 4-3 defense. Many other projections have them selecting Brodrick Bunkley, a defensive tackle from Florida State, but this spot seems a little too high for him. Safety-cornerback Michael Huff, from Texas, is another consideration.

9. Detroit: Michael Huff, DB, Texas
With the skills to be a top-flight cornerback, his original college position, or safety, Huff offers the kind of versatility that makes defensive-minded coaches such as Rod Marinelli drool. Huff seems like he is a little better suited to safety, especially given his physical and aggressive style of play, but he also could hold his own in any sort of coverage.

10. Arizona: Jay Cutler, QB, Vanderbilt
There is plenty of talk the Cardinals are targeting USC offensive tackle Winston Justice, who did plenty to help his draft stock with highly impressive pre-draft workouts. However, the Cardinals must have someone in place to eventually take over for Kurt Warner, and Cutler's big-time arm provides a foundation for development.

11. St. Louis: Jimmy Williams, CB, Virginia Tech
Like Huff, Williams also can play corner or safety. His poor pre-draft workouts and attitude have raised some questions, but he still has plenty to offer athletically and new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett should find a way to make him productive.

12. Cleveland: Manny Lawson, OLB, N.C. State
In Romeo Crennel's continuing efforts to fortify his 3-4 defense, Lawson provides exceptional speed and strength. A defensive end in college, he is a highly effective pass rusher but athletic enough to drop into coverage, which is another skill the Browns' scheme craves from outside linebackers.

13. Baltimore: Winston Justice, OT, USC
The Ravens have had one of the NFL's all-time best tackles, Jonathan Ogden, on the left side of their line. The time has come to begin grooming his replacement, and Justice looks as if he would be the right man for the role.

14. Philadelphia: Nick Mangold, C, Ohio State
The Eagles easily could go with a wide receiver here, and no doubt will give strong consideration to Chad Jackson of Florida or Santonio Holmes of Ohio State. Another possibility is outside linebacker. But they thought they were going to be able to upgrade at center by signing LeCharles Bentley in free agency, and ended up losing out to Cleveland. Jamaal Jackson performed well in place of injured Hank Fraley last season, but in Mangold the Eagles have a chance to get one of the better centers to emerge from the college ranks in recent years.

15. Denver: Chad Jackson, WR, Florida
The Broncos are rumored to be pursuing a trade for Javon Walker, but if they are still seeking a receiver at the time of their first-round choice, Jackson should be there. He offers a good combination of size and speed, and after the success he had catching passes in Urban Meyer's spread offense at Florida, he should thrive in Mike Shanahan's scheme.
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