New England Patriots: Stefen Wisniewski, C/G, Penn State
Logan Mankins may not be back with the team next year. Meanwhile, the oft-injured Stephen Neal just turned 34. He already announced that the 2011 season will be his last as a pro. The Patriots will really need help at guard this upcoming offseason.
Pick change; previously Justin Houston, DE/OLB
Buffalo Bills: Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois
If the Bills stick with the 3-4 defense, they’ll need an upgrade next to Paul Posluszny. Martez Wilson, now the top inside linebacker in this class, is the best player available.
Pick change; previously Titus Young, WR
Cincinnati Bengals: Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
With potentially three big names potentially gone (Cedric Benson, Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens), the Bengals figure to build around Carson Palmer this offseason.
If Benson isn’t re-signed – he’ll be a free agent in March – Cincinnati will need a new running back, and Mikel Leshoure is one of the top players available. Bernard Scott (sub-200 pounds) is not an every-down runner.
Denver Broncos: Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA
Denver’s secondary is an abomination and needs help everywhere. Using back-to-back picks on defensive backs is a very realistic option, especially if the Broncos can land the top-rated safety in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Cleveland Browns: Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
Like the Rams with Sam Bradford, the Browns desperately need to acquire a play-maker for Colt McCoy.
Jonathan Baldwin struggled this year amid quarterbacking issues, but he’s still a physical freak at 6-5, 230.
Arizona Cardinals: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
A couple of months ago, I listed Ryan Mallett in the second round of my 2011 NFL Mock Draft, citing major character conerns I knew about that would eventually surface.
Well, nothing surfaced, so I put Mallett back in the first round, assuming my source was wrong. Lo and behold, NFL.com’s Albert Breer wrote last week that “off-field concerns” will hurt Mallett’s draft stock. A couple of months late, but better late than never, I guess.
Mallett has major red flags. In addition to these “off-field concerns,” he’s a moron who may score single digits on his Wonderlic (even if they give him five points for spelling his name correctly). His release is painfully slow (think Byron Leftwich). He has no mobility. And he has the same sense of entitlement as Matt Leinart and Jimmy Clausen.
Having said all that, there will be several teams interested in the second round, including the Bengals and Cardinals. Both teams have a history of ignoring character concerns, and Ken Whisenhunt may see Mallett as just too physically talented to pass up. And I couldn’t really blame him at this juncture.
Pick change; previously Demarcus Love, OT
Tennessee Titans: Benjamin Ijalana, OT/G, Villanova
Left guard Leroy Harris and center Eugene Amano were horrific this year. The Titans really need upgrades at both positions.
Pick change; previously Stefen Wisniewski, C/G
Dallas Cowboys: Kenny Tate, S, Maryland
New free safety Alan Ball was a pretty big liability this season. The Cowboys need to upgrade this position unless they want DeSean Jackson torching them twice every year.
Washington Redskins: Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
The Redskins will need to provide their new franchise quarterback with a weapon. Santana Moss, Anthony Armstrong and Chris Cooley just aren’t enough.
Houston Texans: Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor
The Texans need a nose tackle for their new 3-4 defense. This is a slight reach, but Houston often goes for need over best player available more than most teams.
Minnesota Vikings: Drake Nevis, DT, LSU
Pat Williams indicated that he played his final game as a Viking on Jan. 2. If that’s true, Minnesota will need help at defensive tackle.
Drake Nevis, who had 13 TFL and six sacks this year, is the best player available who makes sense for the Vikings. I wanted to slot him toward the end of Round 1, but there are just way too many 3-4 teams now.
Detroit Lions: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
The Lions always go with the best player on their board. In this scenario, their strategy will also fill a big need. Detroit needs all the help it can get in its anemic secondary.
San Francisco 49ers: Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware
If Jim Harbaugh signs a veteran like Donovan McNabb, he could spend a Day 2 pick on a young quarterback.
I really liked what I saw out of Pat Devlin in two playoff games against New Hampshire and Eastern Washington. He has a good arm and was pretty accurate with his throws. He also has a quick release. The big issue is that he holds on to the football too long, but that’s something that can be fixed with proper coaching. Devlin projects as a great fit for Harbaugh’s offense.
Pick change; previously Jeremy Beal, DE/OLB
Denver Broncos: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
If Champ Bailey leaves, the Broncos will need a new cornerback. And if Perrish Cox goes to jail, Denver will be completely desperate.
Pick change; previously Jared Crick, DE/DT
St. Louis Rams: Mason Foster, OLB, Washington
The Rams have a big hole at weakside linebacker, where Larry Grant and Chris Chamberlain have both failed.
Mason Foster had a great season and should now be in Round 2 consideration.
Oakland Raiders: Demarcus Love, OT, Arkansas
Langston Walker will be a free agent this offseason. The Raiders need to upgrade an offensive line that surrendered six sacks to the Steelers.
Pick change; previously Tyron Smith, OT
Jacksonville Jaguars: Brandon Burton, CB, Utah
The Jaguars need an upgrade across from Rashean Mathis. Derek Cox played well at Indianapolis, but has been way too inconsistent this year. In a division with Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub, you can never have too many talented corners.
Pick change; previously Deunta Williams, FS
San Diego Chargers: Muhammed Wilkerson, DE/DT, Temple
Defensive end Jacques Cesaire will be a free agent next spring, which is a relief for Charger fans because he’s not very good. An upgrade at the position is desperately needed.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina
Weakside linebacker Geno Hayes isn’t terrible, but he’s not very good either and can be upgraded, especially in the wake of his recent arrest.
New York Giants: Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
The Giants love taking the best player on their board, and that could be Ryan Williams in this scenario. Brandon Jacobs’ days in New York are numbered, and the coaching staff is not confident in Ahmad Bradshaw’s ability to stay healthy for a whole season.
Pick change; previously Jordan Todman, RB
Indianapolis Colts: Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
Daniel Muir could be the worst starting defensive lineman in the NFL. Bill Polian has to fix this.
Philadelphia Eagles: Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville
Mario Manningham lit up Dimitri Patterson. Even Chris Berman made fun of Patterson onSportsCenter. The Eagles desperately need help at cornerback.
Pick change; previously Brandon Burton, CB
Kansas City Chiefs: Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami
A list of players who have lined up across from Dwayne Bowe this season: Chris Chambers, Terrance Copper and Verran Tucker. Bleh.
Pick change; previously Jabaal Sheard, DE/OLB
New Orleans Saints: Greg jones, OLB, Michigan State
The Saints need help at either weakside or middle linebacker. If they get the latter, they can move Jonathan Vilma outside.
Seattle Seahawks: Rodney Hudson, G, Florida State
Maybe Marshawn Lynch would have more Super Mario Bros. star-styled runs if the Seahawks had better blocking up front.
Green Bay Packers: Jeremy Beal, DE/OLB, Oklahoma
Unless Erik Walden can keep up this inexplicable high level of play, the Packers will need an upgrade across from Clay Matthews. They’ve tried Brad Jones and Frank Zombo, and both have been ineffective.
Pick change; previously Jimmy Smith, CB
San Diego Chargers: Jabaal Sheard, DE/OLB, Pittsburgh
The Chargers acquired this pick in the Antonio Cromartie trade.
With Shawne Merriman gone, Larry English was supposed to step into the starting lineup. Instead, English really struggled. He had just two sacks this year prior to the Kansas City game and has barely seen the field.
Pick change; previously Robert Sands, S (Jets)
Baltimore Ravens: Nate Irving, ILB, N.C. State
The Ravens could stand to upgrade the middle of their defense. Remember, Ray Lewis will be 36 when the 2011 NFL Draft rolls around.
Pick change; previously Joseph Barksdale, OT
Chicago Bears: Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
Tommie Harris has lost his starting job due to performance. The Bears will be seeking an upgrade at defensive tackle.
Marvin Austin is very athletic and has a ton of upside, but has never lived up to it on the field. However, Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo always seem to be on the hot seat, so they may want to take a chance on Austin.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Ras, I-Dowling, CB, Virginia
The Steelers really need to find an upgrade over Bryant McFadden. McFadden was OK at the beginning of the season, but has really struggled of late.
Atlanta Falcons: Titus Young, WR, Boise State
The Falcons need a strong No. 2 wide receiver across from Roddy White. Atlanta would have a ridiculously dangerous offense if the speedy Titus Young pans out.
Pick change; previously Leonard Hankerson, WR
New England Patriots: Curtis Brown, CB, Texas
The Patriots can’t have guys like Kyle Arrington and the disappointing Darius Butler seeing a ton of action at corner. I know Leigh Bodden is due back next year, but he’s a 30-year-old injury-prone player.