Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft: Sanchez goes no. 13 to the Skins

Mark SanchezMel Kiper dropped his latest mock draft this week on (first 16 picks free, next three and a half rounds Insider only).

It’s similar in most ways to what he’s been saying over the past few months, with Matthew Stafford going no. 1 overall to the Lions and Jason Smith and Aaron Curry going 2-3 to the Rams and Chiefs, respectively.

A couple of wrinkles made it in, however. For one, he has the Bills taking DE Robert Ayers of Tennessee with the 11th pick. How this guy is shooting up so many draft charts is beyond me – he played average for a crummy team last year and had sub-par workouts. He certainly doesn’t seem to be in the same class as Aaron Maybin, Brian Orakpo, Everette Brown and Tyson Jackson.

Mel also has Mark Sanchez sliding all the way to the Washington Redskins at no. 13. Three teams that could use a quarterback (the Jaguars at no. 8, the 49ers at no. 10, and the Broncos at no. 12) pick before then. Kiper has said repeatedly, and with good reason, that none of this year’s quarterbacks are ready to start right away, but Sanchez is more than worth a flier for a team lacking long-term stability at QB. The USC man has a chance to be a franchise saver in the mold of Matt Ryan, perhaps even more so than Stafford.

Lastly, what is the reason for the sudden drop by Percy Harvin? Kiper himself calls the Florida Gator a Reggie Bush-type player, with running and pass-catching abilities. Bush went no. 2 overall, and while injury-prone throughout his short career, has certified himself as one of the league’s best playmakers. If Harvin is the same type of guy, I don’t see how Harvin would last past the first 15 picks.

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2009 NFL Mock Draft Version 1.0

It would probably be good for me to do an intro to this piece, but I’m going to skip all the foreplay and just get right to the action. And let’s be honest – you probably wouldn’t have read the intro anyway.

Below is my first mock draft of the year. You can disagree all you want, but just make sure you go into detail in the comments section so I know you care. I hate those bastards that trash my work and don’t have the common courtesy to tell me how much of a moron I am in print…

Let’s mock!

1. Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
Jason Smith (Baylor), Eugene Monroe (Virginia) and Aaron Curry (Wake Forest) are all possibilities for new GM Martin Mayhew with this pick. But the offensive tackle and linebacker positions are deep in this year’s draft – the quarterback position is not. Mayhew can get his franchise quarterback in Stafford, select an offensive tackle at No. 20 and then fill the middle linebacker need in the second or third round. There, I just fixed the 0-16 Detroit Lions in less than 100 words.

2. St. Louis Rams: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
If Smith goes No. 1 to the Lions, then I fully expect the Rams to take Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe. With the jettison of long-time veteran Orlando Pace this offseason, St. Louis needs to address their need at left tackle and they’ll do so with either Smith or Monroe depending on who’s available. If it’s Smith, then they land one of the most athletic offensive lineman in the draft.

3. Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
The Chiefs could really use a right tackle to pair with last year’s first round pick, Branden Albert, but Curry would be too good to pass up here. GM Scott Pioli put a premium on versatile defenders while he was in New England, and that’s exactly what Curry is. The Wake Forest product could play either outside or inside in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme and is easily the best defensive prospect in this year’s draft.

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Don Banks Mock Draft 3.0’s Don Banks has the Lions taking Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith with the first overall pick in April’s draft.

1. Lions – Jason Smith, Baylor
With six weeks and two days remaining before the draft, I’m still not buying that the Lions are going to take their $30 million-plus gamble on Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford, a junior who looks like anything but a sure thing. I reserve the right to read the tea leaves differently at some point, but the Lions’ smart play to me would be to play it safe at No. 1 with either Smith or linebacker Aaron Curry, and then explore getting a quarterback like Kansas State’s Josh Freeman with a slight trade down from No. 20, or with their second-rounder at 33.

2. Rams – Eugene Monroe, Virginia
No Orlando Pace in Rams horns any more should make this the biggest no-brainer of the top five. St. Louis badly needs an offensive tackle, and it picked the right year to be in that position.

3. Chiefs – Aaron Curry, Wake Forest
The Chiefs can’t possibly miss in this slot. If the Lions go quarterback at the top, K.C. will have their pick between Curry, the draft’s cleanest prospect, and one of the top two offensive tackles. If Detroit goes for Curry, the Chiefs still get the tackle they need in either Smith or Monroe. And if the Lions and Rams both go offensive tackle, Kansas City winds up with the defensive play-maker it lacks in Curry.

4. Seahawks – B.J. Raji, Boston College
This is how free agency and the draft are supposed to work in tandem. The Seahawks signed T.J. Houshmandzadeh this month, so they don’t have to take Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree any more. And they added ex-Packers defensive tackle Colin Cole to replace the departed Rocky Bernard, so Raji isn’t a must-have either. But quality defensive tackles are always prized and much tougher to find than starting receivers.

5. Browns – Everette Brown, Florida State
This is much higher than I had Brown going in my last mock (to Miami at No. 25), but Cleveland’s need is for an edge pass-rusher at outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense, and there just aren’t that many choices to be had in that department. Plenty of mocks have the Browns going for Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo, but I hear the Browns don’t like him all that much.

That’s a pretty solid top 5, although Brown is a major reach at No. 5. Still, as Banks notes, the Browns are in desperate need of a pass rusher and need one, if not two starting linebackers for next season.

Banks has Michael Crabtree falling to the Raiders at No. 7, which certainly makes sense given Al Davis’s desire to land the flashy pick. Banks also has Mark Sanchez (No. 8 to Jacksonville) being selected before Matthew Stafford (No. 10 to San Francisco), which is sure a trend that other mock drafts will surely to follow if they haven’t already. (If you’re looking for my two cents, I don’t think there’s any way Sanchez goes ahead of Stafford, but crazier things have happened.)

Click here to check out the rest of Banks’ mock

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