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SB*Nation NFL Mock Draft set to begin amongst the Bloggers

The Official SB*Nation NFL Mock Draft kicks off this Week. The folks from Mocking the Draft will be hosting this year’s festivities. This is the third year that SB*Nation Bloggers have tackled a community Mock Draft. In years past I’ve asked the community to help make the selection and that will hold true this year as well. Buc ‘Ems community has taken part in two Mock Drafts so far this off-season and they netted us DT Peria Jerry and most recently WR Percy Harvin. I can’t wait to see who we settle on this time around. Speaking of years past:

Click the link below to see who's been selected in the SB*Nation NFL Mock Draft thus far:

In year number one we traded the Bucs 4th Overall selection and 32nd Overall selection to the Detroit Lions for their 2nd overall selection. With that pick we selected Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson. In reality the Matt Millen run Lions held on to their 2nd overall selection and took Calvin themselves in a move that shocked no one. The Bucs ended up drafting Clemson DE Gaines Adams. Calvin has clearly had the better Pro Career despite playing for the Quarterback challenged Lions. We’ve seen flashes of how dominating Gaines Adams can be, but to his credit he’s had no protection along the line to help further his progression.

Last off-season the Buc ‘Em community settled on California WR DeSean Jackson with the 20th Overall selection in the first round and took Texas A & M DT Red Bryant with the 52nd Overall selection. As it turns out the Bucs selected Kansas CB Aqib Talib with the 20th Pick and passed on Red Bryant by selecting Maryland DT Dre Moore instead. Aqib Talib had a stellar rookie season tying Ronde Barber for the team lead in interceptions with four. DeSean Jackson also had a stellar season for a rookie Wide Receiver by returning a punt for a touchdown, catching several touchdowns, and even running in a touchdown. In his first game he had over 200 all-purpose yards. Dre Moore ended up making the Practice Squad, as Red Bryant battled injuries all season and finished with 8 tackles. If push came to shove I’d rather have DeSean Jackson at this point, as a Bucs fan I’ve been offensively starved, but Talib has really proven himself to be a great pick as well. The theory then was that DeSean would have been a reach, nobody would be saying that now.

Alright so those of you that didn’t like the Harvin or Peria selections make your voice heard in the comments section. We will bring you the selections as they happen or if you are overly anxious you can head over to Mocking the Draft to see who has been selected in real time. Should the Bucs go with Freeman? Harvin? Peria? Maybin? Cushing? Smith? Let’s hear it…

1. Detroit Lions
Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest: The phrase "Defense Wins Championships" has never been reflective of the Lions' strategy in building a team in the modern era of football. Jim Schwartz, a former defensive coordinator, is going to try and change that. Free agency filled many positions of need (as did a trade with the Seahawks), but there is still a gaping hole at middle linebacker, which is perhaps the most important position on defense. With that in mind, Pride of Detroit decided to draft linebacker Aaron Curry, who will be able to come in and immediately start in the middle for the Lions.
2. St. Louis Rams
Jason Smith, OT, Baylor: Drafting Jason Smith complements the Rams signing of C Jason Brown, and gives the offensive line a young core of players that will steady the offense and allow the team to get the most out of their investments in skill players like Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson for years to come. There's also the maturity factor and the desire of the team's new leadership to gather fierce competitors who refuse to take a down or two off.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia: As Chiefs fans have discussed the 2009 NFL draft this off season, one fact has become increasingly clear- the Chiefs can go a lot of different ways with this No. 3 pick. Offensive line is the direction I think that Haley and Scott Pioli will go with their first pick this year. It is the safest, most reliable position to draft at No. 3 overall. With this pick, you want a player who is going to be with your team for 10-plus years and Eugene Monroe can be that player.
4. Seattle Seahawks
Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia: For all the notorious risk of drafting a quarterback early in the first, the riskier proposition is assuming you can fill the position through other means. Great quarterback play is the trend-fast model for winning a Super Bowl, and great quarterbacks are historically taken early in the first round. In fact, the first quarterback drafted enjoys many advantages. He averages 6.4 years starting, a full 2.5 years more than the second quarterback drafted, the largest split between picks. He is also 81% likely to be better than the second quarterback drafted.
5. Cleveland Browns
Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas: Mangini has to see this in plain sight and select the best available LB on the board at this point. With Aaron Curry going right away to the Lions, the next best choice is Texas LB Brian Orakpo. Orakpo excelled in college as a pass-rusher. His superior athletic ability and strength gives him the potential to make the successful transition to a 3-4 OLB in the NFL. Given the fact that the Browns have taken a strong interest to Orakpo already (scouting and news reports), the pick would not be surprising in the least come draft day.
6. Cincinnati Bengals
Andre Smith, OT, Alabama: Their targets are like most others, Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe leading the pack; after that, it muddles into a debate between Michael Oher and Andre Smith. Setting aside a moment that the Bengals could be drafting the fourth best tackle with their sixth overall pick, and setting aside the embarrassing Combine, Pro Day and Sugar Bowl suspension, Andre Smith was highly noted for his performances in 2008. After he faced a one-game suspension to end his collegiate career with nose-diving career tryouts that can cost, or earn, a player millions, Smith’s name turned to ash.
7. Oakland Raiders
Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech: Every living, breathing, silver and black bleeding Oakland Raider fan is foaming at the mouth for the chance at seeing Michael Crabtree team up with a very young offense that already has Zach Miller, Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, Johnnie Lee Higgins and JaMarcus Russell. His ability to consistently catch passes in traffic, break away from defenders and get up after high passes make him a legitimate No. 1 receiver in the NFL which will finally give JaMarcus Russell the target he needs to take his game to the next level.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars
B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College: When you think of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the first thing that comes to mind is a powerful run-stuffing defense that takes a physical toll on opposing teams, one that extracts a physical price for every yard. This ideal, sadly, has left the Jaguars behind. Putting new blood on the defensive line is the most important goal for the Jaguars for the 2009 Draft, and with B.J. Raji on the board at 8, seems an obvious pick. Raji brings to the line a burst of youth and energy to a group that's not seen a new starter in quite some time.
9. Green Bay Packers
Everette Brown, DE, Florida State: The Packers really need a player like Florida State's DE Everette Brown. The pass rush has struggled the last couple seasons and the complete collapse (and eventual release) of DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila left them with little pass rush from the weak side. They really need a DE/LB Terrell Suggs type player who can provide double digit sacks, line up as a down lineman, and be able to drop back in pass coverage when needed. Brown had 13.5 sacks last season at Florida State and is one of the top pass rushers available in a draft that isn't loaded with them. The Packers would be very fortunate if he was still available with the ninth overall selection.
10. San Francisco 49ers
Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss: This pick is a really tough one for the 49ers. There is plenty of talent at this point in the draft, but it might not be the most applicable to the 49ers. The options at this pick included Aaron Maybin, Michael Oher, Mark Sanchez and Jeremy Maclin. One could make a knowledgeable argument for and against each one of those guys. The 49ers potential pick also is affected by free agency. The team is negotiating with OT Marvel Smith, who may very well be signed by the time this is posted. If they sign Smith, there's a good chance they don't go with an offensive tackle at this point. Even if they sign Smith, his injury history could lead them to take an offensive tackle to develop going forward. Michael Oher would be that guy at this point.
11. Buffalo Bills
Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State: We're pleased that Aaron Maybin was available with the 11th overall choice. The Bills are in need of playmakers, particularly on the defensive side of the ball (we signed some Owens guy to be our offensive playmaker). Heading into this mock draft, the 10 members of the editorial staff at Buffalo Rumblings had Maybin ranked as the second-best player in this draft class.
12. Denver Broncos
Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State: The Denver Broncos have a lot of needs, all on the defensive side of the ball. I really, really want to take a linebacker, but the Broncos have so many needs that they really can’t afford to miss, especially with the first pick of the Josh McDaniels Era. Malcolm Jenkins will plug right into the slot corner and start from Day 1. With the ability to play some safety as well, Jenkins also provides the Broncos a lot of flexibility and whether Jenkins ends up as a CB or FS, he has great players to learn from in Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins.
13. Washington Redskins
Brian Cushing, LB, USC: With the top offensive line talent off the board, and top-rated linebacker talent available, the Skins have to take Cushing. The Redskins could start McIntosh, Fletcher and Cush at linebacker this year, with H.B. Blades and Alfred Fincher as the main backups. This pick would fill a need, make the starting roster younger, and provide what should be an impact player from day one.
14. New Orleans Saints
Clay Matthews, LB, USC: So Clay Matthews it is. Originally viewed as a second round choice, Matthews has quietly crept up the draft board. New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is going to bring the blitz a lot this season and the Saints could really use a talented pass rusher at the outside linebacker spot. Matthews comes from a long line of professional football players and has quite a pedigree. This factor gives him huge upside, even when the spotlight is usually on his USC teammates Cushing and Rey Maualuga instead.
15. Houston Texans
Sean Smith, CB, USC: In our mind, this leaves Sean Smith of the University of Utah. Although his height initially worried scouts that his future was only as a free safety, Smith showed at his pro day that he is capable of playing CB by running a 4.43 40 and looking awfully impressive in positional drills. Not coincidentally, Smith started his collegiate career as a WR and has great ball skills because his experience there.
16. San Diego Chargers
Rey Maualuga, LB, USC: Maualuga was a playmaker at USC and a big hitter. He excelled during the Senior Bowl, demonstrating an ability to go sideline-to-sideline. There are injury concerns, and he came up gimpy after running the 40 at the combine, but it is a risk worth taking. On the Chargers, he will team up with Shawne Merriman, Stephen Cooper and Shaun Phillips to make one of the better linebacking corps in the NFL. He will bring an ability to blitz from the inside, rarely seen last season, but should also be able to drop into coverage.
17. New York Jets
Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia: I am taking the local Jersey kid, who became a star at the University of Georgia. Since the Jets are returning the AFC’s leading rusher, Thomas Jones, and Leon Washington, who averaged 5.8 per carry a year ago, this might seem unnecessary. The reality is Jones will be 31 at the start of the 2009 season. He is a senior citizen in terms of running back age. It could all go south for him at any moment. He is also reportedly unhappy with his contract. Since Drew Rosenhaus is his agent, there is no telling how ugly this could get.
18. Chicago Bears
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri: For Maclin to still be sitting on the board at 18 is moment for Jerry Angelo to prove his worth to Bears fans. Most mocksters and 'experts' have had Maclin moving up the boards and out of the Bears range making us have to deal with "Is Darrius Heyward-Bey a workout warrior? and "Is Hakeem Nicks' 11 on the Wonderlic really an issue?" questions. Maclin brings a rare combination of size and speed. Maclin is extremely athletic and has top end speed. When in the lineup alongside Devin Hester, it will test team's secondaries. Teams will have to commit in fear of the yards after the catch that both receivers are capable of getting.