Silver Chips Online

2006 NFL Draft Preview

SCO looks into the crystal ball to predict round one and more

By Abe Schwadron, Online Managing Editor and Josh Zipin, Online Managing Sports Editor
April 28, 2006
The NFL Draft. Some call it a crapshoot. Others call it a science. However you look at it, the draft signifies the official return of football season. While you can likely pencil in Reggie Bush as the number one pick, the remainder of the first round is as unpredictable as Chad Johnson's new touchdown dances. So in honor of the re-entering of the glorious game of football into the lives of sports fans once again, SCO's primary sports experts channel Mel Kiper, Jr. to predict and break down the NFL Draft. Read on…

2006 First Round Mock Draft

#
Team
Abe's Pick
Josh's Pick
1
Houston Texans
Reggie Bush, RB, USC
Reggie Bush, RB, USC
2
New Orleans Saints
D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, Virginia
Mario Williams, DE, NC State
3
Tennessee Titans
Matt Leinart, QB, USC
Vince Young, QB Texas
4
New York Jets
Mario Williams, DE, NC State
D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, Virginia
5
Green Bay Packers
A.J. Hawk, LB, Ohio State
Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland
6
San Francisco 49ers
Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland
A.J. Hawk, LB, Ohio State
7
Oakland Raiders
Vince Young, QB, Texas
Matt Leinart, QB, USC
8
Buffalo Bills
Brodrick Bunkley, DT, Florida St.
Brodrick Bunkley, DT, Florida St.
9
Detroit Lions
Michael Huff, DB, Texas
Jay Cutler, QB, Vanderbilt
10
Arizona Cardinals
Jay Cutler, QB, Vanderbilt
Michael Huff, DB, Texas
11
St. Louis Rams
Jimmy Williams, CB, Virginia Tech
Haloti Ngata, DT, Oregon
12
Cleveland Browns
Kamerion Wimbley, DE, Florida St.
Jimmy Williams, CB, Virginia Tech
13
Baltimore Ravens
Haloti Ngata, DT, Oregon
Santonio Holmes, WR, Ohio State
14
Philadelphia Eagles
Winston Justice, OT, USC
Kamerion Wimbley, DE, Florida St.
15
Denver Broncos
Chad Jackson, WR, Florida
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Memphis
16
Miami Dolphins
Donte Whitner, DB, Ohio State
Chad Jackson, WR, Florida
17
Minnesota Vikings
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Memphis
Winston Justice, OT, USC
18
Dallas Cowboys
Chad Greenway, LB, Iowa
Donte Whitner, DB, Ohio State
19
San Diego Chargers
Santonio Holmes, WR, Ohio State
Chad Greenway, LB, Iowa
20
Kansas City Chiefs
Tye Hill, CB, Clemson
Tye, Hill, CB, Clemson
21
New England Patriots
Ernie Sims, LB, Florida St.
Antonio Cromartie, CB, Florida St.
22
San Francisco 49ers
Antonio Cromartie, CB, Florida St.
Manny Lawson, LB, NC State
23
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Demeco Ryans, LB, Alabama
Ernie Sims, LB, Florida St.
24
Cincinnati Bengals
Jason Allen, CB, Tennessee
Jason Allen, CB Tennessee
25
New York Giants
Johnathan Joseph, CB, South Carolina
Richard Marshall, CB, Fresno St.
26
Chicago Bears
Richard Marshall, CB, Fresno St.
Demeco Ryans, LB, Alabama
27
Carolina Panthers
Manny Lawson, LB, NC State
Sinorice Moss, WR, Miami
28
Jacksonville Jaguars
Thomas Howard, LB, UTEP
LenDale White, RB, USC
29
New York Jets
Bobby Carpenter, LB, Ohio St.
Erik Winston, OT, Miami
30
Indianapolis Colts
Laurence Maroney, RB, Minnesota
Laurence Maroney, RB, Minnesota
31
Seattle Seahawks
Kelly Jennings, CB, Miami
Bobby Carpenter, LB, Ohio St.
32
Pittsburgh Steelers
LenDale White, RB, USC
Joseph Addai, RB, L.S.U.


First-Round Stud:

Abe: Reggie Bush, RB, USC

Although you might say it's easy to be called a surefire stud as the draft's #1 pick, recent history has proven that being drafted first does not bring any guarantees. But then again, there's Reggie Bush. The running back from USC is elusive, electric and exciting. Bush has the ability to change a game—or a season—for the team that drafts him (likely the Texans). Simply put, Bush is the football equivalent of Michael Jordan. Any team who passes on Bush is deciding against becoming an explosive offensive team. Questions about his size have made scouts wonder about his NFL durability, but even if Bush gets only 15 touches per game as a running back, he is liable to break one for a touchdown on any carry. As a huge bonus, Bush can split out at wide receiver and return kicks and punts, putting him in position to make things happen on the field. Comparisons to Gale Sayers are not far off, and Bush is indeed the can't-miss pick of the 2006 draft.

Josh: Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland

Vernon Davis has been projected to be a top ten pick, and rightly so. The Manchild is 263 pounds of rippling muscle. At a sizeable 6'3, he has all the physical tools to play tight end at the next level. Davis is one of the best tight end prospects in recent history and should make an immediate impact, anywhere. He has blazing 4.3 (40 yard dash) speed and soft hands to match, leading the ACC last year in receiving with 871 yards. Even more impressive than his ability to catch the ball is Davis' ability to make things happen after the catch. With a 40 inch vertical, he has freaky athletic ability and should wreak havoc his rookie season. Davis is likely to go to the Packers or 49ers with the fifth or sixth picks, and this wide receiver playing tight end should fit in right away.

First-Round Bust:

Abe: Jay Cutler, QB, Vanderbilt

Ryan Leaf. Heath Shuler. Joey Harrington. Patrick Ramsey. Jay Cutler? Some first-round quarterbacks just don't pan out. Cutler could be the next such player. The pre-draft hype surrounding Cutler should come as a surprise to those who saw him underperform at Vanderbilt. With a less than .300 winning percentage as a college starter and a mediocre completion percentage, Cutler won over most NFL scouts at the end-of-the-year combine, where he dazzled on-lookers with a few deep passes. Cutler is cast as the typical NFL quarterback, but if he is thrust into a starting spot, he could lose his cool, lose his arm and lose his chances of ever making it big in the NFL. Cutler doesn't deserve to be in the discussion with Young and Leinart, and he will soon be forgotten as the first-round lover boy of 2006.

Josh: DeAngelo Williams, RB, Memphis

A record setting running back at Memphis, Williams will have trouble at the next level. Running backs are generally short, but always speedy. At a squat 5'9 and 207 pounds, Williams' speed doesn't blow anyone away (4.44 40 yard dash). NFL running backs are expected to catch balls out of the backfield, and Williams is inexperienced in this respect, catching only 12 balls last season. At Memphis, most of his touches came on handoffs, and he amassed an impressive 1959 yards rushing. The knock against those numbers is that Memphis' conference, Conference USA, is not a very competitive league. The best team Memphis played last year was Tennessee and Williams sat out the game with an injury, leading some scouts to question his toughness. He's projected as a middle first rounder, but don't expect anything special out of Williams in the future.

Late-Round Steal:

Abe: Derek Hagan, WR, Arizona State

2005's crop of wide receivers produced six first-round picks. This year's wideouts might not produce six picks in the first three rounds. Though Santonio Holmes and Chad Jackson are the headliners at the position, Derek Hagan is a player that teams in the middle rounds should keep an eye on. The Arizona State receiver could slip late into the third round because of depth at other positions. If picked that late, Hagan—an underestimated but overachieving receiver—could become the steal of the draft. The 6-foot-2 wideout has a knack for catching tough balls, and he is quick and a great route-runner although he does not have the blazing speed that NFL scouts salivate over. In his sophomore, junior and senior years in college, Hagan hauled in more than 66 passes for more than 1076 yards and 8 touchdowns. Hagan's savvy means he can step in and help an NFL team immediately, and has the potential to be a solid player for several years.

Josh: Dominique Byrd, TE, USC

A winner at USC during their past few glory years, Byrd doesn't blow anyone away with his physical numbers at 6'3 and 255 pounds. But if you take a closer look at the USC offense that was one of the best in college football history, you'll notice big number 86 making plays down the field and helps to make important third down conversions. It wouldn't take much effort to make a highlight tape of one-handed, ooh-ah catches by Byrd. With tight end becoming more and more important in the passing attack of NFL teams, Byrd should be able to make his presence known at the professional level.

Team to Track:

Abe: New England Patriots

Each year, 32 NFL teams draft more than 200 young men. And each year, the New England Patriots' draft picks go unnoticed, unheralded and unrecognized. Yet every year, the Pats are top Super Bowl contenders. New England rarely has a top-15 pick, meaning they are never in position to draft supposed top-tier first-rounders. But Bill Belichick and the Pats have instead devised a strategy that has made them the NFL's most consistent elite team: load up on picks and draft based on criteria often overlooked by other teams. While other teams obsess over 40-yard dash times, bench press reps and stratified statistics, New England bases its draft selections primarily on a player's intelligence, intangibles coachability, desire and game film. So keep track of the Pats' picks, you just might see the players they select helping them to another Super Bowl run.

Josh: Tennessee Titans

Sitting in the number three slot in this year's NFL draft, the Titans face a major dilemma: Matt Leinart or Vince Young? One of these talented young arms will land with the Titans but we can only speculate as to which one. On one hand there's Leinart, Mr. Hollywood and winner of two national championships at USC, with a great arm and fan appeal to boot. Then there's Vince Young, speed demon star of the national championship and unbelievable athlete. The Titans have former USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow calling plays from upstairs and he would undoubtedly mesh well with Leinart, but Young is without question the superior athlete and more similar to the incumbent Steve McNair. It will be interesting to see who the Titans take with a pick that will determine so much of their future.

Most Likely to…

Abe
rush for 1,000 yards in his rookie season…Laurence Maroney
lead his team in receptions in his rookie season…Chad Jackson
make the Pro Bowl in his rookie season…A.J. Hawk
lead his team to the Super Bowl in his first three seasons…Vince Young
be the next Tom Brady…Brodie Croyle (QB, Alabama)
disappear into oblivion by 2007…Jason Allen
set his team back by a decade…Jay Cutler
hurt himself running laps…Kamerion Wimbley
mispronounce his own name…Ashton Youboty (CB, Ohio State)
be a locker room cancer…Matt Leinart

Josh
rush for 1,000 yards in his rookie season…Reggie Bush
lead his team in receptions in his rookie season…Santonio Holmes
make the Pro Bowl in his rookie season…Vernon Davis
lead his team to the Super Bowl in his first three seasons…Matt Leinart
be the next Tom Brady…Omar Jacobs (QB, Bowling Green)
disappear into oblivion by 2007…Jay Cutler
set his team back by a decade…Vince Young
hurt himself running laps…LenDale White
mispronounce his own name…Babatunde Oshinowo (DT, Stanford)
be a locker room cancer…Marcus Vick (QB, Virginia Tech)

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