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April 29, 2008

Rivals.com 2009 NFL Mock Draft

Now that the 2008 NFL Draft is in the books, we're taking a shot at predicting the first round of the 2009 draft.

The teams are listed in our predicted order of finish, and unlike some organizations we have included underclassmen in our mock.

1. Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia*
Stafford is entering his third year as a starter. Scouts say he is the best pro-style quarterback prospect since Carson Palmer. He can throw with velocity, from different release points and moves well in the pocket.
2. Fili Moala, DT, USC
The 300-pounder is stout and his value goes far beyond numbers — he makes his teammates better, too. He is versatile enough to play in any defensive scheme.
3. Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss
Many were surprised the Tennessee native decided to return, but the move will likely make him a top-10 pick. He has made 34 consecutive starts and is a left tackle at the next level.
4. Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
A proven ball-hawk, Jenkins will likely be the first corner off the board in 2009. He has good size, speed and athleticism, but what makes him special is his propensity for big plays.
5. LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh*
McCoy has the speed of Tony Dorsett, but he's surprisingly physical. He has a higher ceiling than any other back on the board. Even though he is a true sophomore, he is three years removed from high school because he spent one year at a prep school.
6. Maurice Evans, DE, Penn State*
Very strong at the point of attack for a player who is such a good pass rusher (12˝ sacks in '07). He uses good leverage and is considered a smart player. Some feel he's a better long-term prospect than Chris Long.
7. Rey Maualuga, MLB, USC
He's not as technically sound as many other linebackers, but is a big play waiting to happen. He has more than ample speed and athleticism, and can be as good as it gets at the point of attack.
8. Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech*
Another sophomore who could turn pro because he redshirted his first year in Lubbock. He mixes incredible hands with stellar athleticism and surprising quickness and speed. Such a natural, it's amazing that he's only played receiver for two years.
9. Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State*
Wells is more of a traditional big back but has plenty of speed, just enough wiggle and does not shy from contact. A real chore to defend in the fourth quarter.
10. Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
Looking for a potential combine warrior in 2009? Johnson could be it. He's only made one college start, but scouts swear by the former basketball player's athleticism and upside.
11. Sen'Derrick Marks, DT, Auburn
No interior lineman in the country plays consistently better than Marks. He is outstanding against the run and shows flashes as a pass rusher. Some think he's a Warren Sapp-type.
12. (from Carolina) Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
He replaced former first-round pick D'Brickashaw Ferguson as the Cavs' left tackle, and soon he will follow in Ferguson's footsteps by hearing his name called in the first round.
13. Taylor Mays, FS, USC*
Mays has linebacker size (6-4, 215) and plays with linebacker-sized ferocity while he patrols the middle of the field. He can run, too.
14. Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR Maryland*
Bey hasn't been that productive with the Terps, but he has great size (6-3, 200 pounds), good hands and big-time speed.
15. Greg Middleton, DE, Indiana*
NFL teams covet pass-rushing ends, and Middleton – who led the nation with 16 sacks last season – is just that. He was a consensus All-Big Ten selection.
16. Victor Harris, CB, Virginia Tech
Unlike former teammate Brandon Flowers, Harris decided to return for his senior year. He has tremendous ball skills and is a legit 4.3 40-yard dash guy, which will only boost his stock in the postseason.
17. George Selvie, DE, South Florida*
Considered a little on the light side, but is highly productive. Named Big East defensive player of the year in 2007. Has a great first step and very good athleticism.
18. Alex Boone, OT, Ohio State
Returns for his third full season as the Buckeyes' left tackle. He has prototypical size, but can get stronger. It's unclear if he's best suited for the left or right side in the NFL, but this will be a very telling season for Boone.
19. Andre Smith, OT, Alabama*
No offensive tackle - not even Oher - has more upside than Smith. However, Smith is battling weight issues that have slowed him. He could be a special left tackle, much in the mold of Flozell Adams, who can protect and run block with the best of them.
20. Travis Beckum, TE, Wisconsin*
Could be next year's Dustin Keller — he is a tad undersized, but is a terrific athlete. He's a real threat in the passing game and can be physical in the run game when pushed.
21. Jeff Owens, DT, Georgia
Owens lacks prototypical size, but has the quickness teams look for in penetrating linemen. Recorded 22 quarterback hurries in 2007 and he nearly declared off of that campaign. He made a good decision to return.
22. C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson*
Many scouts like teammate James Davis better, but Spiller is similar to Felix Jones. He has outstanding explosiveness, is a tougher-than-expected runner and can be a real threat in the passing game.
23. Herman Johnson, OG, LSU
Johnson checks in at 6-7, 351 pounds. He can overpower opponents and may be able to play some right tackle, although most see him as a right guard.
24. Percy Harvin, WR, Florida*
Would be much higher on the list, possibly ahead of even Crabtree, but scouts are concerned about the spate of injuries. Even with the injuries, he's considered a tough player. He'll run in the mid 4.3s at the Combine if healthy.
25. James Laurinaitis, MLB, Ohio State
He can do it all — stop the run (121 tackles), get into the backfield (five sacks) and even drop into coverage. The only knock from scouts is that he needs to become more physical. Some teams were able to run the ball right at him last year.
26. Brian Cushing, OLB, USC
He suffered an injury-plagued season in '07, but has been the team's most consistent playmaker. He's a pass-rushing demon who could be a star in the right 3-4 defense at the NFL level.
27. Kyle Moore, DE, USC*
Scouts love his versatility but would like to see more production. Moore has a great frame and even drops into coverage at times.
28. Mike Mickens, CB, Cincinnati
A solid contributor from Day One, Mickens is a sure tackler who plays the run and the pass well. He always finds himself around the ball (six interceptions in 2007), but needs to get stronger.
29. Derek Pegues, S/CB, Mississippi State*
Pegues converted from corner to safety as a sophomore and has blossomed since. He became a difference-maker late last year for the Bulldogs.
30. Ladarius Webb, CB, Nicholls State
This is the small school defender with the best chance to jump up the boards. He's 5-11, 185 pounds, has great ball skills and is also a fantastic return man.
31. Rudy Carpenter, QB, Arizona State
Dennis Erickson knows how to coach up quarterbacks, and Carpenter has a better skill set than most of his former protégés. If injuries come out OK, he'll rise.
32. Chase Coffman, TE, Missouri
Coffman split tight end duties the past two seasons with fourth-round pick Martin Rucker. Coffman runs crisp routes, has reliable hands and is a plus-athlete.

* - Denotes underclassman.

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