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NFL Indsider - Mark Maske

NFL Draft Predictions

First-Round Projection

Monday, March 21, 2005; 11:01 AM

1. 49ers -- Aaron Rodgers, QB (Cal) . . . The Niners need a franchise quarterback, among plenty of other things, and must choose between Rodgers and Smith.

2. Dolphins -- Ronnie Brown, RB (Auburn) . . . He looks like the best all-around back in the draft.

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3. Browns -- Alex Smith, QB (Utah) . . . Trent Dilfer can keep the starting job warm for him for a season or two.

4. Bears -- Braylon Edwards, WR (Michigan) . . . Could team with Muhsin Muhammad and quickly remake Chicago's receiver corps from a glaring weakness into a strength.

5. Buccaneers -- Cedric Benson, RB (Texas) . . . This draft is top-heavy with centerpiece runners.

6. Titans -- Adam (Pac-Man) Jones, CB (West Virginia) . . . He would replace Samari Rolle.

7. Vikings -- Mike Williams, WR (USC) . . . The Vikings still don't have a true No. 1 receiver after trading Randy Moss.

8. Cardinals -- Carnell (Cadillac) Williams, RB (Auburn) . . . There's no need to trade for Travis Henry when Brown, Benson or Williams should be available for this pick.

9. Redskins -- Antrel Rolle, CB (Miami) . . . They have a roster full of Nos. 2 and 3 receivers. But if Edwards and Williams are gone, there's no immediate No. 1 receiver available, so finding a replacement for Fred Smoot would be the right move.

10. Lions -- Shawne Merriman, DE (Maryland) . . . An eye-catching pro-day workout last week has him moving up draft boards.

11. Cowboys -- Troy Williamson, WR (South Carolina) . . . Dallas could improve quickly with its free-agent upgrades and its two first-round draft picks.

12. Chargers -- Derrick Johnson, LB (Texas) . . . Some scouts worry that he doesn't take on blockers directly and overpower them, but he's a big-play defender who's great in pursuit.

13. Texans -- Jammal Brown, T (Oklahoma) . . . Might use their first-round choice to get the offensive-line help they didn't get when they failed to land Orlando Pace.

14. Panthers -- Alex Barron, T (Florida State) . . . Their patchwork offensive line was their biggest shortcoming last season.

15. Chiefs -- Carlos Rogers, CB (Auburn) . . . Kansas City finally seems committed to upgrading its defensive personnel.

16. Saints -- Dan Cody, DE (Oklahoma) . . . The Saints need defensive-line help if they trade Darren Howard.

17. Bengals -- Erasmus James, DE (Wisconsin) . . . Could be a solid NFL pass rusher.

18. Vikings -- Travis Johnson, DT (Florida State) . . . Best defensive tackle in the draft, but it's not a coveted position this year.

19. Rams -- Mark Clayton, WR (Oklahoma) . . . Mike Martz never can have enough wideouts, especially with Isaac Bruce showing some signs of wear with injuries at the end of last season.

20. Cowboys -- Channing Crowder, LB (Florida) . . . The defense again could be among the league's best if they add an effective linebacker or two.

21. Jaguars -- Marcus Spears, DE (LSU) . . . Would be a nice defensive-end complement to free-agent addition Reggie Hayward.

22. Ravens -- David Pollack, DE (Georgia) . . . His size and speed are questioned, but the guy just kept making plays throughout his collegiate career.

23. Seahawks -- Shaun Cody, DT (USC) . . . He can play tackle or end, and Seattle needs an impact player up front on defense.

24. Packers -- Khalif Barnes, T (Washington) . . . Offensive line must be repaired after the departures of Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera.

25. Broncos -- Thomas Davis, S (Georgia) . . . Denver needs help at safety after losing Kenoy Kennedy in free agency.

26. Jets -- Heath Miller, TE (Virginia) . . . The Jets have been looking for a tight end, and he's the best in the draft.

27. Falcons -- Reggie Brown, WR (Georgia) . . . The Falcons' run-first (and sometimes run-only) offense must become more diversified.

28. Chargers -- Vincent Jackson, WR (Northern Colorado) . . . A big, fast target for Drew Brees.

29. Colts -- Barrett Ruud, LB (Nebraska) . . . Might need a running back if they trade Edgerrin James, but that could come in the second round; defensive help must come first.

30. Steelers -- Anttaj Hawthorne, DT (Wisconsin) . . . The league's top defense gets better.

31. Eagles -- Darryl Blackstock, LB (Virginia) . . . The defending NFC champs need help at linebacker after releasing Nate Wayne and losing Ike Reese in free agency.

32. Patriots -- Fabian Washington, CB (Nebraska) . . . They won their third Super Bowl in four years without starters Ty Law and Tyrone Poole but must restock at cornerback.


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