Top players have teams mixed up
Page 2 of 5 -- In that regard, they would love to trade out of the No. 2 and 3 spots, respectively, to move down, believing they can still get a top-quality running back or defensive player even if they slide to No. 5 or No. 7, plus an additional pick so a team such as Tampa Bay can get up to grab the second of the two top-rated quarterbacks.
For the purpose of this draft, however, we will select based on the best information available, while noting possible trades and other options.
1. San Francisco
QB Aaron Rodgers, California
With so little that separates Rodgers and Smith, the 49ers are desperately trying to trade this pick, but their only option seems to be Tampa Bay. In the end, the Buccaneers may give up the additional second-round choice the Niners are demanding and take Smith here. That works for the 49ers, who could get Rodgers or one of the top defensive players at No. 5 for less money. Failing that, they stay put and go with Rodgers, the local boy they know they can sign, and hope he makes good.
QB Alex Smith, Utah
Saban is looking to trade, and will with Tampa if he can get the Buccaneers' second-round pick. Saban acquired a second already by dealing veteran cornerback Patrick Surtain to Kansas City, but he wants to stockpile picks, especially first-day ones. Saban is smart and cocky, so he has to believe he can coach the Dolphins back to .500 with the defense he has in place. If that's true, he'll never get his hands on a true franchise quarterback in the near future, and hence will be trying to beat Tom Brady, Chad Pennington, and a former first-round pick in Buffalo's J.P. Losman, with A.J. Feeley. That won't feel good, so he will forgo the running back he needs in favor of the franchise quarterback he'll only have one shot at.
WR Braylon Edwards, Michigan
The Browns could go with defense here or try to trade, but if new coach Romeo Crennel can add Edwards to complement tight end Kellen Winslow, Cleveland's top pick of a year ago, he'll have some semblance of an offense. Put the two of them on the field and even newly acquired quarterback Trent Dilfer will be able to make some plays, something Cleveland could not do a year ago.
RB Carnell Williams, Auburn
Many teams prefer Williams's college teammate, Brown, but the Bears have both Williams and Benson rated ahead of him. The Bears were 25th in rushing a year ago and coach Lovie Smith and GM Jerry Angelo both know if they intend to win enough games to keep their jobs, they have to be able to run the ball. Continued...