Top players have teams mixed up
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LB Demarcus Ware, Troy
If Ware or Merriman is on the board, the Texans will grab him to give themselves a legitimate pass rusher to team with last year's No. 1, Jason Babin. Coach Dom Capers wants to build his defense into a unit that can pressure the quarterback, and Ware would help. They could also go for Erasmus James or Marcus Spears or shift to offense and take tackle Alex Barron.
T Alex Barron, Florida State
Mike Williams is a possibility, if he's still on the board, as a replacement for Muhsin Muhammad, but the Panthers love to run the ball and Barron would solidify their line in two slots, allowing Mike Wahle to move back to guard.
15. Kansas City
CB Carlos Rogers, Auburn
Rogers is the best value pick left on the board, so the Chiefs go with him to shore up a secondary that has killed them the last two years. Despite trading yesterday for Surtain, the Chiefs aren't out of the cornerback lottery because they had Rogers rated as the best one available. Another possibility is a pass-rushing linebacker.
16. New Orleans
LB Thomas Davis, Georgia
Linebacker remains an area of need. The Saints hoped to get one of the top two a year ago but missed on both. They can't afford to do so again, so they go out on a bit of a limb and grab a safety who is being projected as an NFL linebacker.
DE Erasmus James, Wisconson
James would have been a top-five pick except for injuries. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis still needs a playmaker on his defensive front, so he'll take a small chance on a big talent.
DE Marcus Spears, Louisiana State
Spears is seen by some teams as the best defensive end available and is in the top 15 overall on most boards. He could go higher but won't slip much further.
19. St. Louis
T Jammal Brown, Oklahoma
With Orlando Pace on one side of the line, the Rams can put the rookie at right tackle and let him use his long arms and power blocking to upgrade the protection for battered quarterback Marc Bulger, and open some holes for Steven Jackson.
LB David Pollack, Georgia
This gives Dallas a remade defensive front seven in the Parcells mold. Merriman and Pollack are athletic linebackers who can also be edge rushers. Dallas could also go for a receiver such as Roddy White, who is in the top 30 on many teams' boards.
T Khalif Barnes, Washington
Big and powerful, Barnes will give quarterback Byron Leftwich some much needed protection. The Jaguars will also consider Pollack or Clayton if either is available. Continued...