The idea of a mock draft is to plug players in with the right teams, even if it means bucking the rankings you might have worked up. The feeling here is it should never be influenced by workouts.
But that's not the reality.
It's a stretch to have Southern California's Mike Williams in the top 10 right now. (Getty Images)
NFL teams will downgrade him because of his slow times, which is why he isn't as high in this mock draft as he was in the first one we did. He still should be a top 15 pick, but he might not be now that his times were not blazing.
Question: Anyone ever see him caught from behind? Didn't think so.
The Chargers are still contemplating what to do with the first pick, but for now we'll have them taking Eli Manning, the player they should take. But they could still trade down, or even take a receiver.
The big surprise in this mock draft is how far down Southern California's Mike Williams slides. We have the Packers taking him with the 25th pick, based on the talk with scouts he might not run much better than a 4.7. Williams didn't separate all that much in the Pac-10, although he did dominate with his size and power.
That won't cut it in the NFL, so until his Pro Day workout April 8, we'll keep him near the bottom. By the time we do the final mock, coming the night before the draft, Williams could be much higher.
Until then, all you can do is stew over this one.
1. San Diego Chargers -- Eli Manning, QB, Mississippi. They haven't upgraded the position in free agency, so they have to take Manning if they stay in this spot. If not, they might move down to get Philip Rivers. The wise move would be to stay.
2. Oakland Raiders -- Robert Gallery, T, Iowa. They pass on a quarterback and take the best offensive lineman in the draft. The can't-miss guy is Gallery. Getting a premier left tackle is vital to the success of any offense.
3. Arizona Cardinals -- Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Pittsburgh. This will be a mistake, but Dennis Green wins out and gets his guy. What's the use of having all the receivers the Cardinals will have -- they got two in the first two rounds last year -- if nobody can throw them the ball?
6. Detroit Lions -- Kellen Winslow Jr., TE, Miami. If they can get Winslow to make plays in the middle of the field, it will open things up outside for Charlie Rogers. Winslow is the best overall player in the draft.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Kenechi Udeze, DE, Southern California. This is a team that has to upgrade the pass rush, which is what Udeze can do. They might consider a receiver, such as Roy Williams of Texas, but with a deep draft at that position, they can address that later.
10. Houston Texans -- DeAngelo Hall, CB, Virginia Tech. They would like an upgrade from Marcus Coleman, which could mean a move by him to free safety. Hall can run, which is needed in the division with teams that throw the ball.
12. New York Jets -- Chris Gamble, CB, Ohio State. He didn't run that well at his Pro Day workout, but the Jets use a lot of cover-two, which doesn't require the fastest corners. He plays faster than he ran anyway.
13. Buffalo Bills -- Roy Williams, WR, Texas. The Bills need a big-play weapon outside to go with Eric Moulds, and they're thrilled Williams is still on the board. Josh Reed goes back to being a No. 3.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Steven Jackson, RB, Oregon State. Tampa Bay signed Charlie Garner, but he's 32 years old. Jackson is the back of the future. His ability to catch passes makes him perfect for the Bucs' offense.
19. Minnesota Vikings -- Dunta Robinson, CB, South Carolina. They signed Antoine Winfield in free agency; now they add the speed corner in the draft.
20. Miami Dolphins -- Shawn Andrews, T, Arkansas. The Dolphins can't believe this 350-pound tackle is still on the board. Andrews will be an immediate starter for a team that needs offensive line help.
21. New England Patriots -- Kevin Jones, RB, Virginia Tech. He didn't run as well as the scouts thought he would at his Pro Day workout, but he is faster than his stopwatch time (4.6). If New England gets him, it will be a major steal.
25. Green Bay Packers -- Mike Williams, WR, Southern California. The Packers are stunned when a player of this caliber is still on the board. Even though receiver isn't a high priority, they still take Williams.
29. Indianapolis Colts -- Jonathan Vilma, LB, Miami. This is the perfect middle linebacker for their system, a guy who can run to the football and make plays. Rob Morris hasn't cut it under the new system.
32. New England Patriots -- Daryl Smith. LB, Georgia Tech. They need to get younger at linebacker, and Smith is an athletic player who makes a lot of tackles. They could also consider a corner or an offensive lineman here.