Here's the game plan

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:58 AM ET

Officials for the 32 NFL teams gather in New York today for Day 1 of the draft. Experts suggest this is a draft where the top 10 is a crapshoot and a lot of good players will be available later. So what holes will your favourite team likely fill today? And who's going where? Sun NFL writer Steve Macfarlane stages a mock draft and predicts how the first round will pan out. We'll have comprehensive draft coverage in tomorrow's Sun.

#1

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

QB-AARON RODGERS

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

Unless they trade the pick, it's no secret coach Mike Nolan wants a young QB to build his offence around. Nolan said the local kid has the advantage over Alex Smith because of Rodgers's familiarity with the West Coast offence.

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#2

MIAMI DOLPHINS

RB-CEDRIC BENSON

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS

Some consider Auburn's Ronnie Brown the best of three potential franchise RBs based on his receiving abilities but Benson has the size, speed and durability to give and take a pounding in the NFL.

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#3

CLEVELAND BROWNS

QB-ALEX SMITH

UNIVERSITY OF UTAH

If Rodgers isn't taken in the No. 1 spot, he'll fall a long way but Smith won't after impressing scouts enough to earn a standing ovation at the end of his private workout. WR Braylon Edwards or OLB Derrick Johnson are other potential picks.

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#4

CHICAGO BEARS

WR-BRAYLON EDWARDS

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

The Bears are looking for an impact player and will be overjoyed the best receiver in the draft is still available. Rumour has it Chicago is also eyeing RBs but coach Lovie Smith will likely stand behind starter Thomas Jones.

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#5

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

RB-CADILLAC WILLIAMS

UNIVERSITY OF AUBURN

Coach Jon Gruden fell in love with Carnell (Cadillac) Williams's shiftiness at the Senior Bowl. WR Mike Williams or OLB Derrick Johnson are the top non-RB choices for the Bucs.

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#6

TENNESSEE TITANS

CB-ANTREL ROLLE

UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI, FLA.

The best cornerback prospect. He can return punts, too, something the Titans need.

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#7

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

WR-MIKE WILLIAMS

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

The Randy Moss trade may quickly be forgotten if the former USC standout is still available. Troy Williamson is the next best receiver.

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#8

ARIZONA CARDINALS

RB-RONNIE BROWN

UNIVERSITY OF AUBURN

If Alex Smith or Aaron Rodgers fall this far, coach Dennis Green might be tempted to pick him up. But with the apparent failure to trade for Travis Henry, the Cards need a feature back.

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#9

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

LB-DERRICK JOHNSON

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS

After losing Fred Smoot in free agency, corner Adam (Pac-Man) Jones may be a smart pick. But coach Joe Gibbs also lost middle linebacker Antonio Pierce and Johnson can help strengthen the unit.

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#10

DETROIT LIONS

DE-SHAWNE MERRIMAN

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND

Offensive and defensive line will be the Lions' main focus on the draft's first day. Merriman has speed to rush the pass but can also play the run.

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#11

DALLAS COWBOYS

DE/LB-DEMARCUS WARE

TROY STATE UNIVERSITY

Another team expected to switch to more of a 3-4 defence, the Cowboys need a pass-rushing linebacker. Ware played defensive end for Troy State but his size and speed make him a great fit for Dallas' new scheme.

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#12

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

WR-TROY WILLIAMSON

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA

The Chargers could use a speedy young wideout to groom under the tutelage of veteran Keenan McCardell. Williamson's talent is a little raw but boasts a 40-yard-dash time of about 4.3 seconds.

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#13

HOUSTON TEXANS

OT-ALEX BARRON

FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY

Barron is more raw than University of Washington prospect Khalif Barnes but has a greater upside.

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#14

CAROLINA PANTHERS

OT-KHALIF BARNES

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON

Barnes is too good to pass over in a draft that's a little thin on star talent on the offensive line. Carolina has other needs but none as pressing as their front five.

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#15

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

CB-PAC-MAN JONES

UNIVERSITY OF WEST VIRGINIA

Arguably the cornerback with the most potential, in addition to dangerous return skills. He drops this far because of perceived character flaws and his lack of size (5 ft. 9 in.)

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#16

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

DE/OLB-DAVID POLLACK

UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA

The Saints may opt for OT Jammal Brown to bolster their line but Pollack is a versatile player who can help the Saints pass rush from an end position or as a linebacker. S/LB Thomas Davis is another possibility because of his ability to change

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#17

CINCINNATI BENGALS

DE/DT-MARCUS SPEARS

LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY

Defensive tackle Travis Johnson has reportedly been on the Bengals wish list for a while but if Spears falls this far, they may be tempted to go with the versatile LSU product who can play inside or outside.

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#18

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

DE-ERASMUS JAMES

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN

James is an explosive pass rusher and would be a steal at No. 18. The Lions may make him a top-10 pick but injuries have some teams worried.

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#19

ST. LOUIS RAMS

OT-JAMMAL BROWN

UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA

The last of the elite tackles would make a great addition to the Rams line. ORT Kyle Turley likely won't return and Brown may be able to step right in.

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#20

DALLAS COWBOYS

WR-MARK CLAYTON

UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA

If the Cowboys focus on defence with the No. 11 pick, they'll grab the best receiver left. Clayton could go earlier if things change at the top.

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#21

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

CB-CARLOS ROGERS

UNIVERSITY OF AUBURN

Whether it's Pac-Man or Rogers, the Jags will grab the best corner available after cutting two loose this off-season. If the elite three are off the board, speedy CB Fabian Washington is no slouch.

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#22

BALTIMORE RAVENS

CB-FABIAN WASHINGTON

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA

The Ravens have had a lot of success by sticking to the best available player on their draft board. Coincidentally, their biggest need may be filled by the best player still available. Washington will have time to develop as a third corner in Baltimore.

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#23

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

FS-BRODNEY POOL

UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA

Adding veteran LB Jamie Sharper allows the Seahawks to pick the best available and Pool gets the nod because of his athletic ability. He provides depth at safety and may play corner as well. A young receiver isn't out of the question, either.

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#24

GREEN BAY PACKERS

SS-THOMAS DAVIS

UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA

Unless the Packers decide a second-tier QB like Auburn's Jason Campbell is Brett Favre's heir apparent, Davis should be a lock this late in the round. He could start immediately as a safety.

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#25

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

QB-JASON CAMPBELL

AUBURN UNIVERSITY

The Redskins reportedly traded for a second pick in the first round to secure Campbell's services. More pressing needs, such as cornerback, will have to be addressed in later rounds if they snag the rising QB prospect early.

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#26

OAKLAND RAIDERS

CB-JUSTIN MILLER

CLEMENS UNIVERSITY

The Raiders need an inside linebacker but a defensive back is more important after trading away CB Phillip Buchanon. Miller is the best corner on the board at this point.

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#27

ATLANTA FALCONS

DT-TRAVIS JOHNSON

FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY

Luis Castillo's steroid use before the combine secured Johnson's place as the top pure tackle in the draft. The Falcons will take a receiver if they have one rated higher but it's doubtful Roddy White or Reggie Brown rank above Johnson.

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#28

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

DE-JUSTIN TUCK

NOTRE DAME UNIVERSITY

The Chargers would love it if safeties Brodney Pool or Thomas Davis were available but chances are they'll settle for the best available d-lineman. That would be Tuck.

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#29

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

DE-DAN CODY

UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA

A defensive tackle may be more important to the Colts but positive tests for steroids and marijuana might drop prospects Luis Castillo and Anttaj Hawthorne out of the first round. Cody will complement sack-mad Dwight Freeney on the d-line.

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#30

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

TE-HEATH MILLER

UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

With the Jets out of the running, the Steelers get a gift late in the round. Miller, easily the best remaining prospect, has the blocking and receiving skills Pittsburgh has been lacking on the end of their offensive line.

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#31

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

WR-REGGIE BROWN

UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA

Brown -- or UAB receiver Sharod (Roddy) White -- can be developed into a great starter alongside Terrell Owens, whose recent off-season disruption proves the Eagles need to focus on more talent at the wideout position.

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#32

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

CB-MARLIN JACKSON

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

A linebacker like Darryl Blackstock or Channing Crowder might be hard to pass over but Jackson, if available, is too talented to pass up when you have an untested secondary. He can start at corner or free safety for years to come.


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