Version 2.0 - 3/18/10.
Version 3.0 - 4/20/10.
Coin flips will decide which teams pick 10th, 16th and 19th.
1. St. Louis Rams – Ndamukong Suh,
Steve Spagnuolo got the head coach job in St. Louis because of the
defense he assembled with the Giants. That defense succeeded because
of a penetrating front four that consistently generated pressure.
Drafting the explosive Suh would be key to achieving the same in
St. Louis. Suh becoming the first DT taken as the top overall pick
since 1994 may be contingent on the Rams solving their desperate
QB situation via trade or free agency. Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen
will gain momentum out of the Combine. At that point, regardless
of Suh being the top overall prospect, the question becomes if Spagnuolo
and GM Billy Devaney can withstand the backlash of passing on a
top QB prospect. Even if they don’t think either Jimmy Clausen
or Sam Bradford will necessarily become a franchise QB, picking
one would buy them more time to turn things around in St. Louis.
That is a big part of the reason why 9 of the last 12 first overall
picks have been quarterbacks.
2. Detroit Lions – Gerald McCoy, DT,
The Lions won’t be disappointed regardless of which DT the
Rams leave for them. While Suh swept all the major awards and has
been riding a wave of hype since the end of the season, McCoy has
just as much potential and is a more technically proficient pass
rusher at this point.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Derrick Morgan,
DE, Georgia Tech
The Bucs may be disappointed to see the top two defensive tackles
off the board at this point, but they need help everywhere on the
defensive line. Morgan hasn’t gotten the same press for freakish
physical attributes like fellow DE prospects Carlos Dunlap, Everson
Griffen, and Jason Pierre-Paul, but he is the most complete prospect
at the position. He has good size and measurables and while not
an elite pass rusher, a very good one and equally good against the
run. Many project S Eric Berry, arguably one of the top three overall
prospects, going in this spot. While Monte Kiffen, who was Berry’s
defensive coordinator at Tennessee last year, will highly recommend
the safety to his old team, this is a bit high for defensive back
when you have a big of at least almost as much quality. And if GM
Mark Dominik wants to take a bigger gamble here, I think it would
be on WR Dez Bryant before Berry. This pick could be pivotal if
any teams fall in love with Jimmy Clausen or Sam Bradford and worry
about trading ahead of the Redskins to grab their QB. If the two
top defensive tackles are off the board, Dominik is likely to feverously
work the phones to move down and still end up with Morgan or Bryant.
This pick also assumes they resign underrated free agent Donald
Penn to remain at LT, otherwise they’ll need to strongly consider
an OT to protect their young QB.
4. Washington Redskins – Sam Bradford,
If his shoulder is fine, Bradford could
be Shanahan's choice.
I think the Redskins should go with OT Russell Okung and new HC
Mike Shanahan should tender incumbent QB Jason Campbell because
he has some talent Shanahan could maximize, but this mock draft
is a projection of what I think will happen, not what I would do.
As owner Daniel Snyder was anxious to replace Campbell previously
and Shanahan would probably prefer to mold a young talent from scratch,
the result seems to be they will select a QB here. Whether it is
Jimmy Clausen or Sam Bradford may yet to be determined, but there
seems to be a lot of rumbling that if his shoulder is fine, Shanahan
prefers Bradford. Neither Bradford nor Clausen rate as highly as
your typical “franchise” QB prospect and there has to
be some apprehension by Shanahan and new GM Bruce Allen about putting
a new QB behind a declining offensive line likely to lose a premier
LT, so the pick definitely isn’t a foregone conclusion. If
the Redskins select an OT here or trade down, then this draft gets
5. Kansas City Chiefs - Russell Okung, OT,
GM Scott Pioli will have to think long and hard about passing on
a potential superstar like S Eric Berry, but ultimately the most
pressing thing he needs to do is protect the investment he banked
his career in KC on, Matt Cassel. 2008 first-round pick Branden
Albert didn’t succeed as a LT and they need to keep Cassel
vertical, so they bring in Okung to protect the blind side and move
Albert to RT or return to his natural guard position to hopefully
be more productive. This draft has a strong class at offensive tackle
and there is some debate on who has the best potential, but consistency
and intangibles nudge Okung to the top where physical abilities
are fairly equal. If anyone is clamoring for Jimmy Clausen at this
point, Pioli would be all too happy to trade down a few spots and
still get a premier OT while picking up an extra second rounder
6. Seattle Seahawks – Jimmy Clausen,
QB, Notre Dame
Pretty much the exact same situation as Washington – new head
coach, questions at QB and a crumbling offensive line with a major
question mark at LT. Only difference is Seattle has an aging once-successful
incumbent at QB, instead of an inconsistent young one. The decision
is a bit easier for HC Pete Carroll here, because he has two first
7. Cleveland Browns – Eric Berry, S,
New team president Mike Holmgren will happily add a player considered
one of the top three overall talents in the draft at a position
of need. Even if one of the two top quarterbacks fall, it appears
Holmgren seems satisfied to choose between Derek Anderson and Brady
Quinn at QB, at least for this season. In addition to figuring out
how to best integrate Joshua Cribbs, their most explosive player,
Holmgren has a lot of young prospects who have flashed potential
to evaluate at the other skill positions, so I don’t think
they go RB or WR as an alternative, although Dez Bryant could be
appealing. While the offensive line can use some help, they have
a Pro Bowl LT with Joe Thomas, so they won’t go that direction
in the first round. There are a lot of ways to go on defense besides
Berry, the most likely being top CB prospect Joe Haden.
8. Oakland Raiders – Anthony Davis,
With a bevy of young talent at skill positions on offense, adding
a top prospect to an offensive line that has been a lingering problem
seems obvious. Of course, Al Davis rarely follows conventional wisdom
in the draft, spurning necessities for shiny luxuries. Although
he lacks the big arm Davis loves, under different circumstances,
QB Jimmy Clausen has the swagger and name recognition Davis values
if he fell here. The hit for cutting Jamarcus Russell is actually
manageable at his point, but Davis looks like he’ll continue
to stand behind him and has a history of doing so with his draft
picks. Defensive ends Derrick Morgan, Carlos Dunlap, and Jason Pierre-Paul
all have the freakish athleticism Davis covets, but I don’t
think he will overlook addressing the offensive line early this
year. However, he could reach for Bruce Campbell here, who is likely
to have the impressive measurables Davis loves at the Combine, but
he’s a development prospect with more potential to bust.
9. Buffalo Bills – Bryan Bulaga, OT,
The team has yet to recover from trading Pro Bowl LT Jason Peter
prior to last year’s draft and compounding the problem by
ignoring the position with their two first-round picks. With both
top QB prospects off the board, taking an offensive tackle here
is a no-brainer. If one fell, the Bills would have a tough decision.
Not sure either Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen has the arm to thrive
in Buffalo’s winters.
10t. Denver Broncos (from Chicago Bears)
– Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
Despite another round of mea culpas from Brandon Marshall and owner
Pat Bowlen saying he wouldn’t mind Marshall staying, it would
seem all parties involved would like the soap opera to end. However,
if the players union and owners don’t have a new labor agreement
by March 5th, Marshall will be a restricted free agent, instead
of an unrestricted one, so his future could remain in Denver’s
hands if they tender him. Regardless of how that plays out, Denver
should be looking to the future at WR. Bryant has been a forgotten
man after being suspended last year after three games for the rest
of the season due to a minor NCAA violation. While he lacks elite
timed speed, he is the top WR prospect in this class with ideal
size, outstanding body control, and soft hands.
10t. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jason Pierre-Paul,
DE, South Florida
Defense used to be the strength of the Jaguars, but this once-proud
unit has been falling apart. The pass rush bottomed out as the worst
in the league last year, totaling just 14 sacks. GM Gene Smith has
said the team will go back to a base 4-3 this year and 2008 first-round
pick Derrick Harvey will start at left end, leaving an opening for
a better pass rushing threat on the right side. Pierre-Paul is a
JUCO transfer with just one season of Division I experience under
his belt, but is an impressive physical specimen with huge upside.
12. Miami Dolphins – Rolando McClain,
Help is needed at LB in Miami and they will be looking for the best
talent there, regardless of inside or outside. While he lacks elite
athleticism, McClain brings the two key attributes Bill Parcells
wants in his linebackers – big and smart.
13. San Francisco 49ers – Joe Haden,
With help in the secondary already a need, the team is pleasantly
surprised to find the top CB in the draft fall out of the top ten.
He is a shutdown corner with top speed who creates turnovers in
the air and on the ground. If Haden doesn’t make it this far,
Taylor Mays or Earl Thomas could be 49ers.
14. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos)
– C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
Offensive line help is the primary need, but HC Pete Carroll can’t
resist passing the opportunity to add Reggie Bush v2.0. Julius Jones
can still contribute and Justin Forsett is a nice story, but Spiller
is an elite home run hitter running, catching or returning.
15. New York Giants – Taylor Mays,
S, Southern California
Mays gambled and lost coming back for his senior season. USC had
a tough season and his game was overanalyzed to the point his draft
value fell. The Giants struggled at safety after Kenny Phillips’
career-threatening knee injury and need an intimidator in the secondary.
16t. San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina Panthers)
– Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
A decorated four-year starter, Williams lacks the upside of some
other prospects at offensive tackles, but plays both sides and projects
a solid starter at RT.
16t. Tennessee Titans – Everson Griffen,
The pass rush needs a jump-start and Griffen definitely has the
size and measurables to be that player. He didn’t live up
to his potential in college, but has plenty of upside. The baggage
Carlos Dunlap brings likely prevents him from being the pick here.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers – Earl Thomas,
The absence of Troy Polamalu exposed the lack of playmakers in the
secondary. A natural ballhawk who can play corner, as well, will
be an excellent upgrade in Pittsburgh. Offensive line is another
possibility with this pick.
Falcons – Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State
A big corner who can handle the bigger receivers that Chris Houston
struggles a bit more with. Playing opposite Dez Bryant every day
in practice no doubt helped refine his technique. Cox also adds
value as a returner.
19t. Houston Texans – Kyle Wilson,
CB, Boise State
It’s all about beating Peyton Manning in the AFC South and
the Texans need better defensive backs to do it. Wilson emerged
as a shutdown corner at the Senior Bowl and this pick won’t
seem a reach if he follows it up with a strong Combine performance.
Defensive tackle is another position they could address here,
with plenty of good choices on the board, but they’ve invested
a lot in the front four recently.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Jermaine Gresham,
Something needs to be done about their anemic passing game. Between
injuries and the bust that was Chase Coffman, TE was an unmitigated
disaster in Cincinnati. Despite missing all of last year with
a knee injury, Gresham is the top TE prospect who adds value as
a blocker as well as a receiver.
22. New England Patriots – Jerry
Hughes, OLB, Texas Christian
HC Bill Belichick typically eschews drafting a tweener high since
they are, by definition, players without a true position. However,
the team has struck out at identifying later round prospects and
their last two move to address the rush linebacker position with
veterans (Adalius Thomas and Derrick Burgess) have not panned
out. Perception of Hughes fell a bit as his production decreased
in 2009 after leading the nation in sacks with 15 in 2008. Still,
he had 11.5 sacks last year and has a niche as the top 3-4 pass
rush OLB. Tight end or defensive line are both options here, as
23. Green Bay Packers - Mike Iupati, G,
The Packers allowed the most sacks in the league and while some
of that is due to injuries, the offensive line needs to be shored
up. Iupati, who erased any doubts about his ability against superior
competition at the Senior Bowl, is a versatile lineman who can
play tackle, but is best suited to guard.
24. Philadelphia Eagles – Carlos
Dunlap, DE, Florida
A DUI arrest late last year and questionable work ethic have dropped
his stock, but HC Andy Reid has shown he’s not afraid of
players with baggage. There are no questions about his physical
attributes and skill set. If he puts in the effort and keeps his
nose clean, Dunlap has unlimited potential. At his size (6’6”
290), he might be a better fit in a 3-4, but the Eagles defense
mixes up their front four and attacks from a variety of angles.
25. Baltimore Ravens - Arrelious Benn,
Benn was limited in an incompetent Illinois offense who failed
to utilize him and there were also some questions about his work
ethic. However, GM Ozzie Newsome will take a calculated risk on
the talent and measurables that grade him higher. Benn will be
a hot commodity after the Combine. Derrick Mason, who threatened
to retire before last season, is probable to return for 2010,
but the team needs to address the position. If not with Benn,
look for wide receiver prospects Golden Tate, Demaryius Thomas
or Brandon LaFell to go here.
26. Arizona Cardinals - Sergio Kindle,
Many have Kindle graded higher, but as an undersized tweener,
I struggle to find many other good fits for him. He’s definitely
a versatile player, able to handle the run and pass in coverage
or blitzing, but he isn’t an elite pass rusher and needs
to bulk up, particularly better lower body strength, to play the
run at the next level. The Cardinals need an infusion of youth
and explosiveness on the edges of their 3-4 and Kindle could be
a steal here, but I think he is overvalued. Another OLB is an
alternative, as well as a security blanket TE for new starting
QB Matt Leinart.
27. Dallas Cowboys – Bruce Campbell,
Penalty-prone LT Flozell Adams turns 35 before the season and
RT Marc Colombo has a significant injury history. Despite the
late pick, this draft is deep at offensive tackle and likely presents
a great opportunity to shore up that position. One likely option
is Bruce Campbell, a massive 6’7” 310lb with freakish
strength and athleticism. However, he is raw, having never started
a full season. Last year was his first as a full-time starter,
but he missed three games with turf toe. The hype around him should
escalate after the Combine, but he is a developmental pick with
more risk than most of the established talents who should go before
28. San Diego Chargers – Dan Williams,
The secret was out on Williams after a strong performance at the
Senior Bowl. He is the prototypical immovable object that is the
perfect fit for the one-technique in a 4-3 or the nose in a 3-4.
With Jamal Williams aging and dinged up, Williams can be the future
anchor of their defense. Alternatively, RB Jonathan Dwyer could
be the pick here to replace the likely-to-depart LaDainian Tomlinson.
29. New York Jets - Jared Odrick, DT, Penn
The Jets will look for the best value in their front three or
at pass rush linebacker. Odrick has the right size and skill set
to fit as a 3-4 end and upgrade them there. They could also use
some help at corner, so that could be another likely pick here.
30. Minnesota Vikings – Brian Price,
With Brett Favre contemplating yet another retirement, and an
aging Pat Williams joining him, you have two significant unknowns
in the team’s draft plans. I think it is likely Favre returns,
so they would not take a QB early, but even if Pat Williams does,
they need to address the lack of depth on the interior of their
defensive line. The PAC-10 Defensive Player of the Year is a disruptive
force in the middle, stopping the run and showing great pass rush
ability for an interior player in racking up seven sacks last
31. Indianapolis Colts - Maurkice Pouncey,
A long offseason for the Colts after their Super Bowl loss could
begin with considering the future at center after Jeff Saturday,
who turns 35 this year. Pouncey comes from a complex offensive
system, so he should be able to handle the challenging mental
aspects of the role on this team. He could step in a guard while
Saturday plays out his career and then slide over to center. MLB
and the secondary could also use some improvement in depth.
32. New Orleans Saints - Sean Weatherspoon,
A productive OLB with the Tigers, Weatherspoon can play either
side and also handle the middle. Great intangibles and leadership,
he is a good fit for the Saints where he could challenge for a
starting job outside or at least add much-needed depth.