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2010 NFL Mock Draft: Version 1.0
Round 1

Round: One | Two | Three
Version 2.0 - 3/18/10.
Version 3.0 - 4/20/10.

Note: Coin flips will decide which teams pick 10th, 16th and 19th.

1. St. Louis Rams – Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
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, Oklahoma
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.

Sam Bradford

If his shoulder is fine, Bradford could be Shanahan's choice.

4. Washington Redskins – Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
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 interesting.

5. Kansas City Chiefs - Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
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 and such.

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 round picks.

7. Cleveland Browns – Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
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, OT, Rutgers
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, Iowa
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, LB, Alabama
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, CB, Florida
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, DE, USC
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, S, Texas
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.

19t. Atlanta 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, TE, Oklahoma
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 well.

23. Green Bay Packers - Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
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, WR, Illinois
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, OLB, Texas
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, OT, Maryland
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 him.

28. San Diego Chargers – Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
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 State
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, DT, UCLA
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 year.

31. Indianapolis Colts - Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida
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, LB, Missouri
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.

Round Two