You can’t have a draft blog and not do a mock draft. I clearly don’t have the hair to be Mel Kiper Jr., nor do I have a team of scouts like Todd McShay. But I do follow the process closely, pour over stats from the Combine and the season, and watch more football than my fiancée would like me to admit.
With the 2010 NFL Draft just over a week away, many teams are getting their smoke machines ready to spew misinformation to try to throw reporters, fans, and other teams off the trail. But almost every team has their draft boards set, so I’ll do my best to see through the smoke and figure out what teams are actually thinking.
1. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
The Rams have passed on multiple franchise changing quarterbacks over the last few years in hopes of solidifying the defensive and offensive lines. Would the Rams still have the first selection if they would have pulled the trigger on a Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco or Mark Sanchez? The team has won just six games since 2007 with Marc Bulger under center. That’s not good. It’s time to roll the dice on a signal caller with some upside. Bradford is extremely accurate, shows good poise in the pocket, and quite possibly could have been the top pick if he’d come out last year.
2. Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
Suh was simply dominant this past season at Nebraska. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a defensive tackle overtake a game the way Suh did in the Big 12 championship game against Texas. He’s simply a special player. The Lions did not get much production out of the DT spot, and although they signed Corey Williams this summer, Detroit could still use and upgrade at the position. Suh will be a difference maker the day he arrives at the practice facility. A trade down could be a possibility if a team has fallen in love with QB Jimmy Clausen, but if Detroit keeps the pick, this is the guy to take.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
McCoy excelled in college as a penetrating defensive tackle. Put into the right system, he could pick up double digit sacks. McCoy has the ability to take on multiple blockers in the run and regularly beat his man in one-on-one situations. Tampa would be happy with either of the DTs, but McCoy might actually fit Tampa’s scheme better as a three technique tackle.
4. Washington Redskins: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
An argument can actually be made that the team should take QB Jimmy Clausen with this pick. Donovan McNabb will most likely be a one year rental, leaving the team thin at the quarterback position for the future. But the move for McNabb indicates Mike Shanahan and the Redskins want to win now. To do so, they’d better keep McNabb on his feet. Okung is solid in both the pass and run. He might not have the upside of some of a Trent Williams or Bruce Campbell, but he’s a much safer choice. He should step in well for retired OT Chris Samuels.
5. Kansas City Chiefs: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
If I were making this pick, I would select S Eric Berry. But reports out of Kansas City, coupled with the team’s draft last year, show the team will put a premium on positional value. Paying top-five money to a safety does not fit GM Scott Pioli’s draft philosophy. Using the positional value strategy, this pick will most likely be a tackle. Trent Williams is more athletic than Bulaga, but there are questions about Williams’ commitment and work ethic. Bulaga is a solid prospect, who will likely start at right tackle opposite former 1st round pick Branden Albert.
6. Seattle Seahawks: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
If new coach Pete Carroll watched game film of the Seahawks last year, he should have seen how poorly the line played. And you won’t improve the passing game or rushing attack if you can’t block up front. All-Pro LT Walter Jones is no longer a part of the team, further decreasing the talent on the line. While there are concerns about Williams’ commitment to the game, he has very high upside and would clearly be an upgrade over anyone on the line.
7. Cleveland Browns: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
The Browns get a bargain at pick seven. Berry is the third rated player in the draft. He is a ball hawk who changes the way teams attack on offense. He is also able to come up and fill the box against the run. He’s a sure tackler. Comparisons to Ed Reed are not farfetched. There could be an outside chance that this pick could be Jimmy Clausen. Mike Holmgren is known as a quarterback guru. If he’s fallen in love with Clausen, he’ll pull the trigger.
8. Oakland Raiders: Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
No one knows what Al Davis will do on draft day. You can’t use logic or reason when making a mock pick for Oakland. I mean, who saw Darius Heyward-Bey coming? One thing we know is that Davis loves guys who are athletic freaks. Campbell ran a 4.85 40 at the Combine. He’s 6-6, 314 pounds and did 34 reps of 225 pounds. Plus, Oakland needs help at the tackle position. Simply based on his measurables, I think it’s fair to assume Campbell’s the choice.
9. Buffalo Bills: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
The run on OT’s continues. Jimmy Clausen is clearly a choice for a team that had a lot of problems at the quarterback position last year. But it doesn’t matter who’s under center unless the Bills improve their line. Andy Levitre and Eric Wood stepped in and improved the interior of the line, but Jonathon Scott and Kirk Chambers were forgettable outside. New coach Chan Gailey wants to improve the passing game and that will start with keeping his QB upright. Davis is the best pure pass-blocker in the draft. Seems like a pretty solid match.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars: Joe Haden, CB, Florida
This is a very tough pick to make. The Jaguars have needs at linebacker, safety, and defensive end. On top of that, the team has suffered economic problems. The Jaguars have problems filling their seats and had a number of games blacked out. Tim Tebow, a home state hero, would certainly put butts in the seats, but he may be a stretch. Tebow’s teammate could also be a fan favorite, and could help the team improve their pass defense, which is crucial when you play multiple games against teams like the Colts and Texans.
11. Denver Broncos: Earl Thomas, S, Texas
This pick would have been DT Dan Williams had the Broncos not signed Jamal Williams this summer. I think with Williams and Ronald Fields, the team feels confident at nose tackle. The Broncos got great production out of the safety position last year, but Brian Dawkins has one, maybe two good years left. His successor is not on the current roster. Thomas has the best instincts of anyone in the draft. He is even quick enough to work in the nickel and dime packages while he learns from one of the best. Other names to watch would be Renaldo McClain and Williams.
12. Miami Dolphins: Dan Williams, NT, Tennessee
Jason Ferguson regressed last season, is running out of years, and now comes news that he will be suspended to start the season. A 3-4 defense does not work without someone anchoring the interior of the defensive line. Williams is big, stout against the run, and is a smart player. Williams 5.17 at the Combine also indicates he could penetrate on passing downs.
13. San Francisco 49ers: Derrick Morgan, DE/OLB, Georgia Tech
The team would like to improve the offensive line, but there isn’t a prospect whose worth of selecting at 13. The team needs to improve their pass rush. Morgan is the best prospect of the end/rush linebackers in the draft. He was constantly in the backfield while playing at Georgia Tech. If the coaches believe he can play with speed without his hand in the ground, he’s the pick. Other players to watch would be Jason Pierre-Paul or Sergio Kindle.
14. Seattle Seahawks: C.J. Spiller, RB/KR, Clemson
We’ve seen what Pete Carroll has done with speedy backs while at USC (Reggie Bush comes to mind). Spiller is a homerun threat everytime he touches the ball, and is equally effective in the backfield or returning kicks. The teams already got their LT of the future, and a quarterback could quite possibly be the selection, but Spiller is the type of unique player that Carroll can turn into a star.
15. New York Giants: Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
McClain is the top inside linebacker in the draft. He’s able to quickly diagnose a play, and flows to the ball with speed. He has an NFL ready body, and should be able to stand up to the wear and tear of the league. The Giants weren’t thrilled with the production they got from the MLB position, and with Nation Pierce out of the picture, McClain would be a great pickup.
16. Tennessee Titans: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE/OLB, South Florida
Pierre-Paul is raw, but many think he could be the best player out of the draft in five years. The Titans defense was best when Jevon Kearse was terrorizing quarterbacks. Concerns about Pierre-Paul’s inexperience and knowledge of the game might be overlooked by Tennessee who have an experienced coach in Jeff Fischer. Pierre-Paul should work his way into the rotation next season before taking over in a year or two.
17. San Francisco 49ers: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
It’s going to be a long wait for Clausen, but San Fran could be a good spot for the young signal caller. The 49ers were burned by a 1st round quarterback before, but Clausen is more NFL ready than Alex Smith was, and he won’t be pushed to play immediately. It’s just hard to think of Clausen dropping farther than the 17, and he certainly is a good value for San Francisco.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers: Maurkice Pouncey, G, C: Florida
The Steelers got pass-happy last season, but indications are they’d like to get back to a power running game. The offensive line has been thin the past few years, and Pouncey could really improve either the guard or center spot.
19. Atlanta Falcons: Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
Graham really impressed at the Senior Bowl, and fits a big need for Atlanta. The Falcons didn’t get the production they wanted out of John Abraham. They need to generate more pressure. Graham shows great speed around the corner, and at 270 pounds, he can also standup against the run.
20. Houston Texans: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
The team was already thin at cornerback before they lost their best one, Dunta Robinson. The Texans drafted Mario Williams with Peyton Manning and the Colts in mind, so it shouldn’t be surprising they’d pick Wilson to compete against some of the pass-happy teams in their division. He’s solid in all areas of the game, and could even help in the return game.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
The Bengals used five different players at tight end, but none played very well. To take their offense to the next level, they need to find someone who can stretch the middle of the field. Gresham was injured and missed all of last season, but indications are that he is back to 100 percent. He is head and shoulders the top prospect at the position.
22. New England Patriots: Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas
Somewhere Bill Belichick is cursing under his breath about the previous pick. The Patriots have been looking for a difference maker at TE. But the consolation prize isn’t too bad either. Kindle was very prolific getting to the quarterback the past few years. The Patriots have gotten spotty production from the outside backer position, and Kindle could be part of a much needed youth movement at the position.
23. Green Bay Packers: Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
Iupati is not the prototypical tackle many fans are looking for. That being said, Iupati is an absolute beast and a guy fans will quickly get behind. He’s got a drive that you don’t often see. He could be the next Steve Hutchinson, a difference maker in both the run and pass who simply dominates every down. Iupati has the size and physical tools to move outside to tackle if needed.
24. Philadelphia Eagles: Taylor Mays, S, USC
Mays measurables jump off the page. He is big, fast and isn’t afraid to get physical. But a breakdown of game tape shows he’s not very good in coverage, and does not have fluid hips. The question is which Mays you get. At pick 24, his upside and physical tools are worth the risk.
25. Baltimore Ravens: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma St.
GM Ozzie Newsome is jumping up and down in the warroom if Bryant falls all the way to 25. Bryant is easily the top wideout, but questions about his off the field activities and maturity could make him drop down draft boards. Even with Anquan Boldin now in the picture, the team needs to surround Joe Flacco with better weapons. This is a good start.
26. Arizona Cardinals: Sean Witherspoon, LB, Missouri
The Cardinals lost Karlos Dansby in the offseason, and should look for his replacement here. Even with Dansby on the roster, the team wasn’t thrilled with the play of their inside linebackers. Witherspoon played outside in college, but has the makeup to easily move inside. He’s solid against the run and pass, and rarely misses a tackle.
27. Dallas Cowboys: Charles Brown, OT, USC
Flozell Adams is gone, and Marc Colombo has been injury prone. Doug Free played well as a replacement for Colombo last season, but he’s never played 16 games. Brown could provide depth and possibly compete for a starting spot.
28. San Diego Chargers: Terrance Cody, NT, Alabama
I know, I know, the team needs to replace LaDainian Tomlinson. But they also need to replace Jamal Williams on the interior, and guys who can effectively play nose tackle are few and far between. Cody was a force inside for Alabama, stuffing the run and proving to be proficient at blocking kicks. He can take on multiple blockers. He’ll need to keep his weight down and his conditioning up, but he’s a solid pick.
29. New York Jets: Jared Odrick, DT/DE, Penn State
The Jets defensive line is aging, and an infusion of youth is needed. Odrick has a quick first step, and could develop into a starter on the end. He’s got a high motor, which should mesh well with coach Rex Ryan.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama
Everyone knows the Vikings run defense is one of the best in the league. But while the focus continues to be on the front four, Minnesota has slowly become thin at the corner position. Antoine Winfield has battled injuries, and is on the backside of his career. Jackson should contribute in nickel or dime packages and eventually take over for Winfield.
31. Indianapolis Colts: Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU
Hughes is a bit undersized for the 4-3 defense, but the Colts have struck gold on another undersized end (Dwight Freeney). DE is actually a strong position for the Colts, but there is not much behind Freeney and Robert Mathis. Nowhere was that more evident than against the Saints. Hughes could rotate in and step up for spot starts.
32. New Orleans Saints: Brian Price, DT, UCLA
The Saints didn’t have many weaknesses last year, but they could use an upgrade on the defensive line, specifically against the run. Price is 6-2, 300 pounds, but still has a very quick first step. He has the ability to collapse the pocket with his speed and motor.
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This post was written by Stephen on April 11, 2010