While we are still sorting the aftermath of the Donovan McNabb trade, it is time for the second edition of our 2010 NFL Mock Draft.
As the draft misinformation season enters the home stretch, it would be best to follow the advice of Benjamin Franklin:
“Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.”
We would have mocked Jimmy Clausen to the Redskins prior to the McNabb trade; now we should see a run on offensive tackles in the early first round.
Disclaimer: This is how we think the draft will unfold based on team needs and preferences. It will not reflect our own player rankings.
1. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, QB – Oklahoma
St. Louis does not have a potential franchise quarterback on their roster and they just released starter Marc Bulger. Although Ndamukong Suh is the best prospect available, the Rams must follow the golden draft rule: If you don’t have a franchise quarterback, you must do anything possible to acquire one. Bradford will be an excellent pro and instantly becomes the face of the Rams franchise.
2. Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, DT – Nebraska
Head Coach Jim Schwartz will be tempted to select an offensive tackle to protect the blindside of Matthew Stafford, but players of Suh’s caliber come around only once a decade. Suh will anchor the Lions defensive line for the next 10-12 years and instantly makes everyone around him better on the Lions defense.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy, DT – Oklahoma
Tampa Bay has been looking for a replacement for Warren Sapp for years. Gerald McCoy would be the top defensive tackle in any other draft and the Bucs are happy to have their new defensive anchor.
4. Washington Redskins: Anthony Davis, OT – Rutgers
Now that Donovan McNabb is a Redskin, the rumors of Mike Shanahan acquiring every quarterback available can finally be put to rest. Anthony Davis is not the best tackle prospect in this draft, but he fits the athletic mold that Shanahan prefers at left tackle (Ryan Clady, 2008). The Redskins must take a tackle here. As a result of the McNabb trade and using their 3rd rounder in the 2009 supplemental draft, the Redskins will not pick again until the 4th round.
5. Kansas City Chiefs: Bryan Bulaga, OT – Iowa
Scott Pioli will follow the Patriots model and build the trenches in the first round, although Eric Berry is a possibility as the best remaining prospect. Bryan Bulaga is NFL-ready and could be one of the safest players in the entire draft. Selecting Bulaga will allow the Chiefs to move Brandon Albert inside to guard or over to right tackle and strengthen their offensive line.
6. Seattle Seahawks: Russell Okung, OT – Oklahoma State
The Seahawks need to find a replacement for Walter Jones and they could find it in Russell Okung. Okung will adequately protect the blindside for the next 10 years for whoever the Seahawks put under center at quarterback.
7. Cleveland Browns: Eric Berry, S – Tennessee
Safety is not a glamour position and Eric Berry could slide to the later part of the top-10 despite being one of the top prospects in this draft class. Cleveland needs help everywhere on its roster and Berry can be the defensive playmaker they have missed for some time.
8. Oakland Raiders: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE – South Florida
It is always hard to predict what the Raiders will do on draft weekend. Al Davis does not evaluate talent like he used to and the Oakland fans hope he will soon hire a general manager to oversee the football operations. Jason Pierre-Paul is a physical specimen and exactly the type of player the Raiders love to select. Derrick Morgan is the safer pick, but Al Davis will gamble on the upside of Pierre-Paul.
9. Buffalo Bills: Jimmy Clausen, QB – Notre Dame
Buffalo can thank Washington for allowing Clausen to fall to their selection. New head coach Chan Gailey can’t be sold on Trent Edwards or Ryan Fitzpatrick as his starting quarterback and Clausen is a potential franchise player. There are question marks surrounding the character of Clausen and his ability become a leader at the next level.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tim Tebow, QB – Florida
Jacksonville will pull the first shocker of draft weekend and select the hometown hero Tim Tebow as the tenth overall selection. There has never been a more polarizing player than Tebow in recent memory. The Jaguars have more pressing needs, but this will be a classic example of the team owner, Wayne Weaver, dictating what the front office will do on draft day.
11. Denver Broncos (Chicago Bears): Rolando McClain, ILB – Alabama
Denver has a need at inside linebacker after the departure of Andra Davis and Rolando McClain is a perfect fit to fill that role. McClain has exceptional leadership abilities and has the football intelligence that Josh McDaniels will demand.
12. Miami Dolphins: Everson Griffen, OLB – USC
Miami needs a pass rusher to replace Joey Porter and Griffen is soaring up draft boards with his impressive pro day performance. Bill Parcells is no stranger to taking college defensive ends and converting them to outside linebacker in his 3-4 scheme. There are questions about the work ethic of Griffen and he will not have the opportunity to slack off under Parcells and head coach Tony Sparano.
13. San Francisco 49ers: Joe Haden, CB – Florida
San Francisco gets a gift under this scenario and selects the top cornerback in the draft. Haden is a physical defender with outstanding instincts although questions remain about his top-end speed.
14. Seattle Seahawks (Denver Broncos): Dez Bryant, WR – Oklahoma State
Pete Carroll has toyed with the idea of adding Brandon Marshall this offseason. The Broncos are holding out for a first round selection in any trade. This pick could be dealt on draft day for Marshall. If the Seahawks do keep this pick, expect them to stop the free fall of Dez Bryant. Bryant won’t be as polished as Marshall early in his career, however, the price tag will be significantly less.
15. New York Giants: Earl Thomas, S – Texas
The Giants added Antrel Rolle in free agency to shore up their safety position. The Giants are worried about the availability of Kenny Phillips and selecting Earl Thomas would help ease those concerns. Thomas also can provide help at cornerback and would be the perfect addition to the rebuilding Giants defense.
16. Tennessee Titans: Derrick Morgan, DE – Georgia Tech
The Titans are desperate for defensive line help and Derrick Morgan makes perfect sense for the team. Morgan slid in this mock draft because he does not fit well in a 3-4 scheme and defensive line is one of the deepest positions in the draft.
17. San Francisco 49ers (Carolina Panthers): C.J. Spiller, RB – Clemson
San Fransisco would be wise to give Frank Gore some help in the backfield and Spiller brings an extra big-play threat to the conservative 49ers offense. San Fransisco has been seeking an adequate kick returner and they often used tight end Delanie Walker in that role in 2009.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Iupati, OG – Idaho
Mike Iupati is the perfect fit for the Steelers offensive line. Iupati gives them the physical presence they have missed since Alan Faneca left a few seasons ago.
19. Atlanta Falcons: Dan Williams, DT – Tennessee
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff prefers adding steady players on the offensive and defensive line in the first round. The Falcons lost Peria Jerry after just two starts in his rookie year and adding Dan Williams could create one of the best young defensive tackle duos in the league.
20. Houston Texans: Kyle Wilson, CB – Boise State
The Texans lost Dunta Robinson in free agency and they need to address his loss early. A running back could be tempting here, but Kyle Wilson is one of the few top-flight corners available. Wilson could step into the lineup immediately and help Houston maintain its winning ways.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Taylor Mays, S – USC
Taylor Mays will be tempting for the Bengals at this point of the first round. Mays is a younger version of Roy Williams, who resigned with the team in mid-March. Marvin Lewis prefers big athletes in his defense and the Bengals will continue to become USC East.
22. New England Patriots: Brandon Graham, OLB – Michigan
No one ever knows what Bill Belichick will do. The Patriots always seem to defy logic on draft day, so anything is possible at this selection. The Adalius Thomas experiment flamed out and the Patriots best pass rusher is Tully Banta-Cain. Adding Brandon Graham as an outside linebacker would make sense because he has natural pass rushing abilities and does not need to rely on blitzing schemes to get to the quarterback.
23. Green Bay Packers: Trent Williams, OT – Oklahoma
Trent Williams likely will not fall this far on draft day. Williams is a consistent performer and he will be a solid starting tackle in the NFL for many years. Green Bay needs to protect Aaron Rodgers better to take the next step in the playoffs.
24. Philadelphia Eagles: Sean Weatherspoon, OLB – Missouri
Philadelphia has two second rounders as a result of the Donovan McNabb trade and they could be creative on draft day with trades. Sean Weatherspoon is the perfect fit for the Eagles blitzing defense and would help ease the loss of linebackers Will Witherspoon and Chris Gocong.
25. Baltimore Ravens: Jermaine Gresham, TE – Oklahoma
Ozzie Newsome is not afraid of taking risks as he gladly selects the top tight end available in Jermaine Gresham. Gresham is recovering from missing the 2009 season due to injury and at this point of the draft his talent is too good to pass on. Gresham is a better prospect than Brandon Pettigrew who went 20th overall in 2009 to the Detroit Lions.
26. Arizona Cardinals: Sergio Kindle, OLB – Texas
The Cardinals are suddenly in need of linebacker help with the depature of Karlos Dansby and the retirement of Bertrand Berry. Sergio Kindle fits better as an outside linebacker and would instantly improve the Cardinals pass rush.
27. Dallas Cowboys: Bruce Campbell, OT – Maryland
Bruce Campbell was the workout warrior of the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine and earned himself a spot in the first round with his efforts. The Cowboys suddenly have a huge need at offensive tackle and Campbell could learn for a season behind Doug Free at left tackle.
28. San Diego Chargers: Ryan Mathews, RB – Fresno State
This pick makes too much sense not to happen on draft day. Mathews solidified his status as a first round prospect and general manager A.J. Smith does not have to wait long to find his replacement for LaDanian Tomlinson. Mathews will be the perfect compliment to Darren Sproles in the Chargers offense.
29. New York Jets: Jared Odrick, DE – Penn State
Head Coach Rex Ryan loves versatile football players and Jared Odrick can play every position on the defensive line. Odrick is not a flashy pick for the New York media but he fits a need on the Jets defense.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Jahvid Best, RB – California
Jahvid Best would be an excellent replacement for Chester Taylor as a change of pace back to Adrian Peterson. Brad Childress will find ways to use Best like the Eagles used Brian Westbrook. Best is one of the most explosive playmakers in the entire draft.
Bill Polian prefers to select skill position players in the first round that fit the Colts offensive system. The Colts traditionally are able to find undersized defensive players in the later rounds that fill roles on their defensive depth chart. Aaron Hernandez is a similar player to Dallas Clark as a slot tight end. Hernandez can eventually take on a larger role in the offense as Clark begins to decline.
The Super Bowl champions can go in many different directions with this selection with no clear weakness on their roster. They have a need at outside linebacker that can be addressed in the later rounds. Sean Payton could prefer a new offensive weapon for Drew Brees but adding to their defensive line depth is more important. Ricky Sapp will help provide the pass rush the Saints need and could be athletic enough to drop back in pass coverage.