2010 NFL Mock Draft: Alpha Version
I know this is ridiculously early, but I wanted to get one done before the regular season started.
Although stronger than 2009, the class of 2010 is still relatively weak.
Sam Bradford headlines a QB class that's sure to be full of underclassmen defecting to the NFL in lieu of the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations that are sure to do something about the ridiculously high rookie salaries.
2010 Mock, One Round
The order was determined by splitting up the teams ranked 1-5, 6-16, 17-27, and 28-32 and then drawing out of a hat.
The reason is that the bottom five teams are pretty well labeled, as well as the top five, but what order those teams will be in or how well the other 22 teams will do is all speculation.
I left it up to chance as opposed to hurting my head trying to predict why team X is 12 while team Y is 15.
Also, I'm not predicting any trades until after the scouting combine. Obviously, official trades will be observed.
1. St. Louis Rams: Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida
This just in: The Rams are terrible.
They need help everywhere. The only possible exception is running back, and even then Steven Jackson is injured often, and there isn’t a capable backup behind him. So, I decided to go with the Best Player Available (BPA) for this pick.
That player is the physical freak of nature Carlos Dunlap. This guy has Mario Williams-like athleticism plus the added media coverage at Florida. If Mario can go No. 1, Dunlap can do the same in a relatively weak class overall.
2. Oakland Raiders: Taylor Mays, S, USC
It’s been a foregone conclusion since November that Taylor Mays would be a Raider.
At 6'4", 225 lbs., if he runs in the 4.3s—which isn’t improbable—Oakland might as well start printing jerseys.
On a side note, I went to a sports store to look for a jersey. Their price for jerseys was normally $75, but they had a sale of 20 percent off, so they were $60—except for the JaMarcus Russell jerseys, which were on clearance for $20. I thought that was hilarious.
3. Cleveland Browns: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
If Cleveland is picking this high, it means no one won the QB battle.
Also, Eric Mangini will probably want his QB of the future. I actually think Jevan Snead is the best QB out of this class and will eventually surpass Sam Bradford this season.
However, this is a mock more about what I think would happen if the draft was held today and what I would do. The best QB on most boards is Bradford. It’ll be interesting if he or Tim Tebow gets a second Heisman.
4. Detroit Lions: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
Matt Stafford will be saddened that Detroit took Brandon Pettigrew over William Beatty or Michael Oher in 2009.
Nothing against Pettigrew, but the Lions didn’t address their No. 2 need, which at the time was bigger than most teams’ No. 1 needs.
A slice of Hawkeye beast.
Iowa is known for its great offensive linemen, and Bulaga is no exception. Look for him to shoot up boards similarly to Jason Smith last year. In fact, I wouldn’t rule out Bulaga as the No. 1 pick if someone besides St. Louis or Jacksonville gets it.
Note: If I can't find a picture of the player, I will put a picture of the team's coach. Sorry for any confusion.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Arrelious Benn, WR, Illinois
Torry Holt is not the answer.
The Jaguars, no matter who they have at QB, will not win very often with the awful receivers they have amassed. Right now, Arrelious Benn is my top WR, so that’s the pick.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
I have to put it on record—I think Eric Berry is very overrated.
I can’t remember ever hearing a safety getting so much hype. I also don’t think he’ll ever be an Ed Reed type unless he ends up somewhere like New England or Pittsburgh, where he would have the freedom of a great team to allow him to grow.
That being said, there’s little chance that either of those teams are drafting top 10 come April, and despite my reservations about him, he’s still the top safety in this class.
If he runs a 4.2—or Oakland isn’t picking top five—then he’ll be the first safety off the board. Tampa Bay needs help all over the place, especially on defense now that Aqib Talib has been arrested on battery charges.
I’m not going to say Eric Berry will be a bust. On the contrary, I think he’ll be a quality starter in the NFL. But you don’t take a player No. 6 overall in the hopes that he’ll be just a quality starter.
7. Cincinnati Bengals: Sergio Kindle, DE/OLB, Texas
I know little about the Bengals' needs.
I also know little about Sergio Kindle.
Seemed like a good match to me, so that way I can only be uninformed once instead of twice. I’ll be doing a lot more research before my next mock so I’ll be better informed. For now, Cincy is taking the Texas end.
8. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver): Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma St.
Denver traded this pick to Seattle for Alphonso Smith.
Let that sink in.
In case you didn’t know, Alphonso Smith is probably going to be their nickel corner. They essentially took a No. 3 corner in the first round. The top 10, no less. I guess Josh McDaniels knows what he’s doing.
Anyway, on to the pick. Walter Jones is getting older and coming off multiple surgeries. I don’t think there’s a lot left in the tank.
Enter Russell Okung, the real reason why Oklahoma St. has such a polished offense. Seattle wouldn’t miss a beat.
There’s a really good chance Denver, er, Seattle will be picking top five next year. If that’s the case, this pick becomes Sam Bradford. I almost made the pick Jevan Snead, but the QB class is a little deeper than the OT class this year.
9. Tennessee Titans: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma St.
A little dynamite to go with the wrecking ball.
Could you imagine how much Vince Young would have to suck to fail as a QB while having Dez Bryant, Kenny Britt, Bo Scaife, Chris Johnson, and LenDale White at his disposal?
Britt and Bryant would be that WR duo that instills fear into opposing defensive coordinators much like another famous duo in the division used to do.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Joe Haden, CB, Florida
Mike Jenkins looks like the real deal. Although he wasn’t as consistent as I would like, that could probably be cured with playing time.
But in the NFL you start two corners. Terrence Newman is well over the 30 CB wall, and Joe Haden is more than capable of starting in the NFL. I would venture to say he could start for some teams right now.
I know the prospect of having starting CBs with a total of two years of experience is a little scary for Cowboys fans, but those two would quell all doubters very soon.
11. Seattle Seahawks: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
Hey, Seattle gets to pick again. Funny how you can take advantage of other bonehead GMs. So, instead of perhaps having to reach for a WR here, they can take an OL and DL staple for many years to come in the same round.
Oh, and they get T.J. Houshmandzadeh too.
Thank heaven they aren’t in the AFC West anymore. Someday I’m gonna be able to pronounce this guy’s name, but I don’t have to say it right to like him as a prospect.
Plus, he fits their scheme, and it’s not like their present DTs are any good. As long as he, as well as Lawrence Jackson and Aaron Curry, develop into the players they were projected to be, Suh should be a Pro Bowl-caliber player for a long time.
12. San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina): Brandon Spikes, ILB, Florida
This is the pick San Francisco got from Carolina for Everette Brown (another case of taking advantage of inept GMs).
Although I’ll be fair, at least Brown is supposed to be the starting DE on the other side of Julius Peppers. He might even take over for Peppers if he defects next season.
San Francisco is in the same boat as Cincinnati in that I don’t know a whole lot about their needs. I do know they need a franchise QB. Shaun Hill is a good interim guy, but he’s not the future. However, there is no QB worth taking here. So I went BPA.
That player is mega-talent Brandon Spikes. This guy was a shoo-in top-15 pick last year if he'd chosen to come out. I think he fits San Francisco’s system well.
Also, he could probably play all three LB positions, adding to flexibility in a division that is really strong at LB with guys like Aaron Curry, James Laurinaitis, Lofa Tatupu, and Leroy Hill.
13. Kansas City Chiefs: Terrence Cody, NT, Alabama
I highly doubt Kansas City is picking this low come April, but I want to have my little moment of hope, so bear with me.
No matter where the Chiefs end up picking, Terrence Cody is probably the pick.
If they pick higher, Bryan Bulaga and Dez Bryant could be options. The only problem I have with taking an OT in the first round is we would essentially be drafting either a RT—or whatever position Branden Albert would move to—in the top 10. If they are picking 13, there’s no OT worth picking here.
As far as Bryant goes, he would be the perfect complement to Dwayne Bowe.
For the actual pick, I think Mount Cody is the NT that no one has ever seen before. You’ll have to double-team him every play based on sheer size, and that’s not taking into account his talent. He’s easily my top DT in the class.
I know I have Suh taken first, but that’s because Suh is a much better fit for the 4-3, whereas Cody is obviously a NT in the 3-4.
All that being said, if I went with KC’s recent first-round draft history (Bowe, Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson), this pick will either be Brandon LaFell or Ciron Black. I’ll let you figure out what they all have in common.
14. Buffalo Bills: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
A running mate/future replacement for Marcus Stroud.
If they make this pick, their 2010 projected starting D-line would be Aaron Schobel, Stroud, McCoy, and Aaron Maybin. That looks like a pretty good four-man front to me.
This pick could also be a WR, especially if they don’t re-sign Terrell Owens, or a QB if Trent Edwards melts down after a year with TO. We’ll have to wait and see how that develops.
15. Green Bay Packers: Travis Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma
Packers go BPA, as usual. I don’t know how well their 3-4 pieces will work out, but Lewis has the athleticism to play inside or outside in a 3-4. He may not be projected as a 3-4 ILB, but neither was Derrick Johnson or A.J. Hawk.
On a side note, this year will teach us a lot about how many specific skills you really need for the 3-4.
If the Broncos, Chiefs, and Packers improve defensively with 4-3 personnel in a 3-4 defense, then projections may end up meaning nothing. If they get worse, then we’ll be reassured that the new personnel that made the changes don’t know a whole lot about what they’re doing.
16. Indianapolis Colts: Brandon LaFell, WR, LSU
This is the pick if Pierre Garcon/Austin Collie don’t develop into quality split ends.
Reggie Wayne and Brandon LaFell, plus Anthony Gonzalez back in the slot where he excels, plus Dallas Clark and Donald Brown, make for a good arsenal for Peyton Manning as he moves into the twilight of his career.
17. Arizona Cardinals: Greg Hardy, DE, Ole Miss
A replacement for Antonio Smith, who defected for Houston this offseason.
I know they took Calais Campbell a couple years ago, but he had work ethic issues to begin with, and how hard would he work if he has no competition in camp? I think Hardy is more talented, anyway. He is another guy who would’ve gone top 15 had he chosen to declare last year.
18. Miami Dolphins: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
I think the Wildcat formation is the precursor to option football returning to the NFL. Miami was the catalyst for the Wildcats at first, and now, with Pat White, they will take that formation to the next level by adding a passing threat to the formation.
To go full-out option, however, you need a good scat back that can make defenders miss. In other words, Pat White needs Steve Slaton.
Unfortunately, Slaton is currently employed by the Houston Texans, so the Dolphins will have to settle for a similar replacement.
Enter C..J Spiller, who is my top RB in a relatively weak class. Unlike Brandon Spikes and Greg Hardy—who would’ve been better-served coming out last year—barring a major injury, Spiller will have a much better shot at being the top back taken this year as opposed to last.
He would’ve been a distant fourth to Knowshon Moreno, Chris Wells, and Donald Brown and may not have been taken over by LeSean McCoy.
Besides, Ronnie Brown is very unreliable as a RB thanks to his injury history, and Ricky Williams doesn’t have a lot in the tank. Without a real egregious need, they can take a somewhat luxury pick with the lightning-quick Spiller.
19. New York Jets: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
The Jets go with an insurance policy on their multimillion-dollar quarterback.
Trent Williams would’ve been the first Oklahoma offensive lineman taken if he had come out. Granted, as low as Phil Loadholdt and Duke Robinson ended up going, that doesn’t mean that much.
20. San Francisco 49ers: Jevan Snead, QB, Ole Miss
There’s no way come draft time that Jevan Snead falls out of the top 15. However, at the present, I have a really hard time placing him up there. So, San Francisco gets a major steal with a franchise quarterback at 20.
Snead, as I stated before, is my top QB in this class. I think he’s the most pro-ready and will be able to contribute right away to a San Francisco team that is a legit QB and a legit WR away from consistent, year-in and year-out playoff contention.
A little clarification: Why didn’t I give San Francisco Snead at 12? The biggest reason was the way the draft went, they could get Snead at 20. Spikes would’ve gone to Indy or Kansas City or Green Bay if Snead gets picked at 12. If this was the order, Snead could go as high as No. 8 to Seattle.
21. Washington Redskins: Everson Griffen, DE, USC
I know Washington took Brian Orakpo last year, but you need to start two defensive ends in Washington’s system, and there’s no indication that Washington’s other DEs are capable of staying healthy. Griffen also falls under BPA.
22. Philadelphia Eagles: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
Call me cynical, but I don’t think Brent Celek will suffice at TE this year.
Besides, Gresham may be the best TE prospect this decade. I know, Vernon Davis, but the fact is that Gresham has a much more well-rounded and polished game then Davis did coming out—or now, for that matter.
Add the fact that TEs have become lower in positional value and need for TE isn’t high in the NFL right now, and you can understand why he falls this far.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Trevard Lindley, CB, Kentucky
Everybody and their mother thinks this pick should be Tim Tebow. I, however, don’t. A few reasons why:
1. Minnesota, more specifically Brad Childress, is still under the impression that Tarvaris Jackson is their QB of the future. Also, if the Brett Favre thing goes well, he may play another year.
2. Childress will be the coach next year if they are picking this low again, although he shouldn’t be.
3. Tebow is not a first-round talent QB. If the draft was based on character, he would be the best rookie prospect in the history of professional sports. But it isn’t. His intangibles may get him drafted this high, but not by the Vikings. Tim Hiller or Colt McCoy has a better chance of going here.
As far as Lindley goes, he would’ve been the No. 2 or No. 3 corner in last year’s draft. Outside of Haden, this is one of the weaker classes compared to other positions.
Barring a major setback like a tear or an arrest, he should sail to the No. 2 corner spot in this class and be a virtual lock for the top 25.
24. New Orleans Saints: Major Wright, S, Florida
Without a whole lot of glaring needs, the Saints can go with a lesser need and take a good player.
If this is their pick, the backfield is Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer at corner with Malcolm Jenkins and Wright at safety. That’s a pretty stud young secondary and would cease to be a need for many, many years.
25. San Diego Chargers: Ciron Black, OT, LSU
I can’t believe San Diego eschewed drafting a RT for the second year in a row. It still needs to be upgraded, and Ciron Black is the best prospect by a considerable margin available here.
It’s hard for me to question San Diego’s methods while Denver, Oakland, and Kansas City are fighting hard to become the most inept teams in NFL history. But you want to get in the playoffs because you’re a good team capable of winning it all, not by default because the teams in your division refuse to put up a fight.
26. New England Patriots: Joe McKnight, RB, USC
News flash: Laurence Maroney is neither good nor reliable enough to stay healthy a full season.
So New England, yet another team without a lot of needs, goes luxury and takes another RB to compete for the job in 2010. McKnight could even bring stability to the Pats’ stable for the first time since Corey Dillon retired.
I know they signed Fred Taylor, but he’s nothing more than a one-year stopgap/insurance policy.
27. Houston Texans: Reshad Jones, S, Georgia
Brian Cushing will be an amazing player in the NFL, but I think they are going to regret not taking Sean Smith. Fortunately, they can somewhat get away with it by taking Jones here.
28. Atlanta Falcons: Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri
A nice Missouri OLB to go with William Moore.
The Falcons needed an OLB last year and failed to get one. Now they get their chance.
29. Denver Broncos (from Chicago): Colt McCoy, QB, Texas
Kyle Orton? Really? Kyle Orton? Yeah, that’s going to work.
So, time to get an upgrade by getting a quarterback with a powerful arm, the ability to take snaps under center, and a good knowledge of a pro-style offense.
That would make this pick Jimmy Clausen.
Wait, Colt McCoy?
McCoy isn’t in a pro-style offense! It’s OK, that doesn’t matter to Josh McDaniels. I mean, he not only traded his Pro Bowl QB away, he then also traded his potential top-10 pick he could’ve used on Sam Bradford or Jevan Snead for what amounts to a nickel corner.
Besides, he thought Matt Cassel was a better QB than Jay Cutler, so obviously taking snaps under center, arm strength, pocket poise, and knowledge of a pro-style offense means nothing to him.
McDaniels likes QBs with big names, knowledge of the spread offense, and those that prefer to play without a running game and like to check down.
Under those qualifications, Colt McCoy may be the best QB prospect in his eyes.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Sam Young, OT, Notre Dame
Pittsburgh won’t go back to the Super Bowl unless they upgrade their O-line.
If Notre Dame comes back to prominence this year, no one’s stock will rise faster than Sam Young. Once the top high school prospect in the nation, he has the parameters of a top-10 pick. All he needs is to improve his team’s production to get to that ranking.
31. Baltimore Ravens: George Selvie, DE/OLB, USF
Yet another player who would’ve gone top 20 had he declared last year. However, the DE class is deep, and he may fall out of the first round. I think Baltimore takes him as a starter opposite Terrell Suggs.
Besides, I would venture to say if Selvie got to pick the defense he started on, he would pick Baltimore’s over Denver’s or Detroit’s.
32. New York Giants: Myron Lewis, S, Vanderbilt
A starter on the other side of Kenny Phillips.
The Giants could do whatever they want with this pick, however, because they have no needs at all, much less glaring needs.