Yeah, I Know It's Only Week Three: My First 2010 Mock NFL Draft
Yeah, it's early. I get it. But it's always fun to look ahead.
Now, the results don't accurately show where the teams will be this season, so the order is based on a fusion of standings and my own opinion.
As far as big name players I don't have declaring, I see Florida's defensive end Carlos Dunlap, offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga from Iowa, UCLA's defensive tackle Brian Price, Oklahoma's linebacker Travis Lewis, and Georgia safety Reshad Jones all staying in school.
1. St. Louis Rams (0-3): Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
Knee-jerk reaction? Maybe. But Clausen has been the best quarterback of this class this entire season.
With his injury haunting him, I see Sam Bradford staying in college for another year. Clausen learns from Bradford and comes out when he has a chance to go No. 1 overall.
Clausen is your prototypical pocket passer: a quick release, comes from a pro-style system, and has the height.
Don't sleep on his arm though. While it's not JaMarcus Russell/Matthew Stafford level, it's comparable to Aaron Rodgers or Mark Sanchez; he can surely make all the NFL throws.
However, his decision-making at times can be shoddy, although this season seems to be eliminating those mistakes more and more.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-3): Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
The main concern with Ndamukong Suh was that he was a one-year wonder. Well, end all that talk now; Suh has been a destructive monster this season.
He has shown that he is a premier pass-rushing defensive tackle that can both get the quarterback on the sack or provide enough penetration to bring down the running back for a loss.
Tampa Bay's offense has had no issues racking up yards. They have the fourth-ranked offense in the league, spearheaded by a three-deep running back stable led by Comeback Player of the Year candidate Cadillac Williams, Giants free agent signee Derrick Ward, and former starter Earnest Graham.
However, the defense has not been able to hold anyone in check; they've given up 450 yards per game so far this year! Suh would provide the anchor to their defensive line that the team needs.
3. Cleveland Browns (0-3): Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
In a division with the two premier playmaking safeties in the game (Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu) Cleveland has...uh...Brodney Pool?
Imagine placing yet another fantastic safety in that division, one that is truly a once-in-a-lifetime prospect.
Eric Berry is the full package. Athleticism? Check; hate to use this as a reasoning point, but he runs a 4.35 40-yard dash. Ball skills? Check; he has 12 interceptions in his first two seasons in Knoxville.
Intangibles? Check; excellent play recognition and has a nose for the ball, not to mention he's being fine-tuned by one of the best NFL defensive coordinators of the past decade, Monte Kiffin.
He truly is the best safety prospect in some time.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (0-3): Arrelious Benn, WR, Illinois
The Scott Pioli/Todd Haley regime in Kansas City is still on a quest to find "their players."
It's obvious Todd Haley isn't a fan of Dwayne Bowe, who was recently placed on the trading block, and considering that both Mark Bradley and Bobby Wade's contracts run out at the end of the season, getting Matt Cassel a young, talented target in the passing game is key.
Arrelious Benn is probably the most physical wide receiver of the first round trio in this class but also the one with the most detractors.
While he does play in a spread offense and catches with his body a bit too much, he has the height, at 6'2", and speed, running about a 4.4 40-yard dash, to be that dominating No. 1 receiver every team wants.
5. Oakland Raiders (1-2): Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
The Raiders made the big trade for former Patriot Richard Seymour, and so far it's paid off: Seymour had two sacks in a game with barely any preparation against the San Diego Chargers. He's providing the anchor for the Raiders' defensive line this year.
However, Seymour's widely publicized displeasure with being traded makes me think that Seymour will leave in free agency when his contract runs out at the end of this season.
Why not draft an explosive defensive tackle like Gerald McCoy? Much like fellow tackle prospect Ndamukong Suh from Nebraska, McCoy will get in the opponent's backfield helping to both stuff the run and rush the passer.
Like former Sooner prospect Tommie Harris, McCoy has the chance to be one of the most disruptive tackles in the league.
6. Detroit Lions (1-2): Russell Okung, T, Oklahoma State
First of all, congrats to the Lions for receiving their first win! In return for that, they FINALLY move out of my No. 1 overall pick prediction.
The Lions' line has actually been decent this season, but imagine adding a polished pass protector straight out of college, with the height and weight of your prototypical NFL left tackle. Here's their chance.
Russell Okung is an extremely well-rounded player. He has the pass-blocking skills to protect even the most stagnant QB and the run-blocking skills to make Jamal Lewis look 21 years of age again.
7. Washington Redskins (1-2): Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
The Redskins lost to the Lions and helped snap their 19-game losing streak. But this isn't due to a lack of talent; this team has plenty of marquee players.
Jim Zorn just cannot handle the pressure of being a head coach, however, and will likely be fired before the end of the season. And as we all know, new regimes mean new quarterbacks, don't they, Walter?
Bradford's injury is a concern, but it's his first major injury of his career, and upon bouncing back he should return to form. However, the uncertainties drop him below Clausen.
Can he transfer from a system that uses the spread often? I think so, mainly because Bradford still has to make some pro-style throws in this offense and plays under center a decent amount of the time as well.
His arm strength could be a concern, but it's strong enough to make some downfield throws.
Bradford is still a top 10 prospect, even after his injury.
8. San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina Panthers, 0-3): Trevard Lindley, CB, Kentucky
With Dre' Bly and Walt Harris having expiring contracts next season, the 49ers will want to find that top corner to play across from Nate Clements. Enter Trevard Lindley.
Take one look at his physical attributes and you might be turned away; 6'0", 175 pounds. However, this is the kind of player that you can't just look at his combine stats.
Lindley is the second-best ballhawk in this class, behind only Eric Berry, and plays excellent man coverage.
9. Buffalo Bills (1-2): Jevan Snead, QB, Mississippi
If the Bills are picking ninth overall, then it's more likely than not that they finished with a losing record, meaning Dick Jauron has more than likely been fired.
Once again, new regimes mean new quarterbacks, and this new quarterback is Jevan Snead.
Some may argue that this is too high for Snead, especially considering his inconsistent play so far this season. Snead has one of the best arms in this draft class but has played Jay Cutler vs. Green Bay-esque games this entire season, throwing footwork and accuracy out the window.
I expect Snead to rebound and compete for the first overall pick, but if he doesn't, expect a drop to a similar draft position of Joe Flacco in 2008.
10.. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2): Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
Here's the thing: If general manager Gene Smith or head coach Jack Del Rio say they would "consider drafting Tim Tebow," it could be thrown out the window; with season-long struggles anticipated ahead, the two will likely be gone before next season kicks off.
However, this is the owner Wayne Weaver, and considering the Jaguars' economic struggles, it'd make sense off the field.
Tebow is a tough as nails leader, but we already know that. His intangibles are elite; his skills are not, with a release slower than the Slowskys (Comcast commercial reference? Obscure as hell!) and footwork sloppier then a pigsty, not to mention how sloppy his throws are.
However, give him a year to really train as an NFL quarterback, and he has the chance to be a good quarterback. Not to mention as a local boy he could bring back those 17,000 lost season ticket sales.
Do I think this is the best pick on the field? No, but Weaver wouldn't bring it up if he weren't seriously thinking about Tebow.
11. Miami Dolphins (0-3): Eric Norwood, DE/LB, South Carolina
Has anyone been more impressive this season at the pass rusher position then Eric Norwood? He's racked up 27 tackles, six sacks, and an interception for a TD in just four games.
In a class with no standout 3-4 rush linebackers, Norwood is quickly establishing himself as the king of this class. He does an excellent job shedding blocks, which combined with his knack for play recognition allows him to get a quick step off the line of scrimmage.
The Dolphins have two excellent pass rushers in Joey Porter and Jason Taylor, but there's just one thing wrong: Porter is 32 and Taylor is 35.
There's a chance that both could retire soon, so getting a young pass-rusher that can wait in the wings in a role similar to last year's 16th overall pick Larry English will be key.
12. Houston Texans (1-2): Taylor Mays, S, USC
If Eric Berry has the instincts, Taylor Mays has the physical features. Mays is one of the most physically impressive players in this draft, with both the speed and strength to be a playmaker at safety.
However, the mental aspect could use some work; his ball skills are on a much lower level then Eric Berry's, and his coverage skills could use a bit of work. He profiles a bit more as a strong safety than at the free safety position.
Adding Mays to this young, talented Texans defense would give the franchise the playmaking safety they've never had.
13. Tennessee Titans (0-3): Greg Hardy, DE, Mississippi
The Titans' loss of Albert Haynesworth isn't the only reason that Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse seem to have lost a step; the duo only has one combined sack in three games en route to a shocking 0-3 start for the Titans.
The two are aging quickly, both over 30 and coming to the end of their careers. The Titans have young talent at the defensive tackle position with Tony Brown, Jason Jones, and Sen'Derrick Marks, but the defensive end position needs a future.
Greg Hardy has some injury history and missed most of last season due to a foot injury, and he missed the Rebels' game against Southeastern Louisiana. However, when he plays he's unstoppable, with 22 career sacks and six forced fumbles.
14. Arizona Cardinals (1-2): Trent Williams, T, Oklahoma
The Cardinals have given up eight sacks this season, which is inexcusable. Even though Kurt Warner isn't the most mobile of quarterbacks, the line still needs to provide more protection.
Also, the running game is, predictably, ranked last in the league, even with a renewed commitment to the run game.
Trent Williams could take over as Matt Leinart's new blind side protector and bring a nasty streak to the run blocking. Williams' youth and athleticism would be an improvement over Mike Gandy, who's aging and, while still good, isn't necessarily an irreplaceable Pro Bowler.
15. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos, 3-0): Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
The Seahawks' top three receivers are all nearing or over the age of 30, and their offense could use a bit of explosion. Adding a premier wide receiver like Dez Bryant would make this offense deadly.
Bryant is the sort of player that you just can't hate...unless you're playing him. Bryant is a prototypical possession receiver. With soft hands and ridiculous body control, Bryant draws to mind a player like Larry Fitzgerald.
He also plays in an Oklahoma State system that requires that him to run the tree, so there's no concern that he'll struggle in transition to the NFL.
16. Seattle Seahawks (1-2): Joe Haden, CB, Florida
The Seahawks have been needing an improvement in the secondary, and it was none more obvious than when they gave up three touchdowns to Jay Cutler this past weekend. Kelly Jennings needs to be replaced, and soon.
Joe Haden is a physical specimen from the speedy Florida defense. Running a 4.4 40-yard dash, he has the speed to match up with most No. 1 receivers and has the production to match his tangibles; last year alone he broke up 12 passes and made three interceptions.
Adding both Dez Bryant and Haden would add a young vigor to this aging Seahawks team.
17. Dallas Cowboys (2-1): Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida
Last offseason, the Cowboys were interested in wooing future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis. With that attempt failed, the Cowboys had to settle for former Falcon Keith Brooking, who's making the transition for 4-3 outside linebacker to 3-4 inside linebacker.
Why not draft a player in the same vein as Ray Lewis?
Just as Lewis is the heart and soul of the Ravens defense, Spikes is the heart and soul of the Gators defense. Known for his big hits, Spikes would provide a big strong body in the the middle of the Cowboys' linebacking corps.
18. Green Bay Packers (2-1): Anthony Davis, T, Rutgers
Just two years removed from Favre-gate, so to speak, the Packers offense has rebounded. Aaron Rodgers leads his explosive team like a veteran would.
The Packers have given the second-year starter as much help as possible as far as weapons go, but one group has been largely ignored: the offensive line. Giving up 12 sacks in three games in unacceptable; that's an average of four per game!
Enter Anthony Davis, Rutger's big left tackle. With prototypical size at 6'6", he possesses footwork to make scouts go wow, especially at his size. He is also an imposing run blocker, having moved from guard after his freshman season.
19. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1): Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
Is outside linebacker a need for the Eagles at the moment? No, not even close.
However, Chris Gocong, Akeem Jordan, and Tank Daniels are all entering free agency at the end of the season, and with the demands that talented linebackers like Jordan and Gocong will require, Philadelphia is unlikely to keep all three.
Sean Weatherspoon would fit into the Eagles defense perfectly. He's a sure tackler who knows how to wrap up. He has a nose for the football and is a sideline to sideline defender.
Similar to Aaron Curry from last year, he's a safe prospect who has a very low bust chance.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2): Charles Brown, T, USC
The Steelers have NOT been able to run the ball or protect Ben Roethlisberger this season, which is a big reason why the team has struggled this season. Where they won in spite of their line last season, they're losing because of it now.
Charles Brown is arguably the most athletic offensive tackle in this class. The USC Trojans often use his athleticism to manage outside runs, swinging him outside where he at times seems even faster then the running back himself.
He's made immense improvements this season, and if he continues his improvement, he could skyrocket even further up draft boards.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (2-1): Jahvid Best, RB, California
The Bengals are looking like a renewed team. Looking at their schedule, there's a very good chance they could finish at best 10-6. Carson Palmer is looking like his old self, and the defense is playing like it's 2005.
This team, oddly enough, has few needs. On offense, quarterback, offensive line, wide receiver, and tight end have all been either recently drafted or solidified by veterans. On defense, only safety might be a concern.
In that case, they try to add some explosion to their offense, as their running game could use some explosion.
Heisman candidate Jahvid Best is sure to draw comparisons to Reggie Bush; a Pac-10 runner with speed and shiftiness.
est doesn't seem to have the toughness to be an every-down back in the NFL, but he could succeed extremely well paired with a inside runner like Cedric Benson.
22. Denver Broncos (from Chicago Bears, 2-1): Terrence Cody, NT, Alabama
The Broncos have confused me so much this offseason. If anything, I expected the offense to be carrying this team, but instead, it's their No. 1-ranked defense.
While the team's defense has been outstanding this season, there's always room for improvement, and that spot would be the run defense. Ronald Fields has been serviceable this season, but imagine adding a mountain to the front seven.
The man nicknamed "Mt. Cody" weighs in at a ridiculous 365 pounds, and when he's on his A-game, he is one of the most disruptive players on one of the top defenses in college football.
23. New York Jets (3-0): Damian Williams, WR, USC
I try to make these mock draft realistic. For that reason, I have Damian Williams falling to 23rd overall.
If I'm a GM with a need for a wide receiver in the top five, I have no issue drafting Damian Williams; I have him as my No. 1 wide receiver. He runs the crispest routes of any receiver in college football, has good size at 6'1", runs much quicker on the field than at a combine, and, most of all, has hands to die for.
However, Williams doesn't put up the enormous numbers like Dez Bryant does, isn't the big name that Bryant is, and doesn't have the physical tools that Arrelious Benn possesses.
Reuniting Williams with former quarterback Mark Sanchez would help further Sanchez's progress even further and provide him a formidable receiving trio with Dustin Keller, Jerricho Cotchery, and now Damian Williams.
24. Atlanta Falcons (2-1): Rico McCoy, LB, Tennessee
Even after an entirely defensive draft, the Falcons failed to find a young replacement for the departed Michael Boley. The Falcons defense has looked better then expected but could still use some impact players.
That's where Rico McCoy comes in. Your prototypical Monte Kiffin linebacker, McCoy is a speedy, aggressive outside linebacker that truly is a sideline to sideline linebacker. McCoy's 4.5 speed helps him as a fierce tackler behind the line of scrimmage.
He'd help the Falcons in both pass defense with his athleticism and run defense.
25. San Francisco 49ers (2-1): Vince Oghobaase, NT, Duke
It's strange that even without a big imposing nose tackle in the middle of their 3-4 line, the 49ers still have a vicious defense. The 49ers have only been run on 67 times, which is tied for the eighth fewest in the league.
Upon adding Trevard Lindley, the 49ers will be able to stop the pass much more easily, which will cut down on the 131 pass attempts teams have used on the 49ers, which is good for second most in the league.
Vince Oghobaase is one of the most interesting prospects to place. He hasn't received the love of the public yet, but wait until draft day.
Oghobaase is a smart player who knows the game of football extremely well. Not only that, but he also has the physical features to make an impact on the next level. He's quick for a nose tackle and has room for improvement as far as his overall strength goes.
26. New England Patriots (2-1): Arthur Jones, DE, Syracuse
When was the last time you thought you'd say the Patriots have loads of needs? They need youth on the offensive line, at running back, on their defensive line, at outside linebacker...
However, lucky for the Patriots, they were smart enough to stock up on somewhere around 31 second round picks (okay, maybe that's hyperbole) and will be able to address most of these spots.
But first of all, the Patriots need that run-stuffing defensive end/tackle to replace Richard Seymour. As we've seen, the Patriots run defense has struggled without his talent.
Arthur Jones is a versatile lineman who can switch between a 4-3 D-tackle and 3-4 five-technique in a pinch.
27. Minnesota Vikings (3-0): George Selvie, DE, South Florida
This was a ridiculously tough choice to make. The Vikings seem set at almost every position except possibly center, and even this late in the first round it's a reach to take Kristofer O'Dowd, the top-ranked center out of USC.
Running back, quarterback, and defensive tackle were my other considerations, but due to the expiring contract of Chester Taylor, no decent QB prospect remaining at this spot, and the age of Pat Williams, none of them felt that right.
What did feel right? George Selvie, the athletic pass rusher from South Florida. While his numbers may never return to that 14-sack 2007 season, it's hard to imagine when teams can focus solely on you that you'll be able to play through triple teams.
Ray Edwards' contract expires at the end of this season, and even if they re-sign him, Selvie could very well be the best player available.
28. San Diego Chargers (2-1): Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech
The Chargers have the 31st-ranked running game, LT2 is aging and has been fighting injuries, and Darren Sproles' contract is up. I do believe this pick will be a running back; it's just a matter of who.
If Sproles doesn't re-sign, expect the Chargers to draft shifty scat back C.J. Spiller from Clemson. He's a bit more durable then Sproles and a bit more powerful as well. Spiller could provide some power to that scat back role.
However, if Sproles returns, expect the Chargers to grab Yellow Jacket Jonathan Dwyer.
The big back has the power, patience, and vision to find success on first and second downs, but his suspect speed is the only issue and could keep him from being an every-down back.
29. New Orleans Saints (3-0): Rennie Curran, LB, Georgia
The rule for drafting with the Saints is defense, defense, defense, sometimes kicker, defense. That offense is on pace to be one of the best in the past 10 years and probably would be the best if not for that historic 2007 Patriots offense.
The Saints defense can stiffen when it has to and has the talent to be a good unit, but it is missing playmakers at one specific position: outside linebacker.
Jonathan Vilma is a fantastic player in the middle, but he has no help surrounding him.
By drafting Rennie Curran, a quick and sure tackler, the Saints can start making even more impact plays on defense. Curran also can rush the passer pretty well and would give a kick to the defensive line as well.
He is currently leading the SEC in tackles. With star players like Brandon Spikes, Rolando McClain, and Micah Johnson calling the SEC home, that's quite an achievement.
30. Baltimore Ravens (3-0): Brandon LaFell, WR, LSU
The Ravens were said to have been in the Anquan Boldin sweepstakes, but nothing happened on that end of the spectrum. Now, the offense and Joe Flacco in particular have stepped up their game.
But that doesn't change that fact that Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Kelley Washington, and Demetrius Williams are all set to hit free agency at the end of the year. Mason could also very well retire, as he was thinking of doing earlier this offseason.
Enter Anquan Boldin's spiritual successor, Brandon LaFell—a strong, physical receiver with sticky hands who makes plays after the catch. Sound familiar?
LaFell has also shown enough explosion this season to eliminate many of the concerns about his speed.
31. Indianapolis Colts (3-0): Jason Fox, T, Miami
The Colts have hinted towards drafting a left tackle in this year's draft, making a point that after Tony Ugoh's stellar rookie season he has fallen off precipitously.
The Colts have been making a youth movement on offense lately, with young weapons Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie, and Donald Brown, and upon adding Jason Fox they could begin a smooth transition into the post-Peyton Manning era in a few years.
Fox is your prototypical left tackle; he excels in footwork and is a top-notch pass protector. While his push in the run game could improve, the lack of run blocking skill didn't keep Jason Smith from going No. 2 overall, and Fox is a very similar player to Smith. He has the upside to go even higher then this.
32. New York Giants (3-0): Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
This Giants team is ridiculous and is at the moment the front-runner to win the Super Bowl. Please name one weakness this team has.
Their running game has been less than stellar this season, which could lead to a pick of C.J. Spiller to fill that role Derrick Ward filled to take some pressure off of Brandon Jacobs, but in its place the passing game has truly stepped it up, with Mario Manningham and Steve Smith establishing themselves as reliable targets.
That being said, Antonio Pierce is a good player but could be upgraded. McClain is an athletic linebacker who could very easily surpass Brandon Spikes as the top in this class. He could be groomed to be Antonio Pierce's eventual replacement.