For those teams, the NFL Draft is a Super Bowl-like event. Hope reigns supreme, even when your team's owner drafts guys you haven't heard of in the third round.
As with any mock, there are a few ground rules I followed. Please pay attention before you comment on one of these matters:
This is designed as a senior-heavy mock. Typically, if a guy has an early first-round grade, I had him come out early. If you don't see an underclassmen you think should be on here, I probably have him staying in school (an injured Sam Bradford fits on that list).
Finally, before getting to the mock, I want to comment on the order of the quarterbacks. As a draftnik, I place a lot more emphasis on NFL potential than I do on college success. Matthew Stafford is a perfect example of a college quarterback who didn't win a championship or even put up great career numbers and was still drafted high.
As of now, Colt McCoy is the fourth/fifth QB on my list. I know this will confuse many and anger some, but his lack of elite arm strength and time spent in a spread offense will shy many teams away from him. On draft day, someone will take a shot at him. In my mock, they play it safe.
It has been a long time since Oakland wasn't near the bottom of the league in rush defense. Suh is a player even Al Davis can covet. His sub 5.0 40 time and massive size are sure bets in NFL terms. Suh is the one player at the top of the draft who is sure to help Oakland next year.
2) St. Louis: Jimmy Clausen (QB Notre Dame)
Consider this, Clausen has near identical measurables to Matthew Stafford with similar arm strength and better mechanics. Neither one did very much in college after being hyped coming out of high school. So for those who don't think Clausen, the best pro-style QB, can go this high, think again.
3) Kansas City: Bryan Bulaga (OT Iowa)
The Chiefs just selected Branden Albert a few years ago, but would be willing to move him inside to protect their investment of Matt Cassel. Bulaga is a top prospect whether he comes out this year or next. Some question if he can play the blind side at the pro level, but each tackle has similar questions. However, Bulaga has unquestionable athleticism and work ethic.
4) Tampa Bay: Taylor Mays (S Southern California)
Tampa Bay has depth and talent at the safety position, but nothing like Taylor Mays, the most athletic player in the draft. Mays is an A+ hitter with speed to burn in coverage or running downhill. In Tampa, Mays has the size, speed, and talent to play FS, SS, or even weak side linebacker. He's a star on a team that is becoming unwatchable (but has lots of draft picks to help).
5) Buffalo: Russell Okung (OT Oklahoma State)
It is hard to assume Okung is a safe pick. Although he is a dominating lineman, it is unclear if he will ever be good enough to play on the left side in his pro career. His upside is clear, with outstanding size, long arms, and quick feet, and Okung can certainly play. He may need some coaching, which could come from an entirely new staff in Buffalo.
6) Cleveland: CJ Spiller (RB Clemson)
After being teamed with James Davis, Spiller has the undeserved tag as a scat back. In 2009, he's shown he has just as much power as he does speed. With Jamal Lewis at the twilight of his career, pairing Spiller with former teammate Davis could be just the formula for success. The Browns already have a good offensive line and too much money spent on QBs to do much else.
7) Washington: Jake Locker (QB Washington)
Although Colt McCoy would fit with Jim Zorn's offense, it is almost certain that someone new will be coaching the Redskins when they make this pick. Locker is a riser in the upcoming draft with a marquee win against USC on his resume. His size, speed, and arm strength make him a marquee pick and it doesn't hurt that he's spent a year with Steve Sarkisian.
8) Detroit: Eric Berry (S/CB Tennessee)
No defensive player in the 2010 Draft has the instincts and ability that Eric Berry has. He'll run around a 4.4 at the combine and solidify his top 10 status. Detroit could go a lot of ways with this pick, but the intrigue of pairing Berry with Delmas for the next 10 years will be too alluring. Now to work on that defensive line...
9) Tennessee: Gerald McCoy (DT Oklahoma)
The Titans really covet the player Detroit just selected, but will settle for a top flight defensive tackle in the mold of the guy they just lost, Albert Haynesworth. McCoy is tall, lean, and powerful and can be very disruptive. Tennessee has the worst pass defense and that has just as much to do with pressure as it does with coverage.
10) San Francisco (from Car.): Brandon Spikes (ILB Florida)
The 49ers look to have one of the better front sevens in all of football this season. Takeo Spikes is past 30 and has begun to bond and mentor his cousin, Brandon, that he didn't even know until a few years ago. With the younger Spikes and Willis in the middle of a 3-4 defense, the 49ers would have a great foundation to keep building around.
11) Jacksonville: Tim Tebow (QB Florida)
Gators go back to back as Tebow, the Jacksonville native, gets drafted by a team desperate for a star. Casual observers question whether or not Tebow can succeed in the NFL, but talent scouts and those close to the situation know that Tebow has the arm strength and the work ethic to be a star at any level.
12) Dallas: Dez Bryant (WR Oklahoma State)
You don't think a little thing like an NCAA suspension would scare off Jerry Jones, would you? The Cowboys need players on an aging offensive line and defense, but the prospect of having Bryant to stretch the field will be too much for the Cowboys.
13) Houston: Trent Williams (OT Oklahoma)
Houston needs help in the defensive secondary, but this draft class lacks a clear cut elite CB and both top safeties are gone. With Williams in Houston, the rushing attack can only improve as at worst, he is a Pro Bowl caliber right tackle. Him and Duane Brown would be a superb tackle tandem.
14) Arizona: Ricky Sapp (OLB/DE Clemson)
Ricky Sapp was once nothing more than the backup to now Chicago Bear Gaines Adams. Now, with his hand down at defensive end, he has shown the ability and drive to make the transition to the next level. He has the ability to drop back in coverage and has the skills to help the Arizona pass defense.
15) Seattle: Tony Pike (QB Cincinnati)
It's time to start getting serious about eventually replacing Matt Hasselbeck. He is 34 and his backup, Seneca Wallace, is a great backup, but not a guy you want for 16 games. Pike, at 6'6", has scouts drooling with his height, arm strength, and time spent in Brian Kelly's pro-style passing attack.
16) Green Bay: Charles Brown (OT Southern California)
Brown is rising up a lot of draft charts and scouts always love a left tackle who is a converted tight end. Brown is one of the few tackle prospects that has a great deal of upside and a lot more room to fill out his frame. Green Bay needs pass protection in the worst way and can't afford another year of letting Aaron Rodgers
get beat up.
17) San Diego: Mardy Gilyard (WR Cincinnati)
With Vincent Jackson, Chris Chambers, and Malcolm Floyd all facing free agency in 2010, the Chargers cannot hope to re-sign all of them. Adding Gilyard, who may be the most talented receiver in the class, would be a good option. The Bearcat receiver is an extremely talented player with unparalleled work ethic.
18) San Francisco: Joe Haden (CB Florida)
Two picks in the first round is a great way to improve the talent of your team. San Francisco lucked out when Carolina took a nose dive and added BPA at a position of strength in selecting Brandon Spikes. Now, with their original pick, the 49ers select his Gator teammate, Joe Haden. Haden, a former high school quarterback, has great speed and is outstanding when he mans up against a receiver.
19) Miami: Arthur Jones (DE/DT Syracuse)
The Dolphins impressed last April, shoring up their receiver and cornerback positions. With prospects there, Miami can grab the best player on the board. Jones, at almost 300 lbs., has the ability to play either nose or end in the 3-4. The former wrestling champ is a coach's dream and would fit right in with the Parcells crew.
20) Philadelphia: Greg Hardy (DE Mississippi)
Hardy may be the most talented pass rusher in the class, but his large frame makes him a poor fit for the 3-4 defense. That factor, as well as durability concerns and other, more pressing needs for some top teams, may force Hardy lower than this stock may indicate. The Eagles reap the rewards, though, as they get a premier edge rusher who may need a year before he is an every down player.
21) Denver (from Chi.): Rolando McClain (ILB Alabama)
McClain, playing for Nick Saban, is hoping and praying he is drafted to a team running the 3-4. His mixture of power and athleticism makes him the perfect fit for the inside linebacker position. Why mess with what works? McClain is more than just a tackle hound. He can get to the quarterback, giving the Denver front pressure up the middle to go with their outside pass rush.
22) New York Jets: Sean Weatherspoon (OLB Missouri)
The Jets tried the conversion from DE route with their pick of Vernon Gholston, who looks like a major bust at this point. Although he may have salvageable ability as a situational rusher, Witherspoon has great all-around talent as an outside linebacker along with blitzing ability and an NFL-ready body.
23) Seattle (from Den.): Selvish Capers (OT West Virginia)
Some draftniks look down on Capers because he has played right tackle most of his career, forgetting that Pat White was left handed. Capers has continued adding weight to his 6'5" frame and will only impress scouts the more they look at him on tape. In person, he could impress enough to go much higher than this. The 'Hawks have issues along the offensive line and need to improve protection.
24) Baltimore: Brandon LaFell (WR Louisiana State)
The top-rated receiver on many draft boards, LaFell lacks top NFL speed and will spend his time at the next level relying on his great hands, leaping ability, and physicality. He projects as a near Derrick Mason/Anquan Boldin clone and could be a fine NFL No. 1 with the right pieces around him.
25) Atlanta: Ras-I Dowling (CB Virginia)
With not much future at Virginia, Dowling would be smart to test the draft waters and come out early. After Mays, the Cavalier is the most athletic defensive back prospect and has spent time as receiver. The Falcons have spent a lot of effort in rebuilding this team and would benefit from having a lock down corner with speed to burn.
26) New England: Terrance Cody (DT Alabama)
At 6'4" and 365 lbs., the nose tackle prospect has plenty of experience playing in the 3-4 defense and the bulk and disruptiveness to play nose tackle. Vince Wilfork will probably spend 2010 as the Patriots' franchise player and drafting Cody will prompt him to sign a new contract sooner rather than later.
27) Cincinnati: Mike Iupati (OG Idaho)
The big Samoan is rocketing up draft boards. Iupati is 6'6" and is listed at 330 lbs., but is probably more. Most importantly, the guard moves like he is around 200 lbs. and can get to the next level on sweeps and draws. Iupati could end up moving to right tackle and both positions could use an upgrade in Cincy.
28) Minnesota: Eric Decker (WR Minnesota)
I know, I know, Minnesota needs a quarterback. Yet, it is never a good business decision to give guaranteed money to a QB at the end of the first when four of them are off the board. If Minnesota can get into round two with this pick, they will grab a QB. Otherwise, they will take the hometown star who gives them an outside threat to pair with Harvin, who is a consummate slot receiver.
29) Pittsburgh: Jerry Hughes (OLB/DE Texas Christian)
Pittsburgh is fine with their offensive line and isn't going to spend first-round money on a lower-tier lineman. However, a developmental pick on a pass rushing specialist is right up their alley. OLB is a position of strength for the Steelers, but depth could be an issue with absolutely nothing behind Harrison and Woodley. Hughes will need time to make the conversion, but is relentless pursuing the quarterback.
30) New Orleans: Eric Norwood (LB South Carolina)
The Saints have looked tremendously better on defense this season, a huge credit to Gregg Williams, who may find himself in a head coaching position next April. Adding Norwood, the SEC's best pass rusher from the linebacker position, gives them a new dimension. Norwood lacks NFL caliber pass coverage and may find himself moved down to DE on long yardage situations.
31) Indianapolis: Darrell Stuckey (S Kansas)
When Bob Sanders and Antoine Bethea are not in the game, the Colts' defense just isn't as imposing as it could be. Although the Colts have more pressing needs along the line, Stuckey is by far the best player available for a team like the Colts. Stuckey has enough versatility to see the field as a nickleback, lining up against a slot receiver, and being a special teams ace.
32) New York Giants: Bruce Campbell (OT Maryland)
This little-known left tackle is almost assured a first-round grade from the NFL if he comes out this year but his stock may slip as concerns with knee problems and turf toe will leave teams questioning his durability. However, Campbell is an exceptional prospect with the ability to play anywhere on the offensive line and a massive frame at 6'7" and 310 lbs.
33) Oakland: Carlos Dunlap (DE Florida)
Talent-wise, Dunlap should go first overall. The problem is that Dunlap will disappear for long stretches as his simply doesn't try. On paper, though, Dunlap is extremely talented and Oakland has always valued workouts more than game tape.
34) St. Louis: Brandon Ghee (CB Wake Forest)
The former Giants defensive coordinator is currently playing with a no-name defense. While that was a source of pride for the '72 Dolphins, the Rams are currently 25th in the league and have little talent and less depth. Very possibly, anyone on the defensive side of the ball drafted here would have a chance to start for the Rams, but going with Brandon Ghee, the talented physical corner would be the best scenario.
35) Kansas City: Brandon Graham (OLB/DE Michigan)
Kansas City is ranked dead last in total offense and has no depth in their 3-4 linebacking corps. To make matters worse, Mike Vrabel, their best outside linebacker, is 34 and won't be playing very much longer. Graham, the most talented Wolverine defender, is better fit to play defensive end, but has the skills to make the transition to play with his hand off the ground.
36) Tampa Bay: Mike Williams (WR Syracuse)
With a franchise quarterback, running back, and tight end, the Buccaneers are missing a pretty valuable piece. Mike Williams is done with college. The talented wideout has thought about the supplemental draft in the past and has trouble making grades. On the field, there aren't many more talented athletes in the Big East.
37) Buffalo: Nate Allen (S South Florida)
If you haven't heard of the "Golden Child," perk up your ears. The Fort Myers native is an athletic freak with great football skills. He doesn't get a lot of publicity playing for the Bulls, but will end up playing in every All-Star game after the season. The selection of Allen pairs him with Donte Whitner and allows Jairus Byrd to move back to CB.
38) Cleveland: Sergio Kindle (OLB Texas)
Selecting Spiller in the first will help with the ball control, but something needs to be done about that defense! Kindle is a prototypical pass rusher who is sliding thanks to off the field issues and inconsistency.
39) Washington: Jahvid Best (RB California)
Should the Redskins draft an offensive lineman here? Of course. Will they? Probably not. Going with Best isn't a bad move, though. The smaller back is a perfect complement to Clinton Portis
, who is nearing the end of his career.
40) Detroit: Marvin Austin (DT North Carolina)
Best player available is also at a position of need for the Lions with this selection. The Lions are looking for another big hoss up front and Austin fits the bill. The Tar Heel is 6'3", over 300 lbs., and runs like a middle linebacker.
41) New England (from Ten.): George Selvie (OLB/DE South Florida)
Selvie lit the world on fire last year and some thought he would declare early, but the USF Bull is a tweener in the negative sense of the word. He doesn't have the size to be a DE and lacks the skills to be a linebacker. It will be a long conversion for Selvie, but New England has the time to wait and will benefit from contributions as a situational pass rusher and special teams player.
42) Carolina: Jevan Snead (QB Mississippi)
Carolina finally gets a pick and decides to do something to replace Jake Delhomme. Snead came into the season on an Ole Miss team with a lot of hype, but Snead has been less than spectacular with nine interceptions through five games. Snead is still a great pro prospect with prototypical measurements.
43) New England (from Jac.): Sean Lee (ILB Penn State)
The Patriots, like any NFL team, want to win now, but knows that multiple high draft picks in 2010 and 2011 mean that the future is just as bright as the present. The Patriots are able to go low risk/high reward with another pick as they select the oft-injured Nittany Lion. Lee has all the talent to be a top five pick, but hasn't been on the field enough to warrant such a high pick.
44) Dallas: Ciron Black (OT Louisiana State)
The Cowboys' offensive line is aging and has very little depth behind mostly middling starters. Ciron Black has been one of the top tackle prospects for a while, but scouts question if he can play left tackle. As the linemen start to sort themselves out, Black will fall. However, he is still a great prospect at RT or either guard position.
45) Houston: Patrick Robinson (CB Florida State)
Robinson has first-round talent but it hasn't shown on the field in 2009. Like so many top college corners, he will fall in the draft because he is smaller than listed and doesn't match up physically with NFL No. 1s. However, Robinson has good athleticism and could surprise many when he gets in the league.
46) Arizona: Matt Tennant (C/OG Boston College)
As it stands right now, Tennant at 6'4" and 294 lbs. looks more like a defensive end than a center. However, the Eagle senior can back up all three interior line positions and has a lot of room at adding weight. Drafting him could move Lyle Sendlein to guard.
47) Seattle: Myron Rolle (S Florida State)
Rolle, the Rhodes Scholar, fully intends to enter the 2010 draft and is on pace to finish Oxford in a year. His lack of commitment to football will keep teams from selecting him in the first round and teams will need a lot of workout time to make sure he is NFL ready.
48) Green Bay: Jared Odrick (DE/DT Penn State)
The Packer defensive line has transitioned well to the 3-4, but Ted Thompson loves to draft BPA first and ask questions later. Odrick is that best player at this point and has great size to be a 3-4 DE. Pairing Odrick with BJ Raji and Johnny Jolly could mean having a stout defensive line for many years to come.
49) San Diego: Vince Oghobaase (DT Duke)
This Duke Blue Devil is one of the lone bright spots on his team. With outstanding size and power, some thought he could be a first-round pick, but his development didn't go as smoothly as planned, and now scouts question his work ethic and maturity. Oghobaase can play both nose and end.
50) San Francisco: Jordan Shipley (WR Texas)
No draft expert would have thought that Shipley would go before his roommate, McCoy, in this upcoming draft, but more on that later. Shipley is a consummate slot receiver who has value on special teams as well. At worst, he is a Brandon Stokley clone. At best, he is a more athletic Wes Welker with lots of upside.
51) Miami: Brandon Lang (OLB/DE Troy)
Miami loves their offensive line and knows that Chad Henne, Ronnie Brown, and the wildcat is all the offense they need. The defense needs work, though, and Jason Taylor isn't going to be around forever. Lang is a solid pass rusher and has been on scouts' radars for years.
52) Philadelphia: AJ Edds (LB Iowa)
Philly is desperate at linebacker and could use two, if not three, additions before the next season. Expect at least one through free agency and another here. Adding Edds, Iowa's dynamic stud, would be a plus. As good as the Hawkeye D is, Edds is the player every offensive coordinator plans for.
53) Denver: Colt McCoy (QB Texas)
If this were a rating of college QBs, McCoy would go second on this list after Tebow. However, this is a mock draft and I can't see McCoy being drafted much higher than this. McDaniels gets his spread-style QB and the calls for Orton's head begin after his first bad preseason game.
54) New York Jets: Jason Fox (OT Miami)
The Jets' offensive line is playing well, but age and lack of depth could be an issue in the future. Fox is a huge part of the success Miami is having this season. His drafting could move Woody inside, solidifying two spots on the line.
55) Tampa Bay (from Chi.): Tyson Alualu (DT/DE California)
Playing DE in a 3-4, he hasn't put up tremendous numbers throughout college, but is a dominant lineman nonetheless. Alualu is a high character guy with a lot of upside. Tampa Bay needs as many guys like that as they can get.
56) Baltimore: Trevard Lindley (CB Kentucky)
Lindley is one of the best pure cover corners in college football, but is much too slight for immediate NFL impact. Bigger receivers will almost always give him fits, but the Ravens don't mind taking chances on smaller-bodied defensive backs with room to develop.
57) Kansas City (from Atl.): Perrish Cox (CB/KR Oklahoma State)
Cox is an interesting player because he is an outstanding corner at the line of scrimmage. He has the strength and long arms to jam receivers, but also great transition from backpedal to sprint. He will have immediate impact at the next level as he develops into a solid defender.
58) New England: D'Anthony Smith (DE/DT Louisiana Tech)
The Patriots go to the mattresses on the defenses in this draft, picking up four front seven defenders in the first two rounds. This All-WAC 300-pounder isn't a finished product and has tremendous upside.
59) Cincinnati: Jermaine Gresham (TE Oklahoma)
Gresham is a first-round pass catcher who could fall out of the first day altogether after a horrible knee injury ended his season. This Sooner is the only elite tight end in this draft and, if he can regain his form, would be a dangerous weapon for Carson Palmer, who has never had a tight end to pass to.
60) Minnesota: Syd'Quan Thompson (CB California)
Vikings fans, think of Thompson as a a poor man's Antoine Winfield. At 5'9" and 191 lbs., he is actually bigger than the elite corner and has as much ability in zone coverage and the run game. If Thompson ends up on a team that runs mostly man defenses, he will be out of the league. In a zone, he could be one of the better young corners in the league.
61) Pittsburgh: Charles Scott (RB Louisiana State)
One way to keep sack numbers down (besides getting rid of the ball in under seven seconds) is establishing a strong run game. With "Slick" Willie Parker's days likely numbered in black and gold, Mendenhall will need another back to keep him fresh. Scott is a slightly thicker back who runs with a lot of power.
62) New Orleans: Jeremy Williams (WR Tulane)
New Orleans has plenty of offensive firepower, but the local product could supplant much of the Saints' receiver corps as a strong No. 2. Williams is a solid receiver with a good frame, awesome hands, and NFL-quality route running. He won't stretch the field, but he will give you the first down every time.
63) Indianapolis: Sam Young (OT Notre Dame)
With Tony Ugoh on the bench and probably sliding inside next year, the Colts have a need at tackle. Young is a massive prospect at nearly 6'8" and has the arm length and athleticism to stick on the blindside, but lacks great technique. Young could be a perennial Pro Bowler on either side if he puts in the work.
64) New York Giants: Ed Dickson (TE Oregon)
Dickson is a better pass catcher than he is a blocker, but is extremely strong, benching over 400 lbs. With lots of room to grow, the Oregon Duck could easily slide up the depth chart with his ability to split out and be a top target for Eli Manning
Michael Schottey is a Detroit Lions Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and the producer and host of The Average Joe Sports Show on 860AM KNUJ (New Ulm, MN). He is also an NFL Analyst and Senior Writer for DraftTek.com.