So here we are five months ahead of time, without a single bowl game decided, without the conference championships even being played and of course without the playoffs even decided, but it's never to early to predict the new faces that the NFL will be welcoming in April.
I will be basing the draft order off of what the current records are in the NFL right now, which could or could not be the way the draft shapes up, but again this is just a prediction.
1. St. Louis Rams —Jake Locker, QB —Washington. Locker has been flying up the draft charts as of late and the real need for the Rams is the quarterback position. Obviously any team that has the number one overall pick has more than just one need, but they will need a new face of the franchise and Locker could be just that. With the ability to move in the pocket and to scramble if needed, he's the perfect pick for the Rams over guys like Sam Bradford or Colt McCoy.
2. Cleveland Browns —Jonathan Dwyer, RB —Georgia Tech. Many draft experts are thinking that Jahvid Best will be the first running back taken off the board, but Best isn't big enough to be an every down back. Dwyer had his coming out party last season and he picked up right where he left off this season. He has led his team to the ACC Championship and a potential BCS birth. With Jamal Lewis getting older and having injury problems, it's time for some fresh legs in the backfield.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers —Dez Bryant, WR —Oklahoma State. With all the money put into Josh Freeman last year and the money in the backfield, it's time for a go to receiver and who better than Dez Bryant. The best receiver coming out of college and although he lied to the NCAA about having conversations with Deion Sanders, the NFL won't hold that against him. He has no real character issues and is a dominant receiver.
4. Detroit Lions —Ndamukong Suh, DT —Nebraska. Suh is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive front and he will thrive at the next level. He's a dominant player that never takes plays off. The Lions have plenty of positions they need to address, but with Jim Schwartz being a defensive minded guy, it would be hard for him to pass on the best defensive player in the country.
5. Oakland Raiders —Russel Okung, LT —Oklahoma State. This pick is a stretch, mainly because we never really know what player Al Davis is looking for. He already has an offensive nucleus in Russel, McFadden and Heyward-Bay. That being said, there could always be the fastest guy at the combine and the fact that Robert Gallery is such a bust, they might not want to go with an offensive lineman. They do need a big left tackle to protect the blindside and Okung would be perfect.
6. Buffallo Bills —Rolando McClain, LB —Alabama. Let's just pretend that the Bills want to stick with Trent Edwards at quarterback, they have offensive weapons, but the defense isn't there. McClain is the best linebacker in college football today and he brings a lot of passion to the field. He would be a perfect fit for the Bills and a safe pick for whoever the new coach is.
7. Washington Redskins —Taylor Mays, S —Southern California. Mays would be a good fit for the Redskins and on top of that, he could be a great addition to the secondary and shows a close resemblance to the departed Sean Taylor, R.I.P. Mays and LaRon Landry would make a great safety combination and he has star potential right away.
8. Kansas City Chiefs —Eric Berry, S —Tennessee. The Chiefs are going to be looking for a running back, but they could possibly pick one up in the later rounds. Berry is just too good to pass up here and the Cheifs need a defensive star in the secondary. Berry would be a huge addition and would provide big play right away.
9. Seattle Seahawks —Adam Ulatowski, T —Texas. Walter Jones has been the anchor to the offensive line for years, but the health just isn't there anymore and they need to find a rightful replacement. Ulatowki is a monster at tackle and has great athletic ability. The Seahawks went with defense last year and they still need a running back, but Ulatowski is the safe pick here.
10. Carolina Panthers- Sam Bradford, QB-Oklahoma. Jake Delhomme just isn't cutting it anymore. Throwing almost more interceptions than touchdowns, so why not take a pure passer? Bradford is NFL ready and although is shoulder injury will linger with the scouts, he's a big time quarterback with a big time arm.
11. Chicago Bears —Brandon LaFell, WR —Louisiana State. They got Cutler through the trade with Denver, now they need a go to receiver for him. LaFell is a big receiver with big play ability. In a run happy offense he still has the numbers for LSU and would be a huge addition to the Bears offense. The Bears are going to have to start looking for a middle linebacker to eventually replace Brian Urlacher, but they need offense first.
12. New York Jets —Damian Williams, WR —Southern California. This sets up perfect for the Jets. Reuniting Mark Sanchez with his go-to receiver in college. Williams has the size to be an elite receiver in this league and he's quick in his routes. He already has great chemistry with Sanchez, and Sanchez needs a receiver that can actually catch the ball.
13. Tennessee Titans —Brandon Spikes, LB —Florida. Chances are that the Titans will be lower in the draft judging by how well they are playing right now, but I have to go by the current records right now. The Titans have a lot of offense, but they need someone in the middle to direct this defense. Spikes could fill that gap. He's an emotional player and a winner. He is ready for the grind of the an NFL schedule and could be a force in the middle.
14. San Fransisco 49ers —Joe Haden, CB —Florida. With the recent benching of Nate Clements and the inconsistent play of Dre Bly, Haden would be a great fit for the 49ers defense. They might want to go with a quarterback, but the way Alex Smith is playing, they might just stick with the former number one overall pick.
15. Baltimore Ravens —Jermaine Gresham, TE —Oklahoma. The Ravens will look for a wide receiver and with the emergence of Ray Rice, running back isn't an immediate need. Gresham is the best receiver still on the board and he is a huge target for Joe Flacco. Gresham does have a surgically repaired knee, but with plenty of time to heal he should be NFL ready.
16. Houston Texans —Bryan Bulaga, T —Iowa. Bulaga is huge and has been an anchor for Iowa's offensive line for the past three seasons. He is a very athletic tackle and that play will transition nice into the pro game. The Texans need a force on the line and Bulaga fits the bill.
17. Miami Dolphins —Gerald McCoy, DT —Oklahoma. Parcells will make the safe choice here and will address defensive needs. McCoy is the safest bet here. McCoy returned for his senior season and performed well all season long. Even with Oklahoma's woes, McCoy stood out as the defensive star.
18. Atlanta Falcons —Terrance Cody, DT —Alabama. Cody is abnormally large and plugs up holes like few others can. Atlanta needs a dominant defensive tackle not only to apply pressure to the quarterback, but also to free up space for the linebackers. Cody is huge and fills that need.
19. Jacksonville Jaguars —Sean Weatherspoon, LB —Missouri. Weatherspoon is a versatile linebacker with great athleticism and speed on the outside. He possesses the skill set to be a dominant linebacker in this league.
20. New York Giants —Eric Norwood, LB —South Carolina. Norwood has a knack for making huge plays on defense and is just what the Giants need. They could look to a defensive back, but with no real stand out at linebacker besides Antonio Pierce, Norwood could mesh great with this defense.
21. Green Bay Packers —Mike Johnson, OL —Alabama. The Packers need to get some protection if they want Aaron Rogers to last more than a few years. He's been sacked far too many times already this season and they desperately need some protection up front. Johnson has been solid for the Crimson Tide and would be a great pick up.
22. Denver Broncos —Deunta Williams, S —North Carolina. Williams is a big play type of guy and is a ball hawk on defense. He is a sure tackler and has the ability to cause turnovers. The Broncos hit it big signing Brian Dawkins, but Dawkins is aging and Williams could learn from a couple years under him.
23. Philadelphia Eagles —Javier Arenas, DB —Alabama. Arenas is a small defensive back, but his ability to make big plays outweighs his size. He is a shut down defensive back and also adds amazing return abilities on special teams.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers —Charles Brown, OL —Southern California. Brown is a versatile offensive lineman and Big Ben still needs more protection. Especially given the fact that he suffered yet another concussion this past week, protection up front is priority number one in this year's draft.
25. Cincinnati Bengals —Derrick Morgan, DE —Georgia Tech. Morgan would be a safe bet here. Highly regarded as the best defensive end in football this year, Morgan would be the guy to apply pressure to the quarterback, in other words just what this defense needs.
26. San Diego Chargers —Carlos Dunlap, DE —Florida. Dunlap is a freak coming off the edge and while the Chargers may look to draft a running back here, they need to find a pass rusher off the edge and Dunlap is perfect for any defensive scheme.
27. Arizona Cardinals —Greg Jones, LB —Michigan State. The Cardinals have the offense and they have drafted primarily offense for the past few seasons. They need to start keying on their defense. Jones is a tackling machine and can fit in on any team. While his play has been overrated at times, he's a ball hawk and reads offenses well.
28. Dallas Cowboys —Navarro Bowman, LB —Penn State. Bowman has literally exploded onto the scene after his past two seasons have been outstanding. The Cowboys have a solid linebacker unit, but with the aging Keith Brooking they need to start thinking young. They may want to go offense with this pick, but defense is the safe bet.
29. New England Patriots —Jerry Hughes, LB/DE —Texas Christian. Hughes just fits here. He's a sack master, but he's also very athletic. He's small for a defensive end, but he has the athleticism to play linebacker in the NFL.
30. Minnesota Vikings —Dan LeFavour, QB —Central Michigan. Favre isn't going to be around forever and something tells me that Childress isn't exactly content with Tavaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels. LeFavour can add some youth to the position and could learn plenty from Favre is he decides to stick around for another year.
31. New Orleans Saints —Dekota Watson, LB —Florida State. Watson has been a bright spot for the Seminoles this season and is very athletic at the linebacker position. He plays hard on every down and plays hurt when needed. He's an emotional leader and would be a safe pick.
32. Indianapolis Colts —Jordan Shipley, WR —Texas. Shipley fits just perfect right here. The perfect slot receiver for the Peyton Manning led offense, Shipley could be even better than what Brandon Stokely used to be for the Colts.
Again this is just a preview of how things could shape up. Obviously come April the team needs will be a little bit more clear cut, but hey it's always fun to predict. Let me know what you guys think as I'm sure there will be plenty of disagreements and opinions on this one.
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