Boy, oh boy, how things have changed. I opted to wait to release 3.0 because at the time, things looked pretty much the same, but after some time, well let's just say the Oakland Raiders beat the Pittsburgh Steelers...in Pittsburgh.
Teams like the Tennessee Titans have moved way down in the picking order, and others (ehhem...Houston) have moved up.
Certain prospects now find themselves in the first round, whereas some first-round talents have dropped out, be it through poor performance or off-the-field antics.
A disclaimer about players dealing with DUIs: In no way do I believe Carlos Dunlap will fall to the second round.
But with the DUI situation hanging over his head, his future is somewhat in limbo. I, like many other mockers, have decided to leave him out for now. Expect to see him back sooner rather than later.
More importantly, the playoff atmosphere has arrived and so has version 3.0!
So with the first pick in the 2010 NFL Draft...
The St. Louis Rams select Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame.
No changes here, the same team takes the same player to start the draft.
The biggest issue involving this year's quarterback class isn't necessarily who's the best, but who's available.
Both Clausen and other high-profile prospect Jake Locker have more eligibility at their respective universities. One of those two has made their intentions known.
Clausen (and his top target Golden Tate, more on him later) have declared for the 2010 NFL draft. Clausen has a good arm, good accuracy, pretty good footwork and most importantly, experience in an NFL-style offense.
When he wows at the combine, it will be difficult for the 1-15 Rams not to make him the first overall selection.
(No. 1 v.2.0: STL selects Jimmy Clausen)
I think Jimmy Clausen's biggest obstacle to the No. 1 pick and the big bucks, Jake Locker, should stay in school.
He has a ton of raw talent: a strong arm, decent accuracy, decent in-pocket footwork, and an almost Tebow-like ability to rush for quality yards in clutch situations.
With one more year of college tutoring he will further the refinement of that natural ability.
His hype is so incredibly high right now that it would be remarkably dumb for him to stay in college.
He'll ride this wave of positive publicity right into the top five and he won't be an effective quarterback for three, maybe four years (sound like someone else currently playing this position in Cleveland?).
I mean let's be honest, a large part of the reason the Browns, Raiders, Lions, Bills, Chiefs, and Rams are irrelevant is bad drafting.
For the immediate future, this will seem like another Eric Mangini-powered failure in Cleveland.
(No. 2 v.2.0: TB selects Ndamukong Suh)
How imposing does King Kong look in that picture?
A few things have changed regarding the best defensive player in college football.
A) People (including myself) now know that his last last name is pronounced "Sue" and not "Suh" as the spelling so deceivingly implies.
B) He's learned he'll be the first primarily defensive player since Charles Woodson (who won) in 1997 to be invited to New York for the Heisman ceremonies.
But one thing hasn't changed. Ndamukong Suh will be the first defensive player off the board in April, and he will play for the Tampa Bay Bucs.
(No. 3 v.2.0: DET selects Eric Berry
The Lions have two options at No. 4. They can go offensive line, or they can go defense. It's general consensus that there are two can't-miss defensive talents in this draft, and only one has been selected.
The Lions will pair the explosive, game-changing talent of Eric Berry with this year's successful rookie, Louis Delmas, to give them one of the best (if not the best) safety combinations in the NFL.
Berry has been compared to Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu, Ronnie Lott, and any other legendary player to play the position. That's impressive and very tempting to a 2-14 Lions team with needs all over.
(No. 4 v.2.0: Seattle trades up for Jake Locker)
I've had Sam Bradford all over the place in my first two versions. From the top 10 to the final three of the first round. Version 3.0 puts him in his earliest drafted position.
Bradford hasn't played a game in weeks, but as long as his arm is healthy enough to throw by the time the combine rolls around, his ability and poise will more than likely land him in the top 10.
Luckily for Bradford, there are several teams with high picks who are in desperate need of a quarterback.
If the Bills pull together some semblance of an offensive line with their other picks, Bradford may have the pieces in place (i.e., Evans and Owens) to be a successful pro right out of the box.
(No. 5 v.2.0: KC selects Russell Okung)
San Francisco had issues at the beginning of the season. They were weak on the offensive line. They were in transition at quarterback. Their top-choice wide receiver was holding out.
But their defense was talented and confident under the tutelage of Mike Singletary.
Now, Alex Smith has re-emerged as a potential franchise quarterback. Vernon Davis has (finally) become the dominant tight end the Niners drafted.
And while their offensive line is still a position of need, their defense has underperformed.
Something tells me Mr. Singletary won't let that go by the wayside. Their two most pressing issues are the inability to pressure the opposing quarterback, and opposing wide receivers having their way with the San Francisco secondary.
They'll attempt to solve the first of those issues by putting McCoy in the center of their defensive trenches.
(No. 6 v.2.0: OAK selects Taylor Mays)
The Chiefs have selected in position two, five and seven respectively in each version, and in each version they have selected Russell Okung.
Simply put, their biggest concern is the protection of an underperforming Matt Cassel. Jamaal Charles has been a serviceable replacement to the disgruntled Larry Johnson. They still have Dwayne Bowe (though not currently) and Chris Chambers.
A little more time to get through his reads could bring back the potential we saw in the high-powered system offense of New England. That could turn Kansas City into a scary offense.
(No. 7 v.2.0: WAS selects Carlos Dunlap)
Whoa! Version 3.0 brings you an Oakland Raiders draft selection that makes sense!
Sure, there are more pressing needs for the Raiders right now, like, maybe, scoring the football.
But think of this: Nnamdi Asomugha, Michael Huff, Tyvon Branch and Joe Haden. Find me a quarterback not named Peyton, Brees, or Brady who isn't intimidated by that secondary.
Securing Haden's services would give Oakland's struggling pass rush a few more seconds to get to the quarterback.
Now, I know they need all kinds of help on the offensive side of the ball, but look at all the playmaking gems coming out of the late rounds recently! (I'm talking to you Tashard Choice, and you, Pierre Garcon.)
(No. 8 v.2.0: BUF selects Gerald McCoy)
There's so many ways Daniel Snyder can go with this pick, but there's two factors that make him go with Spiller.
First, Jason Campbell has shown signs of life recently. You can say until the cows come home that he's no good and all that but face it, he has a beat-up offensive line and Santana Moss as his best receiver. What can you really expect from him?
Second, Clinton Portis was placed on IR for the remainder of the season. I love C-Port and his antics as much as the next guy, but he's getting up there in years and halfbacks tend to fade fast.
Having a playmaker (and a big name, which Snyder loves) like Spiller gives the Redskins the ability to score on any play from scrimmage or in special teams.
Look at what Chris "Insert Nickname Here, Please" Johnson has done for the Titans this year. Spiller can do the same for Washington.
(No. 9 v.2.0: SF trades up for Joe Haden)
I noticed a certain..."F*** Penn State" trend in last years Jets' draft class. Allow me to explain:
The Jets traded up to select hot commodity signal-caller Mark Sanchez. Sanchez was barely two months removed from torching a sad-sack Penn State secondary in the Rose Bowl.
Then in the third round, the Jets traded up again to select running back Shonn Greene, who single-handedly ended the Nittany Lions' hopes to play for a national title in 2008-2009.
And being that I'm a Jets fan and a Penn State fan and the Jets love to do everything possible to make it hard for me to root for them, why not draft another player responsible for the massacre in Pasadena?
Since Braylon Edwards has looked like his old hands-of-stone self of late, it's unlikely the Jets will re-sign him come seasons' end (though who knows with all the ineptitude that goes on around there).
Once again, this leaves a gaping hole at the wide out position.
The Jets fill that hole by trading picks with the Seahawks and selecting this big playmaker. It doesn't hurt that Williams is a former teammate and security blanket of Mark Sanchez, either.
(No. 10 v.2.0: Tennessee trades down and selects Eric Norwood)
Denver has very few problems right now. Their defense is somewhat inconsistent, but undoubtedly good.
Their offense has great playmakers, but is built on a shaky foundation. Enter Bruce Campbell.
Campbell is an imposing presence, and as you can see above, a team leader. He can help Josh McDaniels to focus this team under one single goal and give them the attitude boost they need to take that next step.
Not only that, Orton throwing and Moreno running behind this monster doesn't sound like a bad idea...
(No. 11 v.2.0: CLE trades down and selects C.J. Spiller)
San Francisco's biggest issues are in the trenches and the secondary. I don't see Mike Singletary as the type to trade up or down on draft day and Bulaga is sitting right there.
This giant Big Ten lineman will fill the holes on their line and along with McCoy, provide the Niners with a strong foundation to continue to build on.
(No. 12 v.2.0: Dallas trades up to select Bruce Campbell)
I had such high hopes for the Texans. At one point I had them as a 10-win team and marching triumphantly into their first NFL postseason. Not so much anymore.
One of Houston's biggest issues is stopping the run. We know they have the ability to pressure the quarterback thanks to Super Mario Williams, Shaun Cody, the recent emergence of Connor Barwin, and the occasional flash-in-the-pan ability of Amobe Okoye.
Terrence Cody will not only plug up the middle against the run, but will draw more blockers, freeing up room for an already dangerous pass rush.
With the addition of a monster like Mount Cody, the Texans could surpass the New York Football Giants as the premiere pass-rushing team in the NFL.
Plus who could argue with a Williams, Cody, Cody, Barwin front four?
(No. 13 v.2.0: DEN selects Terrence Cody)
Ras-I Dowling, aside from having a great name, has been shooting up draft boards. He's a 6'2", 200 lb. cover corner with the size and aggression to play safety.
The staunch Steelers defense has been below stellar this year despite being first against the run and ninth in points allowed.
That's because all-world safety and defensive general, Troy Polamalu, is having issues staying healthy (again).
Getting a player who can help shut down the Ochocincos of the world and step in to the safety position when the Hair inevitably is sidelined again is of the utmost importance to the newest incarnation of the Steel Curtain.
(No. 14 v.2.0: JAX selects Tim Tebow)
So until about three weeks ago, I thought the Atlanta Falcons were one short step away from being an elite team. Their offense had the personnel to be epic and their defense seemed stout.
Somewhere along the way, that stout defense mysteriously became porous. I'm talking 29th against the pass, 23rd against the run, 28th in yards allowed and 23rd in points allowed. Ouch.
I know the Falcons have a strong linebacking corps and some ability to pressure the quarterback and injuries aren't helping, but 29th against the pass is brutal.
The Falcons will add the next installment of hyper-talented Longhorns' safeties, Earl Thomas, to their secondary to in hopes that some of those abysmal numbers can come back to Earth.
If Thomas, a sophomore, doesn't leave school, expect the Falcons to look at Taylor Mays.
(No. 15 v.2.0: SF selects Derrick Morgan)
The Seahawks are three steps away from approaching an elite defensive squad. Step one: a defensive end; step two: a defensive tackle; step three: an inside linebacker.
They can take one of those steps here at the 16 spot after swapping with the Jets. Rolando McClain is an athletic, ball-hawking, playmaking linebacker.
He'll hop in between Leroy Hill and Aaron Curry to complete one of the more imposing linebacking corps in the league.
(No. 16 v.2.0: NYG select Trevard Lindley)
At first I didn't want to admit it. I'm one of those fans who likes to ignore the business, money-driven side of sports (I'm a Yankees fan...we just win our championships cause we're good...right?).
But this is one decision that will be made because of the almighty dollar.
Tim Tebow will play for the Jaguars. Not because he's a talented and versatile player who can play several positions at a high level, but because Superman is a superhero in the state of Florida.
He will put more bodies in those teal and black seats than a borderline playoff team with no, and I repeat, no star power.
(No. 17 v.2.0: MIA selects Damian Williams)
A burgeoning young quarterback, a solid offensive line, a productive tight end and a star 20-something running back. What's missing?
A No. 1 receiver who was born after 1980.
Arrelious Benn is 6'2", 220 pounds. For all intents and purposes he's a linebacker with good speed and better hands.
With Joe Flacco's recent meltdowns, a stud young receiver might be just what the doctor ordered.
(No. 18 v.2.0: GB select Brian Bulaga)
Brandon Spikes has been on the NFL radar since his freshman year. Now, in his senior year, he is a 6'3", 260 pound battering ram on the verge of hearing his name called by the Miami Dolphins.
Not only would Spikes get to stay close to home (well, close to school...he's from North Carolina), but he'd get to keep wearing orange! Great!
Seriously though, the Dolphins are close to having an elite defense. And if you're in Miami, tell me you aren't excited about a 3-4 defense with Jason Taylor, Channing Crowder, Brandon Spikes and Joey Porter backing it up. That's scary.
(No. 19 v.2.0: BAL selects Arrelious Benn)
This is a tough call. First, Travis Lewis may stay in Norman. He's only a red-shirt sophomore. Second, the Giants have a lot of needs. Strange for a team in the top 15 in every major statistical category except points allowed.
But what we've learned over the past few seasons is, if there's a front-seven talent worth drafting and the Giants are on the clock, there's a good chance they'll select him.
If Lewis declares for the draft, he very well may find himself chasing down quarterbacks for Big Blue.
(No. 20 v.2.0: SD selects Dez Bryant)
Ah, the first of the playoffs teams. Oh, wait, the Seahawks aquired this pick through the Denver Broncos. Sorry, Seattle fans.
Jahvid Best has a lot of things going for him. He has garbage bags full of talent, speed, and athleticism. He has a great name.
Unfortunately, he also has a concussion. With the new consciousness of concussions in the NFL, it may scare franchises away from a first-round player if they have a history of head injuries.
However, the player I suspect to be No. 1 on Seattle's big board, C.J. Spiller, is already gone, and Seattle needs some offensive explosion. They may go out on a limb and take a chance on Best regardless.
(No. 21 v.2.0: NYJ trade down for Brandon Graham)
Philadelphia has all the offensive explosion in the world. They also have a couple of old dogs. They've secured one old dog for another three years, but he spends most of his time on the sideline barking.
Two of the other old dogs might need some extra protection, especially after all this talk of concussions.
As much as the Eagles really need linebackers, there aren't any worth drafting for a few more picks. Plus, big Mike Iupati could provide strength and stability to the interior of an already good offensive line.
(No. 22 v.2.0: HOU selects Travis Lewis)
It's tough to project a tight end who's missed most of the previous system into the first round, but Jermaine Gresham is a special player. He's 6'6", 260 pounds. Let me repeat that. He's 6'6", 260 pounds; at tight end!
On top of that, he has a remarkable athleticism. He plays similar to the Antonio Gates, Kellen Winslows of the world, except two inches taller.
If Gresham is healthy enough to participate in the combine, you can almost be assured he'll be selected in the first round.
And it just so happens the Bengals would like a nice big tight end for Carson Palmer to throw to. At the very least, having Gresham to throw to near the end zone would save Chad Ochocinco a lot of money.
(No. 23 v.2.0: SEA selects Jahvid Best)
When your team falls far below expectations, it's easy not to call out your star players. They're the best, so it can't be their fault, right? Well...not so much.
Taylor Mays hasn't been playing up to the level that his talent suggests and neither has his defensive squad.
Mays was expected to be a top-five pick at one point, but many factors have pushed him lower. That won't stop Jerry Jones from scooping a big-name, high-profile talent like Mays if he's available.
On top of that, pass defense is one of Dallas' weakest areas. If Mays plays anything like he's capable, he'll surely help to patch that up.
(No. 24 v.2.0: ATL selects Sean Weatherspoon)
I've said it before and I will again, I think Dez Bryant's suspension may help him in the long run...if he keeps his mind right.
Dez has the opportunity to forget about classes, forget about partying, forget about Oklahoma State and to focus solely on the NFL combine and what he needs to do to be a successful pro football player. Now, it's a matter of whether he'll do what needs to be done.
The Titans find themselves selecting much lower than they have in versions one or two, and like last year, may take another wide out.
Pairing Bryant with Kenny Britt and Chris Johnson gives an unorthodox quarterback some really impressive targets. They could carry Vince Young to the level of greatness many believed he could reach, in the pocket or not.
(No. 25 v.2.0: PHI selects Rolando McClain)
Dwyer is another back who fits the new prototype. He's similar to Adrian Peterson and Darren McFadden at 6'0", 235 and fast.
He hasn't gotten the same exposure as the other top backs in the nation partly because of Georgia Tech's funky offense.
While that may hurt his draft stock, it will help him in the pros. He's used to working out of unorthodox looks, so the wildcat won't surprise him, going out wide won't shock him, receiving a snap is just another day at the office for him.
But in this case, he doesn't need to worry about much of that. Just run for first downs and block for Mr. Brady. That's all.
(No. 26 v.2.0: PIT selects Mike Iupati)
My first official trans-round trade! Excitement abound!
I'm going out on a serious limb here, but that's the fun about mock drafts. The St. Louis Rams give Green Bay their second round pick (33rd overall, where an offensive lineman will certainly be available for the Packers) to move back into the first round.
But Golden Tate isn't necessarily a first-round pick. I see his professional ceiling near that of a Santana Moss. But the Rams need help just about everywhere, and may be willing to make some bold moves.
One bold move is trading up to get their new rookie quarterback his old college receiver. One issue with rookie receivers is developing a rapport with the guys catching his passes. That won't be an issue with Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate.
(No. 27 v.2.0: CIN selects Jermaine Gresham)
The Cardinals need depth of talent on defense. Considering that, the defense is playing at the same level right now that got them to the Super Bowl last year.
The only other area of need for these desert birds is offensive line. They struggle like hell to run the ball, and an old quarterback could always use some more protection.
Typically guards are more important in rushing, but there's only one guard worth taking in the first, oh, fifty picks, and he's gone. So the Cardinals select a big, big, big offensive tackle and plug him into a below-average offensive line.
This will set up potentially the third greatest offense I've seen in my lifetime (behind Brady's "eff-you" Patriots and the Greatest Show on Turf).
(No. 28 v.2.0: AZ selects Brandon Spikes)
San Diego's biggest need is their rushing offense. Despite having an explosive Darren Sproles and one of the greatest running backs ever in LT, their rush attack is dangerously close to last in the league.
I'm pretty sure their team average rush-yards per game may be lower than Tomlinson's career-average yards per game.
That being said, there's no one around the 28 spot who can help that area, so the SuperChargers two options are to trade down or address another area of need.
Luckily their other area of need is pass rush and there's plenty of those guys around, including Ole Miss's Greg Hardy.
A former top-10 rated talent, he's underperformed a bit and has suffered from injury, and he now finds himself close to the second round.
(No. 29 v.2.0: NE selects Jonathan Dwyer)
I still really want to give the Vikings a quarterback. It makes too much sense to me. Alas, I'm going a different direction this time.
The Vikings worst statistical major category is pass defense. Much of that can be attributed to injuries in their secondary.
It certainly isn't an inability to create pressure on opposing quarterbacks. One thing that helps a pass defense, albeit more subtly, is good outside linebacking.
Sean Weatherspoon will bother offensive lines with his speed and blitzing ability, and his smaller stature gives him an agility that will be useful in covering tight ends.
And for a defense that is supposedly championship-caliber, you can't have Chad Greenway as your best linebacker.
(No. 30 v.2.0: MIN selects Sam Bradford)
I'm so disappointed they don't have Arenas' interception of Tim Tebow in the SEC championship. Oh well.
The Colts need defensive depth of talent. Sure, they have enough going for them in terms of stopping the opposition to win a championship.
But does anyone outside their own locker room think they can stop Drew Brees? I sure don't.
Javier Arenas is an incredibly talented corner who shows up game after game in what is considered the best conference in college football.
He plays against talented quarterbacks and talented receivers and finds ways to close them out.
He'll make an impressive addition to a lacking secondary and maybe, just maybe, take some pressure off Bob Sanders.
(No. 31 v.2.0: IND select Javier Arenas)
Clearly the Saints don't need any help scoring the football, so I believe once they're done staring long and hard at their Lombardi trophy, they'll find a defensive player who will help them keep it.
Sergio Kindle, another member of the class of 2010 with a great name, draws comparisons to a former Longhorn, Brian Orakpo.
This is all well and good, but Kindle reminds me of someone else much more impressive: Jevon Kearse.
He's the same height and weight, same build, and has the same ability to torture quarterbacks. Because he plays in a different era, he'll find himself standing up and playing outside linebacker more than Kearse ever did.
Regardless, adding the explosive Kindle to a fast, playmaking defense could give the Saints the defensive ability to repeat in Super Bowl XLV.
(No. 32 v.2.0: NO selects Crezdon Butler)